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Who still uses old Chevys for plow trucks?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by BurnoutNova, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. BurnoutNova

    BurnoutNova Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I'm still using a mid 80's Chevy 1/2 ton 4x4 for my plow setup. I'm not a big fan of IFS so I'm sticking with the old Chevy's because they have a solid axle. Haven't broken anything yet, but then again I just do medium sized commercial lots, no wal mart sized parking lots yet!

    I'd liek to find a K20 or K30 and put my plow on, just haven't found one that isn't super expensive or already thrashed to the point I don't want it.
  2. jasonv

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

    You can either do a junkyard solid axle conversion, or buy a newer truck with a solid axle. Yes, there are some newer trucks with solid front axles, if that is something that really floats your boat.
  3. BurnoutNova

    BurnoutNova Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I hear ya... I know the newer dodge and ford 3/4 and 1 tons use SFA setups... I guess the second thing is this is a low budget operation. I only help guys and have a couple small lots that I do, so I don't need a 10-20K dollar truck that sits 9 months out of the year.
  4. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,272

    if i had to own a chevy/gmc it would be a mid 80's 1 ton. super tough trucks, reliable and real easy to work on. but they are hard to find in nice shape. typically they are beat to hell or rusted to hell - and in many instances, both.
  5. Dakota Dave

    Dakota Dave Member
    Messages: 44

    I still use a 1976 K30 dually with an old cable control western. its got a welders bed on it and I stacked the tool boxs full of solid cement block. full time FWD and a rear locker. 454 for power do almost all my plowing jsut idleing around the yard. really greatheater and no radio. only down side to it is the fuel consumtion. I don't even drive it to the gas station. just keep it on the farmstead and put a 5 gallon can in befor I start it.
  6. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    First truck I ever plowed in was 1978 GMC. I still pass it on my route sitting infront a house, it's clamored with junk but still looks in resonable shape. The guy who bought it stopped me at the dump last year saying he wants to fix it up and plow with it but it doesn't look likely.
    I remember having to keep the windows open all the time or the heater would just cook you out cause it needed to be on high to cool the engine. I really don't miss it, I know it won't do half the stuff my duramax does with ease and comfort.
  7. GSS LLC

    GSS LLC Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    I have a 77, an 80, an 83, and a 85. All plowed at least 14 hours each last night and today. And are waiting for Monday's storm system to show up. I love them. Easy to work on, very little to go wrong, and they look sweet!
  8. Sawboy

    Sawboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,700

    I'd use a Chevy.......for ballast. Lol
  9. road2damascus

    road2damascus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,845

    Really? What were you plowing in today? Busted!
  10. Sawboy

    Sawboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,700

    The suburban is different. Burbans are badass! They get a pass. wesport
  11. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    Just sold an '87 K30 military diesel, w/ 26k original miles...had it listed for over 4 months before I found a serious buyer. Thing was a solid tank, but I wasn't driving it enough.
  12. 2_Djinn

    2_Djinn Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    Sounds like a work horse. How much were you able to get for it ?
  13. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    My first pickup plow truck--a new 79' Chevy 3/4 ton with 4:88 gearing and a 8' all hydraulic Fisher plow.What a beast of a truck.In 4L in granny,that baby would snap your neck back if you weren't careful.Then,up until 4 years ago I plowed with a 88' V30 dump truck[old style,square nose] which was also a hoot.My Dmax eclipses both though and using half the amount of fuel while doing it in comfort and class.
  14. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    I let it go for $5,500. I could have sold it a few times for a bit more, but most who wanted it didn't have that much cash on hand & can't get financed on a truck that old. There's a fine line at a value on a truck this old, because it's easier to use less cash as a down payment on something newer. Most of the inquiries were from either farmers or former military who had a sentimental attachment.
  15. MikeA5150

    MikeA5150 Member
    Messages: 57

    I have a 1980 K20 that is now my back up truck. As much as I like it, it beats me up after a while. Dont be scared of IFS ( I was too) they're very tough.
  16. wirenut

    wirenut Senior Member
    from nh
    Messages: 529

    here's my baby...1978gmc 454bb

  17. road2damascus

    road2damascus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,845

    And everybody thinks my 92 3/4 ton tbi 350 suburban is old. You guys got me beat.
  18. Rat_Power_78

    Rat_Power_78 Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    In my opinion, those old military trucks (and Blazers) are the absolute best plow trucks. I plowed with a '76 K20 with a Western strait blade for many years. It did good, but the military trucks do way better. I replaced it last fall with an '86 military Blazer (M1009 to be technical) and could not believe how much better it did. Between using at least 50% less fuel, it pushes snow like a tractor. A friend of mine runs ex-military trucks exclusively. I think he has a fleet of 5 of them, one of which is a M1028 (locked in the front in addition to the rear locker/posi they all have). They have arguably the strongest drivetrain ever put in a truck: TH400, locked 14-bolt ff rear, kingpin Dana 60 front, and the trucks are 4.56 geared. The 6.2 wont win you any races, and I wouldnt want to pull a trailer every day with one, but when taken care of they run good and get great mileage.

    As long as you dont mind working on your plow truck now and then, the old stuff is just fine. The benefit to the old stuff is its relatively simple to work on. I do like plowing with my '03 2500HD, but the older trucks feel more "solid" to me. Just remember-they all break down eventually. Its what it takes/cost to fix it that counts.
  19. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    I had bought the truck w/ the intention of installing a plow and running it for back up but as another business move came into play, I never got around to doing the install. I purchased the truck from a small town fire dept. who's fire chief used it on calls, which the city bought from army surplus.

    The fire chief told me that it had 5:13 gears that they replaced w/ 4:11 I believe. Anyway, like I said it drove like a tank & was loud to drive. Not the type of truck to take on long distance trips, but for plowing it would have been a beast.

    The fuel gauge was sticking somewhat from sitting, so I would top off the tank often. Compared to my F350 6.0, the fuel consumption seemed much less. Probably my favorite part about it was that it had no emissions crap all over it. You could see and touch every injector & could almost stand in the engine compartment if you really wanted to.
  20. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    I don't want to walk on the thread, but I know how much everyone likes pics.
    Here's a few: