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bluflame11

Looking to upgrade from pickup

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HI everyone! I am new to posting here. I have been doing some research at length and trying to put everything together, but I was wondering if I can get some recommendations on my specific situation!

 

We currently tow our 41 foot fifth and a gooseneck with antique tractors with a 2004 Dodge with the cummins and six speed. While adequate power, I am growing more concerned regarding braking and suspension with each trip. Which is, of course, what prompted me to look into MDT.

 

Our family consists of myself, my wife, a 4 year old and a one year old. Because they are still in car seats, I felt that a 4 door was necessary. ... I started my research and I really liked the SportChassis type freightliner and really liked the SportTruckRV version! I am one who wants to have power to spare, so I was specifically looking at the M2 112 version with the bigger displacement motor. However, we were not very excited about the price tags....

 

I am currently looking at a 2008 SportChassis with the 12 liter MBE and 35,000 miles on it and 2000 miles away from me....it looks great but ....unfortunately with a hefty price tag.

 

Then I came across a used 2007 Volvo VNL 730 with 465 hp D12 and 580,000 miles. This was used most recently to haul grain trailers for a farm. it is 800 miles away from me. This has the sleeper, but the refrig is removed and it has been set up with 2 captains chairs sitting sideways and a dinette style table in the back. it is 1/3 the price of the SportChassis.

 

I guess my concerns are:

 

1. Driving a large HDT- I have a non-commercial class A license, but without driving either MDT or HDT before, the MDT is less intimidating

2. Will it be a problem getting the car seats in and kids in the car seats, or would 4 doors be a lot better?

3. The Volvo is still a tandem....is it ok to leave it that way or will this need to be changed?

4. License/registration in PA....can it be an RV or does it have to be registered as a truck?

5. Is 580,000 miles too much and should I stay away based on that?

6. Parking when out on a trip without the fifth

7. Getting into some campgrounds...the truck is 12' tall, but the camper I guess would still be the limiting factor at 13'6"

8. Any other suggestions I am missing?

 

I know these have probably been answered in one way or another multiple times on this great forum, but I was looking for recommendations for my situation in PA with 2 small children.

 

Thanks in advance for all your help!

Edited by bluflame11

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In my opinion the cheapest and safet way to go would be the HDT. I bought mine in Ohio already registered as a motor home and my home state of Delaware honored it as a RV so I got lucky there. The car seats in the seats mounted sideways could create a issue in safetey as I have heard in a accident it is not as safe as sitting forward, not sure how true but with little ones hear it is because of the weakness in their necks. Not saying it will happen just tossing that out there. Where in Pa are you located?

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You might take a look at my website. It should help you with your questions. Link is in my signature line. Also on the HDT forum in the :sticky" section at the top, there is a "typical questions" link, pasted below.

 

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=108618

 

To specifically answer your questions. There should be no issue with the miles, per say. It is more the maintenance that is important.

 

It won't be all that much harder to get the kids in. In both trucks you are going to have to climb in and than get them in. You will not do it from the ground in either case. The HDT will likely be easier because you can walk to the back and stand right by the seat. You cannot do that with the MDT.

 

I'd single the truck, but you can read the pros/cons on my website. It is not "necessary" to single. But it is convenient for lots of reasons.

 

Look in the HHRVResource Guide (link on the HDT forum) for guidance on PA licensing and registration. I think it will have to stay a truck. You have the right class license.

 

The truck will be no more difficult to drive than the MDT. It is simply not an issue. Assuming it has an Ishift. If it is a manual then that changes things.

 

Parking will not be significantly worse than a dually pickup. A little worse, but not a lot. You will be walking from the back of lots, not parking up front.

 

If your 5er is 13'6" then you will have no particular issues with the truck as far as access. You will have less traction than a 4x4 pickup. SO getting stuck is a concern. You are heavy, and the typical scenario would be the front wheels sink in and that stops you. Just something to be aware of.

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Hello bluflame,

 

I have a question or too for you. Do you know if the Volvo 730 that you are looking at is titled as a RV ? If it is already titled as a RV, call your local DMV and ask them how you can get the title from the other state to a Pa. title. My truck was titled as a RV in Delaware and transferred to an Ohio title with no problems. I needed to take my truck to my local Ohio DMV and have them inspect it. All that they where doing was checking the serial number on the truck to match the serial number on the title. The rest of the paper work was simple. I did have to pay taxes in Ohio and no taxes in Delaware. This is one of the questions about taxes you need to ask the Pa DMV.

 

There are some pictures here on the site showing the rear seats facing forward. If the truck checks out, I would not let the placement of the seats from stopping me to buy the truck. You can always relocate the seats to face forward. Keep asking questions, because there a plenty of good people who willing to help you out.

