Why trail­ers need spec­i­fi­ca­tion info

Big Rigs - - SPECIAL REPORT - Bob Ri­ley

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

POP­U­LAR PAN­EL­LIST: Chris is also part of a dis­cus­sion on retro-fit­ting EBS /RSC and fifth wheel cou­pling and un­cou­pling.

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