diesel? or gas truck

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by atb1137, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    Definitely get at least an extended cab... you will not like a regular cab after having a quad cab.

    Just driving around town, a diesel doesn't get that much better mileage. Especially if you are a lead foot and keep using the turbo - in which case you may even get worse mileage. Where a diesel really shines is on the highway -- power for towing and higher (50%+) fuel mileage.

    I have a small lawn service, and had a 2000 F250 diesel for a few years. I found it to be completely unnecessary for a small landscaper/lawn service. What I didn't expect was the cost and effort of maintenance. 4 gallon oil changes, regular replacement of fuel filters (that cost $$$), worry about the anti-freeze... seemed like every time I turned around there was some new, different maintenance item I had to take care of. Add in the higher (on average) cost of diesel fuel in my area, and the cost of owning the diesel truck was not worth it.

    For companies that already have diesel equipment (hardscapers, excavators, etc) and are used to diesel engines, the diesel pickup trucks fit right in.

    In my case I found it to be expensive and not worth it.
  2. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    I've got a 2500HD and pull a 6x12 enclosed, and even with the bed of the truck heavily loaded I go as fast as I want to go up any hill. I average about 10 mpg. Like others have said unless you tow very heavy and run lots of miles you don't need a diesel. In fact you couldn't give me a diesel pickup newer than '07 with all the emission BS they are saddled with now. Now, if you want a diesel because you have to have the biggest and baddest, then you have psychological issues that I cannot help you with. :laugh:
  3. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Do you own the Dodge outright? If so keep it or find a good used reg or ext cab 1/2-3/4 ton truck with that cash. That way you are not out any money. Do you snow plow? If not get a 2wd because they are cheaper. What are you planning to do with your business? If it's mowing only get the reg cab 2wd 1/2 or 3/4 ton. Do you plan on doing mulching, topsoil, or heavier landscaping work? Then invest in the 3/4-1 ton or dump truck for load carrying. There are sooo many variables to what truck you need vs. want. If I could do it over again, 2wd F350 (single or dual wheel) total basic package. I focused on the landscaping more. I hated using my good F250 for working. Got scratched and beat eventhough I tried my best to avoid things.

    Do you want the truck to work for you or you working for the truck? If your truck is paid off and all you do is mow let that truck work for you! Why make payments if you don't have to. Maybe you do so well and stuff cash away because you dont have a payment and you can buy what you want in 5 years with cash!

    As far as diesel or gas goes that's a preference like Ford, Chevy, or Dodge. Heavy hauling every day, diesels probably come out on top. Towing a few thousand pounds, does it make a difference?

    Also in regard to fuel mpg's. If you have ZERO payments and then go buy a much more expensive diesel truck the fuel savings doesn't mean squat as you increased your monthly expenses anyways by hundreds of dollars in a payment. Make sense?
  4. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I have heard a very large spread of fuel mileage numbers from owners of 2500HD's. My current truck is a 2007 Chevy 2500HD (new body style), 4x4, extended cab, LT package with 3.73 gears. My numbers vary depending on what I am doing. My truck is both my personal and business truck, so I have found out what fuel mileage I get in a variety of situations. When I am driving empty I can get 17+ mpg on the highway doing 70mph (cruise on), roughly 13-14mpg in the city with a light foot (occasionally near 15 if I'm really good). Now towing is a big difference, with a light foot and towing 6000lbs or so, I can get a little over 9mpg with a mix of highway and city.

    You will definately want an extended cab, the convenience is awesome. I went from a single cab to an extended cab and will never go back to a single cab, even in a work truck. I do have a short bed, but it fits everything I need.
  5. 360ci

    360ci LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 995

    If you don't plan to get into plowing, stick with the 1/2 ton. Keep in mind you buy a truck to suit current business needs and perhaps some future growth.

    A smaller gas V8 is all you need. As mentioned, if you're not towing over tree tons on a regular basis a half ton can more than handle the regular abuse. If you don't like the rear end squat when loaded, and don't go overweight, it'll be best to get air shocks or add-a-leaf springs installed for the extra stability. For a small trailer it doesn't make sense to run a load distributing hitch unless the tongue weight is 400lbs or greater.

