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Ford F550 Plowing, Salting and Towing

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by DAT373, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. DAT373

    DAT373 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking into purchasing a used 01 F550 7.3L diesel auto 4WD with hydraulic dump box for $7,000 CAD (~$6,600 USD) with 190k km (~120k miles). I feel like this is cheap for this truck? It comes with commercial inspection slip. I may also be able to negotiate the price down a few hundred dollars.

    I'm unsure what its previous application was as a commercial vehicle but I can assume it was well maintained as a fleet vehicle. I believe it was used for hauling dirt, garbage, and towing by a local contractor. Mostly highway mileage.

    I intend to start up a business this year (and wanting to get a head start on summer services) offering services for plowing and salting (mostly residential and few commercial), equipment towing and camper/trailer/rv towing. The RV industry in my province of 500k people is worth roughly 50 million yearly. I live within a 40mile radius of over half of that 500k population.

    I have some questions. I've used the search button for things but not a whole lot of information around on F550s. I'm figuring out insurance, legalities and other costs on my own, but I have more questions geared towards equipment.

    First off, a general consensus about this model year and make of truck for the applications I have laid out. I know the 7.3L is favored. What do you think of this deal? What common mechanical issues and past/upcoming services should I look out for? How long does an auto transmission last in one of these? What do I need to look for when I get under it?

    Plow clearance will be happening around here soon because we've had a considerable amount of snowfall and the season is near it's halfway point. What plow would you recommend for a heavy duty rig like an F550? What style of blade and what size? How many years will you get out of it with regular use?

    Where this truck is the extended chassis with 9 feet behind the cab (pretty sure that is the spec, correct me if I'm wrong) would this be ideal for towing 5th wheel trailers versus a typical 6-8 foot bed? Can I mount the 5th wheel hitch in the dump bed? Am I better off to remove the dump bed in off season to lose the extra weight and mount 5th wheel to chassis?

    I am assuming plow and salt equipment life is around 3-4 years. Not sure about tow hitches and trailer brake setups but I can look that up.

    Also wondering how many people depreciate and liquidate their assets on a yearly/monthly basis? I don't see this discussed much. Am I also better off to incorporate my business to reduce personal liability from the get-go?

    My experience consists of plowing with half ton and 3/4 ton Fords, towing with half ton Chev. Never a fifth wheel though.

    Any responses or comments appreciated! :help:

    Thanks Plowsite
  2. nixray

    nixray Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    Inspect the oil pan to start. I'd also look into how it cold starts.. Glow plus, relay etc.

    I would not mount the fifth wheel in the dump, go to the frame.

    Plow at least a 9'

    Hope that helps some.
  3. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    That seems awfully cheap for a f-550 dump truck!
  4. DAT373

    DAT373 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I know! But if it comes inspected..it cannot be much of a clunker?

    Will look in to 9 foot blades. V or straight blade preference? Is an 8 foot really too small for this truck? Seems like most of dealers carry more inventory in 8 foot
  5. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,594

    I bet you spend $10000 to get that truck to the reliable truck you need. Just based on the price you mentioned. Hope I'm wrong but I doubt it.
  6. DAT373

    DAT373 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    What would you recommend as an alternative vehicle that is capable of handling such tasks?
  7. TCLandscaping

    TCLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    They dont mean the set up or the make of the truck specifically not being capable. They are saying that a truck of that age can have a lot of hidden issues that are not involved in an inspection. As for replacing equip every 3 season? Gotta be makin some cash for that. Good luck. I own a 01 7.3 f450 dump as well. While it is a great motor the rest of the truck is starting to age.good luck with the search. I know it can be frustrating.
  8. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 594

    I would bring along a mechanic or see if u can bring it to a shop before buying to see what they say. And yes, an 8 foot plow is way too small for that truck. I do not even care for my 9 Foot straight on my dump, i I like my 9.5 V more. Depends on how much and what you plow

    i would look into a flatbed for it.
  9. LopatLT7495

    LopatLT7495 Member
    Messages: 52

    As stated before look at the oil pan, had to have the one on my 99 F550 replaced after the dip stick adapter came loose and I lost a lot of oil ( no clue where though ). The engine has to be pulled to change oil pan so it's not exactly cheap. Replaced trans at about 149,000m. Changed glow plug relay twice and although it made a difference in mild temps mine absolutely hates starting below about 40F unless plugged in. Also the bottom of the doors on mine are getting rusty and some holes starting, body is made by Altec not Ford on mine but other then the doors the rest of the cab is in good shape. Good luck.
  10. Buck331

    Buck331 Member
    Messages: 79

    My gut instinct is CAUTION - RED FLAG

    Ask yourself how reliable can your new business reputation be if your starting out with a 13 year old truck and mechanical issues cause you to NO-SHOW?

    Here's a link showing 2000-2003 Ford f-550's for sale.

    I would be highly suspicious. If it's in-fact a fleet truck than ALL maintenance records should be available for inspection.

    Carfax History?
  11. DAT373

    DAT373 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Okay thanks for all the heads up guys. I'm going to inquire with the owner tomorrow and get some more info. Will post up what I find for discussion. I am a record junkie myself so I'll be looking for them.But I would definitely have it up on a commercial ramp for a thorough inspection before spending a nickel on it!

    A few of you have mentioned oil pan and glow plugs, what about other things that go after 100k miles? Turbo/wastegate? Injectors? Water pump? Gaskets and seals? Transfer case? U joints?

    Any recommendations on another rig? Best 3/4 ton or 1 ton rig for these jobs? I just want MORE of a truck then what I'll require, and newer isn't necessarily better, especially with diesels it seems.
  12. combiking

    combiking Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    I would check all the cab supports, cab cross members, Def check the oil pan. The MPG you get out the truck might shock you also, it did me. Check your trans cooler lines and oil cooler on the driver side of engine as well. Also as other mentioned see how it starts. I Have a 02 F550 pig to start in winter even with the block heater plugged in. I have had great fun replacing a lot of stuff on my truck this summer. I got mine cheaper as well and have spent the same amount as i paid for it on parts. But on the bright side i might have bought a more expensive truck and still and to do all the stuff ive done. Good luck with it.
  13. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Any 7.3 I have ever known has been a pig to start in the winter, unless it's running hard every single day.

    Buy it, drive it like you stole it and hopefully the repairs are minimal.
  14. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Double post
  15. 04trd

    04trd Senior Member
    Messages: 162

    Well we have a 7.3 with 250k of hard miles on it and it's been great. Like people said check the oil pan. Ours just rusted threw for the second time and out comes the motor. Check the normal stuff leaks, and play in the steering, blowing a ton of white smoke when it starts, fuel leaking, just normal stuff. When u test drive it drive it hard