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brian991219

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brian991219 last won the day on August 7

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About brian991219

  • Rank
    Participating Member

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  • Location
    Hawley, PA

Professional Infomation

  • Company
    Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC
  • WreckMaster Level
    4/5
  • TRAA NDCP Certification
    Level 2 Medium/Heavy Duty

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  1. brian991219

    Texas Tow Expo Rollcall - Aug. 16-18, 2018

    Sure am. landing in Dallas tomorrow afternoon and will be there thru the TX Legislative Conference on Sunday afternoon. Presenting a seminar on the latest with the TRAA petition to exempt towers from the ELD mandate, spoiler we lost. This presentation will also be a basic course designed to help you decide if you need ELDs or not. Thursday at 4 PM in Appaloosa 3 Also doing a mini-clinic on Friday at 2 PM on the show floor on best practices to implement ELDs if your fleet needs them.
  2. brian991219

    Buying my first heavy

    BW, funny we were just talking about the 600R earlier in this thread and this popped up. Crawford up in Mass has a used one for $119,000 on a nice M2 Freightliner. They are not the Jerr-Dan dealer I work with, but are good people. Check it out. http://crawfordtruck.com/classifieds/showproducts-used-907.html
  3. brian991219

    Re: Tow Operator Struck - San Diego County

    Damn. Sorry to hear this, it boils my blood when the operator appears to be doing things properly and still gets struck. They are in my thoughts.
  4. brian991219

    Buying my first heavy

    That is a great option, especially if the Freightliner is spec'd right. I would like an extra cab and air brake as this extends the wheelbase, adds steer weight so it tows better and gives you on-board air for when you get a truck to tow with air brakes. It would pay to go 33k GVWR chassis, heavier rear and better components that will last longer, plenty of braking power, although if you want your non-cdl guys to be able to winch and tow smaller vehicles then 25,999 and hydraulic brakes is the way to go. A well spec'd Freightliner can replace a F-550 in the fleet and still tow cars, so you can have the intermediate sized truck to support your heavy without taking on too much extra expense. You will find those 12 tons can grab many of the smaller RVs, even the ones that look big. Many are Ford chassis with gas engines and not all that heavy on the front, just need to figure out how to fork them without grabbing a frame extension. I towed more Rvs in Albuquerque with our 16 tons than our heavies, also many shuttle buses and smaller school buses. This is a market we are not representing well at Jerr-Dan any more. We still offer the Cougar, but our true medium duty line is weak. Good luckk with the Miller, they are good units as well.
  5. brian991219

    Buying my first heavy

    You are much better prepared than most, best wishes with whichever route you take. Only you know your market and your ability to absorb risk. A 35 ton is a good truck, little big for the F-550 type chassis as it is hard to grab those axles and the wheel grids for the heavy trucks don't always clear the pumpkin on the 4x4 versions. There are some nice units on the market ready to roll today, the 2019 chassis are out so you should get a good deal on a 2018 chassis. Don't be afraid to go with the autoshift either, drove one the other day in a Jerr-Dan 35 ton with a Pete chassis. Took it from the plant in PA all the way to the customer in CA, 18 speed Eaton auto with a Cummins motor and it ran well, shifted smooth. One last thought on new vs. used for heavy. You will have to pay a 12% Federal Excise Tax on all new heavy trucks, if you buy one that is at least 6 months old and previously titled the FET is waived. That 12% makes a huge difference in cost! Look at it as the extra money to put all the recovery equipment and tools you want on the truck in exchange for a pre-owned unit. Heavy trucks hold value much better than light duty trucks, so it may still serve you well to buy a used heavy for your first rig.
  6. brian991219

