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Off road and winter


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I am just starting down the path to HDT.  I live in the PNW and we have at least all 4 seasons.  We are in the process of moving from sometimer's to summerer's, most timers (still quite a few years off).  This means we will have our house and can not just chase good weather.  

While I do not intentionally go out in weather where I will need to chain up my 4x4 dually, I keep a set on board.  With that said we will and do travel during normal (for the PNW) winter weather and often need 4x4 on the county roads when hauling.  These are also the same roads I dive my front wheel drive car on using all season tires (not studs).  We typically boondock and like do find nice out of the way places to go.  Typically these will just be FS/BLM type roads.  I there are a few times I put the truck in 4 low, not because we need the traction, but to gear down and dive slow in rough ares.  From time to time I have had to use 4x4 in wet grass or after a rain storm in the right (wrong) kind of soil that gets very slick.  

I have not decided if I want to stay double or single axel yet.  With the weight an HDT is made to haul is it a correct assumption that 1st gear would allow you to "creep" along at a very slow pace?  How does being single vs double effect traction in the conditions I describe?

While I am asking about singles vs doubles.  Does it make a noticeable difference in fuel milage?  I know there are more tires on the ground and you are pushing more gearing. 

 

Edited by Nwcid
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Get a set of chains for the HDT, you may need them. Yes,  1st gear is very low but if you haven't weight on the drive axles, they will break loose easily. Suggest getting an HDT with a locking rear end and with the interaxle lock so you can tie both axles together. Many trucks just have the interaxle lock and not the diff lock.

You can easily get stuck with an HDT on wet grass too.

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One problem with a HDT is the weight of the front axle on soft ground.  It is not uncommon to have 10,000 to 12,000 pounds on the axle.  If those tires sink it is like an anchor.

I built my HDT bed to load the real axles for more traction.  It also has two air locker axles and we have been on some pretty tough FS roads.   This truck  does pretty good but if the front axle were to become buried all bets are off.  It is not a 4x4 but when pulling our 5er we have been able to get out when others required 4x4 to move their trailers.

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12 hours ago, Star Dreamer said:

Get a set of chains for the HDT, you may need them. Yes,  1st gear is very low but if you haven't weight on the drive axles, they will break loose easily. Suggest getting an HDT with a locking rear end and with the interaxle lock so you can tie both axles together. Many trucks just have the interaxle lock and not the diff lock.

You can easily get stuck with an HDT on wet grass too.

My question about 1st being low was not so much about traction, but it was about appropriate speed on rough roads. 

For anything with wide tires like dually I will always have a set of chains.  I also have drag chains for my trailer. 

I will make sure to look for one with the diff lock. 

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11 hours ago, Darryl&Rita said:

For the trips you describe, keep the dually. Use an HDT for eating highway miles, or as a stand alone Class C motorhome. 

Unfortunately that does not fit the type of travel we do.  This year we spent 5 weeks out in WA/OR/ID/MT and only stayed in 1 campground.  The only reason we stayed there is because that is where the people we were UTV riding with that weekend were staying.  

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11 hours ago, Randyretired said:

One problem with a HDT is the weight of the front axle on soft ground.  It is not uncommon to have 10,000 to 12,000 pounds on the axle.  If those tires sink it is like an anchor.

I built my HDT bed to load the real axles for more traction.  It also has two air locker axles and we have been on some pretty tough FS roads.   This truck  does pretty good but if the front axle were to become buried all bets are off.  It is not a 4x4 but when pulling our 5er we have been able to get out when others required 4x4 to move their trailers.

That makes sense.  Obviously these units were built to have heavy pin weights to balance them out.  I am not expecting 4x4 performance, I am just trying to get an idea of what I can expect.  

I like to be as prepared as possible/practical. 

Edited by Nwcid
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53 minutes ago, Av8r3400 said:

Tandem Inter-lock and diff-locks will be mandatory for you.  I wouldn’t singe with your plans in mind.  I would also consider higher traction tires rather than the quieter highway tires on most HDTs. 

This also makes sense.  

What kind of life do the higher traction tires get?  I am tired of going thought a set on my dually every 30,000 miles and I am not running super aggressive tires. 

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From an expectation perspective:

HDT's are horrible off road; think worse then a two wheel drive pickup.

Aggressive tires, chains and a locker will help; but with the heavy front end and no weight in the rear it's a problem.

 

My opinion: If you need to use 4x4 currently you will be stuck with an HDT in the same conditions.  The real ick being getting an HDT unstuck is significantly more work then getting a pickup unstuck.

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36 minutes ago, rickeieio said:

Your tires will be very old when they start to show any significant wear.  Our truck had good tires when we bought it in 2010, and after 50k miles they still look great.  The loads are so light (when tandem) they'll never wear out.

Is that for highway tires or more aggressive ones?  I am sure with highway miles and highway tires they would be hard to wear out. 

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6 minutes ago, steiny93 said:

From an expectation perspective:

HDT's are horrible off road; think worse then a two wheel drive pickup.

Aggressive tires, chains and a locker will help; but with the heavy front end and no weight in the rear it's a problem.

