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Old 02-07-17, 12:23 PM   #1
CliffordK
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Why isn't stinger steering more common on trucks?

I was thinking about trucks (and bikes) today.

One of the issues with trucks is that the rear wheels don't track well behind the front wheels, and it is worse with 5th wheel trailers, creating a dangerous situation for other road users on tight corners.

Bumper pull trailers add a little reach behind the rear wheels of a pickup, and improve the tracking of the trailer wheels. For heavy trailers, they also benefit from sway bars to even out the load, but the technology may not apply well to heavier trucks.

Log trucks have a unique adaptation using the load carried on bunks like a 5th wheel, but the trailer wheels are guided by a stinger and hitch that extends behind the axles, somewhat like a bumper pull. This link seems to summarize the technology quite well.

Stinger steering

And, the stinger/reach seems to improve the ability of the log trucks for maneuvering on narrow/winding roads.

So, why hasn't the very simple technology been extended to regular 5th wheel trucks, especially those that drive a lot in urban settings?
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Old 02-07-17, 06:26 PM   #2
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As a former OTR trucker, I can tell you that the reason why is because trailers are designed for highway driving primarily. If you are going to send a load of 40,000 lbs of freight from New York to Chicago, you load 1 trailer, and the driver picks it up, and drives it the 1000 miles. If he needs to have somebody else finish the drive, he drops the trailer, and the next driver continues onward. This is how full-trailer loads work.

What you describe requires specialized equipment for urban areas, with trans-loading of the freight at both ends. This is common in LTL (less than load) trucking, and cost much more.

Also, that stinger-style setup is great at low speeds, but terrible at highway speeds. Also it will not work with a box trailer-really only works as a 'pole-trailer'.
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Old 02-07-17, 08:51 PM   #3
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Trucking lobby opposes even simpler, proven safety devices such as side bumpers that prevent cars from going under the trailer when hit from the side.

What would have been a fender bender turns into a decapitation, just to save a few bucks.
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Old 02-07-17, 09:27 PM   #4
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Trucking lobby opposes even simpler, proven safety devices such as side bumpers that prevent cars from going under the trailer when hit from the side.

What would have been a fender bender turns into a decapitation, just to save a few bucks.
The company I drive for has over 100,000 trailers in its fleet, I suspect it would be more than a few bucks. Besides, significant resources are already being used for far more effective passive and active safety devices.
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Old 02-07-17, 11:01 PM   #5
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The company I drive for has over 100,000 trailers in its fleet, I suspect it would be more than a few bucks. Besides, significant resources are already being used for far more effective passive and active safety devices.
What is more effective to prevent a smaller vehicle from rolling under your trailer, specifically?
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Old 02-08-17, 09:00 AM   #6
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What is more effective to prevent a smaller vehicle from rolling under your trailer, specifically?
The active and passive safety devices mitigate much more relevant issues than a vehicle going under the trailer from the side.
That said, my company has already adapted aero-skirting that does in fact help protect pedestrians and cyclists, just not motor vehicles which would require a significant structure.
Keep in mind that while there still are some bad apples out there, commercial carriers are still the safest motorized user group on the road.
The global transportation company I drive for operates bicycles to Boeing 747's, and everything in between for millions of vehicle miles a day, if you believe that safety isn't a major consideration or receive major resources, you're sadly mistaken.
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Old 02-09-17, 04:14 PM   #7
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The company I drive for has over 100,000 trailers in its fleet, I suspect it would be more than a few bucks. Besides, significant resources are already being used for far more effective passive and active safety devices.
Such as? Sorry to be a hardass, my brother is a trucker... but... like what? A truck is a truck at the end of the day. I don't personally believe that a majority of accidents are because trucks don't have side skirting, but it is a truth that the majority of rigs out there do not have any. I suspect this is because the companies that make skirting, know that it can be marketed as a device to increase vehicle mileage efficiency, and thus charge double what would otherwise be a reasonable MSRP for a long piece of reinforced fiberglass. Don't even get me started on what a company might charge to retrofit a fleet of trailer undercarriage assemblies to stinger-steering.

Two years ago I was driving from Prescott, AZ to Portland, OR. Earlier that day a trucker hauling some serious hazmat rolled the vehicle and completely shut down I-10 in both directions at the state border, for the entire day!! It's not the first time some truck (or train) carrying the Mother of All Hazmat loads is involved in some crazy single vehicle accident in which excessive speed and/or poor judgement is involved. Criminy, if you don't care enough about yourself to keep the speed down when you are delivering Chlorine Gas somewhere... maybe you should be a school crossing guard or something. <smh>.

