I figured since I could breathe a little now I would explain to everyone what is going on with the headache rack.
When I measured the new one on the floor at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop I either measured wrong or failed to measure the correct spots.
My main concern was the width and depth. With is fine, but apparently I messed up on the depth.
When the rack arrived yesterday it was the talk of the shop and terminal. Hell, even when we put in on a couple other flat bedders came over and kept talking about how awesome it was, etc… AND it IS!
However, when the 4 of us lifted it onto the truck we noticed an issue. The catwalk needed to be moved back and the frame of the box was longer. I lost 3 inches of space there. You add the depth of this new rack into the equation and I lost probably 7-8 inches of clearance, if not more.
What's the big deal you may say? Well, the trailer I am connected to now is a Transcraft 53' Step-Deck and clearance is fine. So, it will be fine for our Wabash 53' Step-Decks too. Now issues at all with our 48' East flatbeds either.
The issue comes in if I have to pull one of our Wabash flatbeds or a van. The kingpin sits about 2-3 inches further back than the other trailers. What this means is when I make a sharp turn, the trailer damn near hits the box. Everyone still on the lead lap?
Just in case your not; I hooked up to a van trailer last night a simulated backing into a dock. I had 3/8 of an inch of clearance at the sharpest bend. Now, when I barely touched the brakes the natural motion of the loaded trailer almost caused me to dent the center door of the rack.
What does all of this mean? It means I will no longer be able to haul certain loads. I have two inches I can move the box back and that's it. That will help, but I won't be able to haul steel beams, or certain chassis loads any longer. In fact, any load that over-hangs the front of the trailer is out of the question.
One option is to remove the stack and put a weed burner kit on. That would allow me to move the rack back even further. However, that is about $1,500, wouldn't completely solve the issue, and when I turn the truck in at the end of the lease it has to be put back to original.
So now what? Well, I have to be damn careful of the loads I take now as well. Not to mention, if it's a load that is close to the limit I have to be careful even pulling into a truck stop as not all truck stop entrances are completely level. That means that if it's a decline, the way the truck and trailer bend at the 5th wheel could cause either the trailer OR the load to hit the rack depending on the height of the load.
All that being said, I am still happy with the purchase and feel it was worth it. I have a place for 4 tarps now. More importantly to me is the fact I can carry all required gear and it not look like ass! Not to mention add to the life expectancy of my chains as they won't be out in the elements.
Sooooo, there are huge pluses and huge minuses at the same time. The good thing is Swift has plenty of freight and Ed, my flatbed division manager, while surprised like me about the clearance issues, wasn't to upset or concerned.