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shooter51

picking a TV/ cool old truck

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I've been shopping for a different tow vehicle. I'd been looking for an Isuzu tilt/ quad cab, NPR, NRR NFR ETC. Between 12,000 and 17,000 GVW. to pull a small 5th wheel trailer (25 foot) Everything I found was either out of my price range, or came with a big payment book. Apparently, old quad cab landscape trucks never die...

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled on used COE/Sleeper rigs for $4 to $6 K, running and driving. These are class 8 trucks, to be sure, WAY more truck than I want/need. I have been told that some were built, < 20K GVW, class 4 or 5, GMC cracker box or Chevy Titan series, flat nose COE with sleeper. Mostly town or short haul, ~36" sleeper.

What I'm interested in are from mid 60's to late 80's, gas or diesel, stick or auto trans. Seem to me this would be a "way tough enough" tow rig to drag my little 5'er, with  great "cool truck" factor. (be the first one on your block to have a genuine cool kids cruiser) Is downsizing/ swapping out running gear, to lower GVW, on the class 6 or 8 trucks cost effective?

 

Am I nuts? or can you guys help me find what I seek?

 

AS usual constructive comments, war stories or just plain old smart azzed remarks are welcomed...

 

Shooter

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Thanks Chad, that really is a nice rig. As I bounce around all the different site's, I've been refining my dream rig. What I think I want now, is an early, short wheelbase, single axle, short (35"to 40") sleeper. Similar to a Chevy Titan or a cracker box GMC. An autoshift would be nice, but not usually found around my budget, so any thing smaller than a 13 speed tranny (5 speed auto Allison, or a 6 or 7 manual will make do) Some of the old Volvo's are creeping into my budget, and getting a look. I don't want to spend over $5 K on a rig that's gonna need $3 or $4 K in "make ready" money. Total budget right now is ~$8K. I guess I have a bunch of shopping left to do...

 

Thanks again, for the reply.

 

Shooter

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Well after a bunch of shopping and a reexaminin' of what I really want/need.

I just pulled the trigger on a 2005 Isuzu NPR (class 4 ?, 14500 RGVW) It's the rough equivalent of a base model Ford F450) Turbo, inter cooled with overdrive and cruise control. (no cruise was a deal breaker, on the FRR I found for 3K more money, lol)  $13,000.00 OTD

The dealer is going to cut the wheelbase from 142 to 109 inches and mount the 5th wheel hitch as well as a 2X2 receiver and 7 pin plug on a used ICC dock stop. (trade for him keeping the box and lift gate) It's gonna be ~ 13 feet, tip to tip.

It's former life was as a local furniture delivery truck in the Tampa area. (big box and wide lift gate) 140 K miles.

I'll need to add tankage, as the 35 gallon frame rail tank just ain't gonna be enough, I'd like about 125 Gallons on board. The rubber is fair, 16.5 rims. I'll likely get 20K out of them before replacement..

 I paid the local (Tampa) Isuzu service center to do a pre purchase inspection, the only recommendation was a tranny fluid change, based on mileage. (no glitter) A pretty nice $100.00 feel good, warm fuzzy.

I'm cold trailing a propane injection system for the 4 cylinder, intercooled, turbocharged power plant. The local Isuzu guru says it's instant horsepower with no drawbacks. Even turbo'ed, the little 4 banger can't suck enough propane to hurt itself. (I sure hope that's true)

Anyway, report from the road to follow. As usual, comments are solicited.

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Well Big Red came home today, The wheelbase is shortened, class 3 hitch receiver with round 7 pin and flat 5 plugs welded across the rear of the frame. Still waiting on 2-33 gal saddle tanks with switching and connecting gear, and a bumper bracket, as well as the engine skirt that attaches to the back of the cab.

 

 The upfitter is about 50 miles away, so a short highway shakedown was possible. She is a bit bouncy and skittish when running empty. passing thru a brief rain squall, at 65 MPH, on cruise, unloaded is not for the faint of heart. She buzzed easily to 85 MPH, briefly. Should have enough power for a sustained 55-60 MPH cruise. The OD seems to work well, It'll take a while for me to accept an ECM picking the optimum gear/ rpm and such. I'm an old handjammer kinda guy. Oh yea, no tach installed, gonna have to fix that soonest.

The search goes on for a 35 or 40 inch, class 7 or 8 slider to mount my Reese 20K 4 way hitch. The center of the pin will adjust from 6 or 8 inches forward of the axle centerline, to as much as 24 inches behind it. I'm pretty sure I'll find a sweet spot or 2 in that range, as well as leaving room to grow into a larger, heavier 5er later on. After all, this rig is 14500 GVW rated, should be "tough enuff".