No amount of technology can make up for the bad drivers on the payroll of large trucking fleets. Back in the day truckers used to be cool. They were some of the best on the road. Nowadays seems they are always pulling out in front of me just as I am about to pass, and then they spend the next 10 minutes inching by the column of 'lower speed' traffic doing the speed limit in the right lane...
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Old 02-09-17, 04:20 PM   #8
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Such as? Sorry to be a hardass, my brother is a trucker... but... like what? A truck is a truck at the end of the day. I don't personally believe that a majority of accidents are because trucks don't have side skirting, but it is a truth that the majority of rigs out there do not have any. I suspect this is because the companies that make skirting, know that it can be marketed as a device to increase vehicle mileage efficiency, and thus charge double what would otherwise be a reasonable MSRP for a long piece of reinforced fiberglass. Don't even get me started on what a company might charge to retrofit a fleet of trailer undercarriage assemblies to stinger-steering.

Two years ago I was driving from Prescott, AZ to Portland, OR. Earlier that day a trucker hauling some serious hazmat rolled the vehicle and completely shut down I-10 in both directions at the state border, for the entire day!! It's not the first time some truck (or train) carrying the Mother of All Hazmat loads is involved in some crazy single vehicle accident in which excessive speed and/or poor judgement is involved. Criminy, if you don't care enough about yourself to keep the speed down when you are delivering Chlorine Gas somewhere... maybe you should be a school crossing guard or something. <smh>.

No amount of technology can make up for the bad drivers on the payroll of large trucking fleets. Back in the day truckers used to be cool. They were some of the best on the road. Nowadays seems they are always pulling out in front of me just as I am about to pass, and then they spend the next 10 minutes inching by the column of 'lower speed' traffic doing the speed limit in the right lane...
Basically the same handling, and collision avoidance features found on some high end cars these days, but you are correct, nothing will take the place of a well trained, responsible, professional driver.
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Old 02-09-17, 07:16 PM   #9
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One thing is that the majority of the truck fleet out there is < 10 years old.
I'm not sure about the trailers.

But, the machines do turn over relatively frequently. Change standards today, and in 10 or 20 years, most of the vehicles will be following those standards.

I can imagine more and more technology creeping into the cabs of the trucks. Some may not be popular with drivers, for example it would be easy to enforce the 55 MPH speed limit in some places. Drowsy driving detectors will come soon.
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Old 02-10-17, 02:40 PM   #10
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One thing is that the majority of the truck fleet out there is < 10 years old.
I'm not sure about the trailers.

But, the machines do turn over relatively frequently. Change standards today, and in 10 or 20 years, most of the vehicles will be following those standards.

I can imagine more and more technology creeping into the cabs of the trucks. Some may not be popular with drivers, for example it would be easy to enforce the 55 MPH speed limit in some places. Drowsy driving detectors will come soon.
12 years is the cut age for our fleet. I'm all for the he safety enhancements including event triggered cameras. The only one I would object to are the "nanny cams" a few companies use for productivity rather than safety. I find it disturbing that a company would hire drivers they don't trust to be professional.
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Old 02-11-17, 02:59 PM   #11
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I drove OTR for 7 years, then later spent 2+ year on the inside with a different OTR company (one of which I would never have considered driving for) that is now out of business. The things that company #2 did to their drivers convinced me that no person with half a functioning brain should ever consider working for them. Drivers were stranded for days 2000 miles away from home waiting for freight, we routed them down small back roads to avoid tolls, and we defered maintenance, often resorting in avoidable breakdowns. More than once, a driver covered his GPS finder with tinfoil, and drove the truck home, abandoning it there.

Now, getting back to the OP's idea, such as it was. 'Stinger' steering has many drawbacks; you can't use it with a single dry-van unit (which makes it unusable for 90+% of all freight trucks), and having a central pivot, while being terrific for low-speed maneuverability, will make for a VERY twitch vehicle at speed. Also, for backing up, having a long vehicle with a central pivot is actually MORE difficult to maneuver than a typical short tractor/long trailer setup is.
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Old 02-12-17, 06:04 PM   #12
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Supply chain management has evolved around the standardized semi trailer. Universal, and interchangeable. Any highway, city, or yard shunt tractor can hook to it and put it in the dock or pull it down the road.
Distribution centers everywhere have huge lots full of trailers belonging to carriers from all over the continent, and yard hostlers that pin to those trailers in seconds to move them in and out of loading docks.
Stinger steering is uniquely suited to applications such as logging, where a trailer and power unit are married for life.
Maneuverability with 53 foot trailers is not that bad. For the last couple of years before I retired, I was pulling them two at a time.
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Old 02-13-17, 04:12 PM   #13
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The company I drive for has over 100,000 trailers in its fleet, I suspect it would be more than a few bucks. Besides, significant resources are already being used for far more effective passive and active safety devices.
How often are the trailers in the fleet, on the road? As opposed to being fully loaded and put on a train?
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Old 02-13-17, 05:14 PM   #14
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How often are the trailers in the fleet, on the road? As opposed to being fully loaded and put on a train?
We're a LTL freight company, most movements are hub to hub on 28' trailers. What is transported by rail is on dedicated rail containers or trailers. Other long distance movements are done by 3rd party carriers using their own equipment OTR.
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