Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby d2reid » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:56 pm

I like it! =D>
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby Randy & Nancy » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:23 pm

Tuesday, December 12th. High temperature today, 38 degrees F - expected high tomorrow, 45.

Overall "The Great White" has cosmetically survived well for a vehicle six years old and with 700,000 miles of road duty. But, like an old carpenter and his tools, the wear apparent from millions and millions of hand shuffles and strokes across the big steering wheel tell the story of time. Virtually all of the outer coating was worn away so that the soft inner material easily rubbed off on your hands.

Because of the SRS air bag system, replacing the worn and nicked steering wheel with something newer and in better condition proved to be either impractical or too expensive.

After reading some on-line chatter and viewing photos of steering wheels covered with leather from WheelSkins, I decided to give one a try.

The kit came with a leather cover custom made to the diameter and circumference of the truck's steering wheel. Included was a large needle and spool of really strong wax covered lacing. The instructions said it should take about an hour to complete an average wheel.

I started this morning about 10:00 a.m. By noon I had removed my attempted lacing two times and was back where I started. After another three hours of poking and pulling I finally made the circle and ended up back at my starting spot where I tied the final knot.

It doesn't look as good as I wanted it to. The "spokes" in the wheel were the major issue. But, I can honestly say it does look and feel a lot better than it did originally. Actually, the "before" shot does not really show how bad the wheel looked.

BEFORE and AFTER
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Earlier in the week I installed the TV/DVD unit in the supplied cabinet space. It is an older standard definition cathode ray tube TV with a built-in DVD. An external digital to analog tuner was added. My preference would have been a nice LCD unit but that translated to more cash outlay. The TV I used was the one I had removed from my old Prowler Regal -- it was just sitting around unused.

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One of the problems with a rig like this is viability from the driver's seat in the area of the 4:00 o'clock position. This is especially true when entering an intersection where oncoming traffic to the right is slightly behind you and blocked from your normal view. I have resolved this problem by placing a camera over the top outside of the passenger door aimed accordingly. The monitor for this camera is directly over the top of the passenger's head. This may seem like a crazy place for a monitor, but it is at the natural "look" angle for right side traffic. Besides, watching the scenery fly by from a side view camera is really dizzying -- best not to look at it until you are sitting still.

This particular monitor can display two separate images at the same time, either normal or reverse image. One is on the "A" side and the other on the "B" side. I have not decided what I am going to display on the "B" side yet but I do have another camera I can point at something -- maybe the front bumper or curbside front tire.

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Weather permitting, tomorrow I will be working on the dirt, rust and scale that has accumulated on the rear frame rails. If I can get that cleaned up I can put on a coat of primer and paint - then begin to construct the bed. The primer and paint need to be done in ABOVE freezing temperatures so they will not peel off later.

Nancy goes back to the hospital Friday morning to have the top pin holding the rod in her femur bone removed. It will be outpatient surgery but still requires anesthesia and all that - it will be a full day event. Thus, I only have two days of the expected heat wave to get this done. If I don't, it will be there waiting for me on another day!

Randy
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby skypilot » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:38 pm

Randy: I was visiting my old models forum and ran accross this photo gallery -- thought you might find it interesting....
http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2390102 ... 9696vTVhyY
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby Randy & Nancy » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:32 pm

You don’t have to look far to find hundreds of MDT’s and HDT’s that have been converted to pull fifth wheel RVs.

As expected, many of the owners have spent thousands and thousands of dollars making these rigs into very special one-of-a-kind showpieces. Polished or chrome wheels, heavy gauge steel or aluminum custom made toter beds and cabinets, custom paint, leather upholstery, and all the latest gizmos and gadgets for navigation and communication.

Then you have folks like Nancy and me. We bought a 2004 Volvo HDT (now six years young) with 759,000 miles on the odometer. We have a strange looking mauve velor type upholstery that has worn well but has a few burn marks from a smoker. The paint is “better than average” with a few cracked areas in the fiberglass fairings, the engine runs good and the tires are OK. The brake linings are new and the truck just had full filter and fluids service.

We are not poor, but we are not rich either. An unlimited pool of cash to make upgrades and changes to the Volvo does not exist. As such, or goal is pretty simple: Make the needed conversions to the truck so that we can safely pull the Creek with the lowest possible incidence of mechanical failure to components.

