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View Full Version : To those that have leaf boxes.....


walker-talker
12-23-2002, 12:12 PM
I am in the market for a truck with a hoist. I am currently looking for an older grain truck. To those that have leaf boxes, what is the length of your beds and would you go longer? I have came across some that are 12 foot and some that are 16 and even some that are 20 fooot. I am just trying to find out if you would do anything different as far as getting a longer truck.

Thanks
MATT

FrankenScagMachines
12-23-2002, 12:26 PM
Just a thought.
I dont' know how far they typically thro leaves but make sure your loader can reach to the front of your truck
Eric

DBLC
12-23-2002, 12:29 PM
My bed is an 18 footer! However, have a ten foot box mounted on there. My vac has plenty of push so next yr. I am going to take advantage of the entire bed. The vac will push them to the front! Hope this helps.

walker-talker
12-23-2002, 12:48 PM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy
Just a thought.
I dont' know how far they typically thro leaves but make sure your loader can reach to the front of your truck
Eric

I was thinking of using a 16hp Billy Goat, which I have heard that those have no problems throwing the materail 18ft, but if anyone would like to elaborate or correct me on this.....feel free.

MATT

ksland
12-23-2002, 01:18 PM
I just checked my Lesco 16hp, got an average of 30 feet throwing distance.

walker-talker
12-23-2002, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by ksland
I just checked my Lesco 16hp, got an average of 30 feet throwing distance.

Thanks
MATT

mdb landscaping
12-23-2002, 01:36 PM
Heres a pic of my box. its a 10 foot trailer. I think for a 16hp, you got for at least a 20 ft box or even a little more. It shoots the material straight to the front of my box, and from where i see it makes contact, it hasnt lost any height, indicating the 16hp could throw the material a good 16 or 20 ft or even more.

walker-talker
12-23-2002, 03:03 PM
Are you happy with a 10ft box, or if you had to do it all over again, would you have purchased something bigger?

MATT

Angelo
12-23-2002, 03:11 PM
Well the 20' in theory makes the most sense, but if you are going to use that truck to haul around a trailer in the summer that turns out to be a long vehicle. I guess what I am saying is if you have the need for that truck besides leaves than a 20' sounds good. In my town the largest trucks they use for leaves are the mack 12-14' dump trucks. If you have the money to have this truck and another one to pull around a trailer in the summer with that would be ideal. Then you can also sell mulch/firewood/christmas trees/ or anything else you can deliver with a 20'. Alot of the guys I see with 20' trucks have a pickup following them with the leaf vac and lawn equipment.

walker-talker
12-23-2002, 03:18 PM
Another idea I had, but have not checked the prices of, and that was getting a roll off dumpster truck. I would use it in the spring and fall and would lease out the dumpster in the summer and winter (or whenever I was not using it). I priced the charge for renting out one a few years ago and it was something around $300 for a few days or week. It was just an idea I was considering, but I need to do some more searching.

MATT

jkkalbers
12-23-2002, 03:26 PM
our trucks have 10' beds. Mainly because we use them for plowing in the winter, and anything larger is just asking for an accident. Bringing up another point, it seems as though everyone is using vacuums to put leaves in their trucks now. For those of you that used to do it by hand with tarps(which is how we do it) do you think it is that much better of a system? Or quicker. I mean how long does it take someone to suck up a couple cubic yards of leaves. I've seen people in my area doing it and i'll do an entire lawn with my crew in the time he sits there sucking the leaves up. Also, we don't have to go very far to dump.

gogetter
12-23-2002, 04:20 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by jkkalbers
[B]it seems as though everyone is using vacuums to put leaves in their trucks now. For those of you that used to do it by hand with tarps(which is how we do it) do you think it is that much better of a system? Or quicker.


I my YES! Much faster. I don't own a vac, I pay another LCO to come and suck them up from my customers lawns. They make that pile dissapear quick!. I use to pile them on tarps and drag them onto my little trailer and haul to the dump. Much too time consuming AND back breaking!

You have to also take into consideration that you're hauling whole (or near whole) leaves. The material loaders reduce the volume greatly so they can haul alot more before having to dump.
That saves time right there.

