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Buying a new dump truck - need help with comparisons

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Lawn Lad, Apr 8, 2003.

  1. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    This isn't a Ford/Chevy question - so I posted it here. I know this has been debated before (read the threads) but I figure I'll ask for input now that this winter season has passed and you guys have had a chance to see how your trucks have performed.

    I'm looking at a 4500/5500 or 450/550 dump truck. I think I want the larger of the two, either the 5500 or the 550. I'm a GM guy, but not sure I like the GM's. Turning radius is great, test drove one today. But would certainly consider a 550. Most of what I've read indicates that those who have had both prefer the 5500 over the 550. Anyone care to chime in on this and why you prefer one over the other?

    It makes sense to buy bigger. But what is the difference between the 4500 and the 5500? Rear axel and springs?

    Here's the open ended question... what truck would you choose and what would you buy? I know dealer support is important.

    Here's what I'm thinking in broad terms...
    The truck will be used primarly for salting during the winter - though I'll have a plow to use as back up in big storms or touch up aprons/aisles, etc. I'll use it to landscape in the summer, but I'm buying for snow. I plan to keep it for five or so years and then turn it over. So stainless bed isn't of interest. We don't get a ton of miles on our trucks - so I'm leaning towards gas unless persuaded to diesel.

    Truck - to be determined (4500/5500 or 450/550)
    Gas engine most likely - don't put enough miles on to justify diesel?
    Automatic trans
    Central hydraulics
    10' bed (Galion - but open to suggestions) - just underbody boxes
    Under tailgate spreader (most likely stainless) - no brand preference
    Boss V blade (9' or 10' - tucks in nicely on front of truck to do salting)

    At the moment this is the direction I've taken. Much to be determined. I'm interested in any suggestions you guys might have.

  2. gslam88

    gslam88 Senior Member
    Messages: 168


    Doing a little searching ... here is what I have found for you

    General Motors
    GM has officially turned its new GMT560 medium-duty truck chassis into the 2003 Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC TopKick models. The Kodiak and TopKick names should be familiar to commercial fleets since they were used by GM from the early '80s through the mid-'90s.

    The Kodiak/TopKick C4500-C5500 Series (Class 4-5) has been redesigned and re engineered from the ground up for 2003. With regular and commercial cutaway chassis cabs to vocational packages like school bus, fire and rescue, and snowplow configurations, there are more model choices than before — crew cabs and 4WDs are still on the horizon. GVWRs range from 16,000 lb for the C4500 to 18,000 lb and 19,500 lb for the C5500.

    The new Kodiak/TopKick C6500, C7500, and C8500 trucks replace GM's conventional-cab C-Series with regular and crew cab, chassis cab offerings. With GVWRs covering 19,501 lb to 61,000 lb, model ranges include LoPro, Tandem, and Tractor chassis configurations.

    In addition to an improved ride and handling, the Kodiak/TopKick line for 2003 features better maneuverability and visibility, expanded powertrain choices, upgraded serviceability, and advanced chassis and braking systems.

    New for the Super Duty F Series is a 6.0-L V8 diesel engine that increases power to 325 hp and torque to 550 lb-ft. This engine will be available on the 2003 model F-450 and F-550 chassis cab models.

    Other changes to the F Series in 2003 include hydraulic brakes and an optional 18,000-lb GVWR towing package for the F-650. Air or hydraulic brakes are available for the F-750, with an optional 26,000-lb GVWR towing package, as well as an 8,500-lb front axle and 17,500-lb rear axle. The F-650 and F-750 will offer a special National Hi-Back Air Ride driver's seat as an option; it will be available immediately for the 2003 regular cab model, and later in the year for the crew cab version.

    Now that is what I found... but I still hear in my head more question for you to answer....

    The primary use of the truck is for snow plowing... roads, highways, commercial lots, residential... or a mixture of both... ???

    I think if your doing roads, highways ... then these are not the size trucks your looking at... you need to go larger 33k gvw and bigger...

    if you doing smaller stuff then I would think about your smallest tightest customer... the 4500/5500 is physically bigger than the 450/550... and its not the open space that it will be a problem it will be in the tight spots that it will be.....

    will you be hauling with it?? do you have accounts now so that you could be out 24 hours or more??.. is so I think you will be happier with the Diesel... better mileage......

