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Old 05-06-2009, 11:53 AM   #1
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Hello All,

My name is Jeff (Big T) and I am a new member to this site. I just wanted to offer my knowledge and advice to anyone who might be interested. I have been working in heavy eq sales for 20 years and with Volvo Trucks NA for the past 7 years. I am the Motorcoach specialist for Volvo Truck NA. I am currently working with and supplying Volvo truck chassis to 14 of the top RV/Motorcoach manufacturers in the nation. I have worked hard in designing and making engineering changes with Volvo trucks specifically for the RV industry.

In my opinion, Volvo is the best option for the RV industry due to their Safety, Comfort, Manueverablity, strength & fuel economy. With the release of the new Volvo I-shift automated transmission, Volvo has placed their truck chassis at the top of the list for serious Truck convertors. You will never drive a smoother shifting & better operating transmission in the truck industry. I presented a ride and drive at Haulmark's last dealer meeting and everyong who drove the truck said they were extremely impressed and stated it was the best transmission and truck they have every driven.

We are excited to get involved with this forum and sincerly hope that we can be a professional source of information to all the members.

Thanks,

Jeff
jtackett@stykemain.com
800/886-4242
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:01 PM   #2
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I get to be the first to say "thank you" and "welcome to the group." That's very cool that Volvo has committed resources to the truck conversion market. I test drove a coach built on a Volvo and it did drive nice. The rest of the coach wasn't exactly what I wanted tho. Great to have you here. This seems to be a pretty small group of posters and not a lot of traffic like some of the other camper sites, but we have the toughest rigs around, hahahaha.
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:14 PM   #3
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Thanks Bob. Did the Volvo that you drove have the I-Shift and if-so, what did you think?
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:09 PM   #4
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No, it had I think an Eaton 10 speed autoshift. Does that sound right? It had a clutch to get it rolling and then it shifted automatically after that. And I pushed the clutch in when coming to a stop. I didn't pay a ton of attention to it since I knew I wasn't going to buy it. Just wanted to take it for a drive and the salesman seemed to want to take it out too. Pretty sure it had a Detroit engine.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:38 PM   #5
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Yes, that was an Eaton Autoshift. An autoshift is with a clutch pedal and an ultrashift is without a pedal and both are manufactured by Eaton. Meritor also has an automated transmission without the clutch pedal and it is called a Freedomline and it is a 12 spd. The Volvo Ishift, by far, out performs all transmissions. While the Freedomline will skip-shift it is very rough and jerky when starting out. Many complaints have been stated about backing into their trailer because of the intense response from this transmission when the gears are engaged. Complaints have also been expressed about Eaton Products and how it shifts through every gear. The Volvo I-shift will skipshift and is very smooth in starting and shifting through the gears. It also has numerous programable features such as hill start assist (holding the brake until the fuel pedals is pressed), eco-shift (allowing the truck to run at Idol when going down a grade, fuel saver) and one of the most aggressive engine brakes to date. I-shift stands for Inteligent Shift and is definately a joy to operate. If you have the opportunity to drive one or if you are ever in NW Ohio, stop by and I'll take you on a test drive with one.

Jeff
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:56 PM   #6
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Sounds good Jeff. I have a Eaton 10 speed autoshift on my rig. I've only got 55,000 miles on the entire rig (it was built as a truck conversion from brand new). I'm hoping this transmission will last until I die. It does shift and pull hard tho. My rig weighs 25,xxx lbs. without the trailer hitched up. I always override it to start in 3rd (default is 2). I think the ability to skip shift would be nice too for most unloaded recreational driving. I wonder if Eaton will ever come up with a software update to allow it to do that?
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:10 PM   #7
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They say it is in the works but who knows how long it will take.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:03 PM   #8
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Here it is: http://busesandmore.com/rvs/Ha...oach-Custom-RV.shtml

