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kentauros Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 10:52 PM
Original message
A Question for DU's Truckers
Yeah, I know it's kind of late in the evening, but I also don't know what y'all's hours are, either :P

First some background.

Years and years ago, when cable was young and Nickelodeon was actually an educational channel, they had this news and technology show, primarily for teens, with one of the hosts being Joseph Campanella (as I recall.) This was in the mid-80s, and after a quick look-up on imdb, the title was likely "What Will They Think of Next?" and had been broadcast since 1977.

What piqued my interest this one day was talk about how someone had determined that the inexpensive use of astroturf would cut down on the water spray from truck tires. I'm thinking the amount of reduction was on the order of 40% but I'm not entirely sure of that figure. I think it was meant only for the front side of the mud-flaps and don't recall if it was also used in the wheel wells.

So, my question is, have any of y'all heard of this or seen it in use?
It came to mind again today as I drove in the drizzle, alternately flipping my wipers to high when I had to pass the artificially-induced fog surrounding all the trucks on the freeways. If they had a rectangle of astroturf instead of flat mud-flaps, that spray could have been almost halved! :)
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LeftyFingerPop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. I don't know...
what the fuck you are talking about, but I just gave you a fucking heart.
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kentauros Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. LOL!
Why thank you! :hug:

I'm waiting until the number of donations gets to 665 before I pay up :evilgrin:
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:06 PM
Response to Original message
3. I've seen it used but it doesn't do much
Now, what DOES work is something you mainly see on UPS trucks. It looks like a push broom and it is mounted to the trailer rub rail right above the tires.
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kentauros Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. That sounds like the same principle,
just with a substance better able to temporarily trap the spray. That's why I also wonder if something could be done with the wheel-wells, too. There's quite a lot of side spray, and it can be really dangerous in conditions like light rain or constant drizzle. Hard rain doesn't seem to be as bad, probably because people have to drive slower and the downpour takes out more of the spray...

Thanks for telling me about that, though. I'll have to look it up now :)
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. No, it's a completely different principle
You're describing a mudflap with plastic grass on the back of it--to catch the spray coming out of the tread. The UPS device hangs over the side of the tire.

One of the big problems with semis is they don't usually have rear wheelwells. They have a mudflap behind the drive tandems, sometimes one in front of them, and the bottom of the trailer serves as the "top" of the wheel area. Some Peterbilt guys have fenders, but most drivers don't bother getting them--they're not required and they can get torn to shit if you blow out a tire.
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kentauros Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Okay, I didn't realize you meant it was a side-attachment.
I was thinking more like a big "carpet" of push-broom bristles over the top to soften the spray into larger droplets.
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. They may have something like that too. I don't know.
It wouldn't be a huge problem to carpet the bottom of a trailer, I think; just cut two 24-inch strips of grass carpet and screw them in place on either side of the kingpin with sheet metal screws and fender washers.
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kentauros Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Well, it is a pretty simple idea for what it does
so no reason why truckers couldn't do that, other than either not thinking about it or not having any sense of safety for fellow drivers, which I don't expect from DU truckers ;)
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. I can tell you a couple reasons trucking COMPANIES won't do it
First, it would be expensive to carpet the bottom of every trailer in someone's fleet. You would probably be able to do it for $25 per trailer counting carpet, fasteners and labor. That doesn't sound like much until you realize some of these companies have tens of thousands of trailers. Swift has about 50,000 trailers, Walmart's got thousands (then again, Walmart would do this if they thought it would help cut down insurance liability--as stingy as they are in other things, they will spend money on their truck fleet) JB Hunt has tens of thousands of trailers...

The other is getting the opportunity to do this. A company that does drop-and-hook deliveries (where the driver leaves his loaded trailer at the consignee and takes an empty one) has trailers that have not moved in a year. I shall explain: The company I was working for had trailer series--they ranged from 51xxx to 58xxx. I'm hooked to trailer 51419. There are seven trailers sitting there to choose from, and obviously I am going to take the newest one. (If I was coming up on having 70 hours and I knew there was a truck stop with a tire store that I could legally get to, sometimes I would find the worst trailer and send in a Qualcomm message: "There are five empty trailers here. Trailer 52345 has six illegal tires on it and I'm going to do a 34-hour break at the Petro in Carlisle PA. Do you want me to take 52345 to their tire shop?" Normally they would be overjoyed that someone would do that. I mean, why the hell not? It's not like I'm DOING anything at that time, right? But I digress.) The next driver comes in pulling trailer 56105. He won't take 51419, he'll take a newer one. And so on and so forth.
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auntAgonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
5. Monsanto had a mud flap back in the late 70's early 80's
I think. They might still make it for all I know. Looks like hairy rubber for lack of a better description.


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kentauros Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Although Monsanto started out in petro-chemicals,
you don't associate them these days with doing something good like that ;)

But the product sounds like astroturf, so maybe the show I saw was speaking of the Monsanto product afterall...
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auntAgonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. An Oregon Truck Driver sold his idea for fuzzy mudflaps
to Monsanto. Monsanto was the maker of AstroTurf.

There was a lawsuit ...

Short article here

http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/dking/mudflaps_notes.pdf
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kentauros Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Now I'm curious why the railroads were interested.
Do they have a problem with spray obscuring the windshields of oncoming trains? ;)
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Mopar151 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:28 PM
Response to Original message
7. Check these out!
Edited on Thu Feb-11-10 11:29 PM by Mopar151
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kentauros Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. There ya go!
I think I may have seen grooved flaps, but wasn't aware this idea was being put to use. The cost per flap seems reasonable. Do you use them? :)
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Mopar151 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. I'm not a working trucker
Though I may cut some of these down for my pickup and car trailer. My uncles and cousins are the professional truckers - I just have the "parts mans" brain abnormality, and like the big rigs.
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