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Old 03-26-2003, 02:46 AM   #1
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Hi Larry,
I've caught up on all the posts and other info on this site, including your "Class 8 Fifth Wheel Toter Do's & Don'ts" on the front page. I understand the advice about not buying a spring ride and instead, I presume, only buying an air-ride tractor due to its superior ride. How is KW's torsion bar suspension? I only rode in one once and it was a long time ago so I don't remember the ride, but if it had been really bad it would have left an impression.

I also wondered about the advice not to buy a COE. Most of the tractors I drove in my OTR days were COE's and I don't remember the ride being that bad, but I was young and could tolerate a lot more, and my memory may have dimmed somewhat with the passage of time. I do remember one truck in particular, a Cornbinder COE with International's so-called experimental suspension. It was just horrible. If I hit a grain of salt I had to duck to keep from hitting the roof (I'm not joking, I actually did bang my head on the roof a few times on potholes). However, in those days the cheapo companies never supplied us with air-ride so all the trucks I drove were spring-ride and the spring-ride conventionals didn't seem to ride that much better than the spring-ride COE's. However, I've never driven an air-ride COE (or an air-ride conventional) so I'm wondering how much, if any, the ride is improved? Would an air-ride front suspension like the one Bill put on his FLD Showhauler help much? What about set back axles like the Freightliner FLA or the Int'l 9700? Would they be even worse? You said go take the wife for a ride in one which I thought would be impossible without a CDL, but your recent post on that subject has allayed my fears so I might actually go do that. Of course, that assumes I can actually drag my wife out to a truck dealer. Just the mention of it has her rolling her eyes (she hates used car dealerships).

The reason I'm asking is two-fold. First, I'm on a limited budget and I've seen that your recommendations of a newer tractor with under 500,000 miles can be gotten a lot cheaper in a COE. Second, with their shorter wheelbase, they're a lot more maneuverable and after reading about your new white Volvo with the 182" wb, I don't think the ride will be affected that much with a good air-ride suspension. Has anyone else thought about this? Later.
Mike

P.S. This may be moot since my wife also hates the look of COE's. Whenever I point them out and ask her what she thinks she just laughs.
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Old 03-26-2003, 06:42 PM   #2
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Mike,

I'M not sure about COEs, but most KW suspensions incorporate a steel girdle that connects the tandems together. You can't convert them to single axle. There are a lot of single axle COEs from the factory sitting around for sale though. You could buy one cheap and install an air ride hitch. I have no experience with air ride front axles so I can't comment on them.

IM sure COEs ride better than they used to assuming they are all air ride. On the downside, you are the first to arrive in case of an accident. They go down the road like a brick, burning fuel. They are hard to climb in and out of. Women don't like that. They have no resale value. Every time the engine is serviced, everything in the cab has to be secured.

On the plus side, they will take you up and down the mountains safely. You can always buy a step ladder for the wife. ;-) I would take one in a New York second if it was that or an MDT.

Larry
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Old 04-10-2005, 07:14 PM   #3
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First post here
Have you had a look at the Freightliner Argosy? They are starting to come available for really good prices. These have a great ride and with the automatic steps they are very easy to enter. It's just a suggestion mind you.
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Old 04-11-2005, 05:05 AM   #4
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Being involved with trucks all my life I can tell you some things about COE's and the way they ride. When we got our first conventional in 1978 we never went back to the COE. I don't know if anyone is even still making them. But instead of going over how they ride and things of that nature, I'll ask one question. How will you access the engine compartment once the conversion is done?
On a side note I see alot of people on here that state a limited budget as a reason for doing different things and I can tell you that if you want to enjoy life in a conversion then you need to spend some money!
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Old 04-11-2005, 10:55 PM   #5
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....or build your own and have everything you want and only what you want....for about 30%-40% of the price of having one built...geofkaye
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Old 04-12-2005, 09:32 PM   #6
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....one other issue with the COE Agrosy from International?.....when the door is closed a highjacker/carjacker doesn't have any steps and mirrors to hang on to?.....just an idea-I have NO knowledge of this......geof kaye
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Old 04-13-2005, 02:38 AM   #7
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Actually the Argosy is a freightliner product, and no the regular steps are still there as well. This allows you to enter the cab when it's 40 below or in a massive ice storm.
I can only speak from experience, and I can honestly say that the ride in an Argosy is just as good as as the century class that it's based on. Having said that neither of them ride as nicely as a Volvo. As for my own personal preferences I Rank Western Star as number one for ride with a forward Axle, and Volvo as number one for a set back.
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Old 04-13-2005, 05:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
but most KW suspensions incorporate a steel girdle that connects the tandems together. You can't convert them to single axle. Larry
Actually you can. Folks around here do it all the time. The girdle, or cradle, you speak of is actually two of them, one on each axle. The only thing is that you have to use the rearmost axle position as the locating arms trail on that one(they "reach" back to the axle), as opposed to "reaching" forward to the forward drive axle. Class over!
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Old 04-17-2005, 07:43 AM   #9
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Gary.

I haven't been here for a while. You're right Gary. I must have had serious brain fade when I wrote that??? Heck, I have seen a number of KWs converted myself. It's just more expensive than other suspension systems.

Larry
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Old 04-17-2005, 03:15 PM   #10
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Hey Larry-
I was hoping I didn't offend you with what I said. It seems I did not. Ain't normally my style. Yeah, I can agree it probably costs a few bucks extra, but if you have a KW already, or got a really good deal on one, ya do what ya gotta do, right? We all get a little(?!?!?!) brain fade once in a while, once in a while, once- See? Have a good one!
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Old 05-04-2005, 09:16 AM   #11
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Do either of you have any idea ballpark what it does cost to removed a rear axle from a KW T2000?
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:50 PM   #12
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I haven't ever done a T2 conversion but I suspect it would cost somewhere between $2 and $3K.

Larry
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Old 02-21-2006, 07:33 PM   #13
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Hopefully this is somewhat on topic. Has anyone ever done a Clss 8 big rig motorhome conversion starting out witha COE, the COE I have in mind is the Freightliner COE. Seems on the surface that this would be a winning idea by saving the length of the conventional nose stuck out in front. I figure I could get a nice sized bathroom in the length lost in the conventional class 8 HDT
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Old 04-01-2006, 05:47 PM   #14
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You probably gain some manueverablilty and turning radius - you lose ride and your wife will hate climbing in and out. Attaching it to the cab is challenging. Would be a cheap chassis to start from. It can be done but there are issues.
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:18 PM   #15
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....could be done with a little modification of the front hinge system....and a further step back of the box....maybe 2 inches overall....made up by the distance between the cab back side and the boot between the box and cab......one could use an inflateable boot to take up the space and keep the weather out or a combination of foam and inflation.....geofkaye
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:53 AM   #16
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Here are a couple of pictures. They give you an idea of what a cabover conversion would look like.

1. A Conversion in red.

2. An cabover extended body.

3. This one is at the Reno Air Races.

4. Another conversion.

I'd like to talk to people that own one and get their opionions on how they compare to a conventional in regards to ride and floor layout.
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:39 PM   #17
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You and me both!

I'd like to talk to people that own one and get their opionions on how they compare to a conventional in regards to ride and floor layout.
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:17 PM   #18
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I have a 1988 Ford CL9000. It has air ride suspension and an air ride cab and I think that it rides as good as any truck I have driven, conventional or COE. There aren't many of these left around, but if you could find a good one, it would be a great candidate for a conversion. I would just like to add a big (100" +) condo on mine because I still use it to pull a 53' trailer. Any suggestions, or conversion companies that would add on for me?
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