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Thread: A Chat About Pipe Stakes

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    Musicman's Avatar
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    Default A Chat About Pipe Stakes

    Iím surprised that there isnít more discussion amongst the open deck trailer types about these simple, yet nearly essential pieces of equipment. I know I can buy them at most pipe yards, but like most things, I prefer to make my own if I can do it cheaper and come up with a better design. I know I can simply cut lengths of steel channel or tubing, but has anybody out there added any extras? I was thinking about using heavy gauge tubing and then welding a couple tabs flat to the pipe so that it stops the pipe from falling through the stake pocket and allows two inches of stake to protrude from the bottom of the pocket. Then drill a hole though the sides in the bottom two inches and using either spring loaded positive locking pins or the old wire locking type to prevent the stakes from bouncing out of the pockets.

    My next question is regarding laws in various jurisdictions. Iíve read, maybe even on CAD, that not running a strap or chain across the tops of adjacent stakes in Texas is an unforgivable and costly mistake. Is this correct, and are there and other states that have peculiar regs governing pipe stake use? Is either securement method acceptable? Must the tops of the stakes be secured, or can you simply draw the pipes together as the bottoms with a chain or strap run under the load? What are the various ways folks have come up with the secure the stakes? What size straps or chains are mandated?

    Any input (especially if itís creative and youíve personally used it with success) will be greatly appreciated.
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    I never use pipe stakes in aluminum pockets unless it's someone else's trailer!

    I thought of making breakaway stakes so they wouldn't crack my pockets when they get hit hard. Let the insurance pay if they roll off the truck. Try getting a shipper to pay for a cracked pocket or even getting one welded back to original strength.
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    Quote Originally Posted by YerDaddy View Post
    I never use pipe stakes in aluminum pockets unless it's someone else's trailer!

    I thought of making breakaway stakes so they wouldn't crack my pockets when they get hit hard. Let the insurance pay if they roll off the truck. Try getting a shipper to pay for a cracked pocket or even getting one welded back to original strength.
    Reitnouer stake pockets snap in, and they claim that makes them much stronger than welded ones. I think they are rated at 5,500 just by themselves. What if I strapped them or chained them tightly at the bottom (below the dunnage) before loading… you know, kinda clamp them together against the trailer?
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    Depending on the load you have, and the height of the stakes, you might want to consider chaining or strapping the tops together, across the top of the load as well.

    When I hauled rolls of chain-link fence, the load was close to 13'6", and the stakes went all the way up. To keep the load from spreading out, I had the tops of the stakes strapped across the top. I also had one of the old steel trailers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windwalker View Post
    When I hauled rolls of chain-link fence, the load was close to 13'6", and the stakes went all the way up. To keep the load from spreading out, I had the tops of the stakes strapped across the top. I also had one of the old steel trailers.
    Securing the tops was part of my original question. I’ve heard it's required in Texas and possibly other states. Unless the shipper provides them, I won’t be using any that are very high. I know folks on here have recommended a height of three feet, but I might go as high was 60” since that is what will fit in my trailer boxes. I think I also saw where somebody said to carry a short set of one-footers. What the heck would I need one-foot stakes for?
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    Back when I had my step I used to haul a lot of plate steel armor. I had 4 12 inch stakes I would put in as, being only 1 1/2 inches thick, was a pain to keep it pulled down. With them if it started to walk at least it wasn't sticking of the trailer at the next stop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musicman View Post
    Iím surprised that there isnít more discussion amongst the open deck trailer types about these simple, yet nearly essential pieces of equipment. I know I can buy them at most pipe yards, but like most things, I prefer to make my own if I can do it cheaper and come up with a better design. I know I can simply cut lengths of steel channel or tubing, but has anybody out there added any extras? I was thinking about using heavy gauge tubing and then welding a couple tabs flat to the pipe so that it stops the pipe from falling through the stake pocket and allows two inches of stake to protrude from the bottom of the pocket. Then drill a hole though the sides in the bottom two inches and using either spring loaded positive locking pins or the old wire locking type to prevent the stakes from bouncing out of the pockets.

    My next question is regarding laws in various jurisdictions. Iíve read, maybe even on CAD, that not running a strap or chain across the tops of adjacent stakes in Texas is an unforgivable and costly mistake. Is this correct, and are there and other states that have peculiar regs governing pipe stake use? Is either securement method acceptable? Must the tops of the stakes be secured, or can you simply draw the pipes together as the bottoms with a chain or strap run under the load? What are the various ways folks have come up with the secure the stakes? What size straps or chains are mandated?

