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People think I am crazy Semi vs Pickup debate...........


Vegas Teacher

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Hello all,

 

Many of my friends and family think I am crazy for wanting to buy a Semi over a F350 Dully or 450 truck. I am a year saving into the process and have a little over 10K saved. I will save the same amount this year plus as a teacher I got a prep buy out and will put and additional 6K on top of the 10K into savings so I will have about 26K to start with next summer. I am not sure if that is a good price range but I could save and be in the 35K range in the summer of 2017. Anyway I am serious about making the switch and my family thinks I have lost it. I come from a very conservative family and they all live inside the box. Nobody thinks outside the box. I have a couple three questions, and I promise more dumb questions to come over the next year. I just want to go in armed as well as possible.

 

Question #1 I am currently pulling a 23.5 foot Fleetwood Pioneer. Yes it is a bumper tow so does anybody know if it is extremely difficult to put a bumper tow hitch on a Semi or a receiver for a hitch. I currently am pulling with a 2008 Toyota Tundra. I love the Tundra but want to move up to a 45 foot triple axle toy hauler with a garage in the 12 foot range. I have German Shepherds and want to set them up in a luxury suite LOL. We go to Schutzhund trials with them. I know this is overkill for my little trailer but I want to get the semi first then start saving for the trailer. I have been looking on Craig's list and see I need to save around 35K for a decent one.

 

Question #2 Has anybody tried to put a wooden bed in behind the cabin? I love the look of wooden flat beds and would love to do that to have a bed to pull a jeep up onto.

 

Question #3 How difficult is it to find camp grounds / RV parks to take Semi's with large toy haulers? Also has anybody taken two spaces in a camp ground or RV because they couldn't find anything else.

 

I would love to go to Hutchison Ks for the Ralley. I grew up in Pittsburg Kansas which is just 170 miles S.E. of there, but as you can see from my name I am a teacher. I will be ankle high and knee deep in grading papers and giving Biology lectures. I love my job and I teach at a great high school called Shadow Ridge here in Las Vegas.

 

Once again thanks for your time you took to read this. From what I have read you all sound like really great people to get to know. I will be in Ks with you all in spirit!

 

Sincerely,

 

Vegas Teacher

 

Cory Ossana

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As for using a HDT, it's a personal thing. it does not work for everybody. too many vehicles, not wanting to drive daily and many other factors. That being said, i love the big truck, big power and big brakes. All the while doing the job very well and for much less money than 3500.

 

As for your questions.

1. not hard to put a bumper hitch on a truck. wiring may need to be extended to reach the plug.

 

2. i've seen a couple of beds made of wood, they look great. i think to support a jeep it would have to be substantially supported.

 

3. We are on the east coast. most parks are tight, but we always find a spot with our 67 foot rig. sometimes it takes a little planning and the use of google maps.

 

I'm giving a shameless plug for our rig as its for sale and close to your budget. http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=114554

 

If you have more questions feel free to ask.

 

 

Mark

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I have a 2-5/16 ball on the rear of my 2001 770 Volvo. Not hard to do, just fits between the frame rails. Don't like how this one was done (3rd or 4th owner) so I'm gonna cut this one off and mount a standard heavy duty receiver so I have some potential for adjustment and different size balls.

 

I've seen some wooden beds, some really well done and permanent and some not so well done and temporary. Easily done and much cheaper...er, more economical, than a high zoot custom made diamond flake painted steel bed

 

We pull an XLR Thunderbolt toy hauler 5th wheel. Overall it's about 44' long. Truck is 29'. With the overlap, we're just under 71' ready to travel. The trailer has a 14' garage. Only had one minor problem at a campground. However, we are VERY clear about our rig when we call to see if a campground can accommodate us. Check the Campground guide in the Heavy Haulers resource guide on this forum.

 

Usually when someone brings a new rig to the forum, folks will welcome them to the "Dark Side". I guess in your case, I could welcome you to the forum and the "Dusk" side.

 

Save them pennies.

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OK first off, set up a field trip with the kids to Kansas. It will be very educational even to them. You can always send them to one of Phoenix's seminars and they will probably love your class from now on!

 

1) No problem pulling bumper pull trailers with an HDT. The hosts of the rally do and many others. We made a hitch Mount for ours before we built our bed and we incorporated one into our bumper with our bed build.

 

2)ICPete has a wooden bed among others. Just build it to do what you want. You will need to run separate ground wires for lights.

 

3) Our toy hauler is 44' long with a 24' garage. Like others we plan our stops ahead of time and call the campground and explain what we have and use Google satellite to verify.

 

Tell the family you are just trying to save money. Those F350 and 450's can be a lot more money than what your planning on spending on the HDT.

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Safety, performance, price - that's what drew me in. Then I discovered just how comfortable the HDT is for traveling. Got the DW a new air seat with a BackCycler and she is happy as a clam. We both love the Volvo and would never again tow with anything else.

