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Thread: Why don't we see more spread axle trailers?

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    Ghettofab75 is offline Rookie
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    Default Why don't we see more spread axle trailers?

    Just got back from a vacation in maryland and I got to see what the highways are like back there for once. They actually seemed a whole lot nicer than here in cali.

    However, I noticed that most flats, whether they were step decks or not, were spread axle flats. From what I've read on here you can load more on a spread axle trailer. I've seen a few standard van or reefer trailers that are have the spread axles and I'm wondering why thats not more popular if you can carry more weight? Seems like its mostly a flatbed trailer option, but if its good for a flatbed then why not a van?

    Thanks,
    Kevin

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    GMAN's Avatar
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    You could probably order it on any type of trailer, but it makes more sense on a flat bed or perhaps a reefer. You can't haul any more weight but you can put more weight on the trailer axles. A standard tandem has a maximum weight of 34,000 on the tandems. You are still limited to 80,000 gross weight. The spread axle is limited to 40,000 for the spread axle but it doesn't raise your gross weight limit. You are still required to keep your weight to no more than 80,000 pounds. Most flats haul steel. Coils in particular can be awkward to scale. It makes it easier when you have the spread. With reefers, the often make multiple pickups. That can make it difficult for them to scale. In this case, it makes it easier due to the spread axle.

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    I'm afraid you're under a wee bit of a misconception there.

    No matter if you have a spread or the regular tandems, you can only gross 80,000 pounds. The only way you can load more is to have more axles.

    However, loading a spread is a bit different than the regular tandems. With the regular tandems, your limit for a set of axles is 34,000. With a spread, you can have up to 40,000. However, you would generally not want to go much over 36,000 on the spread because many times, the weights of the axles is not the same. Neither of them can go over 20,000, and I have seen one at 22,000 and the other at 17,000. And, even though the whole rig was under 80,000, one axle was 2,000 over and it brought a fine.

    With regular tandems, you can slide your axles to make your axle weights legal. With a spread, you can not slide them. You MUST load it right. But you can not 'HAUL MORE" just because you have a spread. You can only have more weight on the spread, which MUST come off of the drives. 80,000 is still the gross.
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    Malaki86 is offline Senior Board Member
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    Also, spread axle trailers are MUCH harder to back than a standard tandem axle. I haven't pulled a spread axle in over 7 years and I would probably look like I just got my CDL permit if I tried to back one now.

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    I liked my Reefer spred axles on a lot of my multiple pick and drop, because I had that little extra allowance to tail load, I didn't have with the sliding tandems.

    Some accounts we had was forever doing a lot of action off the back, while I had a dozen pallets in the nose going a longer distance.
    You really have to do the math, or you can get caught over-weight.
    I made my best money for the aggravation though. A single pallet of product might pay about $500-$600 to the load.


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    Quote Originally Posted by roadhog
    doing a lot of action off the back
    Yeah I'll bet you were! :lol:

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    Spread axles tend to chew up tires really quick on that front axle because it kinda slides sideways around corners. They also weigh more than a traditional closed tandem, as much as 1000 pounds IIRC. They do make a sliding spread axle but from what I have heard that is super heavy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malaki86
    Also, spread axle trailers are MUCH harder to back than a standard tandem axle. I haven't pulled a spread axle in over 7 years and I would probably look like I just got my CDL permit if I tried to back one now.
    Depends on what you are used to. I have been pulling 100% spread axle and can spot it on the button. We had a long load so I dropped my spread, picked up a stretch with tandems, wheelbase (unstretched) is a LOT shorter than my spread. Could not back that thing worth as damn, kept turning too sharp Then again, when it was scoped out to 78', it would back well but sure took a LONG radius !

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    rvrjr7 is offline Board Regular
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    the company im leased to most of our flats are spread axle and all of our stepdecks. when i hook up to a tandem flat i have a heck of a time backing it up since im so used to having a spread axle

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    Spreads are lame. Thats why I have a tri-axle van with 4300cuft. 8)

    I had 11,600 on the steers, 26,000+ on the drivers and 38,500+ coming out of the west :wink:

    Yeah, I'd like a balanced load, but with special products and motley dimensions it isn't easy. One guy at my agent has a spread with a dump switch so he can raise his forwardmost axle and back up easily.
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    bsd
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    In some western states you can go over 80000 on a spread axle trailer.We run to the northwest doing ltl freight every other week and usually weigh around 85000 on a 53ft. reefer with a 12 ft. spread.Sure have to know what your doing when loading a spread so you don't get over on the drivers.

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    bikerboy is offline Board Regular
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    There is also another setup, a spread axle with a front or rear axle slide, so you can slide it closed like regular tandem and run 34 000 or spread it out and run 40 000, some place like manitoba canada don't allow 10 foot spread axle tandem trailers at all, its either a closed tandem or tridem with 3 axles.

    All we have a is fixed spread axles so we can't run into manitoba at all.

    I think the only way it would be legal is too dump the air from one axle and chain it up off the ground and then run 20 000 on the other axle


    I have also heard manitoba has a special permit that allows 26 000 on a spread axle but i don't know.

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    Spreads react differently to how they are loaded, sometimes they will pivot on the front axle and sometimes on the rear, depending on the weight on each axle which makes a differenc both backing and going forward, so companies are kinda wary about putting newbie drivers on them. And let's face it, a lot of the drivers out there are newbies so that's why you see more tandems than spreads.
    Spread is the only way to go, cuts out saying (if you are going to load something 15 feet long and bringing you close to gross) "should I sit it there or move it back four inches".

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