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How Rough are your Trucks?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by derekbroerse, Mar 6, 2004.


What shape is your truck in?

  1. My truck is fairly new. I keep it as nice as possible.

    131 vote(s)
  2. My truck is older and in good shape. I like it that way.

    61 vote(s)
  3. My truck is ANCIENT and in good shape. Hopefully it stays that way.

    10 vote(s)
  4. My truck is older and showing it.

    28 vote(s)
  5. My truck is a rolling rustbucket. There are Snowdrifts in my cab.

    11 vote(s)
  6. I don't give a rat's you know what about what the image of my truck is.

    5 vote(s)
  1. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Here's a question for you guys... I notice a lot of you have fairly late model trucks... but then again I still see a lot of old, ragged trucks plowing snow. I understand that a low over head helps to make better profit, but what do the customers think?

    Personally, I can't see how one can turn a profit with a brand new truck unless it works all year round--ie: not personal use daily with plowing on the side.

    My experience personally is that I can make maximum dollars with an older truck in good shape. My '82 has been a plow truck since the day it was new, appartantly it used to be from the City of Windsor, Ontario as a ministry truck. Currently it runs a southern body and a tired 305 (the temporary motor thats been in for four years). The 14 bolt has been no probs. Broke a left front axle shaft in the Dana 60 this year, and lost the throwout bearing on the Muncie SM465 so I did a clutch job. Last year I burned out a distributor module on the HEI. I would call this a good track record.

    What do you guys do? Last weekend I went to visit a plow guy in NY that was slowly getting out of plowing... he had kept the best of his fleet of ten trucks and was down to three. If these rustbuckets were his best, I can't imagine his worst. I mean no offence of course, but externally these trucks were downright SCARY looking. Do you think the customers care about image?
  2. lawnmedic

    lawnmedic Senior Member
    Messages: 703

    My 89 is showing the worst wear... was supposed to get body up date last summer, Well maybe this year... No way to make money from just plowing here in cincinnati. Just a filler to keep troops working during the winter months... Of course those annual property maintenance contracts are sweet...Chuck
  3. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    Im not really not concerend on how my truck looks cause i do most of my work in the middle of the night.....Rob
  4. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Truck 1 - 85 GMC 3/4 ton. A little rust and at least one dent on every panel. Was originally a manual trans, converted to 400 turbo. This truck is tough as nails and will plow head to head with any 1/2 - 1+ ton truck out there.

    Truck 2 - 90 Chevy 1 ton. 454 and 400 turbo. No rust, but a few dents here and there. Only 2nd year as a plow truck. So far this truck is a real snow mover.

    Truck 3 - 79 Chevy 1/2 ton. Some rust on exterior panels, plenty of dents, floor has been patched so many times I can't count. This trucks been a plow truck all its life and just won't die. I keep thinking about retiring it, but it makes more money every storm than its worth. The 7 1/2 Meyer plow is worth more than the truck itself. This truck has never missed plowing a storm and is driven by hired help. Trans been rebuilt 1 time and the engine has over 200K on the bottom end. Transfer case and axles are all original.

    Truck 4 - 84 Chevy 1/2 ton suburban. Lots of fender & rear door rust. Plenty of dents. Floor pan solid. Converted old diesel truck now gas 350 with a 400 turbo. One tough truck that won't die.

    As you can see we plow with old trucks. I have absolutely no problem getting work. We have no truck payments, low overhead, we keep our trucks mechanically sound and have a list of backup subs, which we rarely have had to use.

    Our customers are buying our QUALITY of service not are appearance. In fact, 95% of the time we are plowing at wee hours of the morning. I never even see the customer, they just see the quality of our work when they arrive at their place of business in the morning.

    When I go after new customers I have never had anyone ask about my equipment, references yes, equipment no.
  5. bnrhuffman

    bnrhuffman Member
    Messages: 83

    This was the first season plowing with my 97 F350 PSD dump truck. I dont know, is 97 old or new? Im usually a little off on that because I tend to take care of my vehicles and run them forever. Ive got a 96 Cherokee that I bought new and with over 100000 miles, its still new to me. It seems newer to me than the 97 F350 with less than 60000 miles that I bought last year.
  6. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    I too have a plow truck that has plowed snow it's entire life. I have never had a payment on it, I bought it for cash 4 years ago.
    My wife gave it the name "The Big Red Drain" because of all the parts / tires I put into it the first month I owned it. But it payed back the money the first month it plowed. It earned back the purchase price by the end of the first season. I have never put more then $200 in parts in it a year since I bought it. Now, if I was not an advanced back yard mechanic it would be different story! Books / manuals, read them,the info's in a book,somewhere!
  7. elite1

    elite1 Senior Member
    Messages: 187

    Always new trucks. I have spent too much $ on parts and repair. From now on, when the truck hits 36,000 or 5 yrs, I will sell it. I can afford to make a $800 per mo. payment, because it should not break down, but if it does at least it is not at my expense. I could not run the risk of using a older plow or truck, after that much abuse I don't trust them. I think of this as prevenative maintenance. Replace it before it breaks.
  8. kipcom

    kipcom Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 455

    WE have everything from a "beater" ...to late model trucks. They all are maintained well and perform well. Good skilled operator and good equipment get the job done..

    Its not how it looks, but how well it performs :D ( so my beautiful wife tells me ) :eek:
  9. bgingras

    bgingras Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    1986 K30 dually, 9x7 flatbed, 9'fisher. this truck has plowed for city's, private, you name it...I'm the 3rd, 4th, or 5th owner...dunno. New body when we got it back here...paid 2750 for the truck, paid $800 for the repairs I did when we got it back here...doors, rockers, new PT in the bed, sandblasted bed and frame, re-painted. New push beam, radiator, and water pump. New Rotors, axle u joints, and tires.

    other company truck - 1986 P30, paid 2000 for it, only 64k miles. Did $500 when we got it back here...tires, brakes and master cylinder.

