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Old 07-06-2010, 03:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Help me decide to buy a semi

I have an 06 duramax right now and it tows great. The only problem is that I'd like to be able to take all my toys with me (buggy, sandrail, 2 quads) and still be able to camp comfortably. THe setup I was thinking about is a 28' 5th wheel and a trailer behind it with a 24' deck. Now I"m getting my class a license so I can tow doubles so that's not a problem. I went and looked at an international 8600 today and that can be had with a 12' bed and a 5th wheel hitch for $24k. Figured I can sell my truck for more than that and have a safer and better tow vehicle. I can only really see a couple negatives to it. 1 being that I love going to Pismo (got married in the dunes last year) and not sure if it'll tow into the sand. 2 How much will insurance be since I think that's the only real maintanence or other fee that would change? And am I missing any other costs? 3 Will need to put a DPF filter on it $10k by 2014.
So my question is why have more people not done this and am I overlooking any major or minor problems. Seems to be all kinds of positives to this just don't want to jump into anything blind. Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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check the length laws in your state, in Texas a tractor trailer can be 75ft overall length, a pickup max is 65 ft. You are going to be more than 65 ft maybe more than 75 ft.
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Old 07-06-2010, 04:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My understanding is that you can't have any kind of bed on the truck in order for it to be considered a tractor (for length laws that is)
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Under the assumption that you are from california...Most of the people that you see towing rv's with tractors have had the actual tractor licensed as a motorhome which makes registration and insurance much cheaper than it would be for a commercial vehicle. From what I understand, California is a bitch when it comes to making a commercial vehicle non-commercial. I have a kenworth k-100 that I registered as a motorhome in Missouri, it was much cheaper than getting the diesel pickup that I wanted.
So,, to answer your questions:
1) Road tractors are helpless in bad traction situations. Also, the heavy front axle likes to sink.
2) A shitload if you get commercial vehicle insurance. Don't forget IFTA stickers, yearly DOT vehicle inspection, and apportioned plates.
3) I don't know how Cali's emission laws are.
I love my Kenworth and recommend anyone to get a road tractor for the bang for your buck value. However, if you cant get it registered as a non commercial vehicle I think it would be cost prohibitive.

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Old 07-06-2010, 05:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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buy this......625HP C-15


On a serious note I'd look into the specs of the truck to give you a fair value, engine, trans, axles have diff locks, what ratings are the rear axles, ratios etc. What is the mileage on the truck? What about the history? It's hard to say that's a good deal or not from the little info we have. I was at a auction in May where 06 model Macks with S/A air ride and Cat C-9s were going for 16K with under 150K miles.

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Old 07-06-2010, 07:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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}ood stuff guys. How do you register a semi as a motorhome? Does it have to have a toilet, sink, and tank or whatever it is? Then for the yearly inspection those fees aren't that much are they? Just seems like mentioned above, bang for the buck is best for a semi. Also, it's safer and longer lasting.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Could always go super singles in the front to help with floatation in sandy areas, but its still gonna be a bitch even with a Power Divide lock up out back. I know what I go through with a 10 wheeler in sandy areas, and my sandy areas arn't pure sand like pismo. Me likey the International too ^^
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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With the emission laws, I was under the impression that the vehicle had to meet the emission laws for the year that it was assembled, not the newest standard.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My understanding is that you can't have any kind of bed on the truck in order for it to be considered a tractor (for length laws that is)
Split load?

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}ood stuff guys. How do you register a semi as a motorhome? Does it have to have a toilet, sink, and tank or whatever it is?
In MT, I had to have mine inspected by a peace officer after installing 4 of 5 of: sink/stove (food prep), fridge, toilet, shower, and/or furnace. Saved me a ton on both insurance and registration. Over 10 years old, and we can get permanent non-comm registration for roughly 2x the cost of an annual reg.

Guessing you're in CA, but I'd assume the requirements are similar.



