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HELP! Next size up from DRW Pickup?


rbertalotto

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I currently have a Dodge, 2500 Diesel and pull a small Toy Hauler. Wife and I are talking about taking a few years off to full-time. Looking at HDT, but the Volvo that most of you folks recommend is simply too large.

 

Looked at Dodge 5500 but was wondering if there was something in between a PU and a full blown over the road tractor.

 

I'm a welder and extremely handy so buying a truck that I could add a small sleeper behind the cab, shorten the chassis, etc....might be possible.

 

IH 4700 I've seen refered to....Comments?

 

I don't want to give up the towing performance I enjoy with my Cummins, but I want the safety and stability of a bigger truck for a tri-axle toy hauler.

 

Thanks

 

 

RoyB

South of Boston

2021 Dodge 2500 - 6.4L

Forest River 19RR Toy Hauler

Roofnest Falcon Rooftop Tent

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Try looking for a Medium Duty (class 6) Freightliner M2-106 that will have an engine in the 1,000 ft-lb range for power or a Freightliner M2-112 (class 7) truck that will run the same engine as the big boys with power in the 1650 ft-lb range. My M2-112 will fit in a 10'x10' garage door and is 23'-0 long. They come with several different cabs but most of us run the 4 door versions. The class 7 trucks also have the advantage of air brakes, a true Jacobs engine brake, air ride suspension, seats and cab and all the power you will ever need plus the convenience of a true Allison Auto transmission that anyone could drive.

 

The class 6 trucks run hydraulic brakes and can be driven with a regular class C drivers license. The bigger truck can be driven with the same license in some states but others might require a non commercial class A. Mind you, in Georgia, that consists of taking the CDL written test which is not that difficult and no driving test. Texas will require a driving test. other states will vary and you need to check the rules in your license state.

2017 Kenworth T680
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An MDT, International and Freightliner are popular ones, is a step up in size from a pickup and smaller than a HDT but...

 

The cost of an MDT is often more than a HDT, you will get a much poorer transmission and usually a lot less engine. When you go out with a tape measure you are going to find that aside from height there isn't much difference in bumper to bumper or side to side distance and the turning circles are about the same. A test drive will also be informative, most MDTs are vocational trucks meant for short drives like trash haulers or dump trucks while HDTs are designed for hours behind the wheel. Ride comfort, road noise and quality of the interior are all going to favor the HDT. The MDT will usually have an exhaust brake while the HDT will have a multi-position Jacobs brake that is far superior.

 

Now if you compare an MDT to A HDT with a large condo or a car hauling bed the HDT will be a lot longer but that is a trade-off and you can't really put a car on an MDT or go much beyond a four door cab.

 

We had an IH 4700 and it was adequate to pull our 15,000 pound fiver with 275 HP and 800 foot pounds of torque through an Allison six-speed automatic. But by adequate I do not mean fast, quiet or comfortable, our F-250 rode nicer, was quieter and once I'd put a bunch of power mods on had more power while weighing about 5,000 pounds less. If the transmission wouldn't have been a weak link I might have skipped the MDT. If the new auto-shifting transmissions would have been available I'd have figured out some way to get a HDT to work for us and learned to live with the height difference.

 

Seriously look at the HDTs and make 100% sure one won't work for you before you spend money on an MDT and remember that most folks buying used are going to be looking at the same things you are and aren't going to be willing to pay a lot for an MDT no matter what it cost you.

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Roy

 

my comment on IH 4700 series cabs; i hope your short :P

 

seriously, MDT ergonomics are usually very bad (short cab = more payload space)

in fact the narrow but surprisingly legroom friendly cab of my `52 DiamondT (that sits on a IH MDT chassis)

is definitely a lot more comfy then the 4700 style IH cab it replaced

(may need to add that i`m 6'3")

 

as others already mentioned engine/trans selection is very limited on MDT`s

unless your up to do a upgrade yourself your mostly stuck in the sub 250 hp range

you can get by with that ... but towing a 3 axle toyhauler will not be any fun

 

i second Stanley; make 100% sure a HDT will not work for you before you look at any MDT

 

hang around here and see if you may find a member local to you

that would be willing to let you look at his rig and/or give you a ride ;)

 

" Diamonds R 4 ever " driver.gif

"class of`95" Pete 379 "Toterhome": Cummins N14, Super10, single axle, 278" WB, 162" sleeper ... sold
current project; 1952 Diamond T, Cummins 8.3l @ 375hp/ 800ft lbs
, single axle, 239" WB, 1954 Spartan 137" air ride sleeper ....

full timing in a 39 foot "sticks & staples POS" Toyhauler (planing to build an all aluminum 42-45 foot replacement soon) ...

