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ktlobb11

RV Hauler Deck Rough Pricing

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Hello, I’m hoping to get a little bit of information for financial planning purposes. My wife and I have been planning/dreaming about fulltime RVing upon my retirement for several years now (My wife is already retired, I’m quite jealous). Right now my expense spreadsheet says we will be able to retire in about 5-years, hopefully by April of 2022 or earlier. I have a good spreadsheet for living expenses and we have a solid ideal of the cost of our 5th wheel. What I would like to find out is a general cost of the RV Hauler Deck. It’s my hope that we would buy the truck and get it converted 1-2 years prior to retirement and use it for camping and road trips.

 

I’m strongly leaning towards a Volvo 780, I will want a nice DROM box, a smart car deck using ramps and pulling winch system and storage boxes built in the sides. All LED lighting and the proper hitch for say a 22,000 lb. rig with 4-6k hitch weight. I’m not a chrome guy so it doesn’t need to be too shiny.

 

The cost I’m trying to get info on is as follows:

Singling the truck and converting exhaust to a Weed Burner

And the cost of the RV Hauler Deck as described above.

 

I’m ok with ballpark pricing say plus or minus 5/10k as I just don’t really have much of an idea for this and I’m trying to come up with a rough total cost for my rig.

 

Another question, I have been doing quite a bit of searching for a Volvo truck and due to the fact that I’m not real confortable making a purchasing decision on the truck without some expert help does anybody know of a location or an individual, which I could hire to help with looking over and inspecting the truck with me? Or is there the equivalent of a certified system for the trucks like there is for the cars? I’m already familiar with Greg and RV Haulers and I already consider him to be an option when the time comes.

 

I consider any feedback as useful as I have already learned so much from just reading the different blogs on this site.

 

Thanks

Kevin and Donette, patiently waiting and dreaming

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Kevin,

 

We bought a truck that was already converted from someone on this HDT Forum. We only needed partial mods to accommodate our smart car. I can't speak to bed or singling costs.

 

I can give you a couple pieces of advice. First, I think you will spend less money if you buy one already converted by someone else. The downside is that bed designs keep getting better and by buying a "raw" truck and converting yourself, you can try to build it with the best current ideas and customized to what you want. Be careful though, your ideas now could change later. You might find in the end that the 2nd or 3rd bed planned by someone else, who has been doing this for years, may be better than what you would plan yourself with less experience.

 

My second piece of advice I feel more strongly about. Since you are not rushed, be sure to attend (both if you can) the National Rally in Hutchinson, KS held in October and the East Coast Rally in Crossville, TN in April. You will get to see many designs, take pictures, ask what folks would do different and what they really like about their designs. The scheduled classes at the rallies are useful too. You can stay in any RV, tent, or motel and be very welcomed. Don't wait until you have invested in a truck to go.

 

Last thing I want to be sure you realize that the window to buy a new gas smart is closing fast. If you wait you may need to buy used. I have no idea if used prices will go up with scarcity, or down because of fear of scarcity of dealers and parts. We just went out and bought a new one so we would not need to worry about it for a long time.

 

Jim

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jim

 

Thanks for the information, all great stuff, I am keeping all possibilities open. We are possibly going to do a road trip in October to the HDT rally and would stop by Herrin

haulers on the way to possibly talk with them about a deck to get some pricing.

 

Kevin

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Kevin, Welcome to the forum! I think for the bed you are looking at with ramps and winch you will be in the 25K range from current builders. If you have the capability to do your own work that may be cut in half. My hydraulic bed was a round 50K.

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Kevin, I'd start calling around to the various bed builders you are looking at. The costs are going to be based on current steel pricing and on what YOU want. I believe that I was the first side loading smart bed that Herrin built. I have not been the last. My first year at the rally people were photographing and measuring "my" bed. I know several of those people altered my bed with ideas of their own and had Larry build "their" bed, each being a bit different from the "other" guy. I spent $17k 7 years ago. Go look in the Heavy Haulers Resource guide and check out the photo section and the rally section. You will see a LOT of ideas there. Build it in your head and start making those phone calls.

 

Good luck, and welcome.

Edited by Big5er

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Counting singling the truck, a large drom box, nice hauler bed and the hitch, You are going to be right at 30K or more with Herrin or Greg. That is for a turnkey, painted bed that matches your truck and will include the winch, ramps, tire baskets, chocks, drom box, bed tool boxes, lights and connections

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Kevin, if the logistics work for you, it might be better to attend a rally to look at bed options before going to Herrin. I have not been in the market, so I I have not paid a lot of attention to this, but Herrin seems to be a popular choice of those who had beds built recently.

 

Some folks, including Jack Mayer, is driving on and off with the 2016 or 2017 smarts. That should bring the cost down a bit.

 

One other factor that I wish I had thought about more, is designing the mechanisms for loading and unloading to be fast and easy. I have not really timed it, but by the time I attached my winch pulley, installed the bumper pull bar on car, set the ramps in proper position, get car on straight, then secure it, we probably spend 45 minutes. Unloading was half that. I am hoping the drive on drive off method I am planning for new smart will take 15 minutes. That time adds up when you are moving frequently.

 

Jim

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Where in Florida?

 

I'm in Lake Worth at the moment and shuffling over to Ft Meyers in a week or less.

 

Some ruff #s. bw 2 and 3k to single, includes driveshaft work.

20k ish for a Herrin deck. Contact him for updated price. And yes he is constantly upgrading the decks. Price included ramps and winch.

