Gearhead Grrrl tries to be eclectic in her tastes mechanical… yesterday we nibbled on sidecars, today it’s mechanical beef roast by the ton(s)… What you see below is a South Dakota sized tractor-semitrailer-trailer rig with all of 15 axles. The length of the two trailers and “dolly” combined is limited to a “mere” 81 and a half feet, and there’s no limit on overall length. There’s no absolute weight limit, just a formula that takes into account the number of axles and the distance between them to calculate a truck’s legal weight limit. If you know what “Formula B” is, you’re familiar with it. With 15 axles about 100 feet apart at the extremes, this truck can legally run at up to around 160,000 pounds total gross weight in South Dakota. That’s double the weight limit of a mere 80,000 pounds in most of the states.

So what’s the ramifications of this MegaTruck? On the positive side, higher productivity, lower energy consumption, and less pollution. On then negative side, not a lot of traction for getting up icy hills and less stability than a normal truck half it’s weight. And you’d think the owners of these MegaTrucks would plow the savings back into higher wages to attract the best drivers and safely equipment like antilock brakes and stability control? Some do, but other owners seem to hook whatever junk trailers and dollies they can buy cheap together and send them wobbling down the road. I’d be tempted to try a hand at driving one, but the only outfit running them that pays decent and cares about safety is UPS, and they’re nearest hub is 70 miles away, too far to commute.

Downsizing back to sidecars, the set up I did wasn’t working out so I redid it again this morning. Looks and more importantly measures up good now, I’ll give the bolts a final torquing, hook up the steering damper, remount the body, and hopefully take it out for a road test tomorrow.

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