View Full Version : How much truck do I need?

09-06-2011, 12:44 AM
Well I'm looking to get a truck this spring to use for personal use and to haul our equipment around but being new to the whole truck/towing thing, I'm not sure how much truck I need to haul everything around with out tearing it up to bad.

Trailer #1 : We have a 6' by 14' trailer and we load it with a 61" Scag Turf Tiger, a Cub Cadet 46" or old JD 38",(we're hoping to get a new mower to replace these this season) a 21" pushy, edgers etc., gas cans.

trailer #2 : "big red" is probably a 6' by 20' or so. Double axle... same load as the first. (would probably be hauling two ZTRs)

We currently use an old Ford explorer to haul trailer #1 and we havn't tried to haul #2 yet as currently if we pick up the back end of the wheel riders and turn in we can squeeze in! I am hopping to get a 96 toyota tacoma 2wd but I'm not sure if it would be able to pull our loads... the reason I like the toyota is its fuel efficient, reliable, and won't break the bank (we're only a part time company!) but if it can't pull than I'll get something else. There's a couple of old gas guzzlers sitting for sale for pretty cheap around town that I might be able to get with the tacoma but I'm afraid those would be full of problems.
If the you think the Toyota won't due what would you recommend? (used around -6,000)
Thanks for the help in advance!

09-06-2011, 02:09 AM
Your 20 foot trailer with 2 zero turns and trimmers, and gear will weigh 8,000-9,000 lbs. You cannot possibly pull that much weight safely with a Toyota Tacoma.

And pulling that much weight, the Tacoma will definitely not last long.

Look for an old state surplus Ford f-250 with a gas motor, you should be able to find an '05 for $9k.

You have to match the truck's capabilities to the trailer. Otherwise, you're in for a dangerous situation.

09-06-2011, 09:47 AM
You need at least a 3/4 ton diesel if you plan to stay in business long. Both for longevity and the simple fact that if you pull up to a potential customers house with a small pickup loaded down looking like a half-sunken bass boat they will not take you seriously.

09-06-2011, 10:05 AM
Diesel is not necessary, I don't know why you would need one for what you are towing? A V8 gas engine would tow everything fine and be much cheaper to maintain and purchase. If you were towing skid steers often or large gooseneck trailers, then a diesel would be a better choice, but for just towing lawn mowers, a gas engine will be plenty.

Judging by what you have, I'd find a decent 3/4 ton truck. You could probably get by with a 1/2 ton truck, but it would probably stress the truck a little more, increasing the wear and frequency of replacing parts. That toyota tacoma will not pull your equipment safely.

09-06-2011, 05:58 PM
Okay, thanks for the help guys!

I talked to the guy I own the business with and we're going to try to find a 90's 3/4 ton or 1 ton... we're not sure which brand yet but will figure that out.

4 seasons lawn&land
09-06-2011, 06:18 PM
3/4 ton for sure. Dont bother with diesel...

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 06:54 PM
Get some money together and buy something newer then that. Down time adds up fast.

09-06-2011, 08:09 PM
To say diesel is "far superior" to gas is quite a bold statement. Just because a diesel is best for YOU, doesn't mean that it is best for everyone. If you are just towing around town, you won't see the benefits of a diesel that you would if you were driving/towing mostly highway. While over the entire life of the truck, it MAY be cheaper to run a diesel, it takes quite a while to see the benefits if you don't drive much (you may not see the benefits if you drive only 10k miles a year and replace vehicles every 7-10 years).

Someone who is only driving 12k a year and needs to tow 6000lbs would not benefit from a diesel, the gas truck would be the best choice. But the person who drives 22k a year and needs to tow 13000lbs would benefit from a diesel.

While gas engines don't have the towing capacity of a diesel, they are much cheaper to fix. When a diesel breaks down, it typically costs much more to repair than a comparable fix on a gas engine.

The definition of "superior" is all relative to your personal needs.

09-06-2011, 09:02 PM
20 foot trailer-3500lbs
2 zero turns-3000 lbs
trimmers/blowers/edgers-300 lbs
gas, oil, hand shears, shovels, rakes-200lbs
total of 7,000 lbs.

