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  • #16
    why I'm so critical about tongues

    I've been in driving positions for the better part of ten years, most of which pulling trailers of some sort. Sometimes that was my full time job, or like now, it's just one of things I have to do. Over that time I've run everything from compact trucks with little utility trailers to Petes with 500hp 3406s and double/triples. Of all those miles the only two incidences I had were tongue failures on trailers while delivering new and nearly new "shop built" trailers on straight line road driving. Both of which ended up being design or workmanship flaws. Both times no one was hurt. The first one the trailer went right and only took out mailboxes. Fortunate, because there was on coming traffic. When we returned what was left of that one, the builder actually made the comment that that design "did it again, maybe we need to fix it". Gees! The second time, the builders (different ones, never hauled again for the other guy) of the trailer had to pay to repave a 100ft section of I-40 because the tongue on a 24' enclosed broke and the frame rails acted like a two bottom plow into the roadway. The trailer was the least of their worry at that time. I don't remember how many thousands the road cost. Just speaking from both ends of the spectrum on this one, not trying to cause arguments or anything else. Simply a case of agreeing to disagree on a topic. SSS
    Last edited by SkidSteerSteve; 04-08-2007, 04:13 PM.
    Bobcat 250, MM 210, Syncrowave 180, Spectrum 375
    Cat 242B Skid Steer, Challenger (Cat/Agco) MT275
    1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

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    • #17
      Interesting discussion here.

      I have built allot of trialers myself and to this day it amazes me some of the things I see. you can not allow for all incidents where something can fail. We only try to do our best. I agree with some from both camps here. If the weld held but the metal pulled apart beside the weld, than I think their might have been a little to much heat when welding it which weakend the material ( possibly ). I can't see well enough from the pictures and its not for me to get that involved in the investigation but after reading all the post thought I would add my 2 cents worth. As stated when a heavy truck and a lighter trailer go up against each other, the truck will win everytime. Because the area that broke was close to the weld, does this mean it was poorly welded. I don't think so. Something was going to give and depending on the shear force and pressure points it could have happened just like it looks. We do not know the speed or any other facts to judge to accuratly. I have seen a trailer failure very similar and the tongue was torn off at the welds. Turns out the trialer was wiped around at higher speeds then when backing up to avoid an accident. The speed and acting force caused the metal to tear near the welds. No one could believe this can happen and after the investigation it was determined that the manufacture wasn't at fault. No one was hurt by the way. Also the tool box damage to me was very bad and a good indication. Thoughs tool boxs take allot of force to bend in like that on the corner, which is the strongest part on the box. Plus the box being mount as it was could have changed the tongues design and thus the acting forces. Another point here is, how much weight was in that tool box. tongues are not design for the most part to carry excessive weight. So many things can cause things like this to happen and we need to try and stay above water on it. Also allot of people who own trialers will over load them or load them incorrectly starting the failure process.

      Sorry for the long post, The one big point I think needs to be make here is that we as fabricators need to have a certain amount of blind luck as no matter what you build and how well you build it, their is always someone out there able to break it is a fashion thats hard to believe.
      Little Fabrication
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      • #18
        I repair eqiuipment that are used by Linemen everyday. [electric utility workers] There can't be a harder on equipment work force anywhere. We always "over build" everything. I know that is hard when your bidding on a project but I have lost some jobs because I wouldnt do it the way they wanted. Also those machines in the picture and the tool box put a lot of weight on the tongue, vertically. I think the tongue should only have something like 10% of the load. Some of our trailers have 2000lbs of tongue weight which is alot. But then they are made of 12" I beam too. Good luck,
        Scott
        HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

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        • #19
          more info

