Feeders - Proper coupling/uncoupling procedure?

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by Ya Dad, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. Ya Dad

    Ya Dad Member

    This is my third week in Feeders. I came from PM Air so I knew nothing about driving rigs until I started my training. I was awarded my Class A last Monday, and my first day own was yesterday (I wasn't called in to work all week until yesterday). My first week of training wasn't the greatest because my supervisor was new, and my second week, although better, was with a trainer who expected me to learn everything after only having been told a procedure once. I'm a visual and hands on guy, so him spouting out quickly how to do something didn't really help, especially when I would ask him a question like, "How do I _____?" and he'd respond with something like, "How did you _____ yesterday?" Well damn, you got me on that one. How about you just train me on everything I need to know in just one day, then? No point in 2 weeks of training if you can just tell me everything in a day, that way I have it all memorized... >_<

    Since yesterday was my first day on my own, I was kind of iffy on the way I was doing it. I mean, I got em hooked up properly, but I probably didn't do it in the best order. My procedure is:

    1) Find a dolly, pre-trip it and drain all the air by pulling the cord, and attach it to the back of my tractor

    2) Spot the dolly in front of the lightest loaded trailer.

    3) Get the heavier trailer, spot it in front of the dolly.

    4) Attach the nose of the dolly to the back of the front trailer
    - plug in light cord
    - attach safety chains in a criss cross manner

    5) Get in tractor and back the dolly fifth wheel into the kingpin of the back trailer

    - - - - - here's the part i'm kinda iffy about - - - - -

    6) pull out red knob so that air isn't going through my trailer

    7) attach hoses
    - blue dolly hose to blue front trailer glad hand
    - red dolly hose to red front trailer glad hand
    - other blue dolly hose to blue back trailer glad hand
    - other red dolly hose to red back trailer glad hand
    - plug in light cords to both trailers (does it matter which one?)

    8) go back to the tractor cab, push red knob in, pull down trailer hand valve brake

    9) go to the back of the front trailer, turn dials below glad hands (blue first, then red)

    10) pull black dial so sponge comes out and locks dolly into the back of the front trailer


    That's everything that needs to be done, I'm just not sure that's the actual order it goes in, or if there's an unnecessary step in there involving my red knob.

    -to the point-
    What is the best method to use for coupling and uncoupling trailers?
  2. Johney

    Johney Well-Known Member

    When I hook my dolly to the lead I hook everything up on the dolly that attaches to the rear of the lead. Then back lead and dolly into rear,at this point I will pull the yellow knob but leave the red in putting air to the trailer and dolly(this will save you from doing #8). Hook up rear airlines and light cord then turn on air from lead and then activate snubber. Everyone does it different, what I was told by the old timers is to get your own routine and stick to it. Do it the same way every time. Draining the air out of your dolly I was told is for when you're just pulling a dolly down the road.
  3. greengrenades

    greengrenades To be the man, you gotta beat the man.

    I think you may be over thinking it man. Don't stress out so much about it. Easier said than done I know. It's so automatic for me I couldn't even tell you what I check in what order because I just do it without even thinking about it anymore. Just listen to what Johnney said. Just don't rush that is when you mess up. I'm pretty sure we work at the same HUB. If you need any help Pm me on here and we can exchange numbers.
  4. Dracula

    Dracula Package Car is cake compared to this...

    I do it by muscle memory, so this is just me:

    I start with the front trailer. Assuming you;re hooked up to the front, I engage the air and pull the hand valve. Then I start pre-tripping the front trailer. When I get to the back, I make sure I can walk in front of the dolly and behind the front trailer. I check my front load, seal it and make sure the lights are all working on the front trailer. Next, the dolly. Drain the air, drop the chains, and pre-trip the whole dolly BEFORE hooking it up. Just my way, but you can hook the dolly and THEN pre-trip. But I always walk around the dolly, not OVER it when pre-tripping. I check all tires, brakes, brake chambers, registration stick up to date, make sure paperwork in dolly door in back, make sure valve stems have caps and enough hub oil on both sides. The reason I set the front trailer first, is so when I hook the dolly, I can see the brake lights are on (hand valve). And, it's one big motion around all of your equipment. So when you stop at any certain point, you know everything before that is completed.

