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Why so many Volvo RV haulers?


remoandiris

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NO!!! I am NOT trying to start a Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge war in the HDT forum. I am asking an honest to goodness n00b question.

 

Why not more KWs, Internationals, Freightliners or Petes? Is there a reason(s) Volvos seem to be the hauler leaders?

 

Ease of singling is one reason I've heard. Lower in-cab noise level is another. Neither seems to be a "major" reason.

 

Price point on Volvos seems to be higher than comparable KWs I've found in Truck Paper. I've heard Volvos cost more to repair and repair facilities are harder to find than brands. True?

 

Does it really just boil down to personal preference as to make or are there REAL reasons to go with a Volvo?

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For me, it simply boiled down to creature comforts. I felt the amenities on the Volvo (workstation, sleeper layout, small steering wheel being less intimidating for my wife, dash layout, etc) were more suited for a recreational setup. Having iShift was also a major selling point.

 

3BB1FA67-5BD0-416E-A339-42BCA22F7E55-s.j

"Willy Mammoth" - Volvo 730, Sold

Heartland Cyclone 4000 Toy Hauler
T-Minus 26 years and counting to being a full timer.

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I think the primary reason is that Volvo made a big move into the commercial market in the late '90's and early '00's, resulting in a large number of used units coming out of fleets with relatively low prices.

 

As I understand it the Volvos in that period were also more advanced on designed in safety features and quieter cabs.

Dennis & Nancy
Tucson, AZ in winter, on the road in summer.

1999 Volvo 610 "Bud" 425 HP Volvo, Super 10 spd.
2005 Mountain Aire 35 BLKS
2013 smart fortwo CityFlame riding on Bud
(Replaced '05 smart first loaded in '06

and '11 smart that gave it's life to save me!)
Our Travel Blog

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Being one of the first with a roomy integral sleeper cab, a suspension that was easily singled, and a reputation for having a smooth, quiet ride are, as I recall, the reasons that the first guy that got into RVing with an HDT in a big way was drawn to them. He used them himself, and he converted and resold a number of trucks, so early on the vast majority of the HDTs in RV service, at least among Escapees, were Volvos. Having a somewhat higher installation rate of automated manuals -- first autoshifts, then the FreedomLine, then Ultrashifts and I-Shifts -- than some of the competitive makes probably helped some, too.

 

Over the years, the roster here has become far more diverse, although, with the big head start and the addition of features like the I-Shift, along with some of the other features that have been mentioned, the VN models are still quite popular among RVers.

 

For most of the time that I spent planning to buy and then shopping for an HDT, I had every intention of buying a 770 or 780 myself, since I saw a lot of value in the accumulated body of Volvo knowledge on this forum. But, when the time came for us to buy in late 2007 and early 2008, a market fluctuation in the prices for used 770s and 780s with two-pedal transmissions had those models selling at a rather significant premium to comparable Kenworth T2000s and Peterbilt 387s, when they'd traditionally they'd been cheaper. That's how I ended up with a Kenworth.

Phil

 

2002 Teton Royal Aspen

2003 Kenworth T2000 - Cat C12 380/430 1450/1650, FreedomLine, 3.36 - TOTO . . . he's not in Kansas anymore.

ET Air Hitch

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Ease of singling is a very important feature as many HDT's are singled for various reasons but mainly because we do not need that capacity with the loads we haul. I believe hauling a smart car came later in the history of HDT rv haulers. Ride quality for many is right up there as many of us had never drove a large truck and were use to the comforts of our daily driver. For us it was also about availability as the Freightliner we bought was our best deal at the time. We really liked the work station in the Volvo and really wanted a 730 but they were out of our price range for a good one.

Dave

2005 Freightliner Century S/T, Singled, Air ride ET Jr. hitch
2019 46'+ Dune Sport Man Cave custom 5th wheel toy hauler
Owner of the 1978 Custom Van "Star Dreamer" which might be seen at a local car show near you!

 

Check out http://www.hhrvresource.com/

for much more info on HDT's.

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We are looking into a Kenworth for our next hauler... Just never warmed up to a Volvo and have have always liked a KW.... The new T680 is what we are looking at as well as a Freightliner Cascadia Evolution.

 

That KW is one sexy looking truck............ I just keep getting drawn back to it....

2017 Kenworth T680
2015 DRV 38RSSA Elite Suites
2016 Smart Prime

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I think it's very simple. It was for me. When the first person got a volvo and shared his knowledge and then the second truck followed and then there was a forum that followed with great information on volvos. Using a truck that you can access a vast knowledge base in an emergency or In updating or ??? makes trying something out of your comfort zone an easy choice.

 

If you get in over your head , there are people that can help with your problem. And the truck is nice as well

 

That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.

