Medium-duty gasser dumps

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Electra_Glide, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. Electra_Glide

    Electra_Glide LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    I've been looking for a medium-duty dump (20000-26000Lb GVW). Given that I don't have a lot of money to spend (around $5k), most of the trucks I'm finding are older (late 70s - early 80's) Fords and Chevys with gas motors and 5+2 transmissions.

    The truck will mostly be used for towing a skid-steer and small excavator, and be used as an on-site dump for my light excavation business. Also plan to use it for the occasional run to the gravel pit or picking up small quantities of material.

    A little voice inside of me says to sit tight, save a little more money, and wait until I can afford something with a diesel and maybe a little more GVW (working towrds my class-A CDL, but it's taking much longer than I would like).

    Anybody have any real-world experiences with these types of trucks that they would be willing to share? My two biggest concerns are 1) do these trucks have enough power to do the job I want to do and 2) how much more is the "operating cost" of these trucks (PM, fuel mileage, etc) compare to something more along the lines of a 1-ton dump (I know a 1-ton is going to less, but by how much?).

    Thanks in advance...

  2. Ironmower

    Ironmower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    If you need a dumper right now, then shoot for a late-70's to late 80's Ford F-600 or F-700 with a 429 (Industrial), the 370 (Industrial gasser) powered trucks only have a 2bbl. carb and are dogs for that very reason, the 429 trucks have a 4bbl. which makes a big difference in power. However, a lot of the 429/460 performance parts (truck cams, intakes, 4bbl. carbs, etc.) will fit the 370, since it is the same block. With your budget you also might be able to find one with a 6.6L New Holland diesel, but that will take a little more digging.

    If you decide to go the Chevy route, then make sure its a C-60 or C-70, as the C-40 and C-50's aren't that much better than a 1 ton dump as far as pulling is concerned. Make sure it has at least the 366 (Industrial), if not the 427. Some people swap in 350's and this really kills the pulling power for these sized trucks. Also, you might be lucky enough to find one with an 8.2 Detroit within your budget, but as with 90% of older Detroits out there, they will more than likely leak oil. The kingpins are notorious on these trucks for wearing fast, so make sure they are in good shape.

    Regardless of brand, you should find one with a 2 speed rear end, this will save you a lot of hard take-offs as well as make towing big trailers easier. Some of the older ones will have 4 speed transmissions, the newer ones (1980-up) should have 5 speeds. The dump bed should be PTO or central hydraulically driven, not electric.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    Ironmower has some great advice for you.
    Another thing about Ford medium duty trucks with 370/429's...Very weak bottom ends. If you blow one you can't find a good engine in the bone yard because there are none that ever lasted for any reasonable length of time. Also, with regard to hydrovac brake boosters. If you get one that lasts, they last forever. If you get one that needs to be replaced, it seems as though they never last and usually go out when you are driving down hill with a load of dirt on....

    Another problem they had were cracked and fused exhaust manifolds. If you get one that runs strong and sounds like it perhaps has a muffler leaking, look hard at the manifold and cylinder head surfaces. If they are leaking, about the only way you are going to get them apart is to yank the heads, drill and Heli-coil the threads...and they are only fixable if the exhaust has not eaten the head and manifold surfaces away. We doubled gasketed on, planed the manifolds, you name it, and it still did not sound right. A major project I would not wish on anyone.

    Now if you can find a Ford medium duty with a 360 rather than a 370 high deck motor, those stopped print in 1974-75, your chances of having a good motor are alot greater. The other thing you will have a rough time with is fuel tanks. They all rust under the straps, no matter whose brand and you can either replace them, or take them to a radiator shop and have them coated. Coating works great.

    I have seen a few F-800's with 6V53 detroit engines in them, and I would rather deal with the leaking gaskets any day.

    There are still a few old single axle 2050 International Fleetstars around, you can get them with 3208 Cats, or some had early DT-466's, which basically could not pull a booger out of a wet bucket of snot, but you can't kill the engines. They have the longevity of the old straight 6, 450 International gassers.

    I would stay clear of International gassers, not that the 404 wasn't a decent motor, rather that you can't find parts or replacement engines readily, and stay far away from the 549 gas International, if there are still any around that don't have rods through the oil pan...

    Your cheapest, and I think safest bet might just be an old GM with a 366, 427, or 454 high deck motor.

    However, having been that road many years ago, I'll tell you. You may not think it is an option, but once you begin the nickle and diming with an older truck, a new or off lease unit is going to become alot more obtainable than you may think right now.
  4. Ironmower

    Ironmower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    I wouldn't go so far as to say the 370/429's had weak bottom ends, as they are essentially the same engine/block as the 460 (385 family), which the bottom end stock can handle 600hp. What kills these engines is overrevving, from something such as a mis shift or jumping down from 5th to 2nd or some big jump down in gearing causing it to spin well beyond its limits of about 4500rpm (remember stock, industrial tune). Some of the older Fords had 331, 361, and 391 V-8's which were Fords first industrial V-8's. I personally would not go smaller than a 361 in these.