    As soon, as the dolly is hooked up and pre-tripped, I make sure the forks of the dolly have the right height (IMPORTANT). You don't want to fork or high pin the back trailer. Always confirm. Then back up and hook the back trailer. Always put the tractor in low gear and drag the back trailer a few feet to make sure you've hooked it. Get out, always check the handle on the dolly to make sure it's in the slot and give the handle a tug to make sure it doesn't easily pop out of that slot. If it does, head to the shop, because you don't want that handle to move. Check under the dolly to make sure the pin is engaged. Then I straighten my hoses and light cord (I twist them) and make sure only your gloves touch those hoses and cords. I always make sure the red glad handle is secure and doesn't move easily. If it does, to the shop you go. The thing is, you can drive without the blue hose on, or turned on. Your brakes just won't work as well. But if that red hose comes off while you're driving, you will be waiting for four news tires. If you are on the road and that red hose moves freely, put a zip tie on it as a backup. This only happens when you switch loads on road with another driver. It should never happen to you when you pre-trip at home.

    Turn on blue air, red air, and push in the snubber. A little air leak is ok, but a loud one, I go to the shop. Then move along the driver side, back trailer and continue the pre-trip. It's all the same as you move up the passenger side, back to front, except you check the two hole on the back side of the dolly to make sure the squares are out (not sure what they call them, but I'm sure you've been shown. Those two hole are underneath the dolly fifth wheel, passenger side) as a redundancy to confirm the pin is locked in, and check King box for paperwork for both trailers.

    Then, hit the road at a cool 62MPH, and you're golden.

    Not sure if this makes sense, but it's what I do every single night, and it never fails me. Never be afraid to ask someone if you're not sure. After a while, it's like clockwork, and never skip or rush a step during your pre-trip. NEVER. You are getting paid big money to get things right, and the time to get something fixed is while you are in the yard. If something doesn't seem right, that's when you hand it over to the mechanics. Make sure they tell you it's safe. Just tell them you are not sure if this is right or safe. Never get in a hurry getting ready. It's a proud thing to be a breakdown king. Mechanics will bitch, but they bitch more when they're fixing your equipment on the road.
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  5. Insaneasylum

    Insaneasylum Active Member

    Here is what I do if dolly isn't spotted already.

    1 hook up to front trailer.
    2 go find a dolly and hook it up to front trailer.
    3 pull around to rear trailer and back dolly under.
    4 set brake on tractor leave air on to trailer and hook lines from dolly to rear.

    But sense your new to driving it will take time backing a trailer and dolly or a set. I would practice backing a trailer and dolly when ever you have time. It's a big time saver if you can learn to do that.
  6. raceanoncr

    raceanoncr Well-Known Member

    Looks pretty good to me.

    'Cept #6...TO ME. Procedure may be diff but this is what I did:

    Keep air on front trlr. Pull down hand valve in cab.

    Go back and check pin connection on rear trailer and dolly. Don't do anything else until you check your rear trailer connection.

    If all is well, hook up rest of hoses/lines. Turn on yellow/red lines as you did. Why? You got your hand valve down. Nothing is going anywhere. I hook up all lines and turns valves while standing there lets me see IMMEDIATELY if there's any air leaks.

    And, yes, you ALWAYS drain air out of dolly. Not just on road behind tractor. We had some not do this and lock up in the yard. Then what do you do? YOU have to get out and drain air out. Takes 30 seconds. Just do it.

    OK, everybody else, now tell me how wrong this is and I'll REPEAT, this is what I did and never got writ up and it worked for 32 yrs of safe driving.
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  7. Rick Ross

    Rick Ross I'm into distribution!!

    The other guys have it covered well. I would add:

    When new make sure to center the dolly and hook it to lead trailer close to the rear, don't pull it out 5 feet and try to couple when new...if not centered it will move a long ways from the kingpin when you back under.

    Also, when coupling on a door be sure to bang hard on the trailer before backing under to couple.

    I also never drag the rear trailer, I've seen a driver pull a trailer being loaded off the door because he tugged hard like that out of habit. I also hate cranking all the jacked up landing gears bent from guys pulling the trailers 10 feet every time they couple.
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  8. MaceFremonti

    MaceFremonti Active Member

    When you pretrip your dolly, look UNDER the fifth wheel on the driver's side of the dolly. There you will see the spring which puts pressure on the bar that locks in behind the kingpin. Make sure this isn't broken.

    I've seen a handful of broken ones the last few weeks. I'll let you guess what happens if that spring doesn't do it's job....
  9. govols019

    govols019 You smell that?