4 seasons lawn&land
09-06-2011, 09:34 PM
I know this guy! I have too many of them around town. He has smoke stacks on his 500 hp cummins with an 8 inch lift and highway terrain tires because he got sick of replacing the monster truck tires.

DVS Hardscaper
09-06-2011, 11:01 PM
GM did have the 3500HD, and yes I repeat "HD". If necessary, I can post a picture of ours.

And in the late 80's and the early 90's many 3/4 tons were HD's, but it wasn't badged HD on the sides. They had (2) 3/4 tons. One was a 6 lug 3/4 ton and one was an 8 lug 3/4 ton with an 8000#(?) GVW. The 6 lug had a lessor GVW, and a smaller trans.

Also, No one need to get their girdles in a twist over gas vs diesel.

I've had everything.

I had a 3/4 ton gasser that I got 300,000 miles out of it. 5.7 liter, TH400, Pulled fully loaded 10,000 GVW trailers every day. 300,000 miles - how can one argue with that?

I had a Dodge, with the Cummins. And the gasser pick up out pulled it. By far.

What you need to remember is it's all in the gear ratio. The gasser had a lower gear ratio than the Dodge.

I have a Nissan Frontier with a 7,000# towing capacity. That ain't too shabby.

Many of you are not in the DC area, but there is a company called Chapel Valley Landscaping. (google them) They have around 100 trucks. Most of their 3/4 ton pick ups are gassers.

I've always made jokes about the lawn guys and their diesel pick ups and how they're finally ontop of the world!

The strategy of business is to spend as conservatively as possible. Buy used trucks, never new. Get the engine that works best for you. Maintain the truck. Replace parts BEFORE they go bad. My truck with 300K miles - NEVER had to be towed or rollbacked. I replaced everything before it failed, with the exception of the fuel pump. A gasoline engine is cheaper to replace than a diesel, something to keep in mind.

I think the guy mentioning 8000 and 9000# trailer is referring to GVW (gross vehicle weight)


DVS Hardscaper
09-06-2011, 11:13 PM
For trailering mowers a gasser is fine. Mowers are light. Thats alotta $25 - $55 yards you gotta cut to pay for a diesel.

Skid steers and excavators - different story.


DVS Hardscaper
09-06-2011, 11:18 PM
LOL - my signature has been the same for the last 4 years.

See the line about my socks? That derived from GM's trucks :)


4 seasons lawn&land
09-06-2011, 11:26 PM
awesome thanks!

DVS Hardscaper
09-06-2011, 11:28 PM
I know this guy! I have too many of them around town. He has smoke stacks on his 500 hp cummins with an 8 inch lift and highway terrain tires because he got sick of replacing the monster truck tires.

LOL - yeah they think they're pulling a sled!

And even funnier is how they drive away when they're leaving after a truck and tractor pull! Driving their automatics like they're standards and trying to make as much black smoke as they can!!! Hee-Haw!!!

4 seasons lawn&land
09-07-2011, 09:30 AM

09-07-2011, 07:10 PM
LOL! I guess the gas vs. diesel debate is a ol' can of worms!

I think were going to either get a F-150 or 250. Will the 150 haul the load fine?

Thanks for all the help so far!

4 seasons lawn&land
09-07-2011, 08:24 PM
The 150 will pull it. Dont be surprised if you use just as much gas in it as a 3/4 ton would use, with you pulling near its limit.

09-07-2011, 11:02 PM
Oh, okay. I guess it'll be up to the color whether or not I get a F-150 or 250 l:laugh:

09-09-2011, 09:21 PM
Even still with a newer 3/4 ton gasser you could get away with pulling a skid steer a couple of times and get away with it. And there is no way in hell a 2wd tacoma is going to pull a 7000lbs trailer. 4x4 is also a good thing to look for when getting a lawn service truck.

09-10-2011, 08:00 PM
Okay... ya the Toyota was a bit of a fantasy lol... I think I'm going to get a F-250 crew cab or extended or a similar truck from a different brand. My business partner is getting a truck so I'll hold off my purchase for a little bit.
Thanks for the help!

09-10-2011, 09:24 PM
An 89'-93' F150 is a good truck. Just make sure it's all stock and you won't have [m]any problems.