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Questions - Current 1 ton dually looking to upgrade


carnolddsm

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Currently have a one ton dually pulling a 42 feet and change from pin to rear of the fifth wheel trailer. 

Looking at upgrading to an HDT.  I've read a lot of stuff, some of the questions I've had but haven't been answered:

1. We like to dry camp and there have been a few times I've been glad to have 4 wheel drive (actually 6 wheel drive).  Usually the need for all wheel drive is the result of wet grass or loose gravel/dirt, comments or thoughts?

2. One of the reasons we are looking to upgrade is it is really easy to overload the trailer.  Does the tractor usually have sufficient carrying capacity for heavy items like tools and jacks?  Trying to offload as much as the heavy stuff as possible to the tractor.

3.  Would like to add a smart car to the hauler bed.  What is typical distance from the truck front bumper to the pin with a smart car bed?  From my reading I think the overall length to stay under with truck and trailer is 65 feet, though no one seems to worry about a few extra feet. 

4. Transmissions - I understand many/most are some form of automatic.  Doesn't matter to me, but the wife will care.  However, I read something (probably trying to compare apples and oranges) that wheel slippage (see question 1) will result in the automatic transmission shifting to neutral.  Is this correct or an issue?

5. I'm in the situation of not knowing enough to know what questions I should be asking, so... what questions should I be asking?

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5 hours ago, carnolddsm said:

1. We like to dry camp and there have been a few times I've been glad to have 4 wheel drive (actually 6 wheel drive).  Usually the need for all wheel drive is the result of wet grass or loose gravel/dirt, comments or thoughts?

2. One of the reasons we are looking to upgrade is it is really easy to overload the trailer.  Does the tractor usually have sufficient carrying capacity for heavy items like tools and jacks?  Trying to offload as much as the heavy stuff as possible to the tractor.

4. Transmissions - I understand many/most are some form of automatic.  Doesn't matter to me, but the wife will care.  However, I read something (probably trying to compare apples and oranges) that wheel slippage (see question 1) will result in the automatic transmission shifting to neutral.  Is this correct or an issue?

Hello Carnoldsm, for 1 & 4;  I dug some holes in my back driveway 2 days ago.  I was trying to get up the overgrown gravel.  The grass was quite wet first thing in the morning.  Well ok, it was really 7:30 am but it was wet.  My truck has an ishift, and I think I could have let it keep jumping around and digging deeper if I had wanted to.

On #2; I have very little experience with HDT weights.  If you add a steel bed to weigh down the rear axles for traction, and then carry a car on that bed, you should know what you are doing.  The answer is probably ok?  Many members here know more than I do.

The reason I am even attempting to answer is, if you aren't carrying a car, then you should be fine for tools, generator, motorcycles, or whatever.

i hope this helps.  More knowledgeable people should be along any minute now.

Kevin and June

2013 Volvo VNL 730    D13 Eco-Torque @ 425  Ratio 2.47 

2014 DRV 36TKSB3 

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5 hours ago, carnolddsm said:

Currently have a one ton dually pulling a 42 feet and change from pin to rear of the fifth wheel trailer. 

Looking at upgrading to an HDT.  I've read a lot of stuff, some of the questions I've had but haven't been answered:

1. We like to dry camp and there have been a few times I've been glad to have 4 wheel drive (actually 6 wheel drive).  Usually the need for all wheel drive is the result of wet grass or loose gravel/dirt, comments or thoughts?

2. One of the reasons we are looking to upgrade is it is really easy to overload the trailer.  Does the tractor usually have sufficient carrying capacity for heavy items like tools and jacks?  Trying to offload as much as the heavy stuff as possible to the tractor.

3.  Would like to add a smart car to the hauler bed.  What is typical distance from the truck front bumper to the pin with a smart car bed?  From my reading I think the overall length to stay under with truck and trailer is 65 feet, though no one seems to worry about a few extra feet. 

4. Transmissions - I understand many/most are some form of automatic.  Doesn't matter to me, but the wife will care.  However, I read something (probably trying to compare apples and oranges) that wheel slippage (see question 1) will result in the automatic transmission shifting to neutral.  Is this correct or an issue?

5. I'm in the situation of not knowing enough to know what questions I should be asking, so... what questions should I be asking?

1) I will just share my experience.  I've driven my truck up a 19% gravel grade many times, with and without a trailer, with and without a vehicle loaded on the bed.  Even when that road was pretty badly washed out.  Never had an issue at all.  The traction control will sometimes kick in.  I've also driven on dirt, dry grass and loose gravel with no problem.  Sand is bad.  Mud is very bad.  Wet grass...I have no real experience with that but it would imply to me that the ground underneath is soft, which is bad.  Primarily because the steer axle could sink in and then you're finished moving until you get a big tow truck to help.  Basically, if you could sink (soft ground) or slide (ice), I would avoid it.  And the more weight that you get onto the drive tires, the better your traction will be.