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I agree with Georgia Hybrid, especially regarding the FL M2 112. If your budget can stand the punishment you can get an M2 112 with a Detroit Diesel DD 13 engine with 500 hp and 1850 torque. We pull a 27K 5er with ours and can run comfortably down the highway with traffic if need be, although we usually do 62-65. If you don't need big power the M2 106 is a slightly less expensive option. We pulled our Montana with one and the performance was excellent and the braking was much better than our one ton dually. There are some used 106s out there for not much more than a new top of the line one ton dually. Used 112s are probably going to be a little harder to find. Look on places like Truck Paper.com to get an idea of what is out there. There are also units that come up for sale on various forums if you look for them. Be aware that the big knock against MDTs, especially new ones, is cost compared to a used HDT and a new one ton dually. Also financing, insurance and licensing may be issues depending on your state of residence. Best Wishes, Jay

2015 Continental Coach Elegance by Forks RV, 41'; 2015 FL M2 112, DD 13, by 2L Custom Trucks; Trailer Saver air hitch; '48 Navigoddess with a Rand McNally GPS

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All great info so far. Volvo does have different size sleepers. From reading the forums of late the largest (730, 780) seem to be the most common. I however have the smallest sleeper (430) which makes the truck about 35 inches shorter in length. It is a little over 10 feet in height. I think if you singled a 430 short your wheel base would end up being about ten inches longer than a crew cab dually. If you can make it to Tennessee in April for the ECR you will get to see many trucks up close before you rule out the HDT completely.

 

Nigel

2006 Volvo VNL 430, 2006 smart cabrio cdi, 2000 Triple E Topaz 30'

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I'm 6'6" and our IH was really tight behind the wheel until I had some custom seat brackets added that moved the seats back about 6". That made a lot of difference but didn't take them so far back that the 5'3" wife couldn't reach the pedals. I had the crew, 4 door version so there was room to go back that far, the extended or two door cabs may not allow you room to do that or even fully recline the seats. The IH has a very flat floor that made that easy, other trucks may be more challenging.

 

 

Buying power in a new IH is pretty flexible, they have several different engines and each in a selection of power levels.

 

Check carefully as the factory setup program is likely to give you far too little power and too few gears for RV use. 210 HP and a 5 speed Allison was a common early combination as was 230 HP, you are not going to be enjoying one of them and will likely find a 530-275 and a six speed about the tolerable minimum with the 300 or 325 (rare) a nice improvement. The 300/325 versions also come with steel pistons and are more tweakable at the expense of a bit more engine noise.

 

On older IHs some of the low power ones won't pull a six speed Allison and will only have five gears available, check carefully again. I'd avoid the V8 444 engine and I'd be shying away from the 466 due to the low power ratings. The 530 has more options and if ordered with steel pistons has some potential for tweaking, the aluminum piston versions, 275 HP and below, are not amused if the EGT bumps up a bit too high and will burn through FAST.

 

Lots of folks talked about tweaking their MDTs for more power but most ended up passing on any modifications for a variety of reasons. A few folks used engine computer tuners or propane injection and seemed happy enough but for me the expense and potential warranty hassles for the first 120,000 miles wasn't offset by the performance boost. I know all the rules about warranty and modifications and you'd likely win in the long run if your lawyer was good but I'm retired and wanted to go camping, not hassling with IH over warranty issues.

 

If power is any consideration I'd say forget any MDT aside from the M2 mentioned above as the potential for an easy boost to these engines just isn't there.

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Sell a customer a Linux computer and you'll eat for a day.

Sell a customer a Windows computer and you'll eat for a lifetime.

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I'm not sure what the "too large" part of the HDT is. Just get a smaller HDT. It may limit what you can do with it, though.

 

My Volvo 610 with 182" wb was 6" more wheelbase than my F550 and it was about 2' longer overall. It turned way inside the diameter of the 55-, though.