This essentially means that the current paint and mauve interior will simply have to do. A good cleaning and maybe some touch-up is all she will get.

The bed I will build on the back will be simple and constructed mostly of readily available materials that I can saw, shape, nail, screw and paint. This translates to pressure treated lumber, James Hardie Concrete Backer Board and rubber stall mats from Tractor Supply. In case you are wondering where each will be used, the treated lumber is for the frame work and decking, the JH backer board is for the side skirts and the rubber mats cover the plywood decking. A good coat of matching white paint mixed at Lowe’s or Home Depot will serve as the protective covering.

Inside items used for conversion to motor home status (needed for changing registration from a commercial vehicle to recreational) will be previously used or re-purposed items.

In short – this is a HDT on a budget, a strict budget. Again, safety and reliability are the top priorities – not cosmetics.

While conversion of a class 8 truck from commercial status to a recreational vehicle is not uncommon, someone reporting on this club’s forum what and how they make the conversion on a budget may be.

I know two other HDT owners in our club. There may be more. Both David and Freddie are extremely experienced and have provided tons of much needed advice. The Escapes HDT forum has also been a valuable resource. By the time I am finished, or nearly finished (you are NEVER truly finished) I hope that what I have and will write about can benefit someone else.

Again – this is a do-it-yourself limited budget project. I may be overly optimistic, but I honestly expect to keep the entire project under $25,000, and that includes the $15,000 we paid for the truck (we got a deal!), registration, insurance, taxes, repairs, hitch, brake controller, lighting and bed materials. Unless something major sticks its ugly head into the mix we should meet that goal and have a few dollars left for diesel fuel.

Below are some shots that show the refrigerator and microwave installed. The refrigerator is behind the driver seat, which required removing a very nice OEM cabinet. The microwave is only a foot square, so I simply strapped it down inside a cabinet. We now have sleeping (two bunks), electricity from shore power, portable generator or batteries/inverter. Refrigeration and microwave for simple cooking, TV/DVD for entertainment, porta-potty for personal needs and a portable sink with a 3 gallon water storage. A small 4 cup coffee maker is also in the overhead cabinet. We have a tall cabinet with a clothes bar under the TV and ample cabinet space left for personal items.

With the OEM curtains and window covers we have a motor home equipped for impromptu camping or on-the-road convenience.

Microwave overhead - refrigerator under. Top of refrigerator serves as a table or level surface for portable sink, coffee maker, etc.

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What it looks like sitting in the center of the lower bunk looking forward into the cab.
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What would you think of "The Great White" logo across the windshield visor? We're undecided (this is just a PhotoShop add on - not real)
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Randy, Nancy and Oscar.
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2009 CC 34SATS
2004 Volvo VNL670 Custom Conversion. 12.1L, 465 HP, 1,625 foot pounds of torque.
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby wbonta123 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:23 pm

Randy,

Just my two cents worth; if I were putting the lettering on the truck, I would try to make the color and letter style match what is on the Cedar Creek. The trailer is white with the various Cedar Creek colors so you have the "base color" of white on the truck and it would be very easy to match the colors on the trailer. B.J.
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby Randy & Nancy » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:59 pm

That is a great idea B.J.

The reason for choosing blue is the blue pinstripe on the truck. But, they are so small the CC colors would not clash. I can also take them off quite easily,

I have given consideration to ordering some of the solid stripe "rays" from CC for the sides of the truck. I have been told that I should not put anything on the truck sides that could be mistaken for a commercial emblem.

The photo is of Freddy and Donna's truck - yes I an driving it!
I like the way Freddie and Donna have used the CC rays . Image

We may copy the pattern on a white vehicle.
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2004 Volvo VNL670 Custom Conversion. 12.1L, 465 HP, 1,625 foot pounds of torque.
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby skypilot » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:05 pm

Randy: Knowing, from an earlier post, your desire to limit expenditures, I thought the link above would fit that bill -- can't get much less expensive for hoisting your golf-cart than portable aluminum ramps and a battery operated winch from Tractor Supply or Orschleins..No fancy hydraulics or such, but it does appear to require two people (one to run the winch, the other to stand by the cart (vehicle) and steer the item as it is winched up to ramps. The Great White should handle that weight like a dog with a flea!! (or some such comparison).

