View Full Version : Are diesels right for lawn servicing?

03-14-2002, 01:17 AM
I love diesels the sound and torqe the beefiness, but they dont seem right for stop and go lawnservicing. I know a guy that owns a 94' F-250 powerstoke and he told me at the time of my truck purchase (2000 F-250 SP XL V8) to not buy a diesel, he ses their not made for starting and stopping. That seems to make sense, but everytime I pull up next to a powerstroke or cummins or duramax, I wish I would of bought a brand new 2002 F-250 powerstroke XL. If im wrong I will definetley trade this one in next year for the powerstroke.


03-14-2002, 05:34 AM
buy one i own three new f-350 diesel's .there great . don't listen to the other people. it is a lot better on fuel ,and the power is great.also there are very low mantience. but if they break it's big money to fix .so buy new.buy one you wont be sorry. i NEVER buy a gas truck again. good luck.

03-14-2002, 09:23 AM
Would't drive any thing but my 2001 XLT PSD !

03-14-2002, 06:17 PM
diesel is deffenitly the way to go.trade that 250 in for the 350PS I love mine.didn';t know how i ever di with out one.:)

03-16-2002, 01:24 AM
Nothing wrong with a gas engine but a diesel is nice to have. If you only haul a few mowers stick with gas. If you have a lot to pull then get a diesel.

03-16-2002, 01:37 AM
Works for me, I'll never own a gas engine truck again.

Randy Scott
03-17-2002, 12:56 AM
Originally posted by KirbysLawn
Works for me, I'll never own a gas engine truck again.

Words to live by! Same here.

mdb landscaping
03-17-2002, 09:14 PM
I just got my first diesel last september and i dont ever want to go back to gas. the mileage, sound, torque, and even horsepower are so much better than the gas. especially when pulling a heavy load, the diesel will allow you to pull it with ease.

03-19-2002, 08:01 PM
Power from a deisel is great, no question. My only remark tho is this....Have u ever spent 22 hours in a deisel backing through that horrible stink while plowing snow?

03-19-2002, 11:50 PM
yeah it's great ."Nothing like smelling diesel in the morning"

John DiMartino
03-19-2002, 11:55 PM
Mow&snow,my Cummins doesnt stink and its turned up,All the new diesels are very clean,the only time they smell is when they are cold on a real cold start,once running a few minutes they dont smell at all,while plowing or even when its just sitting idling.As long as i dont stab my throttle quickly ,and to the floor, I get no smoke or stink,even when i get smoke,no foul smell.

03-20-2002, 12:38 AM
It has been my experience that a gas engine NEVER ever makes huge clouds of smoke even when i do call for more power by punching the throttle.:)

John DiMartino
03-20-2002, 01:36 AM
Like i said,I have big injectors in my truck,this is why it can smoke if i stab the throttle hard.I do not need anywhere near full throttle to plow,and never use more than 1/2 throttle plowing,My truck stock never,ever smoked,I have friends with PSD's ,and duramaxes,none of them smoke ever.Dont forget when you punch your gas motor foot to the floor is probably making less power/torque than my turned up truck does at 1/2 throttle ,where i have no smoke,and lots of power,once the boost comes up a little i can lay into the throttle with no smoke.The picture of my truck smoking was done for show only,the box was on 5/5 which is competition mode,it is never on that high for plowing,and any smoke is minimal with it off,and totallly controllable with my foot,normal driving there is no smoke,you have to quickly stab it off boost with the box on to get smoke.

03-20-2002, 02:24 AM
pictures never lie man........

John DiMartino
03-20-2002, 02:50 AM
Read my post,the box fueling box was on the highest level,in that picture,(competition level).I DO NOT DRIVE IT or PLOW WITH IT IN THECOMPETITION LEVEL. I intentionally stomped it off boost for that picture,the tires are smoking too,i bet your gas motor couldnt break the tires loose from a roll without dropping the clutch or neautral dropping it.,Again,since you cant read,in the lower power levels ,in normal drivingTHE TRUCK DOES NOT SMOKE,and i still have way more power than any gas turd your driving. http://www.edgeproductsinc.com/dodge_comp.html . I have this box,and can adjust out the smoke as easy as changing a radio station.

