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Truckers, What's in those boxes?

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Hi guys,

I had a couple of General Questions going on here and lots of good info came up.

I see on some big rigs an array of boxes on the frame rail sides.  What in them?

What do you have stored away? 

Also, if you have a truck with just one fuel tank, which side would you prefer it be on.  I can imagine driver's side.  Anyone?

Thanks.

Michael

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It's where we hide the bodies LOL!! :o:unsure::huh::rolleyes::lol:

In all seriousness, at least for me, they were more or less the "junk drawer" for things I needed but didn't use on a regular basis. The driver and what the truck normally hauls will change the answer too, because flat bedders may put chains, tarps, straps and binders in them and others may not use them at all. Also, not always are the boxes for storage, some that you see might be a APU (auxiliary power unit) that keeps the cab cool in the summer and warm in the winter without idling the truck's engine. There can also be storage where it might not look like there is. There is no big boxes hanging off either of these trucks I used to drive, but they did have extra storage boxes. Guess where?? :lol:

 

 

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Oh, and on the one fuel tank, driver's side is more convenient but at most truck stops it doesn't matter because they have a main pump on the driver's side and a satellite pump on the passenger side.   

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LOL.

Hey Matthew, the hidden boxes are where it stinks the most.  ...."hidden bodies".

I'd guess the there's a box to hide stuff just ahead of the fuel tank.  Flip the lid and have a peek.

 

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The "hidden" box is under the bunk.

Like Matt said, it can just be a catch all or actually serve a purpose. Chains, straps, rachets, air hose, extra parts like air lines or an extra electrical pigtail. I used my box to store all my cleaning supplies, polish, rags, tire dressing sponges, towels...etc.

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OK, thanks guys.

So, are these boxes lined?  Like with wood or similar.  Seems like loose things would bang around and if heavy could cause damage.  Any pics of these boxes and how you have things stored?

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Sometimes the boxes are actually the battery box (where the truck's batteries are located). sometimes they are just a cover hiding part of the exhaust system (especially on new trucks with the fancy new emissions systems), sometimes they are APU's as mentioned, and sometimes they are just storage boxes. All of the storage boxes I have seen are just aluminum inside, some guys put cardboard or wood on the bottom, but some don't. Every driver is different, some keep a gallon or two of oil in there, some keep work gloves, chains or straps, a small toolbox, etc.

 

Our company used to order a lot of our trucks with only one fuel tank, always on the driver side for us. That seems to be the most convenient.

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Here was one of our old trucks with the fuel tank on the driver's side only. The front box in the picture is the battery box, the rear box is just a storage box.

101.jpeg

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My company orders the trucks with a single fuel tank, typically on the driverside. We do it for weight savings. The pictures of my truck, the passenger side,  that's a small hydraulic tank, some of trucks the hydraulic tank is under the dump body, the step is just a cover for the exhaust filter. The driver side, the fuel tank and the box lookin deal by the hood fender, is a cover for the DEF tank.

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LOL.

Hey Matthew, the hidden boxes are where it stinks the most.  ...."hidden bodies".

I'd guess the there's a box to hide stuff just ahead of the fuel tank.  Flip the lid and have a peek.

 

Yes Michael, on both that of the old rigs I used to drive from the pics, the International's passenger step is a hidden box, and the Pete you can see the box's lock in the passenger fairing. As KJ also said, and was the case on both of my old rides, the driver's side matching areas/steps were the battery boxes. 

The "hidden" box is under the bunk.

Like Matt said, it can just be a catch all or actually serve a purpose. Chains, straps, rachets, air hose, extra parts like air lines or an extra electrical pigtail. I used my box to store all my cleaning supplies, polish, rags, tire dressing sponges, towels...etc.

LOL Clayton, that is hidden too! :lol:

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Thanks guys for adding some info here. 

For my ongoing project I'd like to know when I flip the lid on a box or two, what to put in there.  Now I know.

QUESTION, NEW ONE.  I don't think I need to start another topic, right here is OK.

