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Im looking at buying a tandem grain truck and was wondering if anyone had advice on what to look for. Ive been looking at ex hiway trucks with a new box put on around 2007-08 ish. It seems like 90% of trucks are automatics and thats what Ill go with. Ill be pulling a pup trailers with it so itll need a pintle hitch. The machine shop I talked to figured around $3000 to weld up a hitch and plumb it all up.

I figured on at least 400hp+ for pulling the pup. I was told some hiway trucks were geared high for long hauls and aren't the best for farm use. And there is lots of million+ km trucks out there but I wonder bout the higher millage trucks. I know most are ex-fleet trucks that should be fairly well maintained, but I wonder if an extra 10 or 15 grand is worth for 1/2 as many kms?

I know a paint job and shiny chrome can make a pig look good, but Im just curious on other peoples experiences. There is probably 100 threads on this subject but I couldnt seem to find any.
 

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Look at the hours as well as the kms. Some trucks have high hours and low kms. If you are going to pull a pup make sure the automatic and rearends are heavy enough for the job. For my tandems I want two ladders on the box, air controls at the back of the box and in the cab, window in the front of the box for loading, and primed and painted on the inside of the box for rust prevention with fertilizer. If you have a pintle you will appreciate a air lock on it so it does not shake continuously on the road. I would try buy 2006 or older to avoid all the emissions garbage.
 

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x2 on what SouthernSK said. Avoid the newer electronic emissions garbage truck. Most of the time you are looking for trouble on any of the electronics in the northern hemisphere. If it has been driven in salt, a million miles is a lot! By this time, most of the pins are turning green inside the plugs and you will be chasing intermittents around and wondering why your truck isn't running right. Look for signs of bypassed wiring on harnesses as often times that is a cheap fix for a corrosion problem that will only be getting worse as time passes.
 

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Field Trucks

Definitely pre-emission. Tall tires-little more clearance and less rolling resistance. With 11.24-5 tires nothing faster than 3:90 gears in the rear ends.
A full locker differential, at least on one axle can be a life saver.
I don't like 8 bag air suspensions with a box. Air ride is fine, just not 8 bag.
Stay away from limited slip traction systems where brake pressure is applied automatically to a spinning tire-it's usually a hindrance at low speed.
For cold weather, I want the fuel filters mounted on the inside of the frame rails, not the outside next to the steer tire.

If you have to make frame length adjustments one way or the other, I would rather shorten a longer frame. Usually a longer frame has heavier rails, and can save a lot of fishplating. I don't like aluminum frames if any modifications are required.
If the truck has a sleeper on it, how difficult is it to remove? Most of the integral sleepers are a major undertaking to remove.
Take a look at the rear-ends and axles, see any silicone around? It's probably been removed at some time. Find out why.
Look at the kingpins on the steer axle, this is often a good indicator of the overall maintenance. Unless it has been recently steamed off, there should be gobs of old grease oozing out between the hinge points. If the truck is dirty, and there is no sign of grease, it's probably because there was no grease there, or anywhere else. Inspect the spring hangers and shackles for wear, and signs of old grease again.
As was mentioned earlier, look for salt or chlor mag corrosion. If the truck has lug nut covers, pop some off and look for rust or corrosion on the studs and nuts. Rusty lug nuts on a truck can be a major PITA situation the first time you need to swap a tire.
Does it have a tow hook on the front? At some point, every field truck will have to be broke to lead.;)
 

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A tremclad overhaul can hide a fair bit. KW 8 bag suspension isn't a good suspension for a body job. I would stay away from trucks with a fresh rebuild that are up for sale. My experience is that unless the rebuild job was well done you are asking for trouble. make sure to take the rad cap off when on test drive, bubbles could mean bad compressor head gasket or worse head gasket on the engine. $20-30,000 to rebuild an engine nowadays.
 

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When we were looking for trucks we had a hard time finding anything in decent shape that was 07 and older for no emmisions stuff. Those trucks keep getting older all the time. Ended up getting an 09 and a 10 and had the emissions deleted on them. Have ran perfect since doing that.
 

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I would go electronic over mechanical any day for several reasons. Usually better starting, virtually no smoke, age (mechanical diesels in trucks were discontinued in the early to mid '90s), reliability. Yes some can and have had electrical problems but then again I've seen lot's more problems with mechanical fuel systems. Staying pre2008 is very wise in my opinion, that should give you a very decent truck if you shop.
As was already stated,I would stay away from five gallon overhauls, best to see what you buy cheaper then get it fixed and painted up to your specs if you really want after a year or so.
Stretching a truck would be around a four thousand dollar job these days I think so that's a consideration, shortening should be cheaper.
 

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It's hard sometimes to find a good truck for the field and the highway, I like a tandem with a set back front axle as the turn real nice in the bin yard,. An 18 spd is great on the hwy but a 10spd with big ponies is way quicker in the field. As mentioned watch what kind of air suspension you have for a body job, some can be quite rocky! Worth some time looking anyways, there us some terrible **** people will try to sell you out there!
 

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I would skip the truck and put route and go directly to a semi. We have both and I hate using the pup its a pain in the ass. If you plan to use the truck lots without the pup then it fine but if always has the pup behind it I would rather just have a semi. I find the semi eaiser to use and if it breaks down at seeding or harvest you can rent or buy a replacement. Just my opinion based on our experience. Good luck with you purchase.
 

