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Buying a dump truck -- newbie questions

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment' started by eortheain, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. eortheain

    eortheain Junior Member
    Messages: 11


    Last year I started subcontracting with snow plowing, using a backhoe and snow pusher. I was plowing two big commercial lots about a mile apart, so I could drive the backhoe between the lots.

    Now I'm thinking about buying a commercial dump truck to expand my business. This truck would be used for plowing and sanding/salting during the winters, and to haul dirt and tow a 10-ton backhoe trailer the rest of the year (I do excavation work the rest of the year).

    I've spent the past few months looking at used dump trucks, but the more I look, the more confused I get!

    Since I'll be pulling a heavy trailer (>10,000 lbs), I'll need a CDL regardless of the GVWR of the dump truck, right? So is there any reason to go with a single-axle non-CDL truck?

    And is there any reason to go with a single-axle CDL truck (e.g. a GM TopKick or somesuch, 30K GVWR)? Why would anyone want such a truck in the first place? If you have to have a CDL, why not get a tandem truck in the 50K GVWR range so you 1) get much better traction in the winter, and 2) much greater payload? What am I missing here?

  2. Midwest BuildIt Inc

    Midwest BuildIt Inc PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,280

    The only thing i can think of is 1. the higher the gvw the more expensive the plates are. 2. same with the insurance. I would check it out . just my thought!!
  3. plowed

    plowed Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    I recently bought an '05 Freightliner M2, 35k gvw, single axle with a 10 yard dump body. I too thought about a larger truck, but for cost, I can buy two trucks for the cost of one tri-axle and have more flexibility. Also, this truck can get where the larger ones can't. If I need tri-axles, I can get them by the dozen around here. It will pull large machines and is loaded. For traction it's got the differential lock. Great truck.

    I also have a smaller '01- F-550. It too is a great truck and has it's pros and cons.

    Good luck.
  4. ksu_chainsaw

    ksu_chainsaw Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I worked for KDOT(kansas department of transportation) for one summer. We had international 4700's both single and tandem axles. According to the guys that spent the winter plowing the roads, they preferred the single axle trucks. They didnt have to worry about being overweight, so the singles could haul about 10 tons of salt mix, while the tandems were hauling about 14 tons. They said that the singles had better traction, and were easier to move around in the winter.

    Just what I have learned

  5. 84deisel

    84deisel Senior Member
    Messages: 696

    im my opinion air brakes are a lot safer and stop quicker than juice brakes.
  6. lars

    lars Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    Frist off, what are your needs. If you plan on using the truck for towing, I would go with the single axle truck. Lower price, less fuel use, four less tires to buy, smaller turning radius. On the other hand, a tandem axle truck will haul more if you need to. I actually think a single will get better traction than a tandem. The weight is distributed over fewer tires and will pierce through the snow better.
  7. mossballs

    mossballs Member
    from MN
    Messages: 69

    Best of both worlds

    Let me know if you are still looking for a truck. I have a mack midliner/single ax with a pusher. You can haul 14-15ton with the ax down or lift it up for manuverability and haul 7ton.
    12foot box and hoist/pintle hookup on back/six speed/140,000 miles i bought new.Has extra hyd on the back that you could run sander or plow etc.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2004
  8. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    You will need a CDL , there is no question. Pulling a backhoe , get air brakes , truck and trailer , you will never regret it . Buy more truck than you think you will need , better to have power and capacity in excess than wish you had a heavier truck .
  9. NNJSnow

    NNJSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    Think about it, alot of guys do this, they need a bigger truck so they go out and buy an under CDL rig that can't be used in the future for bigger equipment and expansion. If your business is excavating then for reasons of expanding and the equipment you may use definently go for the CDL rig. No point in getting a rig that youll out grow in a season or so. Look for a peterbuilt single axle. I know a bunch of guys around here that have the peterbuilt single axles with dump bodies, haul around 20 ton trailers and some pretty big excavators. Good luck.