 

Another big advantage is fuel range. With 300 gallons on board I can pick my fuel stops based on price. Before each trip I look at prices and pick my stops for topping off the tanks at the best price.

 

Any time we run a long day - in spite of our best intentions we often end up running 500+ miles - we will see the same four wheelers and pickups with trailers pass us three or four times during the day 'cause they are stopping for fuel.

 

Why do we go so far? Because by mid-afternoon we often look at each other and ask, "Are you good for another 100 miles?" We would usually get on down the road as opposed to sitting in a campground most of the afternoon. Gives us more time at our destination.

 

When we were still working and tight for time on NASCAR weekends we would often leave Bristol after midnight on race night, DW would climb in the sleeper and I would run through the night until we stopped for breakfast and a nap.

 

In 10 years we have never been turned away from a campground. A few times we have had to park the Volvo in an overflow area, but no big deal.

 

Once you get one there is no turning back! Ten years and almost 100k miles and we are still happy.

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We use the Big Rigs Campground Directory. It lists the campgrounds that will handle our rigs, the best sites to use, how to get to them, address and telephone numbers. Take a look at their website: http://www.big-rigs-rv.com/Home.html

We found that Big Rigs means 45' Motorhomes. We need 70' sites and that often is larger than what the Big Rig Book shows.

 

A better source for us is the HHRV Campground Guide, a listing of campgrounds that actually have proven to be big enough by HDTers staying there.

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Comfort, visibility, price, durability, economy, and finally STOPPING POWER. We had a Dodge dually that towed our Carrilite kinda ok. On flat lands and in the midwest we could cruise along with the rest of the traffic. Start going uphill and it would slow down some on the steep grades. But stopping on a downhill was exciting. Lose the trailer brakes and we were along for the ride. Everyone has their reasons for their HDT.

In a perfect world any of the new 3500/450 pickups would be adequate, but here's reality http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=119186

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Biggest mistake a lot of people make- not buying enough truck to pull the rig you plan to *end up with*. Yeah, it will look a little funny w/ a bumper pull, but may a fecal pox be on the nay sayers! Check where you plan to register for laws on a converted HDT.

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Biggest mistake a lot of people make- not buying enough truck to pull the rig you plan to *end up with*. Yeah, it will look a little funny w/ a bumper pull, but may a fecal pox be on the nay sayers! Check where you plan to register for laws on a converted HDT.

 

Yeah, ours looked a bit silly pulling the 25' Terry the first two years! One park owner said with a drawl "Looks like you picked that trailer before it was ripe!"

 

It was worth it though when we purchased the Mountain Aire.

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Thanks to all of the great people who have replied! I love reading everything. Safety and stopping power are a big concern. Even pulling my 23.5 footer behind my Tundra ( 1/2 ton ) is not fun down hill even with trailer breaks. There is an 8% slope on I - 80 in Wyoming just before you get to Utah. I am sure many of you know the one I am talking about, well I had this very smart and nice person on a VW bug pull around me, cut me off and slow down all while I was headed down hill. I am not sure what they were thinking but it was all I could do to keep my trailer on the road. Granted I was only trying to keep my speed at 55 down hill but still my truck trying to deal with 7K behind it on the 8% slope was not fun. I had some choice words for that wonderful individual.

 

Once again I can see this is a great place to be and good people to talk to. I am going on all the links and websites everybody said to. Keep the advice coming and soon I hope to see you all on the road, even if I am still in my Tundra for another year or so, but I will be joining your ranks I promise.

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Guest THE TRAILERKING

Back when I bought a '93 Pete to pull my race car trailer around was the better way in my mind.

-Cost me $25,000.00 instead of over $70,000 for a new dually. The life of an ex-highway rig will go for a LONG time.

-The power and braking capability far surpasses to new dually.

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A HDT is not for everybody, but with that said the same is true about Class A, B, C and travel trailer setups. Several here carry a Smart Car but again that is not for everybody. That is why we carry a Jeep and we are not "wheelers". A Jeep better fits our needs. Others here carry even larger vehicles. Nothing wrong or crazy about any of these setups.

 

Sure there is a argument that testosterone fuels some to the "Dark" side but for most it is about practicality. The reality is trailers are getting bigger and heavier. For a while the "Big 3" were not keeping up with the larger trailer trend. Todays P/Us are more capable then the ones just a few years ago. But all trucks, including HDTs, have there limitations on what they can do. Personally when I made the HDT jump 5 years ago my SuperDuty could pull our 17k trailer. It was how it handled everything else that gave me nightmares and a uneasy feeling. I could have bought a new P/U at the time and I think the P/U would have been adequate but odds are today, 5 years later, I would be looking at a new P/U again most likely. With the HDT, I think the only reason I would even consider a newer truck is for a I-Shift or I just simply get the new truck itch. Lack of truck payments works real well for me when it comes to taking care of the "want new truck itch". Others like to get a new truck every few years. Was talking to my cousin a few weeks back and he took his truck (only 2 years old) in for a oil change and ending up driving a new truck home. Apparently he is just like his father, the allure of the new truck is much stronger in him then payments. Nothing wrong with that, I am just not wired that way.