 

2) The tractor should have 20k axles in the rear.  You can do the math, but that should provide plenty of capacity.  The issues will be: storage containers, balance.  If you remove an axle, you'll have to be much more careful with where you place things to make sure that you don't overload the front axle.  In my case, with tandems, it's never an issue at all.  And, the more weight that you get onto the drive tires, the better its traction will be.

 

3) Can't help with this, other than to say that being over 65 feet is less important than where your pivot points are when it comes to maneuverability.  My previous trailer had its axles further forward than my current trailer.  Combined with how far back my hitch is from the tandem axles, I could maneuver the entire setup through very tight parking lots with no problem.  The trailer tires tracked almost exactly where the truck tires went.  I'm still much more maneuverable than a regular semi truck and trailer, but not as good as I was before.  I miss that a little bit, but the newer trailer is worth it :)

 

4) I have a 2nd generation Eaton Autoshift 10 speed.  I have never had it shift itself into neutral under any circumstances.  I also haven't spun the tires a lot.  As I said in my answer your question #1, I have had the traction control kick in several times, and it worked flawlessly.  Spinning tires on a tractor is a bad thing, though.  It's more about being smooth, keep moving, and never break traction with spinning tires or sudden turns.  It's always better to avoid mud and soft ground at all costs.  Loose gravel shouldn't be a problem at all.

 

5) I would recommend that you peruse all of the photos of other trucks to give you an idea of what features you must have, really want to have, might want to have, and really don't want.  It's under the "Photos" heading here: http://www.hhrvresource.com/

 

It sounds like you'll want a truck with an inter-axle locker at a minimum, and a differential locker if you can find one equipped with one.  And a new enough truck to have traction control.  If the truck that you find doesn't have open tread drive tires, you may want to account for replacing them in your acquisition costs.  If you build a bed for the truck, I would recommend going with at least 1/4" steel for the bed in order to help get the weight up, which will help with traction.

With respect to your wife driving, you may want to give serious consideration to an Ultrashift or similar two pedal automated transmission.  I really love my three pedal autoshift, but the clutch is heavy.  Not very wife-friendly in most cases.  Doable, yes, but heavy enough that it's a serious consideration.  There are modifications that you can make to lighten it up, but that's cost, labor and maintenance when you could just start out with something easier for your wife to manage.

The more that you share your intended uses, the more information you'll get from people on here about what did and didn't work for them.

 

Good luck!

 

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The other option to traction control in wet grass is to substantially reduce air pressure to the eight drive wheels, because of course you can easily air them back up before you hit the hard road with the on board air compressor.

I would remain tandem if you plan to dry camp off road, this will provide a great deal more traction, and maintain the tractors GVWR.

The GVWR, on our 780 is 52000 lbs.(Yes just the tractor is rated for that much weight) the tractor with a full load of fuel and the deck is around 20,000 lbs. this leaves plenty of capacity to carry tools.

I went Dry camping in a cow pasture at a ranch in Central Florida last weekend, there had been substantial rain fall the day before, the ground was very wet with tall grass and mud holes along the way to the pasture, I kept the transmission (Ultrashift) in manual and kept the speed up and smooth. Jeep on the deck and a reasonably sized pull behind camper in tow, the truck had no problems, and I was grateful to have the rig and not my Dodge 1 ton.  

2006 Volvo VNL 780, " Arvey"  Volvo D12, 465hp, 1650 ft/lbs tq., ultrashift

2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

2010 Forest River Coachman Freedom Express 280RLS

Jackalopee

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carnolddsm

Can you get to Kansas in October for the rally?  There will be some very smart people there and lots of trucks to put a tape measure on.

65 feet with a smart and a 42 foot trailer wow.  Can you register a truck as a private vehicle in yout state?  If so then it is easy buy a daycab.  If it needs to be a RV then look at Gregg's video on how short can we make it.  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPZVxnUMvVg. In his video he gets a Volvo 670 down to 23 feet with 85 inches between the fairings and pin.  I think you need at least 120 for the old smart and the swing on the trailer.  You need at least 35 inches more so take off the fairing about 12 inches the model 420/430 is 19 inches shorter (you will have to be creative to get the items needed for motorhome status in) and Volvo did make a VNM which had a shorter hood about 9 inches, you may also be able to change out the pin box on your trailer to shorten the combination as well.  Gregg has a video on that somewhere.   So I'm saying it could be done.  Length is not the only dimension if you are trying to be 100% legal.

As for the wheel spin and transmission going to neutral.  My experience with the Ultrashift in snow goes like this. Stuck in small snow drift in D accelerate wheel spin transmission thinks it is time for a shift to next gear so it backs off the throttle and tries to make the gear change but the truck isn't moving so back into starting gear, repeat.  If you are stuck you must use the manual option to keep the power on.