 

Check out RDO trucks in Fargo, at least 2 of us maybe more have purchased from them. John Stearns was my salesman. They can do the inspection and any upgrades or modifications you want or need. Possibly at a discounted price. They may be able to single the truck as well.

Edited by Roger Dickinson

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It's very good that you are planning far ahead. I'll add some thoughts that can add or save thousands of dollars that you may not have thought of.

Transmission Type

Vertical or Horizontal exhaust.

Wheelbase

Single or Double Bunks

APU

Gear Ratio

Engine Type and Weight

Front Axle Capacity

Sleeper Length

 

There are numerous others but just wanted to ad some food for thought. You also need to thoroughly understand weight and balance, with and without your trailer and with and without your car on the deck. -Steve

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Define simple. 7k spread is a lot. How many side storage and top storage boxes? Drom box?? I seem to recall they were either 2 or 4k.

 

You're just adding ramp storage ad tiedowns. He supplied the winch, tire cages, chocks and ramps plus made the A frame.

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Define simple. 7k spread is a lot. How many side storage and top storage boxes? Drom box?? I seem to recall they were either 2 or 4k.

 

You're just adding ramp storage ad tiedowns. He supplied the winch, tire cages, chocks and ramps plus made the A frame.

Just a flat bed no tool boxes but with skirting and painted.

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Thanks for all the great feedback it's always a great educational process as I read through the comments.

 

Let me answer a couple of questions that came up.

 

 

Rodger we are in Ft. Lauderdale Florida and presently spend quite a bit of time in The Villages (Leesburg, Ocala area) helping our mom's.

 

Steve thanks for the great list to get started on defining the truck, I have a good idea on what we want but more on the simple stuff like 780, top fold-up bunk, bottom workstation, sink, APU, Horz. exhaust, Leaning toward a D13, etc. Need to educate myself on axles, tranny, ratio and I'm sure a lot of other stuff also. But for this exercise I'm trying to get just an idea of the conversion cost. We have a price range we want to be at for our total rig and we have a real good idea of the cost of the 5th wheel so what I'm trying to determine is (Our price range - 5th wheel - conversion = Price range for the Truck itself) Then I can start defining out exactly what I want/need in the truck and start looking and inquiring about that.

 

 

Also my wife and I discussed last night about trying to get up to the East coast HDT rally in TN. at the end of April. So we're going to try and make some arrangements this week. I'm thinking that would be just a great way to kick this process into high gear.

 

Keep the feedback and information coming, this is great stuff.

 

Thanks

Kevin

Edited by KLobb

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He just quoted me18-25k for a simple non smart bed.

 

 

Just a flat bed no tool boxes but with skirting and painted.

That's what happens when someone thinks they're the only game in town... I know of half a dozen fabrication shops that would gladly build that for $10K

Edited by Stekay

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Kevin,

 

I hope you know you'll need to register this truck somewhere besides Florida, as that state doesn't allow a load bearing hitch on a motor home. Details.............

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Kevin, the HDT rallies are the very best places to gather information and opinions. The rally attendees have a wealth of information and the visual input you will get will greatly aid your decision making process. We hope to see you in Crossville in April......it make no difference if you have a HDT rig or not, the experience and the knowlwdge you gain may be priceless. Looking forward to meeting you. Be safe, Charlie

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rickeieio

Yes, I heard about some information on that and also not being able to insure it, which they are probably tied together. We have plans to change our Domicile to somewhere else just would prefer not to do that until we sell our house, would like to keep the homestead exemption as long as we can.

 

Charlie

I also look forward to meeting you and a lot of other folks in Crossville, naturally we don't have our HDT yet or our 5th wheel but I recognize the value of the rally. We hope to try and finalize some plans this week and hopefully we'll be able to make it.

Edited by KLobb

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That's what happens when someone thinks they're the only game in town... I know of half a dozen fabrication shops that would gladly build that for $10K

I agree! One just needs to do the leg work.

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Hi Kevin,

 

First, let me say I'm happy to work directly with you and answer your questions. Everything depends on just what you want on "your" bed. But David (GeorgiaHybrid) was pretty close in his 30K+ for a modern bed/drom with average accessories and properly coated. Again, all the little things add up. If you are singling that is likely to be in the 4500-5500 range, depending on what else you do when singling. Changing cab air bags, shocks, brake cans, etc are all things commonly done if needed. Every truck is different. For example, just breaking down tires and swapping the best ones to the best wheels adds cost. It all adds up. You will get lowball prices from people that don't count all this stuff....so it does depend on the truck you start with.

 

The body is the same way. Adding "accessories" adds up. But you can get a smart hauler basic body in the low 20 range with minimal components. Remember, just the hitch is over $4K. Put on lots of lighting, etc and you will add cost. Fancy drom boxes, etc also add cost.

 

Buying an existing truck does have some advantages, IF you can find what you want. You will live with the truck for a long time, so it is important to not "just" price shop.

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Roger

 

I think and hope you mean Lake Worth, we are actually heading up to Ocala early Friday morning and if that would work for you we would love to stop by and see your set-up and chat for a bit. If it's good for you just let me know where and the earliest you would want visitors?

 

Thanks

Kevin

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God I hate these autofill programs

Looks like a little over 4hr trip for you.

 

I'm up early so as early as you want so in order to get on with the trip.

US phone will send by pm

 

After 7am when gate opens or I can provide code if it is down.

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