  10. Gear

    Gear Parts on Order

    If you go to pull out and your trailer brakes are still applied or you hear any loud air leak under the trailer, go back and recheck all your airline routing. Make sure you didnt mix up the lines before going and getting a mechanic. Guys get embarrassed when we resolve problems by correcting airline routing.
  11. Dracula

    Dracula Package Car is cake compared to this...

    Ten feet, agreed, but I always jerk it forward enough that I can see the back trailer move forward.
  12. moldsporh

    moldsporh Active Member

    Yadad...congrats on the class A

    Maybe this help you.....

    When you couple the dolly to the rear trailer.the FIRST thing you do every time without fail, is get your flashlight and check the coupling. Make sure there's no Daylight between the fifth wheel and the trailer, make sure the shank or whatever is around the kingpin and the safety catch is in place. ...sometimes the safety catch only pops out a small amount, get used to how much it moves so you can catch it if it doesn't fully seat.

    Now for the air.....Always pull the yellow first then pull the hand valve down, then push the red in, go to the dolly and on the lead trailer, connect your blue and red lines to the dolly, then connect the air lines from the dolly to the rear trailer...working front to back...turn on the service (blue) first, then the emergency (red). You turn on the blue first because this applies the brakes, then you turn on the red, this releases the parking brake. You don't want to release the parking brake, before you apply the service brake..this keeps the set from moving. Now go to the rear and check for air on the red activating the snubber, then check the service side.

    When removing the air lines, you turn off the red first, this leaves the brakes applied from the service (blue) air.

    Just remember, blue applies brakes, red releases brakes. Don't apply air to release brakes, until the brakes are set by the service air.

    Blue air supply applies brakes, red air supply compresses parking spring which releases the brakes. This is why if you pull the red line off when it has air the brakes will set.

    Don't turn on the air valve at the lead trailer until the hoses are attached to the rear trailer.

    Hope that's not confusing.
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  13. barnyard

    barnyard KTM rider Staff Member

    The important thing is to get into a set routine. Do that the same way every time. If you are interrupted, go back and double-check.
  14. raceanoncr

    raceanoncr Well-Known Member

    Funny, true. Reminds me when I'd have annual ride, I'd tell em to not bother me or talk to me when pre-tripping or post-tripping. I have my routine and you're not part of it.

    Arriving at another hub one night, one of their sups was heavy into cars and big motors, like me. He found me when I parked in staging. Only had one MT air trailer but he was going off on new mega-power engine he just bought and I was enthralled. Walked around trailer, checking lights and kicking tires, pulled pin, got in cab and pulled out. BOOM! Trailer's sitting on it's nose. This supe just walks away. Crank legs, too.
  15. Stubnose Killa

    Stubnose Killa New Member

    Grab a senior driver( not a sup) and let him watch your whole hookup and pretrip. Let Him(Her) give you any advice on what you missed. Get a routine and follow it every time. If someone interrupts you, start over.
  16. Johney

    Johney Well-Known Member

    Happened to one of our guys the other night on his annual at a meet point with a bunch of other guys around. Sup who is a pretty cool guy just said Really? Here? Walked away shaking his head.Talk about embarrassing.

    No it wasn't me.
  17. olroadbeech

    olroadbeech Happy Verified UPSer

    did you check to make sure dolly was locked in after banging them together?

    there are 3 checks. visually check jaws are completely closed. if you see some shiny metal of a jaw showing it may not be locked. make sure handle is all the way in . and make sure nipples are sticking out on the side. not sure what the true technical term is.

    routine is the best method. when i got distracted by something or someone talking to me i would go back several steps or start over. better safe than dropping that rear trailer.
  18. olroadbeech

    olroadbeech Happy Verified UPSer

    your post gets the winner rating with me. the zip tie on the gladhand thing i have done many times especially with SC's ( short containers) . however the DOT at the scales told me I could get cited for that. they said if the glad hands don't lock together properly without help from a zip tie then it needs to be repaired. they let me slide that day.

    what i did to make a tighter connection was to bend the the glad hand clamp in a little with a small hammer that i carried in my bag. that usually did the trick. if that didn't work and i was away from the shop I just used the zip tie anyway. or you can use electrical tape if no zip ties . you do what you have to do if you're out in the middle of nowhere.
  19. ManInBrown

    ManInBrown Well-Known Member

    I'm on the list for feeders. So I find this interesting because one day I will need to do it. What's a dolly?
  20. Ahahgaahaghahahahaa