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What is Lowboy Transport?

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What is Lowboy Transport?
What is Lowboy Transport?

Lowboys are unpowered trailers used to transport goods that might exceed the legal height of flatbed trailers' products. Hauling capabilities of lowboys are impressive as a double-axle lowboy can haul goods in the 40,000-pound range. If three axles are used, lowboys can hold up to 80,000 pounds. 

Companies utilize lowboys for some additional perks that include lower heavy equipment shipping costs by avoiding over-dimension permits. 

The maximum dimensions for lowboys are as follows:

  • Maximum well length of 24 ft-29.6 ft
  • Maximum width of 8.5 ft
  • Maximum lowball well height of 18 in.-24 in.
  • Maximum overall load height-14 ft.
  • Maximum legal freight height-11.5 ft-12 ft. 

Understanding the above measurements is vital so you can be complicit with federal size regulations. 

Heavy machinery is typically supported by lowboy trailers, while flatbed trailers tend to carry more standard varieties of equipment. Examples of heavy machinery that lowboys can help move include bulldozers and excavators. 

While lowboys are the most commonly used name for this trailer, don't be surprised to hear people reference lowboys as:

  • Low-beds
  • Low loaders
  • Semi-trailers
  • Double-drops 

All lowboys can carry cargo up to 12 ft. in height. 

Let's take a brief look at the history of lowboy heavy equipment transport systems before jumping into the different types of lowboys. 

What's the History of Lowboy Trailers? 

The first lowboy trailer contained a riveted gooseneck design that was invented during the 1920s. The initial lowboy design hooked to the hauling truck through the front of the trailer and required people to load cargo over the trailer's back tires. Lowboys got a much-needed upgrade during the 1950s when the detachable gooseneck allowed people to load lowboys from the front and the back. 

Like enclosed auto transport services, modern lowboy transport trailers feature hydraulic systems to help the trailer meet the unit during loading and unloading. 

It'll be easier to see how significant the evolution of lowboy trailers is after going over the different types of lowboy trailers. 

What Are the Main Types of Lowboy Trailers?

Understanding the different types of lowboy trailers will help you find a variety that suits your specific needs. The three primary types of lowboy trailers are fixed gooseneck, fixed-neck, and removable gooseneck. 

If you're looking for a more accessible time loading drop decks from the trailer's rear, consider a fixed gooseneck lowboy. The reason why rear loading is easier on fixed gooseneck lowboys is the adjustable gooseneck. After loading, reattach the gooseneck to help secure the cargo you load. 

Fixed-neck's are the most lightweight lowboy variety. Be prepared to load your items from the rear of the trailer since the lowboy will be firmly attached to the front. 

Removable gooseneck trailers offer users versatility in the sense different loading techniques can be used for items including: 

  • Pushing and pulling
  • Driving
  • Rolling

When searching for an easily detachable gooseneck, consider utilizing hydraulic detachable goosenecks for their help in raising or lowering the height of trailers.  

Let's take a closer look at removable gooseneck trailers to better understand their capabilities. 

What Makes Removable Gooseneck's Unique? 

Removable gooseneck trailers feature distinct hauling capacities, ramp advantages, and configurations. 

RGN's (removable gooseneck trailers) are great for instances where you can drive what you're pulling onto the trailer. Thanks to hydraulic systems, RGN's present a more seamless experience for heavy vehicle loading due to the trailer being lowered to the ground to create a ramp (more on hydraulic lowboy trailers later). If you're not using hydraulic equipment to load cargo, such as heavy vehicles, you may need additional loading and unloading equipment. 

Earlier, we mentioned that three-axle lowboys could support up to 80,000 pounds of weight. When working with RGN trailers, you can add 20 or more axles to support weight loads of 150,000 pounds. The hauling capabilities that RGN trailers can provide are impressive, but most RGN trailers support around 40,000 pounds of weight. 

Below is a list of industries that benefit from RGN trailer use:

As the name suggests, understanding how to detach a gooseneck is vital. 

How Do I Detach a Removable Gooseneck? 

The method of detaching a removable gooseneck essentially remains the same across most types of RGN trailers. First, remove the locating pin, air tube, and electrical wire connections before lowering the cargo bed. With the gooseneck away, drive the truck off and begin loading cargo. Once the truck is separated from the gooseneck, you can load cargo from the trailer's front instead of just the back. 

You'll find that loading is a more streamlined process thanks to an adjustable loading height that results in the trailer's forward side leaning on the ground. RGN's commonly load items from the front. 

After you load your cargo, you're going to have to secure it. The type of items you're packing is going to help you figure out what kind of security equipment to use.

Security equipment for removable gooseneck trailers commonly consist of:

  • Chains 
  • Nets 
  • Ropes
  • Tiedowns
  • Wedges
  • Checks

Final Guidelines for Loading Cargo on Lowboys

It's essential to follow cargo loading guidelines for lowboys to ensure both the safety of your items and other travelers' safety. 

Make sure you have a designated loading area that features substantial amounts of space and visibility. Before you begin loading cargo, hit the brakes and make sure that no loose items exist on the lowboy's bed. Applying brakes will help the vehicle stay in place when heavy cargo is being loaded. 

When loading items onto a lowboy, make sure the trailer is on an even surface to avoid cargo falling away. The hauling truck needs to be inspected to verify that horns, reflectors, and lights are all functioning optimally for proper road communication.  

Before we end, we will touch on state laws and regulations that impact the type of lowboy setup you'll need to transport your items.

Lowboy Regulations 

One mistake that's easy to make is having cargo that follows weight limits but exceeds the per-axle limit. If weight is becoming an issue, consider customizing your lowboy with more axles to solve the problem. When it comes to locating what type of lowboy transport you need to follow regulations, it mostly boils down to the cargo you're carrying. 

When traveling with an oversized load, you may need to enlist the help of an escort. Oversized loads are over 8.5 feet wide due to the 12-foot width of interstate lanes. RGN trailers are great for hauling large amounts of cargo as you can travel freely without a permit. Potential permit and escort fees are all costs that you'll need to factor in your transport budget. 

Why Choose a Lowboy Trailer? 

Lowboy transport trailers help you move large freight safely and efficiently. The low ground clearance of lowboy trailers coupled with the opportunity to include more axles for additional weight support helps commercial transporters get the job done. Specific classes of lowboy trailers such as removable goosenecks provide extra perks, including hydraulic rams, to lower and raise the trailer. 

Outlining your needs for a lowboy can help experts provide a class of trailer that suits your objectives. 

The need for lowboy trailers continues to grow as industries, including construction, are booming in various markets. If construction companies aren't able to transport the heavy equipment they need, operations can stall. 

Achieve your task of hauling heavy and tall items with the help of lowboy transport. 

 

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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