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Old 04-20-2003, 07:33 AM   #1
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Good Day all and Happy Easter (hope thats a proper Easter greeting). I founf the site a short time ago and, due to the time constraints of two young ones, am a bit of a lurker - hopefully short term. I took a moment last evening to toss in a few pictures of my (our) 2000 Volvo 770. I know the 610 seems to be the flavor of choice lately so I thought maybe some pic's of its big brother (sister) would add a diversion. We've had her (or him - not sure yet) about a year now. We love her. We've actually had her for sale off and on for $$ reasons but I'm finding it more and more distastefull to follow through with the thought of doing so regradless of our position - that and the fact that we can't find a suitable means to step down and actually save $$. I originally planned to leave her as is for several reasons - two of which are 1) I love the look of a real work truck and 2) should I need to sell (funny how that reason came to fruition) it would still be marketable as a worker bee.
I do, however miss the pickup bed, of all things, in my old one ton cummins. Did allot of things for me. So I'm begging to entertain what I'd do if the $$ would allow us this luxury adn we can keep it. I know I'm rambling here - sorry about that. BTW - the kids absolutely adore this rig. Our 16mth old thinks hes king sh*t riding in his car seat in the copilot position. of course he takes every oportunity to pretrend hes shifting and driving when we're stnading still too. NEver thought I'd tire of hearing the air horn - well - I haven't - but I bet the neigbors have <G>. Shes got all the goodies in her - took time to find one spec'd that way too. Has the N-14 Cummins ESP with 435/500HP. Fuller 13spd (only HAVE to use 4-6 of them - but its great to have for setting speed to RPM in traffic)and a 231" wheelbase. Theres allot more too it. But I suppose I should save that for another day. Oh ya - BTW - we're in MASS and have her registered as an RV or Camper. Also financed as an RV too. It wasn't a picnic - but it was accomplished.

Kevin E. Silva
ZR1 Parts for sale -
<home.attbi.com/~keszr1/zr1parts.htm>
In Major Need of an Update

1998 BMW 750il - Orient Blue
2000 Volvo VNL 770
NCM - #4738
ICQ# - 18873747
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Old 04-20-2003, 08:57 AM   #2
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Man, that sure is a nice lookin truck. It even seems to match the TS colors. Do you find that it's height restricts you any when you are bobtailing. More specifically, any more than a mid-roof would?? REAL nice truck!

On edit: want to trade for a real nice F550 set up for fulltiming? Plus, some cash?

Jack Mayer
F550 Centurion Conversion
36' Newmar Kountry Star
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:07 AM   #3
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Hey Jack,
Thanx for the kind words. It does seem to be made special to match the TS - though that wasn't what I set out to do. Was just a side benefit. Let's see here. Re: the height.
I think the photo must have been an attempt at triuck photography that was not intended. The height differential - between the rig and the trailer aren't as dramatic as it looks. MOF- no where near so.
I know there is allot of thought that the 770 is too high compared to the 610. I'm not trying to contradict any opinions here - just giving my thoughts. I'm not a fulltimer. Spend more time bobtailing than with the trailer. MOF I'm still trying to find someone to make a filler piece for the holland hitch (I can exound on that if thats not a given here). My opinion is that - my opinion.

That said. No - I'm not too concerned about the height - My only problem is I forget often to note bridge heights and then I cringe when I realize I'm going under <G>.
I go anywhere and everywhere I want to - sans parking garages and drive throughs - but my one tone dually couldn't do that either. The rig stands @13'2". Part of my reasoning and logic is based on prior experience and studying other rig spec's - by that I mean that allot of trailers stand near that tall. I drove class A's for awhile and they were darn near that tall. If you have the $$ to get higher end class A's and trailers There is minimal difference - at that point the question may merel be which one would you want to tap first if you didn't have clearance. Re: maneuvering in CG's and other places - like back roads. Well, I remember my class A's and even my current trailer hitting low branches on occasion.

