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Old 10-25-2019, 06:26 PM   #1
mtlakejim
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I'm being serious

Ok everyone who knows how I am about 1 ton duallies is going to have a field day with this one:

We are looking at much heavier 5th wheels and I was wondering what MTD and HDT stood for in tow vehicles?

I have seen a few like F550s with crew cabs and even lifts for motorcycles in front of the hitch (there are two of those in our campground). Is that a MTD or HDT?

By the way and related to an earlier thread: We talked to New Horizon and they can't build what we want. BUT it looks like Spacecraft can. I thought Spacecraft only built the monster SEMI based trailers but they also build 5th wheels. And just FYI they even build a SEMI with a stacker garage!!! Talk about hauling toys! I was actually pleasantly surprised that you could get one of their 5th wheels in the $200K range.

Anyway we are trying to thread a needle between hauling as many toys as we can but not getting so heavy that we have to use a SEMI Tractor to tow. I can see going around town in a F550 but if the Tow vehicle is a SEMI then we would need a small car for around town and would lose precious toy storage.

Ideally we want to be able to take a small side by side and jet ski in the garage and a Can Am Spider 3 wheeler on a lift in front of hitch maybe.

Camping is not the only reason to have an RV! Toys really add to the fun!! I hate hiking but I'll ride a side by side anywhere!
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:19 PM   #2
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I believe the Freightliner Sport Chassis is an MDT, while a Semi Tractor is the HDT.
Not really sure where the 450/550 or 4500/5500 fall, they might be considered as MDTs
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:49 PM   #3
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example of an HDT http://jmayer6.tripod.com/
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:29 PM   #4
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We have several friends that have a tractor for a tow vehical. They each left plenty of space in front of the hitch. One has lifts and carrys two harley's in a garage type structure and the other caries a Jeep up there. Tractors can be bought cheap when Yellow frieght or someone similar retires them.
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:41 PM   #5
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MDT = medium duty truck
HDT=heavy duty truck

F550 falls in the MDat category
HDT custom beds can be designed to carry smart cars or atv’s. RVH Lifestyles I Kansas has designed and built a custom dual Spyder lift.

We went the Freedom Hauler route for toting our Spyder and will probably stay that route if we go with an HDT, choosing to use the bed for toting a daily driver.
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:15 PM   #6
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I would avoid a HDT (semi tractor) at all costs unless you absolutely need the weight carrying capacity of one. Repairs on these are in the same price range as motor homes. Unless you can buy and convert a new one $$$$$, then your are looking at probably at least 300,000 miles on an affordable one. Yeah, yeah, there're suspossed to go a million miles. They will go a million miles on the engine, but you will have many 10's of thousands dollars in repairs to make that happen. Many of the ancillary components will fail along the way such as starters, radiators, air brake systems, transmissions ect. These repairs are not for the faint of heart. Even a simple oil change is several hundred dollars ( think 10 gallons of oil) regular fuel filter changes are required and there are two of them. They actually are not to bad to drive around town without a trailer (Bob tail) as long as the roads are smooth and dry. When the roads are wet, well, get ready for a white knuckle ride. Super stiff suspension an rock hard tires don't make for confidence inspiring stops. When there is packed snow or ice on the road you're just on a suicide mission. Want to go exploring down a dirt or even gravel road? Plan on going slow, jarring your teeth out, and fighting to keep the truck from bouncing off the road. You will however be the envy of the campground, at least from those who have never driven one!
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:34 PM   #7
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Tractors can be bought cheap when Yellow frieght or someone similar retires them.[/QUOTE]

