Curtainsider Trucks FAQ
What is a curtainsider truck?
A curtainside truck can be a rigid or articulated trailer where the sides of the body can be slid back like a curtain to reveal the load area. This makes loading easier than with solid sides but safer and drier than an open backed truck.
Why Use a Curtainsider Truck?
If you need to be loaded and unloaded by a forklift quickly, as opposed to a raised loading bay or using a tail lift at the rear, the a curtainsider truck is the best solution as the load area can be accessed quickly whilst the load is protected from theft and the elements when travelling.
Who makes curtainsider truck bodies?
Since whole vehicle type approval came in, more truck manufacturers are supplying trucks with the bodies already fitted. However, there are a number of specialist curtainside body builders, suc as J C Payne, Alloy Bodies and the Bevan Group. For Curtainside trailers, Montracon, SDC and Schmitz Cargobull.
What's the difference between a Curtainsider and Tauliner?
Both have sides of the bodies that slide back. Curtainisder is a generic term, whilst Tautliner is a brand of body belonging to Boalloy. The Tautliner version runs along rails at the top and the bottom, whereas the curtainsider is typically loose at the bottom and on a runner at the top of the curtain
What's the Difference between a Curtainsider and Title Truck?
Both have curtains that slide back, but the title version that is more popular on the continent has the cover all the way over the body sitting on a frame which, when revealed, means that the truck can be loaded from the top using a gantry crane as well as the sides. In the UK these tend to be used only for metal coil carriers.
Buying a Used Curtainsider
Buying a used curtainside truck is no different to making any other secondhand truck purchase. You must take a good long look over the driveline, check the wheels and tyres etc. The only additional area you need to consider is the state of the curtains and tracks themselves.
Take your time and undo every clip that holds the curtains in place, then fully slide them along to reveal the while of the loading area. Make sure the belts are not worn and that there are no tears in the curtains. Check of any earlier repairs to the curtains – it is not necessarily a terrible thing that they have been damaged slightly in the past, but the repair will need to be solid.
Some curtains look tired when they have had their previous graphics removed, but often, a decent quantity of traffic film remover can sort this out. Buying a curtainsided truck with the logos simply painted over could be a lot of work to remove and you may be better negotiating a great deal with the seller and investing in a new set of curtains.
It is not the end of the world if you have to replace the curtains – doing so will really smarten up the truck in any case. Buying new curtains for the truck also means that you can change the colour to one that suits you better. Bear in mind that there is usually only a choice of base colours – matching your livery may be a lot trickier.
Recycle Old Curtains
If you are buying new curtains for the curtainsider, then don’t just throw away the old ones – there is a company in Switzerland called Freitag (translated as Friday) that buys these curtains to make them into handbags and satchels.
Other Names for Curtainsiders
Over the years there have been plenty of companies making these types of truck bodies. Sometimes the brand names stick – think Hoover and vacuum cleaners. You may hear people talk about ‘Tautliners’ – this is a brand of curtainside body that is built by Boalloy in Cheshire. They differ slightly to many curtainsiders in as much as the bottom of the curtain is never removed and the curtains simply slide along a rail.
These are a type of curtainsider that is a lot more popular on the continent. They are essentially a dropside truck with a removable frame and series of curtains. This means that the truck can be used as a curtainsider, but if there are loads that are too tall for the frame (and are OK being exposed to the weather) then the frame is removed and the truck is a standard dropside. This type of ‘Tilt’ or ‘Tiltliner’ body is common for semi-trailers in the continent.
In the UK we see the vast majority of trucks as traditional curtainsiders, with a tiny percentage being tiltliners.
These are trailers that look like curtainsiders that are used on the continent. The main difference is that the roofs slide open to help loading from overhead. This means that loading long items or heavy coils from an overhead gantry crane is possible.
Mega trailers in general are those that run on smaller wheels and tyres with a low-ride tractor unit. Using smaller wheels means that the height of the body can be taller giving more load space. In the UK this is less of a problem, as our motorway bridges are higher than on continental Europe. We are able to have overheight trailers running on normal wheels and tyres.