Diesel or gas for plowing


Ontario, Canada
I am searching for a second truck to use as a plow/sander truck. I hope to get as close to three or more yards of sand/salt per load and I see more diesel trucks available than gas in one ton ( in my area of southern ontario) . I am a little afraid of diesel just because I have no experience with them. So my question would be is one better than another for this application, I know diesel is more expensive to purchase, and secondly, what sanding unit will hold this kind of capacity. Thanks alot.


PlowSite.com Veteran

First you have to make two choice?

1. Do you want to run a truck that is not overloaded?

2. Do you mind running a truck that is overloaded and maybe unsafe.

If you answer to Number 1 is a yes. Then you need to pass on a 1 ton truck and move up to a 2 ton. Ie a Ford F 550, and if your going to get something that big, go with the Powerstroke Diesel, and the 488 rear end, which is a real heavy duty truck rear end. Not some pick up rear end on steroids.

If you plan on carrying 3 yards of sand or salt, then you payload is going to be too much for a 1 ton to be legal. Yes the truck will haul it, however it is way overloaded.

If you answer is Number 2, Then just go buy a 1 ton.

Gas or Diesel?

Well how far and how much are you going to use the truck. You will use less fuel with the diesel, however just plowing with it will not be enough of a fuel savings to equal the cost of the diesel engine. However if you plan on hauling, towing, and plowing with the truck a lot, the diesel will pay for the extra cost in fuel savings. The diesel will cost about 4K new.

I started switching to all Diesel in my fleet, when the Superduties came out. These trucks had a better trans than the old F -Series, and with the superduties, ya could plow with a diesel. I have noticed a major drop in fuel use, after putting more diesels in the fleet. Only my trucks travel long distances, with fuel payloads, and work the diesels work well.

Just remember a diesel is designed to be run hard and long. So if you are planning on running them for 10 mins and then shutting them off, the gas may be a better choice.



Senior Member
Monee IL
f-550 diesel 4x4 with a boss 10ft v blade and a downeaster v box get the diesel if u ever need the power it is there and if don't no much about the diesel just ask ur dealer about them or buy a book on the diesel engine.

hope this helped

Adam :D


PlowSite.com Veteran
Somerville MA.
Peewee, Geoff is correct, it sounds like you will need a 450-550 type of truck from what you have described in your post. I also have the diesel, and Geoff is also correct when he writes that the amount of travel and the type of work you'll be using this truck for should determine if you buy the diesel or not. As for myself, I don't put 20,000 miles per year on my truck, and I don't tow anything of any real weight so I guess for me the diesel is a luxury, but it's one I wouldn't be without (like ac). You may also want to checkout www.ford-diesel.com Good luck.


Senior Member
Fairbanks AK
Don't know too much about plows, but I've put a few miles on the Ford Super duty in both gas and diesel. The diesel truck is the shop truck and has the powerstroke, with an automatic. Regular cab 4x4. It hauled around a big slip tank (not sure how big but LARGE), power greaser and full set of tools. The other truck is an F350 2 wheel drive crew cab stake bed with the V10. I was not impressed at all with this truck. The trans hunted a lot, and was very mushy. The power stroke pulled like a champ and the shifting was much more positive. The V10 would power out pulling our enclosed trailer up hills where the diesel would motor right up without slowing. Not sure how the diesel did for mileage numbers, but the gas one never saw the happy side of 10 mpg. Remember, the new GM medium duty trucks will be coming out shortly, and then you could have an allison/duramax combo in a vehicle that would legally haul around that big sander :D



Senior Member
Ok I am a F 550 Psd owner I love this truck. I wish that when I bought my 99 F350 it was a 550. It has great plow pushing power and tows great.

10,100 lbs Light wieght with me in the truck
980lbs Boss 9'2" V plow
760lbs Ice O Way 9' SS sander

11,840lbs total wieght estimate with out sand

17,500lbs Gross ieght rating
11,840lbs Total estimate with out sand

5,660lbs Avialable payload = 2.83 tons

1.25tons per a yard of wet sand= 2.26 yards of sand with out being overwieght

This is an estimated figures based on my truck depending upon how you set up your truck wieghts will very.

john r

Senior Member
If you decide on a diesel but can't aford a new diesel truck be very leary who you purchase it from. Older Ford diesels have some problems mainly due to owner neglect! What a way to treat a diesel workhorse. Do your research carefully on these engines. Ford diesel remans are about 7K instaled.

84 f250 8.5 pro plow 6.9 diesel Banks turbo
88 f350 7.5 meyer pro wings poly edge 7.3L diesel
99 f450 8.5 Western V plow 7.3L power Stroke diesel
87 f700 10' western ford turbo diesel
95 f800 10' western cummins turbo
john deere backhoe JD diesel
ASV posi track Isuzu diesel

Good luck with used. Everyone will tell you it runs great and all you have to do is change the oil and filters----BULL****. Here's a good example: Why am I loosing coolant after 100miles? Wait till you check your oil level and find coolant on your dipstick.
When I bought my first diesel I got burned! BE CAREFULL


Senior Member

I own a F350 SRW with a PSD, and a F550 dump with a PSD, no comparison to a gas engine. Last season was the first plow season with the PowerStroke & wow what a difference, the F350 hardly worked to push snow & got about 10 mpg to boot. Be careful of the F550 dump if you go with the auto tranny. I have said setup with a pto driven dump & the tranny is being replaced. Other than that, the 550 tows unbelievable. Was told by Ford dealer in another part of the state that the tranny was being redesigned for a new pto clutch??? we'll see


Junior Member
southeast iowa
Hi i have a 1991 3/4 ton dodge cummins turbo diesel with a western sander that i always load up with 4,000 pounds of sand and never have a problem with, but i also have a $250 set of firestone air bags on the back witch gives me up to 5,000 pounds of extra load carrying capability so good luck with your decision
Get the 550 diesel. Plenty of weight capacity for what you plan to move, and you'll wonder why you didn't get a Powerstroke sooner.

Don't haul sand, but my plowing rig is fantastic with the Powerstroke. I couldn't be happier.


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