    Gas engines are also easier to maintain and replace parts are less expensive. I'm not sure about the big diesels, but my small Sprinter 2.7L that I use for another business gets great mileage, doesn't have much for passing power on the highway but is QUICK in town. A fuel filter runs $110 installed, oil change - $150 every 8-9K miles, and that's not including associated costs such as replacing glow plugs and other parts. The 2.7L is also an inline design not a V8, so it should last another 250K before I have any major problems with it. Pre emissions is the only way to go. Once you get into the AdBlu or Urea injection, costs increase even further on replacement parts (aka, regular maintenance on a diesel). I prefer diesels, but not at the expense of their size.

    I heard GM should be out, as early as next year, with a smaller 4.5L diesel (yes, the same one from a few years ago that was put on the shelf for bankruptcy issues), is now back on the table and will show up in the 2500 series trucks first which I think is a good thing. I'd like to have the capability of a HD plow truck, but I don't need to tow 16K with the larger diesel. The smaller diesel makes sense here if you want to wait a bit and buy new, it's the one I'd go with - lets go GM! I must say I prefer Dodge's inline design, however I do not have a need for a 6-7L diesel engine; it's overkill for 80% of applications.

    As for cab configuration that's a personal preference. I think it's wrong to buy a vehicle just on fuel mileage alone. Commercial trucks are called trucks for a reason - they're there to work regardless of fuel consumption you have to keep in mind that you are buying this truck for WORK. As it was also mentioned, if you need a big honkin HD truck just to get groceries in, you have psychological issues that need to be dealt with.
  6. BCL Services

    BCL Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 177

    I fell for the diesel hype a few years back. Don't do it, it truly doesn't make sense if you are pulling a small rig around daily. I purchased a f250 with the power stroke diesel and the mileage I saw was minimally better at best maybe 2 mpg better than a gasser. And if you get on it at all those 2 mpgs go away quick. But what doesn't go away are the expensive maintenance costs. That power stroke i had held 15 quarts of oil. $175 oil changes get old quick. Oh and fuel filters need changed regularly. Not to mention if it breaks down your looking at tons o' cash. I traded that money pit in on a new gas truck that gets the same mileage without all the BS.

    Now if your pulling around heavy equipment regularly, by all means the diesel is a must but a lawn maintenance rig does not require a diesel whatsoever. The air bag assist is a great idea.

    NORTHMAN LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 313

    Like the others said,get a gas truck.I just traded in a Dodge/Cummins for a new GMC 3500HD gas.I've also had a diesel Ford F-350,Toyota Landcruiser(gray market) and a VW Jetta,the Jetta is the only one I'm sorry I don't still have.Please listen to what others have said,don't make a very expensive mistake.Good luck.
  8. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,511

    Looks like im getting 50% better mileage with my truck than what these fellas are with their gas jobs. A 3 gallon oil change every 20,000 miles is not very expensive. A fuel filter is about $10 every 10,000 miles. If you are going to be doing some heavy plowing, you will rejoice that you have a diesel. They are more powerful, last longer, have better resale value, use less fuel, require less maintenance and are in general much more fun if you know what i mean.
  9. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    I've never understood the better resale thing. If you buy a diesel truck for $45k and a gas truck for $38k and the sell the diesel for $20k and the gasser for $13k what's the difference?? You spent $7k more on the diesel, right? Maybe I invested the $7k and made 2% each year on it and now have more. When I was searching for a truck this was the situation I was running into. The diesels were higher by nothing more than the cost difference of the motor. If you need it you need it, not a problem. I agree they are better in some cases. Better resale?? It cost more in the first place.
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  10. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,511

    Yes that is true that it costs more to buy. Then you get more when you sell it. That shoots down the point people have been trying to make that it costs more to buy. So what if it costs more to buy..... You get more back when you sell.

    Also yes maybe you can invest your 5k and make 2% but you can also lose big time. Have you watched or listened to the news at all over the last 5 years? At 2% youre losing money because you arent even keeping up with inflation.

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