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first truck, LCO no trailer

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Oasis360, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Oasis360

    Oasis360 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    I am a lawn and garden maintenance outfit looking to upgrade to my first truck from the van I started out with. I do not own a trailer, nor do I want one right away. I have the idea to place plyboard sheets 4 feet tall above the top of bed on the truck, and use the space created for yard debris and equipment separated by tarping divider. My question is this- should I go compact or full sized diesel? I would be hauling 1 21inch walk behind, line trimmer, backpack blower, hedge trimmers, hand tools, and yard debris only. I want fuel efficiancy and heard diesels matched that of a compact truck. I will be buying used from auction, probably wanting a ranger or toyota pickup from early 90s or 6.9 ford diesel / 12valve 5.9 dodge diesel... Like I said Im just starting out, one man opp, mainly lawn and garden maintenance with no trailer - and I need fuel efficiency and reliability. Thanks for input
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  2. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    before you start "mickey mousing" with the plywood, I would do a digital image of what 4' above the bed really looks like...I don' think you'll be happy.. Sanford and Son comes to mind

    I know money is tight. but I would look into some sort of of expanded metal sides that would extend only as high as the cab...or some sort of ladder rack framework so you could do similar to what you need.

    Keep in mind with your debris being "co-mingled" with your equipment I would expect a fair amount of dirt and debris in your fuel and air cleaners. for this reason alone I'd also want some sort of rack system to hold the hand tools out side of the bed.

    since you are small operation why not a full size truck with a long bed with a smaller gas V8 or large V6. you won't be hauling as much stuff so you don' need the capacity yet. key word is YET plus gassers are cheaper to work on...

    I don' think you'd be happy with a small struck although I did start out with an 87 s10 long bed and I could haul around my 36" WB with no problems...

  3. SchnabelLawnCare

    SchnabelLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 709

    I love my chevy s10. 1998 was a good year for them. Regret not getting a v6 though...
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  4. Oasis360

    Oasis360 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    I can see now that plyboard walls 4 feet above bed sides would be very counter productive in my operation. A standard truck bed just isnt setup to be modified into a dump box, especially on a compact truck like I want. I still havent purchased yet, I did manage to make it to an auto auction yesterday where I seen a 78 ford dually with a 9 cu yard load box (no hydro dumper) sell for 400 dollars. I think it had a 302 or 368 in it, which is 10 miles a gallon empty or full... I almost bought it but I wouldnt be able to handle the storage of something that big or the fuel cost. I have my eye on compact 4 cyl diesel trucks, like isuzu pup chevy LUV or Nissan 720. They all average around 30-32 MPG. Only downside I can see is 1500 payload and 2000 towing... But for starting out with no trailer I think it would be ideal. Im open to all input. THANKS
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  5. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,065

    A late 90's chevy half ton with long bed, they are cheap and plentyful. You can d alot of work out of one and booste capacity with a helper spring on the rear axle. These trucks also came with stake pockets in the bed so you could add 2 foot framing around the bed to haul mulch or lawn waste. I have also seen some guys around my area using these with an expanded steel fold up ramp and 36" walkbehinds so no trailer would be needed. I would stay away from ply-wood just not good buiness image. Go with the metal sides with signs printed on it.
  6. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    NO NO NO...you cannot boost capacity by adding springs, air bags, or any such device. Helper springs and airbags only help maintain the ride/level the truck IE keeping it from sagging/swaying. You cannot legally ever exceed the hauling/towing capacity of your truck no matter what you install. Overload springs help keep the vehicle level when loaded or overloaded, but they do not strengthen the axle, wheel bearings, tires or frame.

    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  7. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,195

    Those little diesel pickups have NO power at all. Hauling 1500 pounds or towing 2000 would be pretty optimistic. I would go for the full size truck, it will give you room to grow. I started with just a pickup with no trailer. Now I have a 6x12 enclosed, and the efficiency of using a trailer paid for itself very quickly.
  8. Oasis360

    Oasis360 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    Well I found a great deal on an 84 Ford Ranger Long Bed w/ 2.8 liter V6 --- $700. Its got a 5 speed and a new clutch, as well as many other newer parts. I figure that it will hold 1500 in the bed and be able to tow around 3500 no problem, and I will be adding a low-end torquer cam, 4 barrel intake manifold, holley 390cfm double pumper, MSD full ignition, and headers / exhaust.
  9. Lawn Man Dave

    Lawn Man Dave LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 420

    I had an 86 Camaro with a fuel injected 2.8 and 3.42 gears........ that truck will hate you and you will hate it... Then engine new does not have much power and that old it has even less and the fuel injected ones did better then the carb ones.

    Id never consider hauling more then a riding mower with that.... the non commercial kind.

    You are also forgetting about the brakes..... you MAY be able to pull it but even with down shifting I bet you will be burning up brakes....
  10. mnglocker

    mnglocker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 758

    And all that add on **** cost how much? BTW 1500lbs in the bed is optimistic... at best.

    Take the money you'd spend trying to make the truck into something it's not and buy it set up correctly from the start.

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