Semi Truck Resto/Rebuild Cost

Discussion in 'Heavy Duty Diesel Truck Mechanics Forum' started by Davo53209, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. Davo53209

    Davo53209 Bobtail Member

    1
    1
    Jul 8, 2019
    0
    Hello Everyone:

    I'm a company driver, looking ahead into the future towards becoming an owner operator, along with many options towards buying a truck. According to my research, the typically suggested buying option is a used pre-emission rig that's no older than a 2003. The other specs which appear to be suggested, include a Series 60 Detroit 12.7L engine, a 13-speed Eaton Fuller Transmission, along with a differential with gear ratio between 3.42 to 3.73.
    My initial consideration was to invest in a glider kit; but it's been brought to my attention that EPA is no longer making that a viable option. So instead, I'd like to get rough ball-park estimate as what it might cost to install newly re-manufactured, engine, transmission, and differential into a used semi-truck.

    Now to be clear, I already understand that there are other variables; but for the sake argument, lets say for example that I were to find a used Freightliner that's no older than a 2003 that has both a good frame with minimal rust and an acceptable cab. What would be a potential ball-park estimate including parts and labor?
     
    Rideandrepair Thanks this.
  2. Truckers Report Jobs

    Trucking Jobs in 30 seconds

    Every month 400 people find a job with the help of TruckersReport.

  3. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

    20,905
    94,247
    Jul 7, 2015
    Canuckistan
    0
    Lots. Trust me there lol.

    Folks want older than 2003, not newer. 2003 was about when EGR was brought in. If you're going all in with rebuilding an old clunker anyways I'd go with something that has a '99 or older model year engine (no emission and ELOG exempt). Probably could still run ELOG if you had to since most trucks in the late 90s were electronic.
     
  4. wore out

    wore out Numbered Classic

    12,376
    159,328
    Jun 5, 2013
    CHASIN THE DEVIL'S HERD
    0
    If your getting it done the sky is the limit. Doing it yourself still will not be cheap. Trucks of that age their are so many simple tasks that can go wrong due to previous shoddy work, old age, pressure and time that estimates are hard to give. I think a guy could put north of 80k in one and still see things that need done if he took it to a reputable shop. Keep in mind rebuilt is never new
     
  5. Rubber duck kw

    Rubber duck kw Road Train Member

    4,833
    12,861
    Dec 9, 2017
    0
    How much do you want to spend? 40k is the cheap end, and I mean very cheap, sky is the limit from there. You could easily sink another 80k dollars into something you bought for 20k.
     
  6. Rideandrepair

    Rideandrepair Road Train Member

    9,545
    23,285
    Aug 8, 2015
    0
    A friend of mine just spent $42k on his 98 Classic. $28 including core, since his block was shot, on a 99 S60 reman engine alone, with 3 yr warranty and free nationwide towing, plus Labor, 10 spd out, 13 spd in. Clutch, radiator, Cac, and God only knows what else. It all adds up. I had the same work done on mine last year. I didn’t buy a trans, or block, so I didn’t need to swap an engine. Don’t have the $3k warranty. Used aftermarket inframe kit vs. his Detroit oem build. Still with all the extras, cost nearly $20k. Both Trucks are basically the same now, everything’s new except rears. Time will tell if my engine lasts as long as his. Basically $30k on top of purchase price, if you watch every penny, and do as much work as possible, you can rebuild the engine, chassis, and driveline on a Classic w/ Detroit. Add paint and interior. Lol. Adding Labor, for every little thing, will easily double the cost. It’s really not feasible. More realistically, find something somewhere in the middle, in good condition, Thats recently rebuilt, or maybe only needs an inframe. Whatever. Price should reflect condition. More important would be to learn what needs to be done, and what doesn’t. The idea of just replacing everything isn’t always the best. New parts may not last as long as the perfectly good part replaced. You’ll still always have something that needs repair or replaced, you can spend $100k trying to buy peace of mind, and still only have a $40k Truck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  7. Dino soar

    Dino soar Road Train Member

    3,255
    9,335
    Dec 8, 2017
    0
    Honestly your best bet is to find one that someone is retiring and they have the list of repairs that they did. Find one that has had a recent overhaul with paperwork and you won't have to worry about that part of it. There are plenty of Maintenance items and that sort of thing but if the engine was actually rebuilt recently the engine is fine just make sure they did the bull gear if it's a Detroit.

    My advice would be don't worry about the transmission. If it shifts properly in the clutch is good maybe just change oil on it and change the rear seal at the back end but use it. Transmissions are just like that. If it shifts fine and feels good you just use it until you have a real problem and when you do you just replace it no big deal along with clutch and rear main seal and cross shaft bushings and whatever else it needs and at that point that's done.

    I wouldn't be concerned about the rears either. The rears are a lot like the transmission. You can quickly swap plugs and see if there's any metal on them you can grab the Yoke and see if there's play, but rears a lot of times are good for a million and a half miles or more. And if something happens to them along the way then you fix it. Just make sure you change oil in it and keep oil in them and make sure you don't have leaks and it runs low on oil and pay attention to any odd vibrations and check your yokes as you do your servicing and that's it.

    It's commendable to want to fix as much major things before you start but it's faster and cheaper to buy something someone just took good care of, get into it, start making money, have money put away, and when some of these other things happen you just fix them.

    Take a mechanic with you if you're not certain how to check these things.
     
  8. Rideandrepair

    Rideandrepair Road Train Member

    9,545
    23,285
    Aug 8, 2015
    0
    You came to mind, when I read this post. Good advice, straight from the Dino soars mouth. Lol.
     
    Dino soar Thanks this.
  9. Happily Retired

    Happily Retired Road Train Member

    8,666
    16,650
    Apr 16, 2014
    high plains colorado
    0
    We hear this all the time, and there is so much more to a used truck than a new motor. I drove a '99 Columbia, 500 Det., 13, 3:55's, it was a very nice truck, and probably go 100 mph, although, I never did that, but cruise all day@ 70 loaded, it would. Many things are often overlooked because the buyer is concentrating on driveline, and older trucks are a nightmare to keep going. Like that Columbia, had 900K, never opened up, but EVERYTHING else failed. Wiper motor, steering wheel adjust, wheel bearings, electrical ( that was a biggie) it was always something, and Freightliner dealers were the absolute worst at having parts ( who doesn't stock an a/c condenser in June, or a heater core in Nov?). Now KW's on the other hand, are quality engineered, have been for 60 years, so I always lean towards a used KW.
    Far as becoming an O/O in this day and age,,,,your funeral.
     
    Rideandrepair Thanks this.
  10. Dino soar

    Dino soar Road Train Member

    3,255
    9,335
    Dec 8, 2017
    0
    That is one subject I do know a bit about, LOL.
     
    Rideandrepair Thanks this.
  11. j.r.1981

    j.r.1981 Light Load Member

    107
    89
    Aug 22, 2012
    0
    I bought a 2001 Freightliner Classic with a 12.7 Detroit, 13 speed, 3.73 rears. Engine rebuilt with warranty, rebuilt trans with warranty, and new clutch. Still ended up putting close to $20,000 into it on top of the purchase price. It still needs a few things done to it, but it runs great. I am hoping I don't have as many problems with it that I had with my 2017 Cascadia.
     
    Rideandrepair Thanks this.
  • Truckers Report Jobs

    Trucking Jobs in 30 seconds

    Every month 400 people find a job with the help of TruckersReport.

  • Draft saved Draft deleted