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> Tarping Flatbed Loads, How to properly tarp loads on a flatbed
Guest_B Kerr_*
post Apr 21 2005, 09:55 PM
Post #1


I pull a stepdeck trailer and some of the loads I haul need to be tarped. I have never tarped a load, I have always pulled covered wagons. Can anyone give me pointers or know of a video or something I could download from the internet that would help me with this issue. Thanks
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John Ewing
post Apr 22 2005, 12:35 AM
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You might find this helpful - SHURCO - INSTRUCTIONS & MANUALS . It's a pretty informative site. I can't offer any personal advise, always pulled boxes myself, but maybe one of our flatbed drivers out there will drop by and give you a few pointers.

John Ewing
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Don Jones
post Apr 23 2005, 05:57 AM
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Basically, the most important thing to remember that you will be dealing with a HUGE parachute EVERY time you use a tarp for anything. Each of your tarps will catch more wind and create MORE drag than the drag parachutes used to stop a B52 bomber, so preventing the wind from catching it is the most important thing to remember. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY YOU CAN HOLD BACK A TARP THAT FULLY CATCHES EVEN A 5 MILE/HOUR BREEZE, SO DON'T THINK YOU CAN HOLD IT IN PLACE WHILE TARPING IN THE WIND. It WILL pull you off of the load and seriously hurt you if you asre not VERY careful. I have had to crawl on all fours on top of loads even without any wind hitting the tarp, just from the wind hitting me, and then wasn't sure that I could stay on the load in Wyoming winds when I had to adjust tarps. It is almost alway windier on top of your load tha on the ground.

The second thing to remember is that you will have at least a 50 to 60 mile/hour wind just from your road speed, which is hurricane force winds plus you will add whatever headwind component you have to that road speed wind causing you to easily experience combined wind speeds of over 100 miles/hour in windy conditions like thunder storms, Wyoming and plains states winds, ecterea. The third thing to rememeber is that is is ALWAYS easier to tarp it right the first time rather than trying to retarp it after the tarp starts coming off on the road.

NEVER tarp from the front back to the rear because the overlap will open up when the wind blows back across it. ALWAYS start at the rear and work forward so that the wind flows over the overlap like water running down a shingle roof rather than blowing under the overlap. Also remember that wind blowing over a tarped load can create vaccums that can pull a tarp off just as eaily as if the wind gets under the tarp.

If you have any doubts about keeping it in place, try to secure it better, because if you think it might blow loose, the it CERTAINLY will.

Pad sharp corners or edges or they will cut your tarps to pieces.

Be careful to stay out of the path of the end of a bungie cord if it slips loose or breaks because theywill injure you and very often injure you seriously. THEY will tear an eye out or rip a cheek apart in a heartbeat.

If you can avoid putting a strap or chain over your tarp, then avoid it as they will cut/tear your tarps.

If there is anypossible way to get miosture under a tarp it will happen, so ALWAYS make sure that sentivie loads are waterproffed before you put your tarp on because you can NOT gaurantee that the tarp will not let some water in. We often place plastic sheeting over our loads under the tarps to proterct the load and then use the tarps to protect the plastic sheeting on very sensitive loads.

Keep duct tape handy and when you are folding/rolling them up cover holes from the inside to help stop the holes from leaking and getting worse until you can get it repaired. It is cheaper and better to get small holes repaired frequently while they are small than waiting until the tarp is riddled with holes or ripped to pieces. Also, repairing your tarps is ALWAYS cheaper than paying freight claims due to water damage from holey tarps and then having to fix the tarps anyway!

Probably the last peice of advice is to critically look at each load before, during and after tarping it to try to imagine anyway the wind can get under the tarp or water can get under it and then try to figure out how to fix it, because if it can get inside, IT CERTAINLY WILL get inside with your load!

You can ask John foir my em,ail address if you need more detailed advice, but remember that I'm a driver also and will probalby not get back to you for a few days.

GOOD LUCK! Welcome to the real world of trucking, not just cl;ose the doors and go like the van haulers can do. To successfully flatbed you will have to constantly be learning about better ways to tie down, arrange the load and/or tarp it. If you have any control over how the load is put on the trailer, ALWAYS try to lessen the wind resistance asn much as possible and to make it as easy as possible to tie down and/or tarp.

An old time flatbedder,

Don Jones
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post May 21 2005, 06:15 AM
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Here's my best advice...

Run your loads for about 3 months or so. Then, sit down, and do a CPM comparison between tarped and non-tarped loads. On which did you average the most proft?

I'm done.

BTW, that was excellent, Don!
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