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Need input on gas or diesel for fleet upgrade

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Ne1, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Ne1

    Ne1 Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    Here's my situation. I run a snow only company and have ran Ford f350 diesel trucks for more than 15 years. The only time I pull a trailer is to take a skid loader from site to site etc... As I upgrade trucks from here on out I'm debating if I should just buy gas engine trucks due to the cheaper upfront cost, fuel, maintenance etc.. you get the point. Keep in mind these trucks are only used in the winter months. Thanks for all your input.
  2. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    If the diesels have served you well over the last 15 years I'd stick with them. Otoh if they've been a pita then maybe a change is in order.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    If only used in the winter months, then I'd go gas.

  4. 90plow

    90plow Senior Member
    Messages: 734

    Gas seems the best way to go lately. As these newer diesels get more expensive up front have higher maintenance costs and only marginally more fuel mileage they are less attractive to me. We just bought a gas job chevy and love it. The new diesels are nice just too expenseive and with plowing only the truck will rot out before you get your moneys worth as far as fuel savings.
  5. Ne1

    Ne1 Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    The diesel's have served me well but I'm having a harder time justifying the cost. I guess the biggest down fall that I can think of would be resale value.
  6. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Gas, I think the pros outweigh the cons. Last time I checked, you can still tow equipment with gas engines.
  7. sthoms3355

    sthoms3355 Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 87

    Out of the 11 trucks we use for plowing snow, 10 are diesel. Unlike yourself, we do use them all year long to pull. It is very hard to justify the cost of diesels with the $7000-9000 upgrade, slightly better fuel mileage, and diesel fuel that seems to be running $.40-$.60 higher than gas. But after driving a diesel after several storms than I get in the 6.0 GMC 3500, I definitely miss the horsepower and torque. If you can live with going a little slower and pushing a little less snow, go with the gas. My company personally will keep buying diesels.
  8. mach6353

    mach6353 Junior Member
    from iowa
    Messages: 17

    Push a little less snow?? Guess I never seen a diesel truck push more than my gasser. You might get a little more traction with the diesel being significantly heavier but i have never run out of power.Towing defiantly another story ,our diesels are night and day different but with up front cost higher,diesel fuel higher oil changes higher I am going all gas once our current diesels are traded off.
  9. lawnboy2121

    lawnboy2121 Senior Member
    Messages: 467

    Snow plowing is not about power it's about traction. I run a f600 with a 370 gas motor 165hp it will out push any one ton with a diesel with way more hp. It's all weight and traction
  10. hatefulmechanic

    hatefulmechanic Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    You are wasting money and fuel going with a diesel if you are not working them hard every day.

    My main business is auto and truck repair, I am an L1 Master Auto tech/L2 Master truck tech, and work on all makes and models. The #1 reason for failures on LD diesels is them idling too much or not being worked hard, especially on the 2007+ models with DPF's and EGR. I could go on for days about how the 6.0 PSD got a bad name because people were not working it like it should, and the fact no one was trained or utilized the service information to repair them RIGHT.

    If you are buying new, I strongly suggest going gas, all lines out now have very strong, reliable gasoline engines that will give you reliable service, and a lower up front cost. I have a few diesels, and they are worked HARD (more like abused lol) and I have gas engine trucks. Some of my older ones are a little slow on hills pulling a loaded trailer (I just hauled a Cat 252B to a snow job last night) but do fine for it being an intermittent load. My '97 C2500 with a 5.7 has 403,000 miles on the original engine, and is running great.
  11. jhenderson9196

    jhenderson9196 Senior Member
    Messages: 615

    I agree 100 % with Hateful. I am on my 3rd dodge with a Cummins. It has 300,000 + on it. It hauls an 18,000 lb gooseneck at least 3 times a week. The diesel option didn't even pay for itself until 150,000 miles. New gas motor trucks will get almost as good a mileage in light duty, and hold up just as well if maintained properly .
  12. Wiseguyinc

    Wiseguyinc Member
    from MN
    Messages: 56

    I have owned both. I swithced to gas because: Gas is 80 cents a gallon cheaper here and in the winter diesel goes up because of fuel oil use and mileage goes down with winter fuel. I think it's just a matter of time untill emissions laws make diesels impractical for anything.
  13. Ne1

    Ne1 Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    The the big thing is the price of fuel. As you mentioned it's also $.80 cents more for diesel around here. That really adds up fast when your filling 8-10 trucks up.
  14. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    My opinion on it is if your buying older trucks, go with diesel IF your keeping them for awhile. No sense in paying more for something your only going to keep till it gets past 100k miles or so, otherwise buy gas. I'm also a mechanic, went to school for it, and all that jazz, and realistically after the DEF was added, I personally doubt I'll buy diesel with emission fluid. That and you don't get decent mileage with the new ones, at least not good enough to justify paying 8k more for it. Older diesels IE 7.3, 5.9, and early 6.6's, I'd buy them for snow, but stay away from anything past them.

    Here where I disagree with Hateful here, the 6.0 Ford Powerstroke was a joke, at least 2003, and 2004 motors were, after that they weren't THAT bad, but still not great. Injectors go out more often then they should, even after being properly broke in, always serviced on time, or before due. IF you get a 6.0, install an EGR delete kit, then they aren't that bad.
  15. Eronningen

    Eronningen Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    I've been running a fleet of 5 diesels for 12 years and am starting to rotate the oldest out now. We use them all seasons daily. Daily they pull dump trailers and 16' utility trailers fully loaded. In the winter months they plow. I started buying diesels because fuel was cheaper 12 years ago and they got better mileage pulling or empty as well as the power advantage and lastly being 10 year equipment it pays off.
    Now, after MAJOR problems with my (3) 6.0PSD, fuel being more now, emissions cramping mileage down on the diesels, and the obvious up front costs of the diesels I'm even starting to wonder if diesels are the right answer anymore.
    If I were in your shoes I'd go gas only in a second...........
  16. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    One other advantage of gas over diesels:

    Gas doesn't gell up in the winter....that being said we have 8 trucks on our farm, only 2 have plows on them, they are both gas.
  17. Plow Nuts

    Plow Nuts Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    I am also an ase certified master car and heavy truck tech. I gotta say gas all day long. If you are not going to work the truck hard all day every day than a diesel is not worth it. I personally run an 01 chevy 2500 8.1 v8 with the Allison 5 spd and would not trade it for any diesel. Plus resale.... It is not easy to sell a 200k mile diesel. I found way more diesels when I was looking for my truck. Many of the diesels had been listed on the web for sale for 6+ months. The fwd trucks.hold their value believe me.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  18. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    I ran a 8.1 3500 with an allison and a 6.6 with the allison. MASSIVE difference in mileage. 8.1 pulling a smaller trailer the the duramax: 8 mpg

    Duramax: 24 Mpg with a larger trailer.
  19. Plow Nuts

    Plow Nuts Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    I have pulled an 8500 lb trailer with mine and gotten a best of just under 11 mph, but I did not buy a 3/4 ton truck for fuel economy. I run my 305k mile grand am for that. 29-31 mph. I use my truck for pulling my car trailer, travel trailer, plowing, and coffee runs. Lol
  20. Plow Nuts

    Plow Nuts Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    Beanz...did you have any oil consumption issues with the 8.1? I have heard about them using oil, but have yet to experience it with mine.