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Jack & Danielle Mayer
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In March 2004 we went to Kilgore, TX to have a custom body built for our truck. We looked long and hard for the right body builder - the right builder in our estimation is one who does custom work, very high quality, is easy to work with, has experience with our truck type, and is realistic in pricing.  We found all this and more in Herrin Welding Service, Kilgore TX.  Herrin Welding builds all kinds of custom truck bodies, from simple to complex.  They are a family owned business that can build you anything you want - their bodies are built in steel, which for a HDT is preferred, to add extra weight to the rear suspension.  You can email Herrin Welding at herrin@tyler.net. Their phone number is 903-984-7139 and their web site is www.herrinhauler.com.  Those of you who know me know that I am very fussy. You won't be dissapointed in Larry Herrin and his operation - give them a try. To see some other examples of Herrin truck bodies you can go to the Other Herrin Truck Bodies page of our web site.
 
Our bed is a relatively simple design. Mainly because we have a short wheelbase and require space to carry a motorcycle or ATV on the deck. This eliminates the option of fancy vertical storage cabinets behind the cab. We need the deck space to fit in our future "toy". We have a flat deck, with two small side boxes in front of the axle, and two larger side boxes behind the axle (we had the frame cut at 39" behind the back tire to accomodate these larger boxes). We also have  two 46" wide x 4" deep lift-top tool boxes over the wheel wells.  Much like a Stalick or Highwayman bed.  I would have liked to have deeper boxes over the wheels, but with our deck height, 4" is the best we can get and not interfere with the ability to dump the air suspension. The rear treatment is a double dovetail. The hitch is in a trough, not boxed in. The trough is 9" deep - this maximizes the size of side and top storage boxes while maintaining an inch of clearance between the tire and the bottom of the saddle box when the suspension is dumped.  Even with the trailer king pin fully recessed this gives a minimum of 11" of clearance over the deck. All lights are LED's, and there are two work lights recessed into the tail controlled by the cab cargo light switch. The top is black  Line-X. There is a small (15" - front to back) removable box in the front of the bed, between the cab and the main bed. This is easily removed for servicing cab suspension components.  Mike McFall's Volvo 770 has a Herrin body on it modelled after ours, except he added drop-in boxes between the frame rails, forward of the trough. In our body that area is wasted space, because of the requirement to carry a motorcycle. I should have had a large drop-in box put there even though it would be inaccessible with a motorcycle on the deck.
 
We have been asked many questions about the body and its design.  After living with it for over a year, here are some random comments on it.  First, I'm still pleased with the job Herrin Welding did, and would recommend you check with them for any custom work you need done.  Second, the saddle boxes over the wheels have the locksets in the top. This causes water to sit in the handle wells, but this has not proved to be a big problem yet...the handles do leak some, but it is relatively minor, and the things I have stored in the saddle boxes are not affected by the leaks. Mike McFall had similar boxes built on his body, and his leak more than mine do. You might consider this when designing the bed. To be fair, Larry Herrin told me (and Mike) that the locks on top would leak, so it's not like we did not know what we were getting into.
 
One thing I would change if I were to do it over is to either shorten the rear overhang 6" or kick it up at the end.  If you get into a big dip you WILL hit the rear.  This has not proven to be much of a problem, but the change would improve the design.  We have also been asked why we did not build a tunnel box in the front (a tunnel box connects the two front boxes with a "tunnel" over the truck frame, allowing storage of long items). This would have added significant cost to the body, due to the method required to frame it. So we decided to do without. It was strictly an economic decision, but we do not miss it. Other than that, we are satisfied with the design.

One of the critical measurements is the height of the body. You have to make tradeoffs in the amount of storage you build in vs. the deck height. This  is especially true if you are going to load a motorycle with a loader. Some loaders can not be easily used on decks that are over 46" (or so) without adding additional blocking to the bottom of them. If you are winching or craning the motorcycle then it does not matter. The higher the deck, the more storage in your boxes, though, and to build in usable "saddle" boxes, as in our truck, you need at least a 49" deck height. Most trailers ride level at a 46'-47" hitch plate height. You need at least 8" clearance above the hitch plate height for the overhang of the trailer to move in turns and dips, and 10" is a pretty standard design measure. Lay it out carefully or you will not have a level ride, or will have clearance problems.

