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Progress on our Peterbilt


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I haven't really posted up anything on here about the truck or any pics of what we have been doing to it since acquiring it last month. Figured I would start this thread and update as we go along since it will be a long tem project.


Picked our already started motorhome project, a 1999 Pete 385 48" sleeper from another member in So Cal early June and brought it 700 miles home without incident. It came with low mileage for it's age 681K, C12 13spd, singled with 3.90 ratio, and Lopro 24.5's. It also came with 24x60" underbed boxes and most of the steel to finish the 16' deck.



We had no 5th wheel hitch on the Pete so had to do something about that! I have been towing with the B&W platform about 4 years and figured I would stick with it and use an air hitch for the trailer. This way the trailer would have air ride with either vehicle pulling it. Got a B&W flatbed weld in gooseneck and fabbed up a plate to put between the frame rails. Joe had left plenty of room when building the bed to put the hitch right at the rear of the bed.....7' behind the axle. This will hopefully leave room for putting my Jeep on the deck as well as pulling the 5er.




Had to bend the locking lever a bit to allow clearance for the rocking of the plate.


Edited by CrazyCooter
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All hooked up! Had to wait till the next day for a road test when I get the Hayes Air controller and wiring installed.....The waiting was killing me!



We were running a shorter 0719 Morryde pinbox since we were towing with a longbed and no need for the extended. Well, I thought we might need that extra 9" for Jeep clearance so I got the original length1621 FlexAir replacement. I'm still playing with it becuase it didn't line up in the holes perfectly and it's going to raise the front 2" minimum.....not what I had in mind. It also has a little clearance issue with the body....Like I said, working on that.


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Fast forward to this week where I decided to get the plate permanently mounted to it wont look like a work truck with the straps holding the load on...... Figured with 14" centers on the xmembers, there was a possibility of the Jeep bending the deck when strapped and bouncing around, so I welded in 1x2" .180 tube in between and 1" flat in the center where the sheets of .125 steel diamond plate will come together.






I'll probably fire up the plasma cutter and start fitting those sheets tomorrow.

Edited by CrazyCooter
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In the quest for better fuel economy, more usable gears, and lower rpm's when traveling in states who have a more reasonable speed limit than our lovely CA......I knew I wanted taller gears as I was taking off in 3rd loaded and that left 2 more gears on the table down low that were toatally wasted and needed at least one more OD gear, so I selected 3.36's since we do still travel in CA and the math worked out where 3.08's would have either put us lugging or revving at 60 mph in either 11th or 12th gear. I also knew I would be needing a locker since 95% of out camping is off the road 10 miles or more..... I did some shopping for the obvious choice.....The air locking RD404 cousin to our RS404 rear axle...... They were WAY proud of those and not like I had a like core to give back, so I went for the more affordable Detroit Locker instead. Figured while I was there might as well get bearings and make the job complete! Found the Ring/Pinion set and bearing kit on Ebay as new old stock for a much discounted rate....SCORE! I also had a good supplier for the Detroit since I'm kind of in the business although my supplier only does light duty stuff, they were able to order me the big guy.


This was today's project:



Made a little stand to hold it since this stuff is heavy



Spiders swapped, new bearings, and ring gear bolted on.



Ready to drop back in!



Also visited a local engine builder/tuner this morning..... My ecm was loaded with the 430/1650 tune, so I left well enough alone there. She (Yes SHE Lol) made some changes to low end fueling that made a real difference in tip in and set the Jakes to work with the cruise on and to come on 1mph over the set point. I could now spin the rear tires while entering the freeway......Later on in the day, the Detroit fixed that!


Between the taller gears allowing longer between shifts and the snappier throttle, she's a real joy to drive now! The Gearmaster was showing 11.6mpg at 70 mph on my 15 mile road test. It has been accurate up to this point, but will have to double check with the new tune.....It's user adjustable thank goodness!

Edited by CrazyCooter
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Looks nice. Will we see in in October at the rally?

I wish! We're still working and I don't think I could get enough time off to make the round trip drive.....


I'll post up some more later! Have to BBQ now...... You would think the wench would find something else for dinner the way I have been working this week..... :wub:

Edited by CrazyCooter
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That ring and pinion looks a little heavier than the last 9" swap I did!

Nice work!

LOL! A little bit.... My wife helps me around the shop and knows what a 9", Dana 80, Toyota 8", etc look like. I sent her a pic of this Eaton gear vs. Dana 80 and she about flipped! She was wondering how I was going to manage working on the big stuff alone....Work smart, not hard!



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Even managed to get Tracie behind the wheel.


She did much better than I expected first trip out with the grabby clutch, weird air brake pedal feel, and floating the gears. Told her to hurry up and get this down so I can be in the back surfing the web and drinking margaritas! It will be nice to have someone to maybe drive a couple hundred miles on the long days so I don't have to do it all.

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I'll keep putting stuff up here. I always enjoy the pics everyone else has put up. Lots of good ideas and improvements come from sharing.


This is probably the one you are thinking of. We picked it up in that area.


Too many Volvo people around here, you know the kind.... ;)

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Thanks guys!


Spent the afternoon getting the decking on the bed. I was really worried about warping 10' long sheets while plasma cutting, but didn't feel like loading it up for someone to sheer the plates. The fit came out pretty good overall and almost every box in the bed was perfectly square??!! Joe (Goldrush) did a good job when putting this together!





I decided to do it that hard way and screw the sheets down in case I ever want to modify something or need easy access to something underneath. I used semi self tapping 1/4" T30 torx deck screws and countersunk them. I have to pull the sheets one more time to paint the framework and the undersides of the plates plus a lot more screws to drill, but at least they are fastened down for the time being!


Pretty impressed that I was able to do all of this without assistance...thank goodness for the forklift!



Ordered up a quad band ham radio for it today and thinking about some solar up on the sleeper to keep things topped off while running the refer.


Next on the agenda are mounting the tool boxes under the bed. This truck came with weedburner exhaust already but will have to extend the tailpipe at least 5' to the rear. Not that it's loud anyway, but hoping that will make the cab quieter.....


Have some Atlas II Leather seats coming next week!

Edited by CrazyCooter
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Looking good. Is it correct that you went from a taller ratio of 3:08 to 3:36? It must have been lugging it with the 3:08 so when you went to the 3:36 it must have gotten it into the power band more to help improve the fuel mileage. Most people would have tried gong the other way to improve mileage.


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