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Old 11-02-2016, 04:31 PM   #21
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Makes sense now and thanks. Making more sense with every reply.
In the swamp(literally)
Phil
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Old 11-02-2016, 04:54 PM   #22
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Not sure how I would identify the front heavy coach as those specs are not typically listed and I would not know good from bad nor the appropriate questions to ask.
Door Tag will list the axle ratings.
The wheels will be stamped w/ a Weight Capacity (at least mine are).
The tires will have coding (LR or load range) and a letter - as well most have weight rating (per tire) stamped on the sidewall.

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Is your 13spd manual totally manual or do you use the clutch at start up and then it is auto?
you'll encounter 4 types of trans -
  • Traditional Fully Manual (3 pedal)....Clutch/Brake & Throttle
  • 3 Pedal Manuals that only require the use of Clutch to Start (from stop)
  • 2 Pedal "auto-shift" or "smart-shift" in 10/12 or 13 speed (or as i call 'em manumatic) - these are DRY clutch w/out a clutch pedal - and they auto shift the gears (up & down) and skip shift as needed based on load.
  • Traditional Automatics (6 or 8 speed w/ Torque Converters)
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:21 PM   #23
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And the knowledge just keeps coming. Cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.
So the traditional automatics are the troublesome ones? I assume those are on the later model trucks?
From the swamp,
Phil
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:40 PM   #24
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And the knowledge just keeps coming. Cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.
So the traditional automatics are the troublesome ones? I assume those are on the later model trucks?
From the swamp,
Phil
I think there were some (limited) issues one (?) particular manumatic
but i don't know if it was the smart-shift (ZF), i-Shift (volvo?) or the auto-shift (??)

I seem to remember the problems that i heard/read about were moisture/electrical connection related and i think you'd have to search pretty hard to find reference-able / pattern failures.....you could always go to a Truck Shop (Freightliner, Volvo etc) and ask the mechanics what (pattern) failures they've seen.

I wouldn't bother asking truck drivers what automatic they like - they hate 'em all and seem to prefer to row their own gears.

Again even if you could get to 60k lbs youre still well under the capacity of what the truck was built to endure.

Ours has the 12 speed Smart Shift (Meritor/ZF) and I love it, its one of the coolest things about the coach - it'll upshift / skip shift (starts in 3rd but can be reprogramed to start in any gear)...and it down shifts - all based on load, throttle (pressure), or engagement of the exhaust brake.

all of the manumatic can be manually (paddle) shifted up & down - but you give up the ability to skip shift then (at least i do on our Meritor/ZF).

I THINK volvo or someone did a 3 pedal manumatic (needed the clutch to start off)

in SOME newer truck conversion coaches theyre now using the Allison (traditional torque converter) automatics - everyone i know complains that NONE of the 6 gears in their (pusher) coaches are right....complaining that 1 & 2 are too low and 3 or 4 are too high to start off in...and that 6th isn't tall enough.
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Old 11-02-2016, 06:17 PM   #25
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...I seem to remember the problems that i heard/read about were moisture/electrical connection related ...
A friend of mine with a newer Columbia coach got stuck 80 miles from Phoenix on the way to a race when his auto trans shut down and the coach would not move. Sorry though I don't know what trans he has in the coach. Unfortunately he ended up with an $1,800 tow bill and I'm not sure what the shop bill was but the cause I heard was a wiring issue to the trans.

Even though the manual is fun to drive I have had my "oh-crap" moments, mainly when driving in heavy traffic and when I have to make a quick change. And then there's the time my son missed a downshift going up a big hill on the interstate and couldn't find a gear. 50K lbs stops pretty quick when there's no more forward drive going on & it's not fun when you roll to a stop while you're still in the lane. That's one thing an auto probably won't do.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:10 AM   #26
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You guys are incredible. Cannot thank you enough and do not go away if something else pops into your heads!
From the Swamp(not Washington, that is a cesspool),
Phil
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:46 AM   #27
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Ive been think about an upgrade....
I'll make you a deal on our coach
  • New Rear/Drive tires a few months.
  • New Steers less than 2 yrs ago.
  • New House batteries 2 months ago.
  • Generator Stator replaced 2 yrs ago.
  • Generator Service this week, valves adjusted, new hoses, water pump.
  • Brakes are 50% or better
  • lots of other upgrades
  • pre-emmissions / non-egr / non urea (DEF) engine
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:06 AM   #28
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Very nice but I have pretty much decided that I need a twin screw.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:17 AM   #29
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Phil,

As a reference, we paid $42K for our 1996, 9-year old build coach. This is a one off coach built by the guy we bought it from. He built it for himself and his wife and used it for 7-years (parked it for 2) before selling it due to an illness. These coaches are a little risky since you really have to look them over on build quality. After owning it for almost two years now I'd say it was worth it for us and hopefully we can get our money back out of it some day. We were primarily looking at motor homes at the time in this price range when we found this coach locally. It sounds like you have more money available and can go after a production unit but I wouldn't rule out a custom one if you can really look it over. Our rig was already registered as a motor home which also helped matters.

