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Semi Tractors Make Great Straight Trucks
"There are a lot of used semi tractors sitting in lots around the country that are in good shape and can be bought at a reasonable price," says Larry Brandenburg, sales manager for Crysteel Distributing, Inc., Lake Crystal, Minn.
The company converts used semi tractors to tandem and tridem straight axle trucks ideal for hauling grain and fertilizer.
"Semi's need a lot of room to turn around and it can be a real problem trying to maneuver them in fields and on narrow country roads. With a semi tractor converted to a straight truck you'll have a more powerful rig than a conventional straight truck and, by pulling a pup trailer, have about the same hauling capacity as a semi with better maneuverability," Brandenburg explains.
"You can find a good used diesel truck for right around $10,000. We can modify most any truck but steel frame trucks are easier and cheaper to modify than aluminum frame rigs. Also, we find it's better to have a truck with spring suspension rather than air ride because of all the weight that's on the front wheels of the modified trucks. It also helps to find a truck with power steering, although this can be added later.
"When we get the truck, we take off the fifth wheel and then cut the frame just behind the cab and add a section to make the wheelbase the desired length. A second frame is then set on top of the first frame and the drive shaft is rebuilt. After that, we install a hoist and a grain box. We can also install a number of options, including power steering, a pusher axle and a pintle hitch for the pup trailer. The hitch is set so you can unload the truck dump box without unhooking the trailer."
Brandenburg says there are a number of other shops around the country that could do the conversions. He notes that it's important to check with the state transportation department to determine weight limits on the axles.
Cost for a converted truck, not counting the cost of the used tractor, runs $9,000 to $12,000 depending on the features you select.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Crysteel Distributing Inc., Hwy. 60 East, Lake Crystal, MN 56055 (ph 507 726-6041).

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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #4