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. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

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    I would not recommend weighing, pulling forward just ahead of the scale, adjusting tandems, then backing onto the scale at most truck stops until AFTER a zombie attack. If you do that at many truck stops during the day there is a good chance someone else will be on the scale or the parking lot configuration is such you will be blocking a main path in the property. You wouldn't change car tire in the aisle of a busy shopping mall, you would be in a parking space or somewhere out of the way, if you had any courtesy and other people were moving about. But. These days, I feel lucky any day I don't have another driver changing clothes at the fuel pump or using fuel pump next to me as a bathroom.
     
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  3. Pmracing

    Pmracing Road Train Member

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    So you suggest not backing up if someone is behind you. Got it. Good tip.

    Mike
     
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  4. WesternPlains

    WesternPlains Road Train Member

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    When you get experience. You’ll find there is one placement of tandems that works for most.
    Just have to adjust for real heavy. Or sometimes might have to lighten the truck tandems.
     
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  5. WesternPlains

    WesternPlains Road Train Member

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    Surely you jest?
     
  6. phox1515

    phox1515 Bobtail Member

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    Sliding tandems is really not that bad, especially if it's an air ride trailer... most are. with those you set the tractor & trailer brakes, get out pull a little knob like button, get in, release tractor brakes only and slowly pull forward until tandems are were you want them (all the way back you'll feel them hit the end of the rail and won't be able to go further). Push the trailer brakes valve in, wait a second or two then set them again and attempt to drive the truck fwd and back a couple times to make sure the pins got locked into place. not always necessary but it never hurts to be extra safe.

    Some customers will require them slid all the way back. this is usually as a safety precaution because of the weight of the forklift plus the freight, it helps make sure the axles are there to support it all. especially if they have you drop the trailer because then there's nothing holding the nose down! so all the way back prevents a teeter totter effect.

    Since you are new I would advise looking into an app (if you have an android device) called Trucker Slide Calc. After you get your weights from a scale (preferably a cat scale), you enter them in the app, specify which hole the front tandem pins are on and how far apart they the holes are (usually 4" or 6") then enter. it will tell you how many holes to slide forward or back to get an even weight distribution that is legal and balanced for safety and comfort. You always want more weight on the drives when possible for safety but you also want to balance the weight for comfort and fuel efficiency. This app makes it very easy but sadly last I checked hey only had an android version so iphone users are out of luck. best they can do is learn aprox how much weight each hole slid is worth and crunch the numbers on their own and then re weigh (currently a cat scale is $12 for the 1st weigh and $2 for a re weigh)

    Also there's lot of useful apps out their, weigh my truck, trucker slide calc, trucker path, all the big 5 truck stop apps... the list goes on. weigh my truck is nice because you don't have to go in for the paper ticket unless you want it (if you are swapping trailers with another driver they might appreciate a scale ticket showing the weights and also you get a little collectable trading card... like baseball cards but with semi trucks instead). this means you pull onto the scale, open the app, go through the prompts, wait a few seconds and bam weight it on your screen. without it you gotta pull onto scale, talks through the intercom, then go park, go inside and pay /get ticket and go about your day unless you need to adjust tandems. if you need to e weigh now you gotta do it all over again.

    another useful tool, a tandem slide stopper. you can buy them at some ta / petro truck stops as well as the iowa 80 stores have a better selection of them. however for significantly less cost you can make your own. go to home depot buy the thickest bolt you can find (usually around 5/8" i think) and about 4-5" long, a few of the largest washers that fit around the threads without going past the top of the bolt and then a few nuts to put on the threads. total cost is less than $10 compared to $25-$50 for the truck stop ones. Now what you do with this new home made tool is figure out what hole you need the tandem pins to be on, then stick the bolt in the hole 1 spot further. when you go to slide that bolt will prevent it from going any further. once you hit the bolt, lock the pins as instructed earlier in the post, slide fwd n back a bit to make sure the pins lock in place and then grab you tool (yeah I have forgotten mine a few times). so instead of having to get in and out multiple times to see if you slid far enough, you gt out 1x to place the tool and unlock tandems then 1more time to retrieve the tool. that combined with the trucker slide calc app makes it so you only need to weigh 1x and get out 2x times for sliding. major time savings... plus it gets exhausting getting in and out of the truck over n over.