03-20-2002, 10:24 AM
dude, take it easy.... I was just kidding with pic.

By the way, My 2002 2500 HD with the 502 8.1 liter engine will in fact break the tires loose from a standing stop with no problem at all. This truck has so much power u wouldn't believe it.

John DiMartino
03-20-2002, 02:01 PM
I drove an 8100/allison before i bought my Dodge,just look at the gas pedal funny and the tires start smoking and squealing!That is some engine in that truck,and if i bought a gasser,that would have been the one i picked.With my box on level 5,and the DD3 injectors,i can break the tires loose,at will from any speed below 30 or so,just roll on the throttle,and hang on.I took Dino(plowking35),for a ride back in october at the BBQ,if anyone doubts my truck can and does spin right into and 1/2 way thru 3rd gear it ,email him,and ask him.

mdb landscaping
03-20-2002, 03:46 PM
My duramax doesnt smoke at all either. only when cold starting or when i really stomp on it to hear that nasty a** turbo under the hood:D. nothing beats stabbing the gas and hearing the spooling of a turbo.

03-21-2002, 12:38 AM
Boy this got off topic...

03-23-2002, 11:09 PM
I really like that dodge you have. Like i said before anytime you wanna sell.

03-24-2002, 12:28 AM
I like diesel trucks,but IMO if you don't need a diesel don't waste your money. We averaged 30,000 miles a year for 25 years pulling 5th wheel trailers. Have powerstroke dulley with 26,000 combo tag that can average 75mph from here to Fl. but I traded my 350 4x4 Dodge clubcab (Cummins) on a gas F250SD4x4.sdtcab. A gas moter will pull a7,000lb trailer with 2Zs and equipment no problem. If you frequenty pull heavy loads; skidloader,stone,mulch than think diesel. Make a list of pros and cons than decide.

03-26-2002, 04:30 PM
And remember these diesels are still getting around 20 MPG, doing it.

I've been behind many struggling gassers, where the fumes are about to knock me out - they flat out stink.:alien:

Diesels smell good.

And like John stated, the Cummins only need a few little mods to become power/torque monsters.:D :D

03-26-2002, 11:16 PM
Originally posted by AltaLawnCare
And like John stated, the Cummins only need a few little mods to become power/torque monsters.:D :D [/B]

MODS???? Thats why you see all those super modifieds in truck pulling shows using those puffing deisels right?

03-26-2002, 11:59 PM
Originally posted by Mow&Snow
MODS???? Thats why you see all those super modifieds in truck pulling shows using those puffing deisels right?

Well I see what you are saying but I must ask what MPG are they getting? Would a modified gas engine be worthwile for your business? I have a PSD with a 50/100 superchip, will spin the wheels and tow 8k pounds like it's not there all the while getting great mpg.

03-27-2002, 01:35 AM
who cares about MPG???? I didn't buy my 8.1 liter chevy for fuel economy! I bought it to push a shhit load of snow and haul anything i drop in back of it.

Besides that....If I get only 10mpg, that will cost me 4200 bucks for a whole year.

Your deisel engine costs 3000 bucks more to buy, and if it gets 18 mpg, you will spend 2500 bucks in a year. Thats 10,500 for 3 years.

verses 12,600 for my big pig which makes more horses than yours.

you are only saving 700 bucks a year to drive a smelly, clanky, under powered hard to start in the cold, dog!

PS. this was all based on 30,000 miles a year.:D

03-27-2002, 09:06 AM
Since fuel costs money, I guess everyone should care about mileage!

That extra upfront cost of a diesel isn't a drop in the bucket compared to the extra engine life you'll get out of a diesel.

