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Is this a decent deal, and things to check for?


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Looking at buying an 04 volvo 780 d12 motor (465 hp / 1650 tq) with a 13 speed trans for $12,500. It has 1.1 million miles and has recently had egr, starter, boost sensor, fuel pressure regulator, and full tune up. The paint has some clear coat problems. It's titled as an Rv but still has a commercial style hitch which I would need to change. I would want to add a bed to it and want to keep the dual axles. From what I've read the d12 motor is pretty solid besides egr valves. I don't have a problem working on my equipment but don't want to jump into anything that I'll regret. I'll be pulling about 16k right now but after adding a bed to put a jeep on will probably be getting a 20k 5th wheel. Thanks for any advice. 

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The price sounds good for that many miles but you will want to have a good repair budget to take care of things that will come up like air bags, shocks, brakes, tires, airlines, connectors, valves (a lot of the little items that add up) plus a budget for an engine rebuild and transmission / clutch rebuild just in case. Otherwise it is just a gamble, may last forever, may not.

2005 Freightliner Century S/T, Singled, Air ride ET Jr. hitch
2019 46'+ Dune Sport Man Cave custom 5th wheel toy hauler
Owner of the 1978 Custom Van "Star Dreamer" which might be seen at a local car show near you!


Check out http://www.hhrvresource.com/

for much more info on HDT's.

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Might be a good idea to ask what the truck has been pulling. Maybe attempt to find out how many owners. You can get a RigDig report that should list major stuff and infractions with the law, the truck has had. Things of interest are when the truck gets shut down because of an inspection. Have those things been fixed or just patched.

Trucks running south of hyway 40 tend to have less rust issues. 

Owner operators tend to take better care of their rigs. Not always true but better odds. But if it's registered as an RV, then it's a private owner selling it...I guess?

Dumping the commercial hitch is a good idea. I had the dealer I bought mine from remove the hitch but leave the hitch rails. Good mounting points for the bed build. The commercial hitch is worth the price of scrap, so no resale value there. And it's a heavy dude to remove.

I kept mine dual axle. Might single. Need more road time to figure that one out.

Good luck. Keep us posted. It's and adventure.

Robert & Lisa
'14 Keystone Fuzion 315 38' 5er

2015 Volvo VNL 670, D13, iShift 'The Tartis' (ours)

2013 Smart Fortwo Passion 'K-9'

2011 CanAm Spyder RT Limited (Ours)

We are both USAF vets.


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As mentioned above, little things add up.  I thought I had a tranny cooler line leak.  Took it to a respected shop for repair.  A couple hours later, they called to say the line was fine, but the gasket between the tranny and bell housing was the culprit.  Cheap gasket, but $1800 labor.  I said go ahead, and look closely at what else they might find while it's apart.  Rear main seal, clutch, clutch slave cylinder, turbo back exhaust to the stack.........  $4,300.00.

The exhaust fell apart in their hands and the egt sensor was dangling.  The slave cylinder puked fluid when they unbolted it.  The clutch might have gone a few years, but heck, it's apart.  Had I not fixed the leak, it could have gotten low on fluid and gotten REAL expensive.

Newmar X-Aire, VATICAN
Lots of old motorcycles, Moto Guzzi Griso and Spyder F3 currently in the front row
Young enough to play in the dirt as a retired farmer.
contact me at rickeieio@yahoo.com

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55 minutes ago, Darryl&Rita said:

Dual wheels, tandem axles. Just sayin'.

Today was one of the few days I wish I had a tandem with locking diffs and axles.... Not muddy, didn't dig, just slick as snot, hard pack clay that got rain 2 days ago....

27 minutes ago, Pyscokev said:

Sounds good, appreciate the help.  Would you agree the d12 is a pretty good motor for rv service? 

There are a bunch that run that engine.  My suggestion would be a DOT inspection to make sure the truck is at least temporary safe on the highway, and a DYNO run.  The dyno will tell you the health of the engine.

Is this an Escapees members truck or other?

Jim's Adventures

Old Spacecraft.... Who knows whats next

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5 minutes ago, Pyscokev said:

Also, I know it can lock the two axles but is it rare for them to have a diff lock as well? To be able to drive all 8 tires at once if I called it the wrong term. 

You have interlock which is front to rear and differential lock "side to side".  

If you are buying a typically over the road truck it would be more common to see interlock than it would be to see differential lock. 

If you are buying a typical truck made for "off road", log truck, dump truck, etc then it is very common to see both interlock and differential lock.  Typically these trucks will be lower geared than OTR trucks. 

I did a moderate amount of looking for a truck with both, but the OTR trucks made more sense for my use.  I do have a truck with interlock, but not differential lock. 

Edited by Nwcid

2014 Volvo 630. 2016 Fuzion 325T, RZR 900 Trail 
675ah AGM, MSH 3012 inverter, 960w Solar.  (2016 Chevy 3500 DRW, backup)

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I have the D12 and only issue is the injector harness tends to leak in these.  Replacement by shop several thousand dollars.  Otherwise been very pleased with the motor.  In 10 years no other major issues.

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

Bed Build by "JW Morgan's Custom Welding"

2017 DRV 39DBRS3

2013 Smart Passion Coupe "Itty Bitty"


"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first!"

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I own a 2004 with the D12.  About 500,000 fewer miles than the one you are looking at.  Other items that I have had to deal with are ball joints, steering box, leveling valves, front brake shoes and drums, brake cans, air dryer valve body, power steering hoses, a/c compressor, belts, batteries, air bags, shocks, U-joints and what really hurt was an "overhead" with all injector cups and an injector replacement.  The oil leak Carl mentioned is an issue that the owner has to decide if they want to spend the money on or not.  I chose not to and simply opened the loom on the harness so oil could not get into the EECM.  I put a "diaper" wrapped in foil at the opening where oil might drip and change it once a year.  A lot cheaper than a new harness and seal.  Yes, the D12 is a good engine as far as I am concerned - but there is a lot more possibly going on at 1.1 million miles than engine issues.


Randy, Nancy and Oscar

"The Great White" - 2004 Volvo VNL670, D12, 10-speed, converted to single axle pulling a Keystone Cambridge 5th wheel, 40', 4 slides and about 19,000# with empty tanks.

ARS - WB4BZX, Electrical Engineer, Master Electrician, D.Ed., Professor Emeritus - Happily Retired!


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