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Does horsepower matter when buying a truck?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by ALCCLLC, Dec 13, 2007.


    ALCCLLC Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    This is a newbie asking and could prob go in another forum but I wanted some responses from several experienced guys.

    My boss has a '96 F250 HD 4x4 Supercab with a 460 cu in motor. It has the tow package and is high in miles, like around 175,000. Many of those miles have been on the highway and it was well maintained and serviced very regular and looks great, runs great. I took it home and drove it for a day and am very happy with the truck's performance, considering the miles, that 460 runs real good and I think has a lot of life left in her. That motor will be thirsty tho....

    So will the benefit of having that kind of horsepower pay off for the gas usage?

    Is it just a matter of opinion or what do most of you guys have under the hood?

    I plan to put a 9' snoway on her. Got a good used one lined up and plan to put a spreader on the truck also. not intime for the snow we are getting this weekend unfortunately.

    Thanks gentlemen for you feedback
  2. canoebuildah

    canoebuildah Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    We have a 1995 Ford 15 passenger van here at work with a 460 ci engine. Although it is the oldest in the fleet, its the vehicle I prefer to drive. It has power to spare and runs like a champ with 225xxx miles on it. It has the original engine and trans. Yes, it does burn gas but not much more than the 2004 15 pass van with 5.4L. That van is constantly revving especially with a full load. I think that if they were both running empty the 5.4L would have better gas mileage but the 460 doesn't have to work so hard.

    I picked up a load of galvanized dock hardware that weight over 2750 lbs. One pallet in the back door and one pallet through the side door. There is one long hill on the way back up to camp from Portland through Sebago. The 460 didn't even downshift while going up that hill. The 5.4L has to downshift twice to go up that hill while empty.

    As long as you are not using the truck for a long distance daily commute, I'd say go for it.
  3. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    when in doubt get the bigger motor my 350 is gutless compared to the 454s i have driven i bought a 350 to save fuel the thing is they are close to what a 454 gets i am kicking myself now for not going with the big block.

    ALCCLLC Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Good feedback bro.

    That is what my feelings were. The motor will be reliable and not stress so much under load. By reading other threads I see gas mileage isnt great plowing snow anyway. My boss is asking $5k for the truck and i was going to see if he would come down some. I will use the truck for plowing only. I am also looking at a 1980 GMC 3 ton spreader to put a plow on. both seem like good plow trucks...
  5. canoebuildah

    canoebuildah Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Just make sure that you let that engine warm up and start moving oil before taking off. There is a noticable difference in letting it idle for 1-2 minutes rather then taking right off.
  6. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    keep in mind that a smaller engine has to work harder to do the same thing as a larger engine which in turn will not only die a quicker death but also have used more gas to do the same work.
  7. ProSeasons

    ProSeasons Senior Member
    Messages: 624


    Why not get the best of both worlds? Crazy horsepower, stupid torque and superior fuel mileage and reliability.

    Look for a used diesel.
  8. jjklongisland

    jjklongisland Senior Member
    Messages: 470

  9. Metro Lawn

    Metro Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,306

    Horsepower isn't the issue.

    Most of the semi trucks running down the highway have less horsepower than most late 60's muscle cars, yet they drag 80,000 pounds like nothing. It is all in the gearing through the trans and rearend.
  10. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,237

    Hehehehe, I was waiting for someone to give the real answer to the question.

    Unless you're racing the truck, HP means nothing. Torque is what counts in plowing, towing, hauling, just plain ole working.
  11. canoebuildah

    canoebuildah Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Our van was a Colorado resort airport shuttle vehicle that had 80k miles the first year. My boss bought it and since then it has been summer use only. We garage it for the winter so the body is still in very good shape. The interior is not in the best shape and that's due to 11 years of hauling around dirty hikers and wet canoeists.

    ALCCLLC Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    May I rephrase the question then. What would be the optimum tranny~rearend setup for plowing.

    And thanks for the straight forward answer. I will find out what gears are on the truck as i dont know right now. It felt like it was geared kindo low. It would get up and move on the highway once the rpms were up but its not built for highend so....The motor feels really strong and it looks great. i trust the man when he said maintanence was done regular. Got a good feeling about it.

    Thanks guys!
  13. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,237

    Unfortunately, that all depends on tire size, wheel size, torque the engine provides and at what RPM it provides optimum torque. There is no set answer for all vehicles, it varies from truck to truck.

    Generally, the lower the gearing, the better for towing and plowing. Higher for highway or driving around town. Very generally.
  14. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    But what do you know!:D
  15. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,237

    Enough to not want to drink Schlitz. xysport :nod:
  16. cornbinder

    cornbinder Senior Member
    Messages: 348

    in my experience it's not the horsepower, it's the weight of the vehicle to a certain extent. i have a 91 dodge 3/4 ton ext. cab with a 360 gas and 4.10 gears with a boss 9-2 v plow. i have never run into an issue where the truck doesn't have enough power, it's not heavy enough. i've pushed snow and times the truck will spin out or slide the front end over. i need to put about a ton of weight in the rear over the rear axles and i'd be in there, but that still leaves the front end sliding over when in a turn while scooping. a big heavy diesel motor would help that plus more torque. the diesel will make more torque while straining less and using less ful to do the same amount of work. i'm considering putting that boss v plow on my 94 f 350 crew cab turbo diesel. it's got a 7.5 strait blade and it's to much truck for that little plow. my .02 pete
  17. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    :rolleyes:I was hoping so..:waving:
  18. jrglandscape

    jrglandscape Member
    Messages: 40

    The 460 is a good motor you should be fine pushing a big blade. It is going to drink fuel doing it. 7.3 diesels are what I run. f-250, f350, 2-f450's all have more than enough power to get the job done
  19. packey

    packey Member
    Messages: 97

    Guys if I remember right engineers used to say fuel consumption could be based off of the amount of horsepower per hour an engine has to put out. This is why if you are in a 1 ton with a 350 and working it hard the fuel economy is no better or worse than the larger engine. you see the smaller engine is having to work harder to create the horsepower needed and so it burns more fuel to create that power and has to work harder decreaseing its life. On the other hand a 454 creates more hp with out having to run as hard. It takes the same amount of fuel to create this hp in either engine this is why it seems the smaller engine has about the same fuel consumption.

    So I guess what it really comes down to is what is the truck going to do on a day to day basis. If it runs empty most of the time then go with the small engine. If you work it hard then go with the larger engine. you will be happier and you will have the power to spare.
  20. TEX

    TEX Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    if it fits you budget and your needs go for it. is ti a short bed or a long? no kind of gas motor in a truck like that is going to get good MPG so why not have the extra power and crappy gas mileage.