Under severe duty, a diesel can go 500,000 miles or more!

If gas is so much better then diesels, wonder why big trucks and basically all heavy equipment uses diesels?

Most are diesel 6-cyclinders just like the Cummins! :p

Shady Brook
03-27-2002, 09:13 AM

I have a couple diesels, and have owned gas in the past. It seemed like your initial question was are diesels set up for stop and go driving. I think if you take note of UPS, RPS, Fed Ex, you will see that those folks think so. Longevity is money for them, and they are all diesels. Diesel, or gas will do the job, unless it is a winny gas engine. Diesels are fine stop and go, even long idle like the big rigs that idle all night. You may want an auto idle advance for long ildes, though I think the new trucks may have them stock.

It is all about what you want and are willing to pay for. Diesels cost more initially then gas. Diesels get better fuel efficiency, and generally have more torque, with better longevity. Diesels have higher resale. Diesels cost MORE to fix. Unless you have an older diesel, everything costs more then a gas engine. Very few will work on a diesel, and the ones who do, ususally get paid more to do it. Buy and older diesel, you take a risk that it was not maintained, and you may loose the engine. Ever price a diesel engine??? Wowzers.

The different diesels have different characteristics. The older engines are different then the new, may be more susseptable to different problems, but are easier to work on.

Well enough of my novel. I love my diesels, but if you buy one, try to find one where you can talk to the owner, and have some type of maintenance reccords. If not, you are taking a potential risky proposition.

Have fun


03-27-2002, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by Mow&Snow

MODS???? Thats why you see all those super modifieds in truck pulling shows using those puffing deisels right?

No they usually have 3 or 4 V8 gas engines with blowes turning about 10,000 RPMs and get overhauled every 20 hours of use.

The first traactor pulls I went to years ago (when I was a kid) did have diesels. They used regular tractors, and pulled the most weight - blew a lot of smoke too.

03-27-2002, 09:50 AM
I bought my first diesel in 92 and havent bought a gasser since.

89 F350 IDI 7.3 srw pickup
97 Br 2500 5.9 Cummins srw pickup
99 F350 7.3 PSD dump
00 F550 7.3 psd dump
00 F 250 7.3 psd srw pickup

The power of the diesel has never let me down. They have all done the jobs that they have been asked to do. They all have been exceptional pullers and pushers. Once i went diesel i havent gone back and probably never will.

03-27-2002, 11:13 PM
Gas or diesel? Who cares if your gasser makes 400 hp. Put aside the bragging and get down to the facts. Gas engines are great for all kinds of applications. They are in light trucks, mowers, and small tractors. Gas engines will run 1/4 mile in 11.0 seconds. You can tow lots of weight with a gas engine. Gas engines in trucks will wear out way before a diesel. Many mower companies offer a diesel option in their mowers. It is hard to find a tractor big enough to brush hog with that has a gas engine unless it is a ford 8 or 9n. Diesel engines run at lower rpm's than gas, run at a cooler temp and make more torque than a gas engine. I have not seen a gas semi-truck in years. I started my bis with a gasser. My daily driver is a gasser. Whan i work i use the diesel. When i haul or tow i use the diesel. Some people don't like a diesel until they use one then they go out and get one. I can go on and on but i will say it again" If it is not a diesel then it is not a truck!"

03-28-2002, 01:18 AM
Originally posted by Mow&Snow
who cares about MPG????

Besides that....If I get only 10mpg, that will cost me 4200 bucks for a whole year.

Your deisel engine costs 3000 bucks more to buy, and if it gets 18 mpg, you will spend 2500 bucks in a year. Thats 10,500 for 3 years.

verses 12,600 for my big pig which makes more horses than yours.

you are only saving 700 bucks a year to drive a smelly, clanky, under powered hard to start in the cold, dog!