          I got a phone call from this guy's brother in law today, he was calling to place an order for his fifth trailer from me (nothing to do with other guy's business). At the end of the conversation he told me a few things that might put this to bed as to whether or not my welding or tongue design is sufficient. He said that he (the trailer owner) was having a disagreement with a client about his vending machines, client told him to get machines off of his property. He was already upset by losing a client and was using the clients fork lift to remove a machine from the loading dock and dropped it destroying a machine. Now he's really mad, finally gets the machine on the trailer and now he's blocked in by another delivery truck. Now he's even madder, he then tries to manuver through the parking lot where there was no way he could fit. now he's real mad and frustrated cause he can't get out. He finally gets to where he has a shot at getting out the gated parking lot, trying to angle the trailer to get it out he hit the fence post on the right rear corner, instead of pulling forward he tries to slide it off the edge of the post. Now take the trailer and wedge it against post, add 16,000 pounds of force to it and tell me again how it's my poor design or improper welding that caused the tongue failure. Also noted to me was that his brother in law was sited for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage (fence post and sliding gate and another vehicle hit by front bumper of his truck)). His insurance company is supposed to be out sometime today to appraise the damage, and mine has been notified as well. When I hear more from the insurance companies I will post their findings into the incident Dave
          If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

          sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
          Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

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          • #20
            wow. This guy shouldn't be driving!!! its always the same story. They tear it up and blame somebody else
            Scott
            HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

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            • #21
              insurance adjuster

              My insurance company sent someone out to look at the trailer today, the other guys adjuster never showed, maybe tomorrow. But the findings from my insurance carrier were that there were no defects in the engineering, craftmanship, materials and or design of the trailer. His guestimate of impact speed was at approx. 6-8 m.p.h. His findings are that the trailer owner is 100% at fault and they will deny any claim or liability on my behalf. I should recieve the official report by them in about two weeks, when I get a hard copy of it I will scan it and post it to this thread. Also I will post anything that comes from the owners insurance carrier as well.
              If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

              sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
              Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

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              • #22
                dabar39,
                got on this thread a little late INTERESTING!!!!!!! My friend who had built boat trailers for over 30 years I think had 1 incident with someone backing up their boat and trailer into a wall, and the sliding tongue caved in a little bit. He makes his trailers for as little weight as possible, but still conforming to engineering specs (He went to engineering school). Anyway, he told the upset owner that wouldn't it be better to have the tongue cave in than his truck? and...why did he park it against a wall? If he had known he was going to do that, he would have made the trailer with I-beam! Owner walked away......He makes his bunks with 2 brackets, forward and back, with 2x4's or 2 x 6's as bunks, so the boards will flex with the boats weight bouncing up and down. not 2 or 3 extra in the middle, as he says, there's no give, so the boats fiberglass will absorb the shock and crack in years to come...
                One of my best friends' said it best: "Stupid people shouldn't breed"
                How are youre eyes doing?
                best regards, bert
                I'm not late...
                I'm just on Hawaiian Time

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                • #23
                  WE Have a saying

                  WE have a saying where I come from , the driver had to study to be that stupid.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by john p View Post
                    WE have a saying where I come from , the driver had to study to be that stupid.
                    Thats funny

                    How are your eyes Dabar? Good progress. Good luck
                    Scott
                    HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

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                    • #25
                      additional info.

                      The trailer owners insurance company has come and looked at the trailer last week and the adjuster said there is absolutely nothing wrong with the engineering or construction of my trailer. After him being here twice to talk to me, I was left with a check in my hand for 1000.00, The amount of a deposit for a 18' car hauler. I talked to the adjuster today and he also told me they are denying his claim altogether and have dropped him as a client as his acts were in a criminal manner (leaving the scene of an accident with property damage) Dave

                      Also to all the guys asking about my eyes, I'm scheduled for surgery on the right eye in about 8 weeks from now. Thanks for asking and the concern.
                      If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

                      sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
                      Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by dabar39 View Post
                        The trailer owners insurance company has come and looked at the trailer last week and the adjuster said there is absolutely nothing wrong with the engineering or construction of my trailer. After him being here twice to talk to me, I was left with a check in my hand for 1000.00, The amount of a deposit for a 18' car hauler. I talked to the adjuster today and he also told me they are denying his claim altogether and have dropped him as a client as his acts were in a criminal manner (leaving the scene of an accident with property damage) Dave

                        Also to all the guys asking about my eyes, I'm scheduled for surgery on the right eye in about 8 weeks from now. Thanks for asking and the concern.
                        It is begining to look as though there is some justice in the world after all. Good luck on the eye surgery
                        Regards, George

                        Hobart Handler 210 w/DP3035 - Great 240V small Mig
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                        • #27
                          294 trailers later and I guess I still don't know what I'm doing.