Just my thoughts

Nigel

 

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

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58 minutes ago, Shifted said:

Parformance, may I ask what your deck length is and what travel trailer you're towing?  Just curious as I have a similar configuration with a regular vehicle on the deck and a tag-along trailer in tow.

I was able to build a 12 foot deck, in Florida, converting an HDT to an MH requires that there be no load bearing hitch on the MH.

Therefore I knew I could keep the deck short and pull a tow behind, currently a 28 footer, and still be way better off than my former Gooseneck trailer with a truck camper mounted on the front of the deck and the Jeep loaded on the back.

2006 Volvo VNL 780, " Arvey"  Volvo D12, 465hp, 1650 ft/lbs tq., ultrashift

2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

2010 Forest River Coachman Freedom Express 280RLS

Jackalopee

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7 hours ago, carnolddsm said:

Currently have a one ton dually pulling a 42 feet and change from pin to rear of the fifth wheel trailer. 

Looking at upgrading to an HDT.  I've read a lot of stuff, some of the questions I've had but haven't been answered:

1. We like to dry camp and there have been a few times I've been glad to have 4 wheel drive (actually 6 wheel drive).  Usually the need for all wheel drive is the result of wet grass or loose gravel/dirt, comments or thoughts?

I would make sure you purchase a truck that has differental lock that locks the wheels on both sides together just like a Detroit locker on a Jeep.

2. One of the reasons we are looking to upgrade is it is really easy to overload the trailer.  Does the tractor usually have sufficient carrying capacity for heavy items like tools and jacks?  Trying to offload as much as the heavy stuff as possible to the tractor.

The truck as stated earlier will have at least 20K capacity but with a heavy hauler bed and smart can be used up quickly depending on your trailers pin weight. Front axle overloading gets to be a concern at that point as well. With what you are looking to do I would look for a truck with a 23K rear and 13200 front. You could then move heavy things like tools to the hauler bed storage compartments to lighten trailer load.

3.  Would like to add a smart car to the hauler bed.  What is typical distance from the truck front bumper to the pin with a smart car bed?  From my reading I think the overall length to stay under with truck and trailer is 65 feet, though no one seems to worry about a few extra feet. 

There are a lot of things that determin length like, brand and model of truck, design of hauler bed and wheelbase after singling. From the back of cab you will need about 11' to the hitch. About 6' for the smart and then roughly 5' for trailer clearance then at least 1'6" to the end of hitch and frame. So minimum 12-1/2 feet plus the BOC to bumper.  

4. Transmissions - I understand many/most are some form of automatic.  Doesn't matter to me, but the wife will care.  However, I read something (probably trying to compare apples and oranges) that wheel slippage (see question 1) will result in the automatic transmission shifting to neutral.  Is this correct or an issue?

I have never had this happen but I am sure someone in some strange circumstance has. Get a truck with a ishift if you can. They are great!

5. I'm in the situation of not knowing enough to know what questions I should be asking, so... what questions should I be asking?

Take everything you read/hear with a grain of salt as you will get 10 different answers to every question you ask.

 

Chris, Tracey, Aria & Lola

2018 Volvo VNR 400, D13 I-Shift

2018 NH 48' Majestic

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I know it's been done, but part of your research (reading and asking questions) should involve a trip to one of the HDT Rallys where you will be surrounded by others who have been there and done it!  Plus, you can spend plenty of time talking with others in person instead of typing away on the keyboard.  A Rally is way more worth it than the cost of the fuel and the camping cost to be there.

Rocky & Sheri Rhoades
'01 Volvo 770
2016 DRV Mobile Suites, Houston
HERO Makers Ministry

 

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You're not likely getting off of wet grass.  Even with dual axle lockers and the inter-axle lock.  Your front tire will be 6-10" deep in the grass meaning it's trying to drive over a wheel chock.  You'd need to chain up.  (Ask me how I know)  And yes I have traction control.

"There are No Experts, Do the Math!"

2014 Freightliner Cascadia DD16 600hp  1850ft-lb  18spd  3.31  260"wb
SpaceCraft S-470
SKP #131740

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5 hours ago, Parrformance said:

I was able to build a 12 foot deck, in Florida, converting an HDT to an MH requires that there be no load bearing hitch on the MH.

Therefore I knew I could keep the deck short and pull a tow behind, currently a 28 footer, and still be way better off than my former Gooseneck trailer with a truck camper mounted on the front of the deck and the Jeep loaded on the back.

Gotcha, thanks for the info.

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A few thoughts on grass:

My 610 is singled with an Eaton Super 10. 

I have been on wet grass a couple of times with no issues. One was at a slight angle parallel to a gravel road with the trailer on and I was able to walk it out onto the road with no slippage. I have fairly aggressive drive tires.

