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Metal Deck or Wood Deck for Machine Transport


Dec 11, 2016
Cottonwood decking. All of our heavy haul trailers were decked with cottonwood. Nothing else.

No steel. Tracked equipment looks silly laying on its side next to the trailer. And everyone has a camera these days.

Stake pockets every 2" will be plenty. Your not hauling anything really heavy. Be sure your pockets have room to attach the chains as approved by DOT.

Thank you,


Mar 5, 2009
California, USA
It would be pretty cool to get the plans for a C-130 or a Galaxy and down scale the transport bay track design.
You could move stuff on the track and have all the hold down tie points you need. But no parachutes. :(

Ever see how they do hot drops for cargo. No more than a few feet off the ground.
Would that work at 65 MPH? :smoking: Maybe a parachute is needed for this situation.


May 10, 2012
Pittsford, NY
For green white oak, see your local Mennonite/Amish sawyer. I'm buying green white oak (beautiful for lakeside breakwalls) from them now for less than a commercial sawyer charged 30 years ago.

Rob F.

Aug 5, 2012
California, Central Coast

Also, a "tilt bed truck" (rollback), extends out pretty far past the rear axle, even when retracted.
Not good for hauling a large trailer back there at the same time.

Granted, someone might post a pick of a single axle 20' rollback truck with a 10 ton tag trailer hooked on behind, but I've not seen one as of yet.

Here is eweslys tandem rollback, he uses it to move machines etc with and has several other vids on using and repairing it. Like Digger said, there is no real provision to tow a heavy trailer with it. Maybe a light weight on off the "bumper".

Rollback Repair and CNC Machine Moving - YouTube


Mar 14, 2005
Why are you worrying about a sub 26,000 GVW tractor? You have a class A CDL load as soon as you hook up the trailer. I wouldn't want a 30k trailer hooked behind a 18k rear axle either.

Windy City

Aug 9, 2021
To legally operate any of the described combinations you need a CDL. If you have one I have a hard time believing you need to ask these sort of questions.


Mar 30, 2011
western pa
Many thanks to all the forum members who have responded.

In decking material preferences, the wood proponents greatly outnumber the metal proponents.

However, if items are blocked and secured properly, why should a steel deck be any less suitable than a wood deck?

Surely the key to keeping hauled items upright is to have the requisite number of securing points in the requisite locations.

In that regard, every truck bed and trailer deck that I’ve seen hasn’t had a sufficient number of properly located securing points.

Or am I missing something regarding load securing here?

In my opinion, the truck itself is, or should be, immaterial to the question raised in this thread.

However, to better apprise forum members of my aims, thoughts, uses, etc., I will respond with the following comments.

If I had enough money for purpose-oriented trucks and trailers I would be looking at things differently. Alas, I don’t.

I have to accept that a truck/trailer combination that is multi-purpose will likely not be absolutely ideal in every situation.

Yes, I would be using the truck and/or trailer to transport sub-25K excavating equipment as well as drills, lathes, mills, etc.

Dumping vs Tipping: I meant dumping (for the truck at least); for the trailer tipping would most likely suffice.

Most deck over tipping trailers seem to have 36-inch deck heights. Is this industry norm too high to be suitable for tipping use?

I’ve seen pictures of 6 axle deck over trailers using 12-inch (2450 lb. rated) tires with a 26-inch deck height. Thoughts?

Dumping capability is needed to transport dirt, rubbish, stone, etc. – necessary to remediate two old farms dating to 1785/1796.

I discounted a rollback truck deck long ago; but rollback trailer decks are available and might be more useful than a tipping deck.

The makers of dumping flatbeds for trucks I’ve contacted assure me their steel decks can safely carry equipment and machinery.

But perhaps I should apply the age old .25 multiplication factor of claimed performance to determine real world capabilities.

No, I’m not contemplating sliding a 15K RAD down a tipping trailer deck; but I’ve had many people tell me they’ve done this.

No, I’ve never had a 26K tipping flatbed; but I have had a 10K tipping flatbed (that I’ve often considerably overloaded) for 10 years.

Yes, the tipping bed had a tendency to rock sideways with tall loads (like say 2000 lbs on the full-length ladder/material rack).

However, once I added removable plates that locked the bed rigidly to the frame this disconcerting trait vanished.

If such plates are not enough for a 26K truck, I will make removable trusses like those used in motorhome floor assemblies.

My 10K tipping flatbed now has 1.5 inch sway bars on both axles; my 26K truck would have 2.5 inch sway bars on both axles.

I would also incorporate provisions for fitting both 5th wheel and gooseneck hitches.

I have a 20K kg rated 5th wheel hitch from a Unimog that rocks in both side/side & fore/aft planes that I want to be able to use.

Long tongue center axle trailers (which attach under the bed near the axle) are widely used in EU/Commonwealth countries.

Years ago, I started a thread about the Trailer Toad (i.e., two-dolly), and now having used one, tongue weight is a non-issue.

For those unfamiliar with these terms, the two-dolly or Trailer Toad effectively converts a tag trailer into a full trailer.

But I would ensure that the bed had almost no rear overhang to allow easier access to any rear mounted trailer coupling.

I purposely didn’t bring up the subject of CDL requirements, as I didn’t want this thread derailed or sidetracked. No such luck.

So, to allow those forum members who opined on this subject a venue for further comment, I will start a separate CDL thread.