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Hi, guys. I am looking for a semi and trailer to haul grain. Have been using a 66 Ford with a 16 ft box, but 350 bushels ata time is not enough. I have very little experience with semis and was looking for advice/opinions on what brands,models ,engines are your favorites. I probably would put on less than 3000 miles a year and am looking at mid to late eighties models. Any help would be appreciated, thanks, Rob

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How far are you hauling? It might be cheaper to hire it hauled than to buy a truck for that little bit of running. Just my thoughts, because it costs a bunch to license and insure a semi as compared to a straight truck.

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Good place to start- conventional day cab with real low end gears for starting out heavy loads in soft fields. Some of the things I learned real quick years ago that would have been real nice to have in a farm semi tractor. I had a cabover with a sleeper and lo gear was not that low and had to get an assist from a large tractor more than once when she would settle down in the field.

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I've started looking a little bit as well. Jason is right they get nickel and dimey when they get old unless they had way above average care. Personally I would look for a Kenworth or a Peterbuilt they will cost more but are a lot higher quality and will have less "little things" going wrong.

I know I'm on a red site but I think the newer IH trucks are junk, they are like a Frieghtliner or Volvo with very cheap compoents in the cab. The old IH's like the Loadstars and Transtars were excellent trucks but are getting way to old now and will always have something wrong.

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I would look for a Kenworth or a Peterbuilt they will cost more but are a lot higher quality and will have less "little things" going wrong.

If you only knew how untrue that is.... :huh::lol::rolleyes:

MANY MANY times I have wished for a decent straight truck and a couple nice 400 bushel wagons.

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We don't have a semi but there's enough around here that I know I'd be looking for a big displacement engine like a Cummins N-14, I know alot of guy's get along with the M-11s but anybody I've talked to who's gone from the smaller engine to the big one has said they'd never go back even if there wasn't alot of difference in hp. I'd look for something with a short sleeper, sleeper trucks have usually seen more highway miles while the day cabs get used in town alot more often so they've had a harder life generally speaking. I'd also want something with differential and inter-differential locks so you can have all 8 drive tires powered, without these it doesn't take much more than a banana peeling to get a truck stuck. As for trailers I'd price a new one before looking at used trailers so you have something to go by. One of our neighbor's just traded a five year old Wilson spring ride ag hopper trailer for a new Timpte air ride ag hopper trailer for around $5,000 and going to the air ride was about half that cost, the old trailer also needed brakes and a new tarp. He figured it cost them about $700 a year to run that Wilson trailer.

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All depends on what your going to be doing with it. Hauling grain to bins or elevator, local or a distance? Also, you going to be running local roads only, state hwys, or I-states? Does your state enfore "bridge" laws?

We run a couple semis hauling our grain only, most is instate & on county roads but some on state hwys. Our state is fairly lenient on the bridge laws .We also haul to a local out of stae processor that is in a state that is more restrictive when it comes to the bridge laws

Here's a few things we have learned over the last few years. Someone else may have difeferenet opinions. Tractor needs to have a min 180" w.b. but no more than 195" for a daycab. for a 40' trailer. Anything shorter & it's hard to bridge the max 80,000# & anything longer it's hard to get enough weight on the front axle.

I would recomend at least 350hp engine if you're running fairly flat roads. Get into hilly roads then you'll want some more ponies under the hood. One of our trucks has a 9spd tranny, other has 10 spd, I like that extra gear. Never drove a 13 spd but I would think that on long runs on hiiley roads they would be nice. Rear end needs to be in the 3:90 to 4:10 range if you're pulling out of the field. Air ride suspension is worth the money, especially if you run gravel roads or rough paved roads like we do. Air ride cab would be nice but not as important as long as it has air suspension

Stay away from a Cabover unless you're an excercise freak. You'll be surprised how many times a day you get in & out of the truck, at least 3 or 4 times if you're loading out of a bin. First truck we looked at was a CO because they are cheaper than anything else. I got in the thing & had to have help getting out :( Wrote them off right then & there. Trucks with sleepers will be cheaper than day cabs. Most prefer the daybabs because of the weight factor. If that's not a concer or you will be hauling somewhere that you have long waits to get unloaded you might want to look at a truck with a sleeper.

