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CALL ME CRAZY, Ordering 2022 VNL 740 Mid-Roof, Good or Bad Idea??


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I haven't formally introduced myself but we are new to the forum and the HDT community. 

So, why are we here: 

We used to have an underpowered class C which wasn't capable of pulling anything.  We entertained the idea of a ShowHauler for sometime, then decided on a class A.  After searching for a class A capable of pulling our toys and a trailer large enough we realized we would be excessively long.  While searching for light trailers to pull behind the class A we stumbled upon an ATC toy hauler and decided it was perfect for us because we already had a GMC Duramax Dually.  Just prior to purchasing the trailer I got some bad fuel and the truck quit on me multiple times (used biocide and a couple of fuel filter changes and it cleared up).  This was enough to freak my wife out (afraid of getting stranded in the desert)  and we purchased a 2020 GMC Duramax Dually.  We pulled our trailer almost 6k miles last year with the Duramax and it pulls the trailer extremely well but as you know pulling is only part of the equation.  We had several instances of the trailer demonstrating who was really in control (hard braking, cornering, wind, dragged us backwards down a gravel hill).  We have 3 daughters and safety on the road is a major concern of mine.  We decided to look at M2's and found some new Sport Chassis for not much more than our Denali.  We took a test drive and found out they were loud, underpowered, didn't ride or sit well, but they could turn on a dime.  I was very disappointed and decided we would keep our truck until I got a really dumb idea, why not look at a semi.  My dad was a truck driver and I've been around them all my life, plus I knew it was the same chassis used by ShowHauler.  We took a test drive in a 2018 Volvo VNL 760 with almost 400k miles on it, my wife even drove it and she is afraid to drive my dually.  The truck rode much better than the M2, the power was much better, the blind spots in my truck were completely eliminated, you could see everything around you, we could drive to CO and back without stopping (Instead of every 200-250 miles), the kids could sleep in the bunk or eat at the table, no more bathroom stops (every stop ended up being 30 minutes minimum), the truck would stop my trailer even if my trailer brakes failed, and the Mid-Roof will fit in my garage.

We looked at used trucks and haven't found anything that we really like and I spoke with Jack about our options and he suggested new if you planned on keeping it longer than 10yrs.  We really expect to keep it until we die so hopefully we will have it for at least another 20-30yrs.  We also looked at what some of the places are charging to convert used trucks and by the time they get finished people are paying a lot of money even when purchasing a used truck with nearly 500k miles.  We decided we could purchase a new HDT and I could build a custom bed for about 20-30K more than what a used conversion will cost us.  We should be able to finance it as an RV based on my research and discussion with our bank and it would have full factory warranty plus all the options we want.  We are looking at a fully loaded VNL 740 Mid-Roof with 6x4 both diffs fully locking.  I want a short wheelbase and we spec'd it at 217" with a 500HP Eco-Torque motor, I 12 tranny with overdrive, 2.64 ratio, 40k rear axle and 13,200 front axle, disc brakes all the way, and dual 150 gallon tanks.  

We off road and boondoc frequently and I'm scared of getting this thing stuck if we get off the highway, hence the locking diffs.  We will be parking in dirt, gravel, and grass lots/fields and I have enough experience to know they sink and don't do well on wet grass.  I've also considered super singles (off road tread) and wide tires in front to keep it from sinking as bad as well as building a 3-4k lb bed for added traction when bob tailing.  I saw one guy building his bed out of aluminum (looks awesome) saying you needed to save weight so I'm not sure about that but I like no rust quality of aluminum.  Our trailer is generally around 21k loaded and the total weight on my drive axle when hooked to my dually was 8980, so I'm not sure what my pin weight is.  I would guess around 4k since the truck weighs just over 10k and factory pin weight is 3k.

I apologize for the long intro but I'm just throwing everything out there for everyone to critique our thought process and we also would like some input on the conversion.  We are hoping you guys have some ideas for the sink and toilet.  The sleeper is 70" and there is a cabinet behind the passenger seat that I would like to utilize.  I'm hoping for a built in factory look and I figure this site has a tremendous amount of expert opinions.  Also please let me know where we are going wrong in our logic, build spec, and design.  This is our dream truck and we want it to be the right tool for the job.

Thanks for letting us join your forum!