Can I say that I can plop the trailer in every situation I did with a dually - nope - but thats not necessarily becasue I can't - its more becasue I haven't tried. Since we got the rig we tend to go everywhere in it together and for short trips just use the truck we enjoy it so much. We now save the trailer for longer jaunts. I was taught when towing w rig this size - and I mean trailer length and truck length as well as height - you'd use the same common sense you would doing it with your dually if going into a strnage CG> call ahead and let them know what your height and legth are and have them try and coordinate - where possible - an appropriate spot - I suppose I have a little more freedom for refusal than a full timer may.
For me - the only downfall of the 770 over the 610 is the enormous price differential. But it is trully an RV in itself - as I saod before the kids love it. FWIW - our usual entourage for a day trip is my wife and I, our two children (3 and 1.5) often my mom (the only addition for day trip over a couple days), and our 100# Bernese mountain dog. I've had allot of different vehicles, RVs etc - this is bright, airy, private and comfy. ITs allot more HD inside than the majority of RV's I've had the opportunity to play with. Maybe because it's made for working nonstop?

I'm not sure I gave a direct answer to your ? but hopefully asnwered it - if not try again - I'm not trying to mislead or misinform. Also not trying to change the popular or more accepted opinion - just give my own.

As far as the F550 question goes. If it helped our current predicament (ie finances) and was tolerable/acceptable as our family truck - I'd be willing to consider it - I wasn't sure if you were kidding or not so I figured I'd answer. I'm not upset either way. If you were serious please forward information and photos.

Kevin E. Silva
ZR1 Parts for sale -
<home.attbi.com/~keszr1/zr1parts.htm>
In Major Need of an Update

1998 BMW 750il - Orient Blue
2000 Volvo VNL 770
NCM - #4738
ICQ# - 18873747
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Old 04-20-2003, 12:17 PM   #4
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Kevin, I was kinda kiddin ya about the 550 - but only because your truck is not autoshift. If it was I'd definately do a trade if you would part with that beauty. Personally, I would take a part timejob before I'd sell that truck. (Or make my wife take a partime job...:-) )

Jack Mayer
F550 Centurion Conversion
36' Newmar Kountry Star
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Old 04-20-2003, 07:18 PM   #5
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Thats OK jack - I just wasn't sure and if I made one of my typical smart remarks and had misinterpreted the intent I have started off on a bad note. Even so I'd like to see a picture of that rig - sounds interesting to me. I know there was a batch of red autoshifts running around last fall or so - but I haven't been watching the market too much lately.

Kevin E. Silva
ZR1 Parts for sale -
<home.attbi.com/~keszr1/zr1parts.htm>
In Major Need of an Update

1998 BMW 750il - Orient Blue
2000 Volvo VNL 770
NCM - #4738
ICQ# - 18873747
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Old 04-21-2003, 01:19 AM   #6
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Hi Kevin,

Like you, I will probably bobtail around for short day trips and weekend trips a lot more than long trips with a 5er and I was wondering about hauling your two kids around. I have a 6 year old daughter and a 3 week old son and I need to make sure they are safely strapped in so I am considering all the options before I purchase. I could add seats like Bill (warpath) originally did in his FLD and with a double bunk like yours I would still have a bed, but I'd still prefer the 2 bunks be left intact. Another option I have considered is Kenworth's studio sleeper which has a sofa-bed and comes with seat belt-shoulder harnesses already installed. I could find a truck with a studio sleeper already on it, although they are scarce, or install the sleeper on another truck since Kenworth sells it separately as a pre-wired bare shell set up for the sofa-bed. What do you do to safely strap in all four family members when on a trip (or five when you take your mom)?

PS: How do you like your 750iL? I have a 735i which my wife loves but I lust after a 750 or a 740i sport edition. I much prefer the look of the 1995-2002 7 series to the new 745 but I seem to be in the minority.
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Old 04-21-2003, 07:45 AM   #7
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Hey Mike;

The children and their seats was one of the biggest issues with me. their comfort is always paramount in my decisions. I suppose they are "healthily" spoiled to an extent - but I fought 15 years to have them and plan to cherish every moment from the first poop till they can't stand me and want to be "independent" (though I prey that day never arrives).
That said I liked having the rear windows for them to see, the dinette to sit and play, the upper bunk which my daughter absolutely loves. Plus I have a nice ramp that lets their 100# dog come along too. And my daughter likes to climb it as well since her legs are still too short for a gound up climb into the cab.

