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Old 10-01-2014, 06:54 PM   #1
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Freightliner FL60 thoughts

Hi everyone,
We are preparing to go full time and now considering one of the heavier 5th wheels (one example is unloaded vehicle weight of 16,200 lbs.). We concerned about the trailer pushing the truck around (mountains, etc.). So, we are looking at a pre-owned Freightliner FL60 single rear axle and think we would be confident and comfortable with such a vehicle. Would this be "over-kill"? We also don't want to be "shunned" at the RV parks! Would love to have thoughts from all of you more experienced RVrs!
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:09 PM   #3
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You should chat with the escapees forum members, they have a wealth of knowledge about medium and heavy duty trucks.

Maybe you should just consider a HDT, probably more reasonably priced and more capable than a FL60 plus you can convert it to motorhome status. That way you can forego scales, commercial plates and so on.

I have looked at a HDT with great interest, the issue I have - is that with 2 children I don't see it practical for us to tour around in, plus the smart car option is out of the question for our family!

It might work for you though.


I'm sure others will chime in soon!




Adam
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:10 PM   #5
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Yes,

I have seen the video, I'm sure they are an awesome family!

We are fresh out of a 42' motorhome and I would be hard pressed to convince the family to ride or tour around in a sleeper. (no offence)
Its No doubt they are the ultimate tow vehicle, but I don't feel a HDT works for my current stage with the family.
Now, I could travel (with the family) in a HDT but we would still require a 4 seat car to tour in. Again the smart car works for some members but for obvious reasons its out for us.

I guess you could construct a lengthy deck to hold a bigger car but with our 41' FW we would be well beyond legal length for our part-time travels with that configuration.

I apologize for hyjacking this thread. I'm sure HDT owners will be able to answer the OP questions about the FL60.


Thanks
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:15 AM   #6
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Sweetgeorgia; Another alternative is look at other Medium Duty Trucks (MDT) like the Chevy Kodiak 4500, or the Ford F-650. Look on the web site, trucktrader.com. You'll find numerous MDT's already set up with hauler beds to tow 5th wheel RV's. A Heavy Duty Truck will be way OVERKILL for the weights you're talking.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:00 AM   #7
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Is it really 'overkill' if a HDT is cheaper?
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetgeorgia View Post
We are preparing to go full time and now considering one of the heavier 5th wheels (one example is unloaded vehicle weight of 16,200 lbs.).
Full-timers should never even look at unloaded vehicle weight (UVW), for the trailer or the tow vehicle (TV). When moving between RV parks or campgrounds, you'll haul everything you own. So use the GVWR of the trailer and the truck as your estimate of the weight of your rig.

Your example trailer probably has GVWR of 20k or so. With the common pin weight percentage of 24% of wet and loaded trailer weight, your TV will have to have enough payload capacity to haul the wet and loaded TV plus 4,800 pounds of hitch weight.

First consider if a lighter-duty class 4 truck can do the job. Class 4 = Ford F-450 or GM/Ram 4500. 2012 F-450 pickup has a maximum cargo weight rating of 4,297 pounds. Oops! Not enough for 4,800 pounds hitch weight.

So that means that a class 6 truck should be just fine and dandy for that trailer. Class 6 = F-650, FL-60, and Peterbilt, Kenworth, an MAC class 6 trucks with single rear dually axle. I have specs for the 2009 F-650, so I'll use that, and assume Freightliner makes a truck with similar specs. GVWR from a minimum of 20,500 to a max of 26,000 with the frame most often used for adding a tow body. With the 20,500 GVWR, subtract 4,800 hitch weight and that leaves 15,700 pounds max weight for the wet and loaded truck before you tie onto the trailer. Add a heavy steel 3,000-pound tow body and that still leaves 12,700 pounds max weight for the wet and loaded truck before you tie onto the trailer. I doubt you can load the truck and tow body to more than about 12,000 pounds gross weight without the trailer, so even the lightest-duty F-650 will meet your needs.

Engines , transmissions and rear axles are also optional for medium duty trucks, so do your homework to decide which is best for a 20k trailer.

Quote:
We concerned about the trailer pushing the truck around (mountains, etc.). So, we are looking at a pre-owned Freightliner FL60 single rear axle and think we would be confident and comfortable with such a vehicle. Would this be "over-kill"?
The FL60 will not be too much truck for a 20k trailer. It will be just about perfect.

Quote:
We also don't want to be "shunned" at the RV parks!
RV parks normally don't care what kind of TV you have. An FL60 with a tow body is not much bigger than an F-450 CrewCab pickup. The more likely cause for concern is your huge, long 5er. You cannot get that big monster trailer into lots of the smaller campgrounds, and probably in none of the older federal Forest Service, BLM or Corps of Engineers campgrounds. And a lot of state parks will also not allow you in with that huge 5er.

