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Current one ton owner... Looking for better


evilgto

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Hey guys, so I wanted to introduce myself My wife, 2 dogs, and I all live in our 2016 Grand Design Momentum 397TH Toy Hauler (43' 19,500 lb gross 5th wheel) and currently pull it with my 2015 Ram 3500 dually long bed. Truck does great but honestly at this point I think I am looking at this more from a standpoint of space and safety, and possibly someday putting a toy, or smart or something on the bed of the HDT.

 

I just got permission from the wife to start seriously looking (she doesnt know but I have already been looking haha) and we agreed the Volvo 780 is for us (she wants the extra room for our dogs, and the baby she wants to have and has yet to talk me into).

 

I guess I would like to know thoughts from you guys about why you did this instead of a 1 ton, and if you had to guess how much would yous say you have invested in your HDT so far?

 

I have been looking at rvhaulers.ca a lot for ideas (dont think I can afford his fantastic fabrication skills though).

 

One other question, how many of you take your rigs into real camping areas like national forests, (using fire roads) to primitive camp grounds? any troubles if so? and is it ridiculous to think I could do that with my truck and trailer combo.

 

Thanks everyone.

 

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One thing to keep in mind an HDT is no wider than your dually. The only difference is the HDT is the same width the whole length instead of just the rear wheels. If you look around (even on ebay) you can find some that are pretty reasonable so that you won't have a huge amount of money invested. Also keep in mind that you can purchase an HDT for real close to the same money as a diesel pick up.

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One thing to keep in mind an HDT is no wider than your dually. The only difference is the HDT is the same width the whole length instead of just the rear wheels. If you look around (even on ebay) you can find some that are pretty reasonable so that you won't have a huge amount of money invested. Also keep in mind that you can purchase an HDT for real close to the same money as a diesel pick up.

 

Funny you should say that because I think they are actually far less expensive since a new 1 ton these days gets up to 70k pretty easy its insane how much trucks cost these days.. with that said I think we can get a tidy bit of money back out of our Ram since they hold their value surprisingly well.

 

The other thing that blew.. I means seriously blew, my mind was the turning radius of these big trucks.. its like 10' shorter than my ram 4x4

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Funny you should say that because I think they are actually far less expensive since a new 1 ton these days gets up to 70k pretty easy its insane how much trucks cost these days.. with that said I think we can get a tidy bit of money back out of our Ram since they hold their value surprisingly well.

 

The other thing that blew.. I means seriously blew, my mind was the turning radius of these big trucks.. its like 10' shorter than my ram 4x4

That's something that most people don't seem to understand. Especially the turning radius. My Ram turns fairly short, but it is a 2WD. I can't wait to sell my house so I can afford a big truck.

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One other question, how many of you take your rigs into real camping areas like national forests, (using fire roads) to primitive camp grounds? any troubles if so? and is it ridiculous to think I could do that with my truck and trailer combo.

 

Thanks everyone.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by "primitive" campgrounds, but these trucks are NOT off road vehicles. It has never happened to me, but I have heard of people stuck on wet grass. It doesn't take much to sink a front axle.

 

Youtube #1 Youtube #2

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I'm not sure what you mean by "primitive" campgrounds, but these trucks are NOT off road vehicles. It has never happened to me, but I have heard of people stuck on wet grass. It doesn't take much to sink a front axle.

 

Youtube #1 Youtube #2

 

I dont plan on going like 4x4 style on these things, more like fire roads, back roads unpaved roads... nothing too insane, no blazing new territory overall, worst would be the primitive camp sites right off of the fire road, here in the desert we dont have much grass. I wonder if the issues on wet grass (which most vehicles have honestly) might be mroe related to tire choice/selection than anything.

 

 

damn I had another one for the teenage challenge but I cant find it on youtube haha

 

another thing is its a function of how much pressure we run in those big tires for highway use...

 

TireBoss

 

i know its not grass.. but its pretty easy stuff to get stuck in..

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Generally, You can go anywhere a 2wd Dually can go. Same thing on the ground. Add a heavy bed to the back of the HDT, and you will have more weight and traction than the 2wd dually. AS a farmer, I can tell you a 2wd dually gets stuck on wet grass too. But put 100 bu of grain in a 2 axle straight truck (like a singled HDT) and it will plow through 3" deep mud.

 

The one real difference is the weight on the front axle. The HDT is heavy up there. If you get your front axle sunk in a soft hole, you are DONE. Let me give an example: We had our HDT up in North Dakota on some "Mud roads". And it poured rain. The roads turned to absolute SLIME. While trying to get back to the campsite Bobtail, I was sliding all over. Even slide OFF the road into the ditch once (at 20 mph...thats how slick it was!) Backed up the ditch to a level spot and got back on the road. Finally made it to the campsite. Then I borrowed the owners 4x4 Chevy...and it was sliding around the same way! The point is the truck kept moving, even in very slick surfaces. After I got back home I was moving the truck around and managed to pull up into an area where the soil was really soft. One front wheel went down in 6"---and I was done. Had to get the tractor to pull it out.

