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Truck alterations or replace?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by Mark13, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    So I've been doing some thinking the last few days and I've come to a point where I'm looking for others thoughts and ideas.

    My current situation is that my truck does everything I need it to, but I know there is better out there. Mostly when it comes to towing. I pull a 28' deck over gooseneck and while my truck does fine with my summer set of wheels and tires (295/70/17 toyo mt's on 17x9 wheels) it struggles a bit more with stability with my winter set (235/85/16 toyo mt's on 16x6.5 wheels). It's never gotten to the point where I feel unsafe or that I can't handle the truck and trailer but I'd like to try and adjust my setup before there is a problem. Both sets of tires are load range E and the problem just comes from the winter tires being so narrow. My summer set is wider with a higher weight rating so they are more stable but it's still a single wheel truck.

    So here is where I've been doing some thinking and I've come to 2 ideas: Swap my truck for a dually in about the same configuration or convert my truck to a dually.
    My plan to alter my truck would be to use a GM Cab and Chassis axle, run the front dually adapters, and an aluminum flatbed on my truck. I'm not using aftermarket adapters to allow me to run duals on the factory srw axle, I'm sure it would work no problem but I'd hate to have one fail with a lot of weight behind me and suddenly be missing 2 tires. Not to mention a lawsuit would not go well in the event of an accident if it was found that I was using aftermarket parts to make my truck something it was never supposed to be. Where as with all GM parts things should go a lot better and have factory ratings to back them up.

    The other thought is pull what I want off my truck and sell it and replace it with almost the same truck, but one that's a dually from the factory. Sounds simple but I don't want a normal dually bed (pita to do anything with the fragile dually flares) and most I find are loaded crew cabs and I'm fine with an extended cab and the cloth interior. The major thing I don't want to do is take everything off my current truck that has made it "mine" and have to put it all back on another truck.

    My current truck setup:
    2006 Chevy 2500HD 4x4. Ext Cab, Long Bed. 117k on it.
    Efi Live, Airdog 165, 4" Exhaust, BD FullBore Drivers Side Manifold. Transgo Jr Shift Kit. Merchant Auto Tcase Brace
    4-6" Cognito lift, Steering braces, HD tie rods, etc.
    Ride Rite 5k bags with onboard compressor.
    B&W Gooseneck, Titan 2.5" Class 5 receiver, Tekonsha Prodigy Brake Controller.
    Boss Plow Setup, Snow Ex spreader. Lots of warning lights and a lot of wiring.
    In bed transfer tank/12v pump. Toolbox, backrack, light bar, etc

    So as you would imagine switching all of that stuff over to another truck would be quite a project and take a considerable amount of time. It's taken me about 2.5 years to get this truck setup how I want and I'd figure it would take better then a week to strip this one down and transfer it all over to another truck if there was no delays or distractions and probably 2 people working on it.

    Thoughts, Ideas, Suggestions? And getting a smaller trailer isn't going to happen, if anything the next one will be a bit longer.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    Guess you need to price out what it would cost to convert your truck. Weigh out the pros and cons of both
  3. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    With the difference in frame width, would you need a dually pickup axle instead of the Cab and Chassis axle?

    Anyway it sounds like you're happy with 295/70-17 singles. Why not get a similar size in winter tires? If you get winter-rated tires, maybe studded, they'll beat your summer tires in snow/for plowing, and at 295mm width they'll still cut through snow better than duals will.

    What pressure are you running in each set of tires? You'll need a lot more pressure in the 235/85-16's than you would in the 295/70-17's for the same load capacity and stability. A standardized load-inflation chart shows the following data...

    295/70-17 @ 35psi: 2270lbs
    235/85-16 @ 35psi: 1700lbs

    295/70-17 @ 50psi: 2830lbs
    235/85-16 @ 50psi: 2205lbs

    295/70-17 @ 80psi: 3970lbs
    235/85-16 @ 80psi: 3042lbs

    You may be severely overloading the smaller tires if you're running the same pressure in both sets.
  4. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,779

    Life's short.. buy a new cab and chasis/ pickbox delete and build your dream truck. They get old fast anyway, plus the new gm boxed frame at the front is rated at 1200lbs more than your current 06.
    Sooner or later you're gonna need a new truck. I've never looked at buying new as money out the window, my trucks more than pay for themselves even if I drive them into the ground and can't get a penny for them when they're done.
  5. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,122

    The problem with dual wheels is the same as the problem with wider wheels.

    What makes the wider wheels more stable isn't the number stamped on their side, rather the actual tread width and profile ratio.

