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Minimal HDT modification

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New owner of a 5th wheel and of course I'm sold on the benefits of using an HDT over a LDT, and the price savings over MDT's. As I said though we've bought our 5th wheel and are living in it now, and loving it, even though we do not have a truck yet. We had the 5th wheel delivered from FL (purchase) to TX (holiday season location), but when we want to relocate in Feb we really want to have our own tow vehicle.

We're looking at commercial HDT's for sale in the Houston area so we can easily get our hands on a truck and start modifications necessary to really pull the house. What I'm looking at timeline wise however doesn't leave much room for getting in queue with a big shop to have a ton of work and retrofit done to it. Of course we're also keeping eyes open for already converted haulers, but those aren't seeming to be very plentiful right now. 

If we buy a VNL630 that is just off the road commercially - what are the minimum changes I would need to make quickly to be able to tow with it? I'm assuming adding a brake controller, and swapping out the hitch are the first 2. Is there anything else that is essential for being able to tow a trailer safely, without damaging the trailer, from TX to NV? Or, should I instead plan on having the trailer delivered to NV for me, and aim for purchasing a truck in NV and having more work done on it there? 

Either way I still have to get my Class A in TX - which I also feel having a truck purchased here will help with as I'll be able to take my driving test in my own truck, correct?


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I bought a truck in late December, it took till mid February to just get it titled as a Motorhome in FL.

I did not start modifying the truck until after I had the clear title.

I began converting it to haul a Jeep on a deck, and added a bumper pull hitch for a travel trailer.

I spent every hour I could while working 55ish hours a week.  I was able to have the truck, deck, and travel trailer road ready in April.

I would have liked to spend more time building, as I have spent as much time correcting/changing some designs, to make things more efficient.

We took our first big run in early June.  4 months after title completion.

Might want to wait until you have more time, and preferably better weather to work on the truck.

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Single and add hitch, stay tadem and extend chassis to add hitch.  Your choice. Get an jackalopee from Henry. Brake controller or air over hydraulics. Depending on your state what you will need to do for title. You will need fenders also if no bed.

Edited by GlennWest
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As far as the minimum changes, this is what we did before hitting the road:
Hitch, Brake Controller, Jackalope and full fenders

I went with the Tucson brake controller and the Spray Master fenders as the Minimizer fenders were just way too expensive for me.



I had a shop extend the frame, install the hitch and mount the fenders.

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Have you checked out available trucks already set up at racingjunk.com

I know there are a couple there that are already converted and registered as RVs.  BUT, need to also consider time to address delayed maintenance, becoming competent driving the truck(without the trailer), customizing to your INITIAL needs(there will always a list of things that you want to as you learn what others things CAN BE DONE), title transfer, insurance etc.

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In Utah, they are very relaxed when it comes to registering as a motorhome.  It took us about 6 weeks to get the truck ready for RV pulling.

1- commercial hitch removed (dlr did it as part of the sale)

2- brake controller. 

3- Jackaloppe.

4- microwave, porta-potty, 

5- frame extended 25", hitch installed, rear bumper, (had fabrication shop do this)

6- electrical/tail lights, new mud flaps.

7- 4 camera monitor system, which means some dash work.

We rolled out on our first trip without wheel wells/fenders on the rears. No issues in 3 states, from the authorities. 

You will be very lucky to find a truck that doesn't need some work. Ours needed;

- front tire (miss-matched load ratings)

- front brakes

- DEF converter sensors + volvo dlr computer error reset and regen.

- 4 of 8 rear tires replaced.

- lots of little stuff like engine & cab air filters, fuel filter.

- air leaks in firewall connections and passenger seat.

Being retired and working out of the house garage, helped get it done faster.  If I were working still, it would have taken mucho longer.

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On 11/24/2020 at 8:23 AM, trimster said:

We rolled out on our first trip without wheel wells/fenders on the rears. No issues in 3 states, from the authorities. 

It is not the authorities that have issues with your truck not having fenders over the tires. It is the front and underside of your trailer. The flying road debris (sand, dirt and rocks) will sandblast the paint and gellcoat right off your trailer.

After a trip to South Dakota from Texas the front of my old trailer was rock chipped like crazy and I have a full bed on my truck. The first time I notice the same on my new trailer I will be spraying color matched Rhino Liner on the front. 

Edited by Big5er
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On 11/25/2020 at 6:41 PM, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

Buying another rig?

Several folks have put a flap across the back of the truck, kinda like what motor coaches do.

Nope, the 2018 is gonna last for a while I was referring to the 2010.
I am in the process of changing the single mud flaps to a solid one all the way across, but if that doesn't work......

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