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Old 09-01-2002, 03:59 PM   #1
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I've been actively searching the used Class 8 market for several months now on line. Larry Ziegler, Jim Gehlan and others have lead me to believe that the Volvo VNL610 in the way to go. Biggest selling point on the Volvos - my wife likes them. (If I bought a Mack and it went belly up, I'd never hear the end of it!) My problem is, man there's a ton of "good looking" Volvos out there. Larry has been very helpful with tips like being careful about buying a truck with a double-bunk sleeper setup, etc. I accept the fact that there is risk in buying used, but would like to know how you guys minimized that risk and felt "comfortable" enough to actually sign on the dotted line. I've read JD Gallant's book on "How to Outwit any Auto, Truck or RV Dealer Every Time"; but these Class 8s are a little bit outside of that discussion. What were the two or three biggest things that sold you on your truck -- price, low mileage, looks, service records, dnyo test, etc.? Thanks in advance for your reply. Joe

Joe
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Old 09-02-2002, 04:49 PM   #2
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I definetly jumped in with little knowledge at all, but was at least looking for service records which is one of the reasons I liked Ryder trucks. My lack of knowledge on certain issues regarding truck conversions is why I started the site.

My mistake was looking for the least expensive truck which I felt was still in good condition. I was looking at things like tires, exterior items and not the real important stuff. I was lucky the motor(M11 Cummins) in my FLD 120 is in excellent condition. But the cooling system was shot, I have steel wheels which are giving me problems along with a out of round tire. I plan to go to aluminum rims and Michelin tires. I guess what I am saying is I should have been looking at a $25,000 - $30,000 truck and eliminated some of the issues I am currenlty having.

1995 FL FLD120, M11, custom interior.
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Old 09-02-2002, 07:29 PM   #3
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Well Warpath - From what I've seen from everyone else, I seems that between $25K - $35K for a used tractor is about right (depending upon a hundred or so things I guess one should have on their checklist). I never gave much thought to the wheels other than thinking that aluminum ones would cost more than steel. But, that's another thing to add to the list. Thanks for the insight. Joe

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Old 09-03-2002, 08:59 AM   #4
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Joe,

Your right. there are about 100 things to look for. It's just like buying a house or car only
it's a different item.

You will be using this vehicle for many years.
Therefore, you want a reliable, dependable truck
that looks really good. One that you will be proud to drive and tow your travel trailer with.

After selecting the brand and type of truck you want, then it comes down to several basic items.

The most expensive components on the truck are very important. The engine, transmission and rear axle(s) are the most expensive items to repair/replace. I would not now buy a truck that was out of warranty for these major components.

How has the truck been used and maintained? Was it hauling steel at gross weight all the time?
If so, I don't want it. I want a truck that was fleet maintained. This assures that the truck was well cared for. Items that may fail are replaced in advance of failure. I have I have bought 4 Volvo VNL 610s that came off lease from Knight Transportation.

I thuroughly investigated Knight Transportation before I bought the first one. I spoke to
many drivers for Knight. I spoke to their Fleet Maintenance Dept Manager. Every time a Knight truck returns to the yard, it is serviced if
due for service.

It is always connected to the computer to see if it has been over heated or over reved or if any faults are present. The entire truck is checked over, if a shock is leaking, that pair is replaced, etc.

All these trucks are governored to not exceed 1,800 RPMs. (You can have this programming changed to 2,100 RPMs by Cummins for $70). The ECM records every nuance of engine operation. This can be printed out so you can see the entire history of engines operation since new.

Never buy a truck that has been wrecked and repaired. Have the truck thoroughly inspected by an independent truck mechanic. Have him check all systems on the truck. If any problem is
discovered, have an agreement from the seller that he will fix it.

How is the paint and finish on the truck? You would not believe how many times I have been approached getting out of any of the 610s I have owned and asked it my truck was brand new.

Inspect interior for wear and amenities. I love the Volvo Roadrelay computer that is installed in the dash of all the Knight Trucks. These trucks have premium radios with 4 speakers, pyrometer and boost guage, Jake brake, cruise, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, high back air ride premium drivers seat, power right hand window, separate air conditioning systems for the cab and sleeper. Plenty of interior lighting,
two complet sets of curtians and lot' of storage.

There are 4 cupholders within easy reach of the driver. There are two sunvisors for the driver
side window and front window, besides the exterior visor. There are two grab handles inside the door, front and rear to assist in getting in the truck.

They ride like a Caddy. These Volvos were completely redesigned in 1998. Volvo asked
hundreds of drivers what they wanted for amenities before they redesigned their trucks. The cab is actually much quieter than a diesel pickup. There is no wind noise. No rattles.

These trucks are designed to be driven every day 10 hours a day for solo drivers and 20 hours a day if team driven.

