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What Class of Truck do we need?


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#1 TGR

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 10:49 AM

We have a recently purchased 07 River Canyon 34 RLTSO 5th wheel. the GVWR is 14500. We DO want to be able to go anywhere. We're wondering if there isn't a diesel extended cab 4x4 dually, to which we could add a jake brake and pretty much 'do it all?"

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

(Yes, we're newbies, just sneaking up on retirement and "hitting the road" is becoming appealing to us.)

Thanks!

#2 Mark & Dale Bruss

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 11:03 AM

Well with 14,500 GVWR on the trailer and 11,500 on the truck, you are looking for a truck with a GCWR of 26,000 or more.

Jake Brakes are major changes in the valve gear in diesel motors and therefore the class of engines that have Jacobson brakes are not found in pickup trucks.

You may add an exhaust brake to most diesel pickup motors. An exhaust brake is not a Jake Brake.

4x4 pickup heights may cause you some issues with the pin height. You can jack the trailer up to compensate but as the pin height is raised, so is the roof of the trailer amd many trailers today are pushing the 13'6" limit with roof air conditioners.

4x4 running gear increases the truck weight which subtracts from the available pin weight rating for the truck.

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#3 grumpydoc

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 11:22 AM

We had a Montana that also weighed 14K and pulled it with a GMC 3500 4X4 CC long bed with the Duramax diesel and Allison tranny. It pulled the 5er fine but stopping it was a whole other ballgame. The truck only weighs 8K and the trailer can push it around in panic stops which I found rather unsettling to say the least. We replaced the dually with a FL M2 106 with the small Mecedes engine which has a true engine brake and weighs 11K. A much better tow vehicle in my estimation for that size 5er. it actually did not go up the hills any faster but coming down was not a "white knuckle" experience as it had been with the smaller dually. The FL cost 2 1/2 as much as the dually but would likely last three times as long so cost wise I considered it a wash. Fuel economy did drop about 1mpg with the bigger Mercedes engine but I figure my GCVW had gone up 3K with the bigger truck so that was a wash also in my mind. The FL also had two 60 gal fuel tanks so I could drive for two days without worrying about getting fuel, not so in the dually. The FL was two wheel drive and turned much tighter than the dually and was therefore easier to park/back in with the 5er. The FL was 2 feet longer, the same width but a fair bit taller than the dually, so over all not much different to drive bobtail than the dually. We borrowed one of 2Ls Internationals while our new truck was being built and found it to be much like the FL. I would think either one would be a better choice for serious fulltime hauling duties, Best wishes, Jay
'08 Teton Experience 40', '09 FL M2 112 MBE 4000 by 2L Custom Trucks, TrailerSaver air hitch, PressurePro TPMS, Garmin Nuvi, '48 Navigoddess

#4 Big Greg

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:54 PM

Any of the new 1T diesel duallies have the power and stopping abilities you will need. The 2011 & 2012 1T trucks have engine or transmission braking also. Many also have built in brake controls for your RV. MDT's are great and have plenty of breaking ability, size, turning radius & longevity but you will pay for it in cost & mileage. It depends on your budget and how much you plan to travel. A used MDT will cost as much as a new 1T. You will have to climb more to enter/exit a MDT & I do not believe a MDT is 4x4. I think a 1T has more creature comforts inside that most MDTs. My opinon. We added an auxillary fuel tank so we don't have to find fuel stations while towing. It didn't take us long to get use to driving an extended cab dually all the time. 100K on the truck and been all over the USA and parts of Canada, up & down the Rockies, Cascades & Sierras with our 17K 5W. The truck is rated to tow an 18.1K 5W & have had the rig weighed twice so we understand what we have. Also, consider that you might upgrade to a larger & heavier 5W in the future so think about getting a truck now that could handle it so you don't have to buy another truck too. Greg

Edited by Big Greg, 05 September 2011 - 01:15 PM.

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#5 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:59 PM

A bit of a side-note, do not pay any attention to the Class of a truck, that is for paying commercial taxes and means almost nothing to an RV user.

Do pay attention to axle and combined weight ratings that do matter to RV users and don't let a sales weasel toss out Class numbers to confuse things.

An exhaust brake is a nice addition for smaller diesel engines, it is not a Jake brake as has been mentioned. It will usually be a single stage with only one level of braking and that level will be less than a Jake brake would provide. On the plus side exhaust brakes are quiet and aren't banned as Jake / Compression brakes are due to their noise.

Another sales weasel trick is to tell you about the wonderful Allison transmission. True the truck will have a transmission built by Allison but they make many lines of transmissions and comparing across the lines is apples to watermelons. Make sure you know just what you are getting!

