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dieseldan

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On 5/4/2021 at 1:09 AM, Jet-A said:

Been lurking for a few years now.  Have an 07 Ram dually that I pull a boat with.  I have no experience with travel trailers or fifth wheel campers, but grew up with a lot of tent camping.  I've always loved semi-trucks, but life took me in a different direction for work.  I took advantage of not being able to work last year due to COVID and got my CDL, but work called me back.  I'm trying to drive truck very part time.  So far only have one real week under my belt. 

I'd like to get my HDT kicks and go camping at the same time.  I see that Volvos seem to be the most popular.  I only drove one at the truck school practicing backing maneuvers.  I've driven a bunch of KWs and I like them.  They don't seem to turn quite as tight as the Volvo, but the KW T600 and T660 turn pretty tight too.  Requirement for me for a tractor would be set-back front axle (Volvo, KW T6, etc), manual trans, and sleeper that I can install a seat with belts for my daughter, (or maybe install a jack-knife couch).  I know KW had the jack-knife option.  Does anybody know how long a Volvo with sleeper singled short is?  I definitely want to stay under 65' total.

Welcome. Truck lengths vary based on how they were spec but you can make a very short singled Volvo with sleeper as well as other brands. Jack Mayer had one for his first truck and I think he said it was about the same length as his F450 was. Check his website out. Just be aware that you will be limited what you can put on the back of a singled short truck and keep your length under 65'. Alot also depends on what length trailer you go with. We have a 47' trailer, have a Freightliner Century singled short but with a long bed to carry a smart car and we are at 72' long. I have a 20' garage in our Toyhauler, do you could easily shorten the whole set up to get under your 65' limit. Just be sure to plan out your mission profile to include future wants so you can one truck to do what you want. Plan a visit to a rally to be overwhelmed!

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On 2/17/2006 at 8:34 AM, dieseldan said:

 

Retiring next week. We have bought a fifth wheel and will be buying a truck. I’ve been driving all over North America for 30 years. I’ll probably buy a HDT. Just looking for tips. First will be fifth wheel plate. Air bags or no and why?

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Anjo

     The trailer is yours. 

     RV trailers are not a rugged as semi trailers.

     I have used air 5th. wheel for 9 of the 11 years FT. The air helps not destroy the RV. It allows the trailer to float.

Big Texan.jpg

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We started out with the commercial hitch.  We had a cargo fifth-wheel with living quarter.  Built stout.  Things vibrated loose and items got scattered about.  We switched to an air ride hitch.  Wow.  Life is better.  There's no going back.

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 I am just joining this site, albeit a little late in the game.

I always had the dream of going full-time and had quite a bit of experience with a bunkhouse travel trailer when kids were growing up. Then, two different motorhomes when we were growing up. My dream was always to have a big 5th wheel with an MDT. When we went full-time (Jan 2020) we bought a New Horizons Majestic 43' with 4 slide-outs (GVWR 26,000lbs) and an F450 King Ranch long bed dually. After driving across country and experiencing the mountains in CO (Wolf Creek Pass) and elsewhere and lugging the steep inclines at 25mph,  smoking brakes on steep, long downhill runs, it scared my wife enough that she agreed that maybe we needed a bigger truck.

I already new I wanted an HDT, but my wife was thinking MDT. Once she rode in an MDT she realized that it was no more comfortable than the F450 and that she didn't want to drive it running errands. At that point, the only other option was the HDT for me with a smart car for her.

I found a converted  2006 Volvo VN630 hauler on a ranch. It is the low sleeper model, D15 Volvo engine with 465hp and 1,650 torque and a 12 speed Eaton automatic transmission. It has an 11' bed and a single rear axle, but is not yet set up for a smart car. I sold my heavy duty 5th wheel hitch with the F450 and the truck only has a gooseneck. After much research and discussions with some experts, I decided to change the 5th wheel pin box on the trailer to a gooseneck adapter. The gooseneck ball on the truck is welded on a base plate with three airbags (identical to the 30,000lb Trailer Saver hitch I had on the F450), one in front and two on rear, so I have air bag comfort on the gooseneck ball.

I decided to go the gooseneck route based on three things. 

1. I knew that any hitch currently on the truck would eventually have to be moved to the very back of the bed in order to fit the smart car. So, if I didn't like the gooseneck setup after traveling around the country for several months, then I could switch back to a 5th wheel hitch when the smart car conversion is done.

2. Initial costs. I figured I saved around $3,000 by going with the gooseneck, between the difference saved on the Gen Y gooseneck hitch versus the Travel Saver 5th wheel hitch, plus removal and install labor for the 5th wheel hitch.

2. My research showed that the gooseneck is at least as good, if not better than towing with the 5th wheel hitch. Some folks have even claimed the mileage improved around 1 mpg.

We are currently stuck in AZ, where we spent the Winter because we had a blowout, the debris from that broke the air valves on the other two tires and caused them to go flat. By the time I found a safe place to pull over on I-10 just S of Phoenix, all the tires were ruined. (They were brand new Goodyear G114 H rated with less than 150 miles on them).