    As has been suggested, sticking to your summer tire size in the winter would be a good compromise. They will definitely perform better in slick/snow than duals. You may even consider going with different tire widths front to back. Have you considered putting 235's on the front and 295's on the back? Just make sure that the actual tire diameter is the same, so the sidewall ratio should be much lower on the 295's than the 235's.

    Another thing you can try is running a shorter tire in the winter. A shorter sidewall will be more stable than the taller. I tend not to like going over a sidewall ratio of .75. The smaller the sidewall ratio, and especially the shorter the overall sidewall, the more stable.
  6. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    I don't recall what I have in the 235's right now. In my 295's I think I had 65psi in them (wheels say don't go above 60psi) and they seemed to handle the weight ok.

    I'd be afraid to see how much of a hit my bank account would take but a '13 C&C 3500 would be a pretty slick ride. The other downside to a new truck is that since our EPA doesn't like fun they have pretty much killed the aftermarket performance/tuning industry on the newer diesels. Which means it would be difficult for me to tune and delete all the emissions equipment on the trucks.

    I was considering a dually partially for weight capacity as well as being more stable with a trailer. I'm going to go to a wider tire once my 235's are toast and it should help all around but weight would still be an issue at times.
  7. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    285/75-16 has almost the same load-inflation chart as 295/70-17, just 100-200 pounds less. That would be a good size for your purposes.

    Ok, skip the studs, but still get winter-rated tires (snowflake mountain symbol on the sidewall).

    At 65psi, your 295/70-17 are rated for 3440 pounds. For a similar load rating and stability, 235/85-16 needs a whopping 95psi (which requires you to upgrade to load range F). I believe this is your largest issue; with such a huge difference in relative inflation you will not get the same performance, and you may even be overloading the tires entirely.
  8. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    285's will also fill out my wheel wells a bit better now that I put the lift on. The 235's have served their purpose but their definitely not what I need right now. Their down to about 25% tread so it won't be to long before their worn out.

    I'm no doubt over weight on the 235's, I've been over on the 295's before but they handle it a lot better and don't seem quite as questionable.
  9. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Yikes. It sounds like you sometimes run dangerously, severely overweight for the 235's. Besides the ill handling that you've noted, you're looking at the potential for explosive blowouts. Being worn to 25% they're no good for plowing anyway, might as well go ahead and get new tires now.

    I imagine you're overloading the truck too. How far over your truck's GVWR, GCWR, and GAWRs are you? [​IMG]
  10. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    Considering it doesn't seem to snow here anymore in anything more then 1/4" amounts I'm going to try and run these tires till their about gone. I run them mostly to keep my nice polished wheels out of the salt at this point.

    As far as ratings go, I've got roughly 900lbs before I'm over my gvwr as I DD my truck. With my plow I'm over, if I fill my transfer tank I'm over, and if I hook my trailer up empty I'm over. So you can only imagine then what things look like once I'm loaded.
  11. BearClaw

    BearClaw Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    How many miles on the truck and how much longer do you plan on keeping it?

    I think in the long run you will be out money if you try to convert to a dually. You pay the money to add the setup and then when you trade it in down the road you are out or maybe worse because it wasn't stock. Or you have to spend the time and money to convert it back.

    If you want to stick with this truck I would try different tire sizes that might work better in winter. 285's were mentioned above. I would stay away from this size tire on a stock wheel. Yes the ratings are higher but the tire is too wide for the wheel. When loaded heavy the wheel will foat around inside of the too large tire. If you are running a wider wheel a 285 might work well. Between the DMax and Efi live I wouldn't be concerned about tire size as long as your not getting bigger than 35s. The DMax has the torque and you can easily adjust tire size with your Efi Live.

    It sounds like the for the amount of weight you are pulling a true dually really would serve you better though. The manifold and airdog and suspension stuff would be a pain to swap and I don't even think I would bother with the transgo or the exhaust just buy new. If looking for a new truck I would look for a nice LBZ. Some consider it the best Dmax engine as there is no dpf, no injector or over heating problems and has the 6 speed Ally.
  12. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    Truck has 117k on it, when making it mine with aftermarket parts I didn't cut corners. I wanted it to last 300k no problem (rust being the only worry).

    As far as converting the truck to a dually I wouldn't be paying a shop to do it so my only costs would be gathering the parts and then minimal expenses of having a few friends help when needed. It's still not going to be a $500 job obviously but without a $70/hr+ charge at a shop I don't think it would be terrible. Especially with being able to resell my srw parts.