    Buying my first heavy

    Why not? Since he has shown interest in a Vulcan V-30 here are the specs. Lift 12,000 retracted, which can be easily done with spring forks. I will give you that extended 8,500 is a stretch for axles. A typical road tractor has a 12,000 front axle weight rating and actually weights about 10-11,000 so well within the specs. That said, rear towing a tractor with a 16 ton is the better way to go, only lifting about 5k or so. The right wheelbase and front axle weight on a 16 and it can safely and legally tow at the underlift rated capacity. Also, it was never suggested a 16 ton could do the work of a heavy, simply that it is a good stepping stone into that world to see if you are ready to do heavier vehicles. Here is a link to the ratings for the V-30. It is quite a capable truck, are the other 16-20 ton units on the market today. https://www.millerind.com/images/uploads/brochures/V-30-web.pdf
  7. brian991219

    Buying my first heavy

    I am not a Miller dealer so I don't know for sure, but I think it has been discontinued for civilian use. As far as I know they still make it for their military and NATO contracts, just not distributed here anymore. I think they sold less than 100 of them to towers, mostly were sold on cabover chassis for the NATO contract. They were cool, but fairly useless as a rotator. The boom only had 60 inches of extension making it difficult to pick and swing even the smallest of car unless you could get right on top of it. Great for picking one end of a load and shifting it, winching in tight areas and such. Don't get me wrong, we don't regret having ours but for the price having a boom that swung wasn't all that great. The other problem was the independent underlift was limited on lift height whereas the integrated would go as high as the boom, never short on ground clearance. We bought that one second hand, only had 8,000 miles on it and the price was the same as a new V-30 at the time. The first owner paid almost as much as a 25 ton for it new.
  8. brian991219

    Buying my first heavy

    That was the weakest part of the whole truck. Danlar was the second owner, actual found it through your board back in 2011. Came out of Ohio. If we were building one from scratch it would have been on either a Freightliner M2 or Western Star 4700 chassis with a bigger motor. This particular truck had a 300 HP MaxxForce and 6 speed Allison auto, ran well for where it was first sold but in the mountains outside Albuquerque it was a dog. We had thought about a remount, almost pulled the trigger but then I had to come back to Pennsylvania for family reasons and Danlar closed the towing operations shortly after. The newer Internationals with the Cummins motor are reliable. The MaxxForce engine was their biggest weakness. Cabs are quiet and comfortable, although they do have a bit too much plastic for my taste. Below is the truck that the International with the Holmes 600R replaced. This Vulcan on the M2 chassis was tough as nails.
  9. brian991219

    Buying my first heavy

    The heavies breaking can be from misuse, especially with new operators. Keep in mind, the weights are sometimes 10 fold what a light duty truck deals with so when something goes wrong it goes wrong fast. Not trying to use fear as a motivator but look at all the failure videos floating around the internet, most of the catastrophic ones are heavy wreckers. Simply put, one piece of rigging fails and there may be enough force to roll the truck over or worse yet kill the operator or a bystander. Same with driving skills, the smaller trucks are easier to recover from a moment of inattention or poor judgement, a heavy duty only takes a second to wind up on it's side in a ditch. Of course with training and caution these are easily overcome. Simply being unfamiliar with the transmission in your new wrecker, or large trucks in general, may result in driveline failures, damage to the towed vehicle or even a crash. Not to mention the skill needed as a mechanic to prepare a heavy vehicle for tow, it isn't as easy as hooking up a wheellift and going. Usually drivelines or axles need to be removed, fairings secured, air supplied to the chassis, service brakes plumbed into and more. RVs and coaches often require removal of accessories like generator exhausts or skirts/flaps. Perhaps developing the driving skills as well as hookup skills is the primary reason I recommend a 16 ton first. It is a great intermediary to learn on that is much more forgiving. The overall expense of owning and maintaining a heavy wrecker is huge, that is why the rates seem so good from the outside. Heavy duty towing still has the same profit margin as light duty, maybe even less. As a business case study you are asking the right questions, so keep researching and see if the market will support another heavy duty tower. Then decide if you are willing and able to invest upwards of a half million dollars to start a heavy tow operation and operate at 10-15% ROI, or would that same half million be better served expanding your current services, buying a Subway franchise or some other investment. Lastly, does you market provide an abundance of skilled class A CDL drivers? Do you have, or are you able to get a class A CDL yourself? What is your plan for a backup truck and driver when needed? And, most important -also most costly- what will the insurance premium be on a heavy duty wrecker? Sadly, no the 600R is not for sale. It was sold to a company in Texas several years ago. Hated to see it go, was my favorite truck out of all I have operated over 25+ years.
  10. brian991219