But that's why they make cell phones and the Trailer Life Campground guide. Call ahead to be sure the campground can handle your rig. That's what we do.
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:41 PM   #9
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20k lb trailer is ok for an FL-60 to stop safely, but the actual performance, he'll be dissatisfied. 6% grades,...he might get lucky to maintain 30-35 mph. Even on flatland with a small amount of headwind, he might be able to keep up 55 mph, but then he'll be in 5th gear all the time. I wonder how do i know. That's why I moved up to a Class 8 with big power and torque. For 20k lbs, the Fl-60 is gonna handle the weight better than a pickup, but the performance won't be as good, because they have the same amount of torque but not as much horsepower at the pickups. But then again, the FL-60 is gonna be more durable towing that kind of weight on a regular basis.
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Old 10-03-2014, 06:00 PM   #10
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Also, if you can find one with at least a 300hp Cat, that'll get the job done. The newer M2s with the Mercedes engine will disappoint you very quickly,....even though the same class engine has higher ratings than the Cat, it WILL NOT perform better in any area of performance. The Cat will out pull the Mercedes engine all day long, while getting better fuel economy.
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:39 AM   #11
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We just want to thank all of you for your responses. You have been so incredibly helpful. Your knowledge and wisdom is MUCH appreciated!
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Old 10-05-2014, 10:42 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bigg-limo View Post
Also, if you can find one with at least a 300hp Cat, that'll get the job done.
You're talking used trucks. Cat has not made a truck engine for a few years because they didn't want to invest in the changes required to meet the new EPA requirements.

And back when CAT made diesel engines for class 6 trucks, the 300 HP engine was an expensive option. In an F-650, it was a $10,000 option, while the regular CAT engine was very little more than the stock Cummins. So very few were sold. So finding a used FL-60 with the 300-HP Cat engine will probably be an exercise in futility.

For new Freightliner trucks, the M2 replaces the FL-60. The standard engine is powerful enough for most customers, but they offer a more powerful Cummins ISL9 option. The ISL9 has HP up to 380 and torque up to 1,300. That's all the engine you need for any 20k trailer - assuming you choose the right tranny and rear axle to go with the engine. The smaller, less-expensive Cummins ISB6.7 engine is available with up to 325 HP and 750 lb/ft. Most people would probably be happy with that engine dragging a 20k trailer.
Cummins Engines - Freightliner Trucks

There is no indication on the Diamler/Freightliner websites that they now use Mercedes-Benz engines in any of the Freightliner trucks. Are the websites not up to date? When Diamler sold Chrysler to FIAT, did they sell Freightliner too? I know that Dodge installed Mercedes-Benz diesel engines in in the Sprinter vans when Chrysler was owned by Diamler, but did Freightliner offer some Diamler engines too?
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Old 10-05-2014, 11:04 AM   #13
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You're talking used trucks. Cat has not made a truck engine for a few years because they didn't want to invest in the changes required to meet the new EPA requirements.



And back when CAT made diesel engines for class 6 trucks, the 300 HP engine was an expensive option. In an F-650, it was a $10,000 option, while the regular CAT engine was very little more than the stock Cummins. So very few were sold. So finding a used FL-60 with the 300-HP Cat engine will probably be an exercise in futility.



For new Freightliner trucks, the M2 replaces the FL-60. The standard engine is powerful enough for most customers, but they offer a more powerful Cummins ISL9 option. The ISL9 has HP up to 380 and torque up to 1,300. That's all the engine you need for any 20k trailer - assuming you choose the right tranny and rear axle to go with the engine. The smaller, less-expensive Cummins ISB6.7 engine is available with up to 325 HP and 750 lb/ft. Most people would probably be happy with that engine dragging a 20k trailer.

Cummins Engines - Freightliner Trucks



There is no indication on the Diamler/Freightliner websites that they now use Mercedes-Benz engines in any of the Freightliner trucks. Are the websites not up to date? When Diamler sold Chrysler to FIAT, did they sell Freightliner too? I know that Dodge installed Mercedes-Benz diesel engines in in the Sprinter vans when Chrysler was owned by Diamler, but did Freightliner offer some Diamler engines too?

Yes, I'm talking used trucks, since the FL-60 is what we're talking about.

Maybe very few were sold in The F-650s, but the Sportchassis that were around the '02-'05 era, plus or minus a few years were plentiful.

At this moment, I don't know what the current Cummins ratings are for the new M2s, because I have not been keeping up with the latest changes.

I've owned two Sportchassis with the Mercedes engine. It was rated 330hp and 1000 ft-lb of torque. The first one was an '05 with a hauler bed on it, and I sold it four months after I bought it. The second one was a P2XL model. I didn't mind it, because I wasn't towing much with it. They did put them in. They even have an engine that's about 410hp with about 1600 ft-lbs of torque. I'm not for sure on the exact ratings, but it's close to that. Check out www.sportchassis.com. I just did, and it has the latest models and specs. Also google 2005-2007 Sportchassis M2. Like I said, for the past couple of years, I haven't kept up with the changes, because I have my awesome tow vehicle, and am not concerned with all that's going on around. Hope that helps.
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:23 PM   #14
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I see MDT's and HDT's come and go in many CG's. I've never seen them shunned. And yes in some cases they were overkill based on the trailer being pulled. But it is all about driver comfort. As a previous chief fire officer (at a major fire scene), i have always lived by the principle that i would rather have more then i need the need more than i have. same principle can be applied to a tow vehicle.

I've got an F-450 and my 5er is well under the weight ratings; so that is all I need. but getting into some larger 5er's we've looked at (45' DRV, 40'+ New Horizon) would be getting into an MDT/HDT.
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