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Let's play "Trailers/Tucks" Post New Topic | Post Reply

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Caleb DeFord
Posted: Feb 09, 2012 11:18 AM
Let's play "Trailers/Tucks"
The recent thread about the new rig BrianB is building got me thinking about trucks vs. trailers. Here's a comparison between the two.

Easier to load/unload
Lower profile
Ease of entrance/exit
No drive train maintenance
Can be pulled by a rented truck in
the event of a breakdown.
More adaptable to hauling other loads
No CDL or CDL insurance required
Lower lifetime costs


Highest GVWR
More maneuverable
Able to traverse rugged terrain
Half the purchase cost of trailer/truck rigs
Engine can be fitted with gen/compressor
Can also be used for trucking purposes
Large size improves advertising visibility
and stands out from common trailer rigs
Can pull additional trailers
Greater interior height and width

Basically, the comparison boils down to start up price and the versatility of being able to unhook from the trailer and drive your truck home without having to bring another vehicle or drive the foam rig home at night.
As for advertising on the side of your box truck, that's great but how many customers will you get because the side of your foam truck or trailer looks cool?
Personally, I use a box truck. Mainly because of the price. It has more hassle involved with it, but once the CDL stuff is done, it's kinda nice to have my own personal bill board and a rig that can haul anything I want to put in it.
"Godliness with contentment is great gain."-1 Tim 6:6
Posted: Feb 09, 2012 07:58 PM
Hold on though, CDL actually is determined by the overall truck plus trailer weight meaning most rigs out there are deemed over 26k,,, depends on the truck weight and trailer gvw - most guys want the 16k because it already weighs 11 after putting gen, comp, mach, hoses, tools etc.

However, I am currently building a dual machine box truck with 80kw, 20hp comp and some other goodies and it's gonna roll out the door at 22,500-23,000, so he can only hold 3 sets legally. Most 24' box trucks that I have built are between 14,500 and 15,500 empty - we weigh em in and out with equipment.

That's my .02
Caleb DeFord
Posted: Feb 09, 2012 09:33 PM
My truck has a GVWR of 30,000+lb.s
10K on the front, 20K+ on the back axle, and it's a 20' box.
With a little over three sets in my truck I weigh 26,000lb.
Dual machine, with a 3 set capacity? How un-awesome is that?
Why did the customer want a truck instead of a trailer?

PS the link at left shows when CDL's are needed.
FYI, it's a $5K fine for operating a CDL required vehicle without a CDL. Also, if your vehicle has air-breaks you must have a CDL even if it's under the 26K weight limit.
DOT= Department Of Tyrants
steven argus
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 09:45 AM
I vote for the trailer. Don't like being so dependant on one truck that holds all our gear. A trailer is much cheaper to maintain than a box truck.
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 10:44 AM
We leave hoses on roofs for days at a time when doing big jobs. Trucks are nice, but there is nothing like unhooking from a trailer and going to lunch with the guys.
clint moore
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 01:05 PM
80KW,20HP. Sure your not building a quad rig...LOL
Caleb DeFord
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 03:08 PM
I agree that it's handy to be able to unhook from a trailer and drive your truck anywhere you want to, but box trucks can provide the same convenience if you install a hitch receiver on the back of your box truck and then pull another vehicle along with you. That's what I do.
Does it look odd to pull a pickup behind a box truck? Maybe, but it works.
I saw a brand new RV going down the road one time that was pulling a new pickup and a new trailer behind it. The trailer must have been 14' long too!
I figured, if they can do it, I can too.
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 07:55 PM
Under 26k gvw and air brakes does not require cdl.

Dennis Davidson
Posted: Feb 13, 2012 08:43 AM
I've used every combination of vehicles over the years including a Kenworth pulling a 53' trailer. It's amazing how maneuverable a trailer can be in the right hands.
My preference has always been to utilize trailers.
Trailers can be loaded without a forklift or a lift gate if you have a ramp door. Trailers also have less upfront cost and operating/maintenance expenses and the license and insurance is less. Most trailers fit in a 10' doorway. You simply have more options with a trailer.
We also leave our hoses on the roof for days at a time, so being able to disconnect a trailer and leave makes sense for us. As far as carrying capacity, that all depends on what you have. We have a 36' ti-axle that we've carried 10 sets of foam plus an air compressor, generator & fuel, one machine and misc tools without being over weight.

You should all take a good look at foamilyman's CDL Flowchart. It provides a very good explanation of the CDL requirements. Be careful not to confuse the G"V"WR and the G"C"WR.

CDL requirement is based on how much the truck/trailer is able to carry including it's own weight (GVWR), not by the actual weight of the vehicle (GVW). Look on the side of the driver's door of a truck and the information plate on a trailer for the GVWR then add the two together. That's your number to determine if your under or over the 26,001 limit.
Also the comment from NHsprayfoam about the air brakes is correct. Having air brakes does not determine a CLD requirement. Again, it's the combined GVWR's.
Then there is the USDOT requirements: ALL "commercial" truck and truck/trailer combos require a USDOT registration number and any combo GVWR over 26,001 also requires an MC number. Look it up!

Pop-Quiz: Why can an 80 year old man drive a dully pick-up pulling a 38' ti-axel travel trailer with a combined GVWR of 34,000 lbs and not need a CDL or stop at a weight station???
Answer: He's not making money with it.

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