2009 Volvo 780. D-16 500hp 1850 torque with a Herrin hauler bed.

2015 Continental Coach

2008 650cc Suzuki Bergman

2013 Mustang GT 500 convertible

2014 Smartcar convertible

WWW.Hollyfab.com. (Metal Fabrication Company)

Jamesc@hollyfab.com (preferred contact method)

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Also there was a fella, Larry Zieglier (sic?), who singled many of the Volvo's early on..a few not so well I heard.

J&V with Edina (RIP), the wonder dobie and
Net Proceeds our 2005 Volvo VNL630 256" WB. Focus SVT on the back, in the garage. ET Hitch controlling the articulation. Jackalopee controlling the 'juice'. 2002 Teton 39' Grand Sundance
All still a work in progress.
Photos and comments at http://gallery.ournetproceeds.com

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We sat in them all and for us we were the most comfortable in the Volvo. The wide cab and layout just worked best for us and our needs. Plus the price was the best so it all fit.

2017 Entegra Anthem 44A

SOLD - 2004 Volvo 780. 465hp and 10sp Auto Shift (from 2010~2017)

SOLD - 2009 Montana 3400RL

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I grew up un a commercial Dairy Farm and learned how to drive an ancient Diamond T hay truck before I ever drove a car.

 

Have owned a Mack, two Kenworths and two Peterbilts. And have not had any big trucks for the past few years.

 

I actually set out a month or so to find my first fun rv truck and was seriously looking at the Peterbilt 387, but I have to say that after I crawled over, under and through a Volvo 780, I was actually impressed.

 

For me it is similar to the first time I fired a Glock pistol. Beforehand I would have scoffed at the idea of owning a plastic gun, but you can't argue reality if you are truly open minded about something and keep your prejudices at bay.....lol

John

Southern Nevada

2008 Volvo 780, D13, I-Shift

2017 Keystone Fuzion 420 Toyhauler 

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3-RS

 

ALAKAZARCACODEFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMAMNMS
event.png

 

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Other than maybe a bit of "sheeple" syndrome on here, from the outside looking in (cause I don't and won't have a Volvo) alot of people seem to like the spacious cab and sleeper which is great if that is what one wants.

It also appears that Volvo has a bigger selection of trucks with auto transmissions. Most of the reasons that people give for wanting an auto tranny is so that the wife can drive. Hmmmm

So instead of having a LGT wouldn't that make a Volvo or any truck for that matter, with an automatic a BGT?

Just pokin fun. I love you all....well, most of you anyway ?

 

Mike

2000 W900L KW
Singled, C15 CAT 475 HP 18 sp, 3:36 rear, power locker,ET Hitch,,22.5 rubber

2011 Excel 36CFE Limited

 

photo2_zpse35f7a55.jpg

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I work around trucks all day although I don't have the driving experience that some here do. When it came time to buy a truck, I wanted an auto trans since I have a touch of psoriatic arthritis that I don't expect to get any better as I age. I liked that the Volvo was easy to single. I also wanted a workstation. I like the style and look of the Volvo and to me, those long nosed trucks are just fugly.

MY PEOPLE SKILLS ARE JUST FINE.
~It's my tolerance to idiots that needs work.~

2005 Volvo 780 VED12 465hp / Freedomline transmission
singled mid position / Bed by Larry Herrin
2018 customed Mobile Suites 40KSSB3 

2014 smart Fortwo

 

 
 
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I followed the herd so to speak for the same reason JC and Angie said so well. I did not buy our Volvo thinking it was better than a Pete or a KW, but I did think that when I had a repair issue, or wanted to make a modification, I would be more likely to find solutions thanks to the great documentation this great group of HDT'rs, mostly Volvo owners, are archiving.

 

Jim

 

I think it's very simple. It was for me. When the first person got a volvo and shared his knowledge and then the second truck followed and then there was a forum that followed with great information on volvos. Using a truck that you can access a vast knowledge base in an emergency or In updating or ??? makes trying something out of your comfort zone an easy choice.

If you get in over your head , there are people that can help with your problem. And the truck is nice as well

That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.

Volvo+and+Travel+Supreme+400+x+103.jpg

 

2001 Volvo 770, Detroit 60 Series, Gen 2 Autoshift

Passenger assist elevator to enter cab - for when we need it, or sell it?

'05 Travel Supreme Select 40 RLQSO 5th wheel

2016 smart car

 

We started full timing on December 1st 2014

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness - Mark Twain
Not all that wander are lost - J. R. R. Tolkien

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We are the 3rd or 4th owners of our Volvo truck since it rolled off the assembly line. From my best guess, it was put into RV service sometime in mid 2000 and used that way since then. As folks grew old, the truck was passed down thru RV'ers that saw the need for an HDT tow vehicle.

So for us, the main factors for buying the truck was the timing was right, it already was converted to single and has a decent bed on it, and the $$$$ was right.

