Ways/Tips to be as efficient as possible and minimize wasting time

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by gone4truck, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. gone4truck

    gone4truck Bobtail Member

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    Example 1) I've to hook to a trailer, move my tandems, do a PTI on the trailer, strap the load (dry van, not flatbed) and fill in paperwork on my ELD. I want to do this process in the safest way possible, but without getting in and out of the truck unnecessarily. Currently this takes me about 10 to 15 minutes.

    I usually go about doing this as follows:

    Get lined up with the trailer.
    Get off truck
    Make sure 5th wheel-apron height is correct. Visually inspect trailer, check tires, etc
    Get back on truck
    Make the couple. Do tug test.
    Get off truck
    Check pin, connect air-electrical, raise landing gear.
    Get back on truck
    Do a pump down
    Get off truck
    Do a light check. Release tandem lever/arm
    Get back on truck
    Move tandems
    Get off truck
    Lock tandem lever/arm
    Get back on truck
    Move tandems till I heard them lock in place
    Get off truck
    Inspect tandem pins. Strap load (dry van, not flatbed)
    Get back on truck
    Complete paperwork on my ELD. Get rolling.

    I'm still new and developing a routine. But I cant help but feel I'm doing redundant work and wasting time getting off/on the truck lol. What would you combine and/or fix.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  3. slow.rider

    slow.rider Road Train Member

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    Sounds like youre still doing the CDL school method. Now its time for you to develop some real world tactics.

    Release trailer brake as soon as you confirm kingpin, before raising landing gear. Let trailer air charge up while raising gear instead of waiting later. If it's leaking, you'll hopefully hear it during inspection, or even while raising gear.

    Postpone visual inspection until you do the light check, then do them both together.

    Pump down is for checking compressor, governor and low air alarm. Those are all on the truck, not the trailer. No need to do it when hooking a trailer.

    Strap load and slide tandems at same time. No need for two trips. When you go back there to release tandem, bring straps.

    If you're feeling really ambitious, you can combine tandem slide, strap, visual inspection and light check all in one go.

    Bottom line, 98% of the problems you find won't be severe enough to leave the trailer where it sits. The overwhelming majority will be "stop at first TA/Petro" type problems.
     
  4. Redtwin

    Redtwin Road Train Member

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    Releasing trailer brakes ASAP will also put air in tandem airbags and take weight off landing gear (if any) making it easier to crank up.

    Eventually you will learn to line up the outer edge of your drives with the front edge of the trailer to know you are lined up and judge the distance where you should feel the fifth wheel touch the trailer. If you don't feel it touch then jump out and check height. Otherwise just back in and do a tug test.

    Get out hook everything up, release trailer brakes, then visually check 5th wheel locking jaws. If locked, crank up gear then do your walk around the trailer. No point doing walk around beforehand unless you want to check for anything that might make you not take that trailer like missing mudflaps or license plate etc.

    Are your trailers typically dropped with tandems all the way back?. Normally I wouldn't touch tandems unless instructed by a shipper or after scaling. Just wondering if you are pre-emptively moving tandems when it may not be necessary.
     
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  5. slow.rider

    slow.rider Road Train Member

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    If the cargo is uniform then you can line up the back edge of the cargo with the back edge of the tandem to get the weights close - but still scale anyway, just to confirm your intellectual prowess.

    ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  6. gone4truck

    gone4truck Bobtail Member

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    Sounds good!


    The way the explained it at orientation, a pump down also calibrates the slack adjusters on the trailer brakes in case they are out of adjustment.

    Good suggestions. In regards to the tandems, they usually put them all the way to the back, so I move them forward somewhat to make turning easier.
     
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  7. truckdriver31

    truckdriver31 Road Train Member

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  8. Six9GS

    Six9GS Heavy Load Member

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    I pull trailers with air suspension and pneumatic tandem pins. After I hook up air lines and pigtail, I go to truck turn on the lights and flashers and release the trailer brakes (push knob in). This allows air to charge into the tandem pins air tank while I inspect tires, lights, etc. After that, get back in the truck and listen to see if trailer is still sucking air. Once the air in the trailer seems to stabilize I can set the trailer brakes (pull the knob out) and tandems pins will suck in when I push (or pull) the little button. If the tandems pins' air tank doesn't have enough air, which is usual when first hooking up to it, the tandems pins won't suck in.
    Also, once I've moved the tandems where I want them, when you release the trailer brakes, it automatically pushes the tandem pins out. So, I don't have to go back again just for that step. After about 20 seconds, I set the trailer brakes again, nudge forward or back until tandem pins lock in, then go back and check they are in fact where I want them and they've all popped out like they should.
    There, thay should make it clear as mud!!!
    Easy Peasy!

    PS. Also as mentioned, with a bit of practice you'll get a feel for when the 5th wheel should contact the trailer plate, what it looks, sounds and feels like. Then, you'll only have to get out if you suspect trailer plate is too high. But, until you get a really good sense of that, don't hesitate to get out and check. Much better to check when you don't have to than jump the kingpin.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  9. nredfor88

    nredfor88 Heavy Load Member

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    I go through a similar procedure. Notably the supply air to trailer prior to raising landing gear. I've never seen anyone else do it this way, not that I'm watching too closely, but I thought it was my fondness of efficiency that made me do it that way. Good to see/hear others with this method. It also minimizes the amount of time waiting for trailer tires to air up, if they've been sitting.
     
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