                          The whole point of the thread was that this guy damages the trailer and is not willing to take any credit. I don't care how you build the tongue it was going to get tore up.

                          I am going to say my opinion one last time, If you take 16,000 pounds of rolling mass and wedge a 880 lb. trailer on a fence at an angle and keep pushing on it, something is gonna give. I don't care what the tongue was made of it would have been damaged. Say it all you want but channel would have twisted up just as box tubing would have also bent.

                          Myself and hundreds of other builders build it the same way, I guess we all have no clue as to what we do. The idea behind a angle tongue is so that it will bend on impact same as cars have crumple zones built into them. With the impact this trailer took it would have been a total loss if not for the tongue having some give. Also to make it clear this trailer is a 6'4" x 12' trailer, it aint that big and even though SSS is correct about 7000 lb. axles that doesn't mean the trailer is rated for that. This trailer has a duty rating of 3500 lbs., 300+ lbs. more than the max load this guy carries. Any of you who are skeptical about this matter, I suggest you look on ebay and other web sites and you will see most light duty 3500 lb trailers have an angle frame and tongue assembly. Also if you look at the builders using tubing on their tongues most are using 14 ga. wall thickness.

                          Every body has their own way of doing things whether it be right or wrong, people will always have their own opinion. That's one thing I like about this forum. I do take each and every position available and try to learn from it. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don't and I mean no offense to any one who has posted their own personal opinion. Dave
                          If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

                          sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
                          Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

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                          • #28
                            dabar39
                            well said. there are some real winners out there. that we have to look out for.they depened on us.they cant help it. there are the ones that think they can back a trialer. and the ones that can tear up a crowbar in a sandpile. it dont matter what it is made of.thinks for the update i have been waiting.
                            miller bobcat 250
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                            2 lincoln 225 stick
                            a 1954 hobart portable welder w/ willies jeep engine

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                            • #29
                              I ain't mad

                              I think that the people questioning the integrity of my trailers are not getting the whole picture here. Lets go to common sense 101 here, and review what we have learned.
                              1. truck weight: 16,000
                              2. empty trailer weight: 880
                              3. estimated impact speed 6-8 m.p.h.

                              Now lets factor in the fence pole wedged against the back of the trailer, I'm sorry guys' but I'm no engineering major but I would have to believe that the trailer held up very well. Is there any one on here who can figure out the math and determine the amount of force exerted by the impact of the truck? I am quite sure the force exerted would have to be way above the 16,000 lb. truck weight, probably double or triple the force weight.

                              Since I started my business I have personally built 294 trailers in the last 4 years with this being the first one with any kind of damage to the tongue area. I had built dozens of trailers before this time as well. I didn't just wake up one day and say this is how I'm gonna build it, I looked at many of the Big manufacturers and basically copied what they are all doing. If I was the only guy in this business building this way I would say o.k. you got me guys, but I'm sure somebody had an engineer design their trailer frames.

                              I am not mad, and hold no grudges as it may be. I take this to be a public forum and everybody is going to have a better way to build a mouse trap. I just happen to believe that my mouse trap held up with minimal damage for the incident. Over designing things is not always the answer to the problem, this guy would have tore up a Sherman tank given the opportunity. Dave
                              If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

                              sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
                              Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

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                              • #30
                                We have a bunch of 18000 gvw trailers and they have 12" I-beam in the tongues. In 19 yrs here they have bent [2] of them. belive it or not some people will tear up anything. We accuse the operators of being able to tear up an anvil with a wet napkin

                                You should be fine with your eyes, they have really good ways to fix them nowadays, good luck again
                                Scott
                                HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

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