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rynosback

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Thinking about getting a HDT again. I looked at going HDT when we first went full time 8 years ago. But now that I’m planning a trip to Alaska in 2025 it really has me rethinking an HDT. For several reasons.

My current TV is a 2015 Ram 3500 4x2, Regular Cab, DRW, CTD, Aisin trans with 410 gears. My wife follows when towing in a Mazda 3. Which is the main driving vehicle when parked. I tow a DVR 38RSB3. 

I research things and try to make informed decisions weighing out the big picture of pros and cons. 

I was considering adding the Kelderman stage 2 rear air ride installed. About $2800 to $3000. I also wanted to carry more diesel than the 28 gallon factory tank. Was thinking of a 80-100 gallon transfer tank, used. Thinking $600-$1000. And upgrading my hitch to a Hensley BD5. $1500-$2000 used. Because of this trip the truck is going to be the daily driver and I wanted to have a better ride and longer range if needed. As well as give the rig a better ride all the time. 

So if I’m going to spend about 6k on improvements, my thoughts turned back to an HDT.

My first thoughts were a Day Cab HDT single axle. Smallest wheel base so maneuvering is the best. It has air ride, air brakes, air seat and might have an air cab. Plus it carries a crap load more fuel. About 160 gallons with this configuration from what I have read. Cheaper to maintain and gets better MPG than a sleeper. And cheaper to buy up front. 25-40k investment, used. Yes I know that a longer wheel base like a sleeper will give a better ride, carry more fuel and give me more room. But  it will cost more upfront, cost more to maintain and keep me out of more campgrounds being this large and does not maneuver as well. I understand there are give and takes. It’s all about understanding the options and balancing it out to make the correct decision. 

There are just so many options in HDTs. Which style, what engine, trans (want an automatic) even though I can drive a stick, rear gears and pre or post DEF. I understand that the used market is you get what’s out there. The good thing is that I’m a planner so I have time to figure out what I want and time to find it. And if I come across they best choice early I can pull the trigger. 

I’m sure I’m not the first one to ever contemplate this. 

Thanks for all your thoughts, experiences and feedback. 

Edited by rynosback

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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I haven't priced lately, but when I bought our last day cab, I considered buying a sleeper truck and removing the sleeper portion because it was so much cheaper.  But, I would have the longer frame rails and removable sleepers limit the choice of trucks.  My Mack cost about $5k more than a comparable sleeper truck back in 2007.

Day cabs will likely have anywhere from 100-150 gal fuel tank(s).  You're correct, most sleepers have bigger tanks.

Day cabs are more likely to have been used for short trips, so more start/stop and less highway miles.

Day cabs are unlikely to have better creature comforts, sound deadening, air ride passenger seat, adequate leg room for passenger, etc.

Single axle trucks can be easily overloaded if configured to carry a car.  It appears that's not an issue for you.

Tandem sleepers are inconvenient to use as a daily driver.  We've done it many times though.  Compromises......

if you're comfortable driving a truck manual tranny, don't be afraid of them.  However, don't think for a minute that a truck manual is anything like a manual in a pick-up.  It's a whole different game.

My philosophy on the whole egr/dpf/def thing is that it's like the early days of unleaded gas, efi, and catalytic convertors on cars.  The early days were fraught with problems, but in the end, it works quite well.  That's why we opted for a newer truck, skipping the years during the industries "learning curve".  But that's just my opinion.

Good luck with your search.  If you happen to be near the west side of Cincinnati, stop in and take a ride in ours.

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
Newmar X-Aire, VATICAN
Lots of old motorcycles, Moto Guzzi Griso and Spyder F3 currently in the front row
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45 minutes ago, rickeieio said:

I haven't priced lately, but when I bought our last day cab, I considered buying a sleeper truck and removing the sleeper portion because it was so much cheaper.  But, I would have the longer frame rails and removable sleepers limit the choice of trucks.  My Mack cost about $5k more than a comparable sleeper truck back in 2007.

Day cabs will likely have anywhere from 100-150 gal fuel tank(s).  You're correct, most sleepers have bigger tanks.

Day cabs are more likely to have been used for short trips, so more start/stop and less highway miles.

Day cabs are unlikely to have better creature comforts, sound deadening, air ride passenger seat, adequate leg room for passenger, etc.

Single axle trucks can be easily overloaded if configured to carry a car.  It appears that's not an issue for you.

Tandem sleepers are inconvenient to use as a daily driver.  We've done it many times though.  Compromises......

if you're comfortable driving a truck manual tranny, don't be afraid of them.  However, don't think for a minute that a truck manual is anything like a manual in a pick-up.  It's a whole different game.