 

After 5 years the "cools" and thumbs up far out weigh the ones who want to argue that I have made the wrong choice. The last guy who tried to tell me that I have made the wrong choice in tow vehicles was quickly corrected with "I only made the wrong choice in trucks if I was YOU. But thankfully I am not you and we are extremely pleased with our tuck and setup. It works extremely well for us". I thought his head was going to shoot in to outer space but it did shut him up. The only guy who my setup frustrated that I was sympathetic too was a guy who gave up a 5th wheel that he and his wife liked very much. They gave it up because it was too much for his P/U and they did not feel safe towing. He wanted a MDT but his wife said no because she did not want to use it as the daily driver and she was not willing to follow in a separate vehicle. So they moved to a Class A. They were happy with it but they liked the 5th wheel they had better. Seeing my HDT with Jeep made him realize he did not have to give up the trailer they loved so much.

 

I have never been asked to leave or told that we are unwelcome with our HDT. On occasion we do have to put the truck in overflow but typically those are places where it is much tighter anyways so even a 1T P/U makes the site tight too. The HDT has changed how we travel. It is easier to do more miles in a day. So if we have a overnight between destinations we may do 500~600 miles in a day. We also blacktop boondock on those between destinations nights more now. Not because of the trouble of finding a place but because we spend more time on the road so we just opt for a quick easy pull in/out parking lot since we are typically pulling off the road about dusk instead of in the middle of the afternoon.

 

All and all it does not matter what anybody else thinks. All that matters is you are happy with your decision and you are enjoying the choices you make regardless if it is a HDT, a P/U or a Class A, B or C.

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I don't really have any choice on the hauler.....my trailer is 28K lbs, so it pretty much HAS to be an HDT. I don't buy the marketing hype that a Dodge pickup can "easily pull" my trailer.

 

I could use a truck like an M2-112. It would do a fine job. But I prefer the features and amenities of the HDT. And I have no need of four doors.

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Everyone has their own level of what they think is crazy and I happen to be on the crazier end of their spectrum. People have always accused me of being "Extreme" in nearly anything I do...... Is that a bad thing?

 

I say as long as what I'm doing isn't unsafe for anyone, do what makes YOU happy! We don't care what everyone thinks.....

 

Here is an easy hitch solution if you aren't looking to do a big steel bed with a hitch incorporated into the bumper. http://www.curtmfg.com/Category/272/Weld-On%20Hitches

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Howdy Cory,

 

Welcome to the HDT site.

 

I used to tow a 14,000 pound, 38 foot long toy hauler with a pumped up Dodge 3500 dually diesel. Yes the truck would pull the trailer but out here in the mountain west it was working very hard to do it, going up the grade was slow, coming down even with an exhaust brake was sometimes a bit more exciting then I wished for and always work managing timed hard braking to keep the brakes cool enough to be of real use. Don't ask how much money I had tied up in the Dodge lets just say it was darn near three times what I paid for my Freightliner.

 

A friend of mine had been towing his large 5th wheel trailer with a Volvo for years and told me more then once that I needed to up grade my tow vehicle, after having to do a panic stop because some idiot ran a stop sign and having the 14,000 pound trailer PUSH my 8,000 pickup through the intersection I finally wised up and took Bruce's advise and started looking for an HDT. My HDT isn't pretty but I could afford it and it WORKS, worked so well I sold the 14,000 pound trailer and now tow a 45 foot long, 20,000 pound toy hauler and couldn't be happier, oh the HDT is cheaper to insure, gets better fuel mileage and is a heck of a lot more comfortable to both drive and ride in and the icing on the cake my wife after taking a few trips in it has completely changed her mind from me being crazy to this is the ONLY way to travel.

 

HDT's are like anything else they work for some folks and not for others, they are big and do take up space but in my case the Freightliner is only about 3 feet longer then the Dodge dually and only a few inches wider as the mirrors stick out to where they are usable. Having a REAL engine brake is a true blessing in the mountains, my truck can SAFELY stop my trailer even if the trailer brakes for some reason don't function. In the ten years I drove and towed with the Dodge I covered a tad over 89,000 miles, I have had the Freightliner for two years and have towed just shy of 30,000 miles and at a lower cost per mile that should tell you something.