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Old 07-06-2010, 10:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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With the emission laws, I was under the impression that the vehicle had to meet the emission laws for the year that it was assembled, not the newest standard.
Nope, they are making people retro-fit. BUT, all of the laws are currently for fleets, not 1 truck or private owners.

I would imagine you would have to have BIT inspections and keep records even if it was titled as a motorhome due to the weight rating and trailering capacity. You'd have to look into that though.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Split load?
If you're talking about pulling doubles, I have no idea there.

I don't know definite details on any of it but from all the LTL forums I've read I've seen a lot of stuff where guys have had to take the "western hauler" bed or regular flatbed off their truck in order for it to be considered a "tractor" (running just fenders and mudflaps, like a semi), because in some states the maximum allowable length, either combined or just the trailer, changed by doing so.

In any case, if it were me I wouldn't want a class 8 truck for what he's describing, at least not a tandem drive one. Everything I've heard about them say they get 6-7mpg loaded or not, plus everything weighs twice as much and costs a lot more. Something closer to medium duty would probably work good, I'd think. I'm not sure how the prices are now but I know that after gas prices skyrocketed and the economy tanked, the luxury rigs people had used to pull their race equipment or mega horse trailers were going for really cheap.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:48 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I think towing into the sand I'll be fine. I have a yj on 38's and have helped tow in big rv's. What do you mean by a medium duty truck? Like a kodiak or f-450? It always seemed to me they just have a detuned motor, bigger brakes, frame but the same tranny . A lot of weight and increased towing but not a lot of power or anything. The semi I was looking at (international 8600) had a single axle in back and could have a locker for $400. Was thinkingof a super single on the rear but think I wouldn't gain enough to make it worthwhile. I've always heard one of those trucks will get 6 -8 mpg fully loaded so don't see 10mpg with a 20k load would be unreasonable? Anyone with real world experience. Thanks again for all the ideas and really still wondering why someone would buy a $60000 truck instead of a used semi.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have a Pete w/ rebuilt engine and trans that I had plans on turning into a toterhome. Would be willing to sell if you want. Has a 48' aluminum flatbed that could go with it also if you wanted.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:09 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Why you looking to sell the truck? Did it not work for you or just didn't have time. Thanks for the offer but already have the trailers I need and have a good lead on a truck. How's your truck do mileage wise while towing? And have you had any maintanence issues of anything major break?
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:07 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Well I have a Freightliner FLD120 that I am in the process of converting into a toterhome. It has a 10 speed and 3406 cat in it. I have driven it around here and there and it is getting 10 mpg as it sits. It has a 18' box on it with a 5 foot bed behind it for a goose neck hitch. I have singled it out and am doing a full interior in the box, fridge, sink, toilet, A/C, heat and ect. It will be reg as a motorhome so cost will be low. as far as driving it in soft sand I would say no the frount axel has ALOT of weight on it. As far as being a good tow vehicle I would not trade it it will tow anything you put behind it. Check out this forum Escapees RV Forum http://www.rvnetwork.com/ One mre thing as I dont know what state you are from, here in Utah you can reg the truck with a lighter GVW say 20,000 and no special license is needed and reg is also less.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
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the sand might be a concern, I get around just fine at comp sites. get it registered as an rv as said. You might learn something from my thread below coverting a box truck.

Most med duty trucks have too small an engine and waaaaay low gearing (which might not be an issue if you have to drive 55) the big motors and tall gears get better mileage than the screaming small engines in many mdt's.

I've towed doubles enough to know it's not the best way to go, for a variety of reasons. buy or make a fabbed 5er/flatbed combo.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:29 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Nope, they are making people retro-fit. BUT, all of the laws are currently for fleets, not 1 truck or private owners.

I would imagine you would have to have BIT inspections and keep records even if it was titled as a motorhome due to the weight rating and trailering capacity. You'd have to look into that though.
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Actually, a good customer of ours just noted that those dates were recently pushed back ( I think beyond 2014). You've got some time to spare and prices will be dropping as technology grows.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:08 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I live in cali and tow with a class 8 truck. You do NOT have to be in the BIT program if you are only towing recreational. I register my truck partial year and it only runs me $75 per month for a gvw of 35K.....I don't stop at the scales nor do I have to pay IFTA...Insurance runs about $5-600 per year.