    On central hydraulics... just an fyi... it will always be more than your thinking.... but cheaper if you find a truck already setup with it....

    You also stated that you want a tailgate spreader... have you considered a V-Box ... just curious??

    Have you also considered a International 4000 series if you decide to go with the 5500...

    I have an International 4900 with 10' body... class 8 truck... probably what you would pay for a new 450 ... just an idea...

    Also have you looked into a truck a couple years older instead of new...

    That is my .02

  3. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Thanks Pete for your thoughts. I read most of what you posted from the searches.

    The primary purpose of the truck will be for salting. The plowing will be commercial lots and entry roads, if any. I do no street plowing. The truck will not be assinged to plow any lots - but will only serve as back up during heavier storms.

    I will not be running the truck 24 hrs or for hauling. I don't expect that the truck will get more than 8,000 to 10,000 miles a year, based on my current use for my one tons of about 6,000 to 7,000 miles a year. This is for both landscaping and snow plowing.

    I am thinking under tailgate for several reasons: 1) ability to carry more salt due to reduced weight of equipment; 2) lower cent of gravity; 3) storage; 4) ability to use dump bed in transition seasons without removing the V box.

    I'll look into an International. Had not thought about this option. As well, I'll look at used. I'm little hesitant to buy used since I'm less mechanically inclined and don't have the knowledge or comfort level in determining what's a good truck or not and to fix the little things that will eat up a budget by constantly going to a mechanic to fix. The largest truck I have had previously is the 12,000 GVW 1 ton's - so I know I have different options stepping up to this size truck. And so much of it is customized - it's not like buying a pick up truck. Marrying the different components is important or I won't be happy with the end result.

    I'm curious what's worked for others in this size vehicle. Thanks again for your input.
  4. lamarbur

    lamarbur Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    If I was in a market for a new dump, I would seriously look at

    they have a ready to go truck and this style sander I have personally used. Can't be beat by any of the others

    I am a Dodge man, too bad they do just Ford
  5. gslam88

    gslam88 Senior Member
    Messages: 168


    The other person you should talk with is either Pelican over in NY or Plowking (PostKing) Dino on that size truck... I know Pelican put together a truck you would be interested in... however if memory serves me right ... he is a 350 or maybe 450 size truck...

    Give them a shout...

  6. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    My truck is a 550 from Tarrant Mfg. It works GREAT, but is pricey.

    I haven't looked at the GMs too closely, but I can give you a review of the 550. Mine's a diesel/6 speed, the powertrain works great, but the rear is so low geared (4.88) that fuel mileage suffers. I get 9 mpg with the diesel, I expect gas would be worse.

    I have only one complaint with the truck in general: the rear axle is set too far forward in my opinion. With a heavy load, the rear end squats badly and lightens up the front axle, making the truck a bit squirrelly in some cases. I looked into moving the axle back, but the way they have the fuel tank mounted would require lots of fabrication. I'd compare this to the 5500 and see if theirs is set back further.
  7. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I'd step up and go with an International.There are lots of them around,cheap and easy to maintain and repair,and work way better than a HD pickup.

    Look around for a used unit,you may just find one with a MC style plow,and a dump body\salter.They are a very common combo used for city streets and highways.Usually are setup with central hydraulics too.Usually have a DT466 inline 6 diesel.You may find a few with a PSD,but stay away as they don't hold up in this size truck.

    Under tailgate salters are they way to go.I have had v-boxes,2 way boxes,etc,etc,and the undertailgate units are far superior.Easy and cheap to operate.
  8. gslam88

    gslam88 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    Last edited: Mar 15, 2007
  9. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    How is this not a Ford/Chevy question? You ask for a comparison between... yup Ford and Chevy.
  10. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    Do you NEED it to be 4x4???

    If so, you only have Ford as a choice.

    GM is letting Ford rule the roost in the 12K to 20K GVW market. Plus Ford offers all with 4x4!

    WAKE UP GENERAL MOTORS! Your missing a BIG chunk of the pie here!

    The van body cab still disturbs me though. Why not keep it a C/K cab like the old 3500HD's???
  11. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    CT18Fireman - it's not a specific Ford/Chevy question for one of the forums where I would post a specific question - that's why I posted it in the general section.

