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. phox1515

    phox1515 Bobtail Member

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    Hey so after being shutdown for the bad weather in Texas (at least I was at home) I'm back on the road. So since I have a trailer now I figured I'd show some pictures of what I was talking about in my earlier post.

    This first one is the homemade slide stopper I made. Nothing glorious but it'll get the job done. My last design didn't have nuts along the entire bolt shaft and ended up getting caught between the two rails on 1 of my trailers and bending so I'm hoping this new design will be stronger and not bend. As you can see I took a bolt, put some large washers on it and then some nuts on it. Maybe $5 tops. Vs $40 for an actual stopper of same quality at Iowa 80 stores.
    PXL_20210221_143147955~2.jpg

    In this image I'm pointing at the button tab thingy you pull to retract the tandem pins on an air ride trailer. You won't be able to pull it if trailer brakes are not set. You usually need to refill air tanks after brakes have been set for a while before you'll be able to retract the pins. So the process is simple, start your engine, build up air pressure, then release trailer brakes (red knob pushed in). If empty the trailer air supply and suspension will fill up quickly, loaded it might take a minute or two (you'll know when it's ready when you're air gauges stop dropping). Once filled, set the brakes (pull the red knob), get out pull that little button and you'll hear them (tandem pins) retract. Sometimes you need to rock the trailer fwd and back because they get tension against the rail. No biggy, just when you get in to slide them pull tractor fwd and back a tiny bit 1 time and you'll hear the other pins retract (like a popping noise).
    PXL_20210221_143437945~2.jpg

    This image I'm pointing at my front driver side tandem pin. This is 1 of the 4 pins that prevents the tandems from sliding while going down the road. I have had it happen with spring trailer when I forgot to relock pins (you have to do it manually on spring trailer, air ride does it soon as you release trailer brakes). It feels and sounds like your tandems fell off the back of the trailer! Scary as hell!
    PXL_20210221_143445936~2.jpg

    This image you can see my front tandem pin is 7 holes back. That thing sticking out on left side 2 holes in, that prevents tandems from sliding off the front of the rail. So when counting holes you are assuming that is hole 0 and thus my pins are locked on hole 7.
    PXL_20210221_143455438~2.jpg

    This one is hard to see but if you look closely 2 holes to the left of my stopper, you can see part of the rail that slides. When you are counting holes to set the stopper at, you want to assume this is hole 0,so if I was to leave my stopper where it is, I would be able to slide 2 holes backwards (this is the back of my tandems) because that bit of rail is going to hit the stopper and not be able to go more than 2 full holes, so once I hit it, lock the pins (releasing trailer brakes) then drive tractor in opposite direction till I hear them (pins) lock in place, it'll only have moved 2 holes. Really one of those things you kinda figure out by doing.
    PXL_20210221_143523900~2.jpg

    Hopefully this helps you understand everything.
    Another note, my tandem holes are 6" apart (measured 1 side of a hole to the same side of hole next to it... So left side to left side). Sometimes the holes are only 4" apart. I have only seen these 2 measurements but it is possible that you could end up with something different thus it's difficult to say how much weight each hole is worth because we don't know what your trailer will be like. That calc app I told you about gives you the option to specify the hole distance to get an accurate calculation.

    Hopefully this was clear as mud hehe.
     
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  3. Wasted Thyme

    Wasted Thyme Road Train Member

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    I'd like to add. Make 2 of the stoppers. One for both sides. Don't want to end up off kilter on one side.
     
  4. Farmerbob1

    Farmerbob1 Road Train Member

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    @phox1515 good stuff on the post about tandem pins.

    One thing though. Your slide stop is a nice, cheap solution, but it is grade 5 steel, so those nuts and the bolt are going to be damaged over time.

    I would suggest looking at a larger diameter grade 8 bolt, so you would only have one piece, and it will be much stronger.

    It should still be cheaper than a standard stop.

    I found grade 8 coarse thread 1.5 x 4 inch partially threaded bolts here for $7.31 each.

    McMaster-Carr

    Personally though, I never use a stopper. I just line up a spot on the pavement with the step under the driver's door and use that to tell me how far I move when adjusting tandems.
     
  5. Wasted Thyme

    Wasted Thyme Road Train Member

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    some of our newer trailers have a metal bar you can slide in the hole all the way across. Why not do something like that? Just pick up the metal pipe from Home Depot? Slide it in the side box when not being used.
     
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  6. phox1515

    phox1515 Bobtail Member

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    Dec 22, 2020
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    I made 3,but for the purpose of just in case the 1st and 2nd break. You don't need to have a stopper on both sides. Once you hit it, you re engage the pins then set the trailer breaks and move truck in opposite direction to lock them in place.

    I got the thickest bolt I could find at home depot. If you have somewhere to buy something thicker or stronger that's great. I know mine will still get damaged... You should have seen my previous one before I threw it away. Bent from last slide attempt (I didn't have nuts along entire shaft just 1 to hold washers on) and dents on threads.

    I can do it your way too but stopper makes it easier and combine with the app you only gotta get out 2x. Once to retract pins and place stopper and 2nd time to get stopper. I have frequently had loads were shipper loaded me so heavy that I need precise set point on tandems... Even 1 hole off could put me overweight.

    Metal pipe long enough and strong enough is expensive. My stopper is cheap and small.
     
  7. truckguy391

    truckguy391 Light Load Member

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    I use a piece of metal that broke off a trailer door years ago. The bottom part just below the handle that turns when you turn the handle. It fits perfectly in the tandem holes. I’m sure there’s better ways, but its never failed me.
     
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  8. kemosabi49

    kemosabi49 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    Company I was with back in the 90s had trailers with a bar you could move to do this. When the trailers were new the bars were in the rearmost hole. I tried to use one just to see if it made it easier but it had been in there so long I couldn't get it to move. Never did see any that looked like they had been used.
     
  9. Farmerbob1

    Farmerbob1 Road Train Member

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    Some Crete/Shaffer trailers still have these when new. Not sure if they are provided with new trailers by the manufacturer, or if Crete adds them.
     
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  10. Pow02007

    Pow02007 Bobtail Member

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    It’s based on state specific laws and where u want to adjust your axle weight based on legal weight limits
     
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  11. lglavish

    lglavish Bobtail Member

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    9B18E19A-66F3-4A17-8C9D-9D49C2A8E3E1.jpeg
    You’re very welcome! When you get out there on your own don’t forget to stop and “smell the roses” when you can. I go rockhounding and fishing every chance I get. This pic is from a wild cutthroat I caught in the Oregon Cascades. I had to hike about a half a mile through heavy brush but it was totally worth it!
    For me, trucking is like camping for dollars.
     
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