Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/9/22 2:03 p.m.

Light duty trucks are idiotically priced. Used medium duty trucks can now be had for cheaper. Any of these worth buying as a tow a little/ Home Depot type truck.  
 

serious question. If I can buy something with an 8 speed and 13 liter diesel for 1/4 the price of an f150 and it should tow better. What's the downside?  Sure gas mileage. 

RevRico
RevRico UltimaDork
6/9/22 2:06 p.m.

In reply to Fueled by Caffeine :

Gas, registration, tolls.

In some states(at least in PA) they need commercial insurance policies, which can be significantly more expensive as well.

 

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/9/22 2:27 p.m.

Repairs too. Big truck repairs can get out of hand quickly. A lot of the tools required are bigger than what I have (typical car stuff) so I can't even do a lot of it myself.  That being said, I think it is a good idea, but there are no free rides. They also typically ride like E36 M3 are loud (compared to a light truck) and painfully slow, not a problem on the highway but for around town driving I can count on taking 50% longer if driving a semi or tow truck as I would in a car. 

But the awesome factor is huge.

RevRico
RevRico UltimaDork
6/9/22 2:35 p.m.

In reply to NY Nick :

Ooof that's another one, the repair bills.

My buddy has a medium duty Snap On, with the  freightliner version Cummins 5.9. Different patterns and accessory placements than what you'd find in a Dodge.

$1000 alternator(in stock at O'Reilly surprisingly), $500 7 mile tow. Looking at almost $6k for brake lines, fuel pump, and kingpin just be able to give it a proper shakedown drive and figure out what else is wrong. Because towing it to someone that knows what they're doing was cheaper than buying the tools to learn on the job fixing it at home. Only took 4 years of staring at it in the driveway and watching YouTube videos to figure that out.

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/9/22 3:28 p.m.

I bought a Hino box van for $1500. It had a little 4 cylinder turbodiesel and a big Allison automatic.  We towed 16,000 pounds with it. Bought it at 300 thousand miles and but another 150 thousand trouble free until it was demolished in an accident.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/9/22 3:58 p.m.
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) said:

I bought a Hino box van for $1500. It had a little 4 cylinder turbodiesel and a big Allison automatic.  We towed 16,000 pounds with it. Bought it at 300 thousand miles and but another 150 thousand trouble free until it was demolished in an accident.

See I knew I wasn't the only crazy one. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/9/22 8:37 p.m.

I have had several.  I had one 26' box truck with a 5.9L cummins and an Eaton Road Ranger 6 speed that was bulletproof.  Slow as heck, but it was awesome.  The step vans were a 78 P30 with a 350 and a manual of some sort, and the other was a P30 Grumman with a 6.2L diesel/TH400.  Both of those were also bulletproof.  I looked at a 26'  box truck before the pandemic for the theater and almost bought it.  It was an International with a DT444 (which is a 7.3 powerstroke) and a Dana manual.  Had a skoolie for a while with the 366T tall deck BBC, so parts were dirt cheap, but it was also one of the slowest things I've ever driven.

If you shop smart and get one that is on the lighter-duty side, they're often equipped with the same basic running gear as their smaller, dually cousins.  Of course, that does come with drawbacks.  Driving that box truck with the 180-hp 5.9L meant that it couldn't keep up with traffic on a hill even when empty.  The P30 with the wheezy 350 was the same.  The Grumman with the 6.2L diesel actually wasn't bad because of gearing, but also had an RPM limited top speed of about 62.

Once you get into the larger diesels, you'll find that parts can be prohibitive.  The DT466/Maxforce isn't bad to maintain, but good lord, get one before DPF.  Once you get into the higher end of the medium duty stuff, they start borrowing drivelines from their larger cousins.  I wouldn't go that big.  That's when you generally get into expensive parts.

Also, if you haven't spent much time in one, I suggest you try before you buy.  Many of them can be an absolutely hideous driving experience.  Getting up to speed requires some serious forethought.  900 lb-ft sounds impressive, but the 250hp and 2000rpm redline means a ton of shifting (and doing so at the exact right time to keep the turbo spinning.)  If you get an automatic, don't assume it knows when to shift.  It doesn't.  It focuses on emissions and heat.  Any torque the engine makes, an Allison or Spicer auto will seem to do it's absolute best to keep the RPMs in the worst possible spot for acceleration.  Even in the old Spicers and Allisons we used to have in motorcoaches waited WAY too long to downshift when you were climing a hill.  You'll learn it easily, but it's a far more active and involved driving process.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/9/22 9:34 p.m.

Tires car be a significant expense on the even slightly larger trucks.  Also likely to have 6 tires with a dually rear axle.  Rear tires can be retreads but front tires can not.  

gearheadmb
gearheadmb UltraDork
6/9/22 11:07 p.m.

