One issue with a traditional curtainside 53' trailer is that the back end has a triangulated brace structure to resist the force of tensioning the curtain (its almost like a load binder deal at the front of the trailer). The structure is removable but takes up a good 6ft of space from the back end.
Not sure if that's a big problem with your intended useage but it sounds like a pain if one was constantly having to R&R it for long loads or if the truck is intended to be fully loaded with stuff.
Another angle is the collapsed curtain can be rolled front or back but it also always occupies some space, let's just say 6ft total but then you'd never be able to put an 18' piece on the truck from the side, would be limited to about 12' of max length. Again not sure if that's a problem with your intended useage.
I think if you had a straight flatbed and just invested in some actual Heavy Duty tarps that would be suitable for long haul trucking it would be a whole lot cheaper at the end of the day. Made up in more labor to fold/stow/tension the tarp but it all boils down to the amount of useage, whether that's 5x per year or 5x per day.
I have seen at least one curtain side straight truck before.
It's been done.
Think Snow Eh!
This is what I would like, waiting on quotes now to see if I will have to do this myself?
Dry Freight Curtainsider Truck Bodies by Morgan Truck Body
I was in ATL last week and saw that exact truck sporting a Gexpro logo on it.
I forgot how many box trucks lived in metro Atlanta - might be a place to start looking for a turnkey unit, even though you already have a truck....
Time to update this thread!
Got some quotes back on the curtain-side conversion, $40,000!
Well, that's not going to happen!
I did use the truck a couple of times after fixing the brakes......and after having a breakdown on the freeway, I'm rethinking on what I might end up doing with the truck, not convinced this is the best route for me after getting a $1500 quote to have the truck towed!!!!
I think I will just stick to my pickup and trailer......