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Veteran Advisor

Re: Tandem axle truck

That is what I was thinking.  Even if it doesn't necessarily pencil out directly, what value does one put, on the ability to get the harvest to the bin, on time?  Or capitalize on the +20 over everyone else that the local feed mill offers, on the condition you get them 1,000 bushels delivered the next day, and they have no way to empty a semi.


I was thinking about the backing up, and maneuvering around the yard, when I was driving the 5X3 this fall.  It was Sooooo nice to have a slow reverse.  It would make maneuvering to the auger so much better than 'rev the engine, slip the clutch, and hammer the brake' like I do now, when I have to back up an extra foot.  The guy told me, that the only time I'd actually use the lowest range, was backing to the bin, but making that job easier made it worth it.

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Re: Tandem axle truck

Tire size and rear axle ration has a lot to do with how low the gearing feels and how fast the top end is.  Does compaction play a role in your decision?

Hydraulic brkes would scare me.

You have to figure in the insurance, licensing and maintenance on bigger turcks.  Sometimes parts of them get outside one's ability to do it one's self and that can add up in a hurry.

Not sure when the commercial or CDL figures in, but that can be an issue in who drives it.

We see a number of single axle gassers making short hauls at harvest time and they give me the creeps.  Usually over loaded for their brakes, can't maintain speed on the hills and give me the willies when I see them.  But, that's a personal, emotional reaction.  Even a small twin screw feels better - you want a twin screw as was said.  

You might want to be very sure that the dump will take whatever bed you buy.  Some plants may not take a dump  as well as a hopper bottom, for example.

I just talked to a grain buyer who said (for what it's worth - not the same subject) that nearly all farmers add ing a truck are buying a day cab tractor  and standard size grain hopper trailer.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Tandem axle truck

Thanks for the answer.

Compaction in the field is not an issue, we have a permanent driveway for the fuel truck, but we do smooth over the pivot tracks before harvest, and sometimes that leaves us a few softer spots for the first few loads, until the ground re-packs.  Rather than chugging the engine, slipping the clutch, and hoping not to kill it, I'd rather just have a nice low gear to chug along that 1/8 to 1/4 mile, until I hit the graveled county road.

As far as if places will take a rear dumper, we have a LOT of small farmers in this area, probably almost as many single-axle trucks still around, as there are semis.  Tandem axles more or less rule the roost right now, especially for hauling direct from the field.  One reason I'm looking to a twin screw straight truck, is because a local feed mill, that I do business with, will pay up to a 30 cent a bushel premium, over the next best price in town, but they have no way to unload a semi.  For not a lot more $$$, I could get a big single-hopper trailer, and a single axle tractor, and haul 650 bushels instead of 575, but then I start running into things like needing a CDL, getting a DOT number, etc, etc.

With a tandem straight truck, I won't have any extra licensing fees, than I do with a single axle, as long as I stay within Nebraska, andunder 60,000#.  Of course there will be a higher fee, for the greater tonnage on the plates, but otherwise, we are talking the same schedule.  I doubt maintanence would be any worse than the one I have.  I'd have bigger loads, but less of them, so I would imagine things would average out.

Right now, a single axle gasser, is where I am at, it pulls down more on the hills, than I'd like (but the brakes work very well, that is one area I will not compromise) and can be a fuel hog, plus when I get a call from the feed mill, wanting corn, enticing me with that extra 20 to 30 cents, I sometimes just can't quite get in as much corn as they want, in the time the want it.  With a bigger truck, diesel powered, I could easily add 50% to what I coud deliver in a day, between the bigger box, and faster road speed.  It isn't that I'd go any faster on the flats, I just wouldn't bog down so much over the hills.  They would take as much as 10,000 bushels, at an average of maybe 25 cents bonus, and they let me decide when I want to sell.  If corn goes up to $8 in June, I'm positive I'd be able to get $8.20 or more.  If I bought or had to hire a semi, I could not sell to them.  As of right now, I haul about 60-80% of my own grain, with a single axle gas powered 1976 IH 'Binder'.  I am positive a decent tandem axle would allow me to get it all hauled in myself, in the same amount of time.

