Alright guys, I need some help. While I have many years experience pulling flatbeds, I have never owned my own trailer. I am looking at buying a drop deck trailer before I lease to Landstar and need some opinions on options before I order the trailer.
I'm looking at.....51'6" Transcraft Double Eagle combo with container locks for 1 forty foot container and 2 twenty foot containers. Low profile, 36" deck height.
Sliding rear axle for California legal, Wood flooring for hauling A&E, 4 boxes 60" x 18 x 18, All LED lighting, crossfires for all wheels.
Am thinking about adding ramps. Good Idea?
Should I go with chain tie downs or "D" rings? how many of each?
Any other options that you would suggest?
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I would suggest you look into a Meritor auto-inflation system.
I wouldn't consider crossfires considering how little they do when a superior product is available, unless cost became an issue. They've saved my butt twice on slow leaking punctures when breakdown sent me 100mi+ for replacement tires. A crossfire would have cut out at 100psi and just let those tires shred on the rim.
Ramps can only improve your freightbase. Getting the type that doubles as load levellers seem like a great investment for stepdeck as well.
If your buying new, no way in heck would I buy a Transcrap. If you're only going two axle, d rings are overkill. The heavy twenty can locks are as well. That is a rarity as far as loads go.
Ramps can be had anytime if you find you need them. I've never used mine. If you plan on doing oversize, get strobes in the rear and consider reverse lights as well. I'd do a lift on one of the axles for running empty or light. I would also go with the inflation system after pulling a LS trailer with it. I picked up a trailer for Trl Utilization with a flat and was worried. The inflation system filled it right up. Don't forget a weight gauge. Check with PeeDee trailer for good pricing on a Doonan.
I bought a Transcraft a few years ago. My main complaint is the type of connectors that they use for their lights. I can't seem to find the lights anywhere but at a Transcraft dealer. Hopefully, they have since changed the type of connectors since I purchased mine. The container locks should come where you can haul 2-20', 1-40' or one heavy 20' container. I like the inset chains for securement. If you are getting the low profile tires, you may consider getting 3 axles rather than just 2 with the rear as a lift. In fact, you might want to have the back two axles as lifts. I have a headboard on my Transcraft. If you plan on hauling cars, you may not want to get a headboard. Every now and then you could find a longer load where a headboard would get in the way. One other thing. When I bought my trailer I was told not to treat the wood since it was treated at the factory. I would treat it about 2 times per year to help the wood last longer. It will cost about $5,500 to refloor my trailer. Still, I have made money with it. Other than the floor and light issue, I like the trailer. I am not sure that I would buy another Transcraft. Doonan makes a nice trailer, but when I looked at them they cost about $10,000 more than Transcraft. I have the 22.5 tires. I bought the taller rubber due to having bigger brakes. At the time I was running the left coast and felt that it would be better to have the extra braking power than the lower deck. My deck height is 42", which allows me to haul up to 10' on the deck and still be at legal height. It is a trade off. When you have the smaller tires, you need to have at least one, preferably two tires as a spare. The small tires are more difficult to find at truck stops.
I can't count the number of times I've heard someone begging on the radio to buy some small tires. I would definitely carry a pair mounted on wheels myself. They're small enough to fit into some larger side boxes, but if that isn't an option, there are all kinds of spare racks that can be mounted to the tractor frame.
I wouldn't carry them around on the deck, personally. I've seen a lot of them strapped down to the point they don't look like they could seal a bead properly when they were needed. On the other side of things, I've seen them slip out from under straps and go bouncing down into a ditch on the interstate. Aside from that, I feel a step covered in tires, and tarps, and dunnage just looks sloppy. I'd much rather have a headache rack and/or sideboxes that matched my equipment needs.bergy Thanks this.
Do you all think a 53' trailer is overkill? Talked to a driver the other day with a 8ft upper and 40ft lower with container locks. He said that the freight he can't haul is few and far between. The driver was with Admiral Merchants, which is another company I am considering.
Also looking at a Doonon 53ft with Cal slide axle with the locks. Never had any experience with doonon trailers are they decent trailers?
I rarely see a step with an 8' upper deck. Having such a short upper deck can create more of a problem turning. I have some difficulty with one truck turning with my 53' step due to the tall rubber. With an 11' upper deck you could put a small car on the top deck. That would never work with a 8' upper deck.
It is difficult to have a trailer set up that will be right for every situation. If you think you will be hauling a lot of 40' containers, then you will need at least that much on the lower deck. Unless you want the short top you will need to go with a longer trailer. Doonan does make a good trailer. But, it will add a lot to the purchase price. I am not sure that they are worth the difference in price over a Transcraft.
I can tell you for our light stuff, they refuse to load 48' steps because of the way it fits. They need 8' up top and 40' on bottom, no exceptions and typically will refuse the trailer if it's not a 53' footer. Those loads require tarps, and they typically pay very well.
I'd get the 53'. If you like to run the SE region, I could keep you busy with a flatbed, but those plants won't load a stepdeck. (Savannah, Jax, Atlanta).
If you want to run out of Memphis every week, I could keep you very busy and with decent rates into the Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga areas (Our new rates just went into effect). They will load stepdecks. There's days I could send you to Jonesboro on a short run that pays superwell and have you turn around and come right back to Memphis and take something east.
Being in TN, you also have access to numerous MAJOR rail yards...so having the container locks is of significant benefit to you. Memphis is also the 4th largest inland port in the nation...another benefit of container locks.
Overall, I'd listen to the three guys that have posted in here thus far and take everything they say to heart. I know D and M both seem to be very very good people after having dealt with them on the phones several times. I trust them. Can't say that about many folks.
For steps I pull 53 footers and I would not buy anything but. Keep in mind with that top deck being an 11 ft you can put a skid steer up there and an 8 would probably not work. I would get it with a CA legal spread instead of closed. Its so much easier and in most cases there is no need to weigh so that saves you the CAT scale cost everyday. I dont even know what it cost anymore because I have not used one since I weighed my truck empty the day I got into my own at my job.
I can say that having a 33 inch deck height is awesome but that requires the wheel wells to be above the deck which can cause a hassle sometimes the upside to it is being able to take some taller machinery loads and being under height still, and the trailers still have the 22.5s and not a 19.5 or 17.5 which as was stated above, its hard to find those tires at a truck stop when you shred one up.
The other thing I would say is have plenty of strap winches on the trailer. Also the steps I usually pull have a full dump for the trailer to make it easier at some places to off-load/load and those orange beacons on the rear are a must.
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