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Thinking of going the HDT route, need advise


dennisvr

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I need some advice on going to HDT. Here’s a little back ground.

I’m in the process of going full time and have a 40’ Fuzion TH with 12’ garage and pulling it with a 06 Chevy 3500 DRW Duramax/Allison, cab and chassis, in the process of building 11’ bed for it.

The more I read the HDT forum I’m tending to lean on going this route. I’m an ASE MASTER cert. HDT/MDT mechanic so I would be able to do most of my own work. I’m planning on getting a Smart Car and want to be able to carry it on the tractor or in the TH, because I will want to bring my quad some times and I would put the Car on the truck and the quad in the trailer. Now if I could tow my Boston Whaler behind the trailer I would have it all, but not in California.

Here’s a few question I have now;

 

Is the Volvo 730 the preferred rig?

What would be a reasonable price for say a 10yr old tractor with around 750K miles on it?

What would be a good wheelbase to look for if I plan to single short?

More questions to follow, but that's it for now.

Thanks

Dennis

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Dennis - It really is up to your wants and desires. I've had a 630 and the 780. The 630 was a nice height but the 780 is a nice length, so 730 ought to be good.

 

We traveled across the US to get our trailer. Mich to Yuma, AZ. 630 was 'tight' for me, the wife, 70# Shepard and 2 cats. 780 is a little tall for use as a 'stand alone' camper, but the added space is nice.

 

I like the looks of the Volvo's aero style vs the Pete's, KW , Freightliners due to the increased interior space 'sleekness' of the cab etc. Being in the industry, look at them all as they pass through your shop. Figure out what works for you.

 

Hint, photo, print and then pull out a pencil or marker and play games. Have fun with it.

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If you haven't found it, here is a great site that can answer many of your questions

http://www.hhrvresource.com/

There is also a question and answer Google doc that my computer is refusing to pull up right now. Someone should be able to post it.

I'm singled short with a 1998 Volvo 610 with 455k on it. We bought it last November for 19k so there are deals out there.

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The Q&A document is a sticky at the beginning of the HDT section.

 

The 730 is the hardest of the trucks to find. As a result they do tend to cost a little more.

 

QA 10 year old tractor is going to be an autoshift, manual or perhaps an Ultra or Freedomline. I tend to stay away from the Freedomline simply because they are no longer sold in North America. EVENTUALLY, there will be less people trained to service them. But in your case you may not care since you may be qualified to provide that service yourself. They are good transmissions, though.

 

Wheelbases on a 780/730 are going to be in the 230-236 range. They can vary some from that, but those are typical.

 

Price will depend on condition and equipment. Looking at the truck publications will give you some indication of the average asking price. With your industry contacts I would think you could find something at wholesale. Especially if you work in a dealership.

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Even though there are lot of Volvos in the group there are other makes also. Check the resource guide and there is a listing of the various trucks and models that have joined the group or allowed to have their info posted.

 

The 730 did not come out till 2006 so finding a 10 year old version might be impossibly hard.

 

The preferred truck is which ever one meets your needs and cost availability best.

 

Emissions years can be troublesome so if you get into them, try to get one that has the trouble spots replaced already and be sure to include in your budget possibly replacing them again.

 

Dave

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Thanks to all for your replies.

The reason I asked about the Volvos was that they seem popular here on the forum and over the last 35 yrs working for 2 different companies and nether had Volvos, until just about the time I retired. I have looked thru most of the Heavy Haulers RV Resource Guide and got a lot of info before posting, but still have more to read, there is a lot of good info there.

Also I seen there is going to be a west coast rally in Sparks NV in June and was already thinking about going over to pick a few brains, I’m 200 miles away so it’s not to far.

As being a Service manager for the last 20 years I do have contacts in the industry so I guess it’s time to start calling on them and see what’s out there. I’m hoping to get a good deal on one here in California that’s not CARB compliant and maybe get it for a good price, well I can hope anyway.

Well it’s time to go back to the Resource guide to see what you guys have done with your rigs. Have a good evening and thanks again for the info.

Dennis

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I will throw this out there if not for you but perhaps someone else that reads this thread. While I have an HDT I have to say it is not always the best solution though I am sure I personally see not downside specially in your case. Sometimes we in the HDT forum kind of make it seems we are down on those that use a LDT or even a MDT. I don't want to get that impression as the others are fine for the right applications. Mostly to much trailer weight to be save with the smaller trucks. I think we probably should post that information for all new arrivals considering an HDT.

 

Welcome aboard good to have you here.

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Also I seen there is going to be a west coast rally in Sparks NV in June and was already thinking about going over to pick a few brains, I’m 200 miles away so it’s not to far.

As being a Service manager for the last 20 years I do have contacts in the industry so I guess it’s time to start calling on them and see what’s out there. I’m hoping to get a good deal on one here in California that’s not CARB compliant and maybe get it for a good price, well I can hope anyway.

 

The West Coast Rally in June will allow you to see several trucks and pick the brains of several owners. I will be there and would be happy to share my experiences with you. As a California resident, I can address some CA specific issues. There are currently some issues with getting an HDT registered as a motorhome in CA. I am putting together some information and doing some research to try to address this issue. I am not sure how this is going to go, but I am hopeful. There are other things that can be done, but I am hoping to get a definitive answer.

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Chad as a fellow CA resident. I'm not sure what your up to. But I will thank you very much for doing it.

Having a HDT isn't for everybody but for some of us it's the safest way to haul or trailers.

I couldn't afford to reg my truck if it wasn't a motorhome. So again thank you

Charlie

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When we started looking for an HDT we were set on a singled short setup; even considered skipping a bed on the HDT. Our thinking was that we would use the garage in the toyhauler.

 

We ended up with a singled long truck with a 12' bed. Totally changed our thinking in regards to how we use the setup. With that bed we can put 2 quads or side x sides on the bed of the truck; our garage is empty all the time. So much so that we recently sold the toyhauler and went with a regular front living 5th wheel (so recent don't even have new pics yet).

 

In regards to the height of the HDT; we have the mid height one (610); very much like that as it seems i'm always bumping against branches. We don't stay in our HDT ever; its just for towing, so we are cool with the smaller cab (your desires may be different).

 

i'd think a ten year old tractor with 750k on it would be in the $35-45k range with all the 5th wheel towing bits on it and a bed

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