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.
Volvo 780 - getting the truck
- Air-related filter replacementThings I've had to repair (or decided to):
- Alternator wiring
- JonesN2Travel's HDT playlist - a great collection of videos pertaining to HDT ownership
- RV Haulers - they convert Class 8 tractors to RV haulers. Check out the videos on their site.