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over weight on steers

Discussion in 'Truck Talk' started by charrol, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. charrol

    charrol New Recruit

    We have a 40' straight truck Bought a highway tractor had it stretched and a box built and put on. The box is 23 1/2 feet From the day we got the truck we have been overweight on the steer by 800 lbs that is with us 2 drivers both tanks full of fuel and empty. We have been hit 2 times now at the weight station, once in Indianna and once in Texas After the first time we talked to many people and most just laughed at us. We now need to know what our options are as we have been sitting for over 2 weeks and need to get some advice on what to do and where we could get it done Thanks Carol The truck is a 2005 Freightliner Century and we live in Strathry Ontario Canada We have 2 fuel tanks each holding 140 US gallons or 530 liters. Are there any restrictions as to where the fuel tanks can be placed thanks When we were pulled in to the weigh station in Texas we were only half full of fuel and still overweight by 800lbs
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
  2. The Enemy

    The Enemy New Recruit

    What kind of truck is it? Also what area do you live in so it might be easyer to suggest a shop near you. What size are your fuel tanks? I have seen it where a truck was heavy on the steers and they moved the fuel tanks back about two feet to redistribute the weight.
  3. davekc

    davekc Senior Moderator Staff Member

    Not sure why you would sit for two weeks? A gallon of diesel is roughly 7.3/7.5 pounds per gallon. Or in your case, roughly 110 gallons need to be subtracted from your tanks to get to 800 lbs. If your capacity is 140 per side then 280 minus 110 gallons and you are there for the quick fix. No need to sit for two weeks.
    And yes, tanks can be moved back if there is room to do it. How far back will depend on several things. A good shop would be able to tell you what your options are with moving them, to just going to smaller tanks.
  4. Rocketman

    Rocketman New Recruit

    What is the wheelbase of your truck? (center of steer axle to center of drive axle farthest from the steer axle). Is your truck single axle or tandem?

    One thing you need to do (and probably already know) is you need to know where the center of the drive axle(s) is in relationship to the inside of box. Mark that spot inside the box with something. You always want to "try" to balance the load weight at that point or towards the rear of the truck depending on the number of skids. Anything under 8,000 lbs probably needs to be loaded from the rear. If you have 8 skids, you should need 16 feet of space. Measure 16' from the rear and put up your load bars. Have the lift driver load it from there, keeping the weight on the drive axle and off the steer axle. I have the inside of my box marked in 1 ft increments starting from the rear of the truck to make this easier. I usually give them an extra foot to be sure.

    I also run the "H" rated Michelin steer tires. They are rated for over 7,000 lbs per tire. If a load fills up my box, I don't have any way to keep some of that weight off my steer axle. In this case (not very often), I keep the tanks below half full and fuel up more often.

    I've never been bothered at the scales because of weight. I have been asked to pull up and back up and sit for a loooong time a few places, but have yet to be detained because of weight.
  5. AMonger

    AMonger Active Expediter

    I had a co-driver who, prior to teaming with me, had teamed with another guy in the same truck that he and I were both in. It was a Volvo 770 stretched to a straight truck. As you can imagine, we always had to keep an eye on the front axle weight.

    He told me he was in a western state, I think it was either SD or WY, and they were overweight on the steers by about 40 lbs. Forty pounds! And the guy in the chicken house was ready to write them up.

    The freight was heavy, palletized, and unmoveable. So they started taking everything out of the side boxes and moving it all to the box. Then they started on the big tool boxes, one on each side, moving that stuff back. While they're doing this, the guys inside are laughing at them.

    When they were done, they crossed the scales again and had shifted almost nothing from the steers. The scale master then told them just to move on, which he probably would have done even had they not moved anything. And even if he write it up, what could the fine have been, $5?

    What bothered him most was the scale guys laughing say them while they worked. I told him I'd have been laughing at him, too. A little pride isn't a bad thing.
  6. jjoerger

    jjoerger Seasoned Expediter

    I see at least three choices.
    1. Have the fuel tanks replaced with 2-80 or 100 gallon tanks.
    2. Have the tanks you have now moved back to get the weight off of the steers.
    3. Run with your tanks half full.

