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How to load a Tridem Grain Trailer (spring ride)properly

9810 Views 18 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Northern Farmer
I just purchased a 2008 Kenworth T800 and a 1998 Doepker Tridem spring ride trailer. This is my first semi and I am unsure how to load it properly to get the right weight distribution.
What is the best way to load this trailer while also using the truck gauge?
Any help or tips? Thanks in advance

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We always find filling them from the top works best... :D
Don't forget to open the tarp :D
Seriously though, does it have the rear hopper, what are you hauling? What suspension on the truck?
take the trailer back and get one with air ride susp. much easier to get loads closer.

All grains weigh different so it will be tough but with experience you will get better at it.
I found it to be just like the first two comments, tarp open and fill from the top ... oh and make sure all three slides are closed ( it fills faster that way )

Now going beyond the smart A$$ comments as it was too hard to resist, we used to have a unit very similar to that as ours had the 74" sides and a 1996 model with the three hopper out the back Lode King. Because of tractor weight and so forth its impossible to give an exact explanation but will give you a ballpark to start from.

Wheat, first one pile to the top of the trailer at the front of the front hopper, then go to the rear hopper and fill completely, then back up and fill at the very back of the center hopper. That seemed to get enough weight on the drivers as its was very easy to overload the front by getting carried away.

Canola, two heaps in the front hopper so only a bit of room left at the rear of the front hopper, then fill the rear hopper completely, then pile two heaps starting at the rear of the center hopper so you have some room left at the front of the center hopper.

As well you will have to play with your fifth wheel to get enough weight on the front but doubt that will be a problem with a T800 being the set back front axle. All you can do from my suggestions is weigh each axle set once its loaded, on a highway scale for instance and see how its balancing out and adjust in future loads from there. The tractor air gauge, I would be guessing to give a pressure but if you explain what style of air suspension it has ( Kenworth 8 bag for example ) then someone on here may have a good idea what you should be reading.
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If you have KW 8 bag have fun turning and going up hills. You will get stuck. Buy chains and make sure you have a tow hook/bar on truck and tow strap/chain handy. I had a '95 LK tridem. Hauling durum I filled at the jacks until the grain was as high as the tarp bows, filled the back completely, then filled the middle to tarp bows over front trailer tire. This was 1000 kg over primary. I thought I could haul 46,500 but, my axle spread wasn't large enough for that. I haul almost as much now legally winter weight with a tandem, and don't need chains!
haha yes I was hoping to load from the top with the tarp open. Thanks for the clarification though;)

Tractor Unit = 2008 T800
A400 8 bag Rear Suspension
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Trailer is spring ride, has the 2 middle unloads and one out the back

Thanks for all the responses so far. Anyone have an idea of what the truck gauge should be while loading. Approx?

I will be hauling wheat, canola, oats, and barley.
Here is a picture of the air dryer setup if that makes a difference


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That is the finicky air dryer set up, but it wont affect the numbers you need to load at if you are carefull. Brake tanks both need to be above 105 psi to get air going to the air suspension and allow it to level and provide an accurate reading in the cab. All I do is fan the brakes part way through loading the hopper to make sure the compressor kicks in and has the air above 105 for final loading.

Sorry I cant give you pressures for that trailer. In lighter crops you will have to move to the rear at lower pressures or you will overload the truck when the tridem gets up to weight.
Do like my dad put a big hump of grain in between every tarp support, slam the brakes to level the load, roll the tarp on, and don't look back:D
If you have KW 8 bag have fun turning and going up hills. You will get stuck.

Why would that be, I have an 8 bag KW and it will go anywhere, no lockers. I pull trains and a tridem with it. Probably the best turning and tractioning truck I've ever driven.
I was taking a peek at some used trucks lately and Kenworths being in the mix and some having the 8 bag system so I tried to find some info online ( obviously a truck shop or someone very familiar with them could give great insight ) and came across a few comments. It appears they made changes through the years and for a time they were a high maintenance troublesome costly system in one design phase. Unless I was misinformed it sounds like they went back to a more simpler system of parts and made out of materials that are not falling to pieces from corrosion like they were in that 200 series. But the one thing that came up which helped answer this question about why one person on here claimed horrible traction and another having really good luck compared to other systems, its the series of system and what upgrades they did or adding upgrades to older units.