I almost bought a medium duty international dump truck to replace my pickup, but decided against it for most of the reasons cited above, plus it wouldn't fit in my shop, plus the fact that the bed floor would be so high, loading things like a table saw or furniture would be a pain. 

Things like brakes and tires would be expensive, but should last for a really long time if the truck is used infrequently and not to it's full potential.

Edit; Here is my thread asking the same question 

Oapfu
Oapfu GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/10/22 12:15 a.m.

More things on Craigslist I never would have paid attention to before: ex-Schwan's C5500 refrigerated truck.

One picture shows a sticker reading "LPEFI by Bi-Phase Technologies".  Huh?

Looks like it is a retrofit system to turn normal gasoline EFI into liquid-phase propane injection.  I had no idea.

jgrewe
jgrewe HalfDork
6/10/22 1:36 a.m.

Insurance on my class 7 and 8 trucks I had for my redi mix company ran about $900 a month each. That was back in 2002-06. Oil changes ran about $250. I did it myself ONCE on a Mack Granite chassis, $250 was well worth it.

I had an Isuzu NPR for another business and that thing ate transmissions, most are not geared for the highway.

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
6/10/22 8:48 a.m.
gearheadmb said:

I almost bought a medium duty international dump truck to replace my pickup, but decided against it for most of the reasons cited above, plus it wouldn't fit in my shop, plus the fact that the bed floor would be so high, loading things like a table saw or furniture would be a pain.

That sounds like an excuse to either get a rollback, or something with a flatbed and mount a crane type hoist on it for getting big stuff up and down.  Or add a liftgate. 

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/10/22 9:32 a.m.
RevRico said:

In reply to Fueled by Caffeine :

Gas, registration, tolls.

In some states(at least in PA) they need commercial insurance policies, which can be significantly more expensive as well.

 

True, but one "nice" thing about PA is you can register at a GVWR lower than the rating. Just don't get caught using it over that by the staties.

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/10/22 8:37 p.m.

Some of the smaller end Mediums  are gas engined if you look at GM and Ford. I think that might be the sweet spot. Common engine parts just heavier chassis. 

1. Cheap box truck

2. cut down to flat bed/stake side

3. shorten wheelbase to aid turning radius

4. Add a good hitch, crane, and winch. Use a pull out ramp like a u-haul.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
6/10/22 10:18 p.m.

My last job had an F450 box truck.   Empty it rode so awful I went nuts.  I did get it to 85mph on a long stretch and I'm glad I didn't die!

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
6/11/22 8:21 a.m.

I always thought a smaller cabover would make a good daily. The one I've driven was "fine" and they can haul  a good bit of weight. Plus, often have related drivetrains to 3/4 and 1 ton trucks

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/11/22 8:29 a.m.

Parts are more expensive but they tend to last longer too. My 7.3 international lasted far longer than our super dutys. As a lightly used personal vehicle they could be almost bulletproof. If I need a truck again it will probably be a small cab over. 

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
6/11/22 8:58 a.m.

I drove an International, plated for 45,000lbs for a couple of years.   It had the same engine as a school bus, so info and parts were plentiful.  6 cylinder and a nine speed, with much practice it could keep up with traffic but you were working it and shifting fast.  It still moved with 50k lbs of dies on it but real slow.

Annual PM's to keep the sticker on the door current ran about $1-3k, cut that in half or less if doing your own work.  Biggest issues with the engine were injector seals/injectors and a cam position sensor. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/11/22 10:22 a.m.

Here’s a pretty cool option with built-in(on?) camper on Marketplace for under $15k. 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
6/11/22 10:51 a.m.

I got a rollback. Care, feeding, and insurance can be high. Mine is a more pedestrian version than a lot of the trucks mentioned here, a 2000 F550. Shares most of it's parts with the f250/etc. All that said I've really enjoyed having it around, though it's certainly not a path I'd recommend to most.

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/11/22 11:14 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

That is a nice looking one and it can probably be registered as an RV which will be good for registration purposes. Not sure what that means for insurance?

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/11/22 12:23 p.m.

In reply to NY Nick :

Well I discovered this week that our 2004 E450 26' motorhome had been insured as an E450 van, and updating the coverage to an RV changed it from ~$450 a year to $730. Not sure if it would be relevant for that rig though.  

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ SuperDork
6/11/22 6:21 p.m.
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) said:
RevRico said:

In reply to Fueled by Caffeine :

Gas, registration, tolls.

In some states(at least in PA) they need commercial insurance policies, which can be significantly more expensive as well.

 

True, but one "nice" thing about PA is you can register at a GVWR lower than the rating. Just don't get caught using it over that by the staties.

I bought a "truck" license for my dually because it was cheaper.  But I also only paid for the lightest one they had.  I remember the DMV clerk saying "sir, you'll only be able to haul 300 lbs with that license...", just give me the plates mam.  So far it has not been an issue.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/11/22 11:06 p.m.

Oh this one is really nice, but it's $40k. 

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