This isn't quite a welding question, but I think there will probably be some folks on here that could help me make a decision. I'm looking at getting a new work truck here sometime this next year. My question is do I stay with the one ton heavy pick up chassis, or step up to a small, low profile class 5 truck. I was looking as something like a 4400 series International or one of the business class Freightliners. I would want to spec it out with no more than a ten foot flat bed with all the usually amenities such as GN ball and tool boxes. I may even go ahead and recess mount a winch in the front of the bed and possible a rolling tailboard. Right now, a 3500 will do just fine, but I was thinking down the line for pulling some bigger trailers and equipment. One of the major drawbacks would be maneuverability on some job sites and the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to afford 4WD on the bigger chassis. Just thought I'd see if anybody on here has made that transition before and what your opinion would be. SSS
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Thread: Truck selection
01-07-2007, 08:21 AM #1
01-07-2007, 10:23 AM #2Senior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
- Suffield, Ohio
If you have the money I would recomend one of the International XT truck series.
01-07-2007, 10:58 AM #3Guest
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
- Lodi, CA
Exactly what type of business are you in? How much do you anticipate driving the truck (annual miles?).
I was in exactly the same position you were about ten years ago, working off an overloaded Ford F350, getting close to replacement. Considering F450/F550, upwards of $30,000, plus the time and cost of building a bed. Started looking at used medium trucks (class 5 and 6). Took a couple years, came upon an IHC 1900, already set up as a welding rig, with a 400 amp Miller on it, for $15,000. DT466, air brakes, common components throughout. Maintenance for the most part has been nil, tires, brakes, and parts are common and relatively cheap compared to those on Ford/GMC class 4 or 5 products and much easier and simpler to work on. Did have to do an in-frame, but that was my fault, the same problem on any other truck/engine without wet sleeves would have potentially been much more expensive.
I have found the big truck is so overbuilt for what it does, things just hold up much better.
Manuverability hasn't been a problem, customers either make adjustments or they are replaced by new customers who appreciate the service I can bring them with the big truck.
For me, anyway, this was the only logical business decision to make. Much more money has ended up in my pocket due to my buying this truck, rather than a new F450/F550 class truck.
01-07-2007, 05:26 PM #4
I really like the basic idea behind the 450/550 idea, but have some of the same reserves that you had, calweld. (I've looked at the XT, but I could buy a Z06 and a work truck for that kind of $) As the guy that does 95% of his own mechanical work, I just can't bring myself to buy a V8 diesel that you can't even see the engine when you open the hood. Now if only Dodge built a 4500, I'd consider it with a straight 6. Granted, the power stroke is just a repackaged VT 365, but in a 'nash you can at least get to it! I have put an untold amount of miles behind at DT466E in the 47/4900 trucks. It'll never rip out a drivetrain with too much power, but it's as reliable as the day is long. As far as the $ side, your right. I've found some decent straight trucks for about half that of a new 550, and there's no comparison to the durability. I just have to be able to work off the truck and can't have a real high bed height (36" max).
To answer your question, I'm in primarily residential general contracting with some side ventures into light commercial. I'd say the truck would get around 10-15K miles/year mainly due to the fact that my work is in about a 30 mile radius of the house. Right now I average dragging about 12K lbs around with the loader and attachments. The bad part is that I'm not dedicated to just one area of construction. I have to be extremely flexible and tackle new problems/situation on a daily (if not hourly) basis. Basically, I have to be able to pick up everybody else's slack when they leave and something little needs to be done. There are days I'm a weldor, carpenter, mason, painter, and trashman....and that's just before lunch. I would like to be set up with something that I could permanently leave my basic mobile welding outfit (bobcat/torches/air comp/hand tools) on, plus be able to drag around equipment. When things get a little less hectic, I'd like to branch out and start doing all of my own dirt work. This of course would mean I need something to haul a D-5 and track-hoe around with.
So, there's my situation. It's not going to be an easy answer and there are pros and cons to all sides. Ideally, I'd have my compact truck for running around, a nice 3500 decked out with the small stuff and then a dedicated move/haul truck for the equipment. But then I wake up and realize there's no way I can justify that much equipment to maintain, insure, and most of it would be sitting. I can only be in one place at a time (despite what some customers/contractors think I should be able to do).
Last edited by SkidSteerSteve; 01-07-2007 at 05:34 PM.
01-07-2007, 06:42 PM #5Lincoln Tombstone 180 AC
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01-07-2007, 09:30 PM #6
I haven't seen this info yet. I'll check around and see what else I can find out. I won't be serious about getting something until next fall sometime, but I'm starting the process now. The only thing I didn't like about the article was the line "Eventually, a Mercedes diesel and the Chrysler automated manual transmission may be added." Is it going to be a true Mercedes, or a rebadged Detroit like Freightliner is putting in the new M2s? Whatever happened to the days of Ford being Ford, Chevy being Chevy, Dodge being dodge. Maybe I'll just get me an Interforevyodge. It'll either the best of all worlds, or more likely the worst of all worlds