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Author Topic: Building a smaller self loader  (Read 696 times)

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Offline Redhorseshoe

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Building a smaller self loader
« on: March 26, 2021, 05:21:20 PM »
I'm wanting to put together a smaller sized self loader truck.  I saw an International S1900 set up as one and awhile back and liked the idea.  It would be a nice asset to my sawmill operation.  Right now I'm looking at an early 90's fl70 and an old ramey loader (separately).  The truck is a 5 speed manual, 5.9 cummins engine, air brakes, does have a PTO as it used to be a dump truck.  I'm really not sure if the frame is long enough though to accommodate the loader as well as log gear or a flatbed trailer.  I don't know how long the frame is but was hoping you guys could give me some ideas on that as well as anything I should consider before trying to build off of this truck.  I'd prefer more than 5 gears on the trans but I think it will work for my purposes the way it is.  Oh, as far as weight, I'm wanting to be able to haul 30k of logs.  I do have a class a cdl, so that's not an issue.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Building a smaller self loader
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2021, 09:02:58 PM »
It's not that easy to pick and haul saw logs. I started out with your idea but wound up with a twin screw truck with 21 foot of frame and an old prentiss F rear mounted. Although a tandem it is a medium duty truck and can legally and physically haul 12 1/2 tons . Lots of moving parts, always hyd. leaks and structural cracks to look after. Thank God it's off the road and only used in the yard. I only buy logs delivered these days.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Building a smaller self loader
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2021, 10:08:03 PM »
Imo.. Its just not the right truck.  5.9 is a very good engine but its just too small to pull hills with only a 5speed, 30k of logs plus the loader.  Its gonna take WOT and 30psi of boost to go anywhere loaded and eventually the headstuds are gonna fatigue and blow gaskets.. Imo.  On bigs hills, youll be downshifting and downshifting until you have to actually drop MPH just to have the available RPM window to drop another gear.  Climbing in 1st or 2nd sucks.. with 4 miles of traffic backed up screaming behind you sucks even more.  its a miserable, high-stress guilty sorta feeling youll be having all the time.  


I dont think you want any less than a tandem axle, air brake, dt466 or cummins 6CTA (8.3) or i guess maybe a ford 7.8L "brazilian."  Id prefer an 8LL but maybe a 9 speed if the rest of the truck is legit, big big bonus points for 46 rears and a heavier than 12k steer with float front rubber.   Hendrickson and chalmers are about the toughest and roughest riding offroad suspensions.  Locking power divider and one locking diff are also major bonus points.  


If it were me i would probably look for a rolled over triaxle dump and put a cab on it because thats basically the right truck at the right price.  Wetline, double frame, twin steering box, float front and 46's on walking beams with lockers.  8LL/9LL and 15 speed are good offroad trans. 350hp or more would be nice.
Psalm 37:16

Offline Redhorseshoe

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Re: Building a smaller self loader
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2021, 12:13:47 AM »
Okay, I have been fully talked out of the fl70.  I'm now looking into a Ford L9000 with 400 cummins big cam and 13 speed transmission.  Any opinions on something like that?  Things to look out for etc.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Building a smaller self loader
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2021, 09:48:50 AM »
look at the radiator hoses on the bigcam.  Well.. FIRST look for the words "big cam" under the PT fuel pump on the block.  Its much desireable over a small cam.


If its a BC then you want a BC1, 2 or 3.  I think all the BC4s went to low flow cooling which has a baffled radiator that fails.  You want to see standard top and bottom large coolant hoses from a single normal water pump and stat outlet.  Not little car hoses.


Next, you wanna know that the 13speed low hole and the diff ratios are well matched.  I drove a tow truck conversion once that needed to feather the clutch and throttle to take off in low and it probably topped at 190mph.   No bueno.


 You want to be able to let the clutch out with no fuel on a hill at full load and then get out and walk beside the truck like its a toddler. The slowest lowhole possible.

Takeoff ratio is important especially with a 13 since you wont have deep reduction.  Its a great highway trans but youll only have 2 or 3 gears that are right for a rough bush road or your fixadent wont hold.


If its got a hendrickson walking beam look to see that when parked in a sharp turn the tires are still flush side per side..not staggering out.  Walking beam bushings are a tough job and theyre about $3k to have done.   Next crawl waaay under and "look" at both sides of the walking beam pivot tower with your fingers for rot. Its hard to see without licking the diffs. If theyre rotted thats a pain to patch up. Bring rags and cardboard, yer gonna be filthy.  


Look for rustjacking between any double frame sections, crossmember bolts being pushed apart, and if it was a dumptruck scan extremely good for cracks midframe from the tanks to the hoist.. Inner and outer. That can be very hard to find without tanks off.   Look for frame repairs around steering box(es) too.  If its a cab chassis lay two piece of wood across frame flats and look from the back if theyre parallel to each other and if the cab is parallel to them.  Easy to twist a frame when a load hangs up in a dumpbox and leans over.



Major bonus points for 2 diff lock sliders, heavy steer, float front rubber, twin steering boxes, chelsea PTO box on the trans or even better a wet kit.. and a good air ride seat.  The rest is just simple old truck stuff.. Wiring, window regulators, hoses and bulbs and wiper motors, heater cores, door hinges and missing keys etc etc etc.  I wont let any of that piddly junk turn me away from good bones. If you can afford a truck its gonna need fixing.  If it dont need fixin you better have just won the lotto.  


Tires is another matter.  Theyre an easy fix but 10 of em aint cheap.  Dryrot from age is a better reason to need tires than having really bad wear patterns that indicate bad bushings in the drives or bad kingpins and tie rod ends up front. 


Whatever you buy, teardown, inspect and repack the wheelbearings yourself.  I had a whole steer hub fly off with very little warning and thats a deadly situation. 
Psalm 37:16

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Building a smaller self loader
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2021, 10:19:45 AM »
to run a loader it has to have a variable speed governor. pto should be about 120% at 1200 rpm you will have plenty of oil flow. walking beams. back in the old days they did not have torque rods they help the rears track straight. also 2 types of bushings. rubber or bronze . they are the best if greased. i hauled wood for 20 yrs with a lt 9 ford triaxle. 3 times i had the end caps on Hendrickson walking beams break. they were a poor design. on my other fords they had bronze a much better setup. the longest wheel base was 222" short compared to what is used today. ford used a good frame . double or the deep section single. it was 14"behind the cab. some of the eaton rears were double reduction   2 speed but locked in low. an old 13sp will not be quite dosent mean its bad they did wine    

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Building a smaller self loader
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 02:45:36 PM »
That is a good point.  The RTOs and OOs sound like an RTLO going bad. The countershafts are real fast and gears arent cut the same as a newer, quieter fuller.  An RTOO can have a good takeoff ratio and still run fast interstate even with pretty deep rears.  It was common for them to have a 1.75 input but 2" can be swapped in easily for more common clutches. The big "bull gear" with a syncro face in the aux for the range select is hard to find.. Everything else pretty easy.  Itll grind the range shift when thats shot. 
Psalm 37:16


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