  10. Peopleeater

    Peopleeater Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    I believe the key to under CDL or CDL is the weight GVW. 26,001 and higher needs CDL.
  11. each stat has thier own laws regarding who/what weight you will be required to have a CDL at...ie: in michigan ANY truck/trailer combo OVER 10,000lbs needs a GVW plate (the smallest weight avalible here is 26,000lbs) and a CDL would also be needed...that means a f250 diesel (about 8000lbs empty would need a gvw plate if it can POTENTALY pull more then 2000lbs. has nothing to do with accual weight its what you CAN pull with it not what you are going to pull...atleast here in michigan...

    The best thing to do would be to call your local DMV/or sec. of state, and ask what YOUR states laws are regarding GVW and CDLs

    Only someone that lives in YOUR state is going to have any accurate info for you, but i would still call your local govt.

    hope this helps
  12. bolensdriver

    bolensdriver Senior Member
    Messages: 603

    What type of CDL will you be getting? B or A?
  13. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    I believe the law regarding CDL requirements are federal , and the same across the country . If not and I were living on the border of 2 states I would be legal in one and ilegal in the other and constantly needing tickets. The one thing I know for sure if the plate on the truck says 26,001 lbs ,tou need a CDL , if it has air brakes you need the air brake endorsement so you need a CDL . And if your truck is over 10,000 lbs on the plate or regristration you need a DOT physical card.
  14. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I believe the law regarding CDL requirements are federal , and the same across the country . If not and I were living on the border of 2 states I would be legal in one and ilegal in the other and constantly needing tickets. The one thing I know for sure if the plate on the truck says 26,001 lbs ,tou need a CDL , if it has air brakes you need the air brake endorsement so you need a CDL . And if your truck is over 10,000 lbs on the plate or regristration you need a DOT physical card.

    So, for example, If I had a 3/4 ton (F250) pickup, and I was pulling a small trailer with a Bobcat, say combined tow weight of 10,000 lbs, then I would need a cdl and a dot card or is it just related to the truck weight?????? Is it combined weight of trailer and tow veicle or just tow vehicle weight??
  15. fans

    fans Junior Member
    Messages: 22


    You need one IF you run a truck with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds (i.e. anything over 26,000 pounds) OR you pull a trailer with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more. (Theres a couple of other items here, like placardable quantities of Hazardous materials of any weight (as the placardable quantities vary with the commodity) - but let's not go there).

    So the example with the 8000 pound F250 needing a CDL if they pull a trailer over 2000 pounds isn't correct as that measurement would be called the Gross COMBINATION vehicle weight Rating (GCVWR) - although some sources leave out the "vehicle" in this one. In that case your GCVW (no R for rating in this one) would be 10,000 pounds. So if you have an F250 that grossed 8000 pounds AND are pulling a trailer that is rated at 10,000 pounds or more you need a CDL. Not because the GCVW is 18,000 pounds but because the trailer is 10,000 pounds. This isn't out of the realm of possibility since an F250 can tow in the neighborhood of 9500 pounds.

    To top that all off - it isn't the amount of weight you're carrying that determines the need for a CDL it is the manufacturers GVW or GCVW RATING of the vehicle. You drive a 26,500 pound registered truck (or it shows 26,500 or whatever) on the vehicle id plate you need the CDL, even if you're running empty.

    Now, the question is so what. Why is it a problem? Getting the CDL requires some preparation and an additional test. Yes, it's more expensive. But it's a nit when you look at the cost of operating any truck and it gives you way more options - especially if you want to grow your business. Besides in 5-8 years, I believe that truck drivers down to 10,000 pounds GVWR will be required to have a CDL. It's the fastest growing segment of the industry.