Mark

Edited by Overthinker
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Good luck with your process.  I’d love to start with a brand new truck, but it isn’t in the cards for us.  Volvo will do a sink in the sleeper as a factory option.  The toilet is another story.  Most everyone just adds a port-a-potty for the sleeper, but not a lot of those port-a-potties actually get used very often.

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Chad, according to the dealer they discontinued factory sink option in the truck we are ordering a couple of years ago (maybe he is wrong and I'll ask again).  Due to our family situation the potty will get used with all the kids and my growing prostate😆.  I'm used to cleaning up their messes so no big deal.  I expect the potty and sink will be of no use once the kids are gone that's why we want something well concealed and with a factory look.

 

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53 minutes ago, Chad Heiser said:

Chad, I’ve heard the same thing from others. Not so with us. The porta potty was our first purchase and don’t think there’s a trip of any distance that it doesn’t see service. Maybe it comes with age; warning, “don’t get old”!

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  • Overthinker changed the title to CALL ME CRAZY, Ordering 2022 VNL 740 Mid-Roof, Good or Bad Idea??

We boondock frequently and our HDT has 2 lockers.  These work great for less than ideal conditions.  I also added 5' to the frame and that along with a heavy bed adds weight to the rear axles.   The tongue weight on our Teton is a little over 6,000 pounds so that also helps.  I am believer in weight on the rear axles as it really helps traction and the ride.  Super singles  can hydroplane on wet roads so you need to be aware of that.  I am sure you will enjoy your HDT.  Happy travels.

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I’m happy to hear of someone else going off road and having lockers.  More than a few have looked at me like I’m crazy or ask why I would want to take it off road.  Do you have any idea what your bed weighs?  Any thoughts on off road tread or putting wider tires on the steer axle (OEM on Mack Dump Trucks)?  

Thanks fo the info and well wishes, Randyretired.

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Welcome to the forum. We ordered our 2015 truck new from the factory and went with 500/1850 D-13 / 2.64 / 2-150 gal tanks 236" WB / Bose seats / Magnum inverter / sink / work station/ adaptive cruise with auto braking / disk brakes / air locker. We added a porta potty that fits in lower cabinet out of view. We do get off road occasionally and have been stuck and had to get pulled out. This year will be adding Truck Claws to the tool box collection of tow straps.   We have a heavy Phoenix bed and agree with Randy that it helps ride and traction.  Have fun with the process.

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Wide base tires on the front axle are mostly used for weight capacity, but work ideal for flotation. I'm not talking super single rears, here. Those are not wide base tires. They will add to steering wander a bit, and don't help any with the rears locked tight. Expect to handle like an arrow in a locked situation. I'd be more inclined to run dual wheels, with a more aggressive tread, for your situation. Super singles don't come with a very aggressive tread, as they were intended as a fuel saver. We also built a steel bed, coming in around 4k lbs, and haven't regretted it. 

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59 minutes ago, Overthinker said:

I’m happy to hear of someone else going off road and having lockers.  More than a few have looked at me like I’m crazy or ask why I would want to take it off road.  Do you have any idea what your bed weighs?  Any thoughts on off road tread or putting wider tires on the steer axle (OEM on Mack Dump Trucks)?  

Thanks fo the info and well wishes, Randyretired.

I haven't weighed the bed and I while I have an idea from pulling our dump trailer through scales of the weight of the truck it is only a guess.  The bed deck is 1/4" steel.   We carry a Subaru Crosstrek length wise and often load a small RZR crosswise under the car.  The truck has a 100 gallon fresh tank and a 100 gallon waste tank.  All of this along with the 5' frame extension and tool boxes put significant weight on the rear axles.  Of course no where near GAWR.  With the lockers we have been able to drive out of some pretty rough spots.  A couple of years ago we were in the National Forest and it rained heavily.   Those with us had 4x4 PU's and even with that they struggled to pull their 5ers out.  We came out without spinning.  Wider front tires seems like that could be useful to keep from sinking.  We had cement trucks pouring concrete at our mountain property.  They had wide fronts tires.   When I excavated there was relatively soft soil all around and those trucks never had a problem. A new truck is not in the cards for us but if it was it certainly would have lockers. We looked a long time to find our HDT and felt lucky to find one with lockers.  Hard to find on a hwy truck!

