Buying first flatbed trailer

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by truckerbangin, Mar 19, 2023.

  1. artantx

    artantx Bobtail Member

    Sep 4, 2014
    I have been using combo flats for 7 years now here in Ontario, Canada,trailers get to be used all year round and all good.
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  3. abyliks

    abyliks Road Train Member

    May 2, 2010
    ludlow MA
    Every aluminum frame dump trailer I’ve looked at more then a few years old has been cracked to #### around the king pin plate and tandems, I would think a spread would be even worse along with the longer length

    my first flat was a Dorsey and I’d like to find a newer one, not quite as fancy as a Mac but for what I do with then they seem to do quite well
    Bean Jr. Thanks this.
  4. ducnut

    ducnut Road Train Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    I pulled mostly coils, sheets, and bar stock. There’s no comparison in quality between them, with construction or performance. I’ve pulled them, back-to-back. The two largest flatbed companies are Maverick and TMC. Both use all-aluminum trailers. They wouldn’t spend the money, if the benefits weren’t there.

    A solo O/O isn’t a very large sample to look at. Go work for a larger flatbed company and one will see the issues with combos. I currently run IL, IN, and OH and watch them pass me, everyday. The decking always starts popping at the rear, because there’s hardly anything ever loaded back there and the rear gets beat to death. It’s exactly why one should always split a load (don’t belly load), if possible. Flatbedders who haul around a few pieces of equipment, vehicles, and other lightweight stuff may not ever have a problem. But, in a steel hauling application, combos fall apart.

    In almost 30yrs of driving, I’ve had two blowouts (1 tractor and 1 trailer). I sure wouldn’t spec equipment around those two events. I had two hoods get crunched, in 2 weeks. I guess, don’t reinstall a hood?

    Aluminum dump trailers getting raised exert tremendous loads on the kingpin plate. There’s zero correlation to a flatbed. That’s like saying “I see dump trailers easily topple over, all semi configurations must easily topple over.”.

    I agree, on tire inflation systems. Having been with a company who spec’d them and now being with one who doesn’t, I never feel secure in my trailer tires. Knowing the trailer tires are always being inflated and having that white indicator light if something should be going wrong makes a big difference, to me.
    rollin coal and Bean Jr. Thank this.
  5. Kshaw0960

    Kshaw0960 Road Train Member

    Jun 17, 2018
    Ive hauled a combo trailer from transcraft and it did everything I asked of it. The main problem is weight. Being able to scale heavier opens up a lot of options. I would rather get an entry model MAC than a fancy other brand with J plates and the such. Plus I bet you’d come out ahead financially over the years with the lower weight and especially the resale value.
    ducnut and Vampire Thank this.
  6. pumpkinishere

    pumpkinishere Heavy Load Member

    Apr 21, 2021
    We bought our first flatbed trailer last yr or year before, now I can’t remember. Our is a 2007 manic I think we paid 12,000 it aluminum but we took it in to get it road ready and had almost another 12,000 in expenses. We deciding we should have never got that old of a trailer but since doing all that work we’ve had no problems. My suggestion would be buy a newer o e that is on the road already or you will have an expensive ### trailer like what we have.
    ducnut and Vampire Thank this.
  7. bamanation

    bamanation Heavy Load Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    Muscle Shoals ,AL
    If you buy a flatbed buy new if you plan on being in business long term. 8,000-10,000 down will get anything you want. Make sure to have two boxes, a dunnage box and tire inflation installed. Buy a 53 foot if you plan to run the spot freight market. You will get some good paying loads sometimes when it’s absolutely needed. You will come back and thank me later. My 48 Fontaine Combo with a coil hauling package does what I need it to do. It has a tare weight of 10,000lbs and the aluminum 48 will be at around 9,000lbs. Aluminum will run around 8-10 thousand more than a combo. But what ever you do if you are planning on running the spot market go with the 53.
  8. RunningAces

    RunningAces Road Train Member

    Jul 2, 2017
    Whatever you decide to buy make sure you can haul at least 48000 pounds. If you run spot market and can't haul 48k you're putting a hell of a lot of freight out of your reach.
    I went with a new 48' all aluminum fontaine revolution. I wanted a trailer I would enjoy using more than I worried about the occasional load I wouldn't be able to take.
  9. Kshaw0960

    Kshaw0960 Road Train Member

    Jun 17, 2018
    I disagree about the 53. I think if you buy a new trailer I would go with a 48. It’s lighter and you don’t lose out on freight. I run general load boards and the amount of loads requiring a 53 is almost non existent.

    I firmly agree making sure you can scale 48k. This is a big one. 95% of the loads that say 48k and I book are really 45ish but I have seen people get turned away when they went to scale empty at the shipper.
    ducnut Thanks this.
  10. jamespmack

    jamespmack Road Train Member

    Mar 25, 2014
    Fleet never used to spec aluminum, they do so for weight savings only.

    Hauling heavy on a aluminum trailer comes with maintenance. Welding is considered maintenance.

    As far as a combo, yea I've seen flooring come loose, that's about it. Have to work at rust prevention.

    Everyone is different. But my 1995 Fruehauf combo is still hauling iron and has been its entire life. Still has some life left in it.
    Long FLD and Diesel Dave Thank this.
  11. Mnmover99

    Mnmover99 Light Load Member

    Oct 22, 2022
    So far most of the posts make sense, but no one is talking about a spread, or a sliding spread, or being able to slide the axles together for California. Also king pin setting.
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