    I've debated the 285s on the 6.5" wide wheel and haven't made my mind up totally. I may try and swap to a 8-8.5" wide wheel for the 285s if I can find something that would work and be reasonably priced.

    My current truck is an lbz which I was a very specific about finding, ended up taking me a year and a half to find this truck which is pretty much exactly what I wanted. When I bought the truck I planned on towing/plowing/hauling with it but just not on the scale it has gotten. There's times my trailer sits for a month or two and then there's times where it's hooked to the truck for several weeks straight.

    My truck and trailer "unloaded" are 16,400lb. Trailer is 8,000lb with 1750lbs roughly on the pin when unloaded.
  13. snopushin ford

    snopushin ford Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 194

    my question about doing a dually swap is, what would happen if you were in an acccident and somehow they found out your truck was a single rear wheel? So the ratings do not match up. Some of the loads you move almost sound like you need somthing more like a F450 or 4500. One other thing i have noticed looking at trucks all the time is that single rear wheels truck hold more value and DRW truck can be found cheaper. Anyway just some thoughts. good luck. Matt
  14. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    I'm working on finding out if there is a way to have my truck re-certified if I used all GM factory parts to make it a dually.

    A 450 would be nice, a 550 is probably more appropriate. But without going back to a 2000 their big $$$ unless I want an XL, 2 door, base model, etc. And if I make it my main truck I want it to be optioned similar to my current truck.
  15. Holland

    Holland Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    I was gonna give you a bunch of crap mark, but i think i'll play nice this time. You'd be better off trading yours in on a dually if thats what you really want. Convert yours to a dually and your going to have a hard time unloading it when the day comes to sell it.

    Start shoppin around for duallys. Its alot easier and cheaper to just go out and buy what your after. If you give me an idea of what your after i can keep an eye out around here for ya.

    If your set on building yours, grab your parts and come on over, I wont charge more than 70/hr lol :D
  16. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    I've been keeping my eye out some for trucks but I just spent copious amounts of money on a skid steer so I'm trying to see what my options are without my bank account being in the red.

    If I do decide to swap my truck I've got a friend who's minutes away that runs a shop that specializes in trucks and weather he likes it or not he'll help me lol.

    In my search though I did come across an 08 F450 ec/lb (9' flatbed) with 26k on it for low $30's. XLT, nice truck. And as a bonus it has a Gear Vendors over/under drive on it.
    4.88 Ratio with the extra over drives actually would probably make it get decent mpg unloaded and then still the ability to split gears for when towing heavy.
    Throw a tune and dpf delete on it, some gauges to monitor things and I'd be set.

    Only problem is that it's in AZ (which I'd prefer over Northern, IL) and my money tree is looking like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree lately.
  17. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Same here...I keep typing up and abandoning posts. Suffice it to say, it is not safe or legal to do that work with that truck. It's really time to get a heavier truck.

    Perhaps a separate DD and heavy pulling truck might be appropriate? That way you can compromise on luxuries for the heavy truck and compromise capacity on the DD.
  18. snopushin ford

    snopushin ford Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 194

    That 08 450 sounds good for what you do. I bet your truck would sell for upper 20's. So to upgrade to a truck like that for around 8-10k isn't bad IMO. I have a tuned 6.4 and it has lots of power. We have F550's at work and occasionally they see 6 ton of asphalt and handle it well (4:88 gears). Good luck
  19. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    I appreciate the effort to keep the posts on topic. I'm aware that what I'm using the truck for far exceeds it's intended purpose. 99.9% of my heavy loads are a few miles (field to the farm) and if I see any traffic at all it's probably someone else hauling with us.

    I've considered running 2 trucks but part of it comes down to knowing I'll still use whatever truck I'm daily driving to hard.
    Let's say I get into a 1/2ton for a daily driver and get a 550/medium duty as my "work" truck I know I'll probably end up spending more time in the work truck then the daily driver so it's just another added expense I probably don't need.
    I'd rather just have 1 truck for ease of life along with less upkeep, insurance, plates, etc.

    If we were talking a 1/2ton and a semi then obviously it completely changes things but I see a fairly well equipped 450/550 still as something a guy could daily drive, use as a work truck, and still take out to dinner Saturday night.
  20. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    I prefer driving a duramax over a 6.4 but it would be second choice in diesel motors if buying used. I've got a friend who knows them inside and out and I'd be sure to set it up right once I get it to make it reliable, efficient, and still fun to drive. I've been fortunate in knowing him since it opens up a wider market of trucks (6.0 and 6.4psd) that I could look into and not have to worry about buying a train wreck on wheels when it comes to what's under the hood.