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Wider tires should stay on the rim well/better, if the need arises to air down the tires in a situation that requires it.

Less air wider footprint, better flotation, especially in sand.

The truck can then air the tires back up with a quick connect added, and an air hose.

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Sounds like a great plan! Jack won’t lead you wrong. He will have very sound advice. Just as the ones so far posted on here. 
 

Enjoy the process! 

Edited by billr
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Darryl speaks wisely about flotation.  Airing down is a technique as well. 

You can drop one wheel/tire from each rear dual position and enjoy the traction benefits of tandem drive without sticking rocks between the wheels. Acceleration and braking will improve a bit with less unsprung weight at the wheel ends, maybe mpg a bit too.

If you do that still order aluminum inner wheels they sell for more $ on the take off market than steel and cost not much from the factory. And the wheel studs will be long enough if you choose to make it a dually again. 

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On 1/17/2021 at 9:39 AM, Overthinker said:

 

We off road and boondock frequently and I'm scared of getting this thing stuck if we get off the highway, hence the locking diffs.  We will be parking in dirt, gravel, and grass lots/fields and I have enough experience to know they sink and don't do well on wet grass.  I've also considered super singles (off road tread) and wide tires in front to keep it from sinking as bad as well as building a 3-4k lb bed for added traction when bob tailing. 

If you really want the truck to be off-road capable you could also look at a hydraulic AWD assist like the EZ Trac system. I have seen a couple service trucks with it and seemed to work quite well. I have no idea the cost or if they have a setup that works with your selected truck. The cost may out weigh the benefit.

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9 minutes ago, EAST BOUND AND DOWN said:

If you really want the truck to be off-road capable you could also look at a hydraulic AWD assist like the EZ Trac system. I have seen a couple service trucks with it and seemed to work quite well. I have no idea the cost or if they have a setup that works with your selected truck. The cost may out weigh the benefit.

It’s almost 40k!  I think we need to reach another income bracket to afford that😀

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On 1/17/2021 at 11:39 AM, Overthinker said:

 

We off road and boondock frequently and I'm scared of getting this thing stuck if we get off the highway, hence the locking diffs.  We will be parking in dirt, gravel, and grass lots/fields and I have enough experience to know they sink and don't do well on wet grass. 

 

'Off-pavement' or 'off-highway' use is what you probably have in mind, when you say 'off-road'. Hard packed dirt roads, gravel roads, etc, are still 'roads' 

Building a class 8 truck tractor for true 'off-road' (meaning NO ROADS AT ALL) gets really expensive, really fast. 

 

Edited by podwerkz
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In most situations you won't need to be able to recover 40,000 lbs of stuck dead hanging weight. You'll just need to give it some help.  A little wheel speed while the winch is pulling can get you out of a lot of mess. So a high capacity winch like a Warn, Ramsey etc int he 12-15k range with a few snatch blocks can move just about anything.  I had one for my Dodge Dually days that I mounted on a receiver tube, could move it to the front or rear depending on the situation.  Just a thought.

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39 minutes ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

In most situations you won't need to be able to recover 40,000 lbs of stuck dead hanging weight. You'll just need to give it some help.  A little wheel speed while the winch is pulling can get you out of a lot of mess. So a high capacity winch like a Warn, Ramsey etc int he 12-15k range with a few snatch blocks can move just about anything.  I had one for my Dodge Dually days that I mounted on a receiver tube, could move it to the front or rear depending on the situation.  Just a thought.

I agree.  I used to rock crawl a lot and you typically aren’t pulling the entire weight of the vehicle.  It’s more of an assist of sorts.  I was looking at a Warn 16.5ti today, just need to figure out a method to mount it.  Often if you can get a vehicle to advance a few feet you can get rolling.  

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I have used chain hitched to the tire, through the rim, many times to get a farm tractor out of the mud. It will work on a car or truck also. Not chain but a strap. If you have lockers it's easy if not then it takes more work. You can use 2 sets of straps, or cage the brake with the tow straps and apply the parking brake. I am hesitant to mention chaining the other wheel so it cant spin will work also. 

I am also very curious about the Tiger Claws, we used to put hardwood branches across the side of the tire through the tire chains it would lift the truck up out of the mud, got us out if the woods more than once, 3/4 ton 4x4 not HDT. 

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