Step Drop Frame Trailer

Step or drop frame trailer is a name for a trailer with a main deck which is lower than the height of the tractor unit’s fifth wheel height. The term ‘step frame trailer’ is identical to ‘stepframe trailer’. A Step or drop frame trailer may also be called:

  • Swan’s neck trailers
  • Step trailers
  • Semi trailers

The name ‘Semi trailer’ is short for semi-lowloader. Drop frame trailers are not low loaders proper, but have a lower deck height in common with low loaders.

The kingpin of the trailer is attached to the underside of the step frame trailer’s upper deck, enabling the trailer to be coupled to the tractor unit’s fifth wheel. The upper deck is built sufficiently high to accommodate the tractor unit.

The lower deck of the drop frame trailer is built at a lower level than the upper deck, enabling high loads to be moved without the total height of the loaded trailer exceeding the legal limits for normal road transport.

The lower deck heights of drop frame trailers vary between manufacturers and models. 0.95m is common, but 0.72m is frequent, while a five axle steering drop frame trailer may have a lower deck height of 1.1m.

The lower deck height of a drop frame trailer may be wholly above the height of the trailer wheels, giving an uninterrupted flat lower deck. Alternatively the lower deck of a drop frame trailer may have ‘peep-throughs’ to enable the deck to sit within the diameter of the trailer’s wheels. The wheels protrude above (peep through) the lower deck; the deck being cut away to accommodate the wheels. Peep through covers may be bolted over the wheels.

Drop frame trailers are distinguished from low loaders by having a single lower deck height. In contrast, low loaders have three deck heights: the upper deck above the kingpin, the lower load-carrying deck, and a third deck height above the wheels. See low loader trailers.

We stock 3 axle stepframe platform trailers from Montracon, Dennison and SDC.

  • 22 tonne payload. No special types.
  • 13.6m length closed, 9m in the lower deck.
  • 0.95m deck height in the lower deck, 1.5m in the upper deck.
  • 1.6m pin.
  • Keruwing hard wood timber deck floor.
  • 235 75 R 17.5 tyres in double formation. A few trailers run on 235 75 R 19.5 tyres.
  • Rope hooks and/or lashing (ferry) rings.
  • All trailers have fixed 1m headboards.

Not supplied with ramps. Suitable for transporting straw and sometimes called a straw trailer.

John Hudson Trailers Ltd – Specialist Low Loader Trailer Hire & Sales

We buy, sell and rent (short or long term) HGV semi low loader extendable and non-extending step frame, plant trailers, tractor, wing and truss carrier specialist trailers. These single, double or triple extendible trailers are also known as trombone, teletrailers, multitrailers or just extenders. We also have a large number of flatbed (flat, platform trailers), urban and curtain siders. 

The 600plus modern trailers on our fleet use a variety of technology. Examples being: multiple self steering axles, hydraulic double flip ramps, beaver tails, wafer decks, override steering, detachable necks and/or SL technology.

Our fleet is comprised of trailers manufactured by BroshuisDollMontraconFaymonvilleNooteboomSDC and others. The size, quality and variety of our fleet allows us to offer customers the correct trailers required for their particular road transport contracts. Even at short notice.

Furthermore we offer repairs, re-furbishment, HGV VOSA testing, breakdown assistance, sparesservice, test preparation, tachograph calibration and brake analysis. These services are suitable for trucks, trailers, buses, tractor units, lorries and other PSV’s.

John Hudson Trailers Ltd is a family company and we have been working in the HGV specialist transport industry since the 1950’s. Our company is based in the UK at Bawtry in South Yorkshire.