Perhaps the company you saw must have had a smaller, underpowered unit with a small hose.

bruces
12-23-2002, 05:47 PM
Originally posted by mdb landscaping
Heres a pic of my box. its a 10 foot trailer. I think for a 16hp, you got for at least a 20 ft box or even a little more. It shoots the material straight to the front of my box, and from where i see it makes contact, it hasnt lost any height, indicating the 16hp could throw the material a good 16 or 20 ft or even more.

Nice looking setup.

Questions?

I assume that you have 2 vehicles, one to pull this setup and one to pull a trailer with mowers?

If not, are you moving the leaves to the loader with blowers?

Since I operate solo most of the time, I would need to have the loader mounted to load in to the truck so that I can still pull the trailer with mowers.

Does the rear door swing away with the loader to dump?

Tvov
12-23-2002, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by jkkalbers
I've seen people in my area doing it and i'll do an entire lawn with my crew in the time he sits there sucking the leaves up.

One of the biggest advantages to a leaf vacuum I think is that instead of a crew, only one guy is necessary to operate it. I remember "BV" (Before Vacuum) needing multiple men to tarp, drag, and dump leaves (and being exhausted when done). If the customer wants the leaves removed from the property, it is a real PITA to load up a trailer by tarp! Now, after a pile is made, one guy pulls up and vacuums, while the rest take off to start on the next job.

We have an F-350 with a 10ft bed, and a front-mount vacuum. It works really well for us.

mdb landscaping
12-23-2002, 06:46 PM
I work solo, so you did bring up a good question. I have a seperate 8 by 14 foot enclosed trailer with my mowers and blowers etc. I use my backpack blower to clean the shrubbery out, use a 9 hp little wonder walk behind to blow into the huge piles, and push them to a curbside with a leaf plow mounted on my walkbehind. I then mow the whole lawn with my rider. I usually do two or three cleanups per day. Ill do all my cleanups, then go home and switch trailers and get the leaf loader. I do this part last, because i can suck the leaves in the dark if i have to. It would be more productive to mount the sucker on my truck, but i like haveing a nice clean truck(and prevent scratching), so i went that route instead. I use the dump trailer to haul mulch in the spring, so it works out well.

LAWNGODFATHER
12-24-2002, 12:23 AM
While looking at old grain trucks you will encounter 1 major problem with those classes of trucks.

Turning radius. So the bed length will also put the wheels further back on the frame and make them turn even worse then they already do.

I have 16' beds and they turn like crap when you get in tight aeras.

I would say stick with a 16' or smaller.

18' and longer is going to be hard for you to manuver and, if you are not carefull you can go beond the wieght limits of your licensing of the truck with a slowly loading load.

For the stuff I do I wouldn't mind getting one with a 22' or 24' bed, but then it would need a tag axel or tandum and then finding a CDL driver is like finding a needle in a hay stack.

walker-talker
12-24-2002, 06:56 AM
Thanks LGF, that was what I was looking for. I did consider the weight problem with a longer bed, but had not considered the manuverability problems. I did consider the problem with a tandem axle and having the CDL. I picked up a study manual to get my CDL (I do have a friend with a dump truck I could use to take the driving part of the test with), but had not even considered how hard it would be to find help with a CDL. Maybe instead of orginally looking for something with at least a 16ft bed, I need to look for something with not more than a 16ft bed. I was blindly thinking bigger was better.

Thanks again
MATT

yardman1
12-24-2002, 09:03 AM
I have got my class A license with haz-mat indorsments, how much are you willing to pay.:D LOL

cantoo
12-24-2002, 11:13 AM
walker-talker, there are pictures here of our set up. We also use a Walker but we haul with a cube van. The trailer is about 6' x 10' x 6' hign and is too small. Most of the season my wife does the work by herself, I do help on the weekends during leaf season. I think this is a good set up for solo guys, tarps are too hard to handle by yourself. I put wheels on the loader so she can move it, no lifting this way. Because she is by herself most of the time we try to buy or make things that make it easier for her. Next year we will have a dump truck to make unloading easier. We're looking for a 4 door with a 12' box, I will mount the loader right to it the blower and rakes will go in boxes under the bed and the Walker and leaf blower will go on a small purpose built open trailer. Hopefully by the time I am ready to go full time we will have the ultimate set up. And before anyone whines to me about having my wife do all the work she started the business not me, so I actually work for her.


