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towing with a topkick

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Old 08-31-2004, 07:39 PM
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Default towing with a topkick

ok my truck and race trailer are wasted. I have been thinking about my options and a cheap topkick with 40' trailer happened to turn up. It would be cheaper to buy this guys old race rig than to buy a newish dually and a trailer.

The topkick is an 89 with a sleaper 6 speed and a 8.2 detroit. I keep hearing this engine and tranny is good for like literally a million miles. Does anyone have experience driving one of these monsters? How ar ethey towing? hwo is teh ride on teh highway? (worse than an early 90s dually?) How about maintaining them? Crazy expensive? How abotu manuvering them? Way worse than a dually? Apparently it cna be regged as a motorhome so no CDL is required BUT i've never driven a truck that large before so i'm kinda concerned abtou manuvering it.

Yeah its totally 100% overkill but the price is right and it would be a cool ass toy!!!!!!
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:51 PM
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Default Re: towing with a topkick

I bought a '91 TopKick project last winter to pull my 44' enclosed trailer and 38' boat. Then a guy came along and bought my dually,trailer and one of the race cars so now I have to find another big trailer. Anyway. It's a gas burner even though I had a PowerStroke and miss my diesel... It was "under CDL" and I tagged it as a Motorhome. It pulls my 38' Tempest with literally No Effort. One nice plus I noticed is that it turns sharper than my crew cab dually or sure seems to. To pull my boat into my shop(total length 71')on a two lane street I drive past my door and turn in like a fifth wheel. What's really nice is you always have your camper and boat instead of taking them seperate. I found a back up camera on RacingJunk.com for a hundred bucks and can back up with less help and check on the boat going down the road. It's on here somewhere,under let's see those tow rigs I believe. Good Luck!!!
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: towing with a topkick

We just picked up a Kodiak for the same reason. It is rated for 26000 and the rear suspension is shall we say-FIRM! If you can load enough on the rear springs it will be more comfortable but it is harsh when bobtail. Adding a motorhome box would help. It is very easy to maneuver and the turn radius is shorter than a dually. You may need to get an airbrake endorsement on your driver's license depending on your state. Some of the maintenance is more expensive than a light truck-(22 quarts of oil )but the engine and drivetrain should be good for 400-500k miles.


Oh, and it is a very cool toy-air brakes and air horn are the shiznit
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Old 08-31-2004, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: towing with a topkick

I've got a Topkick Cat diesel/Allison. 26k GVW non CDL.
It rides HARD unloaded. Definitely needs the air suspension seat (which it has). My Cat is a 200hp and slows on hills a good bit (okay, a lot)..

Properly maintained, I would expect over 800k miles. Mine has 675k and neither the motor, tranny, or other major parts are worrisome. It has of course had starters and alternators, front end bushings, shocks, and driveshaft replaced but even most of those lasted well over 400k.

Mine is long (23' flat bed) and has a wide (as in real wide) turning circle.

Very heavy duty frame and parts here. Great medium duty truck. Parts available anywhere.
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Old 08-31-2004, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: towing with a topkick

I used to own some topkicks with the 8.2 turbo and non turbo diesel engines. Not enough torque and lots of bad reviews and repairs, thats why GM cancelled that motor. I think you would be better off buying a new GM Duramax diesel dually. With some simple chip and exhaust work you'll be at 400HP, tons of torque, a lot more comfortable driver and easier to park, won't have to stop at scales, etc. Make sure you get at least 12,000 gvw and load it up with HD options. With the money you'll save in repairs and fuel, you can probably make the payment each month with GM's clearance financing on new 2004's and still have a better allison trans and a new warranty. Just my thoughts,
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Old 08-31-2004, 10:50 PM
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Default Re: towing with a topkick

THe gmc tops are a decent truck, the detroit is reliable if you do the standards expect 5-8mpgs though, comparing it to a dump truck for those figures. Motors will alst a long time 700-1mill miles if taken care of just like any of the big diesels will. the ride is stiff if springed or hendrickson suspension Turn radius depending on axle offsetting from factory the same or worse as a dually. As for towing, going up hills will kill it, but you can crank them turbos up run a larger exhaust pipe and fold the ears and let the pig eat then. Also take the specs to say a peterbuilt shop and have them run it thru the computer to see what type of top speed it will have, might have to bribe the guys though. Motor trans and rearend gearing will all equal out this along with tire size bigs littles. The maintenance is a little more,b tu you can truthfully run 8k-10k and some oils can run longer.
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Old 08-31-2004, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: towing with a topkick

this one is a non turbo 8.2

5-8mpg is pretty ugly.

this thin gis pretty chepa though. 13k for the truck and trailer.
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Old 09-01-2004, 12:00 AM
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Default Re: towing with a topkick

I am in a similiar situation as you. I want a Renegade with a bathroom because my wife takes a leak every 5 blocks and that would be perfect for us. But the dually you could use as a everyday vehicle. The old diesel with turbo is a dog, so without turbo it is even worse. Simpify life and get the duramax dually instead. Just my $.02

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Old 09-01-2004, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: towing with a topkick

I was looking for a new Ford dually diesel to replace my 98 Dodge diesel and found a 96 Topkick with a Cat diesel and 5 speed, four door cab and painted the same color of red as my Jag's dually dually trailer. It is slow and the ride is rough but the size of the truck gives a feeling a security. This truck will stop the boat without any trailer brakes if they would happen to fail. I now have a truck project, how to modify the beast to ride better and juice the cat motor to pull harder. I don't have to worry about towing capacity as I would have had I purchased a new Ford and the cost was less than half of what a new truck would have cost. Hope I made the right choice. Doug
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Old 09-01-2004, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: towing with a topkick

ha i don't exactly have teh $ for new duramax dually. Beside i cant; justify the cost of a brand new dually since i'd only be using it to tow a race trailer.

renegades are nice but very pricey. This is an a cheapo old school version of a renegade!
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