Trailers are like tractors, all depends on your situation & how your state approaches things. We have an end dump & a hopperbottom. For hauling into bins we prefer the dump trailer. Probably hauled close to 150,000 bu to bins this fall & all but 3 or 4 loads were with the dump trailer. Guys that work at the elevator prefer hopperbottoms because there's not so much c;lean up but like the outside foreman says " they get paid, that's their job". Hauling to the processor in the winter - summer we drop the dump & rent a friends hopperbottom. We feel like we can haul enough more and with no maintenience it more than offsets the rental charge. BTW, longer trailers back easier than short trailers.

For a tractor expect to pay at least $17,500 - $20,000 for a decent one. You might find a good one cheaper but won't be long before problems start to set in. I would also recomend finding 4-5 tractors that you are interested in then pay a good truck mechanic to go look them over, at least for your first truck.

Like I said, I'm a farmer, not a trucker, others may have differing opinions.

Good, luck

Just read Cliff's post & he makes some good points, especially on the differentials. Only thing with the bigger cubed engines is the weight factor. One of our trucks has an 855 (older N14) & the other has an M11. The truck with the 855 weighs about 1,500# more, most of it in the engine. Again, all depends what you are wanting to do.

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Mid to late 80s trucks WILL get old truck syndrome (wiring, air lines etc) soon if they dont already have it. Sitting is especially hard on a truck for some reason.

My Emeryville was only 7 years old when I bought it but it was an electrical and airline constant nightmare. :angry: That is the only piece of equipment I ever owned that could break down sitting in the barn lot not being used. :blink::blink: Park it and everything was fine, fire it up a month later and have all kinds of problems before I moved it ten feet. :blink::blink:

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If you don't have to have a Pete or KW, their are deals out there on newer trucks that can be had pretty reasonable. For farm use(Read here, Limited use) I personally don't see the facination with Pete's or KW's for that job.......Granted for OTR use, I'd definitely want one or the other, but for farm use a Volvo, FL, Binder, Sterling, or Mack will do the same job.

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Ive got a 83 359 pete that I plan to pull a lowboy with, but have looked into hoppers. Air ride hoppers ride nicer than spring and you can use a guage to estimate your bushels, but they weigh more. Friend of mine has a high side timpte, not sure why as he only hauls corn and beans, but anyway it will hold about 1900 bu of corn. But here in iowa during harvest when we can haul 90K the most he can get is about 1050 bu on it, so I dont see the reason for the extra capacity. One thing to look at is if it has the ag hoppers or not for auger clearance, and of course frame welds. It seems like once they start cracking they dont stop.

The biggest problem I have with my truck is it has been sitting all winter, and the aluminum wheels corrode on the inside bead from never moving and cause the tires to leak down.

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Depending upon where you are, in sugar beet counrty one can make some good money hauling them to the dumps, but must have an end dump. Friend I help has all freightliners and only one has ended up being a money pit. Of course he bought it off e-bay and never inspected it.

If you are concerned about weight a sleeper like bstormers is removable if you wanted. Look for one with a jake brake to save on your brakes. I do not know about the Inter locking and diff lock, never used it for the beets, but when you start out from a dead stop put it in reverse and "nudge" the load backwards first. I do not know why but it really helps to get a heavy load in a soft field moving. For what I am guessing you are doing about any engine would be good, IMHO the v's are worthless, stick to an inline and if you can afford get one with electronic control for better milage. Granted my comparison is a detroit 60 vs cat 3406 and the detroit is elcetronic. For beets the detroit is junk, it has to narrow of an RPM band.

Troy

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For what I am guessing you are doing about any engine would be good, IMHO the v's are worthless, stick to an inline and if you can afford get one with electronic control for better milage. Granted my comparison is a detroit 60 vs cat 3406 and the detroit is elcetronic. For beets the detroit is junk, it has to narrow of an RPM band.

