When transporting extra-large, extra-heavy cargo, everything on a truck is stressed right down to the tires. Johnny McTyre (pronounced Mc-Teer), vice president-McTyre Trucking, knows this perhaps better than anyone, having grown up in the family-owned heavy-haul business. Orlando, FL-based McTyre, established as a flatbed hauler of concrete blocks in 1947 by Johnny's great-grandfather, Hilton McTyre, eventually expanded into construction equipment hauling for local contractors.
“Transporting oversized, overweight commodities for manufacturers, freight forwarders and utility companies became our niche,” notes McTyre. “Today, we move everything from generators, transformers and turbines to wind towers. We also do a lot of Dept. of Transportation work, including the transport of bridge pilings and girders.”
While McTyre Trucking covers the continental U.S., McTyre says the majority of business comes from the Southeast. Early in November, for example, the company completed a job that was two months in the planning and involved moving a 490,000-lb. transformer, manufactured by Siemens in Austria.
“The transformer was delivered via heavy-lift ship to the Port of Palm Beach [Florida] where it was off-loaded directly onto one of our heavy rigs specifically configured for the job,” explains McTyre. “Because of its large size and heavy weight, the move was made over a 16-hr. period during the nighttime hours to avoid traffic congestion. The rig was accompanied by Florida highway patrol, utility crews and local sheriffs' departments for each county it traveled through on its 100-mi. journey to the St. Lucie nuclear power plant in Fort Pierce [Florida].”
The overall dimensions of this haul rig — including the truck and trailer, cargo, and two prime movers (one to pull the truck, one to push it from behind) — were 290 ft long, 20 ft. wide, and 16 ft., 10 in. tall. The total gross weight was 912,000 lbs.
Because of the extreme nature of McTyre Trucking's hauls, having good tires is imperative to the operation. According to McTyre, the company has been purchasing Goodyear tires (including tire models G269, G399, G372, G316, and G169) for its tractor and trailer fleet for 10 years now.
“Our relationship with our local Goodyear tire dealer, Action Gator Tire, has been exceptional,” McTyre states. “We like doing business with good people and they sell a good product. We buy a range of tire sizes, the smallest being 17.5 in. and the largest 24.5 in. tires.
“Action Gator also introduced us to Goodyear's FleetHQ program to help us control tire costs,” he continues. “The program gives us a central location to call for tire service and locked-in pricing on tires/repairs across the country. With FleetHQ, we're better able to budget tire costs and actually stay within that budget.”
Goodyear says the program customizes its solutions to the individual fleet's needs and costs nothing to join.
McTyre says a certain number of tire failures out on the road are inevitable with the amount of stress put on heavy-haul equipment and the subsequent hotter running tire temps. Maintaining tire pressures through daily visual inspections, he notes, goes a long way in minimizing on-road failures.
“For some of the loads we haul, especially in dual-lane-style trailers where the axles cover more than one lane of pavement, we find ourselves picking up a lot of debris off the shoulder of the highway,” McTyre explains. “ Those types of rigs are particularly prone to high numbers of tire repairs.”
In-house maintenance for the McTyre Trucking fleet is limited to tire work and light-duty mechanical repairs, performed at one of the company's two terminals located in Orlando or Jacksonville. Since the majority of the fleet is newer equipment still under warranty to some extent, McTyre says they rely on dealers for work other than routine maintenance.
The McTyre fleet currently includes 40 tractors made up of a mix of International 8600, Peterbilt 367 and Kenworth C500 models. The very diverse 140-trailer fleet encompasses everything from flatbeds, step-decks, and single- and double-drops to extendable versions of all those models and multi-axle lowboys, as well as Schnabel trailers for hauling wind towers.
“We also fabricate, in-house, different racks and support units that we need to handle special cargos. It's not uncommon for us to have to modify a trailer in our [fabrication] shop for a job. No two hauls are alike. Sometimes, for example, one will require us to add specific support locations or will need to maintain a certain elevation from the ground to clear guard rails, especially on some of the wider loads, so we'll fabricate racks or modify them as necessary,” McTyre advises.
When it comes to moving the really big stuff, what it all boils down to is good planning, McTyre says.
“With good preplanning for a move, we can handle all the challenges we face over the road, the biggest being the lack of uniformity between state permitting agencies that dictate allowable axle weights/groupings and how we need to configure our trailers to legally cross state lines.”
ON THE MOVE
“A lot of our trailers have sliding axles or hydraulically extendable or retractable axles that allow us to change our transverse spacings on the fly,” he continues. “Sometimes we even have to transload at a state line, but we always go into a job knowing beforehand what to expect before taking our heavy hauls over the road.”