Shopping for a new or used semi truck is tricky because most owner operators don't have a huge budget and still need to find a reliable piece of equipment to get started with. By using a glider kit, you can get all the value of a new truck at a much more affordable price by pairing the kit with a used truck. Learn how to properly combine a used truck and a new glider kit to create your own custom truck that fits your budgets and needs.
Glider Kit Details
A glider kit is not the most common semi truck purchasing package, but it's been rising in popularity recently due to demand for the best value possible. The kit includes almost every part of a brand new truck minus the drivetrain, transmission system, and engine. This means you can purchase a used semi truck that has plenty of life left on those three essential parts and combine it with a kit to create what appears to be a brand new truck from your favorite manufacturer. Despite the fact that you're making two separate purchases, the combined cost can still be lower than the price of a new truck if you choose a salvaged used truck with a very affordable price tag.
Body Damage Recommendations
Start by looking for semi trucks that are still low in mileage and age, but which have gone through an accident or storage problem that left the body and cab in bad shape. Since the glider kit includes a chassis and cab with the latest features and designs, it's fine to pair with a truck that has issues like
- Damaged axles
- Peeling paint and extensive body rust
- Brake rotors that are in bad condition or so outdated they're impossible to replace
- Blown air braking systems
- Cramped cabs or sleeping areas with fire and water damage.
Since glider kits have been a popular way to reuse damaged semi trucks for decades, it's fine to purchase a salvaged truck to get a hold of an affordable drivetrain, engine, and transmission set. Just make sure these three parts were not affected by the damage to the truck by having each used vehicle inspected before committing to a specific model.
Most drivers that choose to combine a used semi truck and a glider kit follow this plan in order to use an older engine that was built before the latest emission control equipment was made mandatory. Choosing a pre-emissions engine may allow you to take advantage of the better fuel mileage and reliability these engines offer. It's perfectly within the current trucking equipment regulations to keep using these engines in new body kits. You'll definitely want to get an engine built before 2003 if you're planning to use the semi truck in a high idling industry, like fuel pumping, live animal transport, or logging.
Since you likely won't be able to test drive a salvage used semi truck to make sure the transmission is still shifting smoothly, hire a mechanic to do a in-depth inspection of the transmission for you. This involves taking off just a few key parts to check for wear and damage deep in the chambers. If the transmission isn't in the best shape, negotiate on the price so you can set aside savings for a replacement in the first few months of use.
Finally, make sure the glider kit is compatible with the major used parts you have in mind. You don't want to spend thousands of dollars on more specialty parts to retrofit modern sensors and computer systems to work with an older engine. Glider manufacturers design their kits to be as widely compatible as possible, but it's always possible to find a used truck from a foreign manufacturer that doesn't match up well with domestic equipment.
For more information, contact a company like Arrow Truck Sales.