    I'll look into the International and compare to the 5500 and 550. Since we do residential landscaping the smaller truck seems like it might be the better bet for manuervability. I've seen a number of the medium duty Internationals out salting. Looks like a solid set up and pretty popular.
  12. Wilburn Parks

    Wilburn Parks PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 64

    I bought the Ford f-650 and it is a great truck in my opion. It has a Boss 10' plow and under tailgate stainless steel spreader. One reason I went with the f-650 2 wheel drive over the f-550 4x4 was that it was only $10,000 more but it was 26,000 gvw compared to 17,000 or 17500 gvw for the f-550. For me this was a great truck for plowing. I only plowed for 2-3 hrs at start of plowing then broke away to salt rest of night. This truck sure seems like it has a better turning radius then my F-250. This truck has the Cat motor in it and central hydralics on the motor, not the pto. The last time I bought salt this year I had to go to another place to buy because my regular guy was out for the year and they sell by weight and I told them to load 12 yards as I have sides built up and the truck weighed out at over 36,000 lbs. For me this is a sweet truck. Can't compare to GM because never drove one and don't know how much gvw they are.
  13. gslam88

    gslam88 Senior Member
    Messages: 168


    Are you saying that when you were loaded with sand/salt that you were 36,000 on a truck that has a GVW of 26,000....

    around here if motor vehicles or DOT grabbed us... your looking at about a $10,000 fine..... .:nono: :nono: :nono: :nono:

    What is your light weight on that truck...around 15,000lbs or so??

    I have an International 4900, light weight 13,000.... put 12 maybe 12.5 tons of stone on their and that is about it... depending on who is loading....

    All of us have over loaded our trucks... but I try not to push my luck that much... most of the time....

  14. phillyplowking1

    phillyplowking1 Senior Member
    Messages: 412

    I've got 2 f-650s ones a 1999 with a powerstroke and a 2002 with a cat ,both have 10' meyer plows and central hydros with under tailgate spreaders.These trucks go out with the city plowing streets and they work great for that.
  15. 99SDPSD

    99SDPSD Senior Member
    Messages: 118

    I have a 00 550 with 9' galion body. It has been a great truck and serves my purposes well. It manuvers quite well around in tight areas. I am running an old RTII style Boss 9'2 V on it. Boss does say that the 9'2" is to light a plow for the truck. But I did not need a 10' plow and the additional 300lbs + weight. The truck has also been a great towwer for hauling around equipment. But 4x4 is great for when going off road. Also since it has lock out hub you also have the option of 2 wheel drive low range which isnt avaible in dodge or gm.
  16. 66Construction

    66Construction Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    If you're going to use it primarily for snow why buy new. There are plenty of auctions coming up. I just went to look at the trucks about to be auctioned here, everything from 1 ton dumps to International dumps to an F800 4X4 most have central hydraulics, plow frames some with plows and salters. While to F800 is a bit big for residential landscaping the internationals aren't. These trucks go for around 5k some less a few more. It might be worth looking into. If it's only going to see limited use the only reason I can see buying a new one would be peace of mind.

  17. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Has oneyone purchased a 550/5500 gas engine and regreted it? I'm wondering if the gas mileage will make me miserable and if the diesel isn't the way to go. If the 4500/5500 have essentially the same 8.1 L engine the 2500 HD's have, my mileage is bad enough with the 3/4 ton, I can only imagine it being worse hauling/plowing in the 5500.
  18. motherslawn

    motherslawn Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 3

    I own a 2003 Kodiak 5500 with 4-5Yard Stainless Sander and 10ft Diamond Plow..

    I live in Maine and we get PLENTY of snow..

    I found I don't need 4x4.. Never gotten stuck yet.

    The Truck is Diesel.. On a truck this big.. Gas is not a option for me..

    Tight Turning, Great View from inside cab, better heated windows.

    Only way to go.. Much better for Plowing than the Ford..

  19. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    if you decide on GM ( and who wouldn't) I believe there are one if not two 4x4 conversions for the GM trucks.

    look up Monroe Truck Equipment or FABCO

    I thought I had heard that GM was going to offer 4x4 in 2004 or 2005 I don't know if that happened or not ( if it didn't GM better get off its DONKEY !!!!!!!!!!!!!
  20. myo

    myo Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    2005!!! That's when they 4x4 will be coming in the 4500/5500. Production starting in June/July. That is what I'm waiting for. I saw the brochure for it today and it is one tough looking truck:eek: