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municipal vehicles what are your opinions

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by jim7411, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. jim7411

    jim7411 Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I have been reading the site for a while and looking at helping my son start a small lawncare and plow business. I am looking at getting him a truck to start with. I know it's late to start this year but we are just getting our ducks in a row this winter for more of a run at it next year.

    Even next year we see him some driveways and then some small commercial lots. Nothing big and not a lot to get started. This thread is not as much about our business model as it is about the vehicle. I am trying to give an idea of what we are thinking so that you know what the truck will be used for.

    So now the question. It's about the used municiple vehicles that seem to be in pretty good supply. Since you guys have probably all been down this path at one time or another, I was wondering what you think of them as a whole.

    These seem to be F250's or K2500 4x4 with plows, long beds, reg. cabs. Mileage from 55,000- 130,000.

    I know that what miles they have will be hard miles and they will need plenty of things done to them. But what is the general feeling of these vehicles as a whole? Do you just stay away from them or are they a decent starting out vehicle for a young kid with some parental financial backing? LOL

    The money for these seems pretty decent. I have one that I am looking at that is a 1998 K2500 Reg.cab 4x4 long bed with a meyer plow. It's from a plow dealer that will go through the plow for me to be sure everything is okay with the plow. The truck cosmeticallyis actually very good. The drivers seat is trashed, which seems to be a common thing with these types of trucks. It starts good and idles good but I have not driven it yet to checkthe engine,trans and front end. He is thinking $5500.00. This truck is a former municipal truck with 58K miles.

    So I can do something similar to this truck or - my brother has a F250 1996 with 185,000 that needs a head gasket. It's a long bed,4x4 with an ext. cab and towing package. He will give this truck to me free. But it's in Virginia so I would have it shipped for about $700 then I would have to fix the head gasket and buy a plow for it. Then, even at that point it probably won't last long with that many miles. So I see the money as about even on these two vehicles.

    We are not expected a perfect truck or a problem free truck. Just a starter truck until he gets his legs under him.

    So what is your experience with these municipal type vehicles?

  2. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    I have bought a few of them. They are ok. Goto a gov't auction if you have one close you will get them for a freat price. If your not looking fo rthe prettiest truck there are alot fo great deals. Most were good for 6 months to a year then had some problems nothing differnt than any other 10-15 year old truck that goes to work though.
  3. jim7411

    jim7411 Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I appreciate the reply and the insight. I figure that it will probably be one thing after another but many things can be taught and learned through that also.
  4. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    How long has your brother had his truck? What engine is in it?
    If he has had it for a while at least you know the history of it. It might be better or cheaper to buy an engine drop out with lower miles if the rest of the truck is in good shape. I can't speak for the municiple trucks, just thought i would throw that out there. Also it might be a better option to buy a newer nicer truck so that you won't have nearly the problems, a down truck is very costly when you have accounts that need serviced.
  5. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    it veries truck to truck too much. i wouldnt pick up a gasser, but i migh consider a diesel. I have found buying trucks that dont have plows on them already to be a better option as they seem to have less abuse.
  6. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I have owned several local city vehicles, and to tell the truth I haven't had any problems that I don't have with other trucks, wether I bought them new or used. Usually the city, or state trucks are at least maintained regularly. I am looking at buying two more Chevy 2500 this spring at the city auction. They both have plows already on them, but have been used very little. I expect to get them for around 3,500 to 4 grand each. At least that is what the last batch of them went for last year.
  7. jim7411

    jim7411 Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks for the replys guys. I just wasn't sure if I was going to get - "What?, are you crazy, nobody touches those trucks with a ten foot pole"..

    When it comes to buying a truck without a plow I can see where that would seem more like it wasn't treated as badly. My guess is that the pickups with plows were not really used much for plowing other than the town public drives and small lots. I would think that the larger trucks would be handling the roads.

    I understand that if I put more money in up front then I would probably have fewer problems at first.. Probably... Or I could put less in and spend as things go wrong which, I agree, is difficult to deal with. Chances are it's not going to break when it's sitting quietly in my driveway. It's going to break at night, in a snowstorm, 30 below wind chill and parked in a customers driveway on their dog!:nod:

    Now my thoughts on my brothers truck are these - It will cost $750.00 to get it up here. Then the cost of repairs and a plow. Seems to me that I am going to be in the $5000.00 range if I put a motor in it. So it's kind of a toss up which way to go - get his or buy one running. His actually starts up and runs but starts to steam appearently.

    It's actually very hard for me to pass up. I want to take it almost no matter what I do about the other vehicle and decide what to do with this one later. I can change the motor or the head gaskets myself. But first I need to talk to my brother and see why the head gasket blew. I think that he owned this truck since it was new. The truck is a 5.7 gasser 4x4 extended cab long bed '96 F250.

    He used his truck in construction but more as a commuter because he's the owner so he doesn't swing the hammer that much anymore. But he would use it to tow the bobcat occasionally. So whats harder on a truck, towing something like a bobcat occassionaly or plowing?
  8. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    Plowing would be harder on a truck then occassionally towing a bobcat around. Forward, Reverse, Forward Reverse, I'm sure you get the picture. As a heads up make sure the truck is completly stopped before changing gears, And since it is an extended cab long bed, be ready for the turning radius, it will just add more backing into the caculation.
  9. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    Is the municipal truck from a local town? If so, go talk to the guys down at the town garage. They were the ones who drove and maintained the truck. Plus they could care less if the truck gets sold since it's a town truck so they should give you an unbiased opinion on it's true condition.

    Good luck with the business!!
  10. SnowPro93

    SnowPro93 Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    My 98 GMC 2500 4x4 is an ex-NStar Gas truck. I got it for $3600 with 130k miles but the truck is spotless. There are some bones that municipalities have out there, but there are the guys who drive one truck for 3-4 years and take good care of it. Just look the trucks over real good. No leaks and especially no rot. Rot is unrepairable...and engine isn't.
  11. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    They usually have had good maintenence and will make a decent truck
  12. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    back and forth from the government shop to the donut shop does not wear out trucks.
    Out here, everybody buys 'em and then uses 'em.

    total waste of tax money IMHO, but whatever, I'd buy one.
    they are barely used.
  13. chevyman51

    chevyman51 Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    go to www.govdeals.com they usualy have plows and all kinds of trucks on there
  14. andcon83

    andcon83 Senior Member
    Messages: 388

    I worked for a town and with their money, if something was wrong they fixed it. I would start out with a cheaper truck for the first year or so. Get a cheap one and tinker on it. Change all the fluids, grease it all, check all the u-joints, ect. ect.. Then pick up jobs litttle by little. I don't think you want to go out and get some big payment only having $100 worth of plowing to do. Plow for a couple of years and get some work lined up. My first truck was $2500 plow and all. Used it for 6 years. I learned alot from doing all the mechanic work to it.
  15. jim7411

    jim7411 Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Yea, that's about the plan we have. Being older, it's really easy for me to want to jump in and spend some money. So I have to constantly fight that urge and keep telling myself it's also supposed to educate him.

    Now, if I can find one of those town trucks that hopefully still have some donuts left under the seat, that would be great!
  16. In2toys

    In2toys Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    GREAT site, I need to find some that are closer to Colorado.
  17. chevyman51

    chevyman51 Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    the county engineers office i work for sells stuff on there all the time you can find some pretty good deals on there every once in a while
  18. tinffx

    tinffx Member
    Messages: 68

    I am in VA if your brother wants a couple hundred bucks for the truck I can take it off his hands.
  19. jim7411

    jim7411 Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Okay, I will let him know. Should I have him fix for ya first:nod: