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Freightliner M2


mant

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Hello,

We own a motorhome and are seriously considering switching to a fifth wheel. all the fifth wheels we looked at locally seem to look good but when you dig into them they are not built very well (Montana, Big Horn etc) which leads me to wants something built better which I think translates to heavier. I'm thinking maybe Mobile Suites, older New Horizions, something along those lines. I don't like the looks of a lot of light duty trucks (even 3500's) pulling big fifth wheels, so I've been trying to do some homework on bigger trucks. I really like HDT's but it seems like a little overkill and getting a used one that is in good shape and then singling seems over my head. Anyway I've looked at the Freightliner M2 and it seems pretty beefy. Are there any thoughts about this? Should I look at any others? International?

 

Thanks

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I’ll advocate for the M2. I have an M2-112 with a 410 hp Mercedes and 6 speed Allison automatic transmission. My reason for selecting the M2 was primarily the braking capacity. I used to tow with a Ford F-350, pulling a 38 foot toyhauler. On a couple of occasions I had problems on long down hill runs, maintaining a safe speed. The truck and trailer brakes overheated and performance faded. The emergency handling issues of an LDT were also an issue. When other drivers pull out in front of you or cut you off in lane changes, you sometimes have to take defensive measures to avoid a collision or maintain safe distance. An MDT or HDT can manage those situations with more capable handling.

 

As far as the trailers, I agree with you. The mass producers of RV’s offer less than stellar quality. I’ve had 2 Keystone products, a 2008 Fuzion and recently purchased a Raptor. While the Fuzion was delivered with good quality fit and finish, the materials in the seating and construction didn’t stand the test of time. All the seat cushions had lost their “cush”. Slide seals and other wear surfaces were wearing out. I made a mistake trading the Fuzion for a 2015 Raptor. Now I’m looking at DRV and their Fullhouse toyhauler.

 

Go for a quality RV and a capable truck. Do your research and good luck.

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Hello,

 

I pull my 2014 39' New Horizons Majestic with a 2007 M2 106, and I'm very happy with the set up. The one ton pickups pull well but stopping in a hurry can be scary, and the ride when towing is not even close to the M2.

As far as 5th wheel quality, your absolutely right there's a lot of poorly constructed 5th wheels out there. Don't do like I did and go through several pieces of junk before biting the bullet and buying a well built one.

I'm curious as to why your thinking about changing to a 5th wheel? What brand/type motorhome do you have?

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Mant,

welcome to the forums. Over the past 30 years we have owned some cheap trailers and a couple of nicer
rigs. Our opinion is that if you will be spending much time in a rig the better quality ones are more
comfortable. As you have concluded the better built ones are substantially heavier and therefore require
a bigger truck to tow safely. We have owned three Freightliner M2s, a 106 with the 7.2L engine, a 112 with
Mercedes MBE 12L engine and our current truck is a 112 with the Detroit Diesel 13L engine. In my opinion the
106 is very safe and adequate with most rigs except in the steeper hills. If you will be getting a very
heavy rig like our 26K Continental Coach then I would recommend the bigger engine in the 112. We had Allison
transmissions in all and they were problem free. We had the four door crew cab configuration which is very
roomy. We bought new units for warranty protection and less worry since I am not a truck repair type of guy.
There are many used units out there too at prices not far from a new crew cab dually long bed diesel pick up.

If well maintained and with a little luck these MDTs should out last two or three pick ups in my opinion. If budget is

an overriding consideration then a carefully selected used HDT is probably the best buy for hauling heavy 5ers.

The biggest negative of the MDTs is their cost, especially new. The M2 112 nicely finished can push $195K new.

But so will a new custom 5er by New Horizons, or Continental Coach. When you get done you can have $400-

500K in the rig which is what a nice diesel pusher from Newmar will cost. At least that was my thinking when we

were shopping for a new rig this last time. Best Wishes, Jay and Kathy

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I grew up in a family that made a living with Heavy Equipment / HDT so as a kid I thought that a pickup was just a parts-runnner-rig for the REAL trucks. A MDT was the service / mechanic / lube truck that was the "nurse-truck" for Crawlers, Cranes, and other Heavy Equipment.........

 

Fast-forward to retirement .......It seems that I might be reliving my "childhood" since I have a HDT that we use to tow our fairly small toy / horse/ hauler (only 30ft tt with no slides ....about 10K lbs).

 

Our HDT is about as "small" as you can get being a Freightliner Century Class with a "tiny" M11 / 370 HP / 1350 Ft/lb / 10 Speed manual/ Tandems / 3:08 gears/ 11R 24.5 tires.......But even as "light" as it is it is still a HDT.

 

Like almost anything in life a HDT has some strong points and some not so strong points.......I tell people that HDT is NOT for everyone.

 

I am fairly sure I would not own a HDT if it not for the fact that I grew-up around HDT's so I pretty much Knew the drill so to speak.....that being said I am now a geezer and that is a far different game than being a kid.......

 

All that being said the HDT works fairly well for our RV-Horse-Hobby since the horse game gets pretty HEAVY fast so even super-pickups tend to get way overloaded even before you get the horse(s) loaded.........trying to stop is just a bad joke at best and at the worst you are likely in real trouble.

 

A HDT solves almost ALL load-related problems related to RV operations your just WAY UNDER-LOADED and that is pretty good......BUT......a HDT is a "animal" that you need to consider in the context to it's limitations........ Yes you have Plenty of Power and Tons of Powerful Brakes BUT you also have a fairly Ponderous vehicle that you need to provide with a "Large Bubble" (maneuver-space). Keeping your "Bubble-Size" with a HDT can be a pretty tough task since many car drivers seem to delight cutting in front of Heavy Trucks since they seem to think that they are not fast accelerators.......Car and pickup drivers would be amazed how fast 1350ft lbs of engine can make a HDT accelerate fron 40 to 70 MPH........No I never race or road rage in a HDT ever.....

 

This brings up the real "come-to-jesus-talk" that you have to have EVERY time that you ever do anything regarding with a HDT.......you are the baddest-animal on the road so you HAVE to be the most HUMBLE-Aninal on the road.........your size and weight comes with responsibility that are FULL-TIME.......

 

Grumps (the old man) used to come home from a day of hauling heavy equipment or logs and say with a sigh....."well had a pretty good day today I only saved 5 peoples lives in cars"...... (people pass too close or pull out in front too close , etc).

 

For many people I think a MDT might be a fairly good choice as a "middle-ground" rig BUT many MDT's tend to get saddled with pretty heavy loads that bump-up against the rigs rating so you can still get into the heavy animal class and still need a "Large Bubble"......

 

Costs of MDT's are pretty steep but at the end of the day you likely demand and likely get better money back when you sell that you will ever get back with a pickup. Used HDT's costs are pretty level so you likely pay a market price and sell at market price.......

 

Drive on........(Enjoy the ride....)

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Having used a F350 to pull our prior fiver, I will say that a M2-112, class 7 truck is a LOT safer when your trailer weights start going over the 19,000 pound or so mark (our current DRV is 21K). Brakes are the MAJOR issue with a pickup and was my concern after having a trailer brake failure with our old fiver. The current M2-112 has huge air brakes and will stop the truck and trailer by itself fairly well. If on a long downhill, I mainly use the Jake brakes (The 112 has a real Jacobs brake, not an exhaust brake) to retard us or to brake to a stop if needed.

 

We just recently did a round trip thru Knoxville, TN to Asheville, NC and back on I-40 thru the Smokies. I tapped my brakes once on the way to Asheville and twice on the return trip. I don't even want to think how the brakes would have been if I had been driving the F350 pulling that rig. By the way, If you are wanting a full time rig, look for a DRV (or equal) and better (Spacecraft, Continental Coach, New Horizons). The larger trucks carry a lot of responsibility and as noted above, you need to look out for the idiots with a death wish but the ride, comfort and safety is worth the trouble. Mine is rated for a GVW of over 30K so you will more than likely need a license change to drive it (unless you have a CDL) but each state is different. In Georgia, you can drive this truck with a regular, class "C" license as long as you have the fiver behind it. Bobtailed, you need a Class "E" license which is a non commercial CDL license... Go figure.....

