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Old 12-15-2009, 11:41 AM
big rig guy big rig guy is offline
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Default 2009 Misery

I have not posted for a long long time. The year of misery and I can't wait for the year to be over with. Moved the shop five times in 14 months, can you believe that. It was so bad in the summer, that I moved out of one shop put everything in storage for 5 weeks, sat on my deck and drank beer and saved money. Laid off two guys in the spring and kept my right hand man, paid him half wages for the time off, re opened in a nice shop in the perfect area on Sept 8.

Been steady since then. Actually made money for the three months so far, after loosing money every month this year and late last fall.

Don't know whats in store for after the holidays, but if it dies down too much it will be time to close the shop and sit out this recession. My rent here is expensive and I will not carry the shop due to funds are dwindling away.

Word out in my area, is that alot of shops are slow to extremely slow, these are shops that have been going for ten plus years and were always usually busy shops. They say the economy is picking up or set to pickup, time will tell.

Fleets are starting to spend money, but they are very tight with the jobs. Absolutely no gravy in any of the work. Hopefully, with the coming bad weather some good insurance work will come our way. Thats is getting tougher too with all the East Indian shops paying off adjusters and having the work directed to thier shops. Does not help with alot of shops lowballing like its a normal way of doing business.

I am in a good position with this new shop and the area that I am in, have no debt and can live very cheap, so all this helps in keeping things rolling.

I signed a two year lease here, my kid should be outta the house in two years, going to the army college, think I might hang it up then if the struggle continues like it has the last year or so.

Still doing all the same work, doing a pete today shortening the frame 26 inches so the guy can haul a 53 reefer cause there is no flatbed work. He has to finance that with the high interest loan guys, if he gets declined he goes on the payment plan with me lol.

Finished our showtruck last summer, still waiting for the bill to get paid, comes in drips and drabs. Did a neat Volvo big truck rv puller with a deck for a smart car few months back, should post some pics. Customizing my own truck to haul my fiver too.

I'II post some pics.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:54 AM
big rig guy big rig guy is offline
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This is a Volvo 770 we singled it out some time back and then my buddy wanted to haul a smart car. The guys use a smart car cause they are only some 100 inches long so they fit on the back of a truck nicely. The new ones are 104 or around there so they are not in compliance with the max width of 102 inches.

Built the bed with square tubing 1/8 wall, attached to the truck frame via custom brackets we made. Lined the top with 1/8 checker steel, built a arm assembly with a winch mounted under the deck to drag the car up the ramps. The ramps store under the deck in a box deal that we fabbed up.

Very tight tolerances on this whole job overall, had check and double check everything as it just fit.

My buddy had to take his trailer in for warranty work so he asked me if I wanted to come along, about a hour from here, we went down the road with the whole rig loaded up, sure was smooth. Lots of lookers checking out the smart car on the back.

I was very close to picking up a truck for myself and doing the same thing, but I really don't travel enough, plus my little ford does me fine.
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:09 PM
big rig guy big rig guy is offline
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Here's my own rig, we live in this unit full time, I bought this fiver last year when our other fiver burned down due to a washing machine front panel shortening out. Insurance company would not cover the contents as we had it under our commercial policy, so I got to pay for a big deductible of 5 grand.

At any rate, the trailer is heavy and this truck was set up for a lighter trailer, I built the truck a few years back. Last week I removed the bed and the fake fuel tanks to lighten up the truck. Figured I lost about 1500 pounds, the truck feels very light now. I added the new flatdeck and framing, and mounted the hitch 18 inches ahead. I am enclosing the hitch as this is the last go around with this truck as it is a 95. Mechanically it is excellant, I did the transmission two years ago and had it upgraded for the duties that it serves. So far so good, a set of brakes, front tires and a fuel pump and good to go. We went on a trip this last summer about a 5 hour drive, I got 12 mpg with this rig pulling the trailer. I am installing a edge chip to get about another 60 hp, that will help out alot on the hills at highway speed, could go for more power, but the hesitant due to possible tranny problems arising.

I will mount my fresh water tank and waste tank, sometimes we camp without hookups, I have pumps and a macerator to handle all that, 2 Honda 3000- watt inverter type generators provide the power, in parallel, so I get close to 45 amps feeding the trailer, one HOnda is mounted on the pin box on the trailer, and the other will be on the flatbed.

Even though it is a 95 powerstroke, with only 225 hp,. not like the new ones with big power, she pulls the whole rig pretty goo, I gross around 23000 all loaded up, I am interested to see what the Edge chip will do on level 1 for overall performance. I went with a Prodigy brake controller, and man they are the best, should have gotten one years ago. Still have the sleeper on the truck for the dogs.

I have the trailer in the shop for the winter months this year. I usually have it outside, but propane costs and the like I figure I could do without this winter, case of can't make no money so got to conserve some.

I was very close to buying a shop on some property way up north this last summer, I figure if I can't make any money down here, might as well go north and make no money, at least then I could go fishing. Living like this makes it easy to pull up roots and move somewhere else. Load my shop in a 53 foot dry van and haul it. But the kid is 15 and needs to be here to finish his schooling, so we had to consider that.
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:12 PM
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moe1942 moe1942 is offline
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Big was wondering where you were. Glad to hear you're still above ground..
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:25 PM
big rig guy big rig guy is offline
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Had this truck for a year, I dragged it from every shop that I moved outta, I guess I got a ton of dough tied into this thing for towing ha. Anyhow it's done and already been at a truck show or two.

We stretched it to a 310 wheelbase and double framed it. Custom hood scoops in the hood, trick 3 stage paint on the frame and truck. Lowered all the boxes 6 inches giving it a low rider look. Built a custom headache rack but not installed yet. Made all the plastic door liners and roof liners out of fibreglass and then painted with a dark maroon metallic, that looks cool. Oh yea, somewhere in one the moves we lost a brand spanking new fifth wheel for the truck that the customer bought, so I got to buy another one yippee.

It was nice doing a Western Star though, get sick of the Peterbilts. We got one here now outside we have been working on the last two months, paintwork and a generally cleanup.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2009, 01:10 PM
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Welcome back, Colin. Sorry you had such a rough year.
You always show us things that no one else does and I always marvel at the work you do.
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:35 PM
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i'm glad 09 is winding down too,its been a slow year.
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:41 PM
big rig guy big rig guy is offline
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Here is the Pete frame were doing today. Basically drop the suspension and move ahead 26 inches, cut the rear section off, take out 26 inchess of frame and braze the rear tail section back on. Better get a thick brazing rod for this job.

Theres my home inside the shop, just fits nicely, shop is narrow but 150 feet deep and huge yard, most of my customers can turn around without hitting anything. I shot a coat of spraymask on the trailer to protect the finish.

Thanks for the welcome back guys.
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