We went the pickup route, poured another several thousand into trying to get it to be comfortable to drive and never made it. Traded for an MDT and took a huge loss on the resale of the pickup. In today's market it is tough to not give a heavy truck a serious look, they have a lot of advantages (comfort, power, transmissions) over MDTs and usually will cost less to buy.

If you do go the heavy pickup route be aware of just how it is going to treat you going down the highway, both ride and noise as they are very difficult and expensive to change. You likely won't be able to test it under your load but be prepared for the performance to be unimpressive to stressful. You can boost power a good bit at a pretty high cost in cash and reliability, one step too far and things will start breaking. Been there, done that, couldn't afford a new shirt once I paid the bills. :-(

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#6 RV

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 02:04 PM

You can never have too much truck. You can have too much trailer, but you can never have too much truck. We had a 34.5 foot HitchHiker that was 12k loaded and a 1 ton Dodge diesel dually auto long bed when we were fulltiming. Added an exhaust brake because we lost the service brakes almost completely due to going too fast down a 6% grade and inexperience. The exhaust brake made normal descents easier, but they don't do a thing for emergency stops. We knew that if the trailer brakes had any problems the truck was powerless to stop it on a steep downgrade. If I had it to do over I would have a heavy duty truck conversion. I think you'll hear the same from most who have been there and done that.

Did I mention that you can never have too much truck? ;)

Edited by RV, 05 September 2011 - 02:09 PM.

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#7 TGR

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 07:27 PM

Well with 14,500 GVWR on the trailer and 11,500 on the truck, you are looking for a truck with a GCWR of 26,000 or more.

Jake Brakes are major changes in the valve gear in diesel motors and therefore the class of engines that have Jacobson brakes are not found in pickup trucks.

You may add an exhaust brake to most diesel pickup motors. An exhaust brake is not a Jake Brake.

4x4 pickup heights may cause you some issues with the pin height. You can jack the trailer up to compensate but as the pin height is raised, so is the roof of the trailer amd many trailers today are pushing the 13'6" limit with roof air conditioners.

4x4 running gear increases the truck weight which subtracts from the available pin weight rating for the truck.


THANKS! ALL GOOD AND THOUGHTFUL COMMENTS. THANKS!

#8 TGR

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 07:56 PM

We had a Montana that also weighed 14K and pulled it with a GMC 3500 4X4 CC long bed with the Duramax diesel and Allison tranny. It pulled the 5er fine but stopping it was a whole other ballgame. The truck only weighs 8K and the trailer can push it around in panic stops which I found rather unsettling to say the least. We replaced the dually with a FL M2 106 with the small Mecedes engine which has a true engine brake and weighs 11K. A much better tow vehicle in my estimation for that size 5er. it actually did not go up the hills any faster but coming down was not a "white knuckle" experience as it had been with the smaller dually. The FL cost 2 1/2 as much as the dually but would likely last three times as long so cost wise I considered it a wash. Fuel economy did drop about 1mpg with the bigger Mercedes engine but I figure my GCVW had gone up 3K with the bigger truck so that was a wash also in my mind. The FL also had two 60 gal fuel tanks so I could drive for two days without worrying about getting fuel, not so in the dually. The FL was two wheel drive and turned much tighter than the dually and was therefore easier to park/back in with the 5er. The FL was 2 feet longer, the same width but a fair bit taller than the dually, so over all not much different to drive bobtail than the dually. We borrowed one of 2Ls Internationals while our new truck was being built and found it to be much like the FL. I would think either one would be a better choice for serious fulltime hauling duties, Best wishes, Jay


Thanks, Jay. But how do you get around locally, wherever you're staying with only the HDT?

#9 TGR

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 07:58 PM

You can never have too much truck. You can have too much trailer, but you can never have too much truck. We had a 34.5 foot HitchHiker that was 12k loaded and a 1 ton Dodge diesel dually auto long bed when we were fulltiming. Added an exhaust brake because we lost the service brakes almost completely due to going too fast down a 6% grade and inexperience. The exhaust brake made normal descents easier, but they don't do a thing for emergency stops. We knew that if the trailer brakes had any problems the truck was powerless to stop it on a steep downgrade. If I had it to do over I would have a heavy duty truck conversion. I think you'll hear the same from most who have been there and done that.

Did I mention that you can never have too much truck? ;)


So, Derek, I get it: You can never have too much truck. but how do you get around locally when the package is a HDT and 5er? What are the best options for another vehicle, and how does one "get 'er done?
"

Tom

#10 TGR

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 08:00 PM

A bit of a side-note, do not pay any attention to the Class of a truck, that is for paying commercial taxes and means almost nothing to an RV user.

