Lets talk about box trucks

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by PLS-Tx, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. PLS-Tx

    PLS-Tx LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,385

    This is not to discuss advantages/disadvantages of box trucks, if you want to do that do it in the other thread please.

    We plan to get a box truck for our mowing route so I would like to try and learn more about them.

    What do you think is a good size box? Most of them I see around here are 12', our enclosed is 20' and is too small sometimes. :confused:

    What is a good brand?

    Where are good places to find good used box trucks?

    I think I want a gas truck but would we be better off with diesel truck?

    Anything else I should think about?

    Thanks
     
  2. Fresh_Cut

    Fresh_Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    Ok, here is my advice.

    Get a 14' or better with a dovetail ramp. The dovetail will be an additional 4' so even a 14' will become an 18'. You can use those extra 4 feet for things like debris hauling at the end of the day, a 30 gallon trash can for those properties on main roads that have a lot of trash, to sit your blowers (since they are usually the last to get used at a property), anything you can think of putting there that you wouldn't mind being exposed to wind, prying eyes, and possibly rain.

    The ramp would also make a 16' box into a 20'er. Think about it. That's a lot to consider when backing up.

    I used to be a die-hard GM man, then I met a colleague that's also in the biz and he likes GM looks but swears by FORD's reliability (of their trucks only). It is true, Ford trucks are made different than their cars. Completely different ball of wax. So that had something to do with opening my mind to looking at FORDs.

    When I was looking for trucks I looked at about 3 or 4. GMC savannah 3500, Ford E350, Isuzu NPR, chevy 3500 (with van body front).

    The chevy had a dovetail, but was running hot when I met the guy at the gas station to check it out. He had been just sitting in it with the engine and a/c running. :confused: Doesn't explain why it was running hot, but it did make me weary of it. Also, it had a good amount of miles, maybe 150k, on the same engine that I had in my pickup truck that I had just wrecked. I knew it was about time for certain things to go bad on it, namely the intake gasket starts to leak internally, etc.

    The Isuzu NPR diesel was just more than I had at the time, I had totaled my pickup and was waiting on insurance check and the guy selling it was about to be deployed and was trying to sell fast. It had a dovetail.

    The GMC was being sold by a small dealer, the kind that doesn't have a lot. He just buys and sells via newspaper/internet ads. It had no dovetail or liftgate. It was solid but more than I had at the time and had high miles on the exact kind of gas engine that I in my pickup truck. I knew what it was in store for if it hadn't been taken care of.

    The Ford, I was able to talk the guy down on. I didn't know it at the time, but he didn't take good care of it at all and he only had the truck for 11 months. The owner previous to him had done some good stuff to it. I could tell that the engine had some work done on it and had new parts. It had 206k on it when I bought it but some of the stuff under the hood looked new. Like <10k new. The radiator had been replaced, hoses, heads looked clean with no underhood soot or grime. So I bought it.

    In hindsight, I should have gotten a diesel. The mileage is a world of difference. Yeah, people say that diesel fuel costs more, but you get more for the money you spend. The maintenance is different and they generally last anywhere from 300k-500k. If you find one that's even been taken care of moderately and has less than 200k, it's got plenty life left in it.
    I really like the Isuzu NPR's
    I found all the ones I looked at on craigslist and autotrader. There are some good deals out there if you know what you want.

    If you're handy with putting things together and have the time and tools to do it you may want to look into buying an Isuzu NPR cab & chassis and buying a box w/ dovetail separately. I've seen just a dovetail for sail on craigslist for $1k. It was just sitting on the ground like someone had taken it off of a boxtruck because they didn't want it. And I've seen a 16' box with a dovetail for sale on craigslist for $1k, it, too, was just sitting on the ground. They had just taken the whole box including dovetail off the chassis.
     
  3. Fresh_Cut

    Fresh_Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    Otherwise, just look for a cheap diesel that already has a dovetail.

    I've found that when buying stuff used, its cheaper to buy it all in one piece as opposed to buying a $5,500 truck and paying $1800 to have a dovetail installed.

    I'd rather just look for a $5,000 truck that already has a dovetail.
     
  4. PLS-Tx

    PLS-Tx LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,385

    I saw this box truck today, not sure of the length but I sure do like that side door.

    It had a Power stroke.

    I may go with a dove tail ramp but what I really want is one like the SLT, I will see if I can find a pic of one.

    If I do go dove tail I can't see putting anything on the ramp on a regular basis. I would not want to move something out of the way at every stop.

    IMG_1404.jpg

    IMG_1405.jpg
     
  5. fastlane

    fastlane LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    I use a stepvan. 16' behind the partition with a sliding door. 6'8'' inside with a 7' wide roll up rear door. 60''z- 48''wb 21'' pm + all the hand helds and tools. Easy to park. Portable garage, bathroom, and everything is locked up. 10.000 gross so you don't need med card. Driven less than 100 miles a week so fuel is not a factor
     
  6. PLS-Tx

    PLS-Tx LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,385

    Is it gas, any pics?
     
  7. gasracer

    gasracer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,049

    I have been looking at buying a box truck also. I want the stepdown side door like the one in the pic on the passenger side.There is also one called the "vanscaper" it is a box truck with a dovetail made in the floor of the box and the only thing outside is the ramps. Another option is finding one of the companies that make a 2' dovetail with 7' ramps. The SLT stuff is way out of price range. They want over $20,000 just for a box and supply the chassis. The big hydro. ranp they sale is about $10,000.
     
  8. PLS-Tx

    PLS-Tx LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,385

    I agree on the SLT being way too pricey. I would love to have one I just can't see spending that kind of money for one.

    I would like to find one that has a side door and a ramp where all I would need to do is put racks and shelves and it would be ready to go.
     
  9. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 349

    I was wondering, with a step van, how do you get the mowers over the wheel wells (step vans usually have wheel wells which intrude on the cargo area).

    I was thinking about step vans because you can get them with Cummings 4BT's and manual transmissions, not to mention the no-rust aluminum body.
     
  10. fastlane

    fastlane LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    Originally Posted by fastlane
    I use a stepvan. 16' behind the partition with a sliding door. 6'8'' inside with a 7' wide roll up rear door. 60''z- 48''wb 21'' pm + all the hand helds and tools. Easy to park. Portable garage, bathroom, and everything is locked up. 10.000 gross so you don't need med card. Driven less than 100 miles a week so fuel is not a factor

    Is it gas, any pics?
    __________________
    It's gas. 9 mpg No pics. looks like a white FedX truck.
     

Share This Page