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A lowboy (low loader in British English) is a semi-trailer with two drops in deck height: one right after the gooseneck and one right before the wheels. This allows the deck to be extremely low compared with other trailers. It offers the ability to carry legal loads up to 12 ft (3.66 m) tall, which other trailers cannot.
The lowboy trailer comes in several types, for a wide range of tasks. Some types are:
- Fixed gooseneck: allows a longer deck length and has the lightest weight of all lowboys
- Mechanical gooseneck: second-longest deck length and weight
- Fixed-neck: the neck is fixed to trailers; offers the lightest weight, but sacrifices the ability to detach and load over the front
- Hydraulic detachable gooseneck: fastest and easiest to detach, at the expense of weight and deck length. It is the commonest and most versatile of lowboy trailers; the gooseneck is detached using large hydraulic cylinders to raise and lower the trailer and a small cylinder shores the neck to the truck, removing the neck so a large piece of equipment can be driven over the front onto the deck of the trailer for transport.
- Mechanically-detachable gooseneck: while usually lighter than the hydraulic detachable gooseneck, users sacrifice ease and speed of detaching. Used for long specialty hauls.
Lowboy trailer features include:
- Spring ride: lowest cost; however, it has a rougher ride and adds more stress to the trailer
- Air-ride: very smooth ride, adding to the life of the trailer frame. Air rides can also be adjusted for a higher or lower deck height.
- Hydraulic suspension: an oil-filled system, allowing wide variation of axle movement
- Main structural steel type: mill rolled beams save money; although being around 4,000–6,000 lb (1,814–2,722 kg) heavier, they also reverse camber after a few years due to the much-lower strength of the main beams.
- T1 or A514 beams save weight and allow more versatile engineering of the trailer; they are cut to the highest-strength shape possible and welded together.
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