Distributing weight properly

Discussion in 'Questions To Truckers From The General Public' started by babycody, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. babycody

    babycody Bobtail Member

    Oct 30, 2008
    Usually vans. Another dept. takes care of the flatbeds.

    These are the general rules of thumb I've gathered so far.
    1) Keep the load under 44,000 pounds. Is that a correct assumption?
    2) Keep the weight under 1,000 pounds per foot. Which will allow for two 48" long pallets weighing 2,000 lbs each, loading them side by side.

    If I have pallets weighing 2,300 lbs each then I could single the first pallet. I have used 2,300 lbs out of 4,000 lbs for that four foot section. So now I have 1,700 lbs to play with behind that first pallet before I would have to single again right? I can now double two section giving me five pallets equaling 11,500 lbs. So I put 11,500 lbs into a 12 foot stretch. Which is under 1,000 pounds per foot. Now I have to single again, but this time I have 2,100 pounds to play with 1,700 lbs + 500 lbs left over from the first five. So forth and so on.........I have to make sure I don't exceed 22,000 lbs before the half way point. Is that the proper way to look at this?

    Thank you for taking the time to help me wrap my head around this.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  2. Otter

    Otter Light Load Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    Milton, VT.
    You've got the right idea, if you're loading all the same product then you would take the total number of pallets and spread them out useing the load patterns I gave you.
    If you're loading pallets of different product then keep in mind the 1000 pound per foot rule.
    I run a Western Star with the 84 inch sleeper, and 53' reefer, with full fuel my empty weight is 34,500 pounds. Properly loaded I can scale a load weighting 45,500 pounds. I have been loaded over gross, but only because the weight of the pallets were off by 500 to 700 pounds each.
    I rarely scale my loads, if loaded properly, evenly from front to back, I set my trailer tandems so the mud flaps are at the end of the load, with the quarter fenders at the begining of the load, I'll be within a couple of hundred pounds between the drives and trailer. I know where my suspension preasure gauge should be for 34,000 pounds on the drives, I can usually set the trailer tandems where they need to be by the preasure gauge on the drives.
    I used to haul Malodexdrin out of Muskatine Iowa with dry van, I always told them I couldn't scale 22 pallets and would request the order be cut by one pallet and I wanted the single in the nose.
    They always argued that they would load 22 pallets, and I could scale on their scale in the back yard and if I was over gross they would take off one pallet. I brought in the scale ticket showing that I was 80,900 pounds and I told them I wanted the single in the nose. They didn't like it, but they unloaded the trailer and singled the pallet in the nose. They never again gave me crap about loading the single in the nose.
    You may not have to know everything on your own, listen to the drivers, they should know if they have a tractor that weighs more than usual.
    Being a pilot helps in knowing how to load and evenly spreading the weight. The only time I ever have trouble is when the shipper doesn't know what the product weighs.
    At 70 degrees a gallon of diesel weighs 6.7 pounds. So if a driver tells you he needs to take on fuel ask him how many gallons he'll need to top off.
    babycody Thanks this.
  3. driver4015

    driver4015 Medium Load Member

    Jan 28, 2008
    Bend ,Oregon
    If it's a 48,load it like a 48. If it's a 53, load it like a 48 anyway, havn't been wrong in 15 yrs
  4. babycody

    babycody Bobtail Member

    Oct 30, 2008
    The amount of pallets shipped is up to our customer, Wal-Mart. They usually utilize all of the space available. Unfortunately they don't take pallet weight into consideration, and we use those big, heavy, blue Chep pallets.
  5. Lurchgs

    Lurchgs Road Train Member

    Feb 13, 2008
    Denver, CO
    I've been a few places like that. Fortunately, the shipper and I saw eye-to-eye.. one particular order was for 60 bags of sugar. The place what ordered it reasoned that since a bag is (essentially) a 4x4x4 cube, there's plenty of room in a trailer for the stuff.

    They failed to take into consideration that a bag of sugar weighs 2000 pounds when they sent me to haul the stuff. When I arrived, after a brief convo, shipper called my company and asked for another truck - and told the consignee to quit breathing methane.
  6. AfterShock

    AfterShock Road Train Member

    Sep 19, 2007
    Inland Empire, California

    So, instead of ONE Big truck grossly overloaded, they elected to go with two, slightly(?) overloaded Big trucks?