 

Having a little trouble up loading pictures. Is there a tutorial or will some kind soul help an old fart get it done, Thanks, Paul

 

Edited by shooter51

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Spindrift, I sent you a few pictures, if you can, post them as you wish. This is the basic truck, tanks, slider, 5th wheel hitch and a few other small parts to follow.

 

Thanks, Paul

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You may need to experiment with different tires.  Some handle rain better than others and speed better than others.  If this had been a local delivery vehicle, then they probably have a less than favorable highway tire on it.

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You are so right, I've already started experimenting with tire pressure, getting a better ride. I'll just keep dropping the pressure until I get radial squirm, at highway speed,  then, bump up a bit. I'll have to do it all over again when I get the 5er hooked up. I've found that very few tire shops are experienced enough to make sound recommendations. A MDT pulling a very light/small 5er is not a common sight, I fear the learning curve is going to be steep and expensive.

 

Thanks, Paul 

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I'd like like to see pics of this also. If you can just upload your pics here. I'll host them and then you can easily post and share them - https://bluelghtning.smugmug.com/upload/Jd3CbR/RVNETWORK

BTW, if you are on FB, I've really enjoyed this group (killer COE's and 1 TONS) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/499004683552001/

Edited by BlueLghtning

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Chalk line test:

Find a large open area where you can drive in a straight line for 50 to 100 feet. You need to get a few complete tire rotations.
Use a piece of kids caulk and draw a line completely across the tread from sidewall  to sidewall. Make it nice and prominent and cover the complete tread area with a one inch thick line. 
Drive ahead in a straight line without turning  2-3 tire revolutions or until the chalk starts wearing off. It's important you go in a straight line to get the best results. 
If the chalk mark is worn off equally across the width of the tread, the inflation pressure is correct. 
If the chalk mark is worn off more in the center than at the edges, the tire is over inflated. 
If the chalk mark is worn off more at the edges than in the center, the tire is under inflated.
Sometimes it's easier to inflate the tire to the manufactures recommended max pressure and deflate the tire as required to get the required results. 
 

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Thank you, I had heard about that test many years ago, used with bias ply tires, wasn't sure radial tires would react/ print the same way. Good to know.

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Spindrift,

Thanks very much for what you did post. I think the rest of the interested folks can now have a good idea of what I'm working with.

 

Most of the other boards I post on regularly require that pictures are uploaded as attachments to the post, that way, as time goes by, the pictures are not lost, leaving an unreadable post or one lacking important details. Please do not misunderstand, I'm not complaining, I've learned much here. Bandwidth is expensive and I'm not yet a paying member.

 

Thanks for all the help, please continue to post suggestions and comments on this project. Even silly azzed remarks are welcome.

 

Paul 

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On 4/6/2017 at 2:53 PM, shooter51 said:

I'm cold trailing a propane injection system for the 4 cylinder, intercooled, turbocharged power plant. The local Isuzu guru says it's instant horsepower with no drawbacks. Even turbo'ed, the little 4 banger can't suck enough propane to hurt itself. (I sure hope that's true)

Anyway, report from the road to follow. As usual, comments are solicited.

Sorry I am late to this game, but the propane I wanted to comment on. I am no expert, but I did have propane on my little Cummins for a while. The first thing was getting the flow set right. I bought the system used and just threw it on.  Here is a PDF for the system I have: http://www.dieselperformanceproducts.com/pdf_files/Powershot2000PDI.pdf  Anyhow, at first it was way too much and I was concerned about lifting the head (yep, it was that much!) I got it 'dialed in' to my liking and yes, I saw an increase of five MPG across the board for fuel usage, I had an increase in power, but don't know how much since I didn't dyno it with the propane, and my the smoke was more grey than black at wide open. The down side was the tank I had was the size of a 100 pound cylinder laying down in the bed so I lost a fair amount of room. I would use about 11 gallons of propane per tank of fuel running empty and the full 21.7 gallons per tank towing. Propane for motor fuel was running about $4.25/gallon before road taxes were added so it got pretty expensive to fill up. I also figured out the cost of diesel and diesel/propane per mile and the propane was actually a bit more expensive for me.

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Not at all, too late. I welcome the input.

   In my research, I found that what I really wanted was something called a "hot shot" system. (BBQ bottle) It's only purpose is as a WOT power adder. I'm told that they can be jetted and adjusted to be used only after the overdrive drops out when climbing long grades and other "I need a  bit more power, RIGHT NOW" situations. They are not automatic or full time, as yours is . The operator still has to mash the "big red button" and satisfy the confuser, to get the head slap of power.

My local propane guru is gathering the parts to build what I want/need and says he can do it around a $100.00 installed. Still waiting his call...So far, the little 4 banger turbo is doing fine.

Thanks for the response

Paul

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