Troy

IMO, I'd rather have a mechanical engine for a farm truck...............Hard to beat a mechanical 3406, or 855 Cummins. By being around trucks with electronic power plants, they are beyond great when they work, but when they don't, and you don't have the tools or know how to work with them, I could see them costing you. But, anymore, soon you won't have the option for a mechanical engine as newer trucks age.

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We have three Volvo's and one Mack. 2 of the Volvo's are Cat 3406 powered. One has a 9 speed and the older is a super 10 speed. The newer Volvo is 60 Series Detroit powered with a super 10 also. Of the three I like the Cat with the super 10. With a super 10 speed, if you can drive a 5 speed bobtruck with a 2 speed rear you can drive a super 10. Its the same basic principle.

The Mack is a hoss too but it stays on the farm pulling the water trailer for the sprayer. It has a 350 Mack motor with a Fuller straight 10 speed.

For farm use, stay away from a single axle. Get a twin screw and a big cube motor. Transmission is your choice. I like the super 10. Ten gears and only 5 shifts. Flipping a button is easy work.

Farm sales here in the south usually have the trucks going last in line after everything else is sold. I've seen lots of road worthy 18 wheelers sell for under $5,000. Just last week I saw a few sell for around $3,000.

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Of the three I like the Cat with the super 10. With a super 10 speed, if you can drive a 5 speed bobtruck with a 2 speed rear you can drive a super 10. Its the same basic principle.

For farm use, stay away from a single axle. Get a twin screw and a big cube motor. Transmission is your choice. I like the super 10. Ten gears and only 5 shifts. Flipping a button is easy work.

ROTFLMAO.................My brother is running a KW daycab with a 3406B, with a Super 10............IMO it is a nice truck, would make a great farm truck. Nobody else who works for the guy wanted to drive the Super 10. My brother who has never drove much other than 5+2's, climbed in and went wild over it. I like it to, for the same reason, comes easy for me. Guys I work for PT has Pete's and Volvo's with 9's, 10's, and 18's, and I always say he should buy one with a Super 10 for me to feel more at home while jockying trailers :lol: The drivers all laugh, "Who'd want one of those POS"

Only people I've talked to who liked Super 10's were farmers who ran 5+2's. My brother is the mechanic, but runs over the road some in a pinch, but he's told me he's had guys with year of driving experience who couldn't run a super 10 :lol: Guess they are only for "Stupid" farmers ;)

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a simple older truck with a 855 or n-14 cummins with a 10 speed . a sleeper truck "normally" has an easier life because it is on the highway and not in town starting and stopping .our daycab trucks with 500,000 on them are worn out everywhere . a sleeper truck with 500,000 is just broken in..

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I would look for something with about 350-400 HP that more than enough and if you can locate one the 6 speed allison auto is the only way to go I have saw trucks sunk 6" in mud and loaded with a allison you push the gas down real slow and about the time the front wheels lift the truck just goes . and make sure it has at least 40,000 lb rears 34's are just to light to be pulling out of fields and a 14-16,000 front would be nice as well heavier built ,and if you are not to worried about scales look for an old tractor that was used for over sized over weight loads these things are made to pull so 1100-1200 bushels of wet corn would be no problem getting started due to the way they are geared already .and if you are doing a lot of back roads and pulling out of fields I would look for a steel hopper there is a company in Iowa that makes a good 38'er for around 13-14,000 new it won't twist or get sprung like alums ones do .

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Doesn't matter what you buy, they all cost money to fix. And believe me they'll all break down eventually. We've got a 87 IH that we bought just about new. Still only got 500,000 miles on it. Imo for the older engines it's pretty hard to beat a Cat 3406B. They're pretty much trouble free. They start good and last. They like to drink fuel if you run them hard but they'll all do that. We've got a 13spd transmission. with 44,000 lb rears. Seems to work allright with what we do. We pull a 36' tandem grain trailer with it as well as a 40' log trailer. Have yet to have a load it wouldn't pull. The most popular set up, up here is 18spd with 46.000lb rears. Something else that's good to have is diff lock. We've just got a power divider lock on ours. I get around with it okay but on ice the truck is useless. Soft wet ground too your pretty much hooped.