Do pay attention to axle and combined weight ratings that do matter to RV users and don't let a sales weasel toss out Class numbers to confuse things.

An exhaust brake is a nice addition for smaller diesel engines, it is not a Jake brake as has been mentioned. It will usually be a single stage with only one level of braking and that level will be less than a Jake brake would provide. On the plus side exhaust brakes are quiet and aren't banned as Jake / Compression brakes are due to their noise.

Another sales weasel trick is to tell you about the wonderful Allison transmission. True the truck will have a transmission built by Allison but they make many lines of transmissions and comparing across the lines is apples to watermelons. Make sure you know just what you are getting!

We went the pickup route, poured another several thousand into trying to get it to be comfortable to drive and never made it. Traded for an MDT and took a huge loss on the resale of the pickup. In today's market it is tough to not give a heavy truck a serious look, they have a lot of advantages (comfort, power, transmissions) over MDTs and usually will cost less to buy.

If you do go the heavy pickup route be aware of just how it is going to treat you going down the highway, both ride and noise as they are very difficult and expensive to change. You likely won't be able to test it under your load but be prepared for the performance to be unimpressive to stressful. You can boost power a good bit at a pretty high cost in cash and reliability, one step too far and things will start breaking. Been there, done that, couldn't afford a new shirt once I paid the bills. :-(


Thanks, Stan, I'll pay attention to the Combined weight. So the consensus from all I've read is "go with an HDT." OK, I have a Class A CDL, and I'm not intimidated by handling an HDT. But how do you make that work as your only vehicle?

#11 Mark & Dale Bruss

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 08:50 PM

But how do you make that work as your only vehicle?


You would be no wider that a dually pickup, 1-2 ft longer than a crewcab pickup, but a lot taller. Most parking lots don't care about height.

We had just our Volvo for our first 6 months on the road. We went to all kinds of stores, We just parked out a little further. We also went to places like the Air Force Museum and Pike Peak Cog Railroad. You just have to avoid drive-thrus.

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#12 grumpydoc

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:21 PM

TGR, we do several different things depending on where we are and what our needs are. During the summer most of our trips with the 5er and the FL are to nearby places for short periods of time and we usually just drive the FL if we need to go somewhere. You have to think ahead and avoid the places you couldn't take a dually or MDT/HDT, parking in bigger lots is not an issue, I just park farther away and use four spots to park. When we go to TX for the winter we take the Expedition which the "Boss"(DW) drives, she is the lead and I actually find it easier with her in front when we travel on long trips, we use CBs to communicate and she can tell me what to do(nothing new there!!). When we get to TX for the winter the big truck doesn't get used except for an exercise run once a month or so, the rest of the time we use the Expedition for travel. Others prefer to pull doubles with the TV and 5er but I am not brave enough to do so. If you are just getting started and plan on being fulltime or longtime like us, I agree with RV you can't have too much truck. Odds are good you will soon want and buy a larger(Heavier) RV and if you buy a marginal truck now you will be buying an bigger truck later. Some of us weren't smart enough to do so and wound up buying two or three trucks before we wound up with one big enough for the job. I love our big FL and wouldn't what anything smaller to pull our current 5er, but only you and your budget can decide what you need and can afford. My advice, buy the biggest truck you can afford, Best wishes, Jay
'08 Teton Experience 40', '09 FL M2 112 MBE 4000 by 2L Custom Trucks, TrailerSaver air hitch, PressurePro TPMS, Garmin Nuvi, '48 Navigoddess

#13 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:48 PM

A lot of the apparent size difference in a big pickup, MDT and HDT is more visual than real, take out a tape measure and confirm that for yourself. If looking at a non-converted HDT don't forget you'll be removing one axle. If you are going to be loading up the bed just factor in the length you'd actually want back there.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most MDTs and HDTs turn a lot sharper than a pickup will, we could get our MDT a lot of places the Ford just wouldn't turn sharp enough to get us into. Same when parking the fiver, with the MDT hitch set back a couple feet it will swing the fiver into spots you'd never get it close to with a pickup with the hitch over the axle.

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#14 RickW

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 07:34 AM

We worried about getting around in the HDT so this was our solution:

Posted Image

In reality we can get around just fine in the HDT but we enjoy having the Jeep. The best part is we do have 2 vehicles in the event we have to split up for a few hours if need/want to.

Smart Cars are very common on the back of the big trucks. They do not take up as much room. Smart Car was not for us but we love the Jeep.
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#15 RV

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:54 PM

Tom, glad you got it, you can never have too much truck. I said I would go HDT next time I go full time. But the folks who have them have already answered that, and I can tell you that with my dually I could not turn as tight as my friend's HDT could, and we both couldn't go through automatic car/light truck washes.

