When you drop a trailer, do it SMART

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by freightlinerman, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    Just pull out faster, that way the trailer never touches the drive tires on it's way to the ground... :D

    I agree with the OP that this is an issue we deal with, but due to where the trailer was initially dropped and where it ended up for you to hook, that can create the problems. I've dropped in dirt lots that have holes that force me to crank it down farther than I'd like. Same goes for lots with just piss poor asphalt or concrete.

    The one thing I do when dropping or hooking is take my time, dump the air bags coming in or out of the trailer, and get out and look to make sure I'm set up well to the king pin. This also reduces rubbing off 5th wheel grease on the front edge of the trailer.

    Unfortunately I had a trainer that was all about "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" during drop and hooks. He missed doing a tug test and pulled out from a trailer, almost dumping it to the ground. Of course as a trainee it was now my responsibility to crank it up far enough for him to dump the air bags and get back under it...
     
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  3. mathematrucker

    mathematrucker Medium Load Member

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    To the OP of this now-ancient thread (that I'm amazed I can still reply to!), I say "Amen brother!"

    I came here to ask a very simple question today. This thread seems like the perfect place for it.

    Would it be possible/practical to carry a pair of large, heavy-duty solid rubber ramps in the truck for those exasperating situations when you need to raise the dollies of a trailer containing 45K pounds of freight half a foot or more in order to hook? It seems like if you placed them in just the right spot---so the fifth wheel makes contact with the trailer as close to the kingpin as possible without having them touch---once you crank the dollies up to a normal hooking height, you could then pull forward slowly down the ramps, which would let the dolly pads return gently to the ground, remove the ramps, then hook normally.

    The more I think about this, the more feasible it seems.

    Let me briefly describe the scenario I encountered yesterday that got me thinking about this. I was dispatched to pick up a 37K-pound preload at one of our main customers in CA (I drive for a still relatively small WA dry van outfit that's growing fast). I arrived in the late afternoon, when it was right around 100 degrees outside, and found this:

    [​IMG]

    I'd be curious to know what caused it, but let's not worry about that here.

    I tracked down a yard driver and politely requested that he lift the nose up so I could quickly and easily crank the dollies up. He ignored my request. There were two of them---they were evidently both so busy, neither could afford the 30 seconds or so that it would take to lift the trailer to spare me the daunting task of raising the dollies that far in low gear in direct sunlight on a hot day.

    I had some time to kill, so my next step was to post photos in our company's private FB group requesting that management get in touch with the customer and ask them to have one of their yard drivers help me (I also sent my request the usual way to dispatch). Well, all that got me was a long and contentious phone conversation with the manager of our nearby terminal, who considered my request ridiculous and unreasonable. I have duly noted this and now feel less inclined to ever go out of my way to help him, should I ever be asked to.

    So that's what brings me here today. I absolutely hate asking for help---if there is any possible way I can get something done by myself, I do. So I'm pretty excited about this ramp idea that came to me. Does anyone have any specific recommendations on a good ramp to get?
     
  4. magoo68

    magoo68 Road Train Member

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    A couple short 4x4 will do the trick and you can use them in winter if chaining up singles .. drop your air put blocks on frame raise your air dollies should lift off ground.
     
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  5. mathematrucker

    mathematrucker Medium Load Member

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    Wow, too easy. Didn't think of that. Thanks for the tip!
     
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  6. sirjeff

    sirjeff Medium Load Member

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    I used to deal with this often, with peg leg dry bulk trailers.

    Just carry a couple small blocks of 4x4 with you. Dump your air, place em on the frame or top plate of your fifth wheel, raise air, adjust landing gear.

    Edit beat me to it haha
     
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  7. mathematrucker

    mathematrucker Medium Load Member

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    The simplicity of this solution reminds me of the vice-grip solution to stubborn tandem sliders, which I also didn't think of. Glad I heard about the simple solution first this time before going out and spending a bunch of money on some rugged ramps. Re the sliders, I went out and bought myself a winch and strap with a hook. It worked the same as vice grips, but with a lot of unnecessary expense and complexity. I no longer have the winch or strap, but that winch bar sure has come in handy at times. For example, it works great for hammering iced-up trailer brakes in the winter. Has enough leverage to bend rebar should the need ever arise. No way am I ever letting go of my winch bar!
     
  8. Moosetek13

    Moosetek13 Road Train Member

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    I've had this issue for the past few years.

    Sometimes it is not the driver dropping the trailer, it is the yard jockey that moves it around.

    Several times I have watched them hook up to a trailer, then go back and crank it to raise the trailer several inches.
    One time I asked him why he was doing that, since it made it harder for us to hook to the trailer.
    He just flipped me off and went on his way.
     
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  9. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

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    Love how everyone assumes all 5th wheels are the same height.
     
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  10. mathematrucker

    mathematrucker Medium Load Member

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    I am suspicious that's been the cause at this place. My last two loads there were both dropped at that same height. Our company only has two terminals. One is just a mile away. Our owner's ethnicity (his parents are from India) could be enough to provoke yard drivers in our local vicinity into pulling pranks on us. That they ignored my plea for assistance supports the theory. I have no other explanation for how the dollies could be cranked so high. It can happen at docks with a slope that levels out as you get close, but this place is completely flat everywhere. I can't imagine any of our owner-ops have fifth wheels that high, nor do any of our company trucks. Most of our customers are drop and hook, and I've never run into this problem anywhere else in the 5 months I've worked for the company. All adds up to foul play if you ask me.
     
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