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Old 10-29-2011, 02:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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4bt Towing Capability?

I've been thinking about building a custom truck for a while now but before I begin stock piling parts, I was wondering if you guys would mind offering up your opinions as the only 4bt I have experienced was in a backhoe. I should probably add that I'm a pretty good fabricator, a good enough mechanic, and I have been told that I have the patience of a saint.

I'd start with at least a 1 ton truck (maybe even a 1.5 ton) from the late 30's or 40's. I haven't narrowed down the make/model just yet. In the end it will come down to whatever I can find that's still in reasonably good shape.
The first step would be to remove the entire drive train. The engine/transmission/axles would then be replaced with a inter-cooled 4bt of about 130 to 170hp turning a NV4500 (or similar), a Gear Vendor's overdrive unit, and the 4.10 rear axle out of a newer truck. The frame will probably need to be at least partially boxed and suspension will also see upgrades. There will hopefully be disk brakes on all four corners.

The purpose of this rig will be to serve as my daily driver, an awesome conversation piece, and to tow a maximum of 5.5k pounds a dozen times a year. I don't need rip-the-face-off performance, just something cool and dependable.

Can a 4bt be coaxed into towing 5500 pounds (Mustang or Jeep on a car hauler) at 60 mph??

Any suggestions, comments or concerns?
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I pound nails and I'm new at this, but if it helps you, great.

I'm thinkin' of putting one of these suckers in my mo-ho @ 15,400/GVW.
Bear in mind, the stock 440/727 setup in my coach puts out about 230/hp and maybe 330/lbs ft. The little 4bt torque monster can do this fairly easily and I'm betting it will also get about 50% better fuel economy.

There's some useful opinions here:

4BT Conversion: 8-TON Motorhome!!
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, there was some good information in there!

I think your biggest problems are going to be cooling the motor up long grades and airflow to your inter-cooler (if you choose to use one) and that has more to do with the fact that the engine is mounted as a pusher. If you look back to post-ww2 vocational trucks (think International K/KB Series), they were regularly handling 8-ton loads with straight sixes putting out around 100 horsepower. The secret was getting the gearing right (the old trucks used 4 or 5 speed transmissions and 2 speed rear axles) and not being in a big hurry.

I've been looking around at different rigs and I'm starting to think that a modestly built 4bta (130-170 hp) with either a 5 speed + a gear splitter or a six speed will be able to occasionally handle an 11,000# CGWR rig and not be a time bomb. Sure it won't be able to handle the load as nicely as my current Cummins, but my old I-4 Ranger had about the same horsepower rating (and about 1/4 the torque) as a stock 4bt and was still quite beastly for being such a little truck.

If anyone else wants to weigh in on this I'd appreciate the input.
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It will do the job you want just fine just "dont" soup it up. You dont need to !
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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when I had the 4bt in my mercury I hauled a 25ft trailer full of junk to the waste site and I grossed out at 14,900lbs. I would say it would haul what you want to do!
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