http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?threadid=36951

walker-talker
12-24-2002, 01:11 PM
Cantoo, I have seen one of your pics, but it seemed that the pic was taken from a distance, so I didn't get a real good view of it. Most of the ones I have seen here or on the other forum were all around 10ft. Thius the reason I started this thread. I was mainly targeting you guys with the smaller ones and wanted to know if you had to do it all over again, what would you do different. When I first saw LGF's, I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to make it no less than 16ft, but perferably longer. I have seen many 12ft-14ft trucks for sale, but really wanted to hold out for something longer. I am going to check the paper for auctions religiously from now until spring. I think I can pick up a pretty good deal if I have neough patientence. I thought about the dumptruck route. I even thought about the trash truck route. An like I said earlier, I even thougt about the roll-off dumpster route.

LGF, just out of curiousity, how many yards of top soil will your ste up hold and still be able to hoist?

Thanks
MATT

LAWNGODFATHER
12-24-2002, 01:15 PM
Finding the right truck for the situation on this, is the right thing to do.

Bigger is better if you are sucking leaves all day long.


Truck has a 16 ton hoist. Will do 10 ton no problem. 12 ton it goes slow, and 14 ton takes a long time to dump.

fblandscape
12-24-2002, 06:46 PM
For those of you who drive the larger trucks with leaf suckers, how are they to move around? I know that the smaller the trailer, the more of a PITA it is to back up. Do you use tailgate suckers, or tow behinds?

mdb landscaping
12-24-2002, 07:31 PM
hey fb, i dont have a tow behind, but i saw a really hot setup awhile back. I dont think this would work on some of the larger suckers, but this guy had a 20hp giant vac on the small trailer attached to a f700 dump truck. Before he backs up, he puts the dump body up and attaches the sucker with two chains to the tailgate. Then he puts the body down, and that lifts the two small trailer wheels off the ground, so he can back up. just a tip if nobody has seen that before.

fblandscape
12-24-2002, 09:31 PM
I have done that before with a similar sized truck and a big chipper. Chipper jack couldn't go high enough to reach the pintle on the truck. Couldn't lift the tongue by hand as the machine weighed in at almost 4 tons.

Bunton Guy
12-25-2002, 09:48 AM
One of my buddies here in Charlotte has the hottest settup I have seen he has a 2002 Mitsubishi FE-SP cabover with a 16ft. dump with 8Ft high metal sides and a swinging tail gate. He as the top made into a arc with PVC pipe and then he put the normal mesh top over it....he pulls a 85hp 4 cylinder diesel leaf vac made by Old Dominion. The settup is sweet and he can hold over 33 cubic yards of leaf mulch....he has several apartment complexes that will fill it up in a day but it is the cleanest looking settup besides the city trucks that are made just for leaf sucking. That is my plan for next year I used for this season a 16 foot trailer with a 16hp billygoat mounted on the front of the trailer. Next season I plan on using a Isuzu dump truck and a pull behind leaf vac as I have just picked up 2 apartment complexes riddeled with trees.

walker-talker
12-25-2002, 01:55 PM
That does sound like a sweet setup. An 85hp leaf vac?, good lord, I bet that could pull the chrome off a bumper. I am currently checking out a mid 70's Chevy grain truck with a 13ft bed. My gut is telling me to hold out for at least a 16 footer. The engine only has 5K miles on it. It has a metal box bed with wood extensions. Sounds like a decent deal if I could get it for $2500, but he is asking $3500. The hoist uses twin cylinders, so I guess that is a plus......but still not sure on that 13ft bed. I will be pulling a 16ft trailer with whatever truck I purchase. I am just wondering what kind of problems I will have turning a truck with 16ft bed and pulling a 16ft trailer around in city culdasacs? Any expierences on that out there in lawnsite land?