    I would go with option 3. I would get more showers, distribute my fuel tax money around more and it would cost me nothing to do it. Plus I would still have a range of over 1000 miles.
  7. Streakn1

    Streakn1 New Recruit

    This is the king of over weight on the steer axle speaking! Actually we are not. DOT just thinks we are on a regular basis. We run 14,200- 14,600 lbs all of the time. Empty or loaded. Been as heavy as 15,120 lbs loaded. And we are legal!

    How? By having the right tires. We run 22.5X8.25 Alcoa rims on a 14,600 lbs rated steer axle with Michelin R22.5 280AZE Energy H-rated steer tires. These are 16 ply tires that are sidewall rated for 7830 lbs (single mounting) at 120 lbs air pressure cold. Stoop's Freightliner, Fremont,IN carries these. Mounted and balanced these tires will run $1400+/- and have given us an average of 185,000 miles of trouble free service with plenty of tread to spare.

    We can and have been as heavy as 15.6K (but would never run the tires maxed out) on our steer axle and still ok'd by DOT to continue on our run. Why? because our tires were rated to carry at least the actual loading applied to them at the time DOT weighed and inspected us, even though we were exceeding the manufacturer's axle rating. DOT's main concern is the tire rating.

    You will see in the attached photo of our tractor, our 150 gal each fuel tanks are set back to place 75% of our fuel weight onto the drive axles. This is on a 327" wheelbase. Unlike your situation, our tractor is NOT an after market stretch. So the cab and chassis was engineered at Kenworth. Not saying there is anything wrong with doing an aftermarket stretch. Just seeing yet another engineering snafu.

    Now, what to do yo correct your problem? First: You did not state if you are being told that you are 800 lbs overweight on your steer axle rating, or on the steer tire's weight capacity? Please clarify. Next, since you stated with your fuel tanks full and no payload on-board you're over by 800 lbs. Do you truly want to run with only 120 gal max of fuel, especially in the winter? Probably not. Depending on the lay of the frame (cross members,etc), relocating and re-plumbing the fuel tanks can be costly, and being able to position them where they need to be may be tricky. Plus if not engineered right the first time, you've spent $$$, yet still have the same problem with a slightly lower number.

    Before spending $$$ moving tanks, I would strongly suggest running the heavier tires that can be mounted in an hour or less verses days in the shop relocating the tanks. The tire sidewall ratings are a DOT accepted number. That is if that's all they have stated is your problem. Note: When pulled in for this issue by DOT, not once have they asked what our steer axle rating is, just inspected the sidewall rating on the tire and let us go.

    Disclaimer: Check with both US and Canadian DOT to verify that the planned tactic to correct this issue in fact will be deemed legal prior to spending any $$$

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
  8. Moot

    Moot Expert Expediter

    Transit 350
    My intention is not to beat you up with this but to warn others to do their homework, find a reputable shop to do the stretch and get all specs in writing with the inclusion of a final weighing before paying the balance.

    I'm with Jim except I would also move the tanks if possible. Can we assume this is a 3 axle truck?
  9. guido4475

    guido4475 Active Expediter

    Charrol, Streakin is 100 correct. And to go one better, there is a rim/tire setup used by Prevost coaches as well as the busing industry.It is a 1" wider rim than normal, and the tire also, is 12" wide, instead of the usual 11" wide.This gives you If I remember right, close to 16,000# of weight carrying capacity.I was told this was called a "bus" rim/tire configuration.Check out the next greyhound or prevost you see in a parking lot and you'll see what I mean.Michelin makes a tire also, Marked "nominal width" on the side, that is also made to carry more weight.What most people dont realize is that not all states restrict you to be at 12,000# on the steers, but allow greater, as long as within the tire specs.Check out youre atlas, on the page listed as "summary of size and weight limits".I had a 2000 Sterling tractor stretched out to a straight truck, 10 wheeler.It has a 550 hp cat in it, with 2-200 gallon fuel tanks, up front, so I know what you are going through.Streakin is a good man, who knows his him, as well as The Enemy.:D
  10. purgoose10

    purgoose10 Active Expediter

    That's an easy fix. Tell her to ride in the back till you get over the scales.:D:D
  11. greg334

    greg334 New Recruit

    I'm wondering about something.

