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Old 09-28-2017, 09:42 PM   #1
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Heavy hauler option

Does anyone tow their RW with a converted semi tractor? After considering upgrading my truck and looking at everything from the F450 to the M2 class Freightliner it is apparent that even in the used market the cost is as much or more than the cost I want to budget even on 10 yr old trucks. Now to even be able to haul some extra things like tools, motorcycle or even a small car it would be cheaper in a long run to pick up a used fleet owned semi tractor.

From what I have found so far one can pick up a nice tractor Volvo models 670 or 780 auto trans 2005-2010 for around 20 grand. Then remove the 5th wheel hitch maybe one of the axles (singling it) then put a flat bed with an air ride hitch for a RV on, doing the work myself, I should be able to get it done for under 30 grand. These rigs are no wider and a little longer than a dually pickup. They are taller and heavier which makes them look so huge yet only 65 total ft long with proper planning, so you would be legal in every state.

This would be for a full time situation when I retire in a little over a year. I used to drive over the road when I was laid off from my career job so I would not feel over my head driving one of these rigs.

Anyone have some thoughts pros and cons interested in anything that anyone has to contribute.
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:54 PM   #2
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I bought a used 1998 International for 22k in great condition out of Arizona last year. I was going to use my 2005 freightliner but it was way too much truck for pulling my 39mb. I found that a lot of parks didn't have enough room for my freightliner classic as the chassis was the largest freightliner made. I am glad that I bought the international it does the job very well and on a 7% grade I down shift 1 gear and it does 45 to 50 mph with no problem. I am putting in the exhaust brake from Blue Ox this winter.
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Old 09-29-2017, 01:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by TomNGina06 View Post
Does anyone tow their RW with a converted semi tractor? After considering upgrading my truck and looking at everything from the F450 to the M2 class Freightliner it is apparent that even in the used market the cost is as much or more than the cost I want to budget even on 10 yr old trucks. Now to even be able to haul some extra things like tools, motorcycle or even a small car it would be cheaper in a long run to pick up a used fleet owned semi tractor.

From what I have found so far one can pick up a nice tractor Volvo models 670 or 780 auto trans 2005-2010 for around 20 grand. Then remove the 5th wheel hitch maybe one of the axles (singling it) then put a flat bed with an air ride hitch for a RV on, doing the work myself, I should be able to get it done for under 30 grand. These rigs are no wider and a little longer than a dually pickup. They are taller and heavier which makes them look so huge yet only 65 total ft long with proper planning, so you would be legal in every state.

This would be for a full time situation when I retire in a little over a year. I used to drive over the road when I was laid off from my career job so I would not feel over my head driving one of these rigs.

Anyone have some thoughts pros and cons interested in anything that anyone has to contribute.
Join the Escapees Forum and you'll find the best and brightest of the HDT Hauler community. Although you might be able to find a used HDT in the price range you quote, the mileage will be in the 500,000 - 800,000 range or more. That mileage will bring with it the need for repairs and the cost of HDT repairs will be significant. There are also insurance issues that will need to be addressed. Depending upon the level of completion, the cost of converting a Class 8 truck to a HDT Hauler can easily approach $15,000 - $20,000. That would include new bed, singling, electrical connection and hitch.
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:26 PM   #4
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Look on Facebook and join the group HDT's The apostrophe is important or it won't get you in the right place. Great group of very knowledgeable people. Most of them are on the Escapees forum also.


Here's one of the trucks: I think Rick said at one point $85k would buy this one. The bed is fantastic, lowers with a remote to allow loading a Jeep straight on. Yes it's overlength but no one has ever had an issue. If my 350 Dually ever gets replaced it will be with a Volvo. Truck is a 2012 630 with the big Volvo engine and ishift auto trans. Licensed as an RV.
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Old 09-29-2017, 05:30 PM   #5
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Sorry guys, the day my 3500 ain't enough truck is the day we quit hauling, that's way toooooo much truck for me, some times my dually is too much to wiggle into camp sites, I can't imagine adding another 10' to it.
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Old 09-29-2017, 06:25 PM   #6
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Sorry guys, the day my 3500 ain't enough truck is the day we quit hauling, that's way toooooo much truck for me, some times my dually is too much to wiggle into camp sites, I can't imagine adding another 10' to it.
I agree. That's when I break down and purchase a motorhome. A nice motorhome.
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Old 09-29-2017, 07:45 PM   #7
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Actually, a Class 8 singled will turn inside the 350/3500; a significantly more maneuverable truck than our LDTs. And the ride quality? Simply scrumptious.
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Old 09-29-2017, 09:23 PM   #8
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Agree Tom ~ I've been in and driven Rick's Volvo. No comparison. He decided not to single it as he knew he wanted to carry a Wrangler and they're not light.
As you said, a singled HDT will actually be only about a foot or so different than our Duallies depending on the bed setup.
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Old 09-29-2017, 09:54 PM   #9
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And the same width, interestingly enough.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:52 PM   #10
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The other thing I can see happening is one of us falling out of it & breaking some more bones. Not to mention having the climb into it, I must be getting old as I'm tired & my knees hurt just talking about the climb.
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