Thanks
MATT

Bunton Guy
12-25-2002, 02:51 PM
Put it this way I dont drive a grain truck but I do drive a F-350 extended cab long bed with a 16 foot enclosed trailer and there is no such thing as U-turns but I have found a few culdasacks that I can turn around on. Looking to see what a 85hp leaf vac...they even have 120hp with 26,000CFM check out
www.leafcollector.com not to mention some of the models are 4 cylinder diesel some are 6 cylinder diesel. No such thing as a cloged hose or a pile of leaves it cant tame.

baddboygeorge
12-27-2002, 01:24 PM
the ultimate leaf truck would be like an f 700 with a full 24 ft. dump with 12 foot sidewalls plenty of room for plenty of leaves. my machine will throw leaves 50 foot easy if not farther. i have an older tow behind with an 65 hp comtinental with a 3foot fan on it works so well i cant even tell ya .

LAWNGODFATHER
12-27-2002, 04:23 PM
Originally posted by baddboygeorge
the ultimate leaf truck would be like an f 700 with a full 24 ft. dump with 12 foot sidewalls plenty of room for plenty of leaves. my machine will throw leaves 50 foot easy if not farther. i have an older tow behind with an 65 hp comtinental with a 3foot fan on it works so well i cant even tell ya .

Might be ultimate but it aint going under to many bridges or down streets with low hanging branches.

Fords sit up high and my IHC's with 8' sides are just under 13' high.

walker-talker
12-27-2002, 05:58 PM
Not to mention the dificulities you would have turning in a culdasac.

MATT

LAWNGODFATHER
12-27-2002, 06:22 PM
I've been down half mile driveways where we have to take the vac off back out turn around and back back down the driveway to get out.

Bunton Guy
12-28-2002, 09:19 AM
Isnt it practically impossible to turn around with a pull behind vac because of the short wheel base and how short of a distance from the vehicle to the wheels. Besides the fact of not being able to see it in the mirrors.

LAWNGODFATHER
12-28-2002, 11:57 AM
Nope, just when you can't turn the truck around at all, and you have to back out of a street and back back down the street.

cantoo
12-28-2002, 10:27 PM
LGF, do what the boating guys do, mount a receiver on the front end of the truck too. Then it's easy to back down the road and the leaf loader will be hitched to the front of the truck.

LAWNGODFATHER
12-28-2002, 11:09 PM
Would have but the discharge tube will smash up the windshield.

Randy J
12-29-2002, 07:55 AM
Being in the process of getting set up for next year, I have the same problem as a lot of guys on here - a one man crew. I really wanted a truck that could pull my equipment trailer, and still be able to hold leaves. I considered a F700 w/ a 16' bed, or something similar. I could handle that much size during fall cleanups, but believe that would be just too big to use everyday pulling a lawn trailer. So until I am much larger, and can afford a dedicated truck, I decided to go with a pickup size truck (F350, 3500, etc.) with a 10 - 12 foot bed. I recently stumbled across a '97 Ford F350 Powerstroke, one owner that is super clean, with a 12 foot flatbed. It's going to cost $1500 - $2500 to put a dump hoist under the bed. I intend to build 6' sides for it, and build a mount for a leaf blower on the trailer tonge. That way I can use it daily as a work truck, then put the leaf blower on the tonge, sides on the truck, and use it during fall cleanups also. The truck uses no more space to turn than my Dodge 4X4 does (which was going to be my work truck). I am going to try to sell the Ford however, as I just came across an opportunity to get a Dodge (my preference) from someone I know.

Randy

walker-talker
12-29-2002, 02:32 PM
I use a '92 chevy as my main truck in the summer. Instead of spending $2500 on a dump bed for it, i am going to spend aobut 3K for an old grain truck for leaves and scalping. This way I have a backup truck. It will cost more for insurance, but at least I have peace of mind know I have a second truck and wont have to mess with taking down the sides, unless I need to move into the garage.

Matt

Randy J
12-29-2002, 06:03 PM
That makes sense. Actually I'll have my Dodge for a "backup", as well as a sales vehicle. Take the sides off the flatbed and it's my primary vehicle - that looks good. Put the sides on and I can pickup leaves. That's why I opted for this route, as opposed to a bigger truck.

Randy