Rolling the Dice: We did have to put around $8K in our front axle assembly after the first trip out. It's a long story but things worked out and this is when I discovered we're not the only ones dealing with front axle weight.

Sorry I don't have many interior pictures. The only thing we don't like on the inside is the carpet.

bushpilot really seems to know his stuff and has good advice. His rig looks pretty good too.

Like you though I'm a little bit scared about total length. We're around 69' with our 24' trailer and although we haven't had a problem yet I really want a 28' stacker and am scared to buy one and go bigger. I guess that's another discussion for another thread.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:20 AM   #30
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Very nice but I have pretty much decided that I need a twin screw.
thanks to me ha!
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:48 AM   #31
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DeepVee,
You were very lucky to have found that coach and yes, Bushpilot, your comments sold me on the twin screw. Selling/trading my MH helps with the $ thing for sure. I have found a few that might work and one is here in S La. One always assumes the best must be some where far away and most are in the Midwest. Or at least some of the largest dealers are in there.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:01 PM   #32
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I THINK, if i had my choice - id go for (another) pre-emissions motor (no EGR or DEF), the mpg MIGHT suffer (slightly) but theres a lot less likelihood that something would go wrong.

I'd look for a coach w/ nothing shorter than a 3.21 rear....I turn about 1400 R's at 72mph and id love to be lower (mpg sweet spot)...and id really wish i could get those RPMs down a little more....ive got PLENTY of pulling power...even starting in 3rd gear.

I would eventually like to have the coach reprogramed to start in 5th gear & raise the cruise control (set) limit to 75 (mph) at the same time.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:08 PM   #33
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....I turn about 1400 R's at 72mph and id love to be lower (mpg sweet spot)...and id really wish i could get those RPMs down a little more....
Yep, we're 1450 RPM at 66-MPH and I wish we had a taller gear. I don't really run any faster than this unless I have to due to the RPM's.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:20 PM   #34
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Yep, we're 1450 RPM at 66-MPH and I wish we had a taller gear. I don't really run any faster than this unless I have to due to the RPM's.
What rear gearing are you running?


I don't want to hijack this thread w/ RPM (mpg) discussion -
there is an older thread (showing my RPM's at various speed) -

http://www.truckconversion.net/forum...fuel-mpg-7602/
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:07 PM   #35
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What rear gearing are you running?
I'm not sure. I could try to calculate it but I'm not sure if my top gear is 1:1 or an overdrive ratio. I assume I have an overdrive and a 3.XX gear.
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:06 PM   #36
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I'm not sure. I could try to calculate it but I'm not sure if my top gear is 1:1 or an overdrive ratio. I assume I have an overdrive and a 3.XX gear.
Good point & i knew someone would say that as soon as i was done typing it
...In full disclosure (while i also look for my 12th gear ratio ) -

Freightliner SmartShift ShiftControl can be supplied with 4 different tranny's
  • Eaton Fuller AutoShift,Identified by a four-position selector switch is marked "R-N-D-L" - with auto/manual slide switch (Figure 1)
  • ZF Meritor SureShift - Identified by a three-position switch marked "R-N-F" (older models) or "R-N-D" (newer models) - no slide switch on either.(Figure 2)
  • ZF Meritor FreedomLine - Identified by the R- N-D - with auto/manual slide switch (Figure 3)
  • Eaton Fuller UltraShift - 10 speed / 3 pedal (NOT SHOWN)

More info about the operation of each transmission can be found HERE
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:07 PM   #37
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:35 PM   #38
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Keep going guys. Glad I stirred you up. Love it.
Phil
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:47 PM   #39
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heres a 2 screw garage coach, 73k miles, with a (rare) rear bedroom.

2004 Renegade Coach 24/10MG | eBay
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:55 PM   #40
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Nice but do not need a garage. Too old to dare ride motorcycles again and I know I would be tempted to stick one in the garage. Race cars and Hummers are much safer than motorcycles. Back to motorcycles. Some of the best times I ever had were on a Can Am Enduro in the woods. Still feel lucky to have lived through all that! Great times though.
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