I had to check IH's website to see what the 7300 is, it looks like the replacement for the 4800. The Town I sub to uses a few of the 4800 4x4s for the mountain runs. They even have a Cummins powered Paystar 5000 4x4, that truck is a BEAST!
There's no problem with air brakes in the snow, as long as you have an air dryer on the truck to prevent freeze up. These are standard equipment on most trucks today.
I think Geoff has mentioned that one of these trucks set up with plow and wing plus sander can run up to $150,000.
Just saw your reply about the brakes, you won't run the tanks out under normal conditions, if you do, then chances are you have too big a truck for the job. You can also spec bigger air tanks if this is a concern, which will help prevent running the air down.
On a side note - your F-550 is a beautiful piece of snow moving machinery!
Actually, I'm trying to come up with a winning truck combination that can be up fitted for a Hooklift/"roll off" body system(hooklift.com) to include a salter very similar to yours with just a little more payload.
What do you think, knowing what you have learned about your F-550 upfit?
I think there was a post about this concern before and it was decided that air brakes will not work in tight spots because you run out of air before the tanks catch up. Ive noticed this even on the garbage truck at work when its getting into tighter spots that it runs out of air and the driver has to sit a minute to let the air rebuild.
Well I must say all this talk about airbrakes makes me chime in. First of all, I have a CDL and have been driving air brake vehicles for the last 8 years. Second of all I have a family member who is a Truck mechanic for JEVIC trucking. Chicago if I read you right, you wont be using this for small jobs, that's why you have smaller pickups. As for the stop and go, the newer vehicles have better air systems than that of older air brake trucks. Better in that the compressor is a better quality. The system itself will not have the leaks that most older vehicles experience(age/wear and tear). The only negative that I have experienced is the "feel" of the brakes when stopping on slick/icy roads. For someone not experienced, it can be a bit tricky. This only takes time and the realization that you are in a big vehicle and must drive accordingly.
I'm not sure a combination body would be well suited for a hook lift, I think there might be problems in getting the discharge chute and spinner aligned. Plus, you would not only have the added weight of the hook lift assembly, but also that of the combination body. It may not be a problem during winter months, but for summer hauling you would have a problem with DOT.
My truck is already about 1500 pounds heavier than I had planned, in part due to the stainless steel and part due to the extra equipment of the combination body. This reduced my payload by 20%. It sure does work nice though for sanding!
If you go with the hook lift, I think you'd be better off having a V-box mounted on the rails than the combo body. I'm not sure how you'd mount it though without damaging the chute and spinner. One of the local highway departments has a couple trucks set up this way with a leaf box, dump box, flatbed, and sander, but I haven't seen it up close.
In regard to the air brake systems, I have yet to drive a truck with this type of braking system or become licensed for it for that matter. The reason I ask is due to the fact it seems it is the only choice for larger trucks?
I think your right about the "V" box for the hook lift body. I thought, as long as the lower spinner/chute is easily removable, one could fabricate two beams or extensions of some kind that extend past the chute end of the salter with rollers on each to create the length needed to properly load/un load a V box via hook lift.