Truck Conversion & Toterhome Community

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BigT 05-06-2009 11:53 AM

Hello All,

My name is Jeff (Big T) and I am a new member to this site. I just wanted to offer my knowledge and advice to anyone who might be interested. I have been working in heavy eq sales for 20 years and with Volvo Trucks NA for the past 7 years. I am the Motorcoach specialist for Volvo Truck NA. I am currently working with and supplying Volvo truck chassis to 14 of the top RV/Motorcoach manufacturers in the nation. I have worked hard in designing and making engineering changes with Volvo trucks specifically for the RV industry.

In my opinion, Volvo is the best option for the RV industry due to their Safety, Comfort, Manueverablity, strength & fuel economy. With the release of the new Volvo I-shift automated transmission, Volvo has placed their truck chassis at the top of the list for serious Truck convertors. You will never drive a smoother shifting & better operating transmission in the truck industry. I presented a ride and drive at Haulmark's last dealer meeting and everyong who drove the truck said they were extremely impressed and stated it was the best transmission and truck they have every driven.

We are excited to get involved with this forum and sincerly hope that we can be a professional source of information to all the members.



Bob86ZZ4 05-06-2009 12:01 PM

I get to be the first to say "thank you" and "welcome to the group." That's very cool that Volvo has committed resources to the truck conversion market. I test drove a coach built on a Volvo and it did drive nice. The rest of the coach wasn't exactly what I wanted tho. Great to have you here. This seems to be a pretty small group of posters and not a lot of traffic like some of the other camper sites, but we have the toughest rigs around, hahahaha.

BigT 05-06-2009 12:14 PM

Thanks Bob. Did the Volvo that you drove have the I-Shift and if-so, what did you think?

Bob86ZZ4 05-06-2009 01:09 PM

No, it had I think an Eaton 10 speed autoshift. Does that sound right? It had a clutch to get it rolling and then it shifted automatically after that. And I pushed the clutch in when coming to a stop. I didn't pay a ton of attention to it since I knew I wasn't going to buy it. Just wanted to take it for a drive and the salesman seemed to want to take it out too. Pretty sure it had a Detroit engine.

BigT 05-06-2009 01:38 PM

Yes, that was an Eaton Autoshift. An autoshift is with a clutch pedal and an ultrashift is without a pedal and both are manufactured by Eaton. Meritor also has an automated transmission without the clutch pedal and it is called a Freedomline and it is a 12 spd. The Volvo Ishift, by far, out performs all transmissions. While the Freedomline will skip-shift it is very rough and jerky when starting out. Many complaints have been stated about backing into their trailer because of the intense response from this transmission when the gears are engaged. Complaints have also been expressed about Eaton Products and how it shifts through every gear. The Volvo I-shift will skipshift and is very smooth in starting and shifting through the gears. It also has numerous programable features such as hill start assist (holding the brake until the fuel pedals is pressed), eco-shift (allowing the truck to run at Idol when going down a grade, fuel saver) and one of the most aggressive engine brakes to date. I-shift stands for Inteligent Shift and is definately a joy to operate. If you have the opportunity to drive one or if you are ever in NW Ohio, stop by and I'll take you on a test drive with one.


Bob86ZZ4 05-06-2009 01:56 PM

Sounds good Jeff. I have a Eaton 10 speed autoshift on my rig. I've only got 55,000 miles on the entire rig (it was built as a truck conversion from brand new). I'm hoping this transmission will last until I die. It does shift and pull hard tho. My rig weighs 25,xxx lbs. without the trailer hitched up. I always override it to start in 3rd (default is 2). I think the ability to skip shift would be nice too for most unloaded recreational driving. I wonder if Eaton will ever come up with a software update to allow it to do that?

BigT 05-06-2009 02:10 PM

They say it is in the works but who knows how long it will take.

Bob86ZZ4 05-06-2009 06:03 PM

Here it is:

It looks kind of nice on the surface. But, there's no dinette. And when both slides are in it really closes off the cab from the rest of the coach so it makes it very hard to socialize with passengers. And, with both slides out the living room is HUGE. Almost felt like a big waste of space to me.

Festus.45LC 05-06-2009 07:21 PM

Big T,
You are just the man I want to talk to. I really would like to purchase a Volvo truck that is spec'd for motor home conversion. I have a large manufacturer of aluminum horse trailers that wants to build me a large coach. I am currently shopping for a truck to take to them & start this deal. The interiors of the current big class C motorcoaches just don't have the appeal to us "horse people". We don't want carpet of any kind & we like them to look "western" inside. I wouldn't attempt any "do-it-yourself" conversion on a new $90K truck chassis by no means. I just want a really nice motorcoach that will pull a 18K pound trailer without any problems. I am going to have a 34' box built with a 60" bunk over cab. So how about a price on a Volvo daycab with leather seats & all in cab, 485 H.P. with I-shift, twin screws with an extra long wheelbase? Thanks!

geofkaye 05-06-2009 07:34 PM

...BIGT: IN THE MARKET TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SELL YOUR AZZ TO MAKE A BUCK FOR VOLVO/YOURSELF....since early 2008 I haven't even had a buyer ask about a new truck...only used stuff and how to find it and get it here + financed.....Freight shaker locally is the only dealer that will even try to get a truck for me....the others at World Wide won't even search or in a lot of cases return calls....they want to do an as-is+pay for drive-away up front and still get big bucks without working/going over the truck or even cleaning it after the road trip....Arrow doesn't have a warranty that is worth the toilet paper it is written on...I spent 2 hours with them at the Louisville Truck Show-also might see them at Dallas-if they are still alive....most of their old sales staff are kaput!...If it wasn't for a good friend at Freightliner I couldn't afford or even find a reasonable deal....the economy is in the toilet-new unites are not even considered for conversion and the dollar makes all the of luck with anything new-even with a automatic transmissions and dancing girlz on brass poles and flashing lites....maybe the very high end users will plunk down the pesos but around here everyone will take a super ten and a N-14 turned up and everything else is a matter of polish-paint-cloth-insulation with a bunch of aftermarket and custom stuff which is good for me but a PIA at times[a new M/C lifting crane is too much new-they want me to build one for $500-[less a discount] with a 28" hydraulic jack-like an engine lift and install it on a steel deck for costX10 including of luck in this market....geofkaye

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