HDT page


Donna and our Volvo on a shopping trip.

For years I have been pondering traveling with a toyhauler. That interest increased last year (2015) when I found out about using an HDT (heavy duty truck...Class 8) to pull the toyhauler. This past fall on our Niagra Falls motorcycle trip we decided to make it happen. It would have been nice to spend more time in the places we traveled through. We'll start with the truck and eventually get a large toyhauler.

A common question I get is why did I decide to use an HDT to tow with? When I first started thinking about traveling with a toyhauler I naturally assumed I would tow with a dually diesel. That is the normal setup it seems. However, when I started looking at prices I got sticker shock. People were still wanting $35-40K or more for a truck several years old with less than a 100K miles. Additionally, people were commonly spending thousands more upgrading the motor, transmission and suspension to haul the larger trailers. I was getting discouraged due to the high cost of a tow vehicle and I was pretty much to the point of scrapping the toyhauler plans. Then one day I happened upon a Youtube video of Gregg Shields converting a semi into a tow vehicle. I was taken with the idea. Massive horsepower and torque, super-strong transmission, huge brakes, air-ride everything, condo sleepers that are like small RVs unto themselves, huge fuel tanks...complete overkill and safety...for half the cost of a used diesel dually. It made sense to me.

Another common question I get is how does a big semi cost half as much as a used dually? Truckers typically put 100-150,000 miles a year on a truck while pulling 80,000 lb loads. When the mileage on the truck passes a million miles or so the truck owner has to start thinking about a motor rebuild...which is a major expense. A truck like mine, with 822K miles, is not very appealing to the normal truck driver since it only has a couple years of useful service before it will probably need an engine rebuild. Having little value to truckers means low prices. On the other hand, RV'ers typically drive less than 10,000 miles a year and only haul 30-40,000 lbs. With normal maintenance and care this truck should easily last my traveling lifetime.


Drom box - the story of getting my drom box

- Aluminum polish
- DriDeck compartment tiles
Volvo 780 - getting the truck
- Air-related filter replacement
- Sensor replacement - replace sensors that have came in contact with soot.
- Chrome hub covers - a little bling
- 'Bird perch' antenna mount
- Domelight mod
- TV/FM external antenna
- Analog voltage gauge
- Additional power point
- Switch relocations
- Kisae Abso 2000-watt inverter/charger
- Retitle HDT as an RV in Indiana
- Tank drain valves
- 12V power point
- Stereo upgrade
- Television
- Grille and hood mirror upgrade
- Additional bunklight switches
- Antenna mounts on the rear of the cab.
- Homemade maplights
- Running lights
- Manual fan switch
- Fuse block connections - places to find 12V, switched power, and accessory power.
- Fuse/relay block connections
- TrailerSaver air ride hitch
- Lighting upgrade - new headlight housings and HID lights
- Trailer converter
- DirecLink brake controller
- New taillights
- Sun visor marker lights
- Chrome bumper
- Solar panel to keep the batteries charged
- Control panel to monitor batteries, solar, inverter
- Air horns
- Fumoto drain valve
- MCFC pass-thru pinout
- Cummins badge
- Storage cabinets
- Tru-Balance sleeves and Centramatic balancers
- Dash cam
- Donvel valves

Fall 2018 - I've taken a hiatus on building the truck to build a garage addition.

Things I've had to repair (or decided to):
- Alternator wiring
- Fairing bushing replacement
- Fairing bracket repair
- Jake brake switch
- Antenna mount assembled incorrectly
- Tensioner and pulley replacement
- Adjust hood latch - Passenger side was 3/4" higher.
- Replace jockey box shocks - Volvo P/N 20895863.
- Front shocks
- FM antenna
- Cab shocks, air bags
- Added refrigerant.
- Replaced the transmission fluid.


- ShowHauler Conversions

- RV Haulers - they convert Class 8 tractors to RV haulers. Check out the videos on their site.

- Escapees HDT truck forum
- Jack Mayer's HDT/RV website
- Mark Bruss's HDT/RV website
- Heavy Haulers Resource Guide - Information for HDT conversions

- Truckconversions.net

- Weekend Warrior toy haulers
- Grand Design toy haulers


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