November 3, 2022
Lowboy and RGN trailers are commercial trailers meant to carry tall cargo that would exceed the legal height limit if they were on a traditional flatbed. Lowboys and RGNs are essentially the same and serve the same purpose—hauling heavy equipment that would otherwise be considered oversized.
While lowboys and RGNs are similar in many ways and RGNs are essentially a type of lowboy, the main differences between the two include the hauling capacity, ramps, and cost.
RGNs are a specialized version of lowboys because they have a detachable neck and are called “Removable Gooseneck” trailers for that reason. The removable neck allows a ramp to be lowered, making it easy to load and unload otherwise cumbersome machinery. Consequently, RGNs can haul a wider range of machines and equipment than your average lowboy trailer because machines can be driven directly up the ramp and onto the trailer.
Lowboy trailers, also called step deck or drop deck trailers, have one or two drops in deck height and do not come with a removable gooseneck or ramp. Because their main feature is a deck that is low to ground, lowboys are able to carry oversized loads that would otherwise surpass the legal height limit. In addition, lowboys can come with two different levels that allow for more flexibility with oversized loads. But, while lowboys may come with a gooseneck like RGNs, they are fixed and do not turn into ramps. Many trailers include a ramp to make the loading/unloading process easier, but this may result in an increase in cost.
Costs are also affected by the hauling capacity of the trailer. If you have heavy but short equipment to transport, purchasing or renting a lowboy with less hauling capacity won’t be as expensive as one with greater hauling capacity, like an RGN. In addition, in some cases of oversized loads, even on a lowboy or RGN, an escort may be needed even if an oversized permit is not required.
Compared to other trailers, the biggest benefit of using a lowboy or RGN is that they can carry tall equipment without exceeding the legal height limit. Buying your own lowboy or RGN trailer can save you time and money because you do not need to go through the extra process of permit application. In some cases, this also takes away the added stress and costs of an escort.
Like other types of trailers, lowboys and RGNs are also available for rent or lease. However, buying can save you time and money in the long run, especially if you often haul large construction equipment.
Lowboys and RGNs give you a greater advantage compared to the standard flatbed trailer because they rise only 3.5 feet above the ground, which allows them to carry taller freight up to 10 feet 2 inches tall (and up to 12 feet tall for some types). In addition, the use of two decks allows for more flexibility in hauling capacity, and the lower deck makes it easier for forklifts to load and unload equipment. However, if you’re looking for a trailer onto which you can drive machines such as bulldozers, then RGNs are the better choice.
Deciding between a lowboy and RGN can be a challenge because they are similar and have multiple benefits. The general rule is that heavy machinery or equipment with wheels is better suited for an RGN, while everything else can go on either a lowboy or RGN.
The possibilities of equipment you can haul on lowboy or RGN trailers are broad. Most construction equipment would be considered oversized on a flatbed trailer, but lowboys and RGNs take that problem away.
While these types of trailers are not the best for smaller equipment or vehicles, some common cargo you can find on a lowboy or RGN trailer include:
If a lowboy or RGN trailer still doesn’t meet the needs of your oversized load, the next best option would be a double drop deck trailer, a type of lowboy that is used for extra-large and heavy loads.
Lowboys and RGN trailers are the best options when it comes to hauling construction equipment and vehicles. Most construction equipment would be considered oversized on a flatbed trailer, but lowboys and RGNs take that problem away and are specifically designed to handle taller cargo without sacrificing weight limits. If you’re looking to buy or rent a trailer to transport oversized equipment, a lowboy or RGN is the best option.
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An end dumps carry weight depends heavily on the specific road regulations, the power unit weight, and the composition of the trailer. A steel trailer, typically referred to as a Round Bottom, will be heavier and will have a payload of approximately 21 to 23 tons. By contrast, an aluminum end dump is much lighter and can carry anywhere from 23-28 tons, with some set-ups being able to approach 30-ton payloads.
End dumps are typically loaded by heavy machinery, such as a front-end loader or excavator, or by a series of conveyor belts. End dumps are top load trailers. An owner-operator with an end dump trailer will uncover the trailer via an electric tarp switch in the cab. With the trailer uncovered, the heavy machinery is free to load from the top of the trailer, being careful to evenly distribute the material. Once loaded, the owner-operator flips the tarp switch, covers the load, and continues their run.
There are several different types of hydraulic lifts that are usually part of dump trailers. These include telescopic, dual-piston, and scissor lifts, among others. Most dump trailers use hydraulics to automatically lift the dump box and unload the materials in a quick, seamless action.
An end dump is an excellent investment for owner operators or construction companies that transport bulk aggregate on a frequent basis. Depending on your needs, a steel or aluminum end dump will ensure that you are able to reliable keep your customers jobsites and stockpiles full.
Depending on market timing, a typical aluminum end dump will range between $15,000 to $70,000+, with steel round bottoms priced around $10,000-$50,000+. These trailers are also offered for rent or lease, with trailers available for around $850-$2,000 per month. When renting or leasing, it is typical for all repairs to be the responsibility of the renting owner operator.
Flex base can be an excellent choice for a driveway but is not often used as a primary input in TXDOT construction. Flex base is best suited for farm roads, driveways, RV pads, and for other foundations that will not receive heavy traffic. Flex base is cheaper than most alternative options, such as asphalt or base that meets TXDOT specifications. Additionally, once set and compacted, a flex base road or driveway is cheaper and easier to maintain.
Yes, road base and flex base are the same material family. That said, the differentiating factor is typically the testing results of each material. When shopping for material, it is important to identify exactly what type of material you are buying. Retailers will categorize Base as a broad category and can leave identification to consumers, which is challenging and confusing. In general, if a retailer is selling a Road Base it can be assumed that the material is of higher construction quality than flex base, meaning it will have a wider range of approved uses. However, some vendors will sell Flex Base as a Road Base; this makes it important to understand if the material you are purchasing is a true Flex Base, is ‘Spec 247’, or is TXDOT approved. With each increase in quality comes an increase in cost, so it is important to identify which material will best suit the needs of your project.
Flex Base is a mixture of loose aggregate and coarse aggregate, can be a wide range of color based on source location, and is composed of materials ranging from dirt to rock that are 1”-3” in size. Most Flex Base, particularly around Central Texas, will range from tan to brown, will consist of a dirt material and rocks that range from 1” to 2” in diameter. There are specialty materials that will include rocks up to 3” in size, but these are typically reserved for heavy construction projects.
Twisted Nail is here to help. If you need something hauled in central Texas, we can get your job done, safely, timely, and reliably.