The large fuel capacity — and consumption — on much of today’s farm equipment requires a new approach in order to keep those thirsty giants fed. To meet that need, several manufacturers have introduced the field fuel and service trailer concept. Along with a large-capacity fuel tank, each brand has tagged a variety of associated service features onto the frame designed to help with field repairs.
Instead of buying a dedicated truck to handle these tasks, the trailer allows farmers to get more use from their three-quarter or one ton truck. Just hook onto the trailer when you need to provide fuel or field service, then unhook it.
Although the basic design of most trailers is the same — fuel pumps and some storage at the front, a large, low-slung tank behind that and on some models a tool compartment at the rear — the exact specifications vary a little between brands.
We surveyed a sample of the field of trailers on display at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina in June to see how they stack up. Here is a look at the trailers we spotted on the show grounds and how their specifications compare.
Thunder Creek displayed its double-walled, 990 U.S. gallon (3,748 litre) trailer that is available with a 435 (1,249 litre) DEF tank.
The 990-gallon version on display at the show rode on eight-bolt hubs connected to tridem axles with torsion suspension under eight-inch frame rails. A tandem-axle version is also available, which doesn’t have a rear utility compartment. The fuel tanks are constructed of 10-gauge steel and the outer secondary tank has 110 per cent of the capacity of the inner primary in order to fully contain any leakage. It has an empty weight of 2,944 kg and a GVWR of 8,165 kg.
Standard transfer capacity with the 12-volt pump is 15 gallons per minute (GPM), that jumps to 25 with the optional gas-powered pump. A 25-foot hose length is standard, with an optional 50 foot choice. For DEF a nine GPM electric pump is standard and there is a gas-powered pump option here too.
For other service jobs, a front toolbox is available to add to the 1.2 cubic metre rear box. And you can stuff a welder-compressor-generator system in that rear compartment for even more capability.
Base price range, depending on the exact model is: US$22,480 to $34,625.
Meridian’s Fuel Express trailer is available in three models, the basic, the Platinum Pro and the Platinum Pro Plus, each with increasing option levels.
All three carry 3,750 litres (825 Imperial gallons) with the option of a 208-litre DEF tank, or two DEF tanks for a total capacity of 416 litres. The second DEF tank could also be used to carry a third liquid.
A 12-volt transfer pump with 35 feet of hose is standard on the basic model. A 6.5 horsepower gasoline-powered pump rated at 40 GPM and 50 feet of hose is available on the Platinum and Platinum Pro. And buyers can opt for a digital inline fuel meter to keep track of fill amounts.
“The nice feature with our tank versus some of the others on the market is if you don’t order it with DEF and two years down the road you need it, you can just bolt the tank on. We have a built-in space for it,” says Ken Pierson, oil and gas manager at Meridian Mfg. Group. “It makes it really nice that you can add it in later.”
The low profile design creates a low centre of gravity for stability during travel. The forward compartment has 64 cubic feet of space for the pump, battery and DEF tank, and the option to install a front tool box if the trailer is equipped with only one DEF tank. Meridian says the Fuel Express is registered with Transport Canada as a UN Standard Mobile IBC (CAN/CGSB-43.146-2002).
The diesel tank is bolted to the frame and cushioned by rubber gaskets. Underneath are two 7,000 pound axles equipped with electric brakes. That increases to three on the Platinum Pro Plus model. And to keep it looking nice, the Fuel Express is protected by a baked on powder coat finish.
The rear utility box can be filled with a variety of equipment options, such as a welder-compressor-generator.
“The basic unit starts out at $25,900,” says Pierson. “When we go to our Platinum edition, it’s $29,900. When you go to the Platinum Pro, which would give you the utility box with nothing in it, would be $36,800.”
Duo Lift Manufacturing
“They’re U.S. DOT compliant, Transport Canada compliant and United Nations compliant,” says Paul Hottovy, director of sales and marketing for Duo Lift Manufacturing, about that company’s offering. “As far as we know we’re the only manufacturer in North America that meets all three of those criteria.”
Every component of the trailer has to meet UN standards, Hottovy explains. This means the diesel trailers could potentially be used in emergencies abroad or within North America.
Trailers are available with a fuel tank capacity of 500, 750, or 1,000 U.S. gallons (1,892, 2,839 or 3,785 litres). DEF storage tanks are 50 or 100 gallons (189 or 378 litres).
The options list now includes a 120-volt heater blanket that wraps around the DEF tank. “So that gives a functionality from 40 F to -10 F. Because diesel exhaust fluid can freeze,” says Hottovy. “But many of the modern tractors that are used in the winter need to still have DEF pumped into them next to their diesel fuel.”
Price range: US$15,000 to $35,000.
HitchDoc offers its HFC (standard) models with 500, 750 or 990 U.S. gallon (1,892, 2,839 or 3,748 litre) capacity. All three models ride on tandem, torsion axles. There are 3,500 pound axles on the smallest version and 6,000 pound axles on the larger two. Total GVWR for each of the trailers is 7,000, 12,000 and 12,000 pounds (3,181 and 5,454 kilograms) respectively. Empty weight is 2,700, 2,900 and 3,100 pounds (1,227, 1,318 and 1,409 kilograms).
All standard trailers include a rear platform for mounting equipment or a utility box. The mid-sized model is upgradeable, owners whose needs change can replace the 750 gallon tank later on with a larger 990 gallon version or add a DEF tank.
Recently, the company added the uprated XL Series to its line, which includes an upgrade to tridem axles and offers a wider range of field service capabilities. Behind the 990 gallon tank there is a rear storage or tool compartment and a short rear deck to act as a workbench. That rear compartment can be filled with welder-compressor-generator. It also offers a 300 gallon (1,136 litre) DEF tank. On the three other HFC trailer models you can choose a 60 or 100 U.S. gallon (227 or 378 litre) stainless steel DEF tank.
“On the standard units, the 990 gallon trailer can have no DEF, 60 gallon or 100 gallon DEF tanks,” says Todd Botterill of Botterill sales, HitchDoc’s Western Canadian distributor. “The 750 can have no DEF or a 60 gallon tank. The 500 offers no DEF tank as standard. This is because the DEF tank compartment gets lower to match the lower profile of the tank, reducing DEF capacity. The 500 gal unit only has a 20 foot diesel hose, and no reel (because there is not enough room for it).”
“On the XL trailer the DEF tank area can have a 300 gallon DEF tank, up to 3, 100 gallon tanks, or a 100 gallon DEF tank and up to two toolboxes,” he adds.
On all models a 110-volt DEF heater package is available to keep the fluid flowing in cold weather. The DEF pump includes a 15-foot transfer hose, that can be extended to 25 feet as an option.
Fuel transfers through a standard 25 GPM, 12-volt electric pump or an optional 40 GPM gas pump with electric start. A solar panel charging kit is available as an option for electric pump models. A 35-foot diesel transfer hose with auto shut-off nozzle is standard.
“HitchDoc uses an IBC tank, meaning that it requires re-certification every five years as opposed to every 12 months like many other trailers,” adds Botterill.
Prices range from US$13,335, plus freight, customs and taxes, for a basic 990 trailer, to US$43,875, plus freight, customs and taxes, for a fully loaded 990 XL, like the model displayed at the show.
Get a video look at a trailer
The Grainews e-QuipTV video crew was on hand during Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina in June, and they took a close look at the features of a typical field service trailer. To see the video, go to grainews.ca and visit e-QuipTV.