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Old 07-28-2011, 12:01 AM   #1
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Ready to buy a HDT.

After today's pavement ripping 12 mph up a 12% grade with our 2008 F-450 pulling a 41' 18500 pound toy hauler, I've absolutely made the decision to buy a HDT at the end of our trip early September. I have been reading the posts and scouring Truck Trader and e-bay, looking for the perfect truck. What I'm seeing is very little in the $30,000 range with less than 650,000 to 800,000 miles. At what point is the mileage too much? I don't mind spending say, $25,000 and putting another five to seven grand making it right, but I don't know enough about class eight tractors to make an educated decision. We've picked the Volvo, preferably an '05 or up. Any thoughts on how to keep from getting screwed would really help. If I sell my pristine F-450 and buy a tractor that either costs a fortune to keep running or is unreliable, my wife will kill me in my sleep.
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:03 AM   #2
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Try posting on escapees.com, there's a bunch of guys over there running converted HDTs. Lots of help too.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:49 PM   #3
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Did you look on truckertotrucker.com yet? It gives you trucks for sale by states. I think most guys try to get a truck with less than 500K miles on it.
http://www.truckertotrucker.com/listings/61226.cfm
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:55 PM   #4
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Mississippi has some deals going on!

http://www.truckertotrucker.com/search_results.cfm
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:16 PM   #5
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How often do you have to pull a 12% grade? Having work done on those trucks is not cheap.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:55 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info folks. We decided to go the HDT route for a few reasons. Much of our travel is in areas with 8 to 12 percent grades heading to and from our National Parks. While the F-450 is perfect on a straight road, up steep hills, it simply is way under powered. The other reason and to me the most compelling reason to go the HDT route was that while on one of our up and down the mountain trips. One of the wires leading to the electric brakes broke and we wound up with minimal braking. An HDT with air brakes would have handled the incident easily, while we were white knuckle until we got off the mountain and fixed it.
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:03 AM   #7
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rick, there won't be any "white knuckle" moments with an HDT in fact the truck won't know the trailer's there. One important thing with an HDT is an air hitch, after all they are built for much more then the 18500 your trailer weighs and will do a job on the frame of the trailer with out an air hitch. I also suggest looking for something with air suspension for your comfort, a spring suspension will beat you and your family to death. Volvos seem to be very popular trucks to convert because of the ride, interior room, and wheel cut (they turn shorter then your F450) . As I have said check out Escapees RV Club the club for all RVers their are many over there doing what you want to do and they're more than willing to help in any way they can (including helping to find a truck)..... Being a retired OTR driver, I'm a little bias toward HDTs.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:39 AM   #8
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I applaud your decision to go the hdt route. You might want to consider coming to the www.hdtrally.com in Kansas. I went last year and met a ton of great hdt folks. They have several seminars geared toward people wanting to learn more about what you're planning to do. blackf350 is right, you'll not have any issues with an hdt handling your trailer weight. Last year I met a guy that pulled a rather light 5th wheel with a F450. He was at the hdt rally. He said he had his F450 hopped up and it still wasn't up to the task. He lives around Denver. He came to the rally to learn and shortly afterward bought a '99 Volvo 770. He said it's cost him less than his F450 and is MUCH more capable and comfortable.

As far as maintenance costs are concerned they aren't that bad. The truck shops I've used are very reasonable I think. Sure, if you have a major component failure it might cost more than an F450. But the likelihood of something like that happening is much less I'd think.

Hope to see you in Kansas. They are very welcoming to everybody.
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:23 PM   #9
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Rick,

Have a look at my website with regards to converting HDT. HDT RV CONVERSION
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