Opinions needed before buying truck


LawnSite Senior Member
Hi All,
I am looking to buy a 1981 International 1854 Med duty truck And am looking for helpful input before I make a decision on this truck (will be my first "big" truck so all will be kinda new to me here).

The truck has a DT 466 Engine and 5 sp trans (single speed rear), the tires are like new, and has a 16 foot flatbed dump....The owner claims the engine was rebuilt a year and a half ago and the truck had not been used for the last year or so (it was last inspected 5 years ago and has been a farm use vehicle ever since with occasional road trips)....The truck looks to be in good condition but unfortunately I cannot hear it run or drive it since the owner says the waterpump needs to be replaced and he has the fan and belts off of it (also needs a battery)....Owner also claims the trans was rebuilt and the clutch /brakes are ok).....Mileage is unknown since speedo doesn't work....25,600 GVW, Hyd brakes.

My questions are:
Any Idea on what I should offer for this being that I can't hear it run? Any idea where I can buy a tilt hood for this (the hood is missing one fender and the area where the headlight is (was) is busted....fiberglass got damaged when his helper hit something with it)....I have heard that the dt 466 are good engines but is there anything bad that I should know about them? I plan on using the truck for logging and may even pull a trailer to take more wood per trip (Don't want to carry it all on the truck because of the relatively low GVW....Any Idea what weight this thing can tow?) ....

Thanks for any and all advice / answers.


Gravel Rat

LawnSite Fanatic
British Columbia
Walk away actually run if its been used as a farm truck its never been maintained properly what really scares me its never been inspected in 5 years. If you buy a truck it MUST have a current inspection or one that is just expired and the shouldn't have a work order list a mile long for it to pass.

The first thing you do is go get your CDL and get a proper sized truck don't fool around with a undersized truck. I see you americans trying to get around the dump rule where you need a CDL to operate a truck heavier than 26,000lbs. So you guys are always trying to do things with a undersized truck because you need a CDL. A truck with a 26,000lb gvw is a 3 ton truck its one step above a F-550 Ford. A medium duty truck with a 26,000lb gvw is heavy so there is no legal payload left.

You should be looking for a medium duty with atleast 30,000lb gvw a 35,000lb gvw is better a tandem axle is even better. You want to stay away from hydraulic brakes,5spd transmissions,5+2 Gearing,Automatic transmissions.

A medium duty truck I would spec would be a Ford L LN-8000 with a 12,000lb front axle a 23,000lb rear axle with preferably 10 litre power but a ISC Cummins would do and a 8spd Road Ranger. My second choice would be a 4900 International.

If you plan on hauling wood with this truck you maybe better off with a tandem and eliminate the trailer all together. You can pick up a L-9000 Ford pretty cheap even for what you want to do you could probably get away with a L-8000 speced 16,000lb front axle 40,000lb rear axle L-10 Cummins power 8spd.

A truck with a 25,000lb gvw can't carry anything and a truck with 466 and 5sp will have troubles pulling anything.


LawnSite Platinum Member
The Dt 466 is a good engine , a friend has 5 of them in their heating oil trucks . International builds a good truck, unfortunatly that one sounds a bit rough , its over 25 years old. I have a 1993 IH with a 7.3 and an auto trans , its the size of a rollback , great truck . Look for something newer , you arent making money turning wrenches on your own equipment .

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