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Haulmark Toterhome questions


Mr&Mrs Duet

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I have found several of these in the 30-35k dollar range.

 

http://www.usedrvs4sale.co/detail/us/uuVHeMVCVeMuaaaMuoMH/2011-Haulmark-282DS-Twin-Slides-AquaHot-485HP-Diesel-Toterhome-Toter-C

 

It seems like the only drawback is the units equipped with the Meritor Freedomline Xmsn.

 

I found a couple with Volvo engines and auto trannies (waiting to see what model).

 

Haulmark appears to be the entry level of this type of motor home, but most people rate them above the average entry level motor home. Much less expensive than a diesel pusher motor home.

 

It seems like they are built on a heavy frame. Could one of these be singled and used as a basis for an hdt tow vehicle?

 

Does anyone know what kind of mileage they get?

 

Since they were designed to tow horse or racing trailers they should be able to haul a good size toad.

 

What say you?

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I'm not sure I understand why you are wanting to buy a full motorhome and start cutting on it to make it tow a trailer? Wouldn't it be easier to just buy a truck and build what you want?

 

And what is it about the Freedomline transmission that you call a drawback? There are tons of Freedomlines in service in this country. Yes, they are no longer sold here but they are still made, parts are readily available and so is service. Some people feel that the availability of trained mechanics will decrease but until that comes to pass the Meritor is still an excellent transmission.

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Most are built on a standard class 8 truck frame. Completely different than a typical motorhome chassis. We have a couple of members with these units, they could expand upon the pluses and minuses. Some are configured to haul a fifth wheel trailer, some are configured to haul a bumper pull. The advantage is their chassis is rated to pull a significant trailer, much heavier than the pusher motorhome or even full bus chassis. Service costs are in line with a regular class 8 truck, cheaper than most motor home chassis because the major components are much easier to access.

I would not attempt to reconfigure one out in the field. Find what suits, I am sure it is out there.

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MMD - (IMO) - If you find a used Haulmark Toterhome in the 30-35K range (link doesn't work, but looks like it's for a 2011) - you have most likely stumbled upon something ahhhhhh.......very "unusual".

 

Volvo(?), Fredomline, etc.

 

Should be in the 100K (plus) range.

 

Maybe I missed something!

 

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That rig is probably pushing 35k rolling weight as you see it. It doesn't appear to have wide steer tires, so it's probably a 12k or 13.2k front axle. If singled, you'd be looking at max gross of 32k or 33.2k on two axles, so you'd be overweight before you ever did a thing to pull a trailer.

 

Think of it in terms of maximum legal length: HDTers (usually) have to decide if they want a long-enough bed to carry a Smart OR pick a super-size toy hauler to carry their car (see blacktop4, though that probably falls into commercial rig lengths). Same thing goes here: decide if you want living quarters on the HDT or on the trailer, there's not enough room to carry two (and why would you?).

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That particular unit that you linked to is built on a 2009 chassis. That's far too new to have a FreedomLine, and is most likely an I-Shift.

 

Now, if that is just a newer one that you posted as an example, and the ones in the price range that you've mentioned are on older (say, 2003 - 2006) chassis, then yes, they're probably equipped with FreedomLine transmissions.

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I have an 07 Haulmark Motorhome on a Freightliner Coronado tandem chassis, Detroit 515hp, 12sp Freedomline and have had zero issues with it and neither did the previous owner.

 

If you want one to convert to a fifth wheel tow rig (actual Toterhome)just buy a model that was factory built, see http://www.racingjunk.com/Toterhomes/182497586/2007-Haulmark-172S-Sport-Deck-Toterhome-.html

 

Motorhomes are setup to pull a "bumper" pull style trailer, mine is rated at 40,000lb towing capacity. Toterhomes have a deck at the back with either a gooseneck ball or fifth wheel hitch. Single axle models will be rated for less.

A diesel pusher would not likely to be rated to tow this much.

 

They are built on a heavy spec highway tractor chassis (mine is very similar to gravel truck specs, just geared to go faster). Front axle on mine (I do believe all Haulmarks) is rated at 16,000lb and I have scaled it at over 15,000lb, has 295/80R22.5 tires that are rated for that weight.

