Hooking / driving doubles
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i have only done a-trains---hooking and driving is no problem at all--actually easier than a 53
until it comes time for backing up
for me lots of pull forwards and straighten ups--i kinda tend to oversteer--not a good thing with 2 shortys
Pulled doubles a couple of times. Not that hard hooking up and rolling along. Never backed them though. Drop one and only back with one, as the only place I ever had to do any backing with them was in a yard/dock. One wagon being left behind, picking up another. I wouldn't want to pull them in the winter on crappy roads, that's for sure!
I pulled a 105 foot long pair of coal hoppers through steep, high altitude foothills for a while, and also some 10-axle (38 wheel) tanker pairs that were 100 feet, and was amazed at how the length wasn't noticeable in and of itself. The articulation lets you turn around in the same space as a normal 53 foot trailer. The biggest danger was simply forgetting how far past obstacles and passed vehicles you had to be before pulling over because of not being conscious of the length.
Don't worry too much about it, in other words. A truck is just a truck regardless of its size. Backing was easier than I expected, too, in the sense that it could be done at all. A full truck-length was possible with a bit of practice, and the old hands could do two or three times that before getting "kinked."
Winter roads are the main concern, because of how the rear trailer can pull the entire rig into the ditch with alarming ease if it grabs the snow piled at the edge.
All in all they aren't as nerve-wracking to drive as they look, imo.Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
when i was taught how to hook up and drive them, i was told do not make sudden movements to the steering wheel, as you then create a "crack the whip" effect on the last trailer. make the movements slower, and be MORE aware of your following distances and your looking ahead distance. winter will always be a troublesome time as many times, there may NOT be enough weight either in both trailers of the last one.
then i was told, "just don't pay attention to the last trailer as you're driving down the highway, cuz if you do, you'll constantly be making corrections with the steering.....just DRIVE.......!!!
by the way, 100% of my doubles experience is with the 28' pups, i have yet to pull the 48's
and although some drivers CAN back up a set of pups, i cannot, and i don't care to. i got nothing to prove to anyone by backing up a set of pups.
Nothing to prove.. so they let you guys drive with doubles without being tested?
as no matter how hard you try no to reverse, at some stage you will, maybe to get around a tricky corner (where you made a wrong turn)
We get tested/taught over here in how to reverse a set of doubles.. took me 2 attempts to get it right (kept on turning to sharp , mind you, my step father had let me try a few times in his rig to get the hang of it.)
Good luck with it all...
someone helps you set up, hook up, then in my case, i followed the other driver to new jersey, there he helped my break them down.........then he said, "there you go, you now know how to pull doubles"........
and if you go around the wrong corner, or take an exit marked NO TRUCKS........well, you cannot back'em up the ramp as a set........you break them down, then back up. and going around that wrong corner......oops.........you still do not back them up. most accidents happen when a driver backs up, and backing is always dangerous.
The first requirement is that the heavier of the two trailers is ALWAYS the first trailer, and the lighter trailer is the rear. If you ever happen to pull three pups, then they go in order from heaviest in the front to the lightest in the furthestmost rear position.
As far as hooking them up...
You take the con-gear and roll it so it's in front of, and in line with, the second trailer. If you can, position the con-gear so that the fifth wheel plate is just touching the nose of the trailer.
You then hook up to the first trailer like a normal semi-trailer. After doing so, you then back up the first trailer so that the pintle hook is about 6" from the eye on the con-gear. Roll the con-gear forward, hook the eye in the pintle hook, and make sure that the safety lock is engaged. Hook both safety chains to their eyelets, crank up the leg, and then back the connected con-gear underneath the 2nd trailer.
Hook up the air lines and electrical lines, open the air valves on the lead trailer, and check the valves at the back of the 2nd trailer to make sure they are closed. Make sure that all the lights are working, check both fifth wheels to make sure they are secure (visual and a tug test), make sure that the pintle hook and eye are secure and locked closed, and make sure that the safety chains are secure.
Two things are a must --
1) - Always make sure when you pull into a place, that you can pull out without having to back up. It is possible to back up a set of pups, but you have to be very good, and it takes a lot of practice to get that good.
2) - Never, NEVER attempt to unhook the con-gear from the front trailer if the second trailer is attached - if you try it, the bar of the con-gear will spring up when it becomes free of the pintle hook, and if it should strike you, you could be seriously injured (lost teeth, broken jaw) or killed (decapitated).
Once you've hooked and unhooked a set of doubles or triples a few times, you'll get the hang of it. They're fairly simple to drive - I personally prefer a set of double 28's over a single 53'. If there's a crosswind it doesn't seem to effect the pups as much as a 53', the wind is able to flow through the gap between the two trailers.
Plus, they seem to make you a safer driver by default. You'll always be more alert, as well as more cautious when pulling doubles or triples, plus you'll get in the habit of doing a walk-around inspection - most notably of the eye and pintle hook, as well as the air valves - everytime you stop.
It's like anything else once you do it for a little while. Something I believe in is hooking/dropping the same way every time - you'll never forget to do something and you'll develop good pre/post trip habits. Once you're on the road, just be smooth and it's a breeze.
Everything was covered by the other drivers that posted and I agree with them 100%.
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