Burschville Construction Inc., an underground utility contractor, needed a custom enclosed trailer solution for its utility crews to store tools and equipment on jobsites along with having the ability to move it easily and quickly. In the past, its crews had semi-van trailers for this purpose. The semi vans did the job but were cumbersome to use as they required stairs to get in and out and when it was time to move on to the next jobsite a semi-truck had to be scheduled for the move.
The solution was to be a custom-built trailer chassis that would then be taken to a commercial truck bodybuilder to have an all-aluminum, enclosed body installed. It was a challenging build, because too much flex and twisting of the frame would transfer to the structure leading to the eventual failure of the aluminum body; a stiff frame would be needed. A typical drop-deck trailer has most of the load centered on or near the mainframe rails. Another challenge to overcome would be making sure the perimeter of the chassis' frame would be strong enough to support the weight of the body as well as shelving units and other items that would likely be placed along the side walls.
Burschville, which already had five deck over Felling trailers, looked to Felling.
"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 Construction Inc. “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 utility/telecom product manager) met with me to go over ideas, several e-mails went back and forth, in the end, Mark made sure all our expectations were met."
The trailer chassis needed a GVWR of 24,000 pounds, so a triple 8,000-pound axle set -up was chosen. "With a 26.5-bed length, the 8,000-pound triple-axle set-up would be more forgiving in obtaining the proper tongue weight required for good towing characteristics than a 12,000-pound tandem axle set-up,” said Rapp. To ensure the strength of the perimeter of the chassis frame, Felling laser cut 3/8-inch steel plate and formed it for the structural support needed. Outriggers were installed every 16 to 18 inches being sure to line up with the cross-members between the mainframe rails. The structural plate also served as the floor outside of the mainframe rails as well as providing the strength to tie the body to the chassis. Along with this, pull-out steps with heavy expanded metal surface were provided at the side door as well as the full width of the rear roll-up door.
Once Felling completed the build of the trailer chassis it was taken to Ohnsorg Truck Body in Belle Plaine, Min., for the upper enclosure.
“John Ohnsorg and his crew did an exceptional job on their portion of the trailer. I have had many people ask, ‘Where did you buy that trailer?’” said Schendel. “With this new trailer, we can move the same tools and equipment with a Super Duty truck (as they did 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 pick up 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."