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Which is more critical? Truck or mowers?

10190 Views 341 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  Mark Oomkes
Guys what’s your opinion on this topic? It’s a full blown war going on in my mind. Which is more critical to business. My 2012 Silverado 5.3 crew cab is starting to get a little long in the tooth. She’s knocking on the door of 200k. Not to mention I upgraded all equipment and trailer last season. So now I’m pulling about 5,000lbs more and the 5.3 is really down on power. I’m trying to justify another major purchase. And it’s driving me crazy. I know they are both critical. Any thoughts?
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If you want more towing "power," @Ridin' Green is correct - nothing will be as inexpensive, or as effective as swapping the ring & pinion gears.

More power from the engine won't do much at takeoff, with a load behind it, when you're hamstrung by highway gears.

Get some estimates on a ring & pinion swap.
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Ring and pinion swaps are from simple. Don't you have to reprogram the computers after to get the abs to work after a swap?
Has moreso to do with recalibrating the speedometer.

I'm not sure if that's still an issue or not. I believe most domestic trucks, at least for a couple decades back before ABS was mandated - the speedometer signal was taken from transmission output RPM if I remember correctly.

However, my BMW's take the speedometer signals from the ABS tone rings.

Not sure how newer domestic pickups get their speedometer signals.

On a 200k mile truck, a ring & pinion swap will be far easier on the entire powertrain - especially the transmission - than simply dumping more power into the system via heads & cams. The ring & pinion swap to a better gear ratio, means that less input/HP is required to get up to a comfortable speed. That means less stress on the entire drivetrain.

Contrast that to more HP, but with the same gear ratios. To get up to speed quicker, that means more power is needed/produced = more fuel burned = more power/stress input into the drivetrain. Put simply, this is going to stress the transmission more. And burn more fuel getting up to speed. And probably still not fix the gear "hunting" issue on the highway either.

(Not picking on the OP at all with this next statement BTW...)
There's a reason that 3/4 & 1-ton trucks come with higher gear ratio's like 4.10's etc... - It's for this very reason. More torque to the wheels for takeoffs, and a higher, more comfortable cruising RPM on the highway, for less gear-hunting - all of this intended for towing obviously.

1/2 ton trucks are often neutered with lower gear ratios, in an effort to improve highway fuel economy. Keep in mind, 99% of people don't tow with their 1/2 trucks... The older trucks with the 4sp auto's suffer most from this. They're real dogs when towing anything with those low/highway gear ratios. And thus, they'll struggle to takeoff & pass when towing, unless you bury the gas pedal to force a downshift. And they burn a lot more fuel when gear-hunting and downshifting all the time.

In short - swapping gear ratios is the easiest way to drastically change the powertrain characteristics, for better towing.
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Now, regarding a 200k mile truck, I personally see no issue with it, if everything is running & functioning well.

My current tow rig is a 2008 Ford Expedition. Has 223k? on the clock and still runs & drives well. No reason to replace it honestly, unless I wanted to start towing twice the weight, and/or use a snow plow.

At 200k + miles, the biggest "risk" with just about any modern pickup truck, is going to be the transmission. If the transmission is healthy, and everything else runs well, then why worry?

Often times though, if you feel/need something drastically different, you're usually money ahead to simply get the better vehicle, rather than "build"/modify your current truck to meet some unrealistic needs.

We mentioned the gear ratios earlier. That's again, the easiest & cheapest way to increase torque to the drive wheels.

My only argument against it - Are you confident that your truck will STOP the extra weight? Will your truck HANDLE the extra weight, in terms of emergency manuevers...

Those two things are certainly worth thinking about for people towing.

Sure, the 1/2 truck, especially with newer 6,8,10sp automatic transmissions, may get everything rolling OK.

But, will the 3/4 ton or 1-ton STOP the load better? Especially if there's a trailer wiring/plug/brake failure... Will the 3/4 or 1-ton HANDLE the trailer better, under those emergency braking or emergency lane-change scenarios?

People ignore emergency situations unfortunately, but they may be the biggest reason to "upgrade" to a 3/4 ton or 1-ton truck.

Anyway, enough rambling there...
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If any one here is capable of doing a R&P swap then your skillset is probablybeing wasted cutting grass. Using quality parts and doing both axle's will probably be North of $6k
Less than $400 per axle at Summit Racing. Figure 4-hours per axle at $125/hour for a mechanic = $1,000 in labor. You should be rolling again for $2k or less. Or, DIY the job. I'm sure there's thousands of videos on YouTube on how to do this...