So, any of you truckers ever had to change a tire while on the road?  Do you even carry a jack on board that can handle the job?

How do you change a tire on a big rig?  Can one guy do it?

(I'll bet KJ can offer a word or two here.  I've read that he started at an early age)

 

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Thanks guys for adding some info here. 

For my ongoing project I'd like to know when I flip the lid on a box or two, what to put in there.  Now I know.

QUESTION, NEW ONE.  I don't think I need to start another topic, right here is OK.

So, any of you truckers ever had to change a tire while on the road?  Do you even carry a jack on board that can handle the job?

How do you change a tire on a big rig?  Can one guy do it?

(I'll bet KJ can offer a word or two here.  I've read that he started at an early age)

 

I would rather change truck tires than car tires, I find them easier (though a lot heavier). You can easily change a truck tire with two long tire-irons. Just let the air out, break the bead down, push the bead into the drop enter of the rim (the hump in the middle of the rim) and pry the tire off. Some tire guys change the tires while the wheel is still bolted onto the truck. Many trucks have a small bottle jack in their storage box, and a lot of guys have a spare tire already mounted on a rim hanging under the trailer in a carrier. This eliminates the need to swap the tire on the rim on the side of the road. Back in the day it was pretty common for drivers to at least change the whole rim/tire on the side of the road themselves, but that is less and less common now. Most people call a roadside service company to come out and change tires on the road now.

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Thanks KJ.  I figured you know a thing or two about changing tires.

I saw a young blonde honey on the Tube driving a big truck (automatic).  I'll bet she knows the number of a roadside service.  lol.

Anyone ever had a scary moment with a tire blowout?

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“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. ” Archimedes .   KJ is right now most call for roadside service.  The company I work for now has a dedicated service truck, they "prefer the driver remain the driver".  Wheres the fun in that? :P

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Back when my started driving dump trucks, about 90, they had big bottle jacks, knocker bars and a premounted spare. They would drive 30 or 40 miles out on dirt roads to load rock, sand or clay or whatever. There wasn't any cell phones then, so they did a lot themselves. They had a kit to fix holes in fuel tanks, extra fuel filters and an extra brake can (both style).

Now fast forward to now. Same (basically) equipment, premounted spare, no tools, no extra parts, just a list of road call numbers. The company wants us to be drivers and perform any repairs.

I carry a basic set of tools so I can fix a bad light connection, extra ferels and air line connectors. I don't like having to wait for a road call if it's something I know how to fix. I've done a few repairs to get it home and they didn't know how to act. I said just say thank you for saving the company money.

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 I've done a few repairs to get it home and they didn't know how to act. I said just say thank you for saving the company money.

OORAH!

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My company orders the trucks with a single fuel tank, typically on the driverside. We do it for weight savings.

Now this was something I read earlier and was really surprised.  Saving weight.  OK, how many gallons go in the tank,  200?  That would be about 1400 lbs. (?).  The tank weighs empty maybe 200 lbs.(?).  Does this make a difference in driving behavior?  Or is it more about saving truck weight means carrying heavier loads = more money?

Are there any road scales anymore on the highways?

 

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As Clayton and KJ have already said, most companies nowadays want us just to be drivers, they don't want us doing any repairs ourselves, and most of that stems to one factor: liability. They would rather pay a road service call and have them accountable in case something bad happens due to a repair than it being pinned to the driver or the comapny themselves. Honestly too, with the new breed of idiot steering wheel holders on the road today, most make me wonder how they even got a license, so I surely don't want them attempting even a simple repair like changing a light bulb. 