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I am guessing with the way you worded that, you've been looking at these "resellers" who grab used trucks and throw on a box along with paint on the cab and frame, do a little polishing glitz, have the cab interior cleaned and armor-all the sides of the tires. Another words dazzle the buyer and hope the truck makes it off the lot before the engine falls out or the tires part ways with the axles ? "laughs". Now maybe there are some half decent resellers like that but its a given that there are many who are in it in the same way as the used car salesman who would sell a wreck to his own mom.

If you can find a truck that hasn't been messed with to dump on an unsuspecting buyer, I would think that would be the better way to go, then put the box and hoist on of your own choice on it.

Speaking of the transmission, did you mean an automated transmission such as an 18 speed or an actual Allison automatic like Don was thinking in terms of ? .
 

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I would skip the truck and put route and go directly to a semi. We have both and I hate using the pup its a pain in the ass. If you plan to use the truck lots without the pup then it fine but if always has the pup behind it I would rather just have a semi. I find the semi eaiser to use and if it breaks down at seeding or harvest you can rent or buy a replacement. Just my opinion based on our experience. Good luck with you purchase.
True. You will get a semi(cheaper too) eventually so think this out. And your box legal weight is an ice cream pail of wheat. Now if you also going to haul silage, shingles, and wood then you need a box
At some point the "buy an 07" is going to expire. They are 8 years old now.
Make sure you get one with good parts. No Ford, Sterling, Western star not sure, maybe others can add. Many older autos suck. Plus they gonna soak you 20 grand for it.
 

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A couple guys stated to not go with an 8 bag air ride. Could you tell me why? I was considering putting a box on our 95 Kenworth next year and thought I better find out why before I do!!!
 

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I'm sure someone can speak up who understands mechanically why the Kenworth 8 bag does what it does as I've never heard the theory behind it. From what I have been told the 8 bag suspension isn't a stable enough platform for high body job loads or lets say a fuel or water truck with a sloshing load. A number of years ago a local fuel company rigged up two body job trucks with tanks onto Kenworths with that type of suspension even though Kenworth said NO NO NO, don't do it as it is not safe and won't handle well. He didn't prove them wrong either .... :D

They ended up selling off the trucks and I presume putting the tanks on other trucks in that case as it was certainly a failed experiment. I also know a trucker who has driven a truck with that same suspension and a grain box on it and he said unless you are used to a wicked lean that will just about put you over, you better not be behind the steering wheel to the side of a crowned gravel road as you will fill your shorts ... that doesn't sound too appealing to me !.

So that's a good point brought up, be darned sure the truck one is looking at has a suitable suspension for use as a body job and also lifting up a box high in the air and still being stable.
 

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I would also verfy what the sales man is telling you in regards to major work. A sales guy told me this past year the N14 was rebuilt in a truck I was looking at. When I called the previous owner they said they never did any engine work to the truck and it had a lot of kms on it. I was glad I made the call.
 

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I would skip the truck and put route and go directly to a semi.
X1000! Guys please just get your Class 1 licence and stop buying tandems and pups......takes twice as long to dump a tandem and pup at the elevator, maybe longer when it's cold.:mad:

As far as looking for a truck the powertrain is the most important. If you can get something that has had major work done(by someone reputable) already that would hopefully save you doing the expensive repair work. Other stuff is less important and all used trucks need endless repairs it seems. I finally just bought new. It's amazing how little highway trucks depreciate for the miles on them??? If you are going to spend 60K for a truck with a million km why not just buy new for 110K???
 

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I'm sure someone can speak up who understands mechanically why the Kenworth 8 bag does what it does as I've never heard the theory behind it. From what I have been told the 8 bag suspension isn't a stable enough platform for high body job loads or lets say a fuel or water truck with a sloshing load. A number of years ago a local fuel company rigged up two body job trucks with tanks onto Kenworths with that type of suspension even though Kenworth said NO NO NO, don't do it as it is not safe and won't handle well. He didn't prove them wrong either .... :D

They ended up selling off the trucks and I presume putting the tanks on other trucks in that case as it was certainly a failed experiment. I also know a trucker who has driven a truck with that same suspension and a grain box on it and he said unless you are used to a wicked lean that will just about put you over, you better not be behind the steering wheel to the side of a crowned gravel road as you will fill your shorts ... that doesn't sound too appealing to me !.

So that's a good point brought up, be darned sure the truck one is looking at has a suitable suspension for use as a body job and also lifting up a box high in the air and still being stable.
This was probably a good thing to find out now!!!!
Might just be better getting an end dump trailer, which is was I was wanting to do but my brother refuses to get his class 1.
 

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kevlar, I presume there is a reason why you want an end dump, either a tandem or a trailer configuration vs going to a straight trailer ?. If you can somehow avoid requiring an end dump trailer, I certainly would.

As to the class 1, it begs the question as to what the Kenworth was being used for as I assume its in a tractor configuration at the moment ?. Tell your brother, if its the medical he is worried about, unless its different in various provinces they don't seem to require what I call the "physical physical" or put another way ... the doc won't be slipping on a glove and asking him to bend over while the hot young nurse is looking on with great interest at his junk ;)

LOL, joking aside I guess the class 3 requires a medical also and it sucks as one gets older as they need a medical more often to renew the license.
 

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Tell your brother, if its the medical he is worried about, unless its different in various provinces they don't seem to require what I call the "physical physical" or put another way ... the doc won't be slipping on a glove and asking him to bend over while the hot young nurse is looking on with great interest at his junk ;)
Ha Ha! Last time I had my "physical" the doctor asked a few questions and made me look at some flip cards to make sure I wasn't color-blind. I asked about the rubber glove......he said I was too young. I don't think that would ever be part of a "licence physical".;)
 
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