 

As far as mileage I get around 8.5mpg pulling an 18ft flat deck trailer with my Dodge 3500 diesel 4x4 on it.

 

If you are finding a toterhome or motorcoach conversion in the $35,000 range remember that you are buying something older, probably with high mileage or home built (people like to use "brand names" to describe their "creations", even though the products isn't really what they say) and comes with the standard warnings about being aware of what you are buying. A new motorcoach, nicely equipped would set you back $400,000 plus so they are not any cheaper than a diesel pusher of similar spec.

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Now, if that is just a newer one that you posted as an example, and the ones in the price range that you've mentioned are on older (say, 2003 - 2006) chassis, then yes, they're probably equipped with FreedomLine transmissions.

 

Yes it was just an example, but I am looking and asking a seller about a 2011 with a volvo engine and until he answers an unknown tranny. He is asking 31k. I've asked him for a model number also.

 

 

 

Most are built on a standard class 8 truck frame. The advantage is their chassis is rated to pull a significant trailer, much heavier than the pusher motorhome or even full bus chassis. Service costs are in line with a regular class 8 truck, cheaper than most motor home chassis because the major components are much easier to access.

This is one of the big questions I was trying to find out. Thank you!

 

 

I'm not sure I understand why you are wanting to buy a full motorhome and start cutting on it to make it tow a trailer?

I wouldn't, Unless 1 of 2 things occurred:

1 is: I find one where the living quarters are trashed but the drive train/cab is good, seems like an economical way to get a low mileage HDT chassis.

The 2nd choice was predicated on some other information I read. That information listed 4 or 5 manufacturers of these kind of truck conversions. Most seemed to agree that Haulmark was better than many entry level class A motor homes, but was the entry level, bang for the buck, truck conversion. I figured if I buy it, use it for several years, and the house end of it starts to fall apart, I still have a great chassis to convert to a hauler.

I have found a few that are all 2000 or newer, low miles, in the low 30K. I can barely buy a used 1 ton pick up for that money, can't buy a decent diesel motorhome at all for that.

 

 

And what is it about the Freedomline transmission that you call a drawback? There are tons of Freedomlines in service in this country. Yes, they are no longer sold here but they are still made, parts are readily available and so is service. Some people feel that the availability of trained mechanics will decrease but until that comes to pass the Meritor is still an excellent transmission.

I tend to keep things a long time, and plan for worst case scenario. I've worked on classic cars and airplanes, yes anything can be done. Sometimes the cost is a long wait and lots of $. I wouldn't let the Freedomline tranny stop me from getting it, but I probably wouldn't pay top dollar for one.

 

 

Think of it in terms of maximum legal length: HDTers (usually) have to decide if they want a long-enough bed to carry a Smart OR pick a super-size toy hauler to carry their car (see blacktop4, though that probably falls into commercial rig lengths). Same thing goes here: decide if you want living quarters on the HDT or on the trailer, there's not enough room to carry two (and why would you?).

I only want 1 set of quarters, but I would like to be able to tow 10,000 pounds. Some combination of boat, car, or enclosed workshop trailer(car inside also) when on volunteer trips.

 

Thank you all for the help and answers.

 

The next question is where do you take something like that to get the drive train and brakes etc inspected before you buy? Would a heavy truck service center be the right spot?

What should I look for on a pre-inspection? just the usual leaks and tire wear, jerky shifting, etc? (one place said if the cab of any MDT smelled like curry run away fast, maintenance was probably a little lacking)

 

Blessings

 

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That rig is probably pushing 35k rolling weight as you see it. It doesn't appear to have wide steer tires, so it's probably a 12k or 13.2k front axle. If singled, you'd be looking at max gross of 32k or 33.2k on two axles, so you'd be overweight before you ever did a thing to pull a trailer.

The Vin comes up incomplete but does indicate a 3 axle, cab only, Volvo, GVWR of less than 33,000lbs. So maybe not a good candidate. I'll have to learn what a regular class 8 set of axles are rated for.