 

The problem will more likely be the clearance...with a high top 780 there will be some places with low branches (or bridges) you just can't go. However, if the truck won't fit the trailer wont either, so....

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I guess I would like to know thoughts from you guys about why you did this instead of a 1 ton

 

I think you will find that most of us started with a 1T.

 

.... and if you had to guess how much would yous say you have invested in your HDT so far?

 

Less than a 1T. How much you have invested is going to vary based on the truck you start with and how you equip the truck thru your conversion process. Some guys here have less invested than I do and others have much more. The big difference in price is going to be the bed (or not a bed) you have built for the truck.

 

I have had my HDT for 6 years now. If I had purchased a 1T then I figure I would have already replaced it by now or looking to replace it. My HDT is no where near the point where I feel it is time to replace it.

 

One other question, how many of you take your rigs into real camping areas like national forests, (using fire roads) to primitive camp grounds? any troubles if so? and is it ridiculous to think I could do that with my truck and trailer combo.

 

 

These are not off road 4x4 trucks but think about all these trucks entering/exiting construction sites. Personally I would not want to drag my home down a road that is in the shape of most construction site roads but these trucks do it all the time. The big issue is the front axle weight. 12.5k seem to be a standard axle and most here are not far from that weight. But it will all depend on how you set the truck up.

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Before you get to deep into the idea of an HDT, you need to do some research in to the way your state views, and licenses, these trucks. In some states it's simple, others not so much.

 

This can not be stressed enough IMAO

 

What part of the country are you in.

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before you get to deep into the idea of an HDT, you need to do some research in to the way your state views, and licenses, these trucks. In some states it's simple, others not so much.

 

 

This can not be stressed enough IMAO

 

What part of the country are you in.

Arizona

 

It seems to me that you already have all the answers you need.

 

You need to trust the force and let it lead you, embrace the force Evil!

 

 

 

"The force is strong in this one!"

 

 

This is the plan, Just trying to do what I always do, Over reasearch the hell out of my next move, irritate my wife with way more information than she cares about hahaha

 

 

I think you will find that most of us started with a 1T.

 

 

Less than a 1T. How much you have invested is going to vary based on the truck you start with and how you equip the truck thru your conversion process. Some guys here have less invested than I do and others have much more. The big difference in price is going to be the bed (or not a bed) you have built for the truck.

 

I have had my HDT for 6 years now. If I had purchased a 1T then I figure I would have already replaced it by now or looking to replace it. My HDT is no where near the point where I feel it is time to replace it.

 

 

These are not off road 4x4 trucks but think about all these trucks entering/exiting construction sites. Personally I would not want to drag my home down a road that is in the shape of most construction site roads but these trucks do it all the time. The big issue is the front axle weight. 12.5k seem to be a standard axle and most here are not far from that weight. But it will all depend on how you set the truck up.

 

Honest question, when yout guys have been in these spots, has airing the tires down helped at all? has anyone tried it on an HDT?

 

 

Generally, You can go anywhere a 2wd Dually can go. Same thing on the ground. Add a heavy bed to the back of the HDT, and you will have more weight and traction than the 2wd dually. AS a farmer, I can tell you a 2wd dually gets stuck on wet grass too. But put 100 bu of grain in a 2 axle straight truck (like a singled HDT) and it will plow through 3" deep mud.

 

The one real difference is the weight on the front axle. The HDT is heavy up there. If you get your front axle sunk in a soft hole, you are DONE. Let me give an example: We had our HDT up in North Dakota on some "Mud roads". And it poured rain. The roads turned to absolute SLIME. While trying to get back to the campsite Bobtail, I was sliding all over. Even slide OFF the road into the ditch once (at 20 mph...thats how slick it was!) Backed up the ditch to a level spot and got back on the road. Finally made it to the campsite. Then I borrowed the owners 4x4 Chevy...and it was sliding around the same way! The point is the truck kept moving, even in very slick surfaces. After I got back home I was moving the truck around and managed to pull up into an area where the soil was really soft. One front wheel went down in 6"---and I was done. Had to get the tractor to pull it out.

 

The problem will more likely be the clearance...with a high top 780 there will be some places with low branches (or bridges) you just can't go. However, if the truck won't fit the trailer wont either, so....

