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Thread: New hoss on the farm

  1. #1
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    New hoss on the farm

    I recently made the jump from a Class 4 F450 to a Class 7 tractor to use on the farm. Typically Im transporting oversize logs or equipment. A well maintained 2007 (pre-Tier 3 emission) Sterling was purchased with a Detroit series 60 12.7L engine (455 hp and 1400 ft lbs torque).

    It was a little rough when I bought it, but mechanically sound. It was a former Conway Transportation truck - probably local delivery but maybe LTL cross country.

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    For the past couple of weeks weve been going through it, servicing everything, having it detailed, etc. The engine seems in really great shape - there is no smoke of any type coming out of the exhaust (cold start or warm running), and blow by out of the valve cover is about the same as new. Minimal metal shavings on the transmission and rear end drain magnets, and its obviously that Conway has an excellent service and PM team.

    Suspension feels tight, no play in the front end.

    Brakes are 60% or better, but the tires were pretty bad. As part of the deal a set of 4 Alcoa aluminum rims were included, along with an air slider 5th wheel.

    Today I had a new set of tires installed (low profile 285 /24.5s), 4 wheel alignment and the rims and fuel tanks polished. Tomorrow it goes in for the farm logo to be installed on the doors, along with the requisite Not for Hire statement. The low profile tires will allow me to not have gooseneck ball height issues and also to raise the 5th wheel hitch up a few inches to allow for channel across the frame for the flat bed.

    I need to install new cab clearance lights, a new muffler and heat shield (loose baffle inside the muffler), and fabricate a gooseneck hitch. Ive picked up a B&M turnover ball receiver kit; just need to make the mounting plate. My plans are for the mount to be a welded fabrication that bolts into the frame. Ill need to relocate some stuff in order to position the ball as closely as possible to the rear axle. Also need to thoroughly clean the dash, repaint it and install a fuel gauge (none from the factory). Id like to install some sound deadening material and redo the interior.

    Last year for Christmas my wife surprised me with a really nice in-dash radio for my 08 F450. I kept it when I sold the truck so this will be reallocated to the Sterling, along with an in-dash CB and electric brake controller.

    I plated the truck for 60K lbs with farm plates, but can go up to 70K if needed.

    What Im struggling with is how to retain the 5th wheel, but to fabricate a flat bed with tool boxes for it that is useful. I have room on the driver side for a 36 wide underbody tool box between the fuel tank and the rear tires, and a 48 box on the passenger side. Am thinking of some 12 - 18 wide boxes behind the rear tires and on each side of the hitch plate at the back of the bed. Maybe a Jobox on top right behind the cab too. Im thinking of extending the frame about 18 or so in order to install the tool boxes, receiver hitch and Pintle hook. Ive picked up a 48 x 24 5/8 thick steel plate to make the back center section with receiver hitch, etc. There is adequate room to extend 18 without running into trailer interference problems on the truck.

    Having the 5th wheel sticking up in the middle of the bed sure reduces the bed efficiency though. Ill position the gooseneck ball down inside the frame rails with a removeable cover plate.

    Should be a fun project. Here is what it looked like after detailing, with the new tires and polished rims/tanks.

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  3. #2
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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    That's a super nice truck

    Are 5th wheel plates easy to make removable? Would that work for your use?
    Dave J.

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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    That is a beauty! I'm envious.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaDave View Post
    That's a super nice truck

    Are 5th wheel plates easy to make removable? Would that work for your use?
    Dave, the 5th wheel is pretty darn heavy - something like 1000 lbs or so. Although most of my towing will be gooseneck, I’d like to hav the 5th wheel on the truck in case I am in a situation remote to the farm here I need to hitch up.
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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Nice truck you have there.
    This was my solution to a customer's quandary about 5th wheel versus ball on their gooseneck. They have the set screw type hitch, this takes less than 5 minutes to change out. Had to do some rewiring on the trailer to make it compatible with a semi tractor or a 7 wire RV plug on a pickup. Name:  20200330_132744.jpg
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    Last edited by 12V71; 04-10-2020 at 09:40 PM.

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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Quote Originally Posted by 12V71 View Post
    Nice truck you have there.
    This was my solution to a customer's quandary about 5th wheel versus ball on their gooseneck. They have the set screw type hitch, this takes less than 5 minutes to change out. Had to do some rewiring on the trailer to make it compatible with a semi tractor or a 7 wire RV plug on a pickup. Name:  20200330_132744.jpg
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    Thats a good idea.

    Another option is a forged insert that has a kingpin on one side, and a gooseneck ball on the other. Im still challenged with the design of the flat bed though and having the 5th wheel hitch sticking up in the middle of it.

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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    That’s a good idea.

    Another option is a forged insert that has a kingpin on one side, and a gooseneck ball on the other. I’m still challenged with the design of the flat bed though and having the 5th wheel hitch sticking up in the middle of it.

