FG BUY&SELL        FARMERS WEATHER       ARABLE FARMING        DAIRY FARMER      FARMERS GUARDIAN        AGRIMONEY        OUR EVENTS        MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS        BLOGS        MORE FROM US

You are viewing 1 of your 2 free articles

You’ll need to join us by becoming a member to gain more access.
Already a Member?

Login Join us now

Tackling trailer maintenance

Insights

With gross train weights and tractor speed limits on the rise, now might be a good time to make sure your trailers are safe and legal. Geoff Ashcroft sought some tips from Brackley-based trailer maker Merrick Loggin Trailers.

Twitter Facebook

Recent changes to legislation means farm tractors towing agricultural trailers can now travel at a higher gross combination weight of 31 tonnes - an increase of 6.61 tonnes from the old 24.39 tonne limit.

 

However, the maximum trailer gross weight of 18.29 tonnes has not yet been changed. Similarly, tractors and trailers previously restricted to a 20mph speed limit under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, are now able to travel at 25mph (40kph).

 

As a result, there has never been a more pertinent time to ensure lights and brakes are in full working order.

 

Appearance

Appearance

Trailer manufacturer, Merrick Loggin says: “The first thing you need to ask is, are your farm trailers fit for purpose?

 

Have a look around your trailers to see what needs to be repaired, replaced or simply straightened out.

 

If it looks dodgy, chances are you stand a good chance of having a roadside inspection.”

Lights

Lights

Working indicator lights are a legal requirement and are essential to warn other road users of your intentions.

 

If any of your lights are broken, consider replacing with LED light units – they are more durable than regular bulbs, offer a brighter light and use much less electrical power.

 

The white central light (pictured) is not a number plate light, but a flashing orange LED, intended to replace a traditional beacon.

 

“If you’re using a lighting board, put the correct width on for the trailer,” says Mr Loggin. “A narrow lighting board for example, won’t be easily visible once the trailer starts to make a turn. And I would want other road users to know that I’m turning right.”

Markers

Markers

Trailers longer than 5m (excluding drawbar) should be fitted with side reflectors no more than 3m apart, and should also be within 1m of the front and rear of the trailer.

 

Self-adhesive reflectors are cheap, as is reflective tape, which can help your trailer stand out, particularly at dusk.

 

Trailers more than 9m long require illuminated marker lights every 3m down their length.

Brakes

Brakes

Sticking brakes are often a sign of worn shoes and drums, allowing the cam which forces brake shoes against the drum to go over-centre.

 

With the axle supported, slacken the brake adjusters, remove the wheel nuts followed by the hub nut, to allow the brake drum to be removed.

 

Replace shoes, refit and adjust as necessary to restore braking performance and reliability. Non-standard brake shoes can also be relined.

Brakes continued

Brakes continued

With the drum removed, check that the grease seal is doing its job and keeping lubricant on the bearings, and not on the braking surface.

 

Parts for trailers using commercial vehicle axles are commonplace, suggests Mr Loggin. “Commercial axles deliver impressive braking performance too, and should offer longevity and reliability if checked and correctly set.”

Tyres

Tyres

Check tyres for cuts and bulges, and of course, tread. If in any doubt about their ability to carry weight, replace them. But don’t get hung up looking for exact replacements as some sizes can be hard to find.

 

Mr Loggin suggests ‘super singles’ are a low cost replacement, and part-worn wheels and tyres are in plentiful supply. “If the hub has a 10-stub pattern, they’ll go straight on, but never mix tyre sizes on an axle,” he says.

Plate

Plate

A manufacturer’s plate is a legal requirement for any trailer using public roads.

 

It must show gross weights and axle weights, and any trailer which has undergone conversion work must have its plate revised by the conversion company.

 

All farm trailers using public roads need to carry a number plate too, matching any one tractor registered to the farm.

Outriggers

Outriggers

Finally, a lot of farm trailers have been around the block a few times and have also stood the test of time.

 

That said, rust and rot can easily set in, so make a thorough inspection each year to ensure the trailer is sound and capable of carrying its payload.

 

Replace rotted outriggers to maintain structural integrity and replace rotted floors.

Twitter Facebook
Rating (0 vote/s)
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

More Insights

On-test: JCB 403: old vs new

After almost 10 years of production, JCB has updated its 403 compact loader. Richard Bradley looks at the key changes between the old and new machines.

Lamma Preview 2017: Pimp your tractor

Lightbars, mats, mirror guards and custom paintwork is a common sight on lorries, but an increasing number of tractor drivers are starting to customise their steeds. Geoff Ashcroft reports.

On-test: Vitara joins crossover club

Suzuki has transformed its Vitara from a full-blown 4x4, into a sporty crossover. Geoff Ashcroft takes the new model for a test drive.

Lamma Preview 2017: The need to know on drones

If a drone is on your 2017 shopping list, then a visit to Lamma could help with your research. Geoff Ashcroft reports.

Muck and slurry: Making the most of slurry

Splash plate spreading of slurry onto the field may be quick and easy, but it may not be making the most of your natural fertiliser. Richard Bradley seeks out expert advice to find out more.
FG Insight and FGInsight.com are trademarks of Briefing Media Ltd.
Farmers Guardian and FarmersGuardian.com are trademarks of Farmers Guardian Ltd, a subsidiary of Briefing Media Ltd.
All material published on FGInsight.com and FarmersGuardian.com is copyrighted © 2016 by Briefing Media Limited. All rights reserved.
RSS news feeds