    A while ago I was riding along in a heavy haul truck and a heavy load.

    The truck is rated for 96k, with a 23k front axle rating. We had 22k on the front axle and 65k on the rears.

    On the way out west, we had to stop in every scale and do the inspect the permits thing. In Texas, we got inspected and the officer got under the front of the truck and looked at the tag - wrote down the serial number and model number and went back to his truck to find the specs of the axle. Went back to the truck, looked at the tires and the tag in the door and went back to his truck. He came back 15 minutes later with the level one paper work and a sticker. I had to ask him what was that all about and he said the axle ratings matter. Even if you had oversize tires, if the axle rating was 20k, it would be a show stopper for all of us.

    So doesn't the axle rating matter, both on the sticker and the actual axle?
  12. Streakn1

    Streakn1 New Recruit

    In the four years we have owned this truck, and the numerous times we've been pulled in and checked for this reason, that has yet to be an issue. I can see where with permitted heavy haul loads, they may be a bit more on the picky side. Of the hundreds of long wheelbase large cars out here like mine, nobody that we know has stated yet that they were tagged on the axle rating. Just the tires. We know several that run over 15K all of the time on 14,600 lbs rated steer axles.

    Maybe staying under 80K has kept us under the belly radar!:D
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
  13. guido4475

    guido4475 Active Expediter

    I failed to mention that, after I bought that truck, I took it to Certified Alignment in Detroit, and had them replace all of the hangers, pins, etc, because they were all egg-shaped at that time.I also had them put new front leaf springs,adding a leaf, giving me a 18,000# front leaf spring rode a little higher in the front, but it did ride so nice, floating down the highway like a Cadilac.But, yes, wouldnt the front axle rating be into consideration at a dot stop? I, also, never had this issue.I was running Continental 14-ply HSL's also.

    FREE TO FAIL New Recruit

    I would just take one tank off or cheaper yet put shut off valves on it. Need more fule mount a reefer tank next to rear axle. In any event you really dont need to be hauling that much fuel around with you anyway, reduces fuel economy and is harder on the steer axle and tires.
  15. gunnrunnerX

    gunnrunnerX New Recruit

    If you're 800# over on your steers when you're empty, then you need to move your drives forward to shift the weight off
    your steers. You should be able to get the people that stretched it to move them for you. But if you're only over when you're loaded, then you need to keep your freight further back in the box, when possible.
  16. greg334

    greg334 New Recruit

    Guido, where around here did you take it to get that work done? I have an issue with my truck right now that no one up here can figure out.
  17. guido4475

    guido4475 Active Expediter

    Certified Alignment
    6707 Dix
    Detroit, Mi
    Ask for John in service.

    They have been in business since the 1950's, when Dave Gray opened it,John's close friend.Dave passed away a few years ago.Home of the Red Devil race trucks.Real good people.They know their poop.
  18. guido4475

    guido4475 Active Expediter

    Another one is:

    TAFA (truck axle, frame alignment)
    Foster ave
    Nashville, Tn.

    Real good, honest people, old school.Not cheap, but it gets done right there.Real technical people.Tire truing and balancing done while still mounted on the vehicle.
  19. greg334

    greg334 New Recruit

    Thanks, I forgot all about them. I know where they are, I get parts from Fleet pride down the road from them for the trucks in the yard. I will tell John that Guido said I get a big discount - ok?
  20. guido4475

    guido4475 Active Expediter

    Tell him to put it on the Underhills

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