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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im at a loss for deciding what trucks are good, what to watch out for, etc., etc. Eitherway, I am in need of a decent semi rig. Currently hauling 100000 bu/yr (200000 with all of the field hauling) with one tandem straight truck at 500 bu capacity.

I know as far as trailers go, aluminum are nice, but you have to watch out for cracks at the corners, and steel can rust. Suspension type is pretty well irrelevant since its not like long haul rigs.

I dont know much about trucks though. Seems like Kenworth, Volvo, and Frieghtliner are the go-to trucks, atleast around here. Looking to have less than 25k in the rig. Ive found trucks under 10k, which would be ideal. I know its not much, but other bills have to be paid too.
 

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We had a steel spring ride trailer once. Never want on again. Rusted something terrible and rode like ****.
For a truck I like something with a big hood so the engine bay is easily accessible for repairs.
I prefer a pete with a big cat but I'm kind of a snob that way.
 

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A Freightliner is the most truck for your money. You will buy the same running gear as a KW or Pete for 2/3 the price. A pre 1995 should cost you under $10,000. I have an '88 that would be $5,000.

You should be able to find a decent 15-20 year old Timpte air ride for $15,000. I have sold 3 in this price range. IME, if you shop hard for a Timpte or Wilson, it will still be worth 80% of what you paid when you trade it off. Don't be fooled by the low cost of a steel trailer. New, they are 3/4 the price of aluminum. 5 year old used, they are worth about 20% of aluminum.

And most of all, obey the First Law of Turds: Never try to polish one. Learn to rejoice in it's turdness. Don't stick aluminum rims or chrome on it. If something doesn't work and its not a safety issue, don't spend money to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A Freightliner is the most truck for your money. You will buy the same running gear as a KW or Pete for 2/3 the price. A pre 1995 should cost you under $10,000. I have an '88 that would be $5,000.

You should be able to find a decent 15-20 year old Timpte air ride for $15,000. I have sold 3 in this price range. IME, if you shop hard for a Timpte or Wilson, it will still be worth 80% of what you paid when you trade it off. Don't be fooled by the low cost of a steel trailer. New, they are 3/4 the price of aluminum. 5 year old used, they are worth about 20% of aluminum.

And most of all, obey the First Law of Turds: Never try to polish one. Learn to rejoice in it's turdness. Don't stick aluminum rims or chrome on it. If something doesn't work and its not a safety issue, don't spend money to fix it.
I forgot about Petes. Most of the real big guys run those...practically brand new rigs with 10000$ worth of exhaust stacks on them. Would aluminum trailers be bad without air ride though? Im more concerned with the longevity in the structural aspects of the trailer. Springs would be stiffer and have more vibration, therefore shorter life, or at least it seems so.

I don't have the $$ to polish one. Turds are turds and even if you polish them till they are shiny, they still smell bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We had a steel spring ride trailer once. Never want on again. Rusted something terrible and rode like ****.
For a truck I like something with a big hood so the engine bay is easily accessible for repairs.
I prefer a pete with a big cat but I'm kind of a snob that way.
I would prefer that too, but that's a little high.
 

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Out of the Mid 2000s or earlier you'll be fine with just about any truck and powertrain except a Maxxforce, stay away from those.

I disagree with not taking care of it, get everything working and stay on top of it, run it like you are proud of it and it'll be cheaper to own in the long run plus it's good experience. It doesn't have to be a beauty queen like these goofy Peterbilts and Kenworths you see running around it just needs to get the job done reliably. If it's in reasonable shape and the price is right a steel trailer is as good as aluminum, you sacrifice a little load load but it's no big deal and they are easier to repair as a rule. Spring ride is a little lighter and less maintenance, personally I'd prefer air ride on the truck if anything but springs get the load hauled as they've always done since the beginning of trucks. Anything over 350hp will get the job done. Trucks with sleeper cabs are usually cheaper but have higher mileage, they are nice if your hauling family with you once in awhile though.

