Swingwide, sweet chariot

Meeting the demand for moving the widely varied sizes and styles of cranes in its fleet, Melbourne based Johnson and Young Cranes has recently bought a number of trailers from The Drake Group including a top-of-the-line 5x8 Swingwide extendable low loader with two rows of steering axles at the rear.

With the need for a hefty low loader to transport the car body (crane cab) and boom sections of its biggest crane, a mighty 800-tonne capacity Liebherr LTM1750, Johnson and Young Cranes (JYC) has called upon the heavy haulage trailer building expertise of The Drake Group to supply a 5×8 Swingwide featuring both self-tracking and remote-controlled steering of the rear two rows.

“The rear steering axles are a real handy bit of kit, being self-tracking going forwards and remote-controlled steerable when reversing,” says Brent Young, JYC Director.

“We need to get into a lot of tight access areas around Melbourne worksites and the steerable axles simply makes the job of unloading cranes and car bodies so much easier.”

The remote-control unit is used to start the powerpack, release the locking pins and widen the trailer in addition to steering the unit in reverse and raising or lowering the hydraulic gooseneck and suspension.

Brent adds that while the company mostly uses its trailers – of which it has 35 – to carry its own cranes and equipment, it also hires its equipment to other heavy haulage operators in Melbourne where possible.

Since we took delivery of our new Swingwide, we have found it extremely useful for delivering equipment around metropolitan Melbourne,” he says. “It certainly helps when you have a trailer that is so easy to back into confined spaces.”

The Drake 5×8 Swingwide differs from the Swingwing in a number of ways, not least being the ‘perimeter style’ gooseneck which opens up like a jack-knife in a wide V shape to accommodate equipment such as all-terrain cranes owned by JYC.

According to Drake Trailers Salesman, Byron Foss, the Swingwide is also a great unit for hauling agricultural equipment like tractor and laser buckets.

“Due to it being extendable, you can open it right up and put some really unique loads on it,” Byron says.

The JYC Swingwide has a sliding turntable to enable optimum weight distribution between the prime mover and dolly and a Yanmar power pack, including hydraulic oil and fuel tanks, along with an auto greasing system, mounted on top of the gooseneck.

It has a height adjustable gooseneck which, according to Byron, is very handy on extendable low loaders.

“The longer they are the more chance there is of getting hung-up in the middle over uneven ground,” he says. “With the hydraulic gooseneck and hydraulic suspension you can lift the whole trailer up to get yourself out of trouble.”

Byron explains that another advantage of the parameter style gooseneck is that it enables extra wide pontoons due to the fact that there is no spine and the pontoons actually come together when the unit is fully closed at 2.5m overall width.

“When you come right forward with a machine there’s plenty of room for wheels or tracks right up into the gooseneck,” he says – adding that each of the many well positioned chain-down points are 9.0t rated.

There is also an abundance of toolboxes and dunnage trays that are easily accessed from the inner sides of the pontoons when the unit is widened out. Interestingly, the 2×8 dolly can also be widened to the same extent of 4.27m as the trailer thanks to the powerpack mounted on the trailer gooseneck.

The parameter gooseneck can be widened in seven increments from the fully closed 2.5m through 2.61, 2.9, 3.2, 3.5, 3.7, 4.05 and 4.27m.

The extension locks are air operated on both sides simultaneously, with lock increments every 500mm, meaning the trailer can be extended to precisely the right length for the load. Deck lengths fully retracted and fully extended are 13.5m and 18m respectively.

JYC’s Swingwide was specified with TMC axles with unitised bearings which enables the unit to close up to 2.5m. The same trailer fitted with York or BPW axles has a closed width of 2.7m and fully opened width of 4.6m.

Last but not least, the heavy-duty one-piece ramps have a prop provision which enables them to be secured in horizontal or 45-degree positions to suit longer loads.

Drake’s Swingwide is available in 3×8, 4×8 and 5×8 configurations, either extendable or fixed length, with a plethora of options.
According to Brent Young, the new Swingwide has everything that is needed and then some.

“It has full remote control, auto greasing, extra lashing points along with wide and flat decks that suit our crawler cranes and all-terrains,” he says. “Plus the hydraulic gooseneck and suspension allow us to raise the ground clearance when necessary.

“All up, it’s the ideal unit for moving all of our equipment and we have had no issues with it whatsoever.”

Fast Fact
The Drake Group has built a cutting-edge Swingwide 5×8 extendable for JYC. With steerable axles on the two rear rows and hydraulic suspension and gooseneck, the unit is ideal for shifting JYC’s heavy cranes and equipment.