My resolution to the car seat issue demanded that things be left intact. To do so I got a set of seat belts - 2 sets for two seats. I admit that I haven't installed them yet but its not too difficult. I plan to place them so that the car seats can be place in either , or both, the left and right side of the dinette up tight to the back wall facing forward. The base of the seats are Plywood and go into the lower luggage compartment. once your in there there are several locations to bolt down the base that are pertty strong - I noted they may not be as strong as the bolt down in car or truck - but that they also don't need to carry the wight of a full person. The decision I was working on was whether I wanted to go "hog wild" and use a heavier bolt down with backing. this lets you have the two seats in regardless of work station position (up or down) and allows two people to sit next two them - one each side. and still leaves the copilots seat open .

All that said - I know I should have acted on those day one - but have only recently came up with what I felt was a good solution and we didn't go out allot in the snow (I'm pretty anal about keeping my cars detailed and this one is a bugger <G&gt

having done allot of traveling in our old class A's with our firends children I recall that only the two front seats ever had seatbelts - I'm not sure if thats changed today- our last new one was around 87 or so.

How I got by initially was to put the baby seat for my son up tight to the dash between the seats. I could attend to him and in a frontal impact he wouldn't fly forward - unless quite substantial (note : I know all this is wrong - just telling what I had experienced - keep in mind I still remember that my parents never used seat belts with us when we were young - right or wrong). My daughter was always in back with people around her as well as sleeping bags and padding - or behind one of the passenger "nets" that came with the truck.

FAst forward to today when they are both a bit older and larger - My son resides in his car seat located in the passenger seat - hes all strapped in good and tight - and legal. He loves looking out - can't do that in our other cars - hes too low.
My daugher usually loves sitting and coloring or watching TV in the dinnete with my wife with her and in front of her. often she likes the bed down to play and we can place the net up. While trying to decide what to do regrading selling the rig this weekend I showed her the upper bunk and ladder. I'd say that was the final blow. She wouldn't have come down yet if I hadn't forced her to. She spent the better part of the weekend up there- behind the net while I was "puttzing" around.

In your case you could improve on safety - if you strapped the baby into the passenger seat and added seat belts up back for your daughter. You could do as I did with the carrier - but its not an approved method and your wife may not like you for it. - mine liked the way it worked. I still see trucking families today with kids piling in and out of the rig - I don't know how they deal with it.

AFter reading a post in another forumn of how a fellow wasn't even jarred while reading in the back of his 770 while his wife T-boned a cow - I got new respect for my truck. And also remembered why I got it in the first place.

I'd love to discuss the 750 with you - why I got it for safety of the kids and a ton of other things - I'm guessing the admin here wouldn't care for it too much so I'm assuming I should email you privately on that. 1) love it - 2) got if after my daughter was born - couldn't take her and the mrs in the ZR1's or on the bikes so I parted with everything and got one car - the safest and sportiest sedan I could find (not including the M5 which is small for me) this one has the nav and reard and side airbags plus the security glass with the metal protected sunroof. ITs a tank that can book. We've even had that on the market due to our recent situation (as well as our house ;-0 but not sure I can part with that either. And like you - I prefer its look over the new 745/760 - the later e38's are, from what I've been taught, pretty reliable. I even found a cheat to enable the TV here in good ole US of A. Please drop a line re the BMW topic if you'd like. I'm never around - but I'll get to it eventually.

Kevin E. Silva
ZR1 Parts for sale -
<home.attbi.com/~keszr1/zr1parts.htm>
In Major Need of an Update

1998 BMW 750il - Orient Blue
2000 Volvo VNL 770
NCM - #4738
ICQ# - 18873747
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Old 04-22-2003, 12:41 PM   #8
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Hi Kevin,