Looking at your photos it appears your ready for the registration process. Keep us posted on how it goes.
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby Randy & Nancy » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:23 pm

skypilot wrote:
Looking at your photos it appears your ready for the registration process. Keep us posted on how it goes.


(edited - text deleted)
Last edited by Randy & Nancy on Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Randy, Nancy and Oscar.
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby Marjon » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:47 am

Like the placement of the name,but can I suggest that the head of a shark between the two words be considered as well. Just a thought and I have to tell you I'm enjoying your conversion updates.

John
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby Randy & Nancy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:30 pm

There have been several request for the "story" on SD registration. I will go ahead and post the STORY.

Before I get into the story I need to explain that the events, places and persons named may be fictitious. Nothing herein is intended to serve as identification of any individual or vehicle.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Roger bought a 2004 Volvo VNL670 in early December. Since the purchase was made at a licensed dealership, he was able to obtain a 30 day temporary registration and license plate.

Prior to picking up the truck, which was some 200 miles from his home, Roger had contacted his State Farm insurance agent. He had given them the vehicle VIN number and, much to his surprise, the underwriter was more than willing to insure the HDT as a private vehicle with the same coverage and rate as his 1 ton pick-up.

Prior to going to his home state’s DMV, he weighed the tractor on a Certified Automated Truck Scale (CAT) at an area truck stop. The weight ticket showed 17,620 pounds with the driver on board and approximately 100 gallons of fuel in the tanks.

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Roger also had a weight receipt from Volvo showing that when the truck was built and ready for delivery that it weighed 16,880 pounds with zero gallons of fuel.

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Upon arriving at the main customer service facility of his states DMV he showed his title for the truck to a customer service representative explaining that he wanted to license the vehicle as a private truck rather than a commercial vehicle. The service attendant informed Roger that he would need to fill out two additional forms and talk to “someone in the office upstairs”. A call was placed to the unknown person and Roger was instructed to wait at the corner of the desk.

After 30 minutes of standing at the corner, Roger asked the Customer Service Rep when the person he was supposed to see would arrive. The person was called again and Roger was told to take a seat in the waiting area at the building entrance. Help would be there in a few minutes.

About 20 minutes later a lady walked into the waiting area and asked if Roger was present. The two of them sat down and Roger explained how he wanted to title the vehicle as a private truck or motor home rather than a commercial vehicle. He was told that a form for a converted vehicle would need to be completed and he could submit that with a $125.00 fee. An inspector would schedule a visit to look at the converted vehicle and if it met the requirements a new title could be issued. The requirements were the DOT standards for a “House Car” plus removal of the trailer fifth wheel hitch.

She then made copies of all of his paperwork, including the weight receipts, and told Roger that her supervisor would need to review my request. Unfortunately he was on vacation until the following Monday.

Roger contacted the lady the following Tuesday and asked if she was able to get the final approval. At that point she told me that it would not be possible since the original title showed the empty weight of the truck to be over 26,000 pounds.

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At that point Roger responded that there were two weight receipts that showed a weight lower than 26,000 pounds.

Roger was rebuffed when he was told that the CAT weight was shown as gross weight not empty weight and the ticket from Volvo was unacceptable since it was over 30 days old. The OEM sticker on the door jamb showed the MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT of the tractor as 22,000 pounds. It should be obvious to anyone with these three items that the weight on the title was wrong! In order for the weight to be changed on the title, and to receive non-commercial registration, he would need to obtain a certified weight showing the empty weight. He pointed out that such a certification would not be possible as the truck was no longer empty and that the weight on the CAT certificate was as close to an empty weight as we could get.

Again, he was told there was nothing further she could do since the CAT certificate showed gross weight. Roger shook my head in disbelief due to the lack of common sense and logic over one word that did not match their manual, thanked her and hung up.

Roger then contacted Larry at http://www.yourbestaddress.com to see if he could indeed serve as his agent for a South Dakota registration.