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Re: Tandem axle truck

i don't know about nebraska but in indiana if you do not haul for hire and have farm plates you don;t have to have a DOT number as long as you don;t leave the state.same with fuel permit but you will have to pay sales tax on fuel. i have an old mack truck with a 20 ft bed and it hauls 750 bu legal (it;s a tri-axle) and it's tough i saw a 1985 model that is similar with no bed advertised for 13000 so probably you could buy for 10000 and you could probably find a good used bed for about 7000 and about 2000 to mount it so for less than 20 you would have something thatis almost indestructable

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Re: Tandem axle truck

Diesel is by far more economical. there is an aray of transmissions available. here in north central iowa, many farmers are abandoning the twin screws for semis, so there are many trucks available. i was glad for the switch, but have spent many years with grain trucks. one of my main concerns wold be a good, sturdy lift (Scott brand) and air brakes are a must. stay away from the 3208 cat engine. I have many years of bad experience with them. would be better for hauling corn, but on a used truck, one doesn't know the history. good tires are a must. If the ne dot is like the IA ones, they pick on anyone, farmers, REC, anyone. if you buy one, have it looked over and keep it maintained and greased. Reminder, in grain hauling, keep air filters clean. saves on fuel and engine wear. my semi air clear was only a year old, but packed to the brim with bees' wings.

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Veteran Advisor

Bought my truck!

I don't know if I mentioned it here, but I was losing 2nd gear in my cheapo 6 wheel truck I got last year ($1800, and it had 4 new tires).  Anyway, the synchronizer went out completely before harvest was over, and the estimate to fix, was well over what I gave for the truck, so I went shopping.  I was thinking, I might be able to haul the bins out, and get more use of the tires, but when the mechanic told me it could start jumping out of gear 'anytime', I started looking pretty seriously.

I found one that a guy was selling private.  He was going to trade it, and the dealer was oinly going to give salvage value for it.  The dealer let him park it on his lot, and sell private, and if it didn't sell by the end of the year, he was going to part it out.  This guy sold it to me for $1000 more than the dealer was going to give him, for salvage.  He said it was too solid a truck, to let someone butcher for the parts, so he listed it on the internet, to see if anyone would bite.
  Anyway, I wound up taking it home (well, almost home, LOL).  It had a leaking pinion seal, so I am having it taken care of right away.   Not that I don't have the know-how to replace the seal, I just don't think my Craftsman 1/2 inch impact wrench is up to the job of busting the big nut loose.


Anyway, I wound up finding an IH 1850, twin screw straight truck, with a 22 foot all-steel box in good shape, only minor surface rust on the floor, from being outside a couple months.

It has the DT466 engine, and I saw some repair history.

4 years ago, a new 'lifetime' heavy duty clutch

2 years ago, a new injector pump & injectors.

8 new tires last year

It has the 5X4 transmission, which may not be my very first choice, but I think will suit my needs more than adequately.

It was bought new by a silage outfit (hence the 5X4) who put quite a few hours on it, but not many miles. 
When the clutch got iffy, they sold it to this guy (about 5 years ago) who put on a very nice used steel box, and a new hoist, which is the stoutest scissor hoist I have ever seen, and by a fair margin.  It is power up, and power down, as well.

Shortly after he got it, the clutch started slipping, so he told the mechanic to put in the heaviest duty one he could find.  I can attest it has no hint of slipping, but engagement is a bit abrupt.

He was going to trade it when the injector pump went out, but couldn't find one he liked, so had it replaced, along with the iojectors.

This year, his hired man backed over something (didn't say what) and ruined all 8 rear tires, so they were new around the start of harvest.

Because of its silage use, the linkage to the bottom two ranges is a bit loose.   It shifts OK, but the linkage has a bit of wobble between 1 & 2.  Shifts smooth as silk between 3&4, though, very tight and positive, and the 5 speed is smooth and positive.

Steering is tight, not the tiniest bit of play anywhere, and the rear walking beam (Hendricks spring and walking beam rear end) are all very tight.  While it has a lot of hours on it, it has in total, under 90,000 miles, since new, and the previous owner says the engine doesn't burn oil.  It starts fine, and I can see it has very little blow-by..

It was always washed off between fields, and shedded in the off season, so pain is surprisingly good, for an old silage truck.  It doesn't look like it had hardly any use, if any, on roads that had any salt or de-icer on them.

The mechanic doing the pinion seals says that it has about the tightest steering and driveline of a truck its age, that he has seen.  With luck, it will last me quite a while yet.

Thanks for all the advice.   I think I am glad I waited out finding a diesel twin screw.   It seems to be a real bargain, unless there is some hidden problem I don't know about.  I got it for $2500 less, than the Chevy that the dealer had for sale across the lot.  It had sharper paint, but it had a 366 gas instead of diesel, a hydraulic tag instead of a twin screw, less than half the tread on the tires, and over 2X the miles.  It did have shinier paint, but looking at the frame and underneath, I think it actually had more rust on the frame and driveline.  They were one model year apart, in age.

The guy laughed, and said for the last year, he was looking for a nice Semi, to fit his needs.  He laughed again, and said as soon as he put 8 new tires on this truck, and finished harvest, he found just what he was looking for.

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