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Old 10-17-2009, 12:45 PM   #1
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Why single out your HDT?

My wife and I have been talking about going this route for some time now, and I am actually in a position to purchase the rig I currently drive from my employer as they plan to upgrade finally.

The one question that constantly perplexes me though, is why single out the truck and loose so much load capacity, traction and braking?

The truck we may be getting is a 2000 Freightliner FLD 120 with a 72" condo sleeper, Cummins N14+ turned up to just over 500hp and it has a Eaton autoshifter (shudder) but I have been running it for several years all over North America, Canada in the winter and all the way to Fairbanks this last summer.
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Old 10-20-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
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Welcome to our forum. It's sad that you haven't gotten any comments. I don't have any answers for you, but I would guess the main reason for most people is less tires and equipment to wear out. Sounds like you should really know the truck and that would be a big plus. If it was me I would probably leave it as is and change it later if I felt it needed it.

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Old 10-20-2009, 12:51 PM   #3
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I think another reason is that it gives your 5er a softer ride.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:49 PM   #4
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So many possible answers and so little space. The biggest reason is the cost of the tires. Other then that, I have a 98 Volvo 610 that I had converted in 2003 and built a bed with side boxes on it. This was all done by Doonan Peterbilt in Wichita, KS.

The truck you referenced, sounds like it has quite a few miles left in it and would make a heckofa toter.

In hindsight, I would feel better had I not removed the front rear axle and made do with less storage space on the bed. I currently carry a 03 Honda 750 and a 01 Yamaha 650 on the bed behind the cab. This has suited our needs for 6+ years now.

If you would like any more info on conversions or using the truck as a RV toter, let me know by private message or posting here.

I am currently in Kansas enroute to Texas and it may be a day or two before I get back to you with any of your questions.
1998 Volvo 610
2001 Alfa Ideal, 38.5, triple axle, triple slide
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:40 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input.

As it sits, if we do get "my" truck from work, I plan on leaving it with the tandems. I plan on a deck or possibly even a box to haul a Jeep on/in and then push the hitch back behind the axles for better maneuverability.

The box idea is simply to have a more secure storage area for our vehicle and mostly to maintain some degree of smooth airflow from tractor to 5er.
We are still heavily in the planning stages on this one though.

As for the truck having a lot of miles left in it, yeah it does, it's a 2000 with less than 250K on it . . . it runs really well now that I got the fuel filters replaced, but I still want to get the injectors checked out as well as have the whole top end checked out. She just got all new drives and the steers were replaced last fall. Only drawback is that all the drives were recaps, and that is really not a good call in my book.

I have been told about the slightly better maneuverability and on some trucks the better ride from singling. I don't know if there is anything you can do to make a Freightliner ride better in the first place (they ride fairly rough as is) and the maneuverability factor doesn't bother me, I'm used to going into some really ugly places with her as is so I'm ready for what she can and can't do.

Any modifications to the truck will probably be done at my friends marina locally. We do a lot of work on the truck up there right now since there is no garage at work and some things you just want to do indoors. The guys up there have a lot of experience fabricating and building some really cool gear for all kinds of applications.
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Old 10-24-2009, 06:32 AM   #6
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I think if you don't need the load capacity you could ditch the other drive axle. I couldn't imagine a 5ver that would need the tandems. The other advantage is the extra storage bins you could put in. I suppose you could figure out how much it would cost to remove the axle and see if it's worth it to you?
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Old 10-24-2009, 06:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bob86ZZ4 View Post
I suppose you could figure out how much it would cost to remove the axle and see if it's worth it to you?
I've seen several posts where a shop will single out a tractor in return for the removed axle, tires, wheels, suspension components, etc. IOW, the net outlay to have this done was $0.

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Old 10-24-2009, 03:31 PM   #8
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Couple of things on singling: If you remove the front axle and leave the rear axle in the original position, you will have to have a carrier bearing and another drive shaft made up. Once this is done, the yoke on the rear axle is not the same as the yoke on the front axle. (much lighter). It will have to be replaced. Also, the drive line angle will have to revised. Downside to not doing this will result in replacing "U" joints on a regular basis.

A drive line alignment will have to be done also or you will be replacing "U" joints again.

Removing the front axle/tires will also take a lot of weight off the rear which transfers more weight to the front axle. To counter this, additional weight will have to be added to the rear to compensate. I have a 1 1/2" thick steel plate weighing in at about 1800 #'s welded to the rear of the bed. With the pin weight of the 5th wheel and the steel plate, I carry about 10,300#'s on the rear and 10,500#'s on the front.
Gross combined weight truck with full fuel tanks and trailer is right at 37,800#s

I have found that with the one set of drivers, the truck is virtually helpless in snow and mud, not to mention wet grass.

Having a shop remove an axle/tires depends a lot on where you are at and the demand for an axle with the gearing that you are removing. It may cost more then you think.
1998 Volvo 610
2001 Alfa Ideal, 38.5, triple axle, triple slide
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:24 PM   #9
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Good post, and interesting comments.
I opted for a factory single axle as I didn't need the load capacity, and didn't want the cost/work of singling. Also wanted a real tight turning radius, and figured 1/2 of the tires, bearings, brakes, etc. was a plus for cost.
I only intended on carrying my Harley on the back, as well as the wt. of the 5er. and it has worked very well for me.
However, the bobtail with single axle gets real interesting when wet, or as Jim has stated on wet grass or mud, as I have basically no weight on the rear axle at all in that situation.
If I ever build another one for myself, I would probably go with the tandem, as I think a longer wheel base would ride better, and as many of us have found out after our build, more bed space sure would be nice!! Also tires and brakes last so long on these big giants, it doesn't seem to me that it would be a real issue.
Good luck with your potential purchase. It sounds like you have all the basic situations pretty well ironed out for yourself, wich in the end is reall all that matters.
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:41 PM   #10
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We just bought an '06 Volvo 670 465HP & 219" WB. We have decided to keep it tandem. Yes, we lose a little storage space but my thinking was that that was how it was built and I'd have less problems if I left it alone. Beside a lot of what we're hearing and reading is people wish they had the tandem back.

Herrin Welding of Kilgore, TX is building the bed to carry a Smart car and with 5 storage boxes. I think we'll have more than enough storage space. We should be getting it back around the 1st week in December.
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Old 09-11-2010, 01:15 AM   #11
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So all the talk about tire costs has anybody thought about going with super singles this way you only have six tires to deal with, 2 steer and 4 drivers?
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:06 AM   #12
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Super singles are mostly about saving weight, aren't they? My son drives over the road and his company uses all super singles (trucks and trailers). He told me they do it to save weight so they can load the trailers heavier. I don't know if it would be cheaper tho. Other problem with s/s is that if you lose one you're dead on the road. Tandems you can drive a bit usually with one of them gone.
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