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    The only problem with those is that you need to block the fifth wheel in a stationary position, other wise it flops back and forth. not a big issue if you don't have a slider.

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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    That’s a good idea.

    Another option is a forged insert that has a kingpin on one side, and a gooseneck ball on the other. I’m still challenged with the design of the flat bed though and having the 5th wheel hitch sticking up in the middle of it.

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    As 12V said, you have to block or do something with the fifth wheel otherwise the combination of play between all the items gives you a lot of slop or play. I found that out the hard way.
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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    a new muffler and heat shield (loose baffle inside the muffler)
    We had a bunch of those a few years ago.
    good turning radius / good city truck.

    Keep an eye on the exhaust flex pipe under the passenger door. they are prone to cracking. if you start smelling fumes in the truck... thats it.

    All you need now is a chrome grill and some chicken lights...... 10-4?
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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    We had a bunch of those a few years ago.
    good turning radius / good city truck.

    Keep an eye on the exhaust flex pipe under the passenger door. they are prone to cracking. if you start smelling fumes in the truck... thats it.

    All you need now is a chrome grill and some chicken lights...... 10-4?
    Thx for the exhaust advice. So far so good.

    Darn chrome grills sure are expensive for these though. I've been thinking about fabricating something from some stainless steel mesh like this:

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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Can you install longer fifth wheel rails and slide the fifth wheel way ahead when not needed. The flatbed thing makes it hard for using a fifth wheel.
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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    Can you install longer fifth wheel rails and slide the fifth wheel way ahead when not needed. The flatbed thing makes it hard for using a fifth wheel.
    That’s the plan. I obtained a sliding 5th wheel with the truck. Now I’m working on figuring out the arrangement of it, the gooseneck hitch, underbody boxes, etc.
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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Food for thought... If it's a Holland type slider you could remove the stops on the slider plate at one end and slide it off the tracks and set it off the truck 'til you need it again. Seen that on trucks that were used as a tractor and a dump.
    Oh, never grease a slider at the tracks, it just collects dirt and sticks worse. I used to run a lowboy tractor with an 8' slider that had to be moved all the time, my lube of choice to make it slide easy was cheap dishwashing liquid. If it collected dirt the garden hose cleaned it out.
    If you made the slider removeable you could put your hidden ball hitch in the slider plate. it wouldn't be too hard.

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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Nice looking truck. I'm sure that will serve you well. That looks brand new.


    Dave

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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    I made some progress today on fabricating a gooseneck hitch for the Sterling. I haven't had the opportunity to post many of my welding projects, so I've probably gone overkill on the pix in this one!

    Starting point was a piece of 1" x 8" steel plate. It was originally a brace on a heavy forklift. The bent ends were cut off, the steel beveled and mounting holes drilled with a mag drill.

    I acquired a B&W Turnover Ball kit to reduce the fab time needed. The gussets were removed from it, new ones made from angle, and a hole torched into the mounting plate.

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    I was pleased with how clean the hole cut. This was with an oxy-propane torch (I cheated and used a Miller circular guide).

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    Next up was clamping and tacking everything together.

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    After everything was tacked up I started the welding process. Top side of the plate received three passes of Lincoln .045 Ultracore 71C with 100% CO2. This was leftover from a railroad car repair project a couple of years back. Machine used was a Miller Trailblazer Pro 350D with a suitcase MIG.

    Here is the top after the first pass.

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    Last edited by scsmith42; 05-25-2020 at 09:24 PM.
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  23. #16
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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Here are the bottom gussets after welding.

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    And the top after the 2nd and 3rd welds were applied.

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    The hitch will be installed immediately behind the axle. Normally I prefer to locate the ball right in front of the axle centerline, but all of the hitch and Western Hauler style body manufactures that I've spoken with have informed me that immediately behind the axle is acceptable for my needs.

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    I'll be bolting a 6" angle on the inside of each frame rail, and then the plate will bolt to the angles. That's tomorrow or Wednesday's project.
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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    For the flat bed, you could always make a flat bed with a king pin that locks into the fifth wheel with drop legs that would allow you to drop the bed and drive out. You would need to add a way to hold the bed firm and level to the truck frame when attached.
    Mike

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    Re: New hoss on the farm

    Quote Originally Posted by leightrepairs View Post
    For the flat bed, you could always make a flat bed with a king pin that locks into the fifth wheel with drop legs that would allow you to drop the bed and drive out. You would need to add a way to hold the bed firm and level to the truck frame when attached.
    That's a pretty novel concept.

    In my instance, I would like to design it so that the bed stays attached. I'm probably not going to put much up on the bed, it's more of a system to support tool boxes for the supplies and equipment that I like to keep with my tow rigs.
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    Re: New hoss on the farm


    scsmith42


    I just caught up on your build . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    Darn chrome grills sure are expensive for these though. I've been thinking
    about fabricating something from some stainless steel mesh like this . . .
    This is probably the best single source -
    https://www.mcnichols.com/

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