 

As to cost, it depends on what you buy, how old it is, what brand it is, how many miles are on it and how its equipped. Some of the rigs I have seen cost from 80-100K+ and they are BEAUTIFUL but way beyond my means. I'll use my truck as an example of whats out there in the lower price range. My truck is a 2002 Freightliner Columbia, when I bought it it had 727,xxx miles on it, it had been already converted for RV use and was a turn key truck, just add fuel and hook up the trailer, I paid $25,000.00 for it. Since buying it and driving it for nearly 30K miles I have put around 2K dollars into it for repairs, new brakes all around, fixed the air conditioning, replaced the drivers windshield, had new coax run for the CB, redid the rear axle panhard bar as the guy who did the original conversion did a poor job of relocating and modifying that critical part of the suspension oh and I replaced the u-joint that goes into the top of the steering box. The truck came with fairly new tires that will age out before I wear them out, the brakes will NEVER have to be replaced as long as I am driving the truck and will probably last well into the next owners time of use. I figure somewhere down the road I'll probably have to replace the clutch, 2-4K depending on what is needed and what parts I choose to replace the worn ones with, I might add the I spent over 13,000 dollars replacing the BUILT transmission in my Dodge twice. So this should give you some real world numbers to work with. Be sure and check out the DEALS posted on this forum some of them are a real steal when you consider what it would cost to buy or or build these setups. http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showforum=25

 

All I can say is this, had I known 12 years ago what I know now I would have been driving-towing with and HDT since 2003 rather then 2013 when I bought the Freightliner. Yup I am a HAPPY CAMPER. Oh and the kids are always doing the arm pump to get a blast from the air horns, makes my day sometimes as I fondly remember doing the same when I was a youngster. :D

 

Dave

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Vegas,

 

Dollytrolley is likely one of the smallest and plain-jane HDT's on the forum but it works pretty well considering it's pretty humble nature.

 

The Freightliner Century has a small M11 Cummins small HP at 370 and 1350 lbs of torque , 10 speed manual, tandem, 3:08, is pretty wimpy next to the "BIG-rigs" and the "Trolley" is prettyy light if you consider that even loaded to the gills and hitched up our biggest scale ticket yet is 21,950 lbs and the Dolly-box (30 ft Dune toybox) tips the scales at about 8,800 lbs and that is with a 950 lb passenger (Dolly-the-Paint-Horse) riding in the garage........

 

Could we tow with a MDT or a super-pickup...........yes we could.........But, we would be hard pressed to haul TEN One-Hundred Pound bales of Dolly-hay, a pickup load of Dolly, tack (saddle, blankets, brushes, etc., etc) AND did I mention that Dolly has a "Drinking-Problem"........ she drinks TWENTY GALLONS of water per day and some days she might spill another 10 gallons.......SO........ we carry a 275 or 330 gallon water tote on the back bed of the "Trolley"......

 

As the say......."children, don't try this at home"......... we used to "Just-get-by" with a super pickup but it was not much fun at times and descending steep and twisty roads it was FOOLISH at times..........small tow rigs may have ok brakes at the top of the long-steep grade but don't count on any type of aggressive stopping at the bottom of the grade.

 

HDT owners have many reasons to own and operate the rigs and so you will likely need to consider the advice of the forum members and then consider your own needs........

 

Lot of folks spend a lot of time and effort to try to decide on a HDT........we felt that if we were not happy after a while we could just pass the "Trolley" on to the next folks to try............

 

Try a HDT........chances are you'll like it.......

 

 

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

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VegasTeacher;

 

By now you should have plenty of advice to influence your decision.

 

But as stated, you will have to decide if an HDT will work for you.

 

As you can see there are units on here from $140k to $10k, so there are units for all budgets and taste.

 

Find the one that works for you and enjoy!

 

Curt

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Hi Vegas Teacher - sometimes in a battle of wits with an unarmed adversary it is best to repeat their questions back to them as if you didn't quite understand...or with another "I need this clarified" question added.

 

I've had the technique used on me numerous times :lol::lol: :lol: :lol:

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The wife and I saw a Toyota Tundra pulling a Savoy 5th wheel when we were in Medora, ND. this summer. Scary. But then in the last ten years seeing every year more BIG 5th wheel trailers being pulled by 3/4 and 1 ton single wheeled pickup trucks. Most of the trucks are sagging in the back and the headlights are checking out the owls in the trees. Owners saying the truck pulls their trailer just fine.

 

Vegas teacher: Glad to see you thinking of a HDT. The number one thing I hear. "Think you have enough truck to pull that trailer?" I tell them I do and have enough truck to safely stop the trailer too.

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I pull a 30' bumper pull trailer behind my Volvo. I built a steel bed to haul my 73 Bronco. There are a lot of know it all's that will tell you what you do or don't need. In the end you are the one that needs to be happy. Once you set the cruise control on 65 and cruise up that mountain pass while grinning ear to ear, you will realize what a great purchase you made.

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