It looks kind of nice on the surface. But, there's no dinette. And when both slides are in it really closes off the cab from the rest of the coach so it makes it very hard to socialize with passengers. And, with both slides out the living room is HUGE. Almost felt like a big waste of space to me.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:21 PM   #9
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Big T,
You are just the man I want to talk to. I really would like to purchase a Volvo truck that is spec'd for motor home conversion. I have a large manufacturer of aluminum horse trailers that wants to build me a large coach. I am currently shopping for a truck to take to them & start this deal. The interiors of the current big class C motorcoaches just don't have the appeal to us "horse people". We don't want carpet of any kind & we like them to look "western" inside. I wouldn't attempt any "do-it-yourself" conversion on a new $90K truck chassis by no means. I just want a really nice motorcoach that will pull a 18K pound trailer without any problems. I am going to have a 34' box built with a 60" bunk over cab. So how about a price on a Volvo daycab with leather seats & all in cab, 485 H.P. with I-shift, twin screws with an extra long wheelbase? Thanks!
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:34 PM   #10
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...BIGT: IN THE MARKET TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SELL YOUR AZZ TO MAKE A BUCK FOR VOLVO/YOURSELF....since early 2008 I haven't even had a buyer ask about a new truck...only used stuff and how to find it and get it here + financed.....Freight shaker locally is the only dealer that will even try to get a truck for me....the others at World Wide won't even search or in a lot of cases return calls....they want to do an as-is+pay for drive-away up front and still get big bucks without working/going over the truck or even cleaning it after the road trip....Arrow doesn't have a warranty that is worth the toilet paper it is written on...I spent 2 hours with them at the Louisville Truck Show-also might see them at Dallas-if they are still alive....most of their old sales staff are kaput!...If it wasn't for a good friend at Freightliner I couldn't afford or even find a reasonable deal....the economy is in the toilet-new unites are not even considered for conversion and the dollar makes all the decisions.....best of luck with anything new-even with a automatic transmissions and dancing girlz on brass poles and flashing lites....maybe the very high end users will plunk down the pesos but around here everyone will take a super ten and a N-14 turned up and everything else is a matter of polish-paint-cloth-insulation with a bunch of aftermarket and custom stuff which is good for me but a PIA at times[a new M/C lifting crane is too much new-they want me to build one for $500-[less a discount] with a 28" hydraulic jack-like an engine lift and install it on a steel deck for costX10 including paint-......best of luck in this market....geofkaye
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:55 AM   #11
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Hello Festus,

Can you call me so we can discuss your application and needs. I currently have 13 tandem units in stock w/ Volvo VE D13 485hp engine, Volvo I-Shift 12 spd Automated Trans, 342" WB, Double Frame, and ready for delivery and I also have some clients that specialize in the Equine market. I can work directly with the manufacturer to save you the additional expense of F.E.T.(Federal Excise Tax)or sell the unit directly to the end customer. When Class 8, incomplete, commercial vehicles are sold, the client has to sign an F.E.T. expemption form as the manufacturer. This is where the expense of a new truck chassis gets too much but having the exemption makes it more reasonable.

If you need any additional information please contact me or I can respond back in this forum.

Thanks,

My contact info is;

Jeff Tackett
800/886-4242
jtackett@stykemain.com
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by geofkaye:
...BIGT: IN THE MARKET TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SELL YOUR AZZ TO MAKE A BUCK FOR VOLVO/YOURSELF....since early 2008 I haven't even had a buyer ask about a new truck...only used stuff and how to find it and get it here + financed.....Freight shaker locally is the only dealer that will even try to get a truck for me....the others at World Wide won't even search or in a lot of cases return calls....they want to do an as-is+pay for drive-away up front and still get big bucks without working/going over the truck or even cleaning it after the road trip....Arrow doesn't have a warranty that is worth the toilet paper it is written on...I spent 2 hours with them at the Louisville Truck Show-also might see them at Dallas-if they are still alive....most of their old sales staff are kaput!...If it wasn't for a good friend at Freightliner I couldn't afford or even find a reasonable deal....the economy is in the toilet-new unites are not even considered for conversion and the dollar makes all the decisions.....best of luck with anything new-even with a automatic transmissions and dancing girlz on brass poles and flashing lites....maybe the very high end users will plunk down the pesos but around here everyone will take a super ten and a N-14 turned up and everything else is a matter of polish-paint-cloth-insulation with a bunch of aftermarket and custom stuff which is good for me but a PIA at times[a new M/C lifting crane is too much new-they want me to build one for $500-[less a discount] with a 28" hydraulic jack-like an engine lift and install it on a steel deck for costX10 including paint-......best of luck in this market....geofkaye
...............but GK. how do you really feel???

