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Old 11-27-2003, 09:28 AM   #1
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I want to eventually build myself a toterhome on a Freightliner FL80 or similar. I want to have about 12 to 14 feet of living quarters and I will be towing my race car in a gooseneck trailer (about 10 to 12 thousand pounds total). I want to know what truck wheelbase you would recommend for this and if a FL80 is big enough or is too much. What would be the minimum horsepower that I should look for (I haven't bought anything yet). Any information would be welcome.

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Old 11-27-2003, 12:35 PM   #2
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In the long run, you cannot go too big or have too much horsepower (within reason). Take a look at the folks you see struggling about with pickup trucks towing things they can't handle, etc. I would not go as big as a C15 Cat, but something that gives you 350 HP and 1200 ft. pounds of torque is probably a god choice.
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Old 11-27-2003, 12:37 PM   #3
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First question is: How much money do you want to spend? Second question is: How many hills do you have to climb and how fast do you want to climb them? Minium: Fl80 with a Cat 3126 or a Cummims 8.3 will do the job-very well....If you want to play with the big boys than get a larger engine more gears and a higher rear end......I rode in a KW garage coach with a Dee-troit 12.7 turned up to 500hp that went from 80 to 100 like a rocket at about #36000....convinced me that Cummins wasn't the only engine out there....geof
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Old 11-27-2003, 01:52 PM   #4
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HA HA, How much money do I want to spend or how much money do I have????? I want to spend a lot but I don't have any!!!!, so I will end up building the toter myself. But I am a perfectionnist, I will do it very well or not at all. I am still in the research phase of my project.
I have quite a lot of hills to go from my home town to the places that I race but I don't necessarily want to race with anybody going up the hills, I do my racing on the track!! I just want to have a truck that will get me over the hills comfortably and economically(miles/gallon).
But when you are talking about the guys with the pickup trucks struggling up the hills, that is me with my present setup, 1996 GMC 3500 crew cab 2WD with a 350 Vortec engine, and struggling is not the word, it is more like barely making it!!!
I want to buy a used truck and not have to get the frame lengthened, I saw a few single axle FL80's with 24 or 26 foot boxes on top, if I take off the box do you think a truck like that would be O.K.?
I also would like to have an acceptable ride when not towing the trailer if possible!
Any and all suggestions welcome.

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Old 11-27-2003, 06:07 PM   #5
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.....7-11 mpg at 55mph on flat ground....maybe less depending on the wind....air suspension of the truck rear will cost more [$400 per set of air bags]to replace but ride is better than steel springs....Thirty thousand will give you what you want-maybe add a generator for $2000 and A/C's at $500 each....rest at Home Depot/Lowes.....Insulate with polyisocynate foam spray or boards and seal all seams with spray can foam....glue up carpet to keep the sound at a reasonable level in the living quarters and easily washed walls elswhere.....easy to clean floors are a plus around grease and dirt.....geof
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Old 11-27-2003, 08:36 PM   #6
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boomer, i'm of the mind that too much is a good place to start. that said i'd go with the most engine, more gears, as low on the rear ratio (3.90 or lower--- mileage) and i'd ask the guys here about gettin' a tag or live tandam with air (for stability). the tandem might be better for traction (locked up) if you go into dirt pits. oh, it's been said here before once you go this way you won't go back. mase
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Old 11-28-2003, 07:28 AM   #7
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If you had the choice between a FL80 and a FL70 with a bigger (more HP) engine, which one would you take?

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Old 11-28-2003, 07:47 AM   #8
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The 70 with more motor.


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Old 11-28-2003, 09:59 AM   #9
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big engine is good but there are a lot more things to compare on used vehicles than just engine size....how much more hp and torque-rear axel ratio-number forward speeds-air vs. hydraulic brakes- eangine brake tire size and condition etc etc etc....geof
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Old 11-28-2003, 10:10 AM   #10
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I already have my preferences:
-air brakes
-automatic transmission
-air suspension (at least at rear)

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Old 11-28-2003, 02:17 PM   #11
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Auto shifts cost a little more off the lot and a little more per mile and a lot more if they go croak-but it makes your trip more pleasurable....and gives you an advantage in traffic-cuz your clutch leg isn't going to be so tired---full autos OTOH are just a matter of pushing a button and sitting back in the chair-then clicking on the cruz....a friend I know that drives over the road claimed he even had sex when driving an Allison Full Auto but then again he is a truck driver and they are all good at telling stories/lies to alleviate the bordom. With a Freightshaker, you always want to check out the Air Conditioner they are KNOWN for NOT doing the job-if they work at all.....geof
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Old 11-28-2003, 03:51 PM   #12
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geof, wasn't it one of our past presidents that claimed he DIDN'T have sex? mase
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Old 11-28-2003, 06:45 PM   #13
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O.K. Choice: Auto or Manual tranny?
You got me doubting my preference for the automatic now!!! Anybody else have anything to say about the transmissions?
Oh, geof, you call it a Freightshaker!!! Any bad experiences you want to share???

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Old 11-28-2003, 07:33 PM   #14
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ROTFL....your are entirely correct on that issue mase....I do remember that statement now....geof
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Old 11-28-2003, 07:39 PM   #15
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A/C issue is the only thing I can repeat with total confidence.....the rest is just hearsay.....but I know about the A/C form experience in a FL70 roll-back wrecker in the hot Cincinnati Summer...that's why I have a Chevy 6500 now.....that and it was $42,000 new out the door bed and all.....geof<and It was a long hot summer with that truck>
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Old 12-02-2003, 07:03 AM   #16
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O.K. That's good, but nobody has given me an idea of the wheelbase that I should be looking for. And I am still undecided as for single or dual rear axles. Vopoppa's opinion tells me that I should get a dual but will my ride quality suffer, loaded and not?

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Old 12-02-2003, 01:49 PM   #17
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Another question!
I will be towing a gooseneck trailer, if I get a FL70 or FL80, is it preferable to have the hitch on top (centered) on the rear axle? or can I put it a little to the rear?
And on a double axle rear, centered on the rear axle or between the two?

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Old 12-02-2003, 03:07 PM   #18
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You can easily put it behind the rear axle, not sure how far but it can be done.


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Old 12-02-2003, 04:40 PM   #19
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boomer one of my thoughts was that you want to put a box on behind the cab, ok you know how long you want the box, next see what t6he available used trucks have in general as far as tandems and the cab to center of tandems (lets call that cot) is then compare box versus cot. you'll then know if the box will need to extend past the cot. ok, most of toe trucks i looked at on truck trader were carring 24 to 28' beds. if your desired box fitscool or then if it diddn't ok check the ball load added to the swag of the box load . most of the adds had a rear capacity given. plus and minus tells you if you are ok. i'm sure ther are more sofisticated/sp, but that ought to get you in the ball park. oh, the fact that you'll have a box/bays(storage) and a trailer is the why i' put the tandems under your rig. given the cost(used) of the extra axle and the capacity, puls the stabilit if there's a 30-50 mph cross wind i thought it might be worth consideration anyhow. mase
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Old 12-02-2003, 04:44 PM   #20
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i'm not blonde but DUH, you may even be able to cut some of the excess off,, like on a dump truck. thanks. mase
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