    Any input (especially if itís creative and youíve personally used it with success) will be greatly appreciated.
    Ummmmm. I see "Pipe stakes" every single day...and used them for a few weeks in 07......and in all the years that pipe stakes have been around I have never seen any secured at the top (across the gap) If you can check out an "Oil field" pipe trailer, you will see that stake pockets have been manufactured out of steel and placed either into the floor or on the floor, of the trailers. The steel straps or plate securing the stake pockets, run across the deck to the frame rail on most, all the way across the deck to the opposite pocket on others.

    Some of the "road companies" like Landstar, use 2 1/2 to 3 foot pieces like Walking Eagle described, that slide into the aluminum pockets on the side rail..
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    Since you have a step and will probably use load levelers to haul pipe I would put a chain about 1 ft up on the stake and run it to the other side of the trailer, not the other stake, you will have taken away the lever action of the stake on your pocket Might need to weld a piece to the stake to hold the chain up.

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    What you may find is that the stakes must be secured to the bed of the trailer. That hole below the pocket should do that for you.
    Destroy the cities...
    and they will rebuild them.
    Destroy the farms...
    and grass will grow in the streets of the cities.

    Destroy the economy of the blue-collar worker...
    and grass will grow in the executive offices.

    The bill has come due.
    ( R E T I R E D , and glad of it)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Heavy Duty View Post
    Since you have a step and will probably use load levelers to haul pipe I would put a chain about 1 ft up on the stake and run it to the other side of the trailer, not the other stake, you will have taken away the lever action of the stake on your pocket Might need to weld a piece to the stake to hold the chain up.
    That is an excellent point that I hadnít thought about. What might even work out better is setting the stakes even with and securing them to the levelers. On a Reitnouer, the levelers attach to the trailer deck via the ďJ-hookĒ system (two plates per leveler set) and therefore themselves have a WLL attachment strength of 13,200lbs. If I set stakes even with the levelers and chained them at the top of the leveler, the stakes would no longer be exerting any pressure on the pocket at all. For that matter, what if I had stake pockets welded to the sides of the levelers? That would allow me greater height above the leveler with one size stakes. You really got me thinking, HD.
    Last edited by Musicman; 12-04-2011 at 12:53 PM.
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    My best suggestion is to not haul pipe on your pretty trailer, some forklift drivers can be very rough and if you load in a port, good luck, some longshoremen could destroy a anvil let alone a aluminum trailer. Texas terminal in Houston has a sign in the office that says they do not pay for damage on aluminum trailers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heavy Duty View Post
    My best suggestion is to not haul pipe on your pretty trailer, some forklift drivers can be very rough and if you load in a port, good luck, some longshoremen could destroy a anvil let alone a aluminum trailer. Texas terminal in Houston has a sign in the office that says they do not pay for damage on aluminum trailers.
    Clearly I don’t want to make my living hauling pipe, just as I don’t want to tarp anymore loads than absolutely necessary. I do however want to be prepared to haul the best paying load available. If it happens to be pipe once in a while, so be it.

    I appreciate your concern for the safety and condition of my new trailer. As this is your second mention between two different threads expressing that concern, I can only assume that you’ve had one or more bad experiences yourself. While this is the first factory-new piece of equipment I’ve owned, I understand that it is going to get bumped and bruised and nicked and dinged. Do I want my nice new trailer to get banged up? Of course not, but it is inevitable with a working piece of equipment. What am I supposed to do, keep the trailer parked and go out back and look at it every now and then? That would be the only way to keep the think looking relatively new, and that doesn’t put food on my table.
    "The Breakfast of Champions isn't cereal, it's the competition!" - "Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom." - "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

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    [QUOTE=Musicman;505970]Clearly I donít want to make my living hauling pipe, just as I donít want to tarp anymore loads than absolutely necessary. I do however want to be prepared to haul the best paying load available. If it happens to be pipe once in a while, so be it.
    [QUOTE]

    I haul pipe thru Texas every other day. Most pipe yards require pipe stakes that are 4' tall. These can be made of c-channel or 2 7/8" pipe that was cut to size and pressed closed at one end. These stakes are easily found in Houston especially at the pawn shop by the Pilot and Loves.
    As for securing them to the trailer, I use a chain at the bottom only and I wrap around the pocket and the stake. (chain down thru rub rail, up at 45 degree to opposite side of pocket the wrap around the stake. Pull hook to link of chain going across trailer and repeat on the other side. Then use a binder to pull tight.)
    There is no chain requirement at the top but I have seen really tall stakes where the driver used a 2" strap and binder to pull them together so that they were no over width.

    2' tall stakes are used for pyramid loads only and only at certain pipe yards. Also remember to carry enough boards to stack load. TXDOT no long likes pyramid loads. I carry 9 3x4 boards and 3 4x4 hard wood boards for the bottom layer.
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