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I'm a little late to this topic, but figured I'd chime in since I've got a truck conversion...

 

First off, if what the OP linked was available for <$75K, it would probably be a pretty good deal for truck alone. One thing to watch out for with truck conversions, depending on who/how constructed, is that the model year (not just advertised, but on titles/registration) is often the conversion year. Many of the conversion companies will build on a customer's used truck, which could be nearly new or well into its second life. I've been amazed at some of the worn out cheap trucks that some owners will put a $200K+ conversion on top of.

 

As far as the number of axles, if you're keeping it as a motorhome it won't likely matter much. At least in my case, registration (SD) is based only on weight, and when I've shopped around for insurance, I don't think I was ever asked about the number of axles--just whether or not it had a fifth wheel hitch. Obviously, you may need a tandem rear based on the weight, especially if putting weight from a trailer on the back end. A large number of truck conversions, especially those built in the industry's infancy, by newer converters, or on used trucks, will have overloaded front axles--sometimes by several thousand pounds.

 

There are really two different construction methods for these trucks: those with a welded steel "bird cage" that everything is attached to, and those that use either a laminated wall (typical of most RVs) or FRP. If I remember correctly, Showhauler and United Specialties (no longer in business) are two of the brands that use the "bird cage" method, while Renegade and Haulmark use FRP. Both have advantages and disadvantages. As wall structures, both are perfectly adequate, but in my opinion there's no good way to get an FRP-based rig's walls and roof/floor connected well enough to match a steel structure should it ever end up on its side.

 

The Freedomline is a good transmission, and on anything prior to the second generation Ultrashift/I-shift trucks, arguably the best available. It's still being sold in the US market for buses by ZF, and the 24-volt internals are the only real "weird" thing about them (and incidentally, what caused trouble for Big5er at the rally last year).

 

When I purchased mine, I had a Volvo dealer (Worldwide Equipment in Cincinnati) go over it. To some extent it's a roll of the dice, but the guys that looked it over for me were very thorough for my $200 or so, including catching a few things I hadn't noticed on the RV side of things. I walked out with estimates for all of the must-do and should-do items, along with them taking care of a couple of outstanding recalls while there (drag link, wiper motor, and LCM circuit breakers).

 

Certainly used, you can get a lot more for your money with a truck conversion. They're still a relatively new product, and there are some compromises in terms of the living/storage space arrangement that a lot of pusher-buyers wouldn't like. Floor plans tend to be pretty un-creative. Usually to get the quality of construction (solid wood cabinets, steel structure, big engine, etc) typical of truck conversions in a class A motorhome, you'd have to buy a lot of mirrors, rope lights, and other "bling" as part of the package.

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To learn more about hdts and what to look for, take a look at the pre-trip inspection requirements in the cdl license study guide. This will give you a good basis for discussions if you are already mechanically inclined.

 

Also, engine hp ( dyno) and blow by report, oil samples from engine, tranny, and rear end(s). Maintenance records.

 

Drive it, brake it, steer it, try out all the switches, do the air brake tests in the cdl book.

 

Any reputable hdt repair place should be able to do an inspection once you get serious.

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Here in Bend, OR several of the key people from the Beaver Coaches have had a large motor home service center in operation for many years and have a great and loyal customer base from all over the U S & Canada. The service center very much enjoys servicing HDT toterhomes since the class 8 truck base is much less taxing to access and service compared to DP (or front engine) motor homes and these folks have built thousands of Diesel Motor Homes so the know of what they speak.

 

I have a very good friend that is a pro-RV-Sales-Geek and he personally likes toterhomes HOWEVER he contends that it takes a SPECIAL client to sell a toterhome so they tend to be somewhat slow sellers and at times prices are lower than many DP motorhomes.

He has sold a few to private Wealthy horse owners that desire to pull heavy horse trailers.....However one needs to consider the length of the toterhome and the length of the trailer......it is easy to get overlength in a hurry and single axle toters tend to get too heavy fast as well.....

 

Our old Freightshaker is a toter-hauler as I call it since we have configured a 20 ft box with a roll-up rear door and lift-gate to haul our various cars, pickups or GMC Jimmy PLUS a few TONS of horse gear (why does ONE skinny 950 lb paint-horse NEED tons of feed, water & tack.....)

Even with our "short-nose" Century Freightliner we just shy of 64 feet over all when towing our 30 ft toy-Dolly-hauler.

 

We tend to not travel much in California, but once in a while we cut thru the NE corner of CA and you best be under the length limit or it gets ugly fast......

 

Just some points to ponder......

 

Drive on.........(in your "new" toterhome)

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The Vin comes up incomplete but does indicate a 3 axle, cab only, Volvo, GVWR of less than 33,000lbs. So maybe not a good candidate. I'll have to learn what a regular class 8 set of axles are rated for.

There is no such thing as a "regular class 8 set of axles". Steering axle can be speced at anywhere from 9,000lb to 23,000lb (most common are in 12 to 16,000lb range). Single drives could be speced at 12,000 to 25,000lb, tandem are available from 34,000 to 100,000lb. It all depends on what the truck was ordered to do and by who.

 

It is also important to have tires that are rated for the weight rating on an axle group. It does no good to have axles rated at 20,000lb and tires rated for 12,000lb or vice versa. Enforcement will look at both to determine legality.

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To learn more about hdts and what to look for, take a look at the pre-trip inspection requirements in the cdl license study guide. This will give you a good basis for discussions if you are already mechanically inclined.

 

Also, engine hp ( dyno) and blow by report, oil samples from engine, tranny, and rear end(s). Maintenance records.

 

Drive it, brake it, steer it, try out all the switches, do the air brake tests in the cdl book.

Excellent reference Thanks!!

 

 

There is no such thing as a "regular class 8 set of axles". Steering axle can be speced at anywhere from 9,000lb to 23,000lb (most common are in 12 to 16,000lb range). Single drives could be speced at 12,000 to 25,000lb, tandem are available from 34,000 to 100,000lb. It all depends on what the truck was ordered to do and by who.

 

It is also important to have tires that are rated for the weight rating on an axle group. It does no good to have axles rated at 20,000lb and tires rated for 12,000lb or vice versa. Enforcement will look at both to determine legality.

OK, poor choice of words on my part. Better question, when looking at a vehicle, how does a person tell what the axle specification is? Data plate or Part Number stamped somewhere?

 

 

One thing to watch out for with truck conversions, depending on who/how constructed, is that the model year (not just advertised, but on titles/registration) is often the conversion year. Many of the conversion companies will build on a customer's used truck, which could be nearly new or well into its second life. I've been amazed at some of the worn out cheap trucks that some owners will put a $200K+ conversion on top of.

Thanks for the heads up. Shouldn't the VIN give the Chassis year, not the year of construction?

 

 

Again; Thanks to all for your input, It does help clarify the process of selection.

 

We are trying to determine our next RV, do we want a bigger 5ver and TV, or try the MH route. and length is a big issue as we want to be able to get into some of the smaller places. However, I'm 6'5" and a Casita just won't cut it. LOL So like most things a compromise is in order. At 40 feet, this is too big, we would like around 32'.

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OK, poor choice of words on my part. Better question, when looking at a vehicle, how does a person tell what the axle specification is? Data plate or Part Number stamped somewhere?

 

The Gross Axle Weight Ratings on the tag in the door jamb will generally reflect the capacities of the installed axles, unless limited by some other lower-rated component (suspension, tires, etc.).

 

Thanks for the heads up. Shouldn't the VIN give the Chassis year, not the year of construction?

 

Yes, in the eighth position from the end of the VIN. For example, in case of the 2011 Haulmark that was linked to earlier, the VIN on the Volvo chassis indicates that the motorhome was built on a 2009 Volvo, as follows: . . . 89N276789.