Personally I don't get hung up on the Pete and KW bandwagon thing. When it comes down to it they're really the same trucks with different plastics on them.

Ryan

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I love the Super10 too...but it will require you to stay in whatever gear you start in until you are out of the field and rolling on the road. My personal preference is a 13 spd...nice to have that splitter when you need a little extra power to pass someone, hit a little hill, etc .

I have a "400" Cat 3406B and a 13 spd in an 84 Pete 362 Cabover. I have it because its a classic..not because its easy to get in and out of. It's also fairly light weight, with around 200 gallon of fuel on, pulling a 40' Timpte with 66" sides, I am right around 25400# with me in the pilots seat.

Would I buy another cabover? Well, maybe..if it was a KW k100 with an aerodyne bunk on it.

One other thing to keep in mind that no matter what kind of ride you have, keep it clean, keep the chrome reasonably well polished, etc as that will be a wee bit less obvious that its a 'farm truck' DOT pricks LOVE farm trucks.

Personally I don't get hung up on the Pete and KW bandwagon thing. When it comes down to it they're really the same trucks with different plastics on them.

Ryan

Its no big secret Pete and KW are both owned by PACCAR, but while they do share some common parts, they are two different trucks inside. Yes you have your Cat, Detroit, Cummins power and Eaton Fuller/ Rockwell/Meritor drivetrains, but things like Petes Low Air Leaf and KW's 8 bag air ride suspensions are quite a bit different.

For what its worth, I have seen some damn sharp IH, Mack ,and Freightshakers..

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For 3000 miles a year it would be way cheaper to hire a truck.

Just liability insurance on a class 8 truck and trailer with a perfect

history is $3500.00 or more.

Then you have tires ,oil ,license,fuel, payments,tons of paper

work,cdl, and the usual 3 to 20 thousand dollar come aparts that

come with old trucks. Used trucks ain't any better than the last

driver they had no matter where they came from.

Fleet highway trucks are some of the worse for being worn out.

Most fleets hire anyone with a pulse to drive. Some of these

interstates are rougher than log roads. Some of the old fleet

trucks look good ,but they may have 3 million mile on them and

have been jumped ,jerked and lugged to death by several monkeys

in training.

Also some fleets do the absolute minimum for maintainance in

the last year before trade in.

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For 3000 miles a year it would be way cheaper to hire a truck.

Just liability insurance on a class 8 truck and trailer with a perfect

history is $3500.00 or more.

Then you have tires ,oil ,license,fuel, payments,tons of paper

work,cdl, and the usual 3 to 20 thousand dollar come aparts that

come with old trucks. Used trucks ain't any better than the last

driver they had no matter where they came from.

Fleet highway trucks are some of the worse for being worn out.

Most fleets hire anyone with a pulse to drive. Some of these

interstates are rougher than log roads. Some of the old fleet

trucks look good ,but they may have 3 million mile on them and

have been jumped ,jerked and lugged to death by several monkeys

in training.

Also some fleets do the absolute minimum for maintainance in

the last year before trade in.

This is exactly what I was alluding to in my first post! ;) I have 2 truckers who buy corn at the bin and give me market price with no trucking costs to me, I have another local trucking company owned by friends who haul my beans out of the field and some from the bins to a processor, as long as this arrangement keeps working I won't own a semi...

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Thanks for the replies, guys. I realize it may be cheaper to hire someone, but around here at harvest thru Jan usually is nearly impossible to find one to hire. Also I have less than 5000 bu storage so hauling it later is not an option. I like to forward price some of the crop for harvest delivery so that I don't have to store it. Have looked at a couple Freights, and some IHs, seems like the binders are cheaper to get into a newer outfit. How reliable is a M-11 Cummins? The last IH I looked at had one that had a lot of miles on , but has had new heads and injectors and a lot of other work done as well. Wed, I am going to an auction to look at a couple (85,89) Petes. I am not in a hurry to buy so I am looking at all possibilities. Dad is nearly retired and got by with a single axle straight truck all his life, but now with higher yields, improved cattle genetics and performance, there seems to be more grain to move. I have 30 plus years to go in this business and feel that its time to make improvements now, not later when it is too cost prohibitive. I'll post auction results later. Thanks, rob