    While you're talking about it. For the guys running trucks 10,000 pounds gross weight and above - how many are following the Federal Motor Carrier Saftey requirements outline in the Codified Federal Regulations (49 CFR)? I'll bet most aren't - but if you travel across state lines on business or are similarly considered in "interstate commerce" you should be as trucks down to 10,000 gvwr are covered. For most intrastate operations that limit is much higher - but the same rules apply. You F450 and F550 / GMC 4500-5500 guys better be aware of the requirements because they can bite you bad.
  16. lamarbur

    lamarbur Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    you have this right on the money,, On other sites the argument goes on, (I pull my JD 4620 compact tractor) or whatever, and I do not need a CDL. WRONG. If you pull a trailer with a GCW over ten thousand pounds regardless of pulling power, you need a CDL. I pull a Bri-Mar 12,000 and get stopped all the time,,, Doesn't bother me as I've had a class one, now called class A CDL since the 60's. The thing is, some areas the cops don't care or don't know so one gets by. In other areas, they do pursue the CDL laws,, A class B CDL is not hard to obtain. It takes some time and some studying, but, not hard to get,, better off is the short term and long term if one wants to expand or just operate bigger equipment for efficiency purposes.
    AS I SAID THIS IS CONTROLED BY YOUR OWN STATE...and you saying a 8000lb f250 pulling a 2000lb trailer is right but only if the trailer can only have 2k lbs on it (includeing its own weight) IN MICHIGAN if your combined weight POTENTIALY can excedes 10,000lbs you need a GVW plate (lowest aval. here is 26000lbs) in other words if you have a trailer that you NEVER put anything on but it could carry lets say 3500lbs then you MUST ADD the weight of the trailer, the possible weight of the cargo (what ever the trailers rated to carry -the weight of itself, as that was the first thing i said) and the gvw of the power unit (the truck in this case)

    my father drove a semi for a lot of my life, not to mention that my brother in law is a michigan state police motor carrier divison...which means this IS what he does....

    as far as this stuff being fedral....kinda, the fed. govt. says you must have certin laws....but they alow the STATE to write them the way they want as long as it covers what the fed. govt. says it has to...
    if you drive in more then 1 state....yes the laws CAN and DO very....its YOUR job to know the laws......

    if you were right then someone could pull 3 trailers anywhere in the USA....cuz it is leagal in a few states....but in michigan the most you can pull is 2 and they must total under a spicific lenght...
    this is controled by the same people who decide who/what needs CDLS and GVW plates...

    Call your local govt. and they will tell you im right.

    Just like things like lettering on the sides of trucks ....state again,....the feds say it must be atleast...xxx size and say whatever..but..the states CAN say WE want it bigger....and we also want this and that on it too.....

    LIKE I said in my orig. post...


    haz mat is another story, but we can have that conversation if you want, i know plenty about it...one divison of my company uses some chems that are or could be used in a fasion to hurt/kill/destroy/ect.. but i think we will just confuse alot of the people on here that already are lost on dot regulations..ect..

    nothin personal man, but this IS basicly both a fed. and a state issue.
    they both add their 2cents into the laws..

    have a nice day.
  18. fans

    fans Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    that is just the most silly response I've heard.

    I'm not going to get into this with you. Yes, the drivers license is administered by the individual states and yes the VEHICLE requirements differ by state. However, the CDL provisions do not. It is illegal for a state to make laws which are more stringent than those of the US Government - with a few minor exceptions such as California Air Resources Board, etc. And less stingent laws can result in that state loosing it's Highway trust money - something that Michigan has never even come close to doing - they aren't stupid.

    Just because your dad drives a truck doesn't mean he knows the laws - meaning the specific regulations. And just because your BIL is works for the motor carrier department doesn't mean he's enforcing driver's license laws. As Michigan Motor Carrier safety is chartered to deal with Vehicle Safety and not necessarily with driver licensing issues.

    You are not getting the difference between "... Vehicle Weight" and "... Vehicle Weight Rating", especially in the example you've stated and the difference is in the details.

    Check 49 CFR and the sections are 391-395 for Commercial Drivers License laws.
  19. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    CDL requirements from the Massachusetts RMV.

    Note for class B: any single vehicle over 26000 lbs.

    Class A- Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination vehicle weight rating GCWR of 26,001 lbs. or more provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs., except a School Bus. With a Class A license and the appropriate endorsements, you may operate any vehicle covered within Classes B and C.