Here are the last twenty years worth of year characters:

T = 1996

V = 1997

W = 1998

X = 1999

Y = 2000

1 = 2001

2 = 2002

3 = 2003

4 = 2004

5 = 2005

6 = 2006

7 = 2007

8 = 2008

9 = 2009

A = 2010

B = 2011

C = 2012

D = 2013

E = 2014

F = 2015

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There should be a sticker inside of one of the door frames (varies by manufacturer) that lists drivetrain and tire descriptions and weight ratings. If you can't find the sticker call the parts department at your local dealer for that make and they can pull the specs/model numbers up for you, except any component changes after it was manufactured.

 

On units such as Haulmark, Renegade, etc the conversion body will have its own VIN separate from the chassis VIN (just to confuse things Haulmark assigns there bodies the same VIN as the chassis to simplify their records) since it is not uncommon to put a new coach body on an older truck chassis to save money.

 

If you are looking for a "Haulmark" type motorhome unit remember that the living quarters in them are about 8-10ft shorter than a diesel pusher due to the truck cab and hood, and while most have swivel seats in the cab they are not the greatest/most convenient for daily use. Mine is 45ft overall with 34ft living quarters plus the bunk over the cab (so a 32ft overall would only have 22-ish ft of living area) and is plenty of space for me, my wife, 2 girls (2&9yrs) and a 6yr boy and our dogs.

 

I hope I don't get in trouble for this but for another resource dedicated to class 8 motorhome conversions check out http://www.truckconversion.net/forums/index.php . It's not quite as comprhensive or active of a forum as this one is but is more info.

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A typical over the road truck tractor has a GVW of 54,000 lbs. Mine as an example has 40,000 lb rears and a front axle rated at 14,000 lbs. That info is on a sticker on the door jamb, and also available from any dealer with the vin. . As has been mentioned there are other ratings, higher and lower depending on the intended usage.

Although typically limited to a total of 80,000 lbs over the 5 axles of the combination, I occasionally pull trailers with more than 2 axles that weigh as much as 100,000 lbs. With my tractor weight of about 19,000 lbs, I am grossing over 120,000 lbs. These are permitted loads that cannot be disassembled, overweight generators, portable stages, special machinery for a variety of uses.

The point being a truck tractor can haul significant weight. Indeed, the American Trucking Association is lobbying Congress right now to increase the combination GVW to 97,000 lbs by adding a 3rd axle to a trailer, not that I think that it is a good idea.

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A typical over the road truck tractor has a GVW of 54,000 lbs

The one I am currently looking at has a 15k front axle, a 19K drive and 19K tag axles. It's 41 feet long. I'm also trying to find it's tow hitch rating is, I forgot to ask them. We may be on a road trip Monday to look at it.

 

Thanks for the information.

 

With everyone's help I've been able to track down some good information and ask them so good questions. It is way bigger than I was looking for, but if the price and inspection holds out, it will be a delightful rig.

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A typical over the road truck tractor has a GVW of 54,000 lbs. Mine as an example has 40,000 lb rears and a front axle rated at 14,000 lbs. That info is on a sticker on the door jamb, and also available from any dealer with the vin. . As has been mentioned there are other ratings, higher and lower depending on the intended usage.

Although typically limited to a total of 80,000 lbs over the 5 axles of the combination, I occasionally pull trailers with more than 2 axles that weigh as much as 100,000 lbs. With my tractor weight of about 19,000 lbs, I am grossing over 120,000 lbs. These are permitted loads that cannot be disassembled, overweight generators, portable stages, special machinery for a variety of uses.

The point being a truck tractor can haul significant weight. Indeed, the American Trucking Association is lobbying Congress right now to increase the combination GVW to 97,000 lbs by adding a 3rd axle to a trailer, not that I think that it is a good idea.

Did you have to spec the truck for a 120k GCWR? If so, how did you guess what GCWR you'd need in the future?

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The one I am currently looking at has a 15k front axle, a 19K drive and 19K tag axles. It's 41 feet long.