My philosophy on the whole egr/dpf/def thing is that it's like the early days of unleaded gas, efi, and catalytic convertors on cars.  The early days were fraught with problems, but in the end, it works quite well.  That's why we opted for a newer truck, skipping the years during the industries "learning curve".  But that's just my opinion.

Good luck with your search.  If you happen to be near the west side of Cincinnati, stop in and take a ride in ours.

Thanks. 👍🏻

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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ryno,

I have a vnr 640 with a  5" sleeper and a 189" wheelbase which is about 12" longer than a dually 4 door and it is fairly easy to get around with as a daily driver. It is only 23" long and turns a lot better then my gmc dually did. What is the wheelbase of the day cabs you are looking at?

 

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I will second Rick's observations, day cabs are NOT cheaper or a better choice out of hand.    Look at small sleeper trucks 42~48" with short hoods, these are not much bigger than a CC-dually save the extra axle.    Used day cabs are going to be pricy and far less configurable than a sleeper truck.

 

Single axle tractors are not all that common but not rare either, lots of hay haulers use them in the west.    Look at some of these as a starting point, much closer to a good start than a day cab.      My truck is not a short sleeper but it is a short nose, the short hood/sleeper trucks are about 13~14' bumper to back of the sleeper with a 60' swing clearance you are under 20' long, a day cab would be just 3 to 4 feet shorter. 

2005 Peterbilt 387-112 Baby Cat 9 speed U-shift

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1996 Kentucky 48 single drop stacker garage project

 catdiesellogo.jpg.e96e571c41096ef39b447f78b9c2027c.jpg Pulls like a train, sounds like a plane....faster than a Cheetah sniffin cocaine.   

 

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3 hours ago, Steve from SoCal said:

I will second Rick's observations, day cabs are NOT cheaper or a better choice out of hand.    Look at small sleeper trucks 42~48" with short hoods, these are not much bigger than a CC-dually save the extra axle.    Used day cabs are going to be pricy and far less configurable than a sleeper truck.

 

Single axle tractors are not all that common but not rare either, lots of hay haulers use them in the west.    Look at some of these as a starting point, much closer to a good start than a day cab.      My truck is not a short sleeper but it is a short nose, the short hood/sleeper trucks are about 13~14' bumper to back of the sleeper with a 60' swing clearance you are under 20' long, a day cab would be just 3 to 4 feet shorter. 

I would have to disagree. Day Cabs will be cheaper. They cost less in the beginning and sleepers cost more when new. They are larger and have more options and luxury options. I have seen a ton of day cabs out there for 25-35k. The same year and millage sleeper is high 50s to 90k. But if you have a resource where sleepers are cheaper then day cabs please post it up. 
I agree that single rear axles are not common as you have a lot more capability with a tandem axle. 
It makes sense that a 4” long sleeper space behind the seat is going to be 4’ longer. But this will also push the wheel base out further.

My friend with a Ram Mega cab short bed, they only come said that he has the shortest wheelbase from Ram. I proved him wrong with my regular cab 8’ bed has the shortest wheel base. The more interior space you have the longer the wheelbase is going to be. 

Edited by rynosback

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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Go buy yourself a day cab, you will regret it soon enough.    You don't know what you don't know.

2005 Peterbilt 387-112 Baby Cat 9 speed U-shift

1996/2016 remod Teton Royal Atlanta

1996 Kentucky 48 single drop stacker garage project

 catdiesellogo.jpg.e96e571c41096ef39b447f78b9c2027c.jpg Pulls like a train, sounds like a plane....faster than a Cheetah sniffin cocaine.   

 

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29 minutes ago, Steve from SoCal said:

Go buy yourself a day cab, you will regret it soon enough.    You don't know what you don't know.

A longer wheel base with a larger cab is a heavier rig and will ride better yes, I know what I know. Thanks. The fact that you think a sleeper is cheaper then a day cab for the same year and about millage is wrong. I even asked you to provide a link. At least I can admit when I’m wrong, ask questions and learn. Safe travels. 

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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My sleeper truck is 194” wheelbase, so it is short (which I prefer).  Overall length is only about 16” longer than my crew cab dually was.  I can still park it in a standard parking spot, although it is a bit tight.  If I can hang the rear bumper over a curb, then it fits easy.  The truck is way more maneuverable than the dually was.  On long trips, a day cab truck is not any more comfortable than a pick up (which isn’t very comfortable).  A sleeper truck is designed for long hours on the road and is built for comfort.  The ability to get up and move around is a huge advantage for comfort.  I personally would never consider a day cab for an RV hauler even though I prefer a short truck.

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8 hours ago, rynosback said:

The same year and millage

And there is something to think about.  A day cab is, well, used for fay trips.  Lots more shifting, turning, local deliveries, etc.  Likely less miles for more wear and tear.  That can skew the numbers of the cost of what look to be comparable trucks.

