Used Lowboy Semi Trailers – Ground-Bearing Vs. Non-Ground Bearing Trailers


Lowboys are great semi-trailers for hauling heavy loads or over dimension loads. Lowboys provide a low ride height that makes taller loads get under bridge laws and low hanging street lights or power lines. Lowboy trailers come in a variety of sizes, but most are 48 or 53 feet long. The well type and length of lowboy trailers are critical as it determines what size and kind of equipment can be hauled on it. The well length of lowboy trailers can range from as short as 20ft to as long as 30ft. Extendable lowboys can add even more length to the well for extraordinarily long cargo. Some wells can have bridges in the middle or flat or boom wells over the rear axles so it is essential that the well type accommodates the kind of equipment you’ll be loading. Most lowboy trailers will be 102 inches wide but have outriggers or slide outs along the side that can make the width of the trailer wider to help carry your wider wheeled or tracked loads. Most lowboy trailers do not come with winches on the side, and truckers use chain and binders to secure the cargo being hauled on the semi-trailer. Generally, most lowboy trailers are made out of steel frame, steel cross-members and a steel outer construction with wood floors. Lowboy trailers come in a mixture of different axle variations from tandem to Tri to quad and more. Flip axles, jeeps, and boosters are common accessories that help the lowboy trailer haul bigger and heavier loads. Some hefty duty lowboys can have multiple axles, jeeps, boosters, spreader bars, neck extensions, and other add-ons to help assist with the heaviest of cargo transportation. Lowboys have many different neck variations to them to help with the loading and unloading of equipment. Mechanical detach lowboys have a necking system that attaches and disconnect manually with a system of locking pins, levers, keepers, shackles and semi-truck assistance.

Lowboys are also made as hydraulic detach lowboy trailers that mainly come in two different styles: ground bearing and non-ground bearing lowboys. Ground bearing lowboys are relatively self-explanatory. The hydraulic rams use the ground to push off of to raise and lower the height of the lowboy as well as to connect and disconnect the neck from the semi-trailer. If you see a lowboy trailer that has hydraulic rams that use the ground underneath it to push the trailer up and down, then it is a ground bearing lowboy. Non-Ground bearing lowboys have hydraulic systems that do not use the terrain to push off of. These lowboys either push off the trailer or work off the 5th wheel of the semi-truck to connect and disconnect for loading and unloading the semi-trailer.

Many different types of lowboys function, connect and disconnect in different ways depending on how the manufacturer has designed the process of attaching and detaching the neck of the lowboys. Hydraulic detach lowboy trailers function off of a wet line kit that is connected to the semi-truck or a pony motor system that is attached to the trailer to assist with connections.

Lowboys are rated in different capacity variations from 35 ton, 50 ton 60 ton and much higher tonnage rating. Pricing of these higher capacity rated trailers can get very expensive. You pay for what you get in life, and semi trucks and trailers are the same. If you are purchasing a high capacity lowboy in the twenty thousand dollars or less range, then chances are it’s old and will need a little tender, love, and care.

There are many places to shop online for a lowboy trailer. While shopping you need to make sure it’s the right trailer to fit your hauling needs. Capacity, well length, axle spacing, GVWR, GAWR, swing clearance, cross member spacing, ground clearance, deck height, detachable configuration, and many other factors can be significant factors in your ability to effectively run loads and drive revenue. If you don’t know what exactly you need then could be good to call other lowboy trucking companies to humbly ask for advice. You could also call around to lowboy dealers or manufacturers to clarify the specs you’ll need to legally haul your target loads. You could also call permit companies to solicit advice on what type of trailer is required to legally pull specific load types. As well as reading multiple sites or forums online to get help from other experienced carriers. Quality lowboy trailers can be very expensive so doing your research could save you thousands of dollars and a lot of time and headaches pre-purchase instead of post-purchase.