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Looking at going to HDT


Goostoff

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I have been want to jump up to a HDT for a couple years now. Right now I am running a 93 Chevy dually with a 454 and 5 speed with a very grabby heavt duty clutch. It gets horrible gas mileage, and the truck jumps violently when trying to back into a campsite. It is very underpowered for pulling hills and all of this turns it into a white knuckel experience just driving 10 mioles to the local campground. We really dont go any farther just for the simple fact that I am completely exhausted just driving the truck that far.

 

Here is the truck I am looking at. Its a 1997 and has about 650k on the clock. It was converted over for RV service about 15 years ago. The owner has sold his 5th wheel and switched to a class A so he no longer needs the truck. The bed has been removed ans 3 bucket seat put in its place. There is room on the bed for a smartcar that I will most likely use for my golf cart or a couple quads if the need arises. Overall its in pretty good shape with maybe needing 2 tires in the rear.

 

Just curious of a ballpark number that it would be worth. Anyone care to toss out a number for me to bargain with?

 

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Do you have any more information on the truck regarding the power train? Type of transmission? This information will help. Newhart it really comes down to is what are you willing to pay and what is he willing to accept. You also want to have a fund set aside for issues that may come up after the purchase. It may not get used if the truck is in good shape, but it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

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I think it was an M11 or N11 cummins and Eaton 10 speed. I will try to learn any issues when I go to look at it. He is asking $8500 for it. Guess I forgot to put that in there. Been trying to sell it for a couple years now. He started at $15k then down to $12k. Last year he listed it for $10,500. Now this year to $8500. I just didnt want to show too much interest untill I had a fair price in mind so I am not yanking his chain. All I have done so far was a quick walk around. I had to make it quick cause I had my rig pulled off the shoulder on a busy highway.

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In the regular used truck market, any tractor that runs and drives is worth about $5K. If the inspection yields no major negatives, and is able to be used in the intended service the money is in the ballpark. Age will degrade a truck as much as mileage, so expect to spend some money on it no matter what. If you are handy with this sort of thing go at it, if you are not, don't buy a project that will cost a fortune to have someone else fix at $75-125 per hour.

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If it helps I am a mechanic at an auto dealership, but I am not going to have the tools for HDT services. I used to be an industrial maintenence tech and did have to do most of the work on the truck fleet as well so I am not afraid to work on it. Just the expense of the parts and possible down time if something should break.. I have a few OTR buddies that may have connections at the service center so maybe I can find someone to check it out with me.

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If it helps I am a mechanic at an auto dealership, but I am not going to have the tools for HDT services. I used to be an industrial maintenence tech and did have to do most of the work on the truck fleet as well so I am not afraid to work on it. Just the expense of the parts and possible down time if something should break.. I have a few OTR buddies that may have connections at the service center so maybe I can find someone to check it out with me.

 

If you are already an auto mechanic, then you have 90% of the tools needed. The M11 is a very popular engine used in a lot of applications from generators to buses to water pumps to trucks etc. It can have some issues though like head gaskets and head cracking. This is compounded when the engine has been "tuned" to the higher hp ranges. Everything else on that truck is actually pretty in-expensive to buy used. Especially if it is a super 10 transmission.

 

Do the usual, pull the dip stick and smell it for fuel and look for water/coolant. Remove the coolant cap and look for oil, Take it for a good drive and pull a hill if you can, then check the fluids again and listen for any irregular sounds in the exhaust. You know the drill.

 

The flat top can either be worth more or less depending upon your desires. If you want a condo, but would settle for a flat top, then offer less etc. Just consider if it has the mods you would make, fine, if not, the price needs to reflect it. You can buy older FLs for some really low prices if you pay cash. I bought a 95 FLD 112 condo 40" with an M11 for 2500, drove it home. Less then a million miles, in great shape other than a head issue which does'nt matter to me as I bought it for other purposes.

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If that truck checks out to be in reliable shape, and is titled as an RV/Motor Home I think that is a very good price..

I always tell new HDT owners that when buying an older truck or high mileage truck to put away $5K for unknowns.....

JMHO,

Cheers,

Bob

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We have a 1997 FL Century Freightshaker with a M11 and a std 10 speed and tandem 3:08 boggies......this is just about as basic as a HDT gets in most respects.......It so far has worked well for us in our RV - horse adventures. We have had a couple of M11 in industrial applications and they seem to provide good service. Our truck has a fairly newer re-manufactured M11 so it has been trouble free but it is dialed down to 370 HP so it is not taxed much with our light-RV loads.

 

Pickups have a place and HDT's have a place and HDT's are not for everyone..........BUT.......when the trailers get a bit bigger than the pickup the towing gets pretty ugly fast.

 

For the most part HDT's are a "on-going-project" no matter the miles or age since it is a matter of just keeping up with the things that need to be maintained on a regular basis....

 

The real advantage of a HDT-RV is that you are not likely close to taxing the trucks ratings ( some singles are close or over at times).

 

The disadvantage is that HDT-RV's tend to sit idle for extended periods and this is likely more of a problem than you might imagine.......extended idle periods will cause you to resolve matters that will cost some money and time........

 

HDT operations are fairly simple BUT it is VITAL to have a "come-to-Jesus-talk" before you jump in the saddle and roar off down the road.......

I never cease to be amazed how many folks in cars cut-in-too-close or pull out in front of the old Freightshaker.........do these morons really think that I am that good of a driver to save their lives?? The next thing to consider is that it is VITAL to give yourself AND everyone else LOTS of space AND........NEVER EVER get mad while at the wheel.........you might get disappointed ........but never mad........road rage in a HDT is never tolerated.

