Flatbed Weight Distribution

Topic 25868 | Page 1

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NeeklODN's Comment
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I always load my trailer from the center point that's marked. Let's say I have a load of bricks. 25 packs. I would have 12 packs front of center and 13 packs rear of center. When I do this I'm always like 37k on split trailer axle, 27k on drives and ALWAYS maxed out on steers. What should I do differently??? It would seem counter intuitive to move the load forward on the trailer because then my steers would be over correct?

Old School's Comment
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If your fifth wheel is set right it shouldn't affect your steers much at all.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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I always load my trailer from the center point that's marked. Let's say I have a load of bricks. 25 packs. I would have 12 packs front of center and 13 packs rear of center. When I do this I'm always like 37k on split trailer axle, 27k on drives and ALWAYS maxed out on steers. What should I do differently??? It would seem counter intuitive to move the load forward on the trailer because then my steers would be over correct?

I always try to get the load as closely centered as possible, so in your example it would be 12.5 front and rear of center. I also have my 5th wheel adjusted all the way to the rear. This helps with my steer axle being well within limits. We have adjustable trailer axles, so, if possible I center everything so I can drive with my axles closed. This is not always possible, but I am able to do it, more often than not.

NeeklODN's Comment
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Forgot to mention, my fifth wheel is fixed.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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Split the weight more evenly. Adding more weight to the drives will actually relieve a bit of the weight on the steers and unless that steer weight is really up there, you'll rarely have to worry about it. When loading the way you've been doing it, it's lifting up on the drives and putting more weight on the steer tires, plus it feels like you're dragging the load rather than pulling it. If you get your balance a bit closer, the steering won't feel as heavy and it will ride much better.

G-Town's Comment
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Robert wrote:

Split the weight more evenly. Adding more weight to the drives will actually relieve a bit of the weight on the steers and unless that steer weight is really up there, you'll rarely have to worry about it. When loading the way you've been doing it, it's lifting up on the drives and putting more weight on the steer tires, plus it feels like you're dragging the load rather than pulling it. If you get your balance a bit closer, the steering won't feel as heavy and it will ride much better.

*like

Same exact scenario can occur from an unbalanced dry van or reefer load. Too much weight behind the tandems will literally lift weight off the drives and move it to the steer axle. A total blast when driving on a road that rolls.

Robert stresses weight balance, totally agree.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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Another thing I forgot to mention which applies specifically to flatbed is that with a better balance, you'll find backing to be much easier without that constant fight with the trailer trying to push back when you get it at a tighter angle.

NeeklODN's Comment
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Ok I'm gonna try that next time. I'll let you guys know what the scale says. But I have a sneaky suspicion that the sticker that says "place heavy loads here" is not the true middle point. I feel like it may be to the front a little bit.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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Ok I'm gonna try that next time. I'll let you guys know what the scale says. But I have a sneaky suspicion that the sticker that says "place heavy loads here" is not the true middle point. I feel like it may be to the front a little bit.

That sticker usually indicates that the trailer has a coil package and is reinforced in that area to deal with having the 40÷k weight of a steel coil all being situated in roughly a 3'x5' area. The easiest way to find center of the trailer is a measuring tape or use the center light as reference. The center light may not be exact but a pretty good reference point in most cases. Do remember though, the trailer center in regards to weight balance is different when the axles are open vs closed.

NeeklODN's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

Ok I'm gonna try that next time. I'll let you guys know what the scale says. But I have a sneaky suspicion that the sticker that says "place heavy loads here" is not the true middle point. I feel like it may be to the front a little bit.

double-quotes-end.png

That sticker usually indicates that the trailer has a coil package and is reinforced in that area to deal with having the 40÷k weight of a steel coil all being situated in roughly a 3'x5' area. The easiest way to find center of the trailer is a measuring tape or use the center light as reference. The center light may not be exact but a pretty good reference point in most cases. Do remember though, the trailer center in regards to weight balance is different when the axles are open vs closed.

Okay, my logic maybe incorrect here. I knew that about the coil package but I assumed that if you're putting a 40000 lb coil right there then it must be the middle of the trailer as well. Why would you not put it in the direct center of the trailer?

Also, my axles cannot be closed.

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