How do you know when to and when not to slide tandems?

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Flankenfurter, Feb 9, 2021.

  1. lglavish

    lglavish Bobtail Member

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    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.
    Lisa
     
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  2. JAYROK

    JAYROK Bobtail Member

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    Feb 22, 2016
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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. 4F64FEC6-FD63-4B37-8BB0-F5743183282E.png
     
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  3. Flankenfurter

    Flankenfurter Light Load Member

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    Jan 8, 2021
    USA
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    Great reply. Thanks so much for putting this together. I will definitely take notes like you've said. Good advice. Each truck being different, this will really help me. I would also add to keep fuel weight in mind. Fill up before a load whenever possible, right?
     
  4. Flankenfurter

    Flankenfurter Light Load Member

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    Jan 8, 2021
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    Thanks, Lisa. With your help and the help of these great people, I'm confident I'll have a good chance to succeed. Just gotsta pass the tests and get out there.

    This is good to keep in mind while I get advice.
     
  5. Flankenfurter

    Flankenfurter Light Load Member

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    Hmm. Good one. Better than paying for that expensive spray.

    Kinda thought all drivers had a couple chocks with them. What would you do if your brakes are hot or almost frozen? Do people steal them?

    OK. So the air bags are adjusted to inflate to a manufacture recommended height. For your trailer, 26 psi is the set inflation for the trailer when it's empty. Am I correct, so far? Then, once the trailer is loaded to 34,000 lbs, your reading on the trailer suspension gauge would be 62 psi. This would tell you that you've got a heavy load and that you would need to get weighed. The BOL mentions the weight, right? BUT if the BOL says 20,000 and your suspension gauge reads 61 psi, you'd know there's something wrong, right?

    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.

    What does "torqued up" mean?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  6. Pmracing

    Pmracing Road Train Member

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    Arlington Heights, IL
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    Some warehoused are the type where you back in with the doors closed. (I only haul refrigerated loads). If you have air suspension on the tandems it can drop considerably when a loaded fork lift enters the trailer. Heck it bounces when I enter it!! If the doors are opened inside then can contact the dock or floor of the warehouse. Bye Bye door!

    I love the CAT app. No more scaling, parking, getting out in the rain or cold to get the scale ticket. Then adjusting the tandems and doing all that again. Now if there is nobody behind me, pull forward off the scale, make your adjustment and get back on for a reweigh.

    Be thankful you are not an Intermodal driver and have to fight railroad chassis tandems to get them to slide.

    Mikeeee
     
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  7. Flankenfurter

    Flankenfurter Light Load Member

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    Jan 8, 2021
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    Would tandems all the way back help or make the bouncing worse? Any solution?

    Can we drive forward, make adjustments and then just back up and reweight or do we have to drive around and pull through. Again, I know I'll learn all this stuff with my trainer. Guess I just can't trust I'll learn this before it happens. Thanks.

    Lookin' that up.
     
  8. WesternPlains

    WesternPlains Road Train Member

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    CAT scales guarantee is good. They will pay if you get a weight ticket.
    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.
     
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  9. Pmracing

    Pmracing Road Train Member

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    Arlington Heights, IL
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  10. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

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    I never consider fuel weight because my companies almost never gave me loads that pushed me very close to max. Even tanker loads were consistently up to 78k-79k. I've had just a few loads where fuel weight was critical, meaning I couldn't fill up and have legal weight. I also doubt the numbers other drivers tell me until I've seen it with my own eyes. I said that to say this, I've weighed my tractor bobtail out of curiosity. I usually weigh a new truck and empty trailer when I change companies, so I know my "tare weight".I've also weighed my tractor when it had only about 20 gallons of fuel, filled tanks full by adding just under 300 gallon and re-weighed. I found fuel on my tractor was evenly split between steer axle & drive axles. I also found either CAT scale is slightly off, or more likely, truck stop fuel weighs different amounts at different places and diesel doesn't ALWAYS weigh the standard weight. Some fuel looks like water. Some fuel looks like yellow vomit.

    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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