Burschville Construction recently turned to Felling Trailers for a custom-built trailer chassis that, after receiving an all-aluminum, enclosed body from a commercial truck body builder, the company is using to store tools and equipment on job sites.
The underground utility contractor wanted an enclosed trailer it could move easily and quickly between sites, Felling said. Previously, Burschville crews used semi-van trailers, which did the job but were cumbersome to use, requiring stairs for entry and advanced scheduling of a semi-truck when it was time to move the trailer.
Felling said the custom trailer chassis was a “challenging build.”
Too much flex and twisting of the frame would transfer to the structure, leading to eventual failure of the aluminum body, so a stiff frame was required. A typical drop-deck trailer has most of its load centered on or near the main frame rails. Another challenge was ensuring the perimeter of the chassis frame is strong enough to support the weight of the body, shelving units and other items placed along the walls.
“Felling trailers have held up very well, they pull great down the road, and when we have any issues, they always take care of us,” said Richard Schendel, vice president of Burschville, which currently owns five Felling deck-over trailers. “That is why we chose them to build the underbody of the enclosed trailer.
“This trailer had many hours of thoughts and ideas put into it before it was put into production. Mark Rapp (Felling’s utility/telecom product manager) met with me to go over ideas, several e-mails went back and forth, and, in the end, Mark made sure all our expectations were met.”
The trailer chassis needed a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 24,000 pounds, so Felling opted for a triple-axle setup with three 8,000-pound axles.
“With a 26.5-foot bed length, the 8,000-pound triple-axle setup would be more forgiving in obtaining the proper tongue weight required for good towing characteristics than a 12,000-pound tandem-axle setup,” Rapp said.
To strengthen the chassis frame’s perimeter, Felling laser cut 3/8-inch steel plate and formed it for the structural support needed. Outriggers were installed every 16 to 18, while making sure they lined up with the cross-members between the main frame rails. The structural plate also served as the floor outside of the main frame rails, and provided the strength to tie the body to the chassis. Then pull-out steps with a heavy expanded metal surface were provided at the side door, as well as the full width of the rear roll-up door.
After Felling completed the build of the trailer chassis, Ohnsorg Truck Bodies in Belle Plaine MN provided the upper enclosure.
“John Ohnsorg and his crew did an exceptional job on their portion of the trailer,” Schendel said. “I have had many people ask, ‘Where did you buy that trailer?’ With this new trailer, we can move the same tools and equipment with a Super Duty truck (as with the semi van). Our foremen have a company truck that can pull the trailer from job to job, rather than having to schedule a semi-truck to move the trailer. The new enclosed trailer is much easier to get in and out of the job site using a pickup, if conditions are not favorable.
“The tools are always with the foreman, so if something changes or an emergency comes up, they can take care of our emergency repair calls in a timely manner. Our municipal customers appreciate the prompt service.”