Ring and Pinion Gears at Summit Racing

(143) 2012 silverado 1500 gear swap - YouTube

Some of us don't mind turning wrenches when we need to, to save some money. But, that doesn't mean we want to do it 40 hours a week. ;)
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Post Removed and apologies to @Jashley73. My remarks were uncalled for and go against the what this site is for.
I didn't get to read whatever inflamitory post you had written & removed. Whatever it was though, don't sweat it... It's all good over here.
My 5 year old isn't too much help in the shop unfortunately. Won't hang around long enough to hand me tools...

I'm still keeping him on the payroll for leaf work though - I don't care what y'all say! 😝
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As much as I like the idea of the ring & pinion swap, I do agree with others that it won't make it a "new" truck...

Won't have the brakes of a 1-ton. Nor the springs. Nor the tires. Nor the newer 6,8,10sp transmission.

So, I agree that if we're talking about pulling 5,000 - 7,000 lbs, I'd say a 3/4 or 1-ton truck is probably the better bet.

I'm curious what condition the rest of the "equipment" is in. The truck looks nice enough, but maybe not up to the task of the 'increased' weight?
My tow rig was $7,400.
When I started I was in for about $40k for two mowers, hand held equipment and an 18 foot utility trailer. Truck budget was $500. Trannys out on that '98 2500 currently so I'm borrowing sons 454 2500.

Nothings really changed since then, added a dump trailer to the fleet but still flying close to the sun with trucks.

I'm my mind the truck just gets the equipment to the job. The equipment delivers the end result that the client is paying for. Would I like a fancy newer truck with working ac so I don't have to hillbilly in a window unit and use the honda 2k generator? Sure but that's a luxury.
I think we all agree though, that the tow rig at least needs to be dependable. (Not that you're arguing against that...)

My tow rig was $7,400. A good deal actually, when a comparable 1/2 ton Ford or Chevy 1/2 ton was $12k with nearly 200k miles.

Anyway, it's shocking to see what the "truck" actually costs in relation to the other equipment. Paying the added auto insurance, fuel, tires/maintenance, and small payment on the truck far outpaces all of my other equipment combined.

Does it generate any income? Nope. Not one red cent. (If used for snow removal, that would be a different answer...) But, without it, I couldn't generate any income either.

Necessary evil, and a large cost to due business.

Make sure the truck is reliable enough, and hopefully sufficient for a few years' growth. And then try to keep it's costs as low as possible.
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It’s easier to rent a truck to haul your stuff than to rent or get a loaner mower that fits your business.

regardless you should have 3 of everything you need unless it’s an easy rental like a truck.
Absolutely. Its rare that you couldn't find a U-haul pickup, home Depot, or lowes rental truck for the day. Harder to secure a "rental" commercial mower when your in a jam.
Uhual rents trucks???? I thought they just sold boxes???? Lol
I mow for a couple of them. Trust me, they rent pickups ;)

Interestingly, more than a few LCO's store their gear & operate from their rental/storage bays.
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My dad & grandpa were Ford Powerstroke junkies. I get that Diesel trucks are "cool."

But, like others have said, today in 2022, economically, they're a tough sell.

Take a new F250 for example... The diesel is almost $11,000 premium. The 7.3L gas is only $1,700 premium, and you get a 10-speed auto, and can choose 4.30:1 gears.

Now, it's not 1,000 lb/ft like a diesel. But it's far cheaper, will probably get within 15% MPG towing a mowing rig, doesn't need extra DPF fluid, and the fuel cost is cheaper too. Unless you're going to hook to a tall trailer & tow on the highway into headwinds (hint, we don't do that with lawn/landscape rigs,) the gas engine will handle it just fine.

Even with a 450/550 chassis and a dump bed & trailer - I still think the gas engine is fine. Honestly, how fast do we need to REALLY go with heavy truck & trailer rigs?

I will concede, that if you're putting a lot of highway miles towing a 10k+ trailer, then sure, the Diesel probably becomes worth it. Tangible & intangible.

On the used market - I'm still a fan of the gas trucks. Save people often choosing the wrong gear ratios for them, favoring cruising highway MPG vs. towing.

I see the horse. It's not moving, and it's looking bloody... ;)
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