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What should I look for for best chance to succeed

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Colerider, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. Colerider

    Colerider Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    What should I look for in a truck that would give me the best opportunity with the least amount of potential problems on a budget of $4000. I know going into it that anything can happen and maintenance can be an issue so I'm looking for advice to get the best possible plow truck for the money.

    He will be doing mostly residential suburbia dries with a few commercial lots working for a company that does have backups should something go wrong.

    Do I want something that has been used as a plow in the past? Do I want a truck that has never been used as a plow and then mount a plow? Are commercial plow vehicles ok? I've been told that the early to mid 90's F150 didn't have the greatest front ends for plows and to stay away, I've read that I should shoot for at least a 2500 size truck. Would Diesel or Gas be better? Will a 6 cylinder hack it?
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Well if your buget is 4 k and you want a truck with no plow that means your new truck is going to not top of the line if you have to buy a plow. For what your doing you can pick up something that will do this year.
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Truthfully? A bigger budget. I wouldn't budget anything less than $10,000 for a plow truck and expect some repairs then.

    At a minimum, good engine, transmission, drive line to include u-joints, shocks, ball joints and try to check the cooling system. Might need to add a transmission cooler.

    I don't know about where you are, but any decent 4x4 that will pass inspection and the above items will be over $10,000.
  4. Langlois Enterprise

    Langlois Enterprise Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    If you are not able to repair and service the truck yourself, you will need alot of luck to make it threw the season. Try to find somebody in your area that will cover you . Remember your reputation is on the line. Unhappy customers wil talk to amybody who will listen, on how bad you are.

    Try to start off slow and build up trucks and clients.:salute:
  5. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Get a snowblower and a 4X4 truck to haul it.
    Maybe next year you will have made enough money to buy something nicer
  6. doubleedge

    doubleedge Member
    from ND
    Messages: 64

    Where I live, It is possible to get a good 4x4 for under $5000; I got a 1996 f150 with 80000 miles and in good condition for only 4k. It would cost a few thousand more and would require much more time searching for a 3/4 ton truck that is in good condition, though.
  7. Colerider

    Colerider Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Double, I've heard thosse F150's are not made well for plows, that the front ends could have serious issues. I've seen a few of them and looked, if I am looking they should have a light duty plow on them right?

    I also found an 87 GMC 3/4 ton with the 1 ton frame option. It has a newer 20k miles Jasper fuel injected 350 and a new transmission with a 7'6" Western Plow that is probably about 10 years old. This is apparently a 1 owner truck and it also has a cap on the bed. asking $2500.

    '88 F350 with the old 7.3 Diesel that has a nicer 8ft Western Plow that is being sold for $1500 but knowing it will need work.

    1993 gmc k2500 with a 8' meyer snow plow. the truck has new brakes water pump alternator battery and starter. truck has a 350 v8 motor and auto trans. truck and plow work grate. $3,200

    1992 K2500 Scottsdale, 350 motor, rebuilt transmission, new power steering pump, new alternator, new front calipers and front brakes.Truck has high miles but was maintained well.I do have a plow available for it for an extra $1000.00 installed( 9ft Fisher )
  8. Colerider

    Colerider Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Hey, so I called about the '93 GMC and had a couple questions so I don't get screwed. The guy said that he has a shop and fixes car for a living but didn't know very much about the history. He said he's owned this truck for 3 years and put the plow on to be used only for plowing his shop and home. He said he put 6K miles on it in the 3 years. He said it has around 200K miles and he hasn't done anything to the engine or trans but doesn't know anything about if they have had work done. The he told me that technically he has a dealers license so he would have to write up the sale formally and there would be sales tax etc.
  9. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    "...around 200K miles and he hasn't done anything to the engine or trans but doesn't know anything about if they have had work done"

    200k and you're convinced it going to run "grate"? Sounds more like they replaced some minor stuff and got rid of it. Especially with a dealer selling it for $3,200. See my original post.