In the end, only you can decide what you want, v. what you need.  And of course, what you fell comfort able driving and spending.

I recently was asked to check out a 2012 Volvo 670 for someone.  Pretty decent truck with 800k on the clock, for $22k.  Three years ago, that truck would have been close to double that price.  Happy hunting.

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
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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rynosback,

If you haven't already used it, here's a site that can be helpful in deciding on type and price range.

In addition to the vast inventory, it's very easy to narrow down your search by providing search parameters that are important to you.  Like price range, day-cab or sleeper, year manufactured range, number of rear axles, brand ...

https://www.truckpaper.com/

 

Edited by DanZemke
added paragraph about search parameters

Volvo 770, New Horizons Majestic and an upcoming Smart car

 

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I did not see mentioned that a day cab will likely be more difficult to register as an RV due to the lack of space for the accomodations needed to qualify for this use.  Perhaps it could be registered as a private truck but I have no experience with this.

Marcel

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4 hours ago, DanZemke said:

rynosback,

If you haven't already used it, here's a site that can be helpful in deciding on type and price range.

In addition to the vast inventory, it's very easy to narrow down your search by providing search parameters that are important to you.  Like price range, day-cab or sleeper, year manufactured range, number of rear axles, brand ...

https://www.truckpaper.com/

 

Thanks, I have been looking at that website and about 3 others like it. I don’t mind spending more money if I’m getting a better product that will last longer. That is why I spent more money up front and bought a DRV. Value is perceived differently by different people. 
I was asking for a specific website from the one poster based on their statement. I had spent days going through the website and others like it to get a feel what the options are out there. Have to love the internet. Ask it a question and you have thousands of links to read and research. 
My goal of researching is to find out what is the best set up for me. Once I know that then the search can really begin. 
 

Edited by rynosback

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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8 hours ago, Chad Heiser said:

My sleeper truck is 194” wheelbase, so it is short (which I prefer).  Overall length is only about 16” longer than my crew cab dually was.  I can still park it in a standard parking spot, although it is a bit tight.  If I can hang the rear bumper over a curb, then it fits easy.  The truck is way more maneuverable than the dually was.  On long trips, a day cab truck is not any more comfortable than a pick up (which isn’t very comfortable).  A sleeper truck is designed for long hours on the road and is built for comfort.  The ability to get up and move around is a huge advantage for comfort.  I personally would never consider a day cab for an RV hauler even though I prefer a short truck.

Thanks for the feedback. 👍🏻

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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6 hours ago, rickeieio said:

And there is something to think about.  A day cab is, well, used for fay trips.  Lots more shifting, turning, local deliveries, etc.  Likely less miles for more wear and tear.  That can skew the numbers of the cost of what look to be comparable trucks.

In the end, only you can decide what you want, v. what you need.  And of course, what you fell comfort able driving and spending.

I recently was asked to check out a 2012 Volvo 670 for someone.  Pretty decent truck with 800k on the clock, for $22k.  Three years ago, that truck would have been close to double that price.  Happy hunting.

I wonder if they are getting cheaper because companies are buying newer tech trucks. It’s all about the cost of a mile and the least amount of downtime. 

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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4 hours ago, rpsinc said:

I did not see mentioned that a day cab will likely be more difficult to register as an RV due to the lack of space for the accomodations needed to qualify for this use.  Perhaps it could be registered as a private truck but I have no experience with this.

I only stated from reading Jacks resource link. I even cut and pasted what he stated. But as pointed out every state makes that call on how it’s registered. I just assumed since there are the big 3 RV friendly states to claim as your domicile that someone had gone through the process and knew. These are questions that I come up with when I look at the big picture of ownership. Thanks for your thoughts on it. 👍🏻

Edited by rynosback

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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As you're finding out, each person's requirements, combined with their state's requirements, dictate different answers.  I've seen hatrack's truck and like it, a lot.  But it wouldn't work for us as I'd need commercial license plates/class A/insurance...all because we live in Indiana/Ohio.  I don't know where he's domiciled.

Since you're domiciled in SD, I'd look in the Resource Guide for the requirements there.  You may be fine with a day cab as a "private truck".  Just know that it'll be harder to find one with gentle miles and the creature comforts to keep your co-pilot happy.    I believe hatrack bought their's new, assuring they'd get what they wanted.

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
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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7 hours ago, rpsinc said:

I did not see mentioned that a day cab will likely be more difficult to register as an RV due to the lack of space for the accomodations needed to qualify for this use.  Perhaps it could be registered as a private truck but I have no experience with this.