I'm like Clayton and KJ though, I come from the old school where I at least try to save that road service call and get back to the distribution center I run out of, we have a shop there, and if it something I can limp home with safely, I will. In my younger and dumber days and after I drove heavy wrecker in 2000-2002, I learned a lot more about what I could and couldn't fix myself, carried a fully stocked tool box complete with caging bolts for the brake cans, and always made sure I had a good quality roll of electrical tape in the truck too. I found electrical tape is better than duct tape, especially for repairing a small hole in an air line. :D

Also, never a really scary moment with a blowout, the worst for me at least is that unexpected seat sucking moment when the tire goes "BANG" and it sounds like a bomb going off! :o It's one reason why I don't like and will not drive trucks with super singles on them, At least with duals, I'm able to get the truck and trailer to a safe place off the highway, an exit ramp, truck stop, store, etc. so the road service can be safe doing their job and also keep my equipment safe, and with a super single that is impossible without damaging the wheel as well. That just comes from being one of the guys while I drove wrecker standing on the white line and having my hat blown off my head more than once by drivers that came a little too close for comfort. 

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Now this was something I read earlier and was really surprised.  Saving weight.  OK, how many gallons go in the tank,  200?  That would be about 1400 lbs. (?).  The tank weighs empty maybe 200 lbs.(?).  Does this make a difference in driving behavior?  Or is it more about saving truck weight means carrying heavier loads = more money?

Are there any road scales anymore on the highways?

 

We also did it for weight savings. We ran one fuel tank that was extra long. One long 240 gal tank is lighter than two 120 gallon tanks (saves the weight of 2 end caps, fuel caps, fuel tank brackets and straps, etc. All in all you save maybe 150 lbs, but if that means one less overweight ticket then it is worth it. There are still quite a few scales on major highways around the US.

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I remember my first blow out, it's was with Schneider. I drove a day cab and they just put on a fresh set of 8 recap drive tires. I got 30 miles away from the yard and BANG! That cap came around amd smack the back of the cab a couple times, beat the snot out of the fuel tank step. Let me tell you, that got my attention.:D

Also, never a really scary moment with a blowout, the worst for me at least is that unexpected seat sucking moment when the tire goes "BANG" and it sounds like a bomb going off! :o It's one reason why I don't like and will not drive trucks with super singles on them, At least with duals, I'm able to get the truck and trailer to a safe place off the highway, an exit ramp, truck stop, store, etc. so the road service can be safe doing their job and also keep my equipment safe, and with a super single that is impossible without damaging the wheel as well. That just comes from being one of the guys while I drove wrecker standing on the white line and having my hat blown off my head more than once by drivers that came a little too close for comfort. 

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Michael, our fuel tanks are 125, 110 at 90% capacity.

Not going to get on my soap box again, but, my company gets paid off the weight. The lighter the truck, the more it makes. And then there's a whole other argument about light weight trucks and a bunch of other things that my company doesn't seem to care about.

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"changing a light bulb"....lol.  Like one on a ceiling, I'll hold the bulb, and another turns the ladder I'm standing on. 

KJ, I understand better now, thanks.

Clayton, I'd bet that one opened your eyes.  BANG!  Ha, I read once a forum entry from a trucker who described rolling along at 70mph. and a car comes out on the highway right in front of you, only to make a turn soon at the next road.  "Lets you fart foam rubber".  lmao.

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Based solely upon the pain and hassle of an overweight ticket, the lighter weight is a good thing to strive for. When I used to work construction, we would move some very heavy loads. We were moving a Koehring 1166E excavator from one end of a job to the other, about 1/2 mile. The boss didn't bother to get a permit for the weight, (don't even know if he COULD have), and had us do it at 0430 hrs using a Mack DM800 tractor and an old Schertzer lowboy. The 1166 alone weighed in at about 195,000. We got about 100 yards out on to the road and the state police truck team came out of no where and stopped us. We figured a disgruntled employee blew the whistle on our plans and called the police. We had to park the truck, and break the load down into legal loads. It takes about 5 days to take it apart and put it back together again, tracks, house, boom, dipper, counterweight etc. That one move not only cost thousands in fines, but also many thousands in lost work, and labor costs. And of course we got reamed out about it too!

Regarding recaps.............I was about ten and sound asleep in the back of my Dad's Willys stationwagon, with my head on the wheel well when the tire on my side threw a cap at about 50 MPH. That was over 50 years ago and my head STILL rings just thinking about it. WOW!

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