Oh yeah, this truck is for sale also lol... According to CARB as of yesterday, if you drive less than 5,ooo miles per year you are exempt from the new laws until 2021.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
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So what's the full-on lowdown 66cummins? How is your truck registered, regular old commercial, or RV? Do you have to run "not for hire" type decals? What are the full ins and outs of driving something like this up and down the road strictly for personal RV type use? It would be nice to have some real live first hand experience posted up.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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It is not registered as a RV, I pay fees on 35,000lbs not the 80K the truck used to haul. I haven't had any issues running around cali, we mostly travel out of cali to moab. I have " not for hire " decals also. I have been in a "pissing" match with the local DOT dick though. My conversations with most CHPs has been they would rather see more truck than less.

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Old 07-12-2010, 09:07 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm thinking you'd be better off selling your 2 trailers and buying a dry van or moving van trailer. Everything will be out of sight/ out of mind and you won't have to deal with doubles.

Go to a short course race like a traxxas race and walk through the pits you will see all kinds of options for home made toters.

My 1 buddy has just a normal "fleet truck" semi with a sleeper cab and a 54' dry van. He converted the first 12 or so feet to living quaters and then can fit 2 buggies and a quad in the back.

The other has a semi with a "toter conversion" on the back of the semi. The toter has a king bed above the cab and will have a slide out with a couch, single bed, and kitchen. The trailer is a 54' van with storage under it. Inside the first 10-12' are living quaters with 6 individual bunks and a king lofted over the truck/ work area of the trailer. They built really sturdy work benches and drive a race truck and a jeep up on to the work benches and put dirt bikes/ motor cycles in the middle.

Look around on race-dezert and I think it's racingjunk.com for some used haulers. People are getting out of racing due to the economy and dumping things cheap.
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:42 PM   #22 (permalink)
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It is hard as hell to get a commercial truck recognised as an RV by the state, but can be done more have given up than succeeded. I believe there is a certain square footage of living space required now as well as separate heat/air from the truck and running water and some form of cooking set up. Must be a single drive axle (avoid air ride in the sand) and not for hire. There are services that will handle the registration part for you but getting it inspected and signed off by DMV is the hard part. RV.net and expedition vehicle forums, IH8MUD all have a wealth of info on this. I seriously considered this with one of our retired road trucks but then I realized how expensive it would be to own it, don't kid yourself owning a commercial truck sucks and costs a lot of money if you are on a tight budget it will kill you.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:33 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Thanks for the ideas but the reason I like having a truck (semi), living trailer and trailer behind is it can be a boat, buggy, or we can just go camping with the trailer or just go for the day with the buggy and not have a 50' trailer.

8d3toy, why do you think that owning a semi would cost a lot of money? Seems as cheap as having my truck. Just curious since I'm sure you have more knowledge than me on it since I'm new to the whole thing. Thanks.
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:09 PM   #24 (permalink)
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any hdt will potentially suck in the sand. It has a lot to do with the 10'000 lb front axle on narrow road tires. Any "road tractor" will not do as well as say a dump truck in an off road situation because of the way the different suspensions articulate.
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:56 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Why you looking to sell the truck? Did it not work for you or just didn't have time. Thanks for the offer but already have the trailers I need and have a good lead on a truck. How's your truck do mileage wise while towing? And have you had any maintanence issues of anything major break?
I have been working overseas since 2004 and just haven't had the time to mess with it. I am having to buy out my mother on the family ranch and house, so just looking to liquidate a tad. The truck runs great and gets 7mpg w/ 4 rigs on the back. The only problem I have with it is that when it is cold it likes to drop the rpm's down to about 300 and starts to lope a smoke a bit. I just use the cruise control to bump the rpms to ~1000 and let it idle there for a bit when we get it cranked. I don't know whether to equate this to fuel or injectors.
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