The second time had left the rig at a small rural campground for two weeks. The owner had us move out of a camp site and park in a greasy area that was solid enough at the time. It rained copiously while we were gone! Returned to find the truck and trailer sitting in a lake 6" deep!

I knew I could not pull the trailer out of there, all the tires were sunk 5 to 6 inches. I unhitched and crawled the truck out on it's own. It left some serious ruts, but no spinning. A bit hard on the clutch but what can you do.

I then asked a fellow camper with a 4 WD 2500 Ram if he would try to pull the trailer out. The Ram did the job, but the springs dropped onto the stops when that 3.500 lb pin weight settled down!

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!)
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All we do is dry camp in the National Forests.Have 6K pin weight and a RZR S 900 on the bed with plenty of capacity left. I do not miss my F350 at all. Been doing this way for fourteen years. You just have to walk the areas you wish to go a little more carefully. Check out my sig from the sand dunes we go to offen.

2007 Volvo 780 Ultrashift Trailersaver Hitch
2017 Momentum 397th
3 Yamaha Banshees
2 Honda 400EX's
Polaris Outlaw 50

Polaris Outlaw 110 EFi                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2018 Polaris RZR S 1000 Stealth Black
2019 Polaris RZR S 1000 Titanium Matte Metal

2015 Polaris RZR S 900 VooDoo Blue

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crazybanshee - from the photo the trailer looks like a Momentum 397TH, same trailer we have.  May I ask the overall length?

Have you been able to move some of the heavier stuff to boxes on the truck?  Our's is close to the trailer's GVWR, it is a constant battle with Justin Case (just in case). 

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We camp in Nation Forests and our HDT is tandem with 2 airlockers. The bed was built to carry a Forester, RZR,2 -100 gallon tanks and storage boxes so it is heavy.  The truck has been pretty good at getting out of some tough spots.  Others with us have needed 4 wheel drive to get out.  As said above though the front axle is heavy and if it is buried that is the end.  The weight of a HDT with a good amount on the rear axle (s) will pull a trailer easier in some terrain than a PU.  To backup our 30' 5er up our gravel drive required 4 wheel drive.  The HDT will backup our 40' 5er on our drive without using both axles much less the lockers. 

We have never had our autoshift go into nuetral as you described but we use the manual override when things get messy.

Randy

2001 Volvo VNL 42 Cummins ISX Autoshift

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Carnolddsm just measured the rig at 69'.  Our 780  weighs 22,000 full of fuel,RZR, 150 gals of gas and 100 gals of water. Our 397th weighs 22,500 loaded with a RZR, 3 quads, 150 gals of water, and beer.

2007 Volvo 780 Ultrashift Trailersaver Hitch
2017 Momentum 397th
3 Yamaha Banshees
2 Honda 400EX's
Polaris Outlaw 50

Polaris Outlaw 110 EFi                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2018 Polaris RZR S 1000 Stealth Black
2019 Polaris RZR S 1000 Titanium Matte Metal

2015 Polaris RZR S 900 VooDoo Blue

https://i.imgur.com/e0ajU8Pl.jpg

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

It is worth the safety aspect if you think you ar about to overload the 3500, Our 5th wheel dry is 12,000 and then my wife stuff :) and our then 3500 was sooner or later going to put us on the side of the road or blocking traffic due to a breakdown and you are sure to make the news and with RVs that size , pushing it off the road is not going to happen, so we made the decision to go HDT and for the last 10 years we have been maintenance free other than doing my own maintenance and preventive maintenance but also the reliability and safe carrying capacity of the HDTs it is more than worth the money, When you do get a HDT I recommend a Volvo in a 770-780 series with a Cummings engine and an Auto Shift, We have a 420 which we plan to upgrade to a 780 for the interior space and autoshift. Good Luck hunting and do your research.

Grayling & Shirley

2000 Volvo 420, single Axle, 370 ISM, 10 speed

2001 Holiday Rambler Presidential 37' SKT

US Army MSG (Ret) Transportation Corps

(see You Tube Channel Max1Chase1)

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#1  are you willing to chain up ?

up north on logging operations chained up they drive them loaded 100,000#   in mud up to the frame .(a camp ground would not be pleased)Do as Randy said lockers required.

#2 I load as much on the truck as possible -singled and car on deck- rear axle is just over #12,000

#4 my freedom line can be slipped to the point I get "clutch abuse"  warning, my wife is very good at getting to moving from rest ,it takes a light and sensitive touch.Friends that try it are very jerky because they are 'ham footed' and don't listen - easy easy "feel the take up" .Girls pay attention , guys are like "I got this" and proceed to mess up.

2005 volvo 670 freedomline singled
Newmar Torrey Pine 34rsks
woot woot

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