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Old 08-03-2020, 07:59 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2020
Location: Fort Worth
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Cool Texas Newbee

Still in the planning and research stage here. I'll retire next year, sell the sticks and bricks and go full time nomad. Endless research has led me to 2 solid decisions. I will track down a used Newmar 5th wheel and I'll be pulling it with an HDT. Newmar hasn't manufactured the 5th wheel since 2014. The specific truck model has had me going from Volvo, to Peterbilt, to Kenworth and then back to the Volvo VNL 780. I prefer the Volvo's workstation sleepers. Now I'm learning several necessary details including where I can get the Volvo singled in or near Fort Worth TX. One online forum says you should get the trailer/5th wheel first to determine what you need to haul it. That seems terribly impractical because if the Newmar I want turns up for sale in Kansas, how am I to get it home if I buy it? Then there is the issue of finding instruction on owning a big truck. I could change the oil and tires on cars before I was old enough to drive but a semi tractor is a mystery to me. If I buy from MHC in Fort Worth, I'm pretty sure they'll help with learning the truck but I don't think that location does singling. It's all a learning curve and nobody has a solid cost estimate online (not recent). So, here I am in the forums and really seeking an education. I'm trying to learn how practical my cost limits are. When I decided on the fiver, I was initially set on getting a Ram 3500 but shelling out $90,000 for a truck that doesn't compare to the lifespan of a tractor doesn't make much sense. If I land the Volvo I'm after for $50,000 and can get the singling and bed done for $20,000 I'll come in under the cost of the Ram. The used Newmar will run between $20,000 and $40,000. My goal is to keep the total under $100,000. Any advice is welcome.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:05 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. Sounds like a nice plan. Sorry I don't know much about that type of setup, but you may find what you need here or over on the HDT - Escapees forum.

I think you will find the Volvo to be very popular in the HDT community, and for good cause. Good luck with your build.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:34 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2020
Location: Fort Worth
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Default Feeling optimistic

Thank you for the welcome. I appreciate the groups and this is a learning experience.
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Old 08-23-2020, 05:14 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Rosarito
Posts: 29
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1)
Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks are available from the factory with a single rear axle.

Acquiring a factory-built vehicle with your specifications eliminates your 'test-pilot' learning phase, and gets you on the road sooner... perhaps months sooner, depending on the schedule of the shop.

If you have welding and fabricator skills, eliminating an axle (one of the rears is usually a better idea) is simple and straightforward.
I don't see paying twenty-grand to modify a vehicle engineered to be used with a tandem-rears power system and braking system.
And after the modification, you are relying on the technician's ability.
The warranty of 'thirty-feet, thirty seconds' may apply.

What do your insurance underwriters say?

2)
What if your ideal vehicle is in Idaho or Florida?
The seller picks you up at the Greyhound station, drives you to the rig, then you drive it home.
This is the standard for acquiring OTR vehicles.

3)
'...endless research'..." can inhibit acting on a great vehicle.

2003, my Very Significant Other got sick.
The day of the diagnosis, we acquired a 1997 Ford CF8000 box-truck, converted it to our idea of an ExpeditionVehicle while selling everything... all in one week.
We hit the road, and never looked back.
Our vague goal was 'south from Oregon'.
Twenty-four months twenty-four thousand miles around south America.
Alaska, Panama, all over north and central America.
Winters on Baja beaches.

2020, I use the rig daily.
No regrets.
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Old 08-24-2020, 12:35 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2020
Location: Fort Worth
Posts: 3
Default Not a welder

Well I will not be doing the singling myself. I was an aviation electrician in the Navy so I can solder circuit boards and changer out micro components but welding is way beyond my skill set. As for the truck purchase, I'll likely work with the North Texas dealers who also have a dyno on hand. I'm definite on the Volvo 780 and I've learned that not all dynos have the Volvo proprietary software patch. I can do that with Bruckner in DFW (Dallas or Fort Worth) and then have it delivered to Herrin welding in Kilgore for the singling and maybe the bed install with an ET hitch. The dealer may have other suggestions and in Fort Worth I can also have it done at IP Until I get my Texas Class A, my Dad can drive it (he has one for their Airstream Land Yacht motorhome). IPtruck (industrial power) Fort Worth is also a singling option but I think I read somewhere that Herrin is also helpful in the RV registration for the truck.
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