Barker B-Double Curtainsider Review
For equipment to last when their regular runs are throughout the back blocks of Queensland, top quality components are a must. When Oakey based, Auchenroad Haulage’s Shane Wadley orders new equipment he always specifies the best components and that’s exactly what he did when he purchased this Barker B-Double Curtainsider from Brown and Hurley.
Inbound traffic along the Ipswich motorway was already building in the early morning darkness, as I guided my hire car west towards Toowoomba. I’d planed a quick coffee stop at Toowoomba before veering north towards the tiny town of Goombungee where I was meet up with the new Auchenroad Haulage curtainsider B-Double.
Goombungee, is a quaint little Queensland town, and home to Leichts CIA engineering works, who, like Barker trailers are renowned for their robust, and as they say, ‘Intelligent livestock equipment’. They’re proud of their heritage and the fact all their products are locally designed and predominantly built from Australian made steel. It is here at Leichts CIA the Auchenroad Haulage B-Double was loading cattle crushes for delivery to rural centres in western NSW.
Comprehensive Freight Service
Providing a comprehensive freight service to rural communities in the Darling Downs where it is sparsely populated means Auchenroad Haulage needs to be all things to everyone.
“We not only need to grab all we can, we need to do it better than any of the other highly competitive multinational carriers, hence the need to be clever at what we do by being both flexible and nimble as well as specifying the best equipment,” Shane Wadley explained. “We even go to the length of operating only the most up-to-date equipment up in the far north of the state, to make sure our drivers aren’t left stranded and isolated on the road due to a breakdown brought about by inclement weather or bad road conditions.”
The floor on this trailer set is heavy duty checker plate, and it needs to be too, to support the heavy steel cattle crushes along the rugged western interior run where the road conditions are considerably rough.
Each trailer runs a winch track loaded with ample winches to ensure each load is securely fastened. Both trailers have spare wheel carriers, while the lead trailer has one tool box on either side the rear trailer has one toolbox and stainless steel water tank on the right hand side and twin toolboxes on the left side. Judging by the lack of dirt and dust inside the deep toolboxes they are relatively well sealed.
Safety hasn’t been compromised either, with a foldout step ladder at the rear of the back trailer and fold out steps on the front trailer to enable easy access to the trailer floor.
The rear trailer has the media doors with safety catch to restrain the doors when the they are opened located between the coaming and rope rails.
The curtains are by Melbourne based Polyweld, which are made from premium quality Mehler Polymar truck curtain fabric and feature a gate and coaming rail wear strip, full length vertical webbing and reinforced in all four corners.
The ride height is controlled by a Colas suspension control valve, it also allows for manual raise and lower feature of the deck height. The main advantage of specifying a Colas valve, is that it takes the place of many components, fittings and plumbing, and can be used for both single and dual suspension valve systems.
As an added safety feature the Colas valve has a reset to ride height function. When the handle is ‘popped’ out the trailer will automatically return to the ride height as determined by the ride height control valve. This eliminates operator error to reset the valve when the vehicle is moving.
Jost forged alloy wheels are fast becoming a preferred choice with many operators as they are half the weight of conventional steel wheel and their durability is backed by a five year warranty.
Each trailer is fitted with Right-Weigh scales, that are attached to the trailer’s air suspension. The weight of each trailer’s axle group is conveniently displayed on the Right-Weigh digital reader.
The list of high end components combined with the extensive optional extras really put this B-Double unit in the premium price bracket, but according to Shane, it’s money well spent.
“We purchase only the best of parts and equipment and look after those components to prolong the life cycle of the fleet. That means replacing items such as bushes, bearings and seals before they cause damage. This way we minimise the chance of a breakdown. “Downtime can be massive for us, not just in repairs but cost to our customers, we need the confidence of knowing our vehicles can consistently run on-time,” Shane said.
Disc Brake Technology
Using well proven quality equipment brands, as Shane says, saves their business in the long run, with far less costs of replacing parts, along with the savings associated with minimising service downtime. “In my opinion, there’s no substitute for quality such as the BPW brand of running gear which is used under most of our trailers. Their axles, ECO plus hubs, airbag suspensions, EBS, and disc brake technology make our task easy because the BPW system is simple and quick to work-on, and their gear thankfully, doesn’t need to be serviced too often.
Up front of the B-Double is Kenworth’s T9 powered by a 550 Horsepower Cummins with 1850lbft torque running through an Eaton RTLO20918B transmission. The rear ends is Kenworth 8-bag airglide with Meritor RT46-160 at 4.11:1 ratio. Like the trailers this T9 has the best of the best and the stainless treatment is by Kloss of Melbourne.“Our focus is to purchase and look after the best transport gear on the market as we promote safety in the working environment to all our ground staff, drivers and to our customers. The technical innovation that comes with the likes of the BPW package on these Barker trailers has never let us down, and for us, that’s the bottom line that is keeping Auchenroad Haulage at the forefront of our industry,” Shane concluded.