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7 things that can help you decide the right low boy trailer for you

Not quite sure what trailer you are looking for to haul an oversize equipment or machinery? You have stumbled on the right page as this article will bring clarity to your thoughts.

If you are in need of a sturdy and robust trailer, then a lowboy trailer is the ultimate solution.  This hauler is literally the bread and butter of the logistics industry.

What is a lowboy trailer?

Well, to put in the layman’s terms, a lowboy trailer is an incredibly useful piece of machinery that can safely haul oversized equipment like bulldozers, excavators or any heavy equipment up to 12 feet in height. Also called as low-bed or floats, these semi-trailers come with two levels of drop heights – the deck height can be adjusted just before the wheels or can be adjusted to drop off at its gooseneck.

A classic two-axle trailer can haul anything weighing up to 40,000 pounds. The load capacity can be increased up to 80,000 pounds by adding additional axles. Large items can be inserted with ease by lowering the deck close to ground level. It is this feature that makes it an excellent option to use since a flatbed or a step deck trailer would be unable to serve the purpose.

These guidelines will navigate you to choose the right kind of lowboy trailer that you had envisioned.

Which lowboy would fit the bill?

With different types of lowboys in the market, it can be a daunting task to assess the right one that would serve the purpose. Let us review some variants of the lowboy trailer.

  1. Fixed gooseneck (FGN) – This trailer is of a light weight and has a longer deck length. The drop ramps at the rear helps in loading the item and the gooseneck can be adjusted which makes it more easy to haul drop decks from the rear. The neck can be lowered to become a ramp thereby facilitating the ease of hauling the equipment into the deck. The gooseneck can be reattached after loading to ensure that the equipment is secured.
  2. Fixed- neck – This lowboy trailer has a fixed neck and loading items from the front can be a difficult task. However, these are one of the lowest models you will find in this group.
  3. Removable gooseneck (RGN) –One of the most versatile lowboy trailer. This trailer allows you to move very tall items and also offers the flexibility of hauling huge pieces of equipment by driving. The detachable front allows the trailer to be lowered to become a ramp. These trailers come in mechanical detachable and hydraulic detachable trailers. The mechanical one is lightweight in comparison to the hydraulic one and is used for long hauls. It does not use a motor to run unlike the hydraulic detachable. Hydraulic detachable goosenecks call for a lot of maintenance because of the use of hydraulic system. If you are planning to go for the mechanical version, then you may want to consider buying mechanical folding gooseneck (MFGN) as this offers the deck to be folded to ground level to form a ramp for easy loading.

Which suspension option to choose from?

Lowboy trailers come in different types of suspension

  • Spring ride: Lowboy trailers equipped with a spring ride suspension is the cheapest one out in the market. However, the trailer does not ensure a smooth ride and can eventually lead to significant operating costs due to wear and tear.
  • Air ride: ensures a very smooth ride thus offering longevity to the trailer frame. The deck height can also be adjusted for easy hauling. The ones with the 30k bags allows for less wear and tear on the trailer. Air ride trailers that are equipped with an adjustable ride height allows that rear frame to be adjusted and can take additional load capacity. This feature calls for lower operating costs
  • Hydraulic suspension: Lowboy trailers that come with a hydraulic suspension is the best in terms of offering a smooth ride and offers a wider movement of the axles.
  • Independent suspension: Uses hydraulic suspension and offers greater stability, flexibility in steering and can run smoothly on uneven terrains.

Load capacity

Lowboy trailers are categorized by the load capacity they can carry. A 25-ton lowboy can carry heavy equipment up to 50,000 pounds. The35- ton lowboy can a load capacity of up to 70,000 pounds.

Trailers with hydraulic flip axle

When the trailers axle loading capacity exceeds the limit a hydraulic flip axle can be used. This allows room for additional load and the flip axle can also be flipped to the rear frame to reduce the number of axles. An axle assembly frame is attached to the rear frame by hinge plates and pins. Hydraulic axle can save a lot of time as it allows for faster and easier control. A trailer with a manual flip axle would require manpower to adjust the flip axle. On the contrary, the operation can be completed in a jiffy with a hydraulic flip axle.

High quality powder coating

Trailers that have superior powder coating finish should be preferred over the ones with liquid paints. Powder coatings have a stronger resistance to impact and are not prone to corrosion. Cracking and peeling during its use can be prevented by using powder coating finish. Powder coatings are also quite economical and are free of pollutants.

Steel quality

The quality of steel that was used in the making of the trailer speaks volume of its life span. The steel quality can range anywhere from 80,000 psi to 100,000 psi T1 steel. Trailers that are built with high quality steel is more durable and is unlikely to degrade under extreme temperatures.

Dimension limits

The dimension limits vary depending on the model you select. All trailers, even those that are custom-made must comply with the below mentioned limits.

Loading capacity – 2 axle trailer: 40,000 pounds; trailer with more than 2 axles: 80,000 pounds

Container height – 18 to 24 inches

Container length – 24 to 29.6 feet

Legal cargo width – 8.5 feet

Legal cargo height – 11.5 to 12 feet

Overall legal load height – 14 feet

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