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Dilemma about A 1/2 ton

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by columbiaplower, Jan 17, 2002.

  1. columbiaplower

    columbiaplower Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    OK here's my dilemma: Ok right now i run and f-250 with 8.5 fisher and a fisher two stage spreader. What i would like to do u buy a new truck. IN the snowplowing off season the truck would be my estimating truck for the landscaping. It would be my "run around" truck. BUT Id like to also put a plow on it. The truck would run a short plowing route- 3-5 small lots and maybe 20 drives. Id leave the big stuff to the f-250. I was wondering what you guys think of a 1/2 ton truck? What are your feelings about plowing/salting with on? Which of the three brands would be the best for plowing(Dodge, ford, Chevy)? Any other info i should know about using a 1/2 ton truck? This has been puzzling me for a while.
    Thanks in advance
  2. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    If you like Fords,go with the F150HD,its 7700 GVWR,will hold a plow,and a tailgate spreader easily.The Dodge 1500,is 600-6800 depending,the gm is 6400 in most cases.The GM and 7700Ford can both take a regular 7.5 plow according to their literature.If the new truck might end up replacing the old F250 down the road,get a 2500 now.
  3. columbiaplower

    columbiaplower Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    I dont think it will replace the F-250 anytime soon. Its a 96 HD with only 55k miles on it. John don't you have a 1/2 ton you plow with?
  4. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    My one, and only, truck is a Chevy 1/2-ton. I do commercial plowing with mine, but in my case, the salt is kept on site, so I don't have to haul it around with me everywhere. So far, just the usual things have gone bad, shocks & tires. The thing with 1/2-tons is that the spring rates, and the brakes are not meant for large loads. So when you load them down, they're pretty sloppy. But as far as the brakes go, no one can stop any better on ice in a 3/4-ton than you can in a 1/2-ton... so that's not really relavant. A nice thing is that parts on 1/2-ton trucks are cheaper to replace than the heavier trucks, so I guess in that aspect, it's almost an advantage to use a 1/2-ton. Overall... if you be nice to it, it should be fine.
  5. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    I plow with 2 GMC 2500LD's,similar to the 1500,but with a heavier rear end,and bigger brakes.I used to plow with 1500's,I would use one if I had to,but even the 2500LD holds the blade much better than the 1500,the torsion bars are much stiffer.Tim,when we are on salting runs,the main roads are clear,you do the speed limit.I have a full V -box,its small but a yard of salt,and the V-box is still 2600+ lbs.I wouldnt want a 1500,and its little 10x2 car sized brakes if i need to stop,the front brakes lock up,and you'd slide inot whoever is in front of you.The 2500 stops so much better,just from the different rear brakes,and proportioning valve.Ive been using the V box in my 8800 GVWR Dodge the last 2 storms,it stops great,much better than the 2500LD's.
  6. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    I agree, the brakes on 1/2-tons leave a LOT to be desired. All I meant was that on slick pavement, no one is going to be able to stop very well. Also, he didn't say he had a v-box that he was planning on putting in it. He said he was going to leave the big stuff for the 250. Putting a full v-box in a 1/2-ton would be a death wish, no questions asked.
  7. GLS

    GLS Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    I think GM's 1500HD has a GVWR of 8600, but I could be mistaken.
  8. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    The GM 1500Hd is a full 4 door crew cab/short box only,for all intents and purposes it is a 3/4 ton truck,with 1500 emblems.It has the 6.0 engine,and 4L80E tranny,Tim,my V-box is rated for use in 1/2 tons,according to the book that came with it.It is only .85 yds,i heap 1 yard in it.I wouldnt put it in a 1/2 ton,especially with sand.

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    4 of the 7 trucks we are running are 1/2 tons, all but one are fords. We love them. I wouldn't probably buy another plow truck that was 1/2 ton unless it was a residential truck, but I sure can't complain about ours.
  10. Heavenly Green

    Heavenly Green Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I have A 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 ext.cab 6ft box 4x4
    w/5.2 v8 7785 axle. I put load boosters front and rear and bought
    A new Snow-way 7'6" w/down presure clear lexan moldboard
    also put A Trynex 575 mini pro hitch mount spreader I started
    spreading bag salt but then realized bulk was half the price and
    I can carry 1 ton of bulk (sags a little but after a few hoppers full
    its great) Im doing 5 commercial lots pretty good size there like
    shoping strips or plazas then I do 1 restaurant and 20 residentials. As for performance this 1/2 ton truck kicks a$$.
    last night was the first real plow event of the season plowed
    resi s twice but they dont take salt thats the only reason had to
    plow. It took me about 8hrs to get em all pushed and salted.
    IMO the 1500 is A good truck it pulls my 6.5x16' trailer all summer
    and now a plow and salter. This truck has gone over and above
    what I thought it could handle. Next truck will be A 2500Ram
    so it can do the salting & plowing at commercial and the 1500
    will be strictly small stuff and residential.