    Accordin' to my claclatooter, 60 bags of sugar weighing 2,000 pounds each, (including pallet weight?),
    would equal 120,000 pounds, --- not including the weight of the tractor and trailer.
    Divide that weight in half, and there'd be 60,000 pounds of sugar in each trailer, ---
    again, not including the weight of the tractor and trailer.
    Meaning, that unless the Big truck and Big trailer, combined, weighs more than 20,000 pounds,
    which isn't too likely, there'd still be a problem hauling that load on two Big trucks.

    Are you SURE that load didn't require two Big trucks OTHER than your's?
    That'd be 40,000 pounds on each of three trailers, and sounds a tad
    more do-able. :yes2557:
  7. ChromeDome

    ChromeDome Road Train Member

    Jun 10, 2007
    Lakeland, FL
    I was thinking the same thing.
    A light road tractor and trailer combination will weigh around 27k. That is a really light one. Heck my flatbed with 3/4 tanks of fuel and a 48' all aluminum spread weighs out at 29,500, and I drive an International 9400i ,with a 72" sleeper.
    My rule of thumb on a flat is never over 50k on the load. When I was in a Reefer it was 42k. Though with some trailers I would get 42,800 on.
  8. Mighty Mouse

    Mighty Mouse Light Load Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    Raider Nation, NorCal

    lol I'll take the other shoe here just for fun:

    Bear in mind that some of the loads coming back have drivers who don't know how to shift axle weights or just don't want to shift them at all. Believe me it can be a real pain if you don't have a clamp, hammer and some WD-40 after X amount of drivers have already beat them to death, so it's understandable to a very small degree.

    It's pretty rare that I come across a load that I can't either shift my tandems or 5th wheel to redistribute the axle weights or figure out how much fuel I need not refuel to make it legal. Most of my plans tell me the weight and destination before hand so I can gage if I need to hold off fueling all the way up or not before getting the load. Honestly, I only rely on lower fuel levels when I really need to get moving or I don't have the hours to get a re-load as I do have a regular fuel route I need to try to maintain as well.

    Yeah, the Cali loads are a pain any way you crack 'em and they really don't have as much need for the tandems being there as say like the city of Manhattan or the state of Idaho unless your driving into Santa Cruz, CA or the back way into Atlanta from the Carolinas.

  9. babycody

    babycody Bobtail Member

    Oct 30, 2008
    So if a driver moves their tandems toward the tractor it takes weight off of the nose and vice versa right?
    1. If I get a driver who just does not want to make any effort to shift the weight how can I tell how many peg holes that person could move their tandems forward or backwards?
    2. Each state has different requirements right? Is there a list somewhere that could help me with that? Also how do I decide which state the driver needs to set his/her tandems for since they will go through several states? 3. If I try to keep the weight at a thousand pounds per foot of trailer, how many pounds would you say are shifted to the back or front for each peg hole in the tendems?
    Thanks for all the help.
  10. Otter

    Otter Light Load Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    Milton, VT.
    Some people think the holes are always 500 pounds, in reality the amount of weight transfered will change as you slide, take a weight of the truck and shift six holes, weigh again and shift another six holes, and weigh again. You'll find that you shifted two different amounts. All the states have the same weight limit under the bridge formula, some allow extra axles to make higher gross weight, like Michigan.
    Some states have no tolerance, like Virginia, other states allow a small percentage over, Virginia has no tolerance but allows you an hour to fix it if you're not over gross.
    A five axle tractor trailer needs 51 feet from the steer axle to the rear axle to gross 80,000 pounds, 12,000 on the steer, 34,000 on the drives, and 34,000 on the trailer, will be legal everywhere, as long as the driver doesn't exceed lenght limits for some states that limit wheelbase for 53 foot trailers.
    If you load a trailer less than 1000 pounds per foot, the driver should slide the trailer axles so the mudflaps are at the end of the load.
    babycody Thanks this.
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