Obviously you think horsepower is what a trucks power is all about, ever hear of tourqe? My diesel would pull your gas truck backwards, less HP I guess at 375 but MORE Torque. I care about mpg. I guess if you plan on keeping your truck for 3 years then great! I have 72,000 on my 99 diesel it gets great mpg. I have debated this with others before, most regreat buying a gasser after pulling with it for a while.

Since you want to talk $$, and poor mileage let's talk.

Say you have your truck (gas or diesel) for 5 years, and drive it 30,000 miles a year as you say.


Gallons used per year: 3000
Cost for gas at current rates here: $1.29 gallon x 3000= $3870.00 per year
Fuel cost over 5 years: $19,350.00


Gallons per year: 1666
Cost for diesel at current local rates: $1.16 x 1666= $1932.56
Fuel cost over 5 years: $9662.80

The gas truck cost $9687 more in fuel. Also, the truck would now have 150,000 miles, the gas engine would be wore out while the diesel is running strong, resale is another issue also. I know there are other factors like oil changes but there are also others like not having to stop every 3 days for fuel.

Now, it's time to sell your 5 year old 1997 truck. The gas engine truck "1997 Ford F250 H.D. Super Cab Short Bed", with 150k miles blue books at $6900.00, the very same truck with the diesel option checked books at $10,835....a difference of $3935.00, so at the time of the sale the engines up front cost has been paid back, the only difference is fuel cost. Right at $10 k to drive the gas truck. No thanks..:rolleyes:

03-28-2002, 08:04 PM
I agree that deisel's do have there place, no doubt. But I must say that that place is not in any truck that I need to plow snow with. I just don't like the STRONG smell you get with even a brand new deisel when u back up. I also don't like the DISTINCTIVE sound that a they make.

These two reasons are enough for me never to buy one in my landscaping/plow business.

Thats all I have to say on this topic.

But it has beed fun tweeking all the deisel nuts tho

03-28-2002, 08:29 PM
Thanks for tweaking us Mow & Snow. ;)

Duncan IN
03-28-2002, 09:26 PM
I just bought a 2000 dodge ram diesel with a five speed. I use this truck for pulling a 20' trailer and to plow with. I rarely smell the diesel fumes. I really only smell it sometimes in the morning when I start it up. I love my diesel because I get 18mpg and the cost of diesel right now is $1.19 and gas is $1.32 You save alot of money when the diesel fuel is cheaper!
I ordered my first Diesel Mower the other day!!! 2002 Dixie Chopper xxwd5000 50 hp diesel! I hear it gets excellant fuel economy!

03-28-2002, 11:23 PM
Ill put my Powerstroke against any STOCK gasser pulling my 16' trailer with a 7000lbs Case skid steer!! Ill see ya in the next town and burn 1/2 the gas as the gassers!!!. All kidding aside we run gas big block chevys and Powerstroke Fords! They do push snow pretty much the same but the diesels do have a slight advantage also we have found our diesels will haul sanders full of sand (2) yards at 3250lbs a yard of WET sand at over 7000lbs pounds in the rear, our diesels will hands down run circles around the big blocks and at almost 1/2 the cost when towing something plus our big blocks are at 300 horse and 400lbs while our Powerstrokes are ar 250 horse and 505 lbs tourque and my opinion light to light they are almost identicle! Our new big block gets 9mpg in the city while our diesels get 20mpg so at 11mpg a savings at $1.35 a gallon so at 30,000 miles thats 3,333 gallons on the gassers and 1500 gallons on the diesels for a yearly savings of $ over $2,400.00 a year!!!! in less then 2 years it will have paid for itself plus in 5 years it will have a higher resale value plus a fuel savings of over $12,000.00 in that time WOW!!!!!!!!!

03-29-2002, 01:47 AM
Well said Brian. Something else that needs considering, if a company makes a 20% profit per year, and are giving/wasting $2500 a year in gas cost, how much additional sales will they need to make to cover to extra cost of fuel. (on a 20% profit scale)

I know for a fact then when I went from gas to diesel I saved $110 a month, that is one less lawn to mow and make the same money.

