07 August 2015


In South El Monte, CA I picked up a high value load at Proctor and Gamble that weighed out at 43,427 lbs. Any load over 30,000 lbs we are advised to scale to verify that the weight on the steer, drive and tandem axles does not exceed DOT limits. My GPS said there was a CAT scale 4 miles away and without a weigh station on the route and I drove there and went onto the scale. 

"First weigh or re-weigh," a voice said over the scale intercom.

"First weigh."

"Come inside for your ticket."

I went inside the truck stop and saw the ticket.

I was overweight on the drive axle by 1000 lbs. This was not good. I knew I could move the trailer tandems 3 holes forward, moving weight from the drive axle to the tandem axle, but each hole would probably only shift 300 lbs. Still, I had to try it. I went back to the truck and pulled the tandem release bar and locked it when I saw the pins had pulled back. I got into the tractor and released the parking brake and flipped the trailer hold switch. Now the trailer wheels were locked and I could push the trailer back along the rails by slowly backing up the tractor. I backed up until I heard the tandems hit and they could go forward no further. I got out and locked the tandem release bar and then got back into the tractor, released all the brakes, and drove back around the truck stop and reentered the scale.

"First weigh or re-weigh."


I went back inside for the ticket.

I was still 100 lbs over on the drive axle. There was only one thing now to do. I would have to move the fifth wheel. I had one notch forward to move it and thought I could perhaps move 100 lbs of pressure from the drive axle to the steer axle. If not I would need to return to Proctor and Gamble and ask that the trailer be reloaded.

I wound the trailer landing gear down and then struggled to raise the raise the heavy trailer. I needed releive some of the pressure on the fifth wheel so I could slide it forward.  I got back into the cab and released the parking brake. I flipped on the trailer hold switch and the inter axle. Then I flipped and held the fifth wheel slide "mom" into the unlock position and, in reverse, slowly let off the clutch.

The truck lurched back. I got out to see if the pins of the fifth wheel were now in the furthest notches forward and they were.

I drove back around the truck stop and drove up onto the scale.

"First weigh or re-weigh."


"Come inside."

I saw the ticket. I was now 80lbs under the max weight of 12,000lbs on the steer axle, and just 80lbs under the max weight of 34,000lbs on the drive axle. I was legal.

"You finally did it," smiled the Mexican girl.

"Yes. If that didnt work I would have to leave my 100lb girlfriend here at the truck stop."

"Really?" She stopped smiling.

"No. No. I'm only joking."

I was relieved I did not need to return to Proctor and Gamble and have the trailer reloaded. I had used up 1.5 hours of on-duty time getting my weight right. Now, as long as the load didn't shift before I hit the weigh stations, I would be alright. In any case, CAT promises to the accuracy of its scales and pledges to pay all overweight fines and to vigorously defend drivers in the courts. 


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