Thinking of Buying F800

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by 1toomanyhobbies, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    I am thinking of buying this truck. Yes, i know it used to be a city truck. i looked underneath and it didn't seem to have a lot of salt rust. It came from Kentucky which I don't think sees a ton of snow/ice anyway. It is a 96 and has 87k miles with a cumming 5.9 and Allison trans. The company selling the truck started at 12.9k but i have gotten them to 10.2k. I know city trucks are usually pretty cheap and that the new paint makes it look pretty. To me cummings and Allison is a pretty good combo and everything works on the truck. Before I buy it I will have a mechanic look it over but thought I would get the thoughts on here first.

    The reasons I am wanting the dump is so i can haul off stumps etc that i dig up/remove, to be able to haul away trees/lots i clear, and to be able to haul smaller amounts of mulch/gravel that is part of a job. I know I can't compete with tandems for straight hauling, I just look at it as a way to not have to depend on anyone else for the smaller requests from customers.

    I have never driven a dump truck and have a few questions.

    I drove the truck on back roads up to say 45 to 50 mph. It has air brakes and they seem very grabby. I think I locked them up when i came around a corner and there was a stop sign. i know it isn't loaded but would you consider this normal or anything of concern? I pumped the brakes several times and each time the pressure went down some. I looked at some videos on youtube and this seems normal. When i just held the brake it seemed to stay steady.

    I was opening boxes on the side under the bed while the truck was running. I didn't realize one held the batteries and when I tried to lift the top of the box I actually saw sparks. The truck didn't sputter at all but it did freak me out some. Is this somewhat normal or bad sign?

    It has a spring suspension. Dang was it stiff. I can only imagine driving it on bump roads or on longer trips.

  2. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    I know I had a lot of text above so Ill try and shorten it down to the questions.

    1) Is 10k too much (87k miles, 1996 with 5.9 communigs and allison)
    2) Are air brakes normally very grabby?
    3) The battery box sparked when I tried opening it while the truck was running. Major issue or minor?

  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,098

    This is coming from someone who has put alot of miles on big trucks. With the questions you are asking it sounds like you're not ready for a commercial truck.

    1.Milage is fine as long as it seems to be serviced well.
    2.They can be, and as with anything that has been sitting for awhile may grab also.
    3.Be careful, that is a dead short to ground although it could cause a big problem if it started andran afterwards then it should be fine.

    You also will need to have a CDL if you plan on tagging it for over 26K, it has true airbrakes, not air over hydraulic, and if you want to pull a trailer over 10K.

    Another thing to look at is the split rims as alot of tire shops WILL NOT service this type of wheel.

    BTW these were never built for long trips.
  4. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    I'm curious as to why you don't think I'm ready. I freely admit I have a lot to learn but I figure between training for the CDL and research on my own i get up to speed with how to operate/maintain it. I'm not offended, I respect your opinion and just want to understand why you feel that way.

    I plan to have a mechanic look over it before purchasing. It looked like it was in decent shape for a 15 year old truck. The truck was running when the sparks happened and didn't even skip a beat. If I do buy it then I plan to look into why it is sparking and get it resolved. Since I do have a lot to learn, I am just trying to figure out if for the price and issues I have listed if it is worth having it checked out or if I should move on.
  5. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,098

    Why I don't think you're ready, not knowing what you are looking for when shopping for a truck and not already having the CDL in hand. By no means do I say this to be negative, and I do hope you get the training and the truck that fits your needs as these little trucks are very versital and make work much easier.

    Some other things to look for is why did they paint it ( look for salvage yard body panels). What kind of braking system, air or air over hydraulic? What is the rated capacity (26K-33K)? Does it already have a tow package installed, could cost several hundred to have one installed. What is the heaviest thing you will tow with it? If using it to tow a trailer over 10K that Cummins maybe a little on the small side. One more thing to look for is there any play in the steering, the king pins on these old trucks get worn easy.
  6. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Thanks for listing out your reasons as I do think you bring up good points. The main reason for purchase is it will give me the ability to haul off stumps and trees when I do clearing jobs. The second is I'd like to have a tow vehicle other than my 3/4 ton. When I have my 4.5 ton mini plus a few buckets/attachments, I feel like I have a lot of weight behind me. I am extra careful but I'd prefer to have a truck that gives me extra margin of safety.

    The truck is listed at 31k GVW. It does have a pental hitch with a 7 prong trailer plug and an attchment to hook air to the trailer. I am guessing this is a tow package? I will have to check if it has true air brakes or air over hydraulic.
  7. 5speedpsd

    5speedpsd LawnSite Member
    from NWCT
    Messages: 55

    these older fords are great trucks, and very reliable. My buddies family construction company has 2 of these both run everyday all day and have very little issues. They both have many more miles then this one and I know atleast one of them is older then the one you are looking at. As for learning to drive the truck you will be fine. Trucks of this size are very easy to learn on and very easy to get into places. Really the only difference from a 1 ton dump and this when it comes to driving it is the air brakes from the perspective I look at it. When I started off driving I was in a 69 mack R600 with a 5 speed. Was very easy to learn in and I even took my test in it and past first time. Dont let people discourage you because most people will be able to handle a truck of this size. The only thing is find out how long it has been sitting, sitting for extended amounts of time is not good for larger trucks.
  8. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Thanks 5speed for the vote of confidence. I have found someone locally that $250 gives two days of training on the pre inspection and practice with all the back up drills.

    Question. I plan to have the truck checked out before I buy it. I have spoken to a friend and mentor that has repaired on his own trucks for 20 years that is willing to check it out for me but he reminds me that he isn't an official mechanic and can't guarantee he won't miss something. I am trying to decide if I should actually hire a mechanic to check it out. The truck is 2 hours away from me so I figure it be pretty expensive to pay a mechanic to ride with me 4 hours plus the time he needs to check it out. Any thoughts? My friend has an older F700 and an older mack tandem so I think he would be able to spot a lot of potential issues but to his point he isn't an engine mechanic.
  9. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,098

    He should be able to find most any big problems on it. There are some areas to look at on these trucks and that is suspension components and brake components, they seem to take the most abuse. Make sure the PTO and dump hoist work and don't spray oil everywhere. Make sure the brake system will hold air when the truck is shut off. There is nothing more annoying than getting in a truck in the moring and having to wait for air to build. Don't expect it to hold air for weeks on end but it should overnight. Make sure the bleeder valves on the air tanks work. Check the rims and hubs for any little cracks. I know that I'm missing alot but you see where I'm going. BTW these are things that you should do on a Pre Trip inspection per DOT rules.

    I think its a good buy for 10K and will make you alot of money and be much better for equipment moves compaired to you 3/4 ton. Don't forget to add an electric brake controler if it doesn't have one.
  10. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    I couldn't sleep last night and ended up surfing the web last night and came across this. It is a 95 L8000 with 275k and cummings 8.3 (280hp) with 7sp for the same price as the F800. I spoke to the guy this morning and he said the truck runs great, no smoke or leaks and that everything works well. I know this is higher mileage but from what I understand it shouldn't be too much of a problem with this engine. I do like the fact that I am buying it from an individual instead of a dealer who just picked up the truck from auction. This guy is almost 4 hours away so basically I will go there and look it over and buy it in the same trip. For $9.5k can anyone see where this wouldn't be a better deal than the F800 for 10k?


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