 

 

thanks much for your insight. Yea i agree the front axle weight will be a limiting factor, and I have even asked a friend of mine that has a big rig wrecker if he could recommend a winch or something to get us out if need be... so we will see where that leads. Overall though were talking grated but unpaved primitive roads

 

i actually will be very happy to be up so high, and to have the clearance issues I will have with the truck. i always worry i am going to tap the roof of my trailer on something.. its a constant fear of mine.. now with the HDT I would know before I make contact with the trailer, Id rather pay to fix my truck than my trailer, since I can stay in my trailer while i wait for my truck haha

 

 

Before you get to deep into the idea of an HDT, you need to do some research in to the way your state views, and licenses, these trucks. In some states it's simple, others not so much.

 

i understand that and am Looking into it I have the option to "move" to whatever state is most friendly, but would prefer to keep my Arizona License. (This truck will very likely be registered to its own LLC separate from myself or my business)

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When we were looking at moving from our Class A to a big 'ol 5th wheel I knew my 2500HD would not cut it. So we started looking at f350-550's GM 3500-6500's including kodiaks Dodge 4500-5500's and I'll tell you those are quite capable vehicles. But than I learned about HDT's. And having been a CDL op back in the day I immediately seized the idea. We ended up buying a 2001 VNL660 with a Cummins N14 and 10 speed for less than half of that any of the Doge, Ford or GM's cost. To add to it, we have may more room in the truck for our 3 kids and 2 dogs. They have wiggle room, and room to keep themselves occupied and happy. Getting a snack is easy, stretching out is easy. heck they can even climb into the top bunk to take a nap when they want. And for me I got the power to haul 4x the trailer I have. You know what its like going up a 10% grade with an N14 pulling a 25k lbs trailer? 65 no problem all the way. You know what its like coming down the 10% 6 mile long grade into Pendleton Oregon? 7th gear and Jake on low. Never touched the brakes. For my making the switch to an HDT was the best decision we have made in a loooong time. We had a panic stop in Fort Saint Johns, at 55mph in the dark a deer came out into the road. We stopped in what had to have been our own length. You could never do that in a LGT. And we still get ~8mph the same as our Class A. And packing 300 gallons of fuel? Talk about days of driving between fuel stops. We went from Ft Worth Texas to Cheyenne Wy without taking on fuel. Our next fuel stop was in Portland Oregon. Topped off in Bellevue Wa and made it home to Palmer Ak.

 

In our state the Motorhome conversion was VERY easy. Our truck and trailer even have permanent registration. As long as we own them, we never have to renew.

 

But If you live in Florida, you will not be able to do that change. So you really do need to let us know what state you are domiciled in.

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When we were looking at moving from our Class A to a big 'ol 5th wheel I knew my 2500HD would not cut it. So we started looking at f350-550's GM 3500-6500's including kodiaks Dodge 4500-5500's and I'll tell you those are quite capable vehicles. But than I learned about HDT's. And having been a CDL op back in the day I immediately seized the idea. We ended up buying a 2001 VNL660 with a Cummins N14 and 10 speed for less than half of that any of the Doge, Ford or GM's cost. To add to it, we have may more room in the truck for our 3 kids and 2 dogs. They have wiggle room, and room to keep themselves occupied and happy. Getting a snack is easy, stretching out is easy. heck they can even climb into the top bunk to take a nap when they want. And for me I got the power to haul 4x the trailer I have. You know what its like going up a 10% grade with an N14 pulling a 25k lbs trailer? 65 no problem all the way. You know what its like coming down the 10% 6 mile long grade into Pendleton Oregon? 7th gear and Jake on low. Never touched the brakes. For my making the switch to an HDT was the best decision we have made in a loooong time. We had a panic stop in Fort Saint Johns, at 55mph in the dark a deer came out into the road. We stopped in what had to have been our own length. You could never do that in a LGT. And we still get ~8mph the same as our Class A. And packing 300 gallons of fuel? Talk about days of driving between fuel stops. We went from Ft Worth Texas to Cheyenne Wy without taking on fuel. Our next fuel stop was in Portland Oregon. Topped off in Bellevue Wa and made it home to Palmer Ak.

 

In our state the Motorhome conversion was VERY easy. Our truck and trailer even have permanent registration. As long as we own them, we never have to renew.

 

But If you live in Florida, you will not be able to do that change. So you really do need to let us know what state you are domiciled in.

 

 

i am domiciled in AZ, however I am seriously contemplating the LLC route in Wyoming for just the HDT (and the trailer in the near future).

The only reason I dont want to change my domicile state is I own NFA Items and I dont want to deal with that headache.

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First off all the suggestions are good and I highly recommend a HDT for what you are towing.

 

That said, it can't be done in AZ. No non-CDL class A operators license available and all trucks over 26k have to be registered commercial - no conversion to motor home status available.

 

We are building a winter home in Tucson and our vehicles will remain registered in Illinois as long as we have a valid address there, then we will "move" to South Dakota.