Whatever you do, don't buy one used by a LTL (less then trailer load) freight company (Yellow/ Roadway, ABF, Fed-X, UPS, Old Dommion, ect). These are the cheapest tractors sold, and are driven by a different driver each day. They are flogged daily by drivers under intense pressure to achieve as many stops per day as possible, usually 15 to 30 or more. Thatis a lot of starting and stoping and the corresponding wear and tear that accompanies it. Better to buy from a small long haul company or a owner operator as long as service records show proper preventive maintenance.
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:35 PM   #8
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While all vehicles require maintenance and repairs my research does not coincide with the opinions expressed in your post. I am finding that on almost all maintenance items an owner is paying 20-30% more than comparable items on a one ton modern pickup. I personally only looking at Volvo's so I have to say that my familiarities are with the VNL line of trucks. So that being said they come with a 5 year 500,000 mile warranty. You can buy one within warranty for considerably less than a new 3500 dually top trim package vehicle. They are rated for 1,000,000 miles before needed major work. As we all know things go wrong and when buying a used vehicle buyer beware for not doing your homework. Most class 8 trucks converted for RV hauler usage are single so a lot of that stiff suspension issue goes away. The added braking, the decreased weight desparity and the increased comfort in driving are all very good reasons to consider an HDT. I personally don't think the maintenance costs are a big deterant. If however you just buy the first truck you see without doing due diligence to check it out including dyno and wind up needing a new motor it's going to hurt. But then again how much is a new motor for late model F350 or 3500? Thats going to hurt too. After market warranties are available for HDT's just as they are for pickups. I guess my point is don't be so quick to discount the HDT. They are not for everyone but they are a growing sector within the 5th wheel niche.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:13 PM   #9
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My opinions and experiences are based on 39 years of driving in the LTL industry. The companies I worked for usually had about 15 tractors at my location. The tractors we used in city work were ones that came off the road from our line haul drivers,and usually had about 300,000 miles on them when we received them. Seldom did a week go by that one was not in the shop for repairs. So, yes if you can afford to buy a new one under warranty it will greatly reduce your repair costs. It won't however do anything for the unsatisfactory empty driving experience. As far as a single axle being softer then a tandem axle, consider that even a single axle is rated at 20,000lbs and your 3500lbs of pin weight isn't likely to compress your suspension even an inch. Like I said earlier, they are ok with a trailer on them but aren't worth a c**p when bobtailing. No one needs to take my advice, just offering up my knowledge and more importantly my experience. Another thing to consider is that these tractors are not built to the same fit and finish as a pickup truck. They are not built with the driver in mind, but instead they are intended to appeal to purchasing agents.
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW Fireguy View Post
MDT = medium duty truck
HDT=heavy duty truck

F550 falls in the MDat category
HDT custom beds can be designed to carry smart cars or atvís. RVH Lifestyles I Kansas has designed and built a custom dual Spyder lift.

We went the Freedom Hauler route for toting our Spyder and will probably stay that route if we go with an HDT, choosing to use the bed for toting a daily driver.
I can't tell from the picture but is your Spider the full bagger and if it is what is the Height, length and width?

I haven't gotten into the details with the builder yet to determine how much height we can squeeze into a basement garage yet but I am hoping we can design a rig with basement from rear bumper all the way to cutout (30' maybe!). Spacecraft is talking like they can do it and that is my dream rig.
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:36 AM   #11
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Is F550 the largest MDT? If yes, what are our weight limits for the trailer? Has anyone seen an MDT with lifts/ramps for a motorcycle/Spider 3 wheeler behind the cab?


Again the goal is to carry as many toys as possible. If we go full HDT then I would feel obligated to carry a small daily driver and that would keep us from carrying at least one toy which sorta defeats the purpose. That's why I am thinking an MDT and getting very creative with the trailer garage.


I know some of you are wondering why we don't just get a conventional toy hauler with the largest garage. Unfortunately I haven't seen one of those yet that has a good design for full time living. Unless you can build one with a multilevel stacker design (none of the big three mfgs build one strong enough for that) there is always a lot of wasted height. The concept for the Montana High Country 381TH was exactly to give you a garage UNDER the living area. I just want to take that concept a bit further by extending the garage the entire length of the coach from rear bumper up to the cutout. There are a lot of toys that are long but not all that tall. I am hoping we can squeeze enough height into the garage to carry a fairly wide variety of toys UNDER the main living area. I have had some builders say they aren't willing to do it but it looks like Spacecraft is willing to give it a go. I don't think it is such a wild concept. After all Class A diesels are built with a "Possum belly" with storage basically from the engine to the front wheels.
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:43 AM   #12
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The 550 is more like the entry level MDT. The internationals and smaller freight liners are probably the king of the hills of MDT.