 

My opinion: If you need to use 4x4 currently you will be stuck with an HDT in the same conditions.  The real ick being getting an HDT unstuck is significantly more work then getting a pickup unstuck.

Again we are not trying to use this in the extremes, but I also don't want to be limited to paved roads since that is not what we do.  There has to be a happy medium there somewhere.  

How to all of the logging trucks make it in and out of the roads that are worse than I am planning?  How to they get heavy equipment in and out of the woods?  How do trucks make it on and off job sites?

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17 minutes ago, usbusin said:

I think the answer is; they have a heavy pin weight to load the rear axles and this also unloads the front axle.

When they have a load or when they are empty?  

They still need to go one direction empty.  I know either a low boy or the back half of a log truck loaded still had a decent weight, but not like if they are loaded.

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1 hour ago, Nwcid said:

My question about 1st being low was not so much about traction, but it was about appropriate speed on rough roads. 

For anything with wide tires like dually I will always have a set of chains.  I also have drag chains for my trailer. 

I will make sure to look for one with the diff lock. 

You will probably find the 2nd or 3rd gear will be fine for creeping along at a slow speed. When we are a sitting in a traffic jamb I use 2nd or 3rd just to creep along so I don't have to hot the brakes or stop to often. I only have used 1st gear a couple of times, once to get us out of a deep hole when we stopped at a truck stop for the night in the rain and dark. Work up and trailer had high centered and actually had raised our air hitch up so had no pin weight on the truck. I thought for sure we were stuck but it pulled right out in 1st gear. The other times, was trying to break the brake drums loose where the shoes rust themselves to the drum in our high humidity. I was to lazy to get out the sledge hammer and pipe to break them loose.

Edited by Star Dreamer
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54 minutes ago, Nwcid said:

They still need to go one direction empty.

Yes they do. I've had 'em stuck trying to get into a field and they walked right out loaded.  Besides, you only get stuck if you stop.

You haven't said whether your definition of "off road" is hard gravel, or soft mud, or something in between.  With 4,000# of pin weight, my work truck gets around pretty well in all but slimey conditions.  Wet grass and loose dirt is fine.  Wet leaves on bare dirt will get it stuck.  But, my work truck/trailer combo is 25k# empty.  Pretty light compared to many camper rigs.  The rig in my signature weighs about 44K, with a heavier steer axle.

Back to your tire wear question, I have closed shoulder but large lug drives.  Twelve years and still over 50% tread. First two years were in commercial service, so unknown miles.

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Off road in the context of HDT and pulling a 5er in appropriate locations, but are off paved roads.  This could be main Forest Service or County roads that are maintained.  This year we also found a great spot in ID that is down on the lake bed of a reservoir, however you could have made it down there with your typical car.  It may include native surface roads in a variety of conditions.  However I am smart enough to know I will not be mud bogging, nor plan on it.  

I am not looking to go extreme, however do not want to be calling a wrecker to pull me out because of a little rain or wet grass. 

I would attach some images, but I do not have a paid account yet. 

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8 hours ago, Nwcid said:

That makes sense.  Obviously these units were built to have heavy pin weights to balance them out.  I am not expecting 4x4 performance, I am just trying to get an idea of what I can expect.  

I like to be as prepared as possible/practical. 

The more weight you can get on the rear axles the better.  I extended the frame 5' to carry a car on the deck.   That slightly unloads the front axle with the 5er.  Our Teton has about 6,000 pound pin weight.  Additionally the full bed with storage is heavy.  The deck for the hitch covers the full 5' extension with 1/2" plate.  The rest of the deck is 1/4". I put a 100 gallon fresh water and 100 gallon waste water on the bed and we carry a Subaru on a slant and a small RZR under it. That extra weight with the lockers does pretty well on back country roads. Full lockers can make steering difficult when the going gets rough though.  However, like I said earlier if the front axle gets buried it's all over except for the bill.

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1 hour ago, Randyretired said:

The more weight you can get on the rear axles the better.  I extended the frame 5' to carry a car on the deck.   That slightly unloads the front axle with the 5er.  Our Teton has about 6,000 pound pin weight.  Additionally the full bed with storage is heavy.  The deck for the hitch covers the full 5' extension with 1/2" plate.  The rest of the deck is 1/4". I put a 100 gallon fresh water and 100 gallon waste water on the bed and we carry a Subaru on a slant and a small RZR under it. That extra weight with the lockers does pretty well on back country roads. Full lockers can make steering difficult when the going gets rough though.  However, like I said earlier if the front axle gets buried it's all over except for the bill.

Sounds like a cool set up and maybe similar to what I want to do.  Do you have a place I can see some pics?

 

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12 minutes ago, rickeieio said:

I'm surprised this hasn't already been suggested, but before I spent a bunch of money on lockers and such, I'd look into getting a heavy winch.

That would be a serious winch.  Most electric winches top out around 18,000 lbs, but on a quick search found one that is rated at 25,000 lbs, but has a 400 amp draw 😧

Your next option is hydraulic which I am sure gets expensive quick with all the hardware needed.  

Are air lockers not fairly standard in HDT?  

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