Freightliner Summit Hauler Conversion
Freightliner’s FL series have been popular hauler trucks for big trailers in the past. Now with the Freightliner M2 business class truck, it’s a whole new experience. Quieter cab and better visibility make the M2 lead the pack in a class 5 and 6 truck. Summit Hauler is a Freightliner M2 luxury conversion from Kansas, that brings new meaning to towing in comfort. Easy to maneuver, once you get the feel of a wider truck, it’s like handling a one ton. What you notice first, better visibility over the nose, better than a one ton pickup truck. With a 55 degree front wheel cut verses 53 degrees on a GM C5500 and 45 degree on a Ford F550, the turning radius which is 52′ 8″ beats most pickups. The Summit Hauler wheelbase is 186 inches compared to 172 inches of the longest pickup truck, the Ford F250 crew cab long bed.
When I switched from one tons to a two ton truck for my 33′ hay trailer on the farm, then I stopped constantly working on my truck. Just crawl under your one ton and then slide around under the Summit Hauler. The size of the drive train on the Summit Hauler is impressive, a massive three piece drive shaft. The optional CAT diesel C7 has 350 horse power and 860 lb-ft of torque or Mercedes diesel MBE900 with 330 horse power and 1000 lb-ft torque. The third engine option is the C13 CAT. To cool all this power is a 1000 square inch radiator. For those muddy fair ground parking lots, the Summit Hauler has a manual locking differential.
The transmission is an Allison 3200 TRV 6 speed auto with 4 programmable settings for the tow mode. This Allison is an adaptive learning transmission. By the 3rd trip, the truck was down shifting the way I wanted it just from learning my driving style. This trucks has air everything, air park brake, air brakes, air cab, air rear suspension and both of the front seats are air ride. Oh yeah and the air horn. The Air ride rear suspension has a manual dump valve so you can lower the truck height for hitching to your trailer.
The receiver hitch is overbuilt like the rest of the truck at 30k Class V with a 2700 pound tongue weight capacity. The engineered bed is plate metal which is strong and heavy enough to be the ballast for a smooth ride for a singe dual axle. It will surprise you how much bounce you get with duals without weight. The Summit Hauler handles like a smooth pickup truck when empty. Part of the great handling is from the over sized steer box. You don’t feel much road feedback. And with the long lasting Michelin low profile H (16 ply) rated tires, these big trucks take little effort or input. The bed has a sprayed on bedliner, made to use hard. With a wide one piece formed hitch trough that is 25.5″ wide, enough clearance for a Cushion Coupler or Trailer Saver hitch. Four roomy lit toolboxes have self tightening handles. The bed is under coated and equipped with a B&W triple plate bed hitch for a gooseneck or 5th wheel. The dual wheel liner tub, protects lights the rear lights. The rear fenders are stainless steel.
For handling, a front stabilizer bar and a rear axle ping tank, controls the air suspension with more wheel travel. The Summit Hauler has a 10k front axle and 12K rear air axle rating, but frame rating is limited to 19,500 # Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and 33,000 # Gross Combined Weight Rating. This makes the Summit Hauler exempt from the new IRS rules on FET tax. Summit Hauler has an equalizing 150 gal fuel tank to take advantage of buying cheaper diesel outside of Colorado.
Freightliner Summit Hauler Conversion
Stopping ability is so important with today’s larger trailers, Air brakes have the stopping power you only dreamed of with a pickup, about 1/2 the cost to maintain of hydraulic brakes for better braking and longer brake life. The new ABS computers have improved driver friendly control for applying brakes. There is a controlled air valve for adjusting braking pressure between towing and not. Automatic heated air dryer on the brake lines for low maintenance just like the big rigs. Summit Hauler comes with a PAC-Brake exhaust brake. You love this in the mountains. You can leave it on like I do with a trailer and it will automatically slow you down when you let off the go pedal. BrakeSmart trailer brake controller is my favorite and yes it’s available with air brakes and standard on Summit Hauler.
Wing dash, I wish I had in my truck. All the gauges and controls surround you within easy reach. The leather seats fit my large body like a glove. Auto adjusting armrests with lumbar heated seats front and the heated second row which folds into a bed. Insulation under the strut assist easy tilt hood and cab are part of the quiet equation along with the double door seal and a third seal on top. All the toys with power heated mirrors, tilt telescope steering wheel and power window switches on all doors. The aluminum crew cab with air ride, underneath the aluminum running boards with lights, even a master electrical switch in cab all well thought out.
One of my favorite features is the Voyager 4 channel backup camera. Watch that hitch connect the first time. The screen will split into 4 screens for optional camera’s. I’d put a camera on the back of the trailer and in with the horses to see if they are behaving. And it’s a separate screen from the Pioneer GPS with 3 D. The GPS has a screen to tell you your speed and direction from the GPS. Most vehicles are 1 to 2 mph off on the factory speedometer. You can also look at your GPS 3D map on the ceiling 17″ swivel LCD DVD screen. Now your back seat driver can watch the road for you.
Thanks to Summit Hauler for the review truck at www.SummitHauler.com .
Freightliner Summit Hauler Conversion: By MrTrailer