You probably know trucks a bit since you are running your tandem but if not take someone that has good semi experience with you (mechanic is even better) and take your time to go through the truck, you can't see the inside of the engine but tires, brakes and suspension all have value. Transmission and rear axles are relatively cheap to repair, a loose gearshift could be just a worn out isolator and so on.

Good luck and ask questions here, we are full of good advice (or **it? Sort as required :D).

Good luck.
 

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Stay away from hi mileage trucks, look for low mileage fleet trucks, yes you will pay more, BUT, you have full maintenance records, good tires and brakes, have been Doted. Trailer, you need to know what your looking for, older steel trailers most of them are junk, rusted out, aluminum trailers can throw some twists also, would suggest if you know very little, would take some one you trust that has been around trucks and trailers, Scott.
 

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I don't know what they spread if anything on your roads in Missouri, or if its just paint missing due to rock chips and then humidity in your area that rusts a steel trailer ? You would know even from your own vehicles and your tandem as to how good or bad steel is for your area. I can imagine someone in southern Arizona could have a steel trailer for oh ... a 100 years and it still be solid even if all the paint got cooked off of it from the sun !. But like anything if its a good looking sound steel trailer it probably comes with a price attached and if its a rusty looking mess, its priced to be dragged to the dump in short order.

I would say that air ride on truck or trailer isn't a make or break thing but certainly would have helped either unit not get beaten up as bad if the roads have some issues. You team up a spring ride truck with a spring ride trailer and boy, it can't help but get more stressed if there are frost heaves or gravel roads that get beaten up. Comfort wise in driving a truck, there is no question that an air ride drive axle set, air ride cab and air ride seat make for the least stress on the body.

If you come across something in a truck or trailer and took a photo or two of them and had some specs on the unit, then posting the photos and so forth on here as I expect you will get some valuable feed back if its something worth further investigation or better to stay away from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't know what they spread if anything on your roads in Missouri, or if its just paint missing due to rock chips and then humidity in your area that rusts a steel trailer ? You would know even from your own vehicles and your tandem as to how good or bad steel is for your area. I can imagine someone in southern Arizona could have a steel trailer for oh ... a 100 years and it still be solid even if all the paint got cooked off of it from the sun !. But like anything if its a good looking sound steel trailer it probably comes with a price attached and if its a rusty looking mess, its priced to be dragged to the dump in short order.

I would say that air ride on truck or trailer isn't a make or break thing but certainly would have helped either unit not get beaten up as bad if the roads have some issues. You team up a spring ride truck with a spring ride trailer and boy, it can't help but get more stressed if there are frost heaves or gravel roads that get beaten up. Comfort wise in driving a truck, there is no question that an air ride drive axle set, air ride cab and air ride seat make for the least stress on the body.

If you come across something in a truck or trailer and took a photo or two of them and had some specs on the unit, then posting the photos and so forth on here as I expect you will get some valuable feed back if its something worth further investigation or better to stay away from.
Sounds good.
 

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Bought two Mack visions in 2009. One for $7000 and one for $13000. Ended up putting a engine in the 13000 one in fall of 2013 and a clutch in 2012. The one for $7000 has only needed a new clutch in 2014. I don't consider this to be to bad we might have saved the engine had we put new rods and mains in. We knew about the low oil pressure just did not get it done in time. The $7000 truck was a one owner since new and always driven by the owner. I would by one like this in a heartbeat again. Trucks can nickel and dime you to death if you try and fix every little problem that someone else failed to fix. These trucks are 2000 and 2001 mack engines and do not have all the emissions that mid 2000's have. The one that came Georgia has no rust on it.

Buy a older wilson or tempte it will be worth it.