Not sure how much I can pack in the trunk yet as the Spyder is still very new to us. It is the RT Limited with full bags supposedly for touring. The weight is about 1000 lbs dry. I think the length is 101" not sure about the height and about 3" to the seat.

Thuenz thank you for sharing your opinions and experiences that is what we are all here for. It just happens that my experiences have been different then yours. I think there is quite a difference between commercial miles and the miles we would put on a converted hauler meaning the wear and tear would not be as pronounced.
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:55 AM   #13
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Spacecraft should be able to do just about anything you can think of. NH might be able to but the toy hauler is not their wheelhouse even though they have a couple of floorplans. As you are probably well aware SC was the heaviest of the the big three custom 5er's. (Forks is gone now) You will for sure be in HDT category. While the Volvo line is very popular due to its ease of singling and ishift there ARE plenty of other options. If you are willing to work a manual you can will find many relatively inexpensive options available on the market.
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW Fireguy View Post
Spacecraft should be able to do just about anything you can think of. NH might be able to but the toy hauler is not their wheelhouse even though they have a couple of floorplans. As you are probably well aware SC was the heaviest of the the big three custom 5er's. (Forks is gone now) You will for sure be in HDT category. While the Volvo line is very popular due to its ease of singling and ishift there ARE plenty of other options. If you are willing to work a manual you can will find many relatively inexpensive options available on the market.
No problem with the manual. Just trying to avoid a vehicle so large it simply isn't practical as a daily driver. We may end up with the third option with the wife simply towing the toys in an enclosed trailer with a 3/4 ton that could serve as our daily. But we are looking at all our options.

Are you sure the SC 5th wheels will require an HDT? I know the SEMI trailers do no doubt but I am hoping their 5th wheels will stay in the MDT range.
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW Fireguy View Post
The 550 is more like the entry level MDT. The internationals and smaller freight liners are probably the king of the hills of MDT.

Not sure how much I can pack in the trunk yet as the Spyder is still very new to us. It is the RT Limited with full bags supposedly for touring. The weight is about 1000 lbs dry. I think the length is 101" not sure about the height and about 3" to the seat.

Thuenz thank you for sharing your opinions and experiences that is what we are all here for. It just happens that my experiences have been different then yours. I think there is quite a difference between commercial miles and the miles we would put on a converted hauler meaning the wear and tear would not be as pronounced.
Height will be the main limiting factor as you can only go 13'6" total height. With 7' of living area height, 2' from the ground and about 1'6" of framing for floors and ceilings your left with 3' of possible garage. You can add at least 18" of height if you go rear bedroom and use the space under the bed as part of garage like the HC 381TH does (even more if the bed lifts like it does on the 381TH). But that bed area only helps one toy (IE: the side by side for us).

Obviously there is no issue with height on kayaks, canoes and small fishing boats (think Aluminum jon boats and plastic mini pontoons). I think with a low profile trailer I can get a jet ski below 3' high and with some ingenuity I might even be able to design a cradle that would tilt a 2 wheeled motorcycle enough to be under 3' maybe.....

The Can Am Spider is considerably lower profile than a Goldwing or Harley Trike so as three wheelers go it might be the go to. I have even thought about having a drop down midship area in the middle of the 5th wheel that would give some extra height. Sort of a Low Boy style concept? Might require going Independent Suspension to make that work but I planned on that anyway.

All these ideas are possible I think. Its just not something the big volume low strength builders would ever consider. I don't think they realize how big the empty nesters with toys and lots of disposable income market really is. There is a Hugh potential market out there for folks who use their RVs as base camps while they pursue hobbies that include power toys. The success of the HC381TH floor plan has proven that!

