Verified FBN Member (MN)
Machinery

What would be your recommendation for a semi to haul grain?

I have a single axle tractor with a 32' grain trailer. I am considering purchasing a full sized semi. I currently use haul 80-90K bushels to market each year traveling distances of 10 - 30 miles one way. I also use it to haul grain to my bins at harvest which are trips of less than 5 miles. I need something light, good maneuverability, and cost is also important. What features do I need to look for?

Verified FBN Member (SD)

Honestly trucks probably have the worst return on investment of any piece of equipment. If you can get by with what you have keep rolling. If you really want to trade I prefer a thirteen speed with a cat motor. You can get as fancy as you want and it's all personal preference

Verified FBN Member (MN)

Pre def and pre egr. Cat C12 or Cummins M11 are good light motors. I think you would be just fine with a 10 speed with that small of a trailer. As far as manuverabilty the shorter the wheel base the better but the ride of the truck will get rougher the shorter you get. I have personally had good luck with 10 speed 9400i Internationals pulling 80-90000lbs out of the field. I agree with the man above me they can be the worst ROI if I didn't need them I wouldn't own them that is for sure.

Verified FBN Member (IA)

Do not get an International Maxxforce engine!

Verified FBN Member (TX)

Any reason you say that? We just bought a 2014 prostar day can truck with there maxxforce engine? Think that is one year before the def for them so dpf. 450k on it

Verified FBN Member (IA)

My 2010 with the Maxxforce 11 with 525000 miles just went in the shop with egr cooler leaking. Gonna cost $5000 to fix . I’m looking into deleting it . Gonna be about same money. If you have a good dealer they might be able to clean the egr system occasionally. Still maintenance and a constant problem on all those engines

Verified FBN Member (AR)

We bought a used 2009 Prostar that was a fleet truck with 450000 miles on it. The doc shut it down at 455000 miles. The dealer put a bandaid on the problem. It took a local mechanic to fix the problem and what the dealer screwed up. $7000 later, it was fine. I found out that the dpf stops up at 450000-500000 miles unless properly maintained. Fleet trucks are cheaper to unload them rather maintain the dpf. Beware. That said, our 1999 9200 International has been relatively problem free. It had 600000 miles when purchased, it recently rolled over 1000000 miles. It has a C12 engine.

Verified FBN Member (IL)

I have a 2011 and a 2012 Prostar with the Maxxforce engines. I haven't had any issues with them, however, I recently heard that those engines almost financially broke International because of the warranty work they had to do on them when they first came out.

Verified FBN Member (WI)

My kenworth trucks have treated me well, but it is the engine and trans that makes a truck what it is. I have a chipped C12 with 13 speed trans, and it is a fuel efficient package. The power of c15 would be nice, but would cost me more fuel

Verified FBN Member (MN)

9200/9400 IH and Frieghtliner FLD 120 day cabs are great trucks for the money. Petes and KWs are also great but cost you a pretty good premium. The M-11 cummins or ISM are good engines. Also the C-12 cat. Eaton Fuller 10 speed should handle your trailer just fine. try to stay away from the extra shiney stuff - the more lights and add on things - the more matinance. I own three trucks and most of the time other than harvest we hire grain hauled cheaper than I can do it. good luck.

Verified FBN Member (IL)

Stay away from Maxxforce, Mercedes, and Paccar engines. Cat is our preference but they tend to be pricey.

Verified FBN Member (MS)

What do you have against paccar engines?

Verified FBN Member (IL)

I have just never heard good things about them. Personally have no experience, just going off what I’ve heard from guys who run them

Verified FBN Member (MS)

I was just curious if you had had some bad luck with them. We really like ours. Have had very good luck with them. We are running 2 of them in 389s. Deleted. Fuel mileage is over a mile to the gallon better then the C15 we where running. That adds up when you figure 80000 miles a year. But fuel mileage is not a big deal if you are just around the farm.

Verified FBN Member (IL)

I have heard they get good mileage. Our C15 is lucky to get 5mpg

Verified FBN Member (ND)

Nothing wrong with a mercedes. Daimler owns mercedes, also has owned detroit diesel for a long time now too. DD13/DD15 are decent engines if you get a delete done. They are daimler (mercedes) engines.

Verified FBN Member (OK)

I have two Freightliner trucks, ‘05 with a Mercedes and a 13 speed and one with an ‘04 Cat 3406C and a 10 speed, both work great and were 500K miles fleet trucks that I bought used. As always you have the normal things, but you can get really nice horsepower for not much $$ buying that way, both we’re right around $20k

I’ll haul around 400k bushel a year with those trucks and steel 38’ trailers. 900-1000k bushels a load... very cost effective.

Only thing you have to deal with is people who spend too much on their Pete’s saying how much junk Freightliner’s are.

Verified FBN Member (WI)

I have a friend with a Paccar that is deleted, he really likes it. Says it will out pull a cat

Verified FBN Member (NE)

We personally prefer Long Hood Pete’s with 18’s and cats. We bought both our trucks 5 years ago originally just to haul our own grain and then decided it was a good enough deal and started hauling commercial with them in the off season. Both trucks brought in 300+ a piece last year with an initial 100k investment that’s pretty good ROI if you ask me.

Verified FBN Member (NE)

If it's paid for run it. I move a lot of grain with a single axle truck and a axle 23 foot trailer. My opinion but paid for beats payments.

