Pairing your Class 8 tractor with the most appropriate 25-ton or larger heavy equipment trailer can simplify moves between jobsites, while maximizing efficiency. But you should understand the advantages and disadvantages associated with each trailer type to determine which best fits your needs.
Low deck height eases loading
Detachables are the most popular trailers for hauling heavy construction equipment.
"The detachable trailer will give you the lowest deck height," says Jim Ladner, Landoll. For example, Landoll has introduced a line of detachables that feature a loaded deck height down to 17 in. "This is really important when hauling extra-tall equipment."
In fact, most tall, heavy equipment is well suited to transport on a lowboy. "The low deck keeps the center of gravity down and the equipment under the height restrictions of most states," Ladner points out.
Detachables are also designed to ease loading. "The low deck height and the fact that the deck is on the ground when detached... make a detachable trailer easier to load, especially for heavy, track-type equipment," says Rick Bivens, Transcraft & Benson Products.
"Double-drop detachable lowboys have a low load angle and a low loaded deck height so they can carry virtually any equipment," adds John DeGeorge, Eager Beaver Trailers.
The trailers are a good match for over-width machines or those requiring a low approach angle, as well as equipment that would have an overhead clearance issue on a single drop. "There are virtually no limitations as to what this trailer can haul, especially the newer designs with tapered main beams and multi-position ride heights," says DeGeorge.
The lack of usable deck space is the major disadvantage of a detachable lowboy. "If you have a three-axle wheel area on a 53-ft. trailer, you may only end up with 27 ft. of load space," notes Butch Odegaard, Trail King Industries.
"The lower deck length has always been the limiting factor for detachables," says Ladner. "Most trailers have 24- or 26-ft. load areas. It usually limits you to hauling one piece of equipment at a time."
However, there are now trailers with lower decks up to 32 ft. long. "This really adds to the flexibility for hauling more equipment on the detachable trailer," Ladner states.
Hydraulic or mechanical?
Detachable gooseneck lowboys come in hydraulic and mechanical versions.
Hydraulic models use hydraulic cylinders to lower the deck when attaching. "These trailers are more forgiving, since you can lower and lift the deck with the cylinders in the gooseneck," says Bivens.
"Most contractors go with a hydraulic detachable gooseneck," states Butch Odegaard, Trail King. "It is easy to load and you keep the center of gravity low to the ground. [All of the equipment] is getting tall and with the hydraulic detachable, you are running down the road with an 18- to 24-in. loaded deck height. So it keeps your overall height down."
DeGeorge agrees, noting, "Most of what we sell are the double-drop [hydraulic] detachables. They are so versatile."
This versatility can be further increased by adding a beavertail option. "We put a beavertail on the back and load over the rear, as well," says DeGeorge. This enhances the flexibility of the trailer in instances when you get in tight areas where it may be difficult to remove the gooseneck, or when you have multiple pieces of equipment. ?"ou may have an excavator loaded on the deck, and you may want to quickly run a backhoe up on the back and move two pieces of equipment."
A disadvantage of hydraulic detachables is weight. "They need a tractor that has a wet kit or a power pack kit that makes the trailer self contained, but adds weight to the tractor," says Bivens.
Mechanical goosenecks feature a couple different designs. There are models that can be attached by ramming a tractor into a trailer, and there are versions that require a winch to be mounted to the tractor.