    You seem to have the right idea expecially if its just
    going to run estimating in summer better gas milage cheaper
    to fix and so on.

    STEVE@S&S Heavenly Green Lawns"LLC":)
  11. alfman

    alfman Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    I also plow with a 1/2 ton Dodge. It's a 2000 Reg. cab short bed equiped a Meyers stl-90 with wings and a buyers low profile spreader. It pushes really well plus it is so easy to get into tight areas.This truck is great for tight lots with cars in it( nursing homes) and apartment complexes. When I bought it my reasoning was, it is my every day driver, got decent mileage compared to the F250 it replaced and its tight turning radius. It has gone through some parts early due to wear (3 sets of front pads and 2 rear u-joints with 50k on it), but I knew that was a possibility when I chose to buy a half ton. I wouldn't hesitate to buy/use a 1/2 ton again.

  12. RAZOR

    RAZOR Senior Member
    Messages: 342

    I have a 94 GMC k1500 half-ton with a 7.5 Western Pro Plow. I have been using it commercialy since new and now I have 300,000 KM on it with no major problems. Still has the original motor,tranny, rear-end. I only had to replace the idler arm and the pitman arm once, the rest of the front end is still original. When the truck was new the first thing I did was put the largest tranny cooler that I could find on the truck, I put an extra leaf spring in the back to help when it is loaded. It has been a great truck. It is mostly used for small lots and residential plowing but It was used for several seasons on a large lot. If you were not going to be doing large lots I think a half-ton will be OK.

  13. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    Holy $#*@!!!

    I think you could do large lots just fine with a 1/2-ton (I do them...) but I don't load mine down with salt. Like I said earlier, I keep it on site.
  14. bubble boy

    bubble boy Member
    Messages: 44

    i would hesitate to say go with the half ton. you might get away with it, but i didn't. tranny done at 10 000 miles.

    are you trying to save the money? thats why we got one, but never again. few thousand is just not worth the risk. and remember warrenty issues exist.

    definately get the tranny cooler as razor said. also in the future you may want to pick up a couple yards of soil, pull a trailer, etc. id rather have the ability and not use it than need it and not have it.

    plus i think one other advantage is if either truck goes down the other would have no problem doing your whole plow list. imagine your 250 gets in an accident at the start of a storm. now you have to plow10, 12 hours with the half ton. with every shift from reverse to forward you'll be saying a little prayer.

    i know some like the half ton cause of the nicer ride, but really no truck rides nicely.
  15. GLS

    GLS Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    SlimJim Z71: 300,000km = 186,420mi, so it's not as many as you think...still a lot, but no holy $#*@!!! :D
  16. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    That pretty good for no serious problems on a plow vehicle though.
  17. CAT

    CAT Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Half Ton what are you crazy?
    That's just a toy. If you're going into business pushing snow get some gear. Take it from a canadian.
    The half tons are just not built heavy enough.
    Nice grocery getter. Not bad for clean up.
  18. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    I completely disagree CAT... it's not like we're hauling a bobcat around in the bed. It's only snow we're pushing. I agree that the 3/4 and 1-tons trucks are more suited for handling a plow, (stiffer springs, bigger brakes) 1/2-tons are more than capable. I've been using my 1/2-ton along side a buddy of mines 3/4-tonfor two years now, and have had no problems keeping up. As a matter of fact, there were several occasions where his truck went down, and I had to finish things. His had 18K miles on it, and mine had 70K. Grocery getter? I don't think so...
  19. bubble boy

    bubble boy Member
    Messages: 44

    obviously it can be done. you can get lucky. guys around here often use mazda b series, tacomas, even one guy with a sidekick.

    but just remember there is a reason snow plow prep packages are offered. 1/2 tons can get tossed around easily with a plow on and with no tranny cooler could be trouble. were not talking a lot of money to move up to the 3/4 ton
  20. mikeg

    mikeg Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I plow with a 79 Ford 1/2 ton and have been very happy with it. It handles a 7 1/2 pro plow very nicely. All I did was put air bags in the front and add a heavy alternater to it. It's got 180,000 miles on it and still had the original trans. Not all of it was spent plowing, but the last 40,000 has only been used for plowing. I change tranny oil every year and maintain the rest of the truck according to the manual. It's been a tough truck. Buddy I plow with has a super duty with a v ont he front and mine seems to keep up pretty well. Being reasonable with the pickup and maintaining it have a lot to do with longevity.