 

Good luck on your search,

Al

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In my opinion the cheapest and safet way to go would be the HDT. I bought mine in Ohio already registered as a motor home and my home state of Delaware honored it as a RV so I got lucky there. The car seats in the seats mounted sideways could create a issue in safetey as I have heard in a accident it is not as safe as sitting forward, not sure how true but with little ones hear it is because of the weakness in their necks. Not saying it will happen just tossing that out there. Where in Pa are you located?

 

 

We are about one hour south of Pittsburgh.

 

It is not currently registered as an RV.

 

I just don't really know anything about these trucks so I am not even sure what questions to ask...

 

I was thinking it might be possible to reposition the seats to face forward.

 

http://www.racingjunk.com/Tow-Vehicles/182816961/2007-Volvo-VNL-730.html#3 this is the link to the one I was looking at, I am not sure if this is a decent deal and doable or not, maybe I am way off base here

 

i wish there was a way i could test drive a similar one short of making the 800 mile trip out to where this one is

 

 

 

 

Hello bluflame,

 

I have a question or too for you. Do you know if the Volvo 730 that you are looking at is titled as a RV ? If it is already titled as a RV, call your local DMV and ask them how you can get the title from the other state to a Pa. title. My truck was titled as a RV in Delaware and transferred to an Ohio title with no problems. I needed to take my truck to my local Ohio DMV and have them inspect it. All that they where doing was checking the serial number on the truck to match the serial number on the title. The rest of the paper work was simple. I did have to pay taxes in Ohio and no taxes in Delaware. This is one of the questions about taxes you need to ask the Pa DMV.

 

There are some pictures here on the site showing the rear seats facing forward. If the truck checks out, I would not let the placement of the seats from stopping me to buy the truck. You can always relocate the seats to face forward. Keep asking questions, because there a plenty of good people who willing to help you out.

 

Good luck on your search,

Al

 

 

Thanks for your help AL!

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You might take a look at my website. It should help you with your questions. Link is in my signature line. Also on the HDT forum in the :sticky" section at the top, there is a "typical questions" link, pasted below.

 

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=108618

 

To specifically answer your questions. There should be no issue with the miles, per say. It is more the maintenance that is important.

 

It won't be all that much harder to get the kids in. In both trucks you are going to have to climb in and than get them in. You will not do it from the ground in either case. The HDT will likely be easier because you can walk to the back and stand right by the seat. You cannot do that with the MDT.

 

I'd single the truck, but you can read the pros/cons on my website. It is not "necessary" to single. But it is convenient for lots of reasons.

 

Look in the HHRVResource Guide (link on the HDT forum) for guidance on PA licensing and registration. I think it will have to stay a truck. You have the right class license.

 

The truck will be no more difficult to drive than the MDT. It is simply not an issue. Assuming it has an Ishift. If it is a manual then that changes things.

 

Parking will not be significantly worse than a dually pickup. A little worse, but not a lot. You will be walking from the back of lots, not parking up front.

 

If your 5er is 13'6" then you will have no particular issues with the truck as far as access. You will have less traction than a 4x4 pickup. SO getting stuck is a concern. You are heavy, and the typical scenario would be the front wheels sink in and that stops you. Just something to be aware of.

 

 

Thanks for this info!

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It is a nice looking truck. I like the roof line of the 730's a lot. The extra bucket seats are nice, but I think I would want to put the fridge and cabinets back in instead (the add says the owner still has them). I would then mount the car seats on the benches facing forward up against the back wall. You would have to install some aftermarket seat belts to secure the child seats facing forward, but that has been done by several members here on the forum and is fairly easy to do. I think the truck is definitely worth a look. Ultimately I prefer singled trucks, but that is not something that has to be done right away. It appears the truck still has the factory commercial 5th wheel hitch. You would be better off mounting an air hitch like a trailer saver or an ET hitch to keep your 5th wheel happy and removing the commercial hitch. The add says 80% on virgin rubber. Check the date codes of the tires. You will age out the tires well before you wear them out on an HDT n RV service. I would like to know the maintenance history if available and I would find a decent local shop (to the truck) and have it inspected by a mechanic before I bought it, but from the add it looks like a decent truck.

 

The truck has an auto shift transmission. It appears to be a two pedal truck, but doesn't specifically say. It will be very easy to drive. No different than an MDT and not much different than a dually. It is obviously longer and taller than a dually, but it is the same width as the dually at the duals (but it is that width the length of the truck). If you single it mid or short, it will turn a tighter circle than a dually (typically). It may still do it tandem as well, depending on the wheelbase. Front air suspension will take a little getting used to. It will lean a little in turns. It won't lean as much as a 780 (tall sleeper), but it will lean some. I just mention this as information. It is not an issue for the truck, it is just something that is different than driving a pick up.

