More on Weight

Jul 25th, 2014 | By | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog

Jack SchrockEver see a fire truck clear through the scale house? I’m not talking about those on an emergency call, I’m talking about those fire wagons that drive around town checking this and that. Routine trips I would say.

Frankly I’ve never seen a fire truck driving through the scales — anywhere. Now why is that? Weight is weight — no matter on a fire truck, wrecker, oil field rig or whatever. And excessive weight is what destroys our highway system.

I have a good friend who ran the federal DOT in Missouri for years and he told me about how he once conducted a study of highway damage. Without a doubt, heavy weight is the culprit, which is to say a highway would last indefinitely without damage if only cars used it. But consumer goods travel by truck, and trucks are heavy, so my friend set about to calculate the annual license fee for heavy trucks. As you might imagine, the numbers were so high as to be prohibitive so we join together to make the best of a difficult situation.

Now in comes the HD wrecker towing a HD truck and to make this good, let’s say it’s one of those fire trucks I just mentioned. The last one I weighed tilted the scale at a little over 20,000 lbs. on the set-back front axle which means the tower must extend the underlift as far as possible to do a wheel or axle lift. And this takes even more weight off the front axle of the wrecker and moves it to the rears. Any chance of clearing the scales on the rear tandems? Not on your life Leroy.

So where do we go from here? The fire truck is necessary, and so is the wrecker to remove the fire truck when it stalls or is involved in an accident. Sky Hooks are not the answer. The answer is to give the wrecker the same pass at the scales that we give the fire truck. Period.