 

If you are looking for four doors then the MDT M2 112 is a full-power, very nice truck. But it really is not any different footprint-wise than a 630 singled short. It is slightly shorter, though, if that is the "too large" part.

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
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Principal in RVH Lifestyles. RVH-Lifestyles.com

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I'm not sure what the "too large" part of the HDT is. Just get a smaller HDT. It may limit what you can do with it, though.

 

My Volvo 610 ....

 

Jack

i actually used your Volvo 610 picture(s) several times when recommending a "notsobig" HDT to others on a other board ;)

 

yeah, its amazing how "small" the footprint actually is when you look past the higher height

and wheel "cut in" is usually superior on a HDT...

" Diamonds R 4 ever " driver.gif

"class of`95" Pete 379 "Toterhome": Cummins N14, Super10, single axle, 278" WB, 162" sleeper ... sold
current project; 1952 Diamond T, Cummins 8.3l @ 375hp/ 800ft lbs
, single axle, 239" WB, 1954 Spartan 137" air ride sleeper ....

full timing in a 39 foot "sticks & staples POS" Toyhauler (planing to build an all aluminum 42-45 foot replacement soon) ...

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Seriously look at the HDTs and make 100% sure one won't work for you before you spend money on an MDT

 

X2. Can't think of anything else to add that hasn't been mentioned already. An MDT can be pretty rough on the bod if you do many long hauls... not to mention ease of tow with a 5'er of that size.

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We have a MDT International 4400 with a 310/975 HP/TQ (Stock) DT570 engine. I have been happy with the way it pulls my over 18,000lb Carriage. I thought about a HDT when I was looking, but, in our neighborhood, anything over 10 feet is going to end up running into tree branches. Garbage trucks, moving trucks, etc. routinely tear down branches on the roads around our area. So, in my situation, wheelbase was not the defining measurement...it is height. I have one route that I can use to get my trailer to my house, but anything else and I run the risk of damage. That makes an HDT useless for me if I have to use it for any daily duties.

Also, many "affordable HDT's have many thousands more miles on them then my MDT. To get a HDT with as few miles as there are on my truck (less than 100,000) would have cost as much or more than the truck I bought...and then you still have all the costs associated with converting it for RV use.

I will grant that I would like to have an HDT, but it will have to wait until I am able to get out of my suburban neighborhood and even then, having happily towed my trailer all over the country with my current truck, I would have to find an awful good deal to make me want to switch.

Jeff and Cindy Harvey

2007 Intl 4400 DT570

2010 Carriage Carri-Lite 36MAX1

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Height and neighborhood access is certainly a consideration. As is the ability to keep it at your house, if you have one. HOA and city/town regulations may prevent you from keeping it places that a pickup is not issue. You have to research what will work and factor that into your requirements.

 

As to miles, an HDT is a different beast than an MDT or a pickup. An HDT with 600-700,000 miles on it is not at the end of its life. I would not hesitate to buy an otherwise good truck with 700K miles on it....and I would not touch an MDT or pickup with those miles.

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 have a Volvo 610 singled short with a 184" wheelbase. 11ft height.

 

 

Height and neighborhood access is certainly a consideration. As is the ability to keep it at your house, if you have one. HOA and city/town regulations may prevent you from keeping it places that a pickup is not issue. You have to research what will work and factor that into your requirements.

 

As to miles, an HDT is a different beast than an MDT or a pickup. An HDT with 600-700,000 miles on it is not at the end of its life. I would not hesitate to buy an otherwise good truck with 700K miles on it....and I would not touch an MDT or pickup with those miles.

Jim,

In our town, the city bylaw says that they only have to keep the tree branches 10 feet off the road surface, except on a couple main arteries. So even 11 feet is too tall.

 

Jack,

I agree with you about the mileage (although in my conversations with actual truckers, 700,000 is pretty high, unless exceptionally maintained), and, as I said, I may end up with an HDT at some point, ( as I would love to have one), but it will not be until I am retired and potentially fulltiming. I just cannot afford to have a vehicle that sits in the driveway for most of the year. At least with my MDT, I am able to use it on a daily basis, if necessary.