We don't go through fast food drive throughs because we don't eat fast food. We got in the habit of parking way back with the dually and now do the same with our diesel Beetle car and Forester SUV to avoid the dings from idiots in parking lots, and the exercise never hurt either.

One thing the HDTs can do in most cases that no light truck can do. They can be a mini RV with a bed/s for those trips you don't want to drag the whole rig along because of road conditions. Several side trip gravel roads in Alaska come immediately to mind. Tom, you know you can never have too much turkey on thanksgiving right? You thought I was going to say truck! :lol: (because you already know you can never have too much truck either.) ;)

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http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998


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“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire


#16 DonF

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 02:45 AM

AND there are those who will load a smart42 on the back deck, and go on our merry way!

Posted Image

-Don

p.s. FWIW, we still have two other vehicles in storage for our "winter" (down-time) cycle; we'll bounce between Calif & AZ during Dec thru spring (anywhere from April thru June), so have the Camry option with us in AZ,,, and the Dodge 2500 for hauling stuff around grand-kids' homes.

Edited by DonF, 07 September 2011 - 03:02 AM.

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#17 Jarlaxle

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 02:52 PM

We have a recently purchased 07 River Canyon 34 RLTSO 5th wheel. the GVWR is 14500. We DO want to be able to go anywhere. We're wondering if there isn't a diesel extended cab 4x4 dually, to which we could add a jake brake and pretty much 'do it all?"

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

(Yes, we're newbies, just sneaking up on retirement and "hitting the road" is becoming appealing to us.)
Thanks!


If it had to be new, I'd spec this one out. From Ford's site...

F-550 XL 4x4 Crewcab
6.8 litre V10 with 5-speed automatic trans (no more 6-speed.)
4.88 axle gears, rear limited slip
200" wheelbase
"Payload plus" equipment with 14,700lb (!) rear GAWR and 19,500lb GVWR (That should handle the pin weight without a problem!)
Snowplow prep (HD alternator)
Trailer tow package
"XL Value" package (cruise control & CD player)
Trailer brake controller
Cloth buckets & console
Backup alarm

Stickers at $44,850. :(

Used? Either a pre-2007 International 4300 with DT466 power, or a 1999-2002 F-550 with the 7.3 PowerStroke & 6-speed.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
John (and occasionally my wife Liz)
Former rigs: 1976 Holiday TT, 1984 Ford B-700 school bus
Current rig: 1993 International Genesis FE school bus conversion.

#18 TurboRedneck

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 10:03 PM

Attached File  2000_4800_DT530.jpg   83.26KB   52 downloads

There are some medium duty 4x4's like this out there, sold for just under $20k. Yeah its used, but oughtta outlast a new pickup, no Diesel additives either.

2000 International 4800, 4x4, crew cab, 56,000 miles
DT530 engine
Air brakes
Air transfer case lock
Air hi/low range
Air diff lock
Engine brake
Cruise
Heated Mirrors
GVWR 35,000 lbs
GAWR Front 12,000
GAWR Rear 23,000

And in case you wanted to run a 15,000 watt generator or something with the engine idling, a PTO

The frame is just under 48" off the ground so a regular air ride 5th wheel box mounted inside the frame at the back should do the trick. Will be doing our 4800 this winter.

Side note: We'd have a heavy duty if they weren't so hard to find AWD in.
International 4800 4x4 DT466 5spd being built to pull our Newmar Londonaire 44'

#19 Jarlaxle

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:14 PM

That thing will be awful. It will ride like an oxcart. Fort a reasonably close approximation of how an International 4800 4x4 rides on anything more than glass-smooth pavement, simply climb into a commercial washing machine and have someone set it to "agitate". The 4800 I drove was the second-worst ride I have ever experienced.
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Former rigs: 1976 Holiday TT, 1984 Ford B-700 school bus
Current rig: 1993 International Genesis FE school bus conversion.

#20 TurboRedneck

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 05:38 AM

That thing will be awful. It will ride like an oxcart. Fort a reasonably close approximation of how an International 4800 4x4 rides on anything more than glass-smooth pavement, simply climb into a commercial washing machine and have someone set it to "agitate". The 4800 I drove was the second-worst ride I have ever experienced.


Yeah, with no bed weight those springs just don't compress, much like an empty dually. However, just put air suspension on my 4700 and now its smoother than my 1T's. If I put air ride on my 4800, the Blazer might not be wanted. Haven't seen a 4800 with factory air bags yet, but many 4700 haulers with air seats, cab & suspension. Might be better to add the 4x4 to one of those. -Scott
International 4800 4x4 DT466 5spd being built to pull our Newmar Londonaire 44'