And lots of those folks have more than one hobby/toy. What we have to get them to realize is that not everyone with toys owns a Harley. They capture the full potential of the market they have to take the blinders off and build the garages to fit the toys not the other way around.
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:33 PM   #16
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As you know SC will build whatever you want if you pay. I am sure they can build a 35 footer that can be towed with a pickup. However with what it appears you want to do I don't think you are going to fall into that category. I personally have not seen a small SC. All of the ones I have seen were massive and required the HDT due weight (both tow and pin). The good thing about working with a custom builder is that they have engineering staff that are capable of thinking outside of the box (at least to some degree). The newest duallys and 450's have towing specs to support that 30k lb weight but pin weight will still be an issue with those bigger 5er's. There is a Youtube video of a 1st class Continental Coach that we really love the floorplan but listening to the owner talk about the specs I had to rewind to make sure I heard him right, 32,000 lbs, 9,000 lb pin weight and 46' long with another couple of feet for a hydrolift. That's a lot of rig to pull and stop. Good luck in your search.
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Old 10-26-2019, 02:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtlakejim View Post
Is F550 the largest MDT? If yes, what are our weight limits for the trailer? Has anyone seen an MDT with lifts/ramps for a motorcycle/Spider 3 wheeler behind the cab?


Again the goal is to carry as many toys as possible. If we go full HDT then I would feel obligated to carry a small daily driver and that would keep us from carrying at least one toy which sorta defeats the purpose. That's why I am thinking an MDT and getting very creative with the trailer garage.


I know some of you are wondering why we don't just get a conventional toy hauler with the largest garage. Unfortunately I haven't seen one of those yet that has a good design for full time living. Unless you can build one with a multilevel stacker design (none of the big three mfgs build one strong enough for that) there is always a lot of wasted height. The concept for the Montana High Country 381TH was exactly to give you a garage UNDER the living area. I just want to take that concept a bit further by extending the garage the entire length of the coach from rear bumper up to the cutout. There are a lot of toys that are long but not all that tall. I am hoping we can squeeze enough height into the garage to carry a fairly wide variety of toys UNDER the main living area. I have had some builders say they aren't willing to do it but it looks like Spacecraft is willing to give it a go. I don't think it is such a wild concept. After all Class A diesels are built with a "Possum belly" with storage basically from the engine to the front wheels.
MDT trucks are the 4, 5, and 6 series trucks, and HDT trucks are 7 and 8 series trucks. So, 450 and 4500 trucks are 4 series, and 550 and 5500 are 5 series trucks, and so on.
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:34 PM   #18
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MDT trucks are the 4, 5, and 6 series trucks, and HDT trucks are 7 and 8 series trucks. So, 450 and 4500 trucks are 4 series, and 550 and 5500 are 5 series trucks, and so on.
That answers that! Thanks.

I guess the next thing to do is look at the body styles and overall dimensions of the MDT trucks to see if they would be comparable to some degree with a 1 ton dually. I have seen some that I would not hesitate to drive daily and I am not afraid of the larger trucks but I am realistic. Driving a 1 ton dually on city streets is one thing but a full blown HDT tractor is another. I know that I preach about how wimpy someone is if they don't want to drive a dually but even I have my limits.

I would not hesitate to drive an HDT down the interstate (I started out on trucks in the oilfield) but as I mentioned I would have a small daily if that was the tow vehicle and that would defeat the primary purpose for us buying a larger trailer......

Many thanks for everyone's responses. This is a tough decision we have to make. Trying to decide between Class A diesel or custom 5th wheel.
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:29 AM   #19
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GM is also now producing 4500/5500/6500 series trucks, and has an optional rear air ride chassis.
Ford also has 450/550/650/750 chassis
you will find that neither has all the creature comforts available in the 350/3500 series, if that is important to you
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:39 AM   #20
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I have HDT and tow a Montana we go a lot of places with the tractor as our only transportation. We have been to yellowstone, the grand canyon, disney world and lots of other places. Haven't any problems getting into campgrounds sometimes have to park the truck in overflow parking lot. Short of rebuilding a engine other maintenance isn't that bad oil change is 325.00 including both fuel filters and greasing chassis. brakes I do myself. I paid less for my tractor than the same year pickup granted my tractor has over 800000 miles I love how it drives and pulls the fifth wheel. only thing I might change is manual trans. I wish I would have got the Ishift trans. If you are serious about HDT RVH Lifestyles has a lot of good info and they have new and used trucks.
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