Thanks for getting back to me. I see what you're saying about the kid's car seats and mounting the seat belts to secure the seats in a forward facing position with the back to the rear wall of the sleeper. While I love the lounge feature with its table for the kids, my 6 year old, who will be 7 in the fall, has already graduated to a booster seat and thus I need a shoulder harness-lap belt combo like in a regular car and I won't let any of my kids ride in the front seat, although that might be okay in the truck. Even if it is, I'm sure my wife will want to ride up there sometimes so I still need a solution for the back area. I am aware that most motorhomes either do not have belts at all or what they have is inadequate, with lap belt only and in seats that are not forward facing. One of the reasons this is such an issue with me is that during the past year a motorhome owner in my area lost his daughter in a crash while she was riding in the back of their motorhome (apparently unbelted). Although that can happen regardless of one's precautions, it still spurs me to do my utmost to prevent a mishap. Therefore, unless I can find a way to adapt shoulder belts adequately, I will be relegated to Kenworth's studio sleeper system which already has two shoulder harnesses on each side and a lap belt in the center (better for infant & kid's seats). This system can be seen on Kenworth's webpage in their Adobe PDF brochures for sleepers/interiors and studio sleepers and in the W900 & T800 brochures. I'm not sure how KW secures the upper & lower mounts of the shoulder-lap belt combo but if anyone has an idea of how to safely & securely adapt such a setup to other sleepers, feel free to let me know. Unfortunately, each company's sleeper has at least one feature that I like, such as Volvo's lounge, Peterbilt's full size sleeper door & eye level fridge, and so on, but no one has all these features in one system, which I suppose is the reason for custom builds. However, I need the sofa-bed with shoulder-lap belts before I can think of anything else so right now it looks like Kenworth or a custom build is the only game in town (both expensive) and this will affect which trucks I can choose from. Unfortunately, Kenworths tend to be a bit more pricey than other trucks similarly equipped and Larry has pointed out that they are virtually impossible to inexpensively convert to single axle. I may not ultimately do that but it's nice to have the option. I know there are others with kids out there so if anyone has any thoughts, fire away.

Mike
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Old 04-22-2003, 05:47 PM   #9
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Hey Mike; ineteresting delema - I can sure appreciate the desire for maximizing child safety though.
I merely wanted to note that I believe the primary reason for relegating children to rear seats is where air bags are concerned. An example would be the modern C5 vettes in which you can request a passenger side airbag defeat switch if you have children. Another is with pickups - standard and extended cab - not crew cabs - have air bag defeat switched for child seats. Doesn't necessarily help your situation - but I felt I should throw that in based on the way you mentioned the child seat up front.

As far as the addition of the shoulder belt. You may want to take a look at the volvos use of the "sleeper safety net" (not sure of the correct term). IT has attachement points that include an area that may be adaptable to your shoulder belt.

Just a thought

Kevin E. Silva
ZR1 Parts for sale -
<home.attbi.com/~keszr1/zr1parts.htm>
In Major Need of an Update

1998 BMW 750il - Orient Blue
2000 Volvo VNL 770
NCM - #4738
ICQ# - 18873747
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Old 04-23-2003, 11:34 PM   #10
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Hi Kevin,
I agree that the front seat/air bag issue is a problem. However, the stats I was referring to which stated that the rear seat is safer than the front seat in an accident were from before the advent of passenger side air bags and even today groups such as the Nat'l Insurance Institute and the NHTSA continue to recommend the rear seat even when a car is equipped with an air bag shut-off or reduction system. Of course, all the tests leading to such recommendations are on passenger cars and trucks and therefore may not be relevant to class 8 trucks. In any event, I want at least four sets of shoulder harnesses so each member of my family has one available. To that end, I emailed Double Eagle and they said all of their sleepers are custom orders so they can provide such a set up in a sleeper with air ride. However, even though their prices seem very reasonable, they are still out of my reach for now. My best bet still seems to be a KW sleeper or custom conversion of an existing sleeper. I did notice the attachments for the sleeper safety nets in the pictures of the Larry's Volvo conversions and although I haven't seen them in person they appear to be very similar to a standard seat belt clip. When I was an OTR Driver 20+ years ago the nets were not nearly as sophisticated so I'll have to take a closer look. However, unless I can figure out a way to add shoulder harnesses or convert the net system, or someone else can tell me how to do so, I will have to stay away from integral sleepers and go with either a day cab or a truck with a modular type removable sleeper so I can add on a KW sleeper or a Double Eagle or its equivalent down the road. Again, if anyone has thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them. Thanks.

Mike

P.S. Kevin, I'll email you privately to discuss the Beemer once my law school finals are over.
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