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Saw a Pepsi delivery truck doing a wheelie

March 2, 2016
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The circled wheels on the stationary rig could be seen slowly turning.

This morning, during rush hour, a Pepsi-branded semi-trailer truck caught my eye as it was stopped in westbound traffic in the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue. At exactly 9:50 a.m.

I manged to get photos showing how two of the wheels on the right-hand side of the trailer’s rear tandem axle were off the ground completely and turning freely.

Perhaps the trailer should have read “Oopsi”

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It appeared to me that the two wheels on the left side of the axle were also off the ground but I couldn’t say for absolute sure.

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I also can’t say what danger not having all the trailer’s wheels on the ground represented (probably less than the over-loaded front-end loader that I saw in January).

At worst 10 the of rig’s 14 wheels (or 71.4 percent) were helping bear the rated gross vehicle weight, which was listed as “31,600 kgs” on the driver-side door of the truck, along with the fact that this particular Pepsi delivery truck was from the municipality of Delta.

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Given that I’ve never noticed this condition on big truck trailers before, it is somewhat ironic that a person beside me pointed out that the trailer being hauled by a dump truck, just in front of the Pepsi rig, also had a wheel off the ground. Who knows, maybe it’s the new thing to do these days.

Perhaps I’ll have to put an extra pair of useless wheels on my bike trailer, just so I can—you know—keep up. Click the images to enlarge them.

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7 Comments
  1. Oily bird permalink

    It’s a weight thing. The truck is probably empty and returning back to its depot after deliveries. At this point you raise the wheels to reduce fuel consumption and wear and tear on tires.

    • Thanks very much. I couldn’t find anything to that effect but I was wondering if was deliberate. I can certainly understand the benefits. Four tire adds considerable rolling resistance. I’ve honestly never noticed it before.

  2. Justin French permalink

    These trailers are 40′ long and have automatic tag axels. As the trailer is unloaded and the weight falls below 18,000 pounds, the forward axel on the trailer will raise automatically.

    • Thanks for the clear information. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is curious about the free-spinning wheels on these big trucks.

  3. Dave permalink

    This was a keen observation from an uninformed observer.

    Rest assured, this is by design. Pepsi specs Meritor WABCO automatic lift axle control – an optional feature controlled by the ABS braking system on the trailer. The forward lift axle raises and lowers as trailer GVWR requires, based on input from sensors installed in the suspension air bags. Trailers are smarter than you think!

    This function allows far greater service life on tires, brakes and axles, not to mention fuel savings. Toll roads typically have a ‘per axle’ charge for entry – additional cost savings to a fleet who crosses a toll booth with the trailer empty.

    This feature is approved per Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for operation in the contiguous U.S, whereas Canada has certain provincial law that requires that ALL axles be down.

    .

  4. Dave permalink

    Stanley, yessir. Normal operation.

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