One advantage is simplicity of design. "Mechanical goosenecks need no hydraulics on the tractor for operation, but could be harder to operate. They need to be blocked up, and on soft ground, they could settle," says Bivens.
Mechanical goosenecks without a winch have no easy way to hook up a trailer if it does sink in the soil. "With a hydraulic detachable, you have adjustment in the neck up or down to get the bed picked up," says Odegaard. "With a mechanical neck, you pull it off and block between the frame and the bottom of the gooseneck. If the bed changes when you load it, you can?t raise and lower the gooseneck to pick it up."
He adds, "You actually have frame rails on the truck and you use the truck to go under the neck and actually lift the load up. So it is a little bit harder on the driveline of the truck. You also have to make sure you are on a good surface where the trucks can get good traction to back up underneath it."
Even so, a mechanical detachable does have its place. They are well suited to over-the-road-type trucking companies, says Odegaard, where the loads tend to be on the trucks for a few days and they are loading and unloading on smooth, hard surfaces.
Room for more
With a sliding axle trailer, the axle hydraulically slides forward to lower the back of the bed to the ground. "No ramps are needed to load the trailer," says Bivens.
The major advantage of a sliding axle trailer is its load angle. "Load angle is very important when hauling many types of construction equipment that is low to the ground," says Ladner. "Pavers are a primary piece that require a 6° load angle." With the traveling axle trailer, you can load pavers without additional ramps. "The low load angle even adds a level of safety when loading equipment."
Odegaard agrees, adding, "It gives you a real gentle load angle for the low ground clearance items that you are trying to load, like scissor lifts and paving equipment. Because the whole deck is above the tires, you get maximum deck space. You get from the back of the gooseneck all the way over the wheel area. If you buy a 53-ft. trailer with a 10-ft. gooseneck, you have 43 ft. of deck space."
The traveling axle trailer provides the versatility to handle multiple pieces of equipment. "There is always a place for lowbed detachables, but the single-drop, ground loading, traveling axle trailer can haul 80% of the construction equipment without height restrictions," says Ladner.
Landoll's traveling axle trailer has a loaded deck height of about 3 ft. "A large variety of equipment can be hauled on the deck without going over the 13-ft. 6-in. height law," Ladner points out. "With the longer deck length, the traveling axle trailer can haul multiple pieces of equipment and become much more efficient than a lowbed. It hauls more equipment to the jobsite in one trip."
But there are disadvantages, as well, including weight and center of gravity. "There is quite a bit involved in building it," notes Odegaard. The undercarriage and suspension are basically built as a separate unit, then mounted to the mainframe on a trailer. "Because of the moving parts, it is a little heavy. So it is not a real good trailer for permitted loads."
Since the entire deck is above the wheels, the deck height also sits higher than a typical lowboy trailer. "Depending upon the tire size that you put on it, you are somewhere between 37 and 40 in. in deck height," says Odegaard.
Beavertails prove economical
"The advantage of the beavertail-style trailer basically is price," says Odegaard. "It is usually the real price-conscious person and probably one who isn't going to use it day in and day out."
Beavertails with manual ramps are simple and versatile. "They are simple to operate with no hydraulics involved," says Bivens. "With the Transcraft level deck ramps, you can also use the trailer to haul flatbed loads when not hauling equipment."
However, the manual ramps on beavertails are not always user friendly. "If you are on soft ground and drive on the ramp, it pushes the ramp into the ground," says Odegaard. "To get the ramp up and folded over, it puts a lot of strain on the back. When you are dealing in trailers that can haul 70,000 to 80,000 lbs., the ramp is built pretty heavy to withstand the load. So it gets to be pretty heavy and hard for one person to handle."