Aluminum VS Steel - Spread VS Tandem?

Discussion in 'Flatbed Trucking Forum' started by CaptainKirk, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. Ruthless

    Ruthless Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2010
    The City.
    I went independent nov 2013. Went n found the cheapest all alum spread axle I could, needed tall rubber, all alum everything, and at least one toolbox, with a dump valve. Spent $13k on that. It's worked fine aside from being a 96". I've dumped a bunch of money into it since. However I thought I needed the absolute lightest trailer out there to make things happen, and come to find my own niche doesn't require that. Also having a spread axle isn't beneficial to me as I had thought-tons of jobsites and off road delivery locations as well as a lot of inner city travel leads me to plan on my next trailer being a slider (or independent sliders if I'm rich like that the day I order it lol)

    Knowing exactly the situation you'll be in when using the equipment can really change just what's best for you to own. If you expect to have just a few customers: see what kinds of issues you may have with any given kind of equipment in that type of job.
    TakinItEasy and comallard Thank this.
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  3. barroll

    barroll Road Train Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    Southwest Michigan
    With steel you'll have to worry about rust, and with aluminum you'll have to worry about cracks. They both like to eat money if you chase the cheapest ones available.

    I've been running flat for over three years and have never had a load that pays by the hundred weight (paying by the piece isn't unheard of, though). Being able to scale 48k is the high end of the industry standard, but about half the loads out there only require the ability to scale 45k. There are loads out there up in the 50-55k range that pay a bit extra to get a feather light rig under them, but they're rare. When calculating a potential lightweight, be sure to include the weight of all the equipment you'll need to carry. If you're just strapping loads flat on the deck with no tarps you might only be adding 100lbs to the gross weight, but if you want to be flexible, it isn't hard to put over 1000lbs of junk on the rig, and I was pushing 2000lbs of equipment when I was still figuring out my lanes.

    I will never go back to tandem axles. My spread axle can go anywhere a tandem can, backwards or forwards, and the wider footprint keeps it from getting stuck off road where tandems like to dig themselves into a hole.

    102"x48' is still the industry standard. There are a few markets where you can still get away with a 96" or a 45', but it'll pigeon hole you in the spot market. There are more and more loads that require a 53' flat, and they do tend to be the best paying freight in some markets.
  4. SHC

    SHC Spoiled Rotten Brat O/O

    Feb 26, 2011
    Westville, IN
    I say a combo 53' flatbed with a sliding rear axle is the best of all the worlds. Most versitle thing out there really. Close up the spread when in the city and running light. Open it up when you need to for weight. Also can set it for Canada and her the max allowed weight for a group. You can haul the "53' flat only" freight but also haul 48' loads and have that extra 5' for a LTL to help boost the bottom line.
    kylefitzy and MJ1657 Thank this.
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