Jeff and Cindy Harvey

2007 Intl 4400 DT570

2010 Carriage Carri-Lite 36MAX1

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I had a 2001 4700 and was told it was "old tech". Noisy cab, little floor insulation, Spartan interior, low on power even with the DT 530. Ralph, a guy on the forum years ago had a DT 570, he claimed it had lots of power. it is a stable platform but had no guts when starting off from a dead stop pulling 22k up a grade of any sort.

 

Tires were 19.5's and the truck was rough riding. Hydraulic brakes don't stop like air and the exhaust brake doesn't compare to the Volvo or any other engine brake system. Not even close.

 

During todays run of about 375 miles from Salt Lake City to Vegas, I set the cruise at whatever and brake cruise is 3 mph over that. Engine brake is set on automatic. as soon as the speed creeps up to 3 mph over cruise the engine brake takes a hold. For most of the day I use the cc on the left stalk and the engine brake control on one of 2 stalks on the right. The other being the windshield wiper plus driver info display.

 

I tried insulation in the floor and doors, new carpet upholstery. Back in '06 or '07 Stan said it was like putting lipstick on a pig.

 

I should have gone the HDT route from the beginning but didn't know about them then.

 

This thing has muscle for sure but more importantly it has brakes the size of paint cans, rides well, seats high, has lots of room. Also with the cab being wider than a Pete, your wife can't reach over to hit you.

 

Mileage will be the same. I got 9.4 mpg from SLC to Vegas today. An improvement of over .5 mpg with the turbo boost working again.

 

Front ends are both fibreglass which a 3 or 4 pound grouse will smash on impact....don't ask. After all that work to make the thing pretty....damn bird.

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Roy...Welcome to the forum!

 

That is a tall order as no matter what each choice will have it's compromises. Our current tri-axle toyhauler has been pulled by 4 different trucks and two of which I still have. I couldn't justify using our Volvo 730 for a daily driver but it is the best case for us when travelling. The 1-ton dually hauls the trailer and is a daily driver but is at its limits with the heavy trailer. The Freightliner Sport Chassis M2-106 was a great truck. It served our needs with four doors and nice for our kids when traveling but it is much more like driving the HDT around compared to the dually. There is in IMO not a more comfortable and safe way to haul our large trailer than with our HDT. We lost our trailer brakes in the Rocky Mountains this past summer and was sure glad I had the braking power of the HDT. If, I had to use one truck for all your needs it may be one of the new 5500 series pickups but that is a compromise. If, going to the MDT like mentioned above the M2-112 would be the way I'd go. If you need anymore info just ask away! :)

 

20150618_112449.jpg

 

20140626_190328.jpg

 

DSCN3133.JPG

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in my conversations with actual truckers, 700,000 is pretty high

 

You have to take into account the 'perspective' of the commentor. A rig with 700k doesn't have much "life" left in the rig for someone that will probably average 100k a year. For an RV'r that might only put on 10-20k a year, that's a good 15-20 years of usable life. 500-700k on an HDT would be more like 150-200k on a LDT diesel... IMHO. Providing it's been well maintained.. I wouldn't hesitate either.

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1.5 million miles and still running strong. But has always been well maintained and was rebuilt.

 

As for height,if the trailer fits so will the truck.

NO truck likes to sit you have to use it. So if it sounds like you would park a HDT but drive a MDT You answered your own question.

A MDT is more accepted by the public I feel. And like a car 4 doors are better for around town with kids.

Trucking companies all measure the cost of a truck by price per mile. To them if it's not working its costing $$ for us with a RV The more it sits the more it will cost you per mile when driven if that makes sense?

 

At 18k worth of trailer your pushing what I feel safe for a LDT but do able.

I use to pull my current trailer 18k lbs with a super dutyF350 and it was ok? Plenty of power But I had to really drive the truck.

I looked in the mirror at my kids one day and then asked my wife. Why would I drive the same mountain roads we where on in my company semi feeling safe and then travel literally that same highway with my family that I love dearly with an undersized truck that I had to really drive??

It was a no brainier but mine is NOT a daily driver.

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Current truck.

 

2781515020096176628MhEZPT_fs.jpg

 

Bought it with 830,000 miles, eight years later it has 900,000 miles still running strong, the truck and the trailer are part of the family trust, my kids will inherit it.

 

Previous truck.