My KW Flat top is registered as a Truck, not as a RV, would have had to change the VIN and Title descriptor making it only resalable as a RV as well would have had to add a Box RV section on the frame with a Kitchenette and bigger sleeping quarters.so opted this way.  Plates were expensive, $550 for a year, 48K beyond Local MO Tags so legal in any state.  Base Truck licenses are established by most states by Intended GVW.

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I just spent well under 1 minute looking in the Resource Guide and see that South Dakota does allow registration as either m/h or private truck.  No special license for m/h.  Day cab would be private truck.

So, now that door's open, start digging.

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
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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I am not sure of the implications of a 'private truck' in crossing state lines?    

https://www.kellerpermits.com/permits/trip-permits

 

When you compare day cabs and sleeper trucks are they apples to oranges?     The reason I mentioned sleeper truck being less costly is the shear number and the vocational aspects of day cabs.     Vocational trucks like dumps, are speced differently than long haul trucks.     Line haul day cabs would be the closest thing to sleeper trucks but still different enough to be a poor comparison.

 

Are you looking at tandem axle day cabs, single axle or both?     Are you looking for California legal trucks?

 

 

2005 Peterbilt 387-112 Baby Cat 9 speed U-shift

1996/2016 remod Teton Royal Atlanta

1996 Kentucky 48 single drop stacker garage project

 catdiesellogo.jpg.e96e571c41096ef39b447f78b9c2027c.jpg Pulls like a train, sounds like a plane....faster than a Cheetah sniffin cocaine.   

 

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I considered a day cab when I started down the HDT road as well. I drove a truck for 30 years and had a little time in a day cab. But, I forgot until I went test drove a nice little single axle Pete day cab that I thought was the one. Didn't take but a few miles to remember and decide, nope, this ain't it!  Glad I didn't buy one. The reasons already mentioned are all valid; too many starts and stops, sound dampening, etc, not to mention, depending where you try and license it, it may not qualify for a non-commercial/RV license and insurance. But another VERY important reason is room! You sit straight up and two people and a small purse is about all you can fit in the cab! If you just make short trips to the lake or whatever fine, but if you are going to travel in one, comfort is important. No way I would buy a day cab. As somebody said above, buy one and you will soon regret it! FWIW.

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8 hours ago, rickeieio said:

As you're finding out, each person's requirements, combined with their state's requirements, dictate different answers.  I've seen hatrack's truck and like it, a lot.  But it wouldn't work for us as I'd need commercial license plates/class A/insurance...all because we live in Indiana/Ohio.  I don't know where he's domiciled.

Thank Rick, We are registered in TN. as a MH body style. Our truck is @ 23' long btb. With DRV 64'8" btb.

Ken....

 

2024 DRV Fullhouse JX450

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2020 Volvo VNR 42-640, D13, 455hp, Ishift, 189"wb, factory single, ET Junior Hitch @ 195", Jacklopee, Directlink

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3 hours ago, Steve from SoCal said:

I am not sure of the implications of a 'private truck' in crossing state lines?    

https://www.kellerpermits.com/permits/trip-permits

 

When you compare day cabs and sleeper trucks are they apples to oranges?     The reason I mentioned sleeper truck being less costly is the shear number and the vocational aspects of day cabs.     Vocational trucks like dumps, are speced differently than long haul trucks.     Line haul day cabs would be the closest thing to sleeper trucks but still different enough to be a poor comparison.

 

Are you looking at tandem axle day cabs, single axle or both?     Are you looking for California legal trucks?

 

 

I have been thinking single axle. 

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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3 hours ago, mike5511 said:

I considered a day cab when I started down the HDT road as well. I drove a truck for 30 years and had a little time in a day cab. But, I forgot until I went test drove a nice little single axle Pete day cab that I thought was the one. Didn't take but a few miles to remember and decide, nope, this ain't it!  Glad I didn't buy one. The reasons already mentioned are all valid; too many starts and stops, sound dampening, etc, not to mention, depending where you try and license it, it may not qualify for a non-commercial/RV license and insurance. But another VERY important reason is room! You sit straight up and two people and a small purse is about all you can fit in the cab! If you just make short trips to the lake or whatever fine, but if you are going to travel in one, comfort is important. No way I would buy a day cab. As somebody said above, buy one and you will soon regret it! FWIW.

Thanks for your opinion. 

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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I considered day cabs but instead bought a small 42" sleeper.  It is very maneuverable and will turn circles inside my pickups.  We carry a Subaru so left it tandem. This truck was part of a 2 truck company and had many added options including air lockers.  In Colorado we can just register as a recreational truck or MH.  Ours is recreational. Of course each state has its own requirements. A regular drivers license is all that is needed. 

Randy

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