So far, we are loving our HDT and would never go back to anything but. Driving an HDT is not much different than driving the F450 long bed dually. The width is close to the same, the height is no higher than the trailer, so the length is the only real difference. My total length is 27'. Although I would love to be able to afford a new Volvo but I like the idea of no DEF and I saved $100,000+ by buying used. If I found another HDT in my price range and already set up with a smart car between now and the end of summer when we plan to have ours done, I might consider that, but that is not an easy task.

Overall, safety and comfort are the primary values in going HDT. With airbags on the gooseneck ball, dampeners on the gooseneck hitch, air on both axles, air cab and air seats, we are comfortable and smooth. With the large air brakes on the truck plus the trailer brakes, stopping power is never the issue. Life is good.

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On 5/18/2021 at 7:56 AM, Star Dreamer said:

Welcome. Truck lengths vary based on how they were spec but you can make a very short singled Volvo with sleeper as well as other brands. Jack Mayer had one for his first truck and I think he said it was about the same length as his F450 was. Check his website out. Just be aware that you will be limited what you can put on the back of a singled short truck and keep your length under 65'. Alot also depends on what length trailer you go with. We have a 47' trailer, have a Freightliner Century singled short but with a long bed to carry a smart car and we are at 72' long. I have a 20' garage in our Toyhauler, do you could easily shorten the whole set up to get under your 65' limit. Just be sure to plan out your mission profile to include future wants so you can one truck to do what you want. Plan a visit to a rally to be overwhelmed!

Thank you!  I like your van.  I have a thing for vans too.  I'm thinking I want to do a toyhauler with a small car inside behind a short singled truck to stay within 65'.  I did see a nice Volvo race hauler for sale last week that is 33' long and I think that would work for us too and then just pull a trailer for car or toys.  I definitely want to visit a rally.  I really want to get the ball rolling on a setup by next year.

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Hello new member here, but not new to semi-trucks. I bought my first semi in 1976, a 1973 Chevrolet Titan 90 single axle, 8v71 Detroit Diesel 10 speed trans, no A/C or power steering. My wife and I spent 36 years together as owner operators. During that time we owned 6 new trucks, the last 2 were 'big houses' with ARI custom sleepers, it was like full time RVing, but getting paid to travel around the country. Due to health reasons we retired from trucking last year. I started a 'new' 'project' late last year, and it has snow balled almost out of control. I have a big skid steer with a forestry deck that I used to keep some property cleared up. I had a guy cutting down some trees around my house when he notice the skid steer he told me 'if you get a bucket and a trailer for that machine I can get you enough work to make some extra money' sooooooo I ended up buying a bucket and a 32' goose neck trailer. THEN came the snowball effect. I started doing some figuring at all that weight and it was going to be more than my 2500 HD GMC pickup could handle. Sooooo I started looking for a truck for my 'project'. The short story is I bought a 2012 Freightliner day cab single axle. Then the real fun started, I needed to set up that truck to haul the trailer, brake controller and wiring. That research lead me to buy a Direclink trailer brake controller and a Jackalopee. I have just started that install (and still trying to figure it out). I am also thinking that the Freightliner would make a better tow vehicle than my GMC. My long term plans have been to tow a trailer behind the 5th wheel,( it's only 27 foot long) because we found out a couple of winters ago when wintering in Arizona we needed a trailer to tow our RZR to some ride areas, and we had to borrow one. Soooooo towing the RV is going to mean that the 5th wheel commercial hitch needs to be replaced. Is this not fun? I am so glad for the internet and groups like this for good information. IF anybody has any questions or comments feel free to ask. I am going to try to figure out how to get some pictures on my profile, everybody loves to see pictures. 

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Did you buy aN HDT that was converted to an RV and a Toyhauler traille?. If so the licensing de;pends upon your state of domicile. In Texas all you need to drive the truck is a Class C license and not a Commercial license.

 

 

ShortyO

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yes the set up I bought was a 2008 freightliner converted to pull the 2016 heartland cyclone. The freightliner is automatic and no air brake and single rear axle. I have been told that since it has no air brake I don’t need to get a cdl a. My weights are truck is 16,000 lbs and the cyclone max is 22,000. 

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5 hours ago, Jamylynn said:

yes the set up I bought was a 2008 freightliner converted to pull the 2016 heartland cyclone. The freightliner is automatic and no air brake and single rear axle. I have been told that since it has no air brake I don’t need to get a cdl a. My weights are truck is 16,000 lbs and the cyclone max is 22,000. 

That looks like a Freightliner Columbia, very similar to our Century. I don't think I have ever seen one without air brakes, do you have the yellow and red knobs on the dash? 

As mentioned, licensing varies by state or province, knowing where are you located at may help us help you.KCn55fRl.jpg 

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19 hours ago, geodog1 said:

In Texas all you need to drive the truck is a Class C license and not a Commercial license.

Not true, Shorty.  You're correct that it doesn't require a CDL in Texas, but if the GVWR of the vehicle exceeds 26,000# it does require an Exempt Class B, and if towing a trailer in excess of 10,000#, it requires an Exempt Class A.

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2 hours ago, Sbowers1 said:

Looking for someone to convert a Kenworth T700 to HDT for RV towing.  

Welcome to the forum!  As the owner of the T700's predecessor, the T2000, I think that you'll really enjoy your new-to-you truck.

If you can give us some idea of where you and the truck are located and how extensive the conversion you have in mind, we'll try to find someone that can give you some ideas as to where you can find help with the conversion.

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