As it turned out South Dakota does not require an in-state driver’s license for registration. Additionally, there is no annual vehicle property tax or safety inspection. His fee for serving as Roger’s agent was a mere $22.00. Of course, Roger did need to establish a SD address, which he did with the agency.

The Treasurer’s Office of individual counties in SD (Not the DMV) is responsible for issuing a registration and tags. They also collect a 3% sales tax if one was not paid to another state.

Roger was required to fill out two additional affidavits for registration. One was on the change in vehicle weight and the other was on the conversion to a motor home. No photos or inspection was required.

All of the forms were accepted and within 4 days he had a set of South Dakota license plates and a new vehicle registrations showing the vehicle weight as 17,620 pounds and the vehicle class as a non-commercial motor home.

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If Roger wants to he can now bring the SD title back into his home state for a non-commercial registration as a motor home.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It is all totally stupid to me. With his home state whining about reduced revenue they were willing to make him go out-of-state. He paid a 3% sales tax to SD along with his license fee and various add-ons. His home state gets NOTHING because they would not exercise the common sense needed to complete the registration. I guess that as long as they go “by the book”, no matter how wrong the book may be, their jobs and butts are safe.

Roger’s insurance, of course, now has to be underwritten by a company licensed in SD. This was purchased on-line from Progressive. Vehicle VIN#, Volvo as the make of the RV, VNL670 as the model were entered and accepted. This was a pleasant experience since reports had been made on another forum that once the VIN# was entered the vehicle would be recognized as a commercial truck and the company would not write the policy.

EDIT ADDED 2-3-2010

Roger went on-line at the Progressive Insurance site in mid Jan and bought insurance for the Volvo VNL670 as a RV. The information he gave was full and accurate - it was accepted as well as a payment of $477 for a full year of insurance with collision and comprehensive. He received a policy and insurance cards about a week later.

He called Progressive last night with the intent of raising his liability coverage. The customer service rep informed him his policy was being canceled effective 2-15-2010. This was news to Roger. Anyway, some underwriter at Progressive came back with a statement that the Volvo was an "inappropriate" vehicle for RV coverage.

He got ticked off and told them to cancel immediately - if this was their way of doing business he wanted NOTHING to do with them for ANY vehicle. They should NEVER have accepted the coverage and issued a policy to begin with!

Roger then contacted RV America Insurance http://www.rv-insurance-coverage.com/?src=...CFd1L5QodGSY_dA which is the company that brokered insurance for his 5th wheel CC through National Interstate Insurance Company almost two years ago. National Interstate is rated "A, Excellent" by A.M. Best Company. They (Interstate) are more than glad to insure our trucks but they refer to them as MDT's.

Anyway, his retainer was written, signed and he had proof of insurance cards in less than an hour. The liability rates were better than he had with Progressive.

Progressive Insurance needs to change their name to REgressive NONsurance. The policy NEVER should have been written to begin with if the Volvo was considered an "inappropriate" vehicle.

If you are looking for insurance for your MDT or HDT truck you might want to give RV America Insurance a call. The truck does not need to be converted to a motor home, it only needs to be part of a RV rig - the tow vehicle - to be classified as a RV for insurance purposes.


Ironically, all of this is perfectly legal. The only element of risk is centered on any local governments that normally collect an annual personal property tax on vehicles. In Roger’s home state, this is $3.85 for each $100 of assessed value. This can add up quickly considering the truck “books” for around $30,000. Roger side steps almost $1,000 per year in local taxes. Of course, Roger is a good man and intends to pay the personal property tax anyway.
Last edited by Randy & Nancy on Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Randy, Nancy and Oscar.
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2009 CC 34SATS
2004 Volvo VNL670 Custom Conversion. 12.1L, 465 HP, 1,625 foot pounds of torque.
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby Randy & Nancy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:37 pm

wbonta123 wrote:Randy,

Just my two cents worth; if I were putting the lettering on the truck, I would try to make the color and letter style match what is on the Cedar Creek. The trailer is white with the various Cedar Creek colors so you have the "base color" of white on the truck and it would be very easy to match the colors on the trailer. B.J.


But, I need to decide what to do with the hand painted blue pinstripe. It is very nicely done and would possibly leave shadows if I tried to buff if off.