 

One other thing, I don't care how "strong" a pickup is, 1650 lb-ft of torque is hard to beat.... HP numbers don't mean a lot hauling a trailer, torque and displacement is what counts when pulling a load up a hill.

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This is great, thank you! So what is the difference between the M2 112 and the 106? I have a Freightliner dealer pricing out a 112 for me but a fear I most likely it will be a little to pricey so I might have to look towards a used one, any years I should avoid looking at? I like the crew cab configuration.

 

We have a 06 Holiday Rambler Admiral and I do like it but it's a little to cramped for everyday living, a fifth wheel just seems like a lot more roomy. I am going to look towards a nice used DRV and above just because of the quality factor. I can't believe what people will put up with quality wise for the price some of theses things are going for and that's just the stuff I'm looking at quickly like kitchen drawers for example, junk! How about the stuff that's not in plain view! Sorry for the rant, it just seems lately I'm seeing more and more poorly build things that we seem to be stuck with, throw away society.

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So what is the difference between the M2 112 and the 106?

 

Cosmetically, just a taller and longer hood. They otherwise look similar.

 

But the 106 will be, at best, a Class 6 truck -- plenty of brakes and suspension for most any trailer, but could be lacking in power if you're planning on towing a very heavy trailer, especially if your plans include travel in mountainous areas. They'll do well with all but the heaviest trailers, but could potentially be a bit on the slow side if towing a heavy trailer over steep grades.

 

The 112 is a Class 7 truck -- an HDT-class truck that looks like an MDT. The braking and suspension will all be at least as good, and in many cases better, than what you'd find under the Class 6 106, and the powertrain -- engine and transmission -- will be HDT stuff, with plenty of torque to take anything that you ever plan to hang on it anywhere that you care to travel, at highway speeds.

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The 106 will have an engine in the 7.2 to 8.3 L displacement range and 800 to 1000 ft-lb torque with an Allison 3000 tranny. The 112 will have an engine approximately 13L and 1500 to 1850 ft-lb torque with an Allison 4000 tranny. As Phil noted the 112 will have a bigger nose on the hood because of the bigger radiator needed for the bigger engine. I have always thought the 106 had a slightly more aerodynamic looking hood than the 112 but the bigger power will make you learn to like the 112's looks! Around 2007 the engines had to comply will variousd new regulations and consequently fuel economy suffered. Pre '07 engines without the emissions equipment are highly prized. The new DEF engines may get better mileage, our 2015 with the DEF engine gets about 2 mpg better than our 2009 MBE engine with the regen and other emissions equipment. Some 106 trucks will have hydraulic brakes and lower rear axle ratings to try to avoid licensing and FET issues. I personally think air brakes and higher axle ratings are needed for safely towing these heavy 5ers. Air brakes on the tow truck will give you the option of equipping the 5er with air over hydraulic or air brakes. Much better than standard electric drum brakes on many units. Inside the 106 and 112 looked and felt the same to me. The foot print of our 106 was almost identical to our GMC 3500 crew cab long bed dually diesel. Our 112s were about 2 feet longer(23') than the 106. The 106 and 112 will usually look and be very slightly smaller than most HDTs converted to RV towing service. If you look in the archives you might be able to find the photos from the last HDT rally at Hutchison with all the various HDTs and MDTs there. If you look closely there are two or three 112s there(one is ours). I apologize for not providing the link, its beyond my very limited computer skills :P best wishes, Jay

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Hi, mant,

 

We're fulltime RV'ers, have been on the road for 3.5 years. We tow a 36' 2011 DRV Mobile Suites with a 2003 Freightliner SportChassis, built on the M2 chassis. We have nothing but great things to say about the Freightliner, and we really like our Mobile Suites. We have lots of information we can provide you, but we think it makes more sense to provide it offline to permit give-and-take. If you want more information, contact us at our e-mail at scranton21@gmail.com.

 

David & Kathy Scranton

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Hello,

We own a motorhome and are seriously considering switching to a fifth wheel. all the fifth wheels we looked at locally seem to look good but when you dig into them they are not built very well (Montana, Big Horn etc) which leads me to wants something built better which I think translates to heavier. I'm thinking maybe Mobile Suites, older New Horizions, something along those lines. I don't like the looks of a lot of light duty trucks (even 3500's) pulling big fifth wheels, so I've been trying to do some homework on bigger trucks. I really like HDT's but it seems like a little overkill and getting a used one that is in good shape and then singling seems over my head. Anyway I've looked at the Freightliner M2 and it seems pretty beefy. Are there any thoughts about this? Should I look at any others? International?

 

Thanks

 

Having just rolled 1000 miles in our M2-106 with the 300Hp (pre egr) MB pulling our DRV 38RSSA ...Our first 5th wheel and MDT! ... I might start looking!! :blink: And if we do!... It'll be a crew cab, have air ride, very good seats, center console... basically a Sportchassis luxury interior...

 

But the truck did good! I'd a luv'd to had 4/500 ponies for the hills, but rolled 60 to 65 all day, and more if needed! :)

 

Our rig is an extended cab with no center console, and the cup holders suck! If I do keep it!... That will change! And I've already made the list! :lol:

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My 2008 Sportchassis M2 106 Cummins 8.3L ISC hauls my puny 34' 13k 5er just fine. Yes, it could use a bit more power, but with careful gear selection I can still pass semis.

 

My main concern when purchasing this truck was comfort, not pass-everyone-on-a-hill towing power. And this thing is so pretty, so comfortable, so huge inside that it's like driving your couch. My previous truck was an F-450, and I couldn't wait to get out of it. The SC? I can't wait to get in it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My 2008 Sportchassis M2 106 Cummins 8.3L ISC hauls my puny 34' 13k 5er just fine. Yes, it could use a bit more power, but with careful gear selection I can still pass semis.

 

My main concern when purchasing this truck was comfort, not pass-everyone-on-a-hill towing power. And this thing is so pretty, so comfortable, so huge inside that it's like driving your couch. My previous truck was an F-450, and I couldn't wait to get out of it. The SC? I can't wait to get in it.

 

 

 

What kind of shocks are on your rig? and assuming you have an air ride cab, is there any adjustments?....

...The reason I ask is our M2 106 has the Gabriel fleet line, and the cab airbags seem tight as a snare drum... the ride really sucks! :(

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What kind of shocks are on your rig? and assuming you have an air ride cab, is there any adjustments?.....

I don't know.. they're blue! Air cab, air seat (love that), air rear suspension. No adjustments I'm aware of.

 

No, it doesn't ride like a car, but it's fine for my comfort. A couple gripes I have is a) wind noise from the upper part of the driver door, and b ) a/c fan needs another speed. Can take up to an hour to cool off in the cab.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Without poo-pooing the other brands, I will tell you that after extensive research we selected an International 4400 with a 9.3 liter engine & Allison 6sp. 3000 tranny, crew cab—Air suspension, air cab and air seats. The 3:70 rear axle ratio and double-overdrive Allison allows us to cruise at a relatively quiet 1474 RPM @ 70mph in sixth gear. Admittedly, we more often cruise at 1430 RPM @ 62mph in 5th gear. Our 5er tips the scale @ 21,000#. The truck with all my tools and the wife's cosmetics = 17, 400# (juskiddin' 'bout the wife—Sue doesn't even wear makeup but I sure do carry a lot of tools :rolleyes: )

 

You are wise to look at a vehicle that will be working at 50-60% of its capacity rather than one that is struggling at 90-100% of its design.

Mark

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