    I personally do not like the 370 just because its slow and has to work too hard to move such a heavy truck. The 429 is a much better engine for longevity, simply because it doesn't have to work as hard as the 370 does to move the same weight. Remember Ford also put 300 straight 6's in these trucks as well, and there are many of them still hanging around, there's even some from the late 60's with 240 straight 6's still around.

    For a small V-8, I'd go with a Chevy with a 366, because those came stock with a 4bbl. and will pull better than a stock 370 2bbl. But for big gas power, I'd stick with the 429 4v, as the GM 427's tend to be pretty cold natured and won't go peacefully until they've had time to warm up as well as seem to eat up plugs/wires/caps.

    As for the Internationals, I would stick with the 345 or 392 V-8's, if you can find one. These engines are a better about being able to get parts and are pretty dang torquey for their size, they won't win any races though.

    MOZE4MUNY LawnSite Member
    from NW Fla
    Messages: 31

    Glide, these 2 ton (F600/C60) and 2&1/2 ton (F700/C65) trucks really do provide good bang for the buck. They are hard workers and can be had for nota lota cash. The Lima engined Fords are sort of spendy for parts. The big block GMs (366&427) have a reputation for the sputters before they have warmed up. I have driven both the Fords and GMs set up as tandems with 20-24 foot agriculture beds. They will not snap your neck with power but will be adequate unless you have 325 horse power diesel type expectations. If it will enhance your operation this year to buy one, do it now. You will be apalled with the mileage but you know how many miles you will put on this type of rig. Once you compare what it will cost you to get into a similarly sized diesel set up, I'm betting you'll find ultimate savings going with the inexpensive gasser set up. You will always be able to move up to the dump of your dreams once this one makes you some muny.
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    I would go to the nearest Ritchie Bros auctions and see what you can pick up usually you can get a diesel dump pretty cheap. I know of one guy that got a 32,000lb gvw 5 ton International with 466 and 5+2 with a 10' box sure its not the best spec'ed truck but it got it for 4 grand Canadian funds.

    If you can avoid gas pots do it, the cheap purchase price may look good but you can expect to get 4-5 mpg. Keep searching you will find a diesel for the right price it may take some searching but it will be worth it.

    If you are planning on getting a CDL have you considered a light tandem a L-8000 Ford with a 14-15 box with lower sides on it so you can load it with your bobcat would work good.

    The problem with single axles is braking power sure they can pack a decent load but they have a h*ll of a time stopping. If you are in the excavating business you might aswell start with a tandem.
  7. Smalltimer1

    Smalltimer1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,223

    I will agree that a single axle with hydraulic brakes is rather scary to stop under load.

    Single axle with air brakes are pretty stout, just the brake shoes need to be in good shape for it to be effective.
  8. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Some of the Chevys came with 4wheel disk brakes which are not too bad for stopping power for being hydraulic brakes. Trucks with drum drum hydraulics you have no stopping power and you always run the risk of your vacuum assist failing then you got a scary ride :eek:

    If you do get a single axle is should be on air no question you will be thankfull in the long run. You get the older Fords with Lucas Girling brakes (hydraulic) you will cry when you have to repair it very very very pricey.

    You want a truck with FULL air not air over hydraulic you can make a brake controller work for your trailer. If you get a truck with air then you can get a trailer with air brakes.

    The problem with trucks with juice brakes is once the brakes start getting hot then the brake fluid starts to boil then you loose even more braking power. When you push on the brake and nothing happens thats a scary moment.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    As long as the topic is toward braking aspects, the one hydraulic system you absolutely want to steer away from are what is known as "Wedge brakes"

    For some reason interstate tow guys love the things, most all of their class 6 trucks have them, but the problem lies when you need service. Because of their design, it is hard to disassemble them, and typically, they are cut off and scrapped. What this means is every single piece gets replaced at the ankle holding cost of $6,000.00. The same as replacing brakes on a Hino, Iveco, Idoodoo, Sneezon, or alike. They wear very well but when you need service you pay dearly.

    How some of these moron engineers get this crap installed in trucks amazes me, unless they know they have bad designs all along and they have to give them away to recover development costs, knowing all along they are going to be superseded.
  10. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,714

    This is a great time to find a bargain on a truck like you are looking for. With the high price of gas, Ebay is flooded with gas dump trucks from all over the country. Most are going for $5000.00 or less. some nice ones do not even get one bid.
    I would avoid the big auctions like Ritchie Bros., unless you have a friend who is a mechanic and who can go with you. Most of that stuff comes from big companies, and it is all trashed. I should know, I used to send a lot of equipment to those auctions, and follow them pretty close. Most of the good looking stuff there has had a Sherwin Williams overhaul just prior to the auction. Paint hides a lot of faults. There are some deals at those auctions, but you REALLY have to be careful.

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