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Old 03-04-2012, 07:59 PM   #1
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Default Conversion Candidates for your critique and comment

What do you guys think of these two trucks as candidates for conversion:

The first one is a cab and chassis. All the stuff you don't need for a conversion has been removed. Is the front axle strong enough? 6.43 rear gears, is that numerically too high? Can someone enlighten me about the wheels. They don't look like what I normally see on a semi tractor. HP is 275. Can that be turned up on a motor like this?

1999 PETERBILT 99-K MILES CAT DIESEL TANDEM AXLE ALLISON AUTOMATIC 1999 PETERBILT 99-K MILES CAT DIESEL TANDEM AXLE ALLISON AUTOMATIC | eBay

The second one comes with a box and bunk. Is it viable to convert and existing box like this to a motorhome? or is it just too much work to finish a box like this out and try to make look nice.

2007 Peterbilt Straight Truck, 1 OWNER!! 253,604 Miles!!! 2 YEARS WARRANTY LEFT 2007 Peterbilt Straight Truck, 1 OWNER!! 253,604 Miles!!! 2 YEARS WARRANTY LEFT - eBay (item 230753604619 end time Mar-05-12 13:39:05 PST)

Thanks for your continued advice and counsel.
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Started looking for 379 Peterbilt TC, 24' to 30' box, bumper pull--but ended up w/1999 Liberty Coach conversion of 45' Prevost XLV bus. 1,000sf heated/AC'd race shop w/dump station, 50amp shore pwr where bus parks, 3 NASCAR/ARCA race cars & 26' Bravo trailer.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:00 PM   #2
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My knowledge runs more to medium duty trucks than class 8 trucks, but I have these observations:

On the first truck. We used those wheels on our Chevy 6500 fleet trucks back in the 80's. The are basically just a rim (no center section) that slides over an oversized hub, then you slide on a stamped steel spacer ring, then the outer wheel, then they are both held on by wedges and lug nuts. The is no center hub to align the wheel. You tighten it down, then set a wood block on the ground by the tire and spin the tire to see how much it wobbles. The tighten or loosen various lug nuts until you get it spinning true enough by eye not to vibrate too much. Sounds like fun, huh? You usually only see those on around-town and off-highway trucks like dump trucks and such. I personally would not want to rely on my eyeball to get the wheel on true enough to not vibrate out at freeway speeds. As I mentioned, my experience with these goes back a ways, so there may be a better way to true them up now. Any knowledge out there?

The low mileage for the year, and really steep gearing would also indicate a truck that was never meant to be out on the highway. I punched the numbers into a gear ratio calculator and came up with 3200 rpm's at 70 mph, assuming no overdrive. I am not a diesel guy, so does that sound reasonable? It's about right for one of my gas motors, so I am going to guess a bit high for a diesel.

The truck was taken out of service, bought by a wholesaler, and prettied up for quick sale. The basically blast the chassis, spray on some chassis black, do a quickie paint job and shove them out the door. If you look close at the wheels, they and the hubs were blasted and painted without even removing from the truck. Based on that I suspect you could find a similar truck in the same mechanical condition without the pretty up and marked up price for a lot less money. My feelings anyway.

Second truck: Nice truck. Well maintained, etc.. And I know I am at risk of sounding like Blizz here, but for $50k plus maybe another $20k to convert it right, you can go on racing junk and buy a really nice toter or garage home already built. I know you already know that 'cuz you look on rj every day like I do. Definitely what I would do if I had $50k in my pocket.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hot rod View Post
My knowledge runs more to medium duty trucks than class 8 trucks, but I have these observations:

I know you already know that 'cuz you look on rj every day like I do. Definitely what I would do if I had $50k in my pocket.
Thanks for the advice!

How do you know I'm on RJ every day? Can you see me out there? Who else knows?
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Started looking for 379 Peterbilt TC, 24' to 30' box, bumper pull--but ended up w/1999 Liberty Coach conversion of 45' Prevost XLV bus. 1,000sf heated/AC'd race shop w/dump station, 50amp shore pwr where bus parks, 3 NASCAR/ARCA race cars & 26' Bravo trailer.
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:31 AM   #4
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I am willing to bet the 330 Pete has had most of its 100k miles doing short runs, probably off road or out in the oil fields moving equipment. The steel Dayton type wheels are typical for off road, and construction type trucks, (very heavy, hard to balance, and a PIA for most situations. Most all highway rigs will use the more common Budd wheels. Going to be a rough riding truck and the engine will turn too many RPM at any kind of speed with that gearing. The 3126 in this truck and the C7 in the second one are almost the same engine, the C7 has different heads, software, and emissions. These engines are designed with a RPM range of 1800 to 2400, with best fuel economy at 2,000 RPM. On the other had, it will do a good job of pulling stumps out of the ground..lol. In this market there a lot of highway rigs out there for a reasonable price, check commercial truck trader, or Truckpaper.com.

