Plowing with older trucks.....

Discussion in '<a href= target=_blank ?>Sn' started by eggy, May 23, 2001.

  1. eggy

    eggy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,085

    Well guys I have a chance to but a 78 chevy 3/4 ton 4wd at a relitives estate sell. The truck is in very good shape however if I purchase the truck it would be for plowing, any thoughts on using a truck with this much age for plowing????
  2. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Are you planning to use this truck as your main plow vehicle or as a backup unit? Either way, here's my opinion: If you're capable of & don't mind doing most of your own mechanical work (including access to a place to work on your truck INSIDE in the winter!), that truck should work well for you - depending on how much money it's going to cost you to buy & equip for plowing in the first place. As far as operating costs go, gas mileage on those older 4x4's was pretty low. The reason I say "do your own mechanical work" is: It's when you have to start paying garage fees for the inevitable repair work that older trucks really cost you $$$. I'm thinking especially of the annoying stuff like problems with lights/gauges/switches etc that can take a long time to track down.

    If you're not "into" mechanical work, something that old may not be the best choice - having your truck down costs money both for the repair itself and for the work you can't do when the truck's down.

    Personally, I like older trucks. My '75 has served me well for many years, and the truck I drive at work is a '79 Chevy (both duallys) equipped for mobile welding. Yes, I do just about all of my own repair/rebuild work (in the worst-case scenario of a blown engine, for example, I can swap in one of the 2 running engines I have on stands and be back in service) and between a friend and myself there are enough Chevy truck parts around to build a few trucks! (Which we are in the process of doing) As well, during the summer I park the '75 and only use it as a "yard truck" when required. So it isn't running day in/day out. The '79 welding truck recently got a body/paint job & airbrush work, as well as a rebuilt 4-speed trans & clutch. Engine? It was worn when we got the truck 2 years ago (ex tire truck) but it's still going fine. 99% of the time I'm the only one who drives the truck though - some of our guys would likely have that engine blown in under 20 miles!

    That's one thing I have noticed about the older units, based on what I've seen at my work: drive that '78 3/4-ton yourself and take good care of it, and it should last you a long time. Let everybody & their cousin drive it (like some of our other welding trucks) and chances are they'll have it destroyed in no time. I call it the "don't give a d*** factor"!

    Compared to newer trucks, the older ones aren't as user-friendly (back then a 3/4-ton was a pretty heavy-duty machine) in terms of ride and interior options, but they were a whole lot simpler under the hood!

    Well, there's some ideas anyway. Good luck in your search for a truck whether you choose new/old or somewhere in between!
  3. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 849

    Eggy, that truck will handle any 8' plow with ease. You say it's in good shape. Then it shouldn't need much to be a good plow truck. The only thing to add right away is an auxilliary trans cooler, and maybe a higher output alternator. Parts are cheap and readily available. The lack of emissions equipment, and on board computer makes it easy to work on. The fact that parts from 73 - 87 interchange, makes upgrading, and finding used parts easier. If it was me, I'd jump on it, but you all know I have a soft spot for these trucks. If you want to learn more about that truck, look around my Chevy Pages.

  4. eggy

    eggy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,085

    Thanks guys, I will check out your pages chuck...Thanks
  5. Deere John

    Deere John LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    Yep Eggy - you have heard from the two fellows I was going to point you too. You won't get much more experienced people here who run the older iron. Good luck.
  6. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    With some TLC,that old truck will serve you well,but like others said,you must be able to do most of the repairs yourself,and have the place to work on it at 3am in a storm,and have the minor parts on hand to keep it running.

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