Saturday, May 4, 2013


Coils are some of the toughest types of freight to haul because of their concentrated weight in one small area on the trailer.  They pack a punch if they get loose.  There are many stories of these coils rolling through truck cabs and through vehicles after their chains and straps loosen up.  The trailer pictured here has small blocks called "turtles" that slide from front to rear and from side to side on the trailer.  Just one of these blocks can support the entire weight of the trailer. 

In addition to the chains there are also straps going over the coil.  The chains have been known to be damaged by the coils and the coils have been damaged by the chains so there is a metal chain protector in between the chains and the coil.  The chain protector has little humps on it to keep the chain centered on the protector.  These protectors were always made of steel, but there have been some made of steel and then covered in tough rubber to give both protection to the chain and to the freight.

Pictured here are snap binders which are my preferred type of binder.  The don't rust, are easy to use, and if secured properly, will last the entire trip without having to be tightened again.  Since these chains are going from one side of the trailer back to the same side, they are only getting half of the working load limit.  The straps go from one side to the other so they are getting the full working load limit.

There are three basic ways to load a coil:  Eye to the sky (the style seen on the coils to the front of the trailer), shotgun (the style of the coil towards the rear of the trailer), and suicide (where the coil is loaded so that the eye in the center of the coil is facing the sides of the trailer).  The two ways depicted here are the preferred loading styles for coils and the safest being eye to the sky.  The coils that are loaded eye to the sky style are secured using straps with strap protectors and these coils are also heavily wrapped in plastic so it is unlikely that the straps would be cut in a sudden stop.  Chains are the best method for securing all types of coils and a coil would never be secured in either eye to the sky style or suicide style without chains.

The eye to the sky or suicide coils have coil racks, dunnage (4X4 lumber) and rubber pieces between the coil and the trailer.  This gives the coil a cradle to sit in to minimize movement of the coil.  Because the coils have so much weight in such a small area, they can damage a trailer very easily.  Many flatbed trailers have a marking on the frame rail specifying where the placement of one single coil ,that is the maximum weight the trailer can handle, will sit safely.  In the case of this trailer, the maximum load for the trailer is 60,000 lbs. and there are coils that weigh that much.  I wouldn't be able to haul a coil that heavy, but if you were set up to haul one that heavy, you would want to make sure that the coil was situated perfectly.  Not only do you need to worry about the securement of the coil to prevent it from falling off the trailer in the event of an accident, but you need to make sure that the coil doesn't damage the trailer.

These coils were tarped and protected from the elements to arrive safe and sound thousands of miles away.  The metal was used in a factory to eventually become car parts. 


Anonymous said...

like seeing pics of what you haul

Ed said...

I have a few pics, but many things we haul can't be photographed. I have more pics of things that other drivers have hauled. Those are coming. Thanks for reading.

s said...

Question about how you attach that've got it attached to a sliding fastener on top of the trailer instead of through the rails like the straps. When do you decide to do that?

Ed said...

The chain tie downs are specifically meant for this application. The straps go to winches which are on sliders under the trailer and are adjustable. I don't normally use straps with the chain tie down blocks because each strap needs its own winch and since they are already built into the trailer, you might as well use those built in winches because that is what they're there for. The drawback to the "turtles" that the chains are connected to is that they can only go across the trailer or lengthwise on the trailer. They can't be used diagonally. The newer model of this trailer has chain tie downs on the side rails which can be used diagonally.

Scott said...