Alie & Jim + 8 paws

2017 DRV Memphis 

BART- 1998 Volvo 610

Lil'ole 6cyl Cummins

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I'd own a Volvo, KW T680 or perhaps a Cascadia.

 

But of all those the Volvo has the most amenities, is arguably the best ride and quietest, and has nice workstation and a wide cab with the best interior storage.

 

With the new T680 you can argue the ride and quiet. The T680 has a decent workstation, but it is not a dinette, which has an attraction for our use. The Cascadia is a nice truck, but far more basic than the other two.

 

I like the T680 a lot and if buying new it would be a tossup for me between the Volvo 780 and a T680. I'd probably end up with a 780 because of the workstation and the wider cab, though. But it would be a hard choice. The others would not be in the running on a new truck.

Jack & Danielle Mayer #60376 Lifetime Member
Living on the road since 2000

PLEASE no PM's. Email me. jackdanmayer AT gmail
2016 DRV Houston 44' 5er (we still have it)
2022 New Horizons 43' 5er
2016 Itasca 27N 28' motorhome 
2019 Volvo 860, D13 455/1850, 236" wb, I-Shift, battery-based APU
No truck at the moment - we use one of our demo units
2016 smart Passion, piggyback on the truck
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
See our website for info on New Horizons 5th wheels, HDTs as tow vehicles, communications on the road, and use of solar power
www.jackdanmayer.com
Principal in RVH Lifestyles. RVH-Lifestyles.com

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We bought a KW due to a lot of things lining up at the time.

 

1. It was previously owned by board member

2. It already had a deck built

3. The price was right

4. The location was close enough

5. Auto-shift. I was hoping for a 2 pedal to qualify for BGT status, but Rita is Ok with a 3 pedal, as long as she doesn't have to match RPM to speed for downshifts

6. The interior condition matched what we were looking for. I've since replaced a 1500 watt MSW inverter with a 1000 watt PSW that the dorm fridge is a lot happier with. I've also re-upholstered both seat bottoms, to improve the ride for my bony butt.

7. I liked the looks of the T2's when they came out

I have been wrong before, I'll probably be wrong again. 

2000 Kenworth T 2000 w/N-14 and 10 speed Gen1 Autoshift, deck built by Star Fabrication
2006 smart fourtwo cdi cabriolet
2007 32.5' Fleetwood Quantum


Please e-mail us here.

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Also there was a fella, Larry Zieglier (sic?), who singled many of the Volvo's early on..a few not so well I heard.

 

Zeigler.

 

He sold completed HDT conversions - did not do the singling himself.

 

He also sold a 50 page how-to convert "book", "A TO Z Conversion Guide".

IIRC- although copyrighted (2003), the "book" was "pirated" on here(?) at one time.

 

For "noobs":

 

*Maybe* - rates as a pioneer?

 

Some conversions were very well done (maybe Jack will chime in) -

some later "hurry-up" conversions, not so well - resulting in *very* Bad Karma!

 

You can still find his old stuff on forums by Google-ing: "Lary Zeigler HDT Conversions".

(his usual ID was - "onezman")

 

Still some good info - may be a bit outdated now.

 

 

On edit: For the OP - see Mark Bruss' site, http://www.dmbruss.com - work your way through his info to

"Why the Volvo" - and to..."Why a Volvo Truck?" (which will ref. Larry Zeigler)

 

 

.

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Larry Zeigler converted 65+ trucks over the years. Of all of those, he had a run of 5 in row from the same frame shop that were "bad", or not ideal. In some cases like Mark Shelly's 770 it was an incredibly bad job, and downright dangerous. He should have caught that, in my mind. But almost all of his trucks were very good picks with a good conversion. It just goes to show you how a small percent of bad ones can ruin your business.

Jack & Danielle Mayer #60376 Lifetime Member
Living on the road since 2000

PLEASE no PM's. Email me. jackdanmayer AT gmail
2016 DRV Houston 44' 5er (we still have it)
2022 New Horizons 43' 5er
2016 Itasca 27N 28' motorhome 
2019 Volvo 860, D13 455/1850, 236" wb, I-Shift, battery-based APU
No truck at the moment - we use one of our demo units
2016 smart Passion, piggyback on the truck
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
See our website for info on New Horizons 5th wheels, HDTs as tow vehicles, communications on the road, and use of solar power
www.jackdanmayer.com
Principal in RVH Lifestyles. RVH-Lifestyles.com

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We got a Volvo because it was the best value at the time. I really wanted an aero Pete or KW, but for the money, at that time, the Volvo won.

 

Do your homework and don't let someone else make your decision.

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
Newmar X-Aire, VATICAN
Lots of old motorcycles, Moto Guzzi Griso and Spyder F3 currently in the front row
Young enough to play in the dirt as a retired farmer.
contact me at rickeieio1@comcast.net

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