    Class B- Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more, or any such vehicle towing another vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs. GVWR, except a School Bus. With a Class B license and appropriate endorsements, you may operate any vehicle covered within Class C.

    Class C- Any vehicle that is either less than 26,001 lbs. GVWR or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs. GVWR or a vehicle placarded for hazardous materials or designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the operator, except a School Bus.

    Class D- Any single vehicle or combination except a semitrailer unit, truck trailer combination, tractor, or truck having a registered gross weight in excess of 26,000 lbs., a bus or a school bus.
  20. steveair

    steveair Senior Member
    Messages: 176

    My journey into the CDL madness has told me this about requirements.

    Basically, the biggest factor is the Gross vehicle weight of the tow vehicle. Any truck with a GVW >26000 (what is stamped on the inside of the door) requires a CDL class B. If the truck has airbrakes, then you also need the airbrake endorsement.

    Class A is required for any vehicle with GVW >26000 and pulling a trailer >10000, (which is determined by the stamp on the trailer). A lot of guys will buy a cdl B truck, and then buy a <10000 trailer to haul their skidsteer around with to keep under the class A rating.

    The problem with that is weight. Though you can 'technically' pull a 10000 lb trailer with the class b truck, the weight limit is tough to stay under. By the time you put a 8k lb machine on a 10000lb trailer which weighs over 2k, you are pushing the actual weight limit of the law if you were to get a actual weight taken. Also, Most CDL trucks are pushing a curb weight of 12-14k alone, so you have a small window of what you can pull to be 'technically' under the cdl class a endorsement.

    In the case of a backhoe, it may be possible to pull it and stay under the CDL requirements, but it is very tight. For instance, you may be able to get a gooseneck (5th wheel) truck and trailer combo and still move the machine. If you spec a truck out as a straight hauler (no body, just a 5th wheel hitch), you can keep the truck weight around 9k, add in a 3k trailer, and you are at 12k, which leaves you around 13k to play with......very few backhoes are this light though. This is how the car hauler guys get away with (along with all those weekend warriors pulling those 12k campers) pulling those trailers without a cdl.

    I always found NJ to be somewhat funny on one matter. I was told this from the mouth of the NJ state DOT dept. If you buy a non-cdl or cdl truck, you can legally register the truck for any weight you want. For example, If I buy a ford 550, and register it at 42k, I can pull about a 34k trailer load and be legal........as long as the regis. says 42k for gross combination and as long as I have a class A license. NJ does not check the GCWR of trucks.....just the GVW of the vehicle. the only thing I would have to be careful about is the axle weight at the rear of the vehicle. So If I could get a well balanced trailer with low tongue weight, I could lawfully pull just about anything with it....not that you would want to though.

    The bottom line is this though.........for what it is worth, just go get the CDL.......yah, if you have a light backhoe (ie small case 480 or ford 455) you may be able to legally get it to work, but it is just too close for comfort.

    All things considered, with the prices of trucks these days, bouncing up to a CDL rig is not as costly as one may think. Price out a ford 450/550 against a ford 650/750 and see where you are at. Considering how much more truck you are getting, the decision becomes pretty obvious.

    Insurance is going to vary as will regis., but the main thing is to find out what the insurance threshhold is with your insurer. I' was told that rates don't start getting rediculous until you hit the 42k mark. When I insured a 88 ford f700 gvrw of 33K, the liability was no worse than that of my pickup.

    Also, just a quick note.....here in NJ there's a 'loop hole' in the sales tax rating of cdl trucks. If you buy a truck between 26k and 33k, there is no state sales tax, and also, there is no federal excise tax. For some strange reason, the fed tax doesn't start till 33k, and the state doesn't have tax on anything over 26k, so you get away without paying any sales tax at all.

    bottom line is it just makes sense to get the CDL and be done with it. Yes, the test is a pain, but it isn't rocket science. just do it and be done with it.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2005