So, the truck itself "can" have a gvwr 60,000lbs based on length and number of axles (bridge law), provided your "41 ft" measurement is wheelbase and not overall length. Based on the axle specs you listed it will probably be spec'ed at 52 or 53,000 (the most the axles will let it carry and a fairly common number). While the VIN says incomplete and lists it at 33,000 Haulmark will change that to fit the final build. The most it can possibly weigh (gross allowable weight of truck and load) is 49,000 which will actually be lower than that based on the weight rating of your front tires. So something like 47220 is probably a more accurate gross allowable weight on that rig. Put it on a scale and see what it really weighs. Check your front tire ratings. Use that number x2 plus 34,000 (for the rear tandem) then subtract the actual weight and that will tell you how much payload weight you have available.

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The VIN indicates that the truck left the factory with a 15k front and 1 19k drive axle = 33k, the incomplete vehicle indicates bare frame rails, no fifth wheel or body installed, the vin also probably indicates wheelbase and frame rail length as built

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Ok everybody here is an update.

 

So the one listed in the original post is the same as this one:

 

http://dothan.craigslist.org/rvs/5068206017.html

 

I'm in the process of determining if I fit in it (I have a bunch of other pictures and driving area looks small, I'm 6'5")

 

I've sent an email to Haulmark asking about the build, no answer yet.

 

Also sent more questions to the seller and waiting answers.

 

Dealers Description:

 

VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): 4V5NC9EJ89N276789
Year: 2011
Fuel Type: Diesel
Make: Haulmark
For Sale By: Dealer
Model: 304DS
Leveling Jacks Included?: Yes
Length (feet): 41
Water Capacity (Gallons): Over 100
Mileage: 39,512
Air Conditioners: 3
Sleeping Capacity: 3
Awnings: 1
Vehicle Title: Clear
Type: Toterhome
Slide Outs: 2
Very Clean 1Owner 2011 Haulmark Custom built and owner supervised build at Haulmark. Twin Slides and a Real Slide in the bedroom, not those silly rear slides. 40in LCD Flatscreen TVs front and rear! 3 AC units w/ Heat Strips, Propane Furnace and Aqua Hot Heating. 12.5K Onan w/ 1186 hours and Auto Gen Start. All Windows have awning and there is a large Girard automatic porch awning. 485HP Volvo D13 w/ 12speed Automatic. Beautiful Walnut Cabinetry and Aberdeen Buckskin UltraLeather. Frameless Double Paned Glass. In Motion Satellite w set for 2 Receivers, Sleep Number Queen Bed, 50amp Rear Plug for Trailer or Buddy Plug, Enclosed Grey and Black Water tanks, Roman Day/Night Shades, Upgraded Halogen Bulbs to LED, Double Door Frdge and Freezer w/ ice maker, Front Desk in lieu of second couch. Solid Surface Countertops, Granite Tile Floor. 2,000watt Power Inverter w/ 3 Large AGM Batteries. Central Vacuum System. Upgraded Toilet w/ Macerator, Big Foot Leveling System.....Options go on and on.
75 Gallon Freshwater Tank
110 Gallon Grey Water
80 Gallon Black Water
50 Gallon Propane Tank
125 Gallon Diesel Fuel Tank
Price: $31,000

 

They will deliver it for the cost of fuel, I have 5 business days to have the coach inspected and accept or decline the coach. Purchase money to be placed in an escrow account until I accept the coach. If I don't I'm out the fuel cost to deliver it (it's 850 miles away, delivery cost should be cheaper than a 2 day drive each way in my truck, motels and food while inspecting the coach and taking it to the local shops for a check up)

 

Anybody know the milage these vehicles get?

 

The build paper work shows an unladen weight of 29,200 and a GVWR or 53,660. Should be able to tow a little (length restrictions of course)

 

$31,000 Seems to good to be true!! What am I missing????

 

Thanks again.

 

Keith

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Have you talk to anybody at the dealership yet? That is way too good to be true. That's $100,000 or more coach all day long.

 

For that price and year hate to say it but I wouldn't even bother having the truck checked out and chance losing it. You could put a motor and transmission in the truck and still be money ahead.

If It's for real and you decide you don't want it please PM me the dealership information that's crazy cheap

Charlie

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