Roll up door to swing door conversion on a 53 ft reefer trailer

Discussion in 'Trucks [ Eighteen Wheelers ]' started by tonher, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. tonher

    tonher Bobtail Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hi all,
    I'm on the market to purchase a used 53ft reefer trailer for over the road hauling. I inspected two trailers for purchase. One has swing doors the other has roll up doors.
    I know for long haul swing doors is a must. But the roll up door trailer looks in much better condition, the floor and reefer unit looks really good on the roll up trailer and price is a bit cheaper than the swing door trailer. This is why the roll up door trailer really got my interest.
    Now the question I wanted to ask the more experienced owner operators or drivers is, If I purchase the roll up door trailer.
    1 Is it possible to convert the roll up to a swing doors? How hard is it to make the conversion?
    2 How much more money should I be looking to spend on this project?
    3 Is this conversion rare? or is it done all the time

    Any advice on this project from people who know or have done this in the past will be greatly appreciated.
    I thank you all in advance.

  2. DrivingForceBehindYou

    DrivingForceBehindYou Medium Load Member

    Aug 29, 2012
    How do you think a trailer with swing doors is built? Or a when a driver pulls out, a door chain unfastens and breaks it away together with part of the hinge, can you replace it? A free estimate in writing from a reputable mechanic is a good place to start. Why is it exactly a must for the long haul? If it opens easily enough, I wish I had a roll up door. Just back it up, get inside ,open it when already in the dock=safer and saves time
  3. chemsoldier1

    chemsoldier1 Medium Load Member

    Apr 10, 2011
    Lufkin, TX
    Some places won't load a roll-up door. It all depends on dimensions of the cargo. The rollup door trailers have the frame that supports them which obstructs taller objects like paper rolls from getting in. I'm not 100% on reefers but I know that applies to dry vans. I used to think the same though, wouldn't it be nice to not have swing doors?
  4. rogueunh

    rogueunh Heavy Load Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Roll up doors are great if doing many stops every day. However, they can be a maintenance nightmare as they age, break the springs on one and you cannot lift the door, the inside hinges and rollers rust and break. They also are not quite as air tight.

    The conversion can be done, but I would highly advise you to just find a swing door instead of going through that.
  5. NavigatorWife

    NavigatorWife Road Train Member

    Apr 30, 2012
    Cental West, AL
    It looks like too if the truck is off level, the door might not go up or down easily.
  6. 'olhand

    'olhand Cantankerous Crusty

    Jan 18, 2011
    Ive seen it done--BUT--you end up with a lower door anyway--look at top of back of trailer--the structural support(as mentioned earlier)comes down much further on a trailer built for a rollup door--and I do not believe it can be shortened--the conversions I have seen look kinda funky--and have slightly less rear opening than when the rollup door was in place--so it dpends quite a bit on the simensions of the opening--and also as mentioned before--the freight you are hauling--size of pallets--etc--remember either way with a rollup--replaced or not--you have reduced your plt positions to 28--from 30--no one to get 15 lines double sideways in rollup trailer--also depending on product--no vent door with rollup--which creates problems of its own--not necessarilly a deal breaker--just a few things to keep in mind.....But I have personally sen rollup reefers loaded just about anywhere--usually belong to grocery chainds/foodservice types picking up their own backhauls
  7. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Henderson, NV & Orient
    I liked the rollup door doing OTR. The only time it was a problem was with paper loads; usually they wouldn't load it; too tall. Hauled some loads that required a vented trailer, so the company had vents put in one of the panels of the rollup door.
  8. DrivingForceBehindYou

    DrivingForceBehindYou Medium Load Member

    Aug 29, 2012
    Oh, those great paying ,super light paper loads?! Oh well, let somebody else earn a little too, dont be greedy!
  9. SHC

    SHC Spoiled Rotten Brat O/O

    Feb 26, 2011
    Westville, IN
    From my understanding, a roll-up door trailer can not be converted to swing door due to the way the supports are made. A roll-up door has a frame and main support that run overhead on the trailer, where as a swing door has supports in the floor. If you remove the top support on the roll-up trailer, the integrity of the trailer is lost and will cause damage and unsafe stability of the walls..... at least that's what i have been told.
    High Desert Dweller Thanks this.
  10. JPenn

    JPenn Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2008
    Southern Tier NY
    Roll doors are wonderful for metro delivery and multi-stop runs, but if you're planning for longer hauls, you should find a suitable swing door, if for no other reason than they seal better. Also, I'm not sure ice cream places will even load roll doors. I'm a roll door fan myself, as swing doors are obnoxious in tight areas, more prone to damage, and just plain annoying for multi stop loads.

    Paper rolls, guys? You did notice he's asking about refrigerated trailers, right? :)
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