Why trailers need specification info
IF YOU ask Chris Blanchard, workshop manager for Grafton-based Herb Blanchard Haulage, trailers tend to be a little bit forgotten when it comes to their specifications.
“We have compliance plates on trailers but that’s about it. They’ll tell you what ADRs the unit complies with, but not much else,” Chris said.
“If it breaks down or it’s in for maintenance, how does an owner or an operator or the mechanic know exactly what parts it has been built with?
“Each manufacturer basically does their own thing and then you’ve got so many different component suppliers in there too.”
That’s why Chris is so keen to get the discussion going at the TMC around the introduction of specification information plates.
“It would be great if we could generate enough interest in this so it became, at the least, a voluntary industry practice. It’d make a lot of difference,” Chris said.
“If you take the example of a driver out on the road with a trailer breakdown that could be brake or wheel bearing related, how does a mechanic know what he’s dealing with?
“One of the things we’re looking at with this are things like common or major part numbers. So on a specification information plate you’d have the main suspension type and the specs on that with the major component part numbers listed too.
“So if the driver has done an airbag, the airbag part number is on there so he can pass that back to the repair workshop so the mechanic knows what he needs before he goes out to the breakdown.”
Chris said most trailers out there don’t have the same level of back-up as a prime mover, which has part numbers ready to dispatch at the click of a mouse.
It’s not unknown for trailers to come out of a factory with the suspension on them set up all wrong.
“We had one that had been working for about four years and it always seemed to be copping suspension damage, it was running close to the ground, it was always doing shock absorbers and pinching air bags, it was damaging the gate racks and the dunnage box at the rear,” he said.
“What I found was that the suspension set-up was entirely wrong.
“I had to lift it by nearly five inches, which we worked out with both the manufacturer and the suspension supplier, so it would ride properly.
“When we finished it was an entirely different beast as it was sitting and riding right and wasn’t breaking things.”
Chris, a finalist in the Craig Roseneder Award, is also part of two other discussion panels; one on retro-fitting EBS /RSC, the other on fifth wheel coupling and uncoupling.
POPULAR PANELLIST: Chris is also part of a discussion on retro-fitting EBS /RSC and fifth wheel coupling and uncoupling.