Verified FBN Member (NC)

I agree with the light ROI mentioned above but I can haul corn 50-60 miles each way in the winter time in my area (NENC) for a fraction of what it cost to hire it out. I also use my rig to get from field to dryer and can't see any other way to do it for near the cost or manpower required. Running a 2000 model 9200i International with a Jet 42' hopper. Cat C12 and and a 10 speed Eaton Fuller trans. Sits under the shed most of the year but really is a life saver when we use it. The only thing I would do differently is a shorter wheel base.

Verified FBN Member (IL)

We use two International Prostars with hopper bottom trailers to haul our grain. I always have a problem with corn "bees wings" plugging up the coolers that are in front of the radiator. So obviously the engine temperature increases. Seems like every day during harvest we have to clean out the coolers, which isn't that fun. The engine fan blows down right in front of the front right tire and stirs up dust and bees wings then gets sucked into the coolers. Does any one else have this same problem with other makes/models of semis? Wish someone would make a semi that was built more for farm use (dirt road trucking) than over the road trucking.

Verified FBN Member (OH)

We have been running 2 kenworth w900 haven't had issues with them but just upgraded one to a international 9400i

Verified FBN Member (SK, CAN)

Hard to call that an upgrade. Haha.

Verified FBN Member (IN)

I use Freightliner day cabs with 12.7 detroit motors coupled with 10 speeds. 37×96×66 trailers makes nice combo for weight. Good luck and happy shopping

Verified FBN Member (IA)

If you can find a T800 KW day cab with a 180 wheelbase and a detroit 60 series pulling a 43’ Timpte trailer, you can bridge 1000 bushels of corn.

I have 4 semis,that setup is by far my favorite..

Saying that, just buy something in your price range that suits you. If your field driveways cannot accommodate a long trailer and a stretched out truck, fix that problem first or you will turn a hopper into a pretzel..

Verified FBN Member (IL)

I have a 02 IH 9200i with 183” wheel base, Cummins ism, Merritor 9 spd and pull a 41’ Wilson hopper. It hauls all of my own grain and I haul for the local co-op 7-8 months a year. I have no complaints with it. More hp is always desired but I get along fine and get 6-7 mpg. I don’t care what age, what brand or who works on it they all break. The most important thing to me is having someone you trust to work on it. Full of fuel my rig hits the scale at 24,000 lbs so in the great state of Illinois I can legally haul 1,000 bushels of corn.

Verified FBN Member (IL)

Can you clear the IL bridge law with only a 183' wheelbase. We have trouble with 200' sometimes.

Verified FBN Member (IL)

With a 41’ hopper yes

Verified FBN Member (SK, CAN)

My recommendation is KW t800 or Pete 379 get a super b and do some custom hauling. I recommend ixs Cummings or Detroit 60 series with 18 speed trans . But each to there own this has worked well for our operation .

Verified FBN Member (ND)

I'd say get a truck that is tier 3 or older. Stay away from Maxxforce as said above. We have a DD15 tier 4 that we are looking into getting deleted, nice truck other than the parked regens that need to be done increasingly often. So if buying anything with DPF/DEF budget 4-5k into a delete.

Whatever you do go drive the truck. Get it up to highway speeds. See how it rides, steers. A lot of rough riding / poorly aligned trucks out there. Look for leaks on the pinions / differentials and if there are any excessive engine oil leaks. Crawl underneath it and look. Avoid excessive rust where large flakes are falling off. Some northern trucks can literally be melting away with rust.

C12/C13 cat, 12.7/14.0 liter detroits are really good engines for farm trucks. For you geared lower the better. Don't need to go 75.

Don't underestimate tires. A set of new rubber can cost 4-5k.

Verified FBN Member (IN)

Sometimes ROI can’t alway be the only reason, I remember the day I said good bye to my wagons, 550 bushels, a single tear left my eyes, when I got my semis I thought where have you been all my life! I’m about the same size as you, and moving grain at harvest is very important to this one man show! When I can take right at 1000 bushels at a clip and fast that’s very important! If you are making the trip take all you can!! I agree stay away from all the new stuff, you can find some pre trucks with a lot of life in them! I have an 88 freightliner, 97 kentworth, 97 international and two 40+ trailers, I can put 3000 bushels on wheels after the coop closes, including the grain cart. I can just get them all dumped as the dew is getting off! I know it seems daunting to upgrade, but have you checked the price of a new wagon!! And I was welding on those beauties every year from bouncing down the road!!! Just my thoughts, wish you the best, ps my insurance company let’s me roll coverage on and off when not in use, so really is not that expensive!! Good luck!!

Verified FBN Member
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Response deleted by author
Verified FBN Member (NE)

Anyone interested in a couple 42ft Tempte's? Ck out Auction Time this week Lots 7565 & 5517. They're located in Nebraska.

Verified FBN Member (WI)

We have several Freightliner FLD120s all ranging on the mid 1990's. They pull 42' Timpte hopper bottoms. Each trip is roughly 950 bushels (loaded legally if you choose). Most are 13 speeds with one of them a 10 speed. They have been doing to job great for almost 2 decades. You can find 20 year old trucks for less than 10k, the trailers usually bring more. As far as ROI is concerned, don't underestimate the convenience and efficiency you get from such a vehicle. In my opinion, these trucks are essential to our operation. That being said, it should also be noted that my trucks are on the road constantly in the summer and winter months hauling for the local elevators as they need to move their grain too. It's quite an outstanding source of supplemental income.

Verified FBN Member (ID)

I run a 379 pete, and that all I'll ever run. We also spend a lot of time in our truck seeing as hauling to the feedlot is 75 miles each way. We are also going to upgrade to a train next year. If your going to be spending a lot of time in a truck then go with a Pete or KW. If not just find the cheapest truck you can that isnt beat to shreds

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