03-29-2002, 07:39 PM
DUDE! If you are only making 20% profit per year....you are doing something wrong or you are too lazy to do any of the work yourself.:alien:

03-30-2002, 08:02 AM
Mow&Snow.....your statement of something is going wrong if your only making 20% profit is incorrect. It all depends on your gross. Most small operators will enjoy 50%+ profits, but their gross usually is under 100k. As a company grows sales wise the profits shrink. Youll be lucky to profit 25% if your doing 300k gross. Some million dollar companies only make 3% profit. Bottom line .....everyones numbers are different. Most small owner operator companies that enjoy large profits have to work their butts off(also pray to God they dont become sick, or their outta biz)maybe theyll profit 50k. I myself would rather be the company thats around 300k making 25% profit from my guys, call it lazy or whatever, business owners should be busy working on their business, not in it. If Im sick they cover me, and 25% of 300k is still better than 50% of 100k....lol....to each his own....im babbling!:D

03-30-2002, 12:25 PM
Well said MLI!!!!!!

03-30-2002, 09:35 PM
I pay taxes, I pay for workman's comp, Liability insurance, I pay for all the things that any other company pays, and yet I still net more than 20% of every job. (almost every job)

I run a tight ship. We try to keep waste to a minimum, and I do alot of the work myself. I use laborers for labor only. All skilled work gets done by me. These things have kept our profits high.

I am truly sorry if you are all underbidding yourselves to the point that u cannot make A simple percentage.

03-30-2002, 10:09 PM
So we must be STUPID!!!! if we make under 20% profit! So we must not how to bid!!! Im sorry but last year we grossed in alot of money but we didnt make 20% profit so if your saying we underbid ourselfs or any of the above you may want to look at some of the LARGEST companies in landscape management book some bairly get 20% so they are in these national magazines like lawn and landcsape, landscape management, Pro ect so they must be doing it wrong by what you say!!!! I must say without sounding like a azz you ought to send them some info on your company to those magazines I listed above im sure they would love to get an article out on this subject! If you go to there web sites I belive they could be reached for this type of an article! And if you are so up on 20% if you switched to diesels at 30,000 miles a year it would save you over $2,400 a year!! I know I added fuel to the fire but we are here to give opinions regardless. Thats why you will ALWAYS!! have two totally different responses on most questions. Hey Kirby hows that Powerstroke! Ill get some pics together for you Kirby when the snows off the ground. We just picked up a matching dump. And im LAZY LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL OLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOl

03-31-2002, 12:03 AM
Guess I pushed his button HUH? LOLOLOL

03-31-2002, 12:11 AM
and besides that, Raymond is not exactly in SOUTHERN Maine.:)

Shadetree Ltd
03-31-2002, 02:46 AM
To answer the original question, I have switched to all diesels but one. There are very few if any valid arguments to be made against the diesels IMO. The up front cost may be higher but you have to look at the bigger picture. The resale will net you back approx. 50% of the up front cost, the mileage savings continue to add up every year, and if you are truly working the truck and engine, the diesels have the reputation for lasting much longer than most gas blocks. I currently run a Chevy TD, Cummins 24 valve and a Ford PSD and they are great. Then again if you only had on tiny single axle trailer and limited residential customers, then the diesel would be overkill.

As for the 20% thought, regardless of what percent I make I am building a succesful company that can run on its own and allow me to grow the business without having to push a lawn mower or drive a plow forever. If you were ever to get hurt Mow&Snow, you will be lucky to stay in business. "I do alot of the work myself. I use laborers for labor only. All skilled work gets done by me." If you were to factor in the actual costs for proper, skilled workers to replace you, you might not be so quick to call others lazy.


03-31-2002, 09:34 AM
Just a friendly reminder all:

A lot of good info on the pros and cons of diesel vs gas have been brought up here, let's stick to that and save the "button pushing" and "chatting posts" for E-mail or Private Message......................

Thanks! :)

03-31-2002, 09:34 PM
We are located in southern Maine and thats by our state house in Augusta!! For some real Dodges look at www.bluechipdiesel.com
Plus they will dyno your trucks which give you a graph for torque and horsepower! They are super nice guys to deal with a see them all the time down at New England Dragway where they run a diesel truck that REALLY flies, Somewhere like 140mph in the quarter (see if they still got it on there web site) If your a Dodge guy they will impress you with there products and services.

04-02-2002, 01:12 AM
Mow & Snow, I think you missed the question asked, he was not asking if you like the smell or sound of a diesel...he asked are they good for lawn services. You have stated you views of why you don't like diesels but have only proven that they are stronger, more effecent, last longer, and have a higher resale than gas engines. Hopefully the choice will be even easier now.

As for the 20% thing, each is different, I use a fairly average figure, if you make more than that great.

04-02-2002, 08:02 AM
The question asked is, are they good for Lco. Sure. they are wonderful trucks.

But I would not use them for reasons stated. that is my only point. I didn't start this as a war on what was better. If you look at my earlier posts, I stated quite clearly that deisels do have there place.

Have a nice day. Spring is here. there's money to be made!

04-04-2002, 10:54 PM
personally i love the smell and sound of a diesel

04-04-2002, 11:06 PM
I have never had a diesel but I'm considering one for my next truck. It sound like any additional cost in buying the truck is made up for with lower operating costs and higher resale value. The only concern that I have is starting in extremely cold weather. I have heard the older diesels were hard to get started. Are the modern diesels better? I just would like to know if the truck is parked over night at -20 will it start if you can't plug in the block heater?


04-06-2002, 03:46 PM
Diesels are awesome, big, loud, and last forever. Get you a big ol' 350 V8 gas and sure, it'll pull whatever you tell it to, but the mileage goes down, and the engine gets worn out. Get you a big ol' diesel and it will pull better, longer, and better mileage. That is what diesels are made for. Hauling. And that's what we do, haul our equipment. 18 wheelers use diesels....coincedence? I think not.


04-06-2002, 06:43 PM
Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. All the comments about how your truck will burn rubber and so on, even in 2nd, 3rd gear, mercy, it must be nice to have that much money to throw around buying tires. The last time I bought tires they were not cheap. I put 50,000 a year on my truck and am buying tires every year. It must be nice to make that much money to just burn it off in black marks on the road.

On the subject of Diesel vs gas. After several gas trucks and now a 2000 PS F 250, I would never go back if at all possible. The smell isn't bad at all once engine warms up. My mpg with diesel running around town towing my trailer is the same as my gas burner got on a trip.

We aren't in this business for our health!

04-29-2002, 10:57 PM

AK Lawn
04-30-2002, 03:42 AM
coming from a person that has only had bad experiences w/ diesels but i think they are good if thy are maintained, but say you have an employee that runs your diesel for 4 days without a drain plug(no coolant) the n the truck goes to $h!t and you hate diesel because when you do have to fix them they are so darn expensive, but did enjoy mine until this point and think that their are a lot of advantages to owning one
AK Lawn

04-30-2002, 04:54 PM
Originally posted by AK Lawn
but say you have an employee that runs your diesel for 4 days without a drain plug(no coolant) the n the truck goes to $h!t and you hate diesel

No I would not hate the diesel...I would hate whoever left the plug off my truck...it's their fault not the diesel engines.

05-01-2002, 10:00 AM
Don't hate the diesel, it wasn't his fault.

I would have worked that employee long enough to pay for at least some of the damage and then FIRED him. Your post is a big reason why I am planning at this point to be a 3 man crew this year. ME-MYSELF-and I.

Liquid Cooled Exmark
05-02-2002, 05:39 PM
i drive a 97 F350 PSD/dumptruck, use it all the time for mowing, also works for huling mulch/topsoil whatever, just great for work and mowing, definately buy one man. goodluck