    Good luck.
  10. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    How old are you and where exactly do you live ? If your in the NW burbs ( and over 21 ) i can talk to my boss about getting you in one of his fleet trucks. You wont get rich IF he hires you but at the end of the year you will have enough money for a down payment on a nice truck. One you don't have to worry about the wheels falling off of. More importantly you will be taught how to plow correctly.

    If you want to take me up on that offer PM me. If your close enough i can see what i can do.
  11. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Mick is right. If the truck is under 4K chevy, ford, dodge whatever it needs some repair and let me say ball joints are not cheap expect them to be bad on an older truck cause NOBODY wants to replace them due to cost...
  12. MeeksCo

    MeeksCo Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    Dont listen to some of these guys.
    Go to Craigslist.org and find yourself a good $3-$4,500 truck with a plow. Mid 90's fords and 1988-1999 Chevys/GMC's will work just fine.
  13. MeeksCo

    MeeksCo Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    Yes, you may hvae to put a little money into it...but sometimes you dont.
    It's still early in the season enough that you will find a reasonable truck with a plow.
    I am sure you understand what parts/labor costs of some of the repairs....
    Good luck.
  14. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I would be all over that 87 3/4 ton. That's the best truck of the bunch.
  15. Colerider

    Colerider Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Why do you suggest the 87 GMC? Is it the 1 owner or the updated engine and trans?
  16. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    All of the above. Those solid front axle GMs make great plow trucks. The fuel injection is wonderful. While the plow is much too small, it will get you started. You can add some wings once you get ahead.

    What kind of shape is it in? That truck would pull 4K around here easy, if it's in decent shape and will pass inspection.
  17. Colerider

    Colerider Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    All I can do is show you pictures as I haven't actually seen it in person yet. Another friend of mine who currently plows said that the 1 ton frame was an option that was meant for people who were going to use it as a camper back in the day. But he also said that these trucks run forever.



  18. Colerider

    Colerider Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    what would be pertinent questions to ask?
  19. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Asking is of limited value on a 22 year old truck. Your eyes and ears are going to tell you everything you need to know. Ask them not to move it before you get there. Looks like its currently in a garage. You will be able to see evidence of leaks on the floor. Start with a thorough inspection. I can see the right inner fender has a hole in it, in the usual spot. The right fenders looks pretty rough around the wheel well. Nothing major for a plow truck, as long as you can get registration/inspection. Look the frame over closely, serious flaking rust is not good. Then the body. Cab corners, rocker panels, floor boards by the door, kick panels are the trouble spots. Over the rear wheel wells, bottom rear corners of the front fenders. Radiator core support can sometimes be trouble, so try to check it out. Check the cab mounts too. While you're under there look for leaks. Even if some of this stuff is bad, doesn't make it a deal breaker. Dampness is one thing, but drips on the floor can be serious. Under the hood check for evidence of seasonal residents - squirrels, mice. Check the fluids, and start it up. Listen to the engine for any unusual sounds. Check to see if everything works. Everything. Lights, heater, wipers, washers, blinkers, radio, seat moves OK. Hopefully it's registered, or on a road where you can take it for a test drive. Make sure the hubs and transfer case all work. Shut it down and start it right back up a couple of times. Transmission shift lever should be smooth, and no hunting to get it in the correct gear. Same for the T-case.

    If your not familiar/comfortable with looking at this stuff yourself, bring a friend or mechanic you trust. I would say if the truck is mechanically strong, and the frame is solid it would be a good way to go. Bodywork is relatively minor. As long as you can live with it legally, it's good enough for plowing.

    This truck is under your budget, which leaves you some money to care care of any issues.
  20. Danscapes

    Danscapes Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    If you don't buy that '87, I will! Slap some paint on that plow and go too town. Patch panels for that truck are dirt cheap, just make sure the frame is not rotted. Also the first thing I would do is go over the whole brake system and renew or replace everything. Check www.LMCTRUCK.com for body parts.