 

012.jpg

 

Bought it used, paid for it more that it was worth. Truck had only ONE redeeming value (the only thing I liked about it), the guy that bought it from me paid more for it than it was worth. Enough, so it paid for the Volvo, all the necessary repairs and maintenance item the dealer inspection flushed out on this 830K truck and to pay for singling the truck short. There was even enough money left to cover the ferry fuel over 3,000 miles from the west coast to the east coast.

 

The four pickups that I had.

 

003.jpg

 

011.jpg

 

Beauty%252520and%252520trucks.JPG

 

After about 100,000 miles of pulling, each one with regularity would turn into a "beater" and assume the inglorious duties of dump runners, brush runners, construction thrush runners, soil movers, etc. etc. The Ford in the foreground hung on the longest performing these "tasks".

 

My Volvo is full height 13'-3" and I smacked many hardwood trees, palm trees etc. but it was usually in neighborhoods where I didn't belong in the first place, populated by treehuggers, HOA enforcers and "No Commercial Trucks" sign lovers.

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You may also want to due some quick math on paper is best and people like Rick S or Jack might be able to help on both sides.

 

LDT- cost up front Plus hitch and brake controller

 

MDT cost up front plus hitch and brake control and a bed.

(I would only want one that all ready had the bed)

 

HDT up front cost AIR RIDE hitch and brake control and a bed. Also cost of out fitting sleeper for kids and still having what's needed to register it as a RV.

 

New or used on all of the above really changes things. No new truck is cheap these days.

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I'll throw in another point to ponder:

 

When we bought our truck, I had a price point in mind. Really didn't care who's emblem was on the grill. We found a truck that fit our desires, for the price we had in mind. It happened to be a Volvo 770 w/ about 690k miles, for under $20k.

 

Forward 5 1/2 years.....We spent the past week tinkering on the truck, replacing a cab support cross member that had rusted out, cab air springs, shocks and bushings. Various air lines and wires have also been "projects" over that time.

 

Looking back, I wish I'd spent another $10k on a newer, lower mileage, rust free truck. I don't regret buying this one, but I was too cheap back then. The older I get, the less I need "projects".

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
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contact me at rickeieio1@comcast.net

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If you only want a single vehicle for towing and daily driving a MDT might be better suited. But I am not sure that if I was not full timing if I would really want a MDT as my daily driver.

 

When I bought my HDT I kept my Super Duty and used it for my daily driver. I am not a full timer. After 2 years I finally realized I really had no use for the Super Duty. Nothing I used the SD for required that much truck. So I got rid of it and decided on a 1/2 ton. As far as a daily driver goes what a difference. Much better suited as a daily driver. Nicer ride, easier to park and all around more comfortable for the tasks of a daily driver in a urban area.

 

Now I have the best of both worlds. Just like I wished I had realized earlier that a HDT would make towing better, I too wished I had figured out sooner that I did not need to keep the SD as long as I did when it was only being used as a daily driver. Personally even if I was using a MDT for towing, I would still want a different vehicle as my daily driver if I was not on the road full time.

2017 Entegra Anthem 44A

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

SOLD - 2009 Montana 3400RL

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If you only want a single vehicle for towing and daily driving a MDT might be better suited. But I am not sure that if I was not full timing if I would really want a MDT as my daily driver.

 

When I bought my HDT I kept my Super Duty and used it for my daily driver. I am not a full timer. After 2 years I finally realized I really had no use for the Super Duty. Nothing I used the SD for required that much truck. So I got rid of it and decided on a 1/2 ton. As far as a daily driver goes what a difference. Much better suited as a daily driver. Nicer ride, easier to park and all around more comfortable for the tasks of a daily driver in a urban area.

 

Now I have the best of both worlds. Just like I wished I had realized earlier that a HDT would make towing better, I too wished I had figured out sooner that I did not need to keep the SD as long as I did when it was only being used as a daily driver. Personally even if I was using a MDT for towing, I would still want a different vehicle as my daily driver if I was not on the road full time.

Did the same thing as for the super duty.

I drove as a daily driver to work 60 miles round trip. And it cost me a fortune to maintain it when not broken.

(oil change at home average $120)

So I sold it and bought a 4x4 f150 Crew cab with a 5.0

It gets 16 mpg compared to 13mpg and has a lot more room in the back seat with a flat floor. Only complaint is the short bed is only5.5 feet long to short.

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