Having disposed of my beloved Volvo F86 eight wheeler crane truck a couple of years ago I now regret it. The little 1970 Perkins Commer is nippy and nice to drive but it has no crane, beaver tail or tilt tray which I find more necessary as the years pile on the old body.
I have been offered a mid-80's Mercedes 22-something (the one with the air intake up the front of the truck) bogey drive with a 5 ton crane and 22ft beavertail with hydraulic ramps pretty cheap. It is registered and comes with current inspection slip.
I know nothing about them - any comments on a vehicle that might do 5,000km in a busy year but including some long runs away from home say, Brisbane/Melbourne?
Looks something like this but with a crane behind cab.
Greetings. We had a good run out of the Mercs as safari trucks- 1624's. The Guvna only bought ones with hub reduction rear axle and we only used genuine fuel filters as for some reason if non genuine were used we'd get fuel drain back when stopped up for an hour or so. We carried a spare glass fuel bowl that houses the sticks and stones gauze filter by the priming pump and I used one of my spares - dunno why it cracked, it just did and I was pleased the Guvna said to stock up on Merc spares before leaving Egypt. We also carried a few spare fuel injection lines as these were prone to failing- dunno why, maybe a Merc fundi could shed some light on that fault. If the truck you are looking at has a 'steel' radiator, all the better- If you suspect the engine is getting a bit hot there is enough room under the top tank to bottom tank to add an extra core- we did this to all of the trucks we had on safari plus radiator re-cores used to be cheap in Zimbabwe when the black market exchange rate was very very favourable. And if its got a viscous fan these can also be locked- 19mm spanner on nut at front of fan- can't remember which way the nut needs to be turned though. Shine a good torch in the fuel tank and have a look at the filter at the bottom of the pick-up pipe- can suffer fuel starvation if the filter gets clagged up- its only a sticks and stones thing- well, the one I had problems with was. I reckon that'll about do it. Good luck with your impending purchase.
Thanks for that. Not sure of the motor, getting more info during the week.
The Mercedes were the ONLY truck wanted by the blokes carting for the UN WFP in Iraq and my entire fleet of 200 trucks was made up with every model Mercedes prime mover from 20 years old to brand new. I have no idea what they did to them back home between loads but I never saw one of our fleet at the side of the road in 50 degree temperatures and blinding sand storms. It also seems to be the truck of choice for nearly every third world country be it desert, jungle or mountains.
I have high confidence - well as high as you can get for a 35 year old truck - that it would do the job but just wanted a bit of feedback from experienced blokes. Second choice is a Scania 112M Eight Wheeler with crane 1987 for about the same price???
Great run out of Scania prime movers on medium duty.
Economical, easy to work on and good parts availability.
Ten year old kid could drive one, very driver friendly.
Quiet & comfortable, hear the radio & phone.
112 probably the quietest motor, 113 had a tinny sump.
Lot of traditional truckies don't like them but I did.
Good luck with your search Lang. Paul.
Hope it all works out for you Lang. Keep doing what you are doing, research! The Mercedes you have in mind sounds like it has it all, beaver tail and crane plus comfort. Price up all the regular servicing bits and see what that looks like as well.
Our neighbour drives interstate and loves his Kenworth K105B and is not keen on anything else. Even a current series cab over Kenworth K200 I think in auto he said was comfortable but wanted his old girl back any day, he does love his Cat motors too. Before we came away he turned up in a new DAFF and he took me for a short run, glad to get out of it. It floated along the road like a boat at drift on the ocean. Used twice as much fuel as his K105B and was glad to dump it off back at the yard. Oops, I got off track, sorry.
When we were looking about for Lorry we didn't have a lot of choices but when he turned up for sale we knew he was coming home with us. Servicing costs done at home were reasonable and for a truck made in 1991 his parts that show replacement time are not so bad either and fuel economy is acceptable but that's what driving a truck does uses fuel. With the low kilometers you have in mind it should serve you well and is set up to go to work now.
Worked for a mob back in the '90s who had 20 trucks on interstate, 16 of which were Scanias. Deal was, 1,000,000kms or 2 years for replacement. Most were cab over 112s. Had one V8 and a couple of gum boots. We would roll in a new set of mains and big-ends at 500,00 to save the $15,000 crank shaft from potential disaster. They were serviced every 10,000 and other than normal bits wearing, never had spanners on them. Even had a 112M eight wheeler with Hi-ab for local work. Can't say a negative thing about them.
I am not talking about buying a working truck with a trailer and 30 ton on the back to do 100,000km a year - whole new criteria (including the necessity for a current model vehicle). Over 30 years old in the $10-15,000 range is the target.
Despite Swishy's carry on about Volvos, I think European trucks are the only way to go for an old bloke wanting to take a few cars to shows.
I have had American trucks and must say my 1967 Kenworth day cab was absolutely the worst truck to ride in you could find. I loved the old dirty 6-71 GM and the Road Ranger but for driver friendly, the vehicle was crap. A mate's cab-over 73 Mack was even worse. When empty, without a trailer they were unacceptable. Despite me putting a suspension seat in the passenger side my missus who has traveled in the most basic and crude vehicles under the sun without complaint refused to come along and be bucked out of the saddle continuously.
When I bought my Volvo F86 8 wheeler in Adelaide I looked at a long wheelbase Kenworh 8 wheeler with a beaver tail in Melbourne, if anything, even with the heavy tray, it was worse to ride in than my prime-mover as was a Leader in Brisbane. The moment I hopped in the F86 I was sold. Quiet, beautiful power steering, unlike the Kenworth's super light with no feedback, and the ride (with the big crane behind the cab) was genuinely like a car. We did many happy miles all over Australia until, not having used it for 6 months I foolishly decided to sell it.
All I want is something that keeps up with traffic quietly, comfortably without costing a fortune to maintain to arrive feeling like you have had a nice drive, not done a hard day's work. I have no brand allegiance and think for my purpose whatever fits the requirement, regardless of the badge, is the one to buy. At 72 it will probably be my last large truck - but I have said that before!
My experience with all the many makes is limited so I appreciate your input.
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I had a 2226 bogie drive bought 2nd hand around late 70's model with many kms on it, truck was lovely to drive ( after having a Commer with Perkins ) truck its self couldn't fault .........but the motor, MO402 V8 loved fuel, blow smoke, had injectors and pump to 2 different diesel places, was all right with just the truck but add the 2 axle dog, 90kms a hour and trail of black smoke.........stay away from that engine. The MO422 engine was said to be OK
Had a look at the Scania. Not a bad unit but it is 9 feet tall and needs an extension ladder to climb into the cab. I doubt the cook would be impressed. Huge crane will lift 2 ton right at the beaver tail.