That's my opinion on Mack's. Good luck what ever you decide
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ive been looking at trucks and I think Im gonna try to stick with rigs at atleast 350 to cope with the hills I have to travel for some stretches, but less than 450 due to fuel economy. I am trying to stay away from CATs because they can be a little pricey to fix...especially older ones (I know that from our 3208).

My question is if I buy a truck, can I pay it off in a year with a 20-25k rig hauling only grain commodities and what we have on our farm? I figure I would average 13 gallons a trip at 65 miles round. Even at 4$, thats 52$ a trip in fuel.
20% i feel is fair for general repair, maintenance, insurance, etc. So at 20 cents a bushel at 1000 a trip (I realize its more like 950 but for calulating purposes...) is 200$ a load. Subtract 20% and then $52 for fuel and Im still coming out 108$ postively. 25k/108 is around 231 loads, or roughly 231k bushel. I hauled close to 70k this year in just corn for our farm. I have other people who are interested, as it would save them from either having to rent a truck or having somebody else haul it for them.

Just something I am thinking about in the event that another big crop comes on this year.
 

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Pick out a truck you like in you're price range, find a good mechanic to come and look at the truck with you so you know exactly what you are getting into, if you pay him a 1000 bucks to let you know if it's good or not you will be money ahead. A guy that was working for me driving truck full time decided buying his own truck and trailer was a great idea. If he only would have told me about his crazy scheme I would have been more than happy to help him pick out a truck as he was a good driver for me. He picked out the first truck he seen, a 99' W900 with a cummins with 450,000 miles (1,000,000 miles ago it had that many) and having been a trucker most of his life and currently 63 years young I thought he knew better. 5,000 miles on the truck so far and one cold day she wouldn't fire, I pull her into my shop because the fuel line was frozen. So far we are close to 5000$ into this overpriced truck from the radiator to the suspension valve in the rear and we haven't done anything with the slight misfire it still has after a tune up and the power divider and diffi that had no oil in it. This is a pretty bad example but this is what can happen no matter what kind of truck it is or how many miles, so I recommend getting a mechanic to look at one before you fall in love. Trucks are a lot like women, they need love and caressing so get a mechanics help to get familiar with it and when you find the right one she will treat you good for a long time. Hope I don't sound blunt, I just wanna help!
 

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I don't know your jurisdiction but around here if you haul for the neighbors it's considered custom trucking and you have licence your trucks commercially. That takes you into a whole new realm of expenses, your insurance goes up like 10X, registration, yearly inspections, unmarked fuel, log books among other things. Something to consider and work into your math.
 

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Ive been looking at trucks and I think Im gonna try to stick with rigs at atleast 350 to cope with the hills I have to travel for some stretches, but less than 450 due to fuel economy. I am trying to stay away from CATs because they can be a little pricey to fix...especially older ones (I know that from our 3208).
Dont make the mistake that less horsepower equals better fuel milage! you will burn way more fuel being underpowered than by having too much! I wouldnt consider anything under 425hp on flat ground let alone hilly. Im running 460hp pulling super b's which is barely enough getting 5mpg and the 500+ engines are doing much better.
 

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That's an excellent point about custom hauling although I have no idea what that state's rules are, all I know is up here in Canada and Alberta specifically, everything changes and dyed fuel becomes a no no and insurance/plate is through the roof .. having to get an inspection that isn't required "yet" in this province. I see that hasn't stopped a local large farm from branching out and doing such activities as they seem to be above the law in so many ways :rolleyes:

Granted this is a lot of years ago now so that may have all changed but I noticed in the States that there were a lot of trucks that didn't have a jake brake, never spec'd with one and I found that odd. Its something to keep in mind though as I could never see myself owning a unit that never had a jake brake as the service brakes would take such a beating and the cost of brake jobs because of it. If you've never driven tractor trailer before, you soon find out that its a huge amount of weight to slow down and all that weight just carries the momentum for a long distance. If your hauling involves slowing down at many intersections or controlling speed on hills, make sure the unit your looking at has a jake brake. Again, I realize its not like one has the pick of exactly what one wants with a limited budget.
 