In short, they are built to last. The end result is that more than half of these trucks will run
at least 800,000 miles before requiring any major mechanical repair/replacement.

The Cummins engine has several built into the computer engine protect features. When starting the engine cold, it cannot be reved above idle speed to protect the engine. The engine will warn you if your are low on oil or coolant. if not corrected, the engine will derate the HP to
160 and will eventually shut off to prevent component damage.

There are other circumstances under which the engine will derate itself and eventually shut off. low oil pressure for exmple. These are built in electronic features to protect the engine from damage.

These trucks have been designed to haul 80,000
pounds day in and day out. When an Rver buys one of these trucks, the truck is basically retired just like the driver. Very few RVers will put more than 30,000 miles per year on these trucks.

I change the oil and filters every 6 to 8 thousand miles. I like to do this myself as it gives me a good opportunity to inspect the underside of the truck. I always fill the combination oil filter with oil before I install it. That way you get instant oil pressure on start up. There is not a two secnod delay while the oil pump fills the filter. I also lube the truck every 3 to 4 thousand and every time I change oil.

If you buy a good truck with say 400,000 miles on it, you can be comfortable that you can drive the truck for at least 13 years before any repairs would be necessary if you take care of it. Even then, that figure applies to a truck running at 70,000 to 80,000 pounds gross. Towing your trailer, you will always be 40,000 to 50,000 pounds under gross.

You won't even be able to cause the truck to work hard towing a travel trailer. How can you tell if the truck is working hard? Two simple ways:

1. What does the pyrometer read. Truckers drive by the pyrometer. It's simple, when the pyrometer reaches 1,200 degreess on an upgrade, they downshift one gear, which will drop the exhaust temp back to about 800 degrees. They repeat the process as necessary. Towing my Alfa in the mountains on the hottest day, I have never seen the pyro rise above 750 degrees, I have never had to downshift out of 10th gear on any grade, on any mountain unless I ran up on two trucks side by side causing me to have to slow down.

2. Engine fan comes on. These fans are designed to operate when the water temp rises above 210 degrees. The fan has never come on while driving in any of the Volvos I have owned. The water temp has never risen above 195 degrees, even on the longest upgrades.

These trucks just loaf along, all the power is there if you need to pass on a two lane highway, these trucks will pull more than 30 pounds of boost. Above 1,500 RPMs you get instant throttle response for passing with your trailer.

Its really unbelievabe how much truck you get for your money when you buy one of these compared to a pickup or class 6 truck. A good class 8 truck has to be the bargain of the century for full time RVers.

If you plan to keep a truck for several years, spend a few thousand more and get a real nice one. You'll be glad you did.

Larry

[This message was edited by onezman on September 03, 2002 at 12:43 PM.]
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Old 09-11-2002, 08:54 AM   #5
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Hey Joe, no one ever jumped into a class 8 truck faster than I did. My mind was boggled by the fantastic beauty of the red Volvo 610, that Larry had put up for sale. I was excited at the prospect of driving this big thing around. The biggest I had ever driven was a 3/4t pickup. I had purchased a 40'Alpha and had it delivered (no way to pull it (full timing with no house). I was two weeks into researching which used class 6 to buy for 60-65 thousand. They weren't many in that range with 300hp ( my minimum). I was somewhat disappointed. Then I stumbled onto Larry and his Lean Mean Volvo Machine. Two previous buyer's of trucks had only good things to say about their trucks and dealing with Larry. Over many communications with Larry I came to appreciate his truck knowlege, and I came to the point where I tended to trust him. I was somewhat amazed at myself for agreeing to buy a truck I had not seen from a guy I hadn't met. Sometimes that noise we thought we heard, really was opportunity knocking! I trusted my judgement and got many times the truck for half the price of the class 6. I really like my truck. I just got back from a four day drive to get behind the wheel time. Man I could zoom by most anything on the road, except that BMW sportscar that zoomed by me..Goog luck in your search....

99 Volvo 610 Motorhome
2001 Alpha Gold 39'10"
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Old 09-11-2002, 11:22 AM   #6
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Bill,

Thank's so very much for your post. I try to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. No amount of advertising or postings by me could come close to matching the impact of your post.

Thank's can't begin cover it.

Larry
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Old 09-12-2002, 05:52 PM   #7
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onezman, warpath and Bill R - thanks for the comments. I'm almost ready to buy a truck. It will be a Volvo 610 for sure -- why? Because the commander-in-chief (CINC-House), otherwise known as the wife, likes them! And if the wife likes the Class 8 Volvo over a Class 6 rig, I've got it made. Joe

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Old 09-13-2002, 11:13 AM   #8
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I tried to delete that "truth, whole truth, nothing but the truth" in the above post. Sounds
way too self serving. You Can't edit a post on this forum after 60 minutes.

Larry
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