The second truck looks like a pretty good deal at first glance. It was specified with 100 percent class A driving (highway-on road) has a much more reasonable 3.90 gear ratio. it does have a 10 speed direct transmission (no overdrive) as its primary use would have been city driving with not much high speed. depending on your driving habits, (mountains, speed, weight) a change of gears or tranny swap might be in order. Lots to think about if going to convert the existing box. There are three sets of double doors to be removed (unless you need a garage) and skin over. One could add a false floor and or false ceiling to conceal plumbing /tanks/ducting etc. Might be able to extend the side skirts down and make some basement storage. going to have some fun cutting a hole thru the back of the cab and into the box. I do see lots of potential though. looks like a well cared for and documented rig. and no quick detail/cover ups from a dealer.

The whole topic of buying ready made and building your own remains to be determined. I believe that most sane people will side with Blizz and find a great deal on a used one, which by the way I fully agree with (exceptions to be listed later..) and there are those who boldly choose to go ahead and build a creation of there very own (and yes Kenn I am talking about you, and not eluding to the fact that you may be not 100 percent sane, but you did run into burning buildings for a living). I have searched racing junk for several years, and have yet to find a rig is both affordable and meets my quirky needs, that and the fact that I believe that sanity is for normal people, means I will pretty much be building my own also. (strange I have also run into burning buildings...I see a pattern here..lol)

Most importantly no matter if you choose to buy, build, or remodel, do it because you want to, be proud of what you end up with, and I will support you all the way.

Good luck
Dave
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:29 AM   #5
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90, we both have mentioned trolling rj on a regular basis to jump on that bottom dollar deal that is going to pop up one of these days. I believe you are looking for a garage rig? And I am hoping to find the right toter to grab before I break down and start welding steel onto my GMC 6500 cab/chassis I have sitting here. For me it's a matter of finding something to fit my limited budget, as I'd rather do that than put in labor to build my own. But it may yet come down to building. The season is coming up rather quickly.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:58 AM   #6
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damn 6.43 gears...i wouldnt want that fuel bill...i bet that thing doesnt get 4 mpg w/ those...but hey you could always use it as a tow truck :O
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:01 PM   #7
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Pretty good comments so far. We could use a little more info on your intended use/configuration. So you want and rv? or toter style with the fifthwheel or gooseneck on the back. Will you be towing .... how much? I saw that both of these were twin-screw trucks. Do you need the extra axle for weight? The additional axle is easy to remove though. I agree that you want budd wheels instead of daytons. My toter has a 9sp and is geared to run 70mph @ 1700RPM (350 Cummins). This is good hwy speed for me. I would not mind having an automatic or autoshift though. I would have built my own toter but one came along at the right price and time. It seems like starting with a cargo box could work very well and save a bunch of work. The box should be pretty tough to stand up to cargo service. Closing the unwanted openings can be tricky though. I like the mover's boxes because of the large bunk space above the cab. If you end up building the most economical and versitile way will be to buy a tractor then strectch the frame to you needed length. It is pretty tough to find a long wheelbase truck for this kind of job and stretching a short truck is not that hard to do.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice. I have a 24' enclosed trailer that is probably 10,000# to 11,500# depending on how much stuff I put in it. Ideally a 45 foot T/C with a HD liftgate and high garage would be the perfect ticket, but they appear to be very far and very few between. Want a T/C we can camp in at the race track, and maybe do some RV'g independent of the trailer and race car (there is apparently more to life than racing). Based on the good advice and counsel, I'm going to pass on these and continue to troll looking for the T/C.
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Started looking for 379 Peterbilt TC, 24' to 30' box, bumper pull--but ended up w/1999 Liberty Coach conversion of 45' Prevost XLV bus. 1,000sf heated/AC'd race shop w/dump station, 50amp shore pwr where bus parks, 3 NASCAR/ARCA race cars & 26' Bravo trailer.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:26 PM   #9
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This one looks pretty cool:
1997 Freightliner Hauler with 11' living quar For Sale
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob86ZZ4 View Post
Thanks much!
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Started looking for 379 Peterbilt TC, 24' to 30' box, bumper pull--but ended up w/1999 Liberty Coach conversion of 45' Prevost XLV bus. 1,000sf heated/AC'd race shop w/dump station, 50amp shore pwr where bus parks, 3 NASCAR/ARCA race cars & 26' Bravo trailer.
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