 

For the life of me I cannot remember exactly where, but I saw a nice looking Gen 2 Volvo sitting on a lot in Tucson the other day with $25k on the windshield.

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First off all the suggestions are good and I highly recommend a HDT for what you are towing.

 

That said, it can't be done in AZ. No non-CDL class A operators license available and all trucks over 26k have to be registered commercial - no conversion to motor home status available.

 

We are building a winter home in Tucson and our vehicles will remain registered in Illinois as long as we have a valid address there, then we will "move" to South Dakota.

 

For the life of me I cannot remember exactly where, but I saw a nice looking Gen 2 Volvo sitting on a lot in Tucson the other day with $25k on the windshield.

 

So i guess my question is, if i drive a vehicle registered as a motorhome in another state does the registration as motorhom negate the CDL requirement? or does the fact I am an AZ resident over ride the states designation as a motorhome?

 

damn these grey areas are so insane!

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We take our condo Freightliner off the main road all the time. I have gotten it stuck on wet grass once, and (as embarrassing as it was) had to have a Jeep Wrangler pull me onto dry ground. A locking diff would have taken care of that issue.

 

As stated above, the biggest problem is going to be roof clearance (both on the truck and trailer). I have scrapped the top of the sleeper and exhaust on our truck driving through residential areas in some small towns. Fire road trees aren't generally trimmed at that height.

Also, turning around on some of these roads can be a chore too. Depending on location, of course.

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We take our condo Freightliner off the main road all the time. I have gotten it stuck on wet grass once, and (as embarrassing as it was) had to have a Jeep Wrangler pull me onto dry ground. A locking diff would have taken care of that issue.

 

As stated above, the biggest problem is going to be roof clearance (both on the truck and trailer). I have scrapped the top of the sleeper and exhaust on our truck driving through residential areas in some small towns. Fire road trees aren't generally trimmed at that height.

Also, turning around on some of these roads can be a chore too. Depending on location, of course.

I dont turn around when i can help it haha.. i keep going until I make it out.. or I find a place to camp that allows me to turn around hahaha..

 

btw my general rule of thumb is i always scout the roads before i go... Usually in my truck, but if we get the HDT it may be in the truck, OR in the smart..

 

Either way I NEVER go anywhere I havent been recently without checking it out first.

 

Next weekend were going camping in the forest with some friends, and were going up the night before, staying in an RV park about 30 minutes away and going on a scouting expedition without the trailer first thing in the AM.. (also helps so i can go up empty and fill my 157 gallons of fresh water near where we camp haha)

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So i guess my question is, if i drive a vehicle registered as a motorhome in another state does the registration as motorhom negate the CDL requirement? or does the fact I am an AZ resident over ride the states designation as a motorhome?

 

damn these grey areas are so insane!

If you want the legitimate lawful answer. In order to drive upon a public roadway, you are required to have a license from your state of residency and any vehicle you are driving which is registered to you, must match the state issuing your driver license.

 

To add to what would seem fairly simple, a lot of states will declare that regardless of any residency which you may have established in another state, you are required to obtain a driver license and register any vehicle you are driving, owned by you, in that state if you stay beyond a set period of time or do anything which they define as establishing residency, such as work in that state. There are usually exceptions for military folks.

 

I don't have any personal experience on the LLC route, though I can see a lot of potential problems unless you are very careful.

 

And remember, going into a court and telling a judge that your attorney or accountant said that what you did was legal, is probably not a good idea.

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If you want the legitimate lawful answer. In order to drive upon a public roadway, you are required to have a license from your state of residency and any vehicle you are driving which is registered to you, must match the state issuing your driver license.

 

To add to what would seem fairly simple, a lot of states will declare that regardless of any residency which you may have established in another state, you are required to obtain a driver license and register any vehicle you are driving, owned by you, in that state if you stay beyond a set period of time or do anything which they define as establishing residency, such as work in that state. There are usually exceptions for military folks.

 

I don't have any personal experience on the LLC route, though I can see a lot of potential problems unless you are very careful.

 

And remember, going into a court and telling a judge that your attorney or accountant said that what you did was legal, is probably not a good idea.

 

the chances of this every going to court would be incredibly slim. If you think about it unless the fine was astronomical it would be easier to pay said fine.

 

i understand all of what you are saying and thats where it gets interesting. in the eyes of the law an LLC is a complete and separate entity from your person, the exception being Taxation LLC's are pass through tax entities but that doesnt matter here. So the LLC can own assets itself. its actually a fairly common practice amongst class A rvers from what I recall when my father was a full timer.

 

The question comes about since this is technically a bit different, instead of avoiding registration fees, this is about vehicle classification.

 

i wonder if AZ realizes how much revenue it misses out on with its dumb laws

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