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The biggest combinations used by specialist transport companies might tend to attract the most attention, many operators find that their busiest outfits tend to be three-axle tractor units pulling three- or four-axle step frame trailers. These combinations provide a high level of flexibility, often grossing between 44 and 65 tonnes, possibly going as far as 80 tonnes, dependent upon specification. For many fleets these adaptable outfits are key to their operation, the ability to handle medium weight STGO Cat 2 loads and still be employed on normal Construction and Use work when required is vital.

With so many choices, it is sometimes difficult to appreciate who offers what, so here is a guide to manufacturer specifications.


DAF offers full axle layouts, including standard centre lift/twin steer 6x2 tractors – termed FTG – FTR and FTS tag axle layouts, with single and twin tyres on the rear lift axle respectively, as well as FTT 6x4 double drive tractors with either air or steel suspension. All options are available in either CF (lower mounted cab) or XF (high cab) form, with 11- and 13-litre Euro 6 engines (outputs of 410 to 510bhp).

“We are able to provide STGO plating on most of our tractor units in order to meet operators needs,” says Phil Moon, DAF Trucks’ marketing manager. “The standard FTG centre lift and FTR single tyre tag axle tractors are suitable for use at up to 52 tonnes gross, without modification.” He adds that it is possible to increase this limit with a heavier specification drive axle, to 80 tonnes with the HR1356 hub reduction unit and an uprated front axle.

Marshall Trailers DAF

The FTS tag axle with twin tyres and hub reduction drive axle can be plated for 80 tonnes and rated for 25 tonnes on the rear bogie and up to nine tonnes on the steer. Moon believes this setup makes it ideal for use with a four-axle step frame trailer.

“The FTT 6x4 on air suspension with single reduction drive axles is another alternative, it offers the same axle loadings, but with first rate traction in difficult conditions, the heavy duty hub reduction version on steel suspension is more aimed at CAT 3 operation up to 150 tonnes, but would be extremely durable running at lower weights,” he states.

DAF offers both manual and automated 12- and 16-speed gearboxes, while specialist heavy haulage software is available for the automated transmissions that alters the shift strategy.


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