    1 last thing, i mentioned how to slide the tandems for air ride trailers. If you have a spring ride one it's a little more difficult, especially with older trailers because everything is mechanical. you have to get out and pull a bar that has a knotch cut out to lock it into place. the bar is attached to various other parts and springs that unlock the pins. sometimes (quite often) the parts get rusted and gummed up with road debris and you need some lubricant like white lithium grease spray or pb blaster. also a lot of times the pins are under pressure on the frame so you may have trouble pulling the bar enough to get the pins to retract.. this is where you need a set of locking pliars. set the pliars to the size of the bar, pull the bar as much as you can and then lock them onto the bar as close to frame as you can to prevent the bar from going back in. then rock the trailer back in fourth a couple times to get the pins to retract a little then pull the bar out more and keep doing this till you get it out enough to full retract tandem pins and lock into place. yeah it's a real royal pain in the neck so hopefully whatever company you go to uses air ride trailers. almost all reefer trailers are air ride except older models. dry van can be hit n miss. I know knight trans uses spring ride on dry van and air ride on reefer. I know this from experience, my first company. Pride transport is reefer only and all air ride, ATS I was flatbed and all their trailers were 53' with sliding rear axle so you could open or close but that's not important to know unless you plan to do flatbed. Great plains transport's reefer division was all air ride, they have a sister company in flatbed division but i don't know anything about that equipment. I'm now with Marten Transport and most of their trailers are air ride however they do have some older equipment that uses spring ride. I have had the misfortune of using them 2x... never by choice haha (both times preloaded trailers).
    so yeah get a can of white lith grease or pb blaster at walmart (auto section) and a pair of locking pliars.

    Hopefully i answered your questions and gave you some helpful advice. Been out here a little over 5 years now in dry, reefer and flat. I have experience many different situations and as a result I tend to be over prepared but at the same time, I usually don't run into bad situations more than 1-2x. I carry a lot of tools and supplies with me, not because I have to but because I don't want to deal with the headache of not having something when I need it... bolt cutters, gloves, wire cutters, grease gun with cans of grease (I'm talking actual grease, like for 5th wheel, not the spray stuff like wb-40 or pb blaster). you don't need all this at once, but you'll run into a time or two where you might wish you had a pair of bolt cutters or something and then that'll end up on your next home time shopping list haha.
     
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  7. Flankenfurter

    Flankenfurter Light Load Member

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    Wow. Excellent reply. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. So much good information here. Where do I start?

    I was actually wondering about the nut and bolt tool. I had heard it was used when a bolt has gone missing, like on the landing gear or something. Maybe I'm talking about a different bolt, not sure.

    I'm not sure about using a tool on a trailer that is fixed, simply because I could forget it. BUT, to explore the option, is the bolt actually screwed into place inside the pin hole?

    The apps you mention and the CAT weighing is good info. Thanks. I'm familiar with most of them and the others I think I'll just have to explore once I'm out there. I'll probably come back to this post.

    The companies you mentioned are actually some of the companies I'm looking at. I'm also leaning more towards reefer. Air ride on reefer might just be the tipping point for me to go that route. Seeing drivers deal with the older trailers and having to pull the pin bar. I don't want to get injured on those things. And your back. Pulling up while under the trailer. Looks dangerous.

    Another member here mentioned using oil in a ketchup bottle to loosen the pins instead of PB Blaster. What do you think?

    Thanks again for the reply and your time.
     
  8. phox1515

    phox1515 Bobtail Member

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    No the nut n bolt thing I'm talking about is a separate thing I created myself. You just stick it in the tandem hole (1 past the hole you want the pin locked into). It doesn't screw in or anything. Just sits in the hole, the washers prevents it from falling through. I'll see if I can get a picture posted of the thing I made. I'm at home right now (kind of snowed in in Texas) or I'd show you what it looks like in the trailer hole.

    I would highly recommend Pride Transport. They were my second company I drove for. They're based out of Salt Lake City, UT. They run mostly i80 and western 11 region however they do freight to some parts of TX and a few other states. Initially I lived in my truck full time then got an apartment in Fort Smith, AR. Usually I ran a load to Carthage, MO for home time, coming out usually Russellville, AR or Kansas city area. When I drove for them they had a choice of a sign on bonus OR the option of a round-trip flight (from Salt Lake) for home time. Great staff and dispatch team. Almost every employee has a cdl and uses it. This is a great thing because I have found when your terminal staff are or were truck drivers they understand what it's like for us and do a better job. I left them because I wanted to give flatbed a try and I also wanted to be an owner op, neither of which was an option at Pride. Keep in mind I'm talking about Pride not Prime. I hear Prime Inc is a great company but I don't have any personal experience.

    Great Plains is a great company but they require something like 8 months experience. I left them because I wanted to be home more. Took a paycut coming to marten but I'm home every weekend now.

    Knight is an OK company to get your feet wet but I don't recommend staying longer than you have to.

    As for the oil in a bottle vs pb blaster... Never tried it. I suppose it works but pb blaster is made for getting stuck things loose. I'd also be worried about the bottle of oil leaking.
     
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  9. Flankenfurter

    Flankenfurter Light Load Member

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    Ah. Got it.

    You're with the millions there, huh? Terrible weather.

    Pride is on my radar also. I'm actually a teacher/trainer by trade. Getting my CDL and some road time MIGHT be the first step for a career in logistics training. Once I've started school and get going, I'll start a thread asking for advice on which company to go with. Your insight would really help.
     
  10. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

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    Don't back up with someone behind you. Also don't back onto the scale with the bigbyellow sign right over you saying "Do Not Enter".
     
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