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Thread: Truck selection

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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    304

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    First of all, thanks for the input. I think I've somewhat talked myself in a particular direction. I'm going to kinda layout my business plan for the next couple of years and somebody stop me in they see a major red flag

    Right now I'm doing business with a ranger and and a 3500. I've kept the ranger because I had it and it was payed for. It has been my errand truck. The 3500 has been great, but it's not big enough to pull what I want to eventually do and I don't like the idea of squeezing an 8X8 flatbed into a spot at the mall.

    Any of you that are self-employed on here know that one of the great things is that your personal and professional lives don't have real clean cut boundaries. You also know that one of the worst things is that your personal and professional lives don't have real clean cut boundaries.

    So, here's my idea. Sell/trade both the ranger and the 3500 and get a new 3500 crew cab, short bed, single wheel. I'll build a 6X6 custom bed to go on the back. This will take care of the errands and personal transportation as well has handle the low end of the equipment needs. I've already pretty well developed a good trailer system for the different job needs. That way I can just hook on whichever trailer is need for a certain job (welding trailer, enclosed for carpentry, dovetail for tractor, GN for loader and so on). After all, when you figure the true cost of two pickups (insurance, maintenance, and the lost time/expense of driving back across town to get the whatchamacallit that was in the other one), a little savings on fuel isn't that big of a deal. Then, once that is set up and functioning, I'm just going to bite the bullet and get a "real" truck. Probably pick up a used (but decent) dump truck with a pintle hook, or maybe a used single drive day cab tractor to handle the heavy moves. With that style of truck I don't have to compromise on whether or not to get air brakes, what size truck, trailer, can I work off the bed height...... I'll just find something with a 3406 CAT/13sp road ranger and call it good. This way I'm somewhat streamlining things and providing better definition of equipment usage.

    I'm at that point in my business that I'm either going to nickel and dime things or step up to the plate and pay with the big boys. I've already got $100K of my own and $300K of the banks turned into it, so what's a little more?

    Of course this all is dependent on what the next 9-12 months of business is like and a thousand other factors. But, you have to at least have a plan and goal or otherwise you're just flying blind and end up in chapter 13 court.

    SSS
    Last edited by SkidSteerSteve; 01-09-2007 at 08:34 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wheeling
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    169

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    Could you further define what you need in a truck, lots of information has been given here. I may buy a heavy duty truck at this rate.

    Jerry

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Posts
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    Jerry,

    Well, I wish I could accurately define what my needs are, but they seem to change about every six months Maybe some year things will settle down and I'll streamline things, but for now, I typically need a commuter truck that can still pull a few things and then something I can roll a 30klbs dozer up on and head down the highway. Anyway, here's my suggestion. If you are constantly needing something equivalent to a 350/450/550 style truck, then go ahead and move up to 25,500lbs medium duty trucks. For one thing, you can get them with a myriad of options and configurations that you can't find on the consumer end trucks. You can get them with 19.5 or 22.5 inch diameter tires. I'd stay with the 22.5 and put a low-pro tire on them. With that set up you can get air brakes. I think you can get air with the smaller ones, but it is a special drum and shoe combination that is expensive and not very common. As calweld put it, the trucks are so overbuilt that they basically idle along at the work load you'd be putting on it. Another good thing, it that if you want to buy used, there is a pretty good market out there to pick from. From my searches, I'd expect to spend around 15-20K for a cab/chassis that was about 6-8 yrs old with 150-200K miles on it. Of course, there are newer one, but you'll spend more. If you find one that has too long of a wheel base, don't fret. It is extremely common to chop the frame down to the desired length. In fact the local dealer I talked to said that they when they order a straight truck just to have in inventory, they order the longest wheel base and have it cut down if the customer wants it. All the do is unbolt the rearend , roll it forward, drill new holes and rebolt it. Then cut off what frame you don't want. It's a lot better than having one too short and trying to stretch the frame with all the welding considerations. Feel free to shoot me any questions you might have. I may or may not be able to help, but I'll try! SSS
    Last edited by SkidSteerSteve; 01-12-2007 at 07:12 AM.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Lodi, CA
    Posts
    1,495

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    My truck was actually built as a 32,800 GVWR truck, same brakes, running gear, frame as a class 7 or 8 tractor. Simple, common, and (relatively) cheap parts and tires.

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    Last edited by calweld; 01-12-2007 at 09:42 AM.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wheeling
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    My needs are hard to define also. I just don't have needs as big as yours. If I need one of those super trucks, I would have a small Ford or Chevy also, for when I am need to go to the grocery store and need to get two bags of stuff. That would be cheaper in the long run for me.

    With me, I need a van that affords me some luxury for traveling to job sites that I can drive for 12 or more hours, can double as a sleeper if necessary and can haul 1,500 pounds in the back. Plus has to get O.K. mileage.

    Now I need to haul a trailer with stuff up to 1,200 pounds if the van is full.

    This sumer I will probably buy a pickup truck like a F250.

    Then a larger trailer and then some kind of trailer for camping out at job sites. My work varies greatly and I like to vacation some times after the work is done.


    Jerry

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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    So, calweld, do you ever do anything smaller than 1" plate? I'm guessing the mining/excavation industry keeps you pretty well hooked up. I like your set up. Were you trying to get all that on a 350 at one time? I can see where you needed to up grade. Do you ever have much trouble with the fact that you are only 2WD. I've considered putting a locking rear in if I go with a 2wd straight truck. At least I'll have a little bit of an edge off of the pavement. Every time I think I've made up my mind about what to look for, I think of another idea or avenue. I guess it's really just going to depend what deal comes along first and then I'll make it work. That seems to be the way things usually work out. SSS

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Lodi, CA
    Posts
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    I was welding 3/16" landplane wheels this morning . . . that bucket in the picture was extended with 2" plate, it's now a 15 yard bucket.

    Actually, my customer base is very broad and diversified, I try not to concentrate on any one industry.

    Back when I was using the F350, I used the Miller Trailblazer 250. When I first got this truck, it had a Miller Trailblazer 4G (early '70's vintage), soon replaced with a Hobart Mega-arc 200 (a 325 amp CC machine), in both cases combined with the TB 250 and later the TB301 (for lighter work and the CV capabilities). When I got the Commanders a couple years ago, they have both CC and CV, plus the 500 amps plus I wanted, the second welder seemed redundant, and came off.

    The big problem I always had with weight was I like to carry a healthy assortment of iron with me, plus a good inventory of hardware, fittings, and bolts. And then you add the tools . . .

    Two wheel drive has never been a problem. Even my F350 was only 2WD. I can work a couple hundred feet from the truck if absolutely necessary. An air-locking rear end would be nice, but it really isn't common, when buying used trucks you just have to take what you can get. If the rear end ever goes out, it'll probably be replaced with a locker.

    I guess it's really just going to depend what deal comes along first and then I'll make it work
    That's exactly how it worked with me, the business kind of evolved to fit the equipment. Being in California, with the economic base we have, and the concentration of that base (most of my work is within a 20 mile radius), I had that luxury, you may or may not in your location.

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