Edited by Chad Heiser

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You can build that Volvo into a top notch rv hauler for half the price of a nice crew cab sport chassis. Twice the truck for half the money, hmmm...

 

I went the mdt route and did a GMC 6500 Topkick. Now wishing I'd spent the effort on an HTD instead. Currently trying to work up the energy to start over.

 

As to driving/parking, our mdt is 101" wide and 26' long. About the same as an hdt. It will out turn our old dually by about 6'. Far easier backing a trailer than your old dually, and far easier to maneuver in parking lots. As others mentioned, you will be walking from the far end of the parking lot, just because you need two spots back to back for the length, and so some dumbass can't block you in. No big deal, walking off some of those walmart groceries you are buying. The steepest learning curve you will run into with an hdt with a big sleeper or an mdt with a big box (like ours) vs. your dually or a crewcab sport chassis is the lack of being able to "look over your shoulder" like you are used to. If you are not good with mirror driving, you will have to learn. You know those side streets or driveways that are 45 degrees to the road, and you just look over your shoulder and out the back window? There are no back windows. You will learn to maneuver so the truck is 90 degrees to the road so you can see. Same backing up. To simulate this, tape cardboard over all your back windows and try to back into a tight campground and you will realize how much you look over your shoulder. All learnable, just takes a little getting used to. And well worth it.

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If you don't go look at that 730, I might. Looks like a good price for an automatic trans 730. Usually hard to find an automatic in that price range. A manual wouldn't bother me a bit personally, I would like it, but manual is a tough resell once you convert it for RV use. Depends on maintenance, actual condition of that specific truck, etc., but on the face of it, looks like a good deal. I've been casually shopping for a while now.

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My grand kids are 7 boy and 12 girl. They have no problem getting in my Freightliner. Also every time they come they have to get in it. They love it.

Edited by Glenn West

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Bluflame,

 

Look at the Resource Guide. Look to see what Pa. needs to have in the truck to make it a RV. In Ohio there is some paper work that needs to be filled out with the right equipment in the truck. Talk to your local DMV and see what paper work they need to convert the truck over to a RV. In Ohio there is paper work for reassignment of the truck to a RV. The truck that I am working on right now start life as commercial and I filled the paper work to have the title reassigned to a RV. Start asking questions at your local DMV to see if you can make the truck a RV.

 

Good luck,

Al

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My grand kids are 7 boy and 12 girl. They have no problem getting in my Freightliner. Also every time they come they have to get in it. They love it.

 

 

Do they have any complaint about not really having much in the way of windows to look out? That has been on my mind too...

Edited by bluflame11

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Bluflame,

 

Look at the Resource Guide. Look to see what Pa. needs to have in the truck to make it a RV. In Ohio there is some paper work that needs to be filled out with the right equipment in the truck. Talk to your local DMV and see what paper work they need to convert the truck over to a RV. In Ohio there is paper work for reassignment of the truck to a RV. The truck that I am working on right now start life as commercial and I filled the paper work to have the title reassigned to a RV. Start asking questions at your local DMV to see if you can make the truck a RV.

 

Good luck,

Al

 

Thanks all...I will look into that....I hope it's just a fridge and bed or something like that as I really don't want to pay for truck plates of I can Avoid it

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I have a 2006 Sportchassis M2-112 and have been really pleased with it. I bought it used, about 4 years old with low miles for 1/2 the price of a new one. It is nice to have four doors when traveling with friends or family. The rear seat has lap/shoulder belts for securing child car seats. Our truck pulls a 43 foot toyhauler with ease. It has the Mercedes MBE 4000, 410hp engine and Allison TRV 4000 transmission. I can maintain speed in the hills of east Tennessee and North Carolina, I haven't had it out west yet. These trucks are designed and built to pull large RV's, gooseneck utility or horse trailers, boat trailers, etc. Either way you go, MDT or HDT, the safety and capability of a larger truck is worth the price.

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Edited by cwill925

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Do they have any complaint about not really having much in the way of windows to look out? That has been on my mind too...

they haven't complained but a window can be added. Some have done this here on the forum. They love the front view and sure they would a side view. Unless you have rode in an HDT you can't appreciate the view.