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Thanks for the replies, guys. I realize it may be cheaper to hire someone, but around here at harvest thru Jan usually is nearly impossible to find one to hire. Also I have less than 5000 bu storage so hauling it later is not an option. I like to forward price some of the crop for harvest delivery so that I don't have to store it. Have looked at a couple Freights, and some IHs, seems like the binders are cheaper to get into a newer outfit. How reliable is a M-11 Cummins? The last IH I looked at had one that had a lot of miles on , but has had new heads and injectors and a lot of other work done as well. Wed, I am going to an auction to look at a couple (85,89) Petes. I am not in a hurry to buy so I am looking at all possibilities. Dad is nearly retired and got by with a single axle straight truck all his life, but now with higher yields, improved cattle genetics and performance, there seems to be more grain to move. I have 30 plus years to go in this business and feel that its time to make improvements now, not later when it is too cost prohibitive. I'll post auction results later. Thanks, rob

The way I look at your situation, you would be better off sticking our money into something that will make you money insted of costing you money. I would take you r 5k storage and increese it to 100,500 bu of grain storage and continue to hire your hauling done at a later date after harvest.

You can get low intrest grain storage loans from usda ( welfare office ), that are very attractive. I get a kick out of everyone around here burning day light hours siting in the line at the local elivator during harvest, screw that, I have more important things to do. In the last two years I have paid off a prety good share on bins just by the markit carry price, plus if you credit yourself 1/2 of the screwing storage price the locals charge you can make a killing on your grain by storeing it in your own bins. By the way trucks are a dime a dozen, every farmer out there thinks they have to have one so hire one of them to haul your grain between dec and sept, avoiding the traditional lows in the markit. I realize by following my advice you will not be as cool as everyone elce, but you can watch you bank account grow at a prety good clip trust me. Jon

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For 3000 miles a year it would be way cheaper to hire a truck.

Just liability insurance on a class 8 truck and trailer with a perfect

history is $3500.00 or more.

For what its worth, my liability insurance is about 300.00 a year through the State Farm agent in town.

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For 3000 miles a year it would be way cheaper to hire a truck.

Just liability insurance on a class 8 truck and trailer with a perfect

history is $3500.00 or more.

Yes, it probably would be cheaper for him to hire his grain hauled IF he can find some one to do it & WHEN he wants it hauled. Around here the local gear jammers are tied up hauling for the different elevators or for the BTOs. Some refuse to haul to the local processor during harvest because waits to unload can easily be 2 hrs & some times 4-5 hours. Also many don't like to load out of the field unless you can insure them a load when they get there. Many don't like to load out of bins unless you have a overhead loadout and almost impossible to find one willing to unload into a auger going into a bin. Can't blame them because time sitting is money out of their pocket. So for many farmers convience is more of a factor in owning a truck that cost.

If he is using it just for "farm use" and runs farm plates insurance will be a lot less than $3,500 / yr . We own 2 semi tractors & trailers. Our total ins. last year for both was $875. That was for full coverage & $1,000,000 liability.

Last year we put less than 7,000 miles on both trucks combined but probably hauled 350-400,000 bu of grian

by the time it's hauled to the bins then hauled back out to the elevator or processor. At a minimum of 10¢/bu to hire it hauled that begins to add up.

Buying those semis was one of the best things we ever did. They have allowed us to expand our operating range, cut fuel costs compared to a couple straight trucks, & eliminated the need for a least 1 employee. Like I said, there's a lot more than just the cost & unkeep of the truck involved.

This is one of those situations that there is no right or wrong answer. Each has to do what is best for him & his particualr situation. If I had a deal like Red_Man I wouldn't own a semi. Howerver, around here few of the elevators have their own semis & those that do use them for hauling their own grain to the processor.

Bin settup's are nice & we have beening expanding ours as we can but they're not the answer for everyone & even if you do have them you have to get the grain to them someway. For us, semis are the choice because of distance, for other a straight truck or wagons may be more suitable

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