    I own both trucks, no payments...I do regular repairs on them...but I love working on the trucks, it's like a treat. My repairs prolly don't even run in a year what most are paying per month for some of the truck I see.
  10. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    OK let me try to define this designation.... maybe that will help a bit. Personally, I would call 'newer' say '98 to present. 'Older' could be say '88 to '97..... 'Ancient' could be anything Pre '88. I classified my 82 as ancient but in good shape.

    Personally, I would have to agree with bgingras. This year was my most expensive breakage do date, it was mainly the left front axleshaft because I couldn't locate a used one quick enough for my liking (remember even eBay items get hung up crossing the border) and since my tires are no hell 2wd just wasn't cutting it for me. The total bill for that one (I let them install it so I could catch up on some sleep that week!) was $778.51 CANADIAN (around $500-600US), $150Cdn of that was labour (the sleep was worth every penny, trust me). The clutch was a whopping $250Cdn or so after taxes (we thrashed overnight on that one). So you can see even a 'disasterous' year for my truck was about the same as one month's payment on a new one.

    Truth is, it helps to have good friends when things like this arise. But remember it works both ways....!

    I think we can all agree that a solid axle truck is stronger than late model IFS and such (Not sure what GM is thinking on 1 tons!) and for that reason to me an older full framed solid axle truck will always be more robust than a newer one. There's a reason why we nicknamed my truck 'The Bomb'..... its steel and cast iron and nothing else!!! lol

    My ideal is to take a late model Cummins Turbo Diesel and NV4500 and swap it into my old truck. I feel this will be the best of both worlds. But for now the old 305 temp. motor will have to do til' spring.... then my TBI 383 stroker will take its place along with a Ranger overdrive from Advance Adapters. This should help a little. ;)
  11. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Also, if the truck is under warrenty, wouldn't you have to prove that you snowplowing with it isn't considered abuse that would void your warrenty? Even if it is decided in your favour, how long will that take to get the truck up and running?
  12. cocco78

    cocco78 Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    72 scout II held together by rust and bailing wire. The floors are custom plywood...

  13. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    My truck is in good shape. Its not only a plow truck i drive it everyday so it stays in top shape.
  14. Turfmower

    Turfmower Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    I say any thing with Carb is Ancient. and 2000 up is new
  15. evil snowman

    evil snowman Member
    Messages: 65

    my isnt really a truck, is an old craftsman all rust.:drinkup:
  16. Team_Yamaha

    Team_Yamaha Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    Here are the conditions of my trucks

    Truck 1-(shop truck)used to pull 763 Bobcat and Kodiak to jobs. 1994 F-150 4X4 300-6, 5spd, 165,000 miles and just starting to show a couple little rust bubbles on the drivers side cab corner, no dents

    Truck 2-(plow truck) also stock and modified stock pulling truck in summer. 1997 F-350 4X4, heavily mod. 460, 5spd, 65,000 miles. No rust or dents

    Truck 3-(sanding truck/personal use) tow commercially in the summer. 1999 F-350 DRW SC 4X4, PSD with a few power goodies, 6spd, 240,000 miles. No rust or dents

    Truck 4-(plow truck) also used to tow commercially in the summer. 2003 F-350 SWR, reg cab, FX4, heavily mod 7.3L PSD, 6 spd, 70,000 miles. No rust or dents.

    I also just bought a (rust free from Texas) 96 F-350 4X4 with a blown up 460, that I am having a new motor built for, hoping for 650-700 hp for pulling. And turning the 97 into a work truck
  17. 85F150

    85F150 Senior Member
    Messages: 340

    my plow truck is an 85 f150 with 4.9 and 153000 miles..it is starting to show its age slightly with rust, but looks worse from my off roading i do in it...body panels are flat instead of curved and i usally bury it every weekend in mud up to the doors and hasn't let me down yet...knock on wood
  18. jbrow1

    jbrow1 Member
    Messages: 76

    My main plow truck is an 86 3/4 ton gmc, 350 motor, 400 trans. Mechanically it's pretty much brand new. Rebuilt motor, trans, and t-case 3 yrs ago. And a new/used front axle. It's due for a face lift this summer. I've run the truck since 94. I'll never get rid of it because I can fix anything on it myself, and it's a reliable truck. My 2000 GMC 1/2 ton 4x4 blew a rod out the block at 34,000 miles. You can't beat the ride and style of a new truck, but I'll always trust my older chevy's the most. Not to mention I paid $3600 cash for the 86, so it's paid for itself many, many times.
  19. 84deisel

    84deisel Senior Member
    Messages: 696

    My 84 doesn't look bad but runs even better. Its been patched up on the body but I trust it more than a lot of my newer company trucks. Both 88 blazers look great and run excellent. All my trucks are paid for and since I am an Ase certified master tech I keep them running in top shape. Yes I too can afford the $800 a month payment but it looks much better sitting in the bank payup :p
  20. Rymm420

    Rymm420 Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    3 of our trucks are 98 and we have 1 95 all dually Dodge CD

    These trucks are gone through very thorough every year, seats come out floor liner comes out floor dried painted with rust converter, tranny change 2 times year, frame painted, rims painted the chrome simulators go over but keeps the rust down on rims. front rear diff checked.

    I can't imagine letting a frame go for more than a year without paint the way these look. Especially 2 are salt trucks.