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I have a 2006 Sportchassis M2-112 and have been really pleased with it. I bought it used, about 4 years old with low miles for 1/2 the price of a new one. It is nice to have four doors when traveling with friends or family. The rear seat has lap/shoulder belts for securing child car seats. Our truck pulls a 43 foot toyhauler with ease. It has the Mercedes MBE 4000, 410hp engine and Allison TRV 4000 transmission. I can maintain speed in the hills of east Tennessee and North Carolina, I haven't had it out west yet. These trucks are designed and built to pull large RV's, gooseneck utility or horse trailers, boat trailers, etc. Either way you go, MDT or HDT, the safety and capability of a larger truck is worth the price.

f51419cd-f89f-4a17-9090-b8124bb15ba6_zps

 

 

Beautiful set up you have there! no doubt I would not think twice about driving yours vs an HDT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

No question in my mind...skip the MDT and go for the HDT....you wont regret it. 3 times the truck for half the money.

 

 

This is the way my wife is leaning too....kinda surprising she is all in for a bigger truck!!

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No question in my mind...skip the MDT and go for the HDT....you wont regret it. 3 times the truck for half the money.

Jim, depends on the truck. My M2-112 has a 13 liter Detroit with 450 HP, 1650 lb/ft of torque, a 12K front axle and a 23K rear, air ride rear, cab and seats and was born as a class 7 truck. About the only difference between that truck and a singled up class 8 is the height and the fact that I have two more doors

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Jim, depends on the truck. My M2-112 has a 13 liter Detroit with 450 HP, 1650 lb/ft of torque, a 12K front axle and a 23K rear, air ride rear, cab and seats and was born as a class 7 truck. About the only difference between that truck and a singled up class 8 is the height and the fact that I have two more doors

Trucks like your are few and far between though. also much money money.

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OK..... I'm going to put in my 2 cents worth! Since it is "free" you can imagine what it is worth! :) We started pulling our 5th wheel with a PSD 250. After replacing the transmission 2 times we decided it was time to get a smaller trailer or a larger truck. DW said we were NOT getting a smaller rig. :wacko: So started looking and researching and I ended up wanting to get an HDT. But the wide said she would not ride in a truck! Next looked at the MDT's but they were simply much too expensive. So I ended up getting a PSD 450. No more tranny problems and for the most part it does the job. BUT if we could do it over I'd definitely hold out for an HDT! You get so much power and great views. I have a friend that has an HDT and his rig has a much shorter turning radius than my 450! You get so much more with an HDT that helps in RVing that it really is the way to go. Best of luck and enjoy the hunt! :D Dennis

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Bluflame11

 

Something no one else has said at least if I remember correctly. Welcome to the forum.

 

With that said. As you probably have figured out by now there are as many opinions here as there are trucks on the road. I wish I was closer to you I would have no problem taking you and you family out for a drive. Everyone that I have taken out says the same thing. "This isn't hard this is fun".

 

I used to pull my 5er with my 2012 Ram 350 with a 75 gal transfer flow tank in the back. I carried 110 gal on board and loved that I could buy fuel when I wanted not because I needed to. But my trailer used to drive my truck. I scared me too many times and that is coming from a retired 35+ year Professional driver. I too started to research MDTs. For the money I ended up with a very nice 2013 Volvo 780 with the ishift.

 

First decision you will have to make. And as far as I am concerned it is personal preference because you can talk yourself blue in the face and never convince me that singling the truck has any disadvantages being tandem. Mine was and is still a tandem truck. I have no plans at the time to go thru the trouble and expense to single it out. Just can't justify the trouble or expense.

 

You cannot be any safer then pulling with an HDT short of converting a tank.

 

I think most of the people that I have talked to have only registered their HDT as a truck for personal use. I have gone through the trouble of changing mine over to a Motorhome. Right down to the new VIN# It wasn't fun but I have a lot of peace of mind driving past scale houses and on to streets posted "NO TRUCKS"

 

What ever decision you and your wife make there is one thing that we all will agree on. stepping up and getting a bigger truck is going to be the safest thing you can do for your family.

 

Good luck in you new adventures and if there is anything any of us can do to help I am sure all you have to do is ask.

 

Hope you having a very merry christmas. And we all look forward to seeing what you come up with.

 

Norm & Rhonda

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Singling mine was $1800. You gain lots of storage in under bed boxes singled. Likely the best reason for singling. Not arguing with anyone on this. Just pointing out a big plus. As a full timer storage is precious. No boxes on mine in picture. Adding some now.

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Hi bluflame,

 

In April there is a East Coast Rally for HDT's in Tenn.. Everybody is welcomed. If you have the time maybe you might think about coming to the rally. There will be plenty of people there with good advice. There is also seminars talking about the trucks. You could get an idea how different people set-up their trucks.

 

One more thought about getting a hdt . Ask questions to your insurance company. It see if they will give you coverage. You don't want to have a truck without not be able to get insurance.

 

Al

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