 

With the HDT you often feel sorry for folks towing in pickups and with tons of power and brakes you can feel pretty lucky …...but remember air brakes are are a far different animal than pickup brakes so you have to consider that they have a time-lag once you depress the pedal BEFORE the brake has total application.......this is a major reason that we need to give ourselves more SPACE........I shudder whenever I see a HDT tailgate........

 

HDT's do not require huge skill sets BUT it is best that we carefully consider our MIND-SETS before we commit to the operation of a HDT.......size really does matter.......

Some points to ponder......

 

Drive on..........(be careful.......)

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All great points and thanks so much for all the response so far. Keep it coming. I do have a little seat time making short in town deliveries when other trucks were out doing other stuff. That was with a 48' flatbed so my little 35' 5th wheel should be a breeze. :) I'm really looking forward to making this happen. It will be so nice to be able to take the golf cart along , and travel out a little farther from home. My 2 olodest are grown and moved out so I just have 3 boys left at home and having those 3 seats in the sleeper will majke it really simple to only need to take one vehicle on trips. I just need to contain my excitement so I dont walk into a money pit.

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I am a dealer in HDTRUCKS in Arizona. The year is against this truck more than the features Air lines, hoses, cab bushings, 'The radiator', all lend itself to big expenses. I would be a player, if I were to buy that truck, for $5-8,000.

 

Watch for blowby..... pull the dipstick while it is running, and see if there is water vapor or oil coming out of the dipstick tube.If it has set for that many years, you may have some costly expenses.

 

I have been buying 2000-2005 Freightliner sleepers for $8-10,000, with 800,000 plus miles. and 2004-2007 Volvo sleepers for the same price, and same miles. Just FYI.

 

Bigtrailer

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This is simply amazing. People on here talked me out of getting an older truck.

 

I believe you got pretty much the same input, but perhaps you were interpreting it differently. If you already had cold feet, you might dwell on the posts with a hint of negativity.

 

I think I remember saying that I thought you should go for it, as did several others. But, I've slept since then.

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Goostoff,

 

I say go for it. Some dealer will buy it and sell it for $10-12,000. All they will do is "Lipstick" it with a wax job, tire shine, and detail the inside. You put on 20,000 miles or more a year, that's another thing. You can't buy a pickup for what he wants for that truck.

 

Bigtrailer

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Goostoff,

 

I say go for it. Some dealer will buy it and sell it for $10-12,000. All they will do is "Lipstick" it with a wax job, tire shine, and detail the inside. You put on 20,000 miles or more a year, that's another thing. You can't buy a pickup for what he wants for that truck.

 

Bigtrailer

 

This is kinda the line of thought that I had. Guess I needed some validation. I can put lipstick on a pig as well as the next guy. In fact I have access to all the equipment to do so. :) Around here all the deisel pickups have been bought up by kids that spend more on aftermarket parts than they did for the truck. Finding one worthy of actually pulling a trailer ends up in the $25k range.

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Rickeieio;

 

Good retrospect.

 

Glenn;

 

You talked yourself out of it, we just gave you the if's, and's or but's. Which made you focus on the what could be.

 

No guts no glory. No risk no reward.

 

Any "used" vehicle is a leap of faith.

 

Curt

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This is simply amazing. People on here talked me out of getting an older truck.

Glenn,

 

If I recall, you were somewhat turned-off by the manual tranny on the less expensive truck you were considering........

 

If I recall, you test drove a autoshift truck and seemed happy that that would be your choice.......

 

Sometimes I am content with "marginal items" that I purchase......sometimes not..........sometimes in retrospect I am pretty happy regarding the marginal items that I did NOT purchase (52 ft wood twin diesel Italian boat).............

 

At the end of the day some folks are fine shifting for themselves .....others are better off with auto-shift.......

 

Better to wait..... than to be..........shiftless........

 

Drive on.........(the right truck will likely appear at the right time....)

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3 yrs ago, when I was on the prowl for an HDT, Jack had a list of items to look for or have looked at. Oil analysis was one, the others have slipped my mind,...one may have been a dyno, maybe checking the ECM or black box for info.. As I recall there were a number of pages. I would ask for service history as far back as possible.

 

Sometimes it is how they answer questions, if they are evasive like Canadian politicians, I'd run. If they are up front, that bodes well or at least better.

 

Hopefully Jack will put them up again. I am happy with my truck from RDO in Fargo. Another member has purchased from them and possibly from the same fleet.

 

Roger

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3 yrs ago, when I was on the prowl for an HDT, Jack had a list of items to look for or have looked at. Oil analysis was one, the others have slipped my mind,...one may have been a dyno, maybe checking the ECM or black box for info.. As I recall there were a number of pages. I would ask for service history as far back as possible.

 

Sometimes it is how they answer questions, if they are evasive like Canadian politicians, I'd run. If they are up front, that bodes well or at least better.

 

Hopefully Jack will put them up again. I am happy with my truck from RDO in Fargo. Another member has purchased from them and possibly from the same fleet.

 

Roger

On my website....it is what I would check, but it is probably not a COMPREHENSIVE list. Gregg also has a video on checking out a truck and I believe he published a list for the HDT Rally presentation he did. It may be in the Resource Guide or on the Rally Presentations page.

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Thanks Jack, at least he will know what to look for. My truck has had no major issues so far. I did replace the cargo door latches inside the compartment with thicker steel ones. The ones Herrin put in bent causing cargo doors to open when on the road and items were lost at night.

 

Also did some mods to the Smart car ramps and compartment to make ramp access a lot easier. Pics available if you want.

 

Roger

 

On edit, BTW mine was a smokers truck. RDO had some Ozone treatment. It took them 3 weeks to prep the truck. It smelt like new and the smoke smell has never returned and I am allergic to cig smoke, my nose plugs up and eyes water....so whatever they did works.

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