Image
Randy, Nancy and Oscar.
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2004 Volvo VNL670 Custom Conversion. 12.1L, 465 HP, 1,625 foot pounds of torque.
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby Randy & Nancy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:27 pm

Tuesday, Janurary 19, 2010

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY!

One of those once in a 1,000 January thaws.

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Actually, the high was 64. But, I missed getting that photo.

In any event it felt like Spring. I think I may have even spotted a Robin! (well, it was a bird and it looked like it was eating a worm :P )

The frame rails on the Great White are (were) extremely rusty and in many places had developed scale. This was especially apparent around the "Huck" bolt heads that go through the side of the frame. The frame rails are a special high=strength heat-treated steel. The molecular characteristics that contribute to electrolysis cause the frame to corrode faster than attached softer metals. Rather than just developing surface rust you get a rust scale about the thickness of a piece of paper that comes off in Post-It Note size sheets.

If you are going to clean the frame of scale so it can be properly treated with a rust converter and encapsulator the scale must come off. Trying to remove the scale with a scraper, sander, grinder, or wire brush is a long, tedious and difficult process. But, there is a tool for the job that makes it much simpler!

With a 20% off coupon for Harbor Freight that I found in Highways Magazine,I headed for the big boys candy store. I quickly became the owner of a new tool. For a guy, this is a great thing. It is called an Air Needle Scaler. There are 12 hardened needles on the tip of the tool that literally bang anything in their path like a jackhammer. Of course, you must also have a big air compressor to run the tool. Fortunately, I all ready owned one so I did not have to buy that as well.

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With the needle scaler it took less than an hour to completely clean the frame of scale. A coat of rust converter was applied, which turned the rusty brown metal black in less than an hour. A coat of a rust preventive sealer/encapsulator was then applied. The frame will need to be top coated with black paint at a later date when Spring-like temperatures return.

There is a valve on the truck frame that is bolted under where the original 5th wheel sat. This valve had a "hiss" that really bothered me. As it turned out the valve is critical to the air brake system and any leakage is considered unsafe. I had to replace the valve, which was rather expensive at $360.00. I was able to do the replacement myself so I saved about $300 on labor. In Man Logic this translated to only spending $60.00 -- you know, subtract money saved from money spent. Anyway, I had allowed for some unexpecteds like this in my budget -- I just hope I don't find another big cost item!

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Colder wet weather should return tomorrow and hang around until next Monday. Looks like I will be inside and the Great White will just have to sit and wait for my next project, which is installing the fifth wheel hitch.

BTW - Nancy is getting stronger and feeling better but must still use a walker. She is really fustrated that she cannot get into the truck. I may have to build a portable staircase or some sort of elevator if her healing is delayed.

Randy
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2004 Volvo VNL670 Custom Conversion. 12.1L, 465 HP, 1,625 foot pounds of torque.
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby Randy & Nancy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:34 pm

skypilot wrote:Randy: Knowing, from an earlier post, your desire to limit expenditures, I thought the link above would fit that bill -- can't get much less expensive for hoisting your golf-cart than portable aluminum ramps and a battery operated winch from Tractor Supply or Orschleins..

You are right. That is about as simple as it gets. I have the winch and the ramps in the garage waiting for the bed to be completed.

Now, if you want to see some real innovation and workmanship you should take a look at what our own Toyhauler (David) has built to load his Honda Gold Wing on his HDT toter. Hopefully, David will jump in and give us the link.
Randy, Nancy and Oscar.
Mechanicsville, VA
2009 CC 34SATS
2004 Volvo VNL670 Custom Conversion. 12.1L, 465 HP, 1,625 foot pounds of torque.
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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby CumminZ » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:20 am

I want to see this photo with a CC behind... I'm not sure this truck will pull a CC. The photo will prove that. Have you decided on the type of hitch you plan to install?

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Re: Volvo VNL670 conversion to CC hauler

Postby dickhix1 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:20 pm

Randy:

I became intimately familiar with "Needle Guns" on my first ship while in the Navy. Used them all the time to get rid of rust,scale, and whatever. Whenever you got the Chief PO'ed at you, it was topside you went and either chipped, scraped, sanded or otherwise got some surface ready to paint or you painted or both. They do work well.
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