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The right Truck - Help!!!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Mikeymo045, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. Mikeymo045

    Mikeymo045 Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2

    Hello,

    This is my first post and I need some help. I have been plowing 2 driveways for the past 2 years with my 2000 Dodge Dakota V8 with 7.5' Western Plow. This year I felt comfortable enough to offer my service to my neighbors and it kind of exploded into 15 people wanting to use me. My questions are as follows:
    - I am considering trading in this truck and upgrading - what would the best truck to handle 15-20 residential driveways?
    - Should my Dakota be able to handle this? the temp gauge has been running hot and I am assuming I need a radiator to handle the plow.?.?
    - I am considering trading in my truck and car to get a year round truck so I only have 1 vehicle - what would you suggest to handle this volume of plowing and also have some decent features for a year round without spending a small fortune (under 20k)

    Thanks for you help!!!

    Mike
     
  2. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,295

    Mike

    - I am considering trading in this truck and upgrading - what would the best truck to handle 15-20 residential driveways? This is a tough on to answer without knowing the driveways; some could be 1/2 mile long, two cars deep, or a goat trail up the side of a mtn. If it's similar to what you've been doing and the Dakota does fine why throw down a pile money on something you really don't need.
    - Should my Dakota be able to handle this? the temp Gage has been running hot and I am assuming I need a radiator to handle the plow.?.? The expense of getting your truck up to par should be considered maintenance/up keep. Lets say for numbers sake you have to drop $2k to get the Dakota winter ready for the plow season, this is a small fraction of a years worth of payments.
    - I am considering trading in my truck and car to get a year round truck so I only have 1 vehicle - what would you suggest to handle this volume of plowing and also have some decent features for a year round without spending a small fortune (under 20k) I'd hold of on buying a truck to replace one that can do the job, but may need some minor work. Plow the season with what you have and throw the proceeds in the bank for when you find the right truck and deal. Also don't forget about getting liability insurance for snow removal, don't operate without it.
     
  3. geer hed

    geer hed Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    You should be able to use the Dakota with no problem. Like BUFF said I'd use it as long as It held up then get a newer one. Besides it giving you the chance to get extra money for a bigger truck, it will also give you time to go out, test drive a couple (even used ones) to see what your gonna like, especially if your gonna downsize to only one vehicle, you will be spending more time in it, so you want to make sure it's comfortable for you.
     
  4. pongow26

    pongow26 Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    May I suggest that if you want to get your vehicle temp to drop crank the heater. Yea you will probably have to put the windows down but it will get the coolant flowing and help cool your truck off, well it does in my chevy, I wouldn't see why it wouldn't work in a dodge
     
  5. Mikeymo045

    Mikeymo045 Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2

    A couple of more questions

    Thank you all for your insight.

    I have a couple more comments/questions below:
    - The driveways are pretty much all the same as I have been doing
    - Except for 1 secondary road that is not that long
    - When you say getting my truck "winter ready" - what do you mean? I have made no modifications to the truck since I put the plow on.
    - Since this is a one truck operation - how do you handle if your truck breaks down - do you have a back up that will plow your accounts if for some reason you can't?

    Thanks again!

    Mike
     
  6. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,295

    - The driveways are pretty much all the same as I have been doing
    - Except for 1 secondary road that is not that long
    As long as plow with the storm sounds like the Dakota should do fine.
    - When you say getting my truck "winter ready" - what do you mean? I have made no modifications to the truck since I put the plow on.
    If you have overheating problems you have something going on that should be addressed. When was the last time you flushed your cooling system, sounds like you have flow issues or need more capacity.
    Winter ready;
    Truck;
    Replace wipers
    Make sure washer pump works and fill res
    Check belts/hoses
    Test Charging system/Altenator
    Clean Battery Terminals and use die-electric grease
    Tranny service,Auto; fluid and filter, Manual, check fluid, change if it's time, check slave cylinder fluid level
    Transfer case check fluid, change if it's time
    Front/Rear Diffs,check fluid, change if it's time
    Check Ball Joints, Rod ends and wheels bearing for play, replace if needed

    Plow;
    Flush Hydraulic system
    Clean all electrical connections and use die-electric grease
    Check light alignment
    Check Cylinder Pistons for rust or pitting
    Check all pivot points for wear and free movement, and grease
    Check cutting edge, replace if needed.
    Once you've done this check plow for operation just to make sure all is good.

    - Since this is a one truck operation - how do you handle if your truck breaks down - do you have a back up that will plow your accounts if for some reason you can't?
    The majority of breakdowns can be prevented with maintenance, routine equipment inspections and playing attention when you're operating the equipment.
    A back up plan is always good, your customers my have to wait for the sub to show up but they will get plowed out. Also if your only doing resi driveways an ATV w/plow would probably work
    Thanks again!

    Mike[/QUOTE]
     
  7. South Seneca

    South Seneca Senior Member
    Messages: 474

    It's a good idea to plan ahead with someone who can help you out of situations. This will be your go to guy if you get stuck and need a tug. If that person is also a one man operation, you can help him too.
     
  8. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    keep what you have and plow with it
    put a heavy duty fan clutch on it to help withcooling
     
  9. scooterdayton

    scooterdayton Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    if its paid off, may want to keep what you have untill you can get a second one, your going to need a backup someday when crap starts breaking. untillthen id try to find somebody else that plows and can back you up incase of emergency. I have 2 backup companies other than myself. as well as im there to support others.
    i personally wouldnt plow with anything other than a 3/4 ton or bigger.
    does that dakota have tranny cooler lines?

    keep that plow only a inch off the ground when transporting, then you dont restric airflow to motor/radiator. in addition to what pongow said, also when transporting crank that heater up and roll down the windows, even if it isnt overheating yet. sometimes you still have to pull over and wait for a bit. pretty common, specailly on lower sitting trucks.

    with all that extra work so fast can i ask what you are charging?
    15 driveways id try make around $500 roughly $30 a driveway
    but thats just me.
    dont undercut, never make any money
    not with replacment costs, maintenance, insurance, bookwork, gas, food and beer
    time is money too

    winter ready for me means: changing oil and ball joints
     
  10. hightop

    hightop Member
    Messages: 47

    If it is the radiator, get the heavy duty one, since as mentioned above, the plow will obstruct airflow, when driving between jobs, keep it as low as practical. Also, as hydro 37 mentioned, check the fan clutch on the fan. I had a '98 Dakota that the clutch went bad and disengaged too easily, led to low speed overheating.
     
  11. CGM Inc.

    CGM Inc. PlowSite Veteran
    from Ontario
    Messages: 3,590

    Maintain your Dakota, make sure it is all working, check into the overheating as already suggested and stick with it. You can do a lot of maintenance and repair on it versus buying a different vehicle.

    It will handle the 20 drives just fine.