OB770 with cabinet
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Herrin body - note integrated steps

Jeffrey Roddick's T800 - a "working" tractor
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Note the custom 18" deep drom box

"Red Rover" - 770
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Standard aftermarket headache rack storage box

One thing I would have liked to have done, but did not, was to build in a vertical storage cabinet inside the vertical cab air foils. You have 14" of depth on a Volvo in this area (16" on a T2000), and if you extend the box out 4-5" it still looks OK. This allows a 14" - 18" deep box to be built the entire width of the cab. That is a lot of nice storage. The reason we did not do it was the desire to carry a motorcycle, which meant we had to use this space for the handlebars and mirrors given our short wheelbase.  I may still build one. If I do, the doors will be split half way up (4 doors), in order to allow the upper area to be accessed with a motorcycle on the deck. There is just barely enough space for a small motorcycle or scooter, the cabinet, and swing room for the trailer - we are talking inches here. I will also integrate LED stop/turn lights, and backup spots in the top of the cabinet. You only need 1 1/2" behind the cabinet for cab float, by the way, although I would probably go out 2".
 
The white Volvo 770 in the picture above is owned by  Richard and Dianna Lafferty. The body was built by Larry Herrin. Their cabinet is not full width because of the vertical exhaust stack; the cabinet is "balanced" by not extending to the fairing on the driver's side. The cabinet is  83" high, 58" wide and 19" deep and has 4 fixed shelves. There are more pictures of this tractor in the Other Herrin Truck Bodies page. The middle picture is Jeffery Roddick's T-800 with a custom drom cabinet on it. This is a working tractor, not an RV hauler. Note the cross storage with side access, as well as rear access to top cabinets. This drom box is 18" deep. The far right picture is "Red Rover", owned by Mark and Dale Bruss. It has a standard aftermarket headache rack mounted behind the vertical air foils for stack clearance. Mark added stop/turn lights and backup lights to the cabinet. You can see more pictures of Red Rover on Mark's website http://www.dmbruss.com.

Our objective was to design the smallest truck (and bed) that we could and still carry a motorcycle. We used an Excel worksheet to help us with the design layout and to test various scenarios. You can download this worksheet for your own use. It contains our 182" wb tractor, Joe Johnson's 202" wb, and a layout for a T2000  and Volvo 770 with the same body on it that we have on our Volvo. Joe did the original work, and I added my 182" wb, the Volvo 770,  and the T2000. Since originally publishing this, I added a "body calculator" that allows you to play with various wheelbases and see the effect on the overall truck size. (Thanks, Joe, you saved us alot of work!) Note: this file is about 200KB, so you may not want to download it on a dialup line.

click here for the file

In the pictures below, our truck is the white one. Mike McFall's maroon 770 has a bed modeled after ours. There are minor differences - the biggest difference is he added two additional "drop-in" boxes between the frame rails. I had thought of using this space, but because I intended to carry a motorcycle I thought it would be mostly inaccessible, which caused me to drop the idea. In retrospect I should have added them. They could have been used for long-term storage. Mike's hitch is dropped down between the frame rails, which you can see if you look at the pics carefully. There are additional pictures of other Herrin HDT bodies on the Herrin Truck Bodies page.

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Receiver hitch would be better boxed in
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LED lights, and 2 wide angle work lights tied to cargo light switch.

If you look at the receiver hitch (not the 5th wheel hitch) construction on our truck, and on Tom's truck (the red one) you will see that his is boxed in. I think this is a neater look, and should have had it done to ours. Another varient is Mike McFall's maroon 770. In his case the hitch trough was dropped between the frame rails, which is why it seems lower. Note the simple ledge on his - otherwise it is similar to ours.

This is Tom Harrison's Volvo.
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I prefer the way the receiver hitch is boxed in

Mike McFall's rear treatment - slightly different
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Back boxes are wider than front.
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Drawer is 18" x 18". One shelf below. Other boxes have only shelves.

The saddle box is 4" deep.
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Lined with Line-X. Two 60 pound struts help with opening it.

Mike's bed - note the 2 extra drop-in boxes
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I should of added these - even though I needed space for a MC

Front box is removable for cab suspension maint.
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15" front-to-back, about 9" deep

Laying out the frame - the left side
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Bed is 9' long.

Sides and top on. Wheel wells need to be cut out.
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Front boxes are cut 4" higher than shown here

The raw frame, showing framing technique.
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