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Stay away from hi mileage trucks, look for low mileage fleet trucks, yes you will pay more, BUT, you have full maintenance records, good tires and brakes, have been Doted. Trailer, you need to know what your looking for, older steel trailers most of them are junk, rusted out, aluminum trailers can throw some twists also, would suggest if you know very little, would take some one you trust that has been around trucks and trailers, Scott.
Good advice scott. There can be a lot of expensive problems hiding in an old high mile engine. One of the biggest issues is when liners start to move because the unit is miled out. There is no cheap fix, and when you get that far into a rebuild, you can have 2-3 times into the engine and all the little things, that you paid for the truck in the first place. Not saying you can't find an old truck that will run a while for you, but the odds are against you. Something that I would do is look lots and find that special truck that maybe had a new engine 50,000 miles back, or a fleet truck that has had regular maintenance. Check the crankcase filler, breather and drain plug for antifreeze. It could just be a head gasket but it could be much worse like cracked head or injector sleeves. Or liners moving. Unless the seller will get involved with the cost of fixing the problem, walk away. Check inside the rad for oil. That is another bad sign. Oil samples from the engine are worth a lot when you get it narrowed down to a couple of units. They will show traces of coolant, metals from various components and just how clean the oil is inside the engine. After you get a truck that seems solid, treat it gently. It is going to be an old truck that several other people have replaced because of it being old and tired. But that does not mean that you can not coax a lot more miles out of it if you treat it good. Change fluids and filters often. Plug it in lots so you have few cold starts. Warm it up and cool it down without exception. On some of the older engines, before air to air aftercooling, you had to watch the pyrometer temp to not overheat components. Remember, aluminum melts at 1200 degrees!! Do not try to keep up with the big boys. They may be a driver that does not own a bolt in the whole rig and are running a 5-600 HP brand new truck. Let them pass. You will only be a couple of minutes behind at the scale. Do not get your fuel pump opened up unless it is not putting out what it is supposed to. The cooling system is old , the oil lube system is old, the components are old, so just go easy on everything and take pride in being a smooth and smart driver and hopefully your trucking experience will be a good one! I have had very good experience with Cummins NTC 350 or 400, N14 Celect or Celect Plus, ISX is a good engine. The old mechanical Cat 3406 A or B were very good if not overfuelled. The newer electronic Cats were very good 6NZ, 5EK, 2WS but stay away from their bridge engines. I think the problem models were some of the first electronic experimental models. I am not familiar with Detroit but I think they were a good engine.

Good luck and I hope you get paid for your hard work!:)
 

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I have many friends and neighbors with trucks and almost everyone of them has a story about there so called "cheap truck" that they had to put a new motor in. It's seems like older shiny Pete's and Kenworths are the worst. Looks good must be good. I would not say that Cat is more expensive I have heard the same $20000-30000 for almost all different brands of engines. We were quoted $20,000 for a ReMack and it ended up being $29,500 when they were done. A lot more new parts then they anticipated. We now have a older truck with new engine and 3 year warranty.

Make sure you have >400 horsepower.
 

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Don't get too worked up about high mileage trucks, if you find someone else too take a good look at it it you will be fine, If you are not planing on trying to make a living with one you will be fine. Generally a truck that has good cosmetics and is clean you can almost bet that it was well taken care of but that is not always true. We have a truck on the farm with 1.35 million miles and we quit taking care of it a long time ago and it just won't die, it still has the original clutch in it. So when the first major thing goes wrong we will scrap it cause it would just become a money put anyways.

If you don't plan on making a living with it and you find one with a million miles on it don't be afraid, just have someone give ya hand with it. You can usually find these trucks for 10 grand or so, so it's worth a little gamble as they could still last you a long time. 75,000 dollar trucks can break down too but when something major goes wrong you will be obligated to fix it
 
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