The gist of it is that the older systems had small air lines running between the bags to equalize them so when going over uneven ground and so forth, they couldn't react quickly enough and an axle or corner would break traction where as with the larger lines the air can pass back and forth much easier to allow the system to follow the ground. So Born2Farm, I think that may answer why you are happy with how yours is working and someone with an older tractor is not a happy camper in less then ideal conditions. I don't know then if the 400 series came out with the larger lines off the start or what year things were revamped but that could be easily obtained at a dealer I would think.

As to the original poster, I never did come up with a ball park air pressure and would just be guessing to say around 70. If you are hauling wheat for instance off the start, just load like I mentioned and if you can get to a highway scale great, if not then if the elevator has a full length scale you can drive on slowly, stop but don't hold your tractor brakes ( if its level obviously ) to weigh the front, then front/drivers, then the whole truck and trailer and jot down each reading so you can figure out each axle grouping separately. Assuming you were wanting close to that 17000 kg on the drives, you would know if you are light or heavy there and what the steering looks like ... and of course the tri set. I guess if you get stopped you tell them like it is, its all totally new to you and you asked around to get an idea of how to load so as not to become overloaded. Maybe don't load it heaped between each hoop the first go with wheat though, that could be asking for it ;)
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If you have KW 8 bag have fun turning and going up hills. You will get stuck.

Why would that be, I have an 8 bag KW and it will go anywhere, no lockers. I pull trains and a tridem with it. Probably the best turning and tractioning truck I've ever driven.
I have AG100 suspension with small air lines. Go onto trucking threads and you will see poor traction comments. My brothers Pete with airtrac can go through tougher conditions. We both have just interaxle lock. Spring suspension on tridem would make it worse too. That old Lodeking didn't flex. My new SDE53-3 will flex some so hopefully I'm alright. I don't plan on hauling hay in the winter either.
i have a couple different trucks and trailers but i found loading the front first to about 45 lb on air gauge then go to the back and fill it full then go to the middle and fill to air gauge in truck gets to 70 that should get you close.that works for me anyway your combination may be a little different it is hard to overload back and easy to overload the front. hope this will help good looking truck by the way.
Thanks for the responses. This will help me to get started.
I've got 11x24.5 Tires on the entire rig so I can load:
Front = 5500kg
Drives = 17,000kg
Tridem = 23,000kg (My axle spread is only 120 inches so SK rules say 23,000 not 24,000)
Total = 45,500kg
What is the Tridem axle spread on the newer Tridem Trailers?
According to SK rules the axle spread needs to be 11 foot 8 inches or larger to legally haul 24,000kg on the Tridem
What is the maximum weight you can put on a Tridem Grain Trailer on Sask Roads?
Some places online say 23,000kg and some say 24,000kg................?????
Here is one link I found that says 23,000kg
This these links say 24,000kg from April 10th 2014:
Saskatchewan Increases GVWs for B-trains, tridem tractors | North Star Fleet
Saskatchewan updates trucking regulations | Truck NewsTruck News

My inter axle spread is exactly 120 inches = 10 feet
Now, my trailer is a 1998 but I called Doepker's head office today and they told me that the new Tridem trailers also have a 120 inch spread.

Does anyone know what the official rule is?
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I measured our 2013 Lode King aluminum tridem trailer axle spread and its also that 120 inches or converted it would be 3.05 meters.

Alberta has a permit available that is a very nominal fee to allow for the 24000 on gravel roads so one can actually get to a paved road allowing that weight, assuming no road bans are on as then the far lesser weight of the ban becomes enforced. I don't know if Sask has anything similar to that permit or how you play their game :rolleyes:

Oh and Alberta and it appears Sask has similar, in the winter one can add another 1000 kg total for any two axles other then the steering so typically adding a bit more weight on the drivers which won't be a problem to accomplish with your trailer and hauling peas or wheat, or canola for that matter I would think.
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