Generally it’s not easier with the tandems all the way back because of the distance between the center of the trailer axles and your kingpin. The only time I slide them back is if it’s a narrow slot, there’s a trailer on my blind side, and there’s not much pull up room either.
Don’t forget that the blind side swing on the trailer can also create difficulties pulling out of a dock as well.
if the shipper wants my axles back I get lined up in the door FIRST, then slide and crack my doors.
Once I’m loaded I build my air and slide my axles all the way forward- check my suspension gauge- and slide back to about where I think will work (CA is a mind numbing 40’ ♀️) then I pull out of the slot. But I can do this fast- and I can lock my axes in a released position. If another truck was waiting for my door I’d slide them forward, close my doors and vacate; then play with my weight distribution.
Spread axles back differently than tandems and single screw day cabs back differently than tandem day cabs.... and they back differently than a Cascadia.... and that backs differently than a Peterpilt 386..... and that backs differently than a 379/389 extended hood.
It’s all about length of the tractor and length of the axels to kingpin.
Your questions are good- it means you care about doing a good job.
Best regards from an older hand- 11 years company and 11 years owner operator- if you like to drive it’s a wonderful job.
How do you know when to and when not to slide tandems?
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A few tricks to sliding axles;
Keep a fast food type of ketchup bottle on hand to put oil in. If you have sticky tandems or pins, squirting some oil in the holes will help break it free. Do this before you get loaded to give it time to work if you know you are going to be picking up a heavy load. Pull pins and break it loose before you load.
Keep a couple of chocks with you. If you get a trailer that has weak spring brakes you can chock the wheels to help slide tandems. This saved my bacon more than once. I learned by having to use a curb to chock my trailer.
In my 2020 Cascadia, Empty reefer I get 26psi in my drives. Max legal weight is about 62psi I get a good idea of where to adjust my axles based on that. Mind you, you have to be level and in neutral with brakes released. If the suspension is torqued up, the indicated psi will be off, sometimes substantially. Same goes with getting weighed. Be sure to roll on gently, and put the truck in neutral with brakes released before getting weights. Just enough foot brake to keep from rolling.
sliding axles isn’t difficult, and sometimes you just do the best you can. I had a load not too long ago it was just barely under gross, but I couldn’t get the weights perfect. Not off enough to worry about, so rollin.
After watching a few videos, I've learned that most, if not all, of the new rigs have an Axle Weight reading on the dash which shows the load weight on each axle. Cool. Especially useful to understand load shift.
Then, my next question would be, do most companies require a CAT ticket for every load?
Which would mean, I get loaded, slide tandems forward, and head to the nearest scale to check if I'll have to go back to get the load centered or whatever.
Thanks for your help.
Be thankful you are not an Intermodal driver and have to fight railroad chassis tandems to get them to slide.
And don’t trust the CAT scales in Laredo. Get away from there. Then weigh.
Biggest thing with companies. Don’t get caught overweight.
Drive around definitely. Or you’ll end up with BillyBob driver behind you mad.
Being a company driver that can only fuel at certain places, or certain chains, etc I almost never get loads where you fuel 25-50 gallons multiple times to keep weight legal. Very small companies and Owner-Ops do that more often. It's a pain in the behind. I would not be playing it that close on weight.
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