    Buying my first heavy

    A 16 ton may seem small, and it can be. That said, it is a great intermediate truck that will train you on the basics of heavy duty towing at half the cost. Like I said before, our 16 tons were the most profitable trucks out of our fleet. That fleet was 14 trucks operating out of two locations in a city with a 800k population. They are true work horses when spec'd well and operated by a trained person.
  11. brian991219

    Buying my first heavy

    Do you plan on doing heavy recovery at first, or simply towing and minor winching? The reason I ask, you can get a whole lot more truck for less money if you don't need the full recovery capability. Also, it usually takes at least two heavy wreckers to qualify for police work and it is always a good idea to have a second heavy as backup when you are doing recovery unless you have a real good working relationship with another local heavy tower. You may want to look at a new tractor, something with a longer wheelbase and a detachable tow unit like the Zacklift, NRC or Miller DTU. The newest versions of each of these are very capable and will tow motor homes and coaches easily. You also will be lighter overall allowing more weight to scale, if you are in an area that wreckers have to scale legal on their drive axles. Plus, you can also get a Landoll type trailer and use the same truck to pull both, greatly expanding your options and offerings, especially with many motor coaches in the area. If you do want the full recovery capability, or at least most of it, you can look at 20-35 ton units with only two winch options an shorter booms, this will save quite a bit of upfront costs while still maintaining good usability. You really can't go wrong with any of the major brands, although since I work with many Jerr-Dan dealers I am partial to them if you want a traditional wrecker. Jerr-Dan does not make a detach unit, although I also work with a Zacklift dealer. Whatever you buy, if towing motor homes and coaches is a primary objective make sure it has the best reach you can afford, many coaches have long setbacks on their axles and no where good to hook except the axle. They also have low ground clearance and usually require extensive modification to tow with anything that isn't specifically designed to fit under a coach. A wireless underlift controller is also a must have so you can see what you are doing under there. As for your question about the 16 ton, that was always our most profitable truck in the fleet when I ran wreckers. It can easily respond to cars, light trucks and even tow bobtail tractors. It is also a great stepping stone to learn about heavier vehicles without the full commitment, and if the heavy towing doesn't work out it can still be profitable serving your light/medium duty business. My personal opinion would be to buy a 16 ton first, see how you like dealing with the extra labor involved in prepping true medium duty trucks and tractors for towing, the driving of larger trucks and such before dropping upwards of $300k on a brand new 35 ton unit. Also, the 16 ton will make a good backup/support truck if you do start with only one heavy duty.
  12. brian991219

    Re: Credibility or Not?

    I'm speechless.
  13. Jeff, the fight is not over, not by a long shot. Being part of the team that drafted this request I knew it was going to be difficult to obtain although I am a little puzzled at how the FMCSA could deny our request but approve the Motion Picture Industry Association of America's request when ours was fundamentally the same even using many of the same arguments and the same proof of equivalent safety performance. Folks, I am going to get on my soap box here, just like in my Tow Industry Week article two weeks ago about the Power of Association. I know many of you don't believe that an association can help, or don't see what they do for you every day but believe me they work hard behind the scenes on issues like this and plenty more. We had less that 1/10th of 1 percent of the entire towing industry comment on the TRAA's petition for exemption, that was just plain pathetic. We will have a course of action detailed in the near future, if you really want to see these types of regulations go away NOW is the time to reach out and help, to contact your lawmakers, many are in their home districts for the summer campaigning-no better time than now to speak to them about the important issues.
  14. brian991219

    What kind of Marketing is this?

    That is dang near perfect marketing. Celebrity testimonial from a happy customer making the best of a bad situation. Neal McCoy was something in the 90's, happy to see he is still touring and has such a positive personality. Well done Jim's Towing, well done. I would be sure to link to his Facebook and share the heck out of that.
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