Just kidding, I've yet to see you pull any punches.

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Old 05-07-2009, 07:54 AM   #13
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Hey Geofkaye,

Your just an honest little fella huh. I definately know how bad the new market is today but be encouraged, I have seen a huge increase in new movement in the past 3-4 weeks. Hopefully it is sign of better days in the near future. With that said, I don't believe we will see a market like 2006 was in quite some time but Volvo is in a good spot with the new I-Shift and especially with all the changes that freightliner is going through with their chassis, models & axle restrictions.

I'm sorry about your problems with dealers but all I can ask for is that you give me a call and I will try and help. Funny, that is how I got established in this market is through customer service (Or just doing my job). A quick story. Doug, owner of Powerhouse, first called me 7 years ago now and asked about a used truck that I had in stock. I gave him all the information and represented the truck as honestly as possible and he bought the truck sight-un-seen. When the truck was delivered, it was exactly how it was suppose to be. Doug and I have become very good friends in the process and contrary to other stories that I have read in this forum, his plant has not burned down and he is still able to build high end coaches. He, like everyone, has just experienced a slow down and will get back on his feet. He is the one person in this industry that is always thinking outside the box and his ideas WORK.

I also got a call from haulmark about 5 years ago asking for a proposal on Volvo chassis. I got back with them that evening and they have been buying from me ever since. Mainly because I did my job and the dealers before had not been back to them for two weeks.

Sorry if it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn but I'm proud and excited to be part of this market. If you have any questinos or need me to look for some used equipment I will.

When it comes to buying between a new chassis or a used chassis, you will definately save some money with purchasing used equipment. This all depends on what you are willing to except from a used piece(ie mileage, year, etc...) A large concern that people should be aware of in buying a used over-the-road truck is that it will never have a large enough front axle capacity or the proper rear brake proportioning valve. Some people will say that if you just change the front tires to a higher weight rated tire that you will never have any problems. Not true, law enforcement is getting very strict in checking the GVW on the manufacturer sticker and not just by looking at the weight rating of the tire. Especially in this application. The problem with the brake proportioning valve is that on a normal over-the-road truck, it will put most of your braking on the front axle if it is not hooked too a trailer. This is a safety problem if your coach is trying to stop on just the smaller front brakes. Also, the cost of extending the frame and modifications are always signifcant and will never be the quality of a factory ordered chassis that we have engineered. So when looking for a used conversion, make sure that these areas have been addressed.

Feel free to call me if you have any additional questions or are looking for equipment.

Thanks for the input Geof,

Big T
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Old 03-28-2015, 05:00 PM   #14
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William here I would be very interested in stretched single axle Volvo w/I Shift.Im being directed to freightliner glider kit trucks.Pre-emission stuff please let me know something.Thanks Bill.
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Old 03-29-2015, 07:09 AM   #15
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Please note that this thread is 6 years old.
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Old 03-29-2015, 04:02 PM   #16
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Bill, maybe you should give Jeff a call at that 800 number above? Let us know what you find out.
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:37 AM   #17
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William, I am a Volvo sales rep that is currently working with a motorhome company on a single rear axle chassis with an I-Shift. Please give me a call at (616) 583-3034 and we can discuss what you're looking for. Thank you, Brandon
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