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Old 12-29-2005, 04:05 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5

I am trying to plan my requirements for a project truck and have a few questions. I have been looking on the web site for answers but am new to the group and have not located many so if anyone has a link or opinion please let me know.

My first project 20 years ago was an old Greyhound bus, A real rust bucket, like an iceberg, a little on the top, most of it below. Had to make a new frame. Mostly made a new bus useing the parts from the old. I am better at sweat than money so what I get will probably not be pristine, but I am not getting anything that rusty again! Had a sweet running 471 Detroit though. By the way, DOT registered it as a 20000 pound car.

I see a lot of possibilities but most have a few flaws. One is a 4.11 ratio drive gear, I would rather have something closer to 3.00, Are they easy to swap out? Get another one from a junk yard? Or live with it. Could it be useable with a 13 to 18 speed transmission? I suspect 4.11 or even lower in some cases means screaming motor and lousy fuel mileage.

The conversion will never be loaded as much as the tractor would be in commercial service and one question on the CDL written in Georgia was which takes longer to stop, a loaded or unloaded tractor trailer. The answer is surprisingly unloaded,not enough weight to keep the tires on the ground. Which brings up whether to keep the double drive axles for traction or remove one to increase weight on the remaining one. Or other reasons, like 4 less tires more storage room.

As a side question will two axles get any measurable difference in fuel mileage? I know 4 wheel drive pickups get much less even when the hubs are released. Basically I would like to get closer to 11 MPG than 2. Some reports on the site say that 11 sometimes 13 can be reached.

Also is anyone building or working on one in Georgia or places close by? I would like to visit and see your project.

I would like to do some traveling around in this before I retire and a lot after. It may take a while but should keep me out of trouble.

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Old 12-29-2005, 05:19 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: N.E. Ohio
Posts: 768

Welcome to the site!

To start I definitely think 11 mpg is possible. My FLD120 conversion with Cummins M11 and 10 speed weighted in at 30,000 lbs plus and averaged 11.5 mpg. Although when I put in a new Super 10 transmission it dropped. Not sure if it just need a bunch of miles on it before it came back.

Obviously the most important part of the project will be the truck. Do your homework, take your time, there are incredible deals to be had on used trucks and I guarantee you are going to be able to pick up a great working truck starting at $10,000 on up. The great thing about big rigs is that is is very easy to change out anything on them at pretty reasonable prices.

Definitely do some searching on this site. I detailed my first conversion which included the purchase of my truck along with the work I did to it.

Alot of valuable info.

Good luck on your project and keep us posted

2012 Showhauler 28'6" Motorhome on a Columbia w/ 450 Mercedes.
Warpath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2005, 06:58 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: ellijay, ga. usa
Posts: 235

welcome also, great place to start. where do you live?--- well--- duh,-- ijust reread your post. i'm in ellijay, gilmer co. and wera is in jasper ga. if you are near someone, i know, for myself, that we do kinda like show an' tell. this is a great group of guys, 'specially mr. bill rowell. i think that we have as a group seen lots of combo's and given more input as to what you want we could prob'y help some.---- mase
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:39 PM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5

Good to know someone else is in the neighborhood.

My ideal truck would be 400+ Hp. and at the moment a 10 or 13 speed, that could change according to opinions I hear, price and bargains I find. I plan to stretch the chassis, how much is up to change according to what I learn, but I would like a good size living area.

I have a good shop and welder. I rebuilt the 6.5 diesel in my pickup and other motors over the years plus a couple of transmissions.

I have been looking at truck trader online to get an idea of what is available. I will probably get something older than most and work with that.

I have a friend that drives OTR for a living but he is new at it and has not driven many combinations of drive trains yet. I mostly need to know what drive-train combinations to eliminate. I can probably change one component but all three "engine,transmission,rear-end ratio" means I better find another truck. Also some transmissions are probably easier to live with than others. Some engines more efficient easier to service, find parts than others.

I have found some opinions on some of these but the transmission and rear-end ratio combination I need to learn more about. This will be a long term project probably starting after I complete getting my house ready to sell and head for more wide open places.
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:19 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Ash Fork AZ
Posts: 127


( getting hungry just reading your name )

... here is what (i think) i know about transmissions: do not get a truck with a Rockwell 9-speed; a pain to shift even for a pro driver.
i personaly would look for a Eaton/Fuller box:
a Autoshift, a Super10, a 13-speed or a straight10 (in that order )
the rear axle is fairly easy to change as a complete unit; you can upgrade the axle ratio by swapping in a complete late model axle/suspension from a wrecking yard
-our Pete "379" Toterhome (Cummins N14/ Super 10 trans)
-our dune/desert buggies
-in the shop: Pete "38
spooner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2005, 05:56 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: ellijay, ga. usa
Posts: 235

OGS, my coach is a kw t2000, c15, eaton autoshift 18 speed, with a 3.08. it also is a single axle rear. it's 39'-6". ----- mase
vapoppa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2006, 10:12 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,083

.....and never get a 7 speed or you will be at a truck shop a lot!....expiditors are screaming about the 7 speeds in Hindu and other languages.....geofkaye

women-food-money-naps...not necessarly in that order
KAYE RIVERCITY is offline   Reply With Quote

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