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HDT Newbie Questions


elhajj33

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Hi all, first post in here! I'm buying a toy hauler and planning on full-timing. Someone from RV.net suggested I post my tow vehicle questions here. The toyhaulder is a 2013 Keystone Raptor 365 LEV. It has a UVW of 14080 lbs (according to the sticker on the door, though the website lists it as 13,915).

 

Now, I'm a newbie, but i've been doing my research. I'm thinking I'll need an F-350 that's 2007 or newer. i've been pouring through the Ford towing guides on http://www.fleet.ford.com/towing-guides/. It looks to me I can pickup an F-350 that will tow about 18,000lbs.

 

Three questions:

1. I look online (let's say eBay) and no one lists the gear ratio in the listings (unless I'm missing it). Do i need to call for every truck I'm interested

2. Any suggestions for what I should get? I'm looking in the 20k to 30k

3. I almost fear asking this one, but: how many miles are too many on a diesel? Should i be looking sub 100,000miles ? Sub 50,000 miles?

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Are you looking for a Ford 350 or a HDT? HDT is a semi tractor that normally is converted for RV towing use.

 

The Ford F350 with the proper setup- gearing etc, will be ok at the 18-19k lb mark and under. Go over and you need more truck.

Mileage on the dually diesel engines- properly maintained 100k is no issue- but if it has had a programmer or tuner on it, all bets are off. I would stay away from the 6.0 Fords.

Personally I'm a Dodge fan. The newer Dodge Rams are pretty impressive with their abilities. We weigh right at 18500-19000lbs and tow with a Volvo 610 as seen in the avatar.

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Welcome to the forum!

 

I have an F-350 Dually 4x4 Crew-cab pulling a similar sized Toy Hauler and I can tell you that you will be at the max for that truck, even with adding air bags for the suspension and heavy duty transmission cooler.

 

As to gear ratios, the two most common in that type of truck is 4:10 or 3:73, the 4:10 will give you more towing power, though you will pay for it, literally, in the fuel department when running without your trailer. My truck gets roughly 13.4 mpg without the trailer and 9.5 with.

 

If you are set on that type of a truck, I would say to do as much research as you can.

 

If you are still in the research phase of your toy hauler purchase, I would recommend that you also research other brands as well. Keystone makes the Raptor and Fuzion toy haulers and they are not bad trailers. When we were first looking to buy a toy hauler, we were looking hard and heavy at a Fuzion trailer that had a lot of deluxe features. After researching other brands, we wound up looking at the Heartland toy haulers, they make Cyclone and Road Warrior brands. I have to say that when you look past all the exciting floor plans and bells and whistles, the Heartland trailers have superior construction and attention to detail in areas that will make a difference years down the road, especially if you are full- timing in one.

 

With all that said, it still comes down to personal preferences, so good luck and enjoy the journey,

 

John

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thanks for all that advice. I'm looking at a great deal on a 2013 raptor (right around 35k). I love the heartland road warrior, but i'll be looking at double just for the 5er on that. I'd love to be able to afford a mini semi, but i'm in 30-35k for the tow vehicle budget. I'll take a look at the Rams. I was banking for 10mpg or so for the truck, I just want to make sure I can tow the hauler comfortably. I don't want to completely stress the truck out and end up having to replace it in year or two.

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Have you checked with dealers in the Michigan area? The Heartland or Keystone units that run in the 70's here locally are DRASTICALLY cheaper back there. One of the main ones I remember is Lakeshore RV. They had off year new units as well.

 

i will definitely check them out. I'm down in Florida, but have friends/family up in Michigan. Will do some homework tomorrow.

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The big three, Ford, Dodge and Chevy, all show numbers in fierce competition and just be advised it is not apples to apples if you compare THIER numbers, it is more like apples to hand grenades.

 

The reality is that any of the three will technically do what you want, BUT, you will be at the near limit of the truck. Ford has the advantage of the F-450 or F-550, though if you search on this forum or some of the forums for Sand Car enthusiasts you will read some interesting (scarey) stories.

 

Having a truck under warranty will definitely help.

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The other suggestion here would be to suggest you go to the rally that you see the link for at the top of the forum.

 

The amazing thing about folks who are into the HDT lifestyle is the fact that most are more than willing to share info with new folks. If you can make it, you will have lots of opportunities to see rigs of all different budget ranges. Check out the page for the rally and you can see photos of past attendees and their rigs. A lot of valuable info.

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In your research, check out the Heavy Hauler Resource page and Jack Mayer And Dale Bruss's personal pages and you may see that your budget is not that far off for a true HDT.

i will check those pages out. Dumb question: where does one buy an HDT? Also, should I post in the MDT forums for advice on the Ford/Chevy/Dodge options?

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I just bought an HDT watching the classified section in this website. I think its a great place to gather information on whats for sale and what the prices are like and much of the work is already done by someone else getting it set up to pull your trailer. My old Duramax 2500 shortbed would pull the heck out of my trailer, it was the handling and stopping that were the worst. Mine had a lift kit on it which I think also contributed. I had come down to buying a Dodge 1 ton dually long bed or an HDT and decided on the HDT.

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i will check those pages out. Dumb question: where does one buy an HDT? Also, should I post in the MDT forums for advice on the Ford/Chevy/Dodge options?

The smart place to buy an HDT is from the "For Sale" section of this forum. The hard part will be done, and you'll likely save a lot of dough.

 

Frankly, most of us here have been the Dodge/Ford/Chevy thing, and that's why we have HDTs.

 

If you're going to full time, and will pull a toy hauler, an HDT is likely where you'll end up.

 

Edit: I see ChevyKeith beat me to it......

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Your original post indicated UVW but did not indicate Gross Vehicle weight or better yet actual fully loaded weights and pin weights. You need these weights to determine what tow vehicle minimum you need. Also truck manufacturers tow weights may be reduced by options, how much cargo you put on and in them, how many people and how full your fuel tanks are. You need to look at GCVW and maximum rear axle weights.

 

Prices for newer duallys which can handle more weight are easily over $50k-70k. Used MDTs can vary from $70k to $125k+ if they are in good condition Used HDT's can range from $15k to $70k depending on mileage, age and if converted to RV use already.

 

Look at the resource guide for more information on HDT's and feel free to ask questions. There is also a Frequently Ask Question Document at the top of the forum too.

 

Dave

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i will checkout the for sale section now! I also found: http://www.truckpaper.com/Default.aspx. Do i need a CDL to drive one of these suckers?

Nope. Ours is registered in SD as a non-commercial vehicle.

 

Also we bought our HDT at a Kenworth Dealership. Did a lot of research on this forum and sent out faxes to dealerships on what we wanted. Got it. Had it modified to carry two 800 pound motorcycles. There wasn't any toyhaulers we liked back in 2003/2004. Have had the same truck and trailer now for over eleven years.

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Nope. Ours is registered in SD as a non-commercial vehicle.

 

Also we bought our HDT at a Kenworth Dealership. Did a lot of research on this forum and sent out faxes to dealerships on what we wanted. Got it. Had it modified to carry two 800 pound motorcycles. There wasn't any toyhaulers we liked back in 2003/2004. Have had the same truck and trailer now for over eleven years.

i'm sure this is covered in a FAQ somewhere and I almost feel bad for asking, but what's involved in converting an HDT for a fifth wheel? I'm thinking under $5k? Or am i wrong?

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It depends on much you need to convert. Air ride hitches are recommended and will vary depending on what trailer weight and pin weight you need. Check into an ET hitch to maximumize those amounts and for the best out there.

 

Bed costs can vary depending on what you make it out of and what features you want. Our truck came with an air ride hitch (not an ET but an upgrade is in the plan when we get a bigger trailer) and we built the bed but we did spend more the $5k on our bed but we got a lot for our money.

Dave

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Many states you can get a non-CDL class A operators license. Illinois (mine), Texas and SD for sure.

 

Requirements for converting to RV vary slightly from state to state, things like shore power, refrigeration, sleeping quarters, cooking (microwave works), separate heat, etc.

 

When I did my research 11-12 years ago the HDT came out way cheaper - and far more capable - than any used dually on the market. Turns out it's a lot more comfortable as well.

 

We're closing in on 700k on the Volvo.

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started reading the FAQ. and The two personal sites listed in the FAQ. Answering many of the annoying questions i've been asking you all :)

 

One question: do i really need an HDT for about 16-17,000lbs?

Only if you can guarantee that electric trailer brakes will never fail, or that no one will ever do something stupid in front of you.

 

Our current trailer is 14k empty, perhaps 16-17k loaded with food, water, and motorcycles. It drives and stops much nicer than our old F-350, and over the years, is cheaper to operate.

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