What Is A Tandem Truck?

How Big Is A Tandem Dump Truck?

A tandem truck is exactly what its name implies: also referred to as double-bottom, double-trailer truck,the tandem truck is a very long rig consisting of a tractor pulling two trailers hooked up one behind another.

What Is A Tandem Truck Brief

The average tandem dump truck dimensions are height: 9’10”, width: 8’6″ (9′ with mirrors) and length: 23′. When it comes to the weight specifications, the regular tandem dump truck, having 3 axles and spanning 22 ft, has a limit for the gross weight of 52,500 lbs.

Common Uses Of Tandem Trucks

There are several different uses for a tandem truck, such as dump truck, cement mixing truck and tanker truck. Any time you want to haul a large volume of heavy material and minimize the travel from pick-up to delivery site, a tandem truck is a good choice.

What Is The Capacity Of A Tandem Truck?

The tandem truck is much more heavy-duty than a regular truck and can therefore haul some really heavy loads.

“Most tandem axle dump trucks can carry up to 13 tons per load. You may also see capacity measured in cubic yards. For perspective, a cubic yard is a bundle of material about three feet in length, width and height. That’s equivalent to 27 cubic feet. A typical dump truck can carry 10-14 cubic yards.”

Keep in mind that there are federal max load restrictions, with the heaviest permitted gross vehicle weight of 80,000 lbs. The maximum on a single axle is 20,000 pounds, with 34,000 pounds as the upper limit on a tandem axle group. (Source: www.wikimotors.org.)

How Many Axles Does A Tandem Truck Have?

The tandem truck has two sets of axles, one right behind the other-hence the name tandem. On a standard tandem axle truck, both of the back axles are driven. The axle driving mechanism is a bit more complicated than a regular truck axle driving assembly:

“As you may recall, tandem axle trucks have axles with differential assemblies: one with a standard differential and the other paired with a power divider. Understandably, there may be some confusion in determining which differential is active at any given moment. But in truth, both axles are driving the truck. How? Let’s find out with a quick overview.

When there’s no loss of traction, both axles drive the truck. The differential or power divider lock can be engaged, which permits each axle to drive the truck whether or not the other has sufficient traction. Each of these power dividers also incorporates a nest assembly to offset small differences in tire wear.

When you lock your axles, you deactivate this offsetting function. You risk damage to one or both axles in these cases. For best results, avoid locking your axles unless your truck is completely stopped.

Depending on the truck’s design, it may also be equipped with wheel differential locks that independently allow wheels to turn in spite of existing traction conditions. However, remember that driving in proper traction conditions with a differential lock on can cause serious damage to that differential.” (Source: www.wikimotors.org.)

How Do You Slide A Tandem Axle On A Truck?

Why would you want to change the axle position on a tandem? The axle positioning determines your load weight capacity and by changing the axle assembly position, you can adjust the weight distribution of the truck bed.

The tandems are locked in place by pins that are located on the sliding rail right above the tandem axle assembly. Follow the steps below to adjust the axle assembly on your truck:

Step 1: Locate the sliding release arm that is located in front of your tandem axle assembly.

Step 2: Lock the arm into place, it will release and retract the pin that is holding the axle assembly in place.

Note: on occasion, the pin might get stuck. In that case, lock the sliding release arm, get into the truck (with your trailer brakes locked!) and drive the trailer back and forth in a rocking motion, which will release the pin.

Step 3: Make sure you keep your trailer brakes engaged. Move the truck forward or backward, depending on what you need to do and the desired weight distribution position of the axles.

Step 4: Stop at the desired position of the axle assembly in relation to the truck bed. Release the sliding release arm from the locked position. Make sure the pin aligns with one of the lock holes in the rack mechanism; if the pin is not in a hole position, get back into the vehicle and move the truck slightly back- or forward.

Step 5: Visually inspect the driver- and passenger side to make sure all pins are locked in place.

Some useful videos on this topic are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnbxhNyl_T8&t=112s

and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtdfc39u0Rs

What Is A Tandem Truck Brief

What Is The Difference Between A Tandem Truck And A Tri Axle Truck?

Keystone Trucks explains the difference between a tandem truck and a tri-axle truck: “[o]peration costs can be kept lower by using tri-axle dump trucks, thanks to the fact that they’re much more lightweight than a tandem. However, that means that they can’t haul the type of weight a dual axle can. These trucks are often ideal for hauling smaller loads over shorter distances.” (www.keystonetrucks.com.)

How Much Does A Tandem Dump Truck Cost?

New dump trucks start at  about $100,000, but can often cost more than $150,000 or more. New Kenworth dump trucks are situated at the upper-bound with a starting price of roughly $180,000.

Used dump trucks usually cost between $30,000 and $40,000. However, some used dump trucks can cost as little as $15,000, or as much as $100,000. Again, it depends on what you are looking for, as well as the age and condition of the truck.

If you don’t need a full-size dump truck, you might consider a tandem axle setup or opt for a single axle dump trailer. Needless to say, these smaller options tend to cost less than the larger alternatives.

Before you purchase a tandem dump truck, you should consider all the ancillary costs associated with owning a dump truck:

Fuel: Average costs of $1,000 to $1,500 per week (largely depends on the distance traveled, with very bad goals mileage of 5-6 miles/gallon).

Insurance: Average costs range from $7,000 on the low end to $20,000 on the high end (annually).

Maintenance Costs: Varies, depending on the truck condition and how well one takes care of it

Tires: Each tire costs somewhere between $600 and $1,000.

Driver Fees/Labor: Labor costs will vary by state, averaging at roughly $650 per week in Wisconsin and $600 per week in Illinois.

As you can see, it’s pretty pricey to own a dump truck and you should run all the numbers to make sure you can make a profit in the area you live in. You could rent out your truck to construction companies or hauling companies by being an owner-operator.

If you have the upfront capital investment or means to get the business started, it can become quite profitable, however.

An owner-operator can make anywhere from $40,000 to $197,000 (Source: ezfreightfactoring.com).

According to ZipRecruiter, as of Sep 19, 2022, the average annual pay for a Tandem Truck Driver in the United States is $51,601 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $24.81 an hour. This is the equivalent of $992/week or $4,300/month. (Source: www.ziprecruiter.com.)


How many yards of dirt are in a tandem dump truck?

A tandem dump truck can hold up to 13 tons of payload.

Can you make a single axle truck into a tandem?

Yes, you can but it’s not as easy as one thinks, as it requires proper math, mechanics and physics to make sure that the conversion is a safe long-term solution. The current axle does need to be repositioned for proper tongue weight. You will also need to cut off the current hangers since the hanger spacing will not be the same.

Does tandem mean double axle?

Yes, a tandem means two sets of wheels, with two axles, one right behind the other.

How much clearance does a tandem truck need?

The bridges and overpasses in the USA have to have at least 14 ft clearance to accommodate 13’6” max weight.

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