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Old 02-01-2020, 10:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best Medium Duty Truck - 550/5500

Looking at picking up a used medium duty truck. Ford/Chevy/Dodge 550/5500. Needs to be 4x4 and will service multiple purposes. About three days a month it will have a 300 gallon vacuum tank with small vac pump (this will be a removable setup). Will also hall equipment on gooseneck and bumper pull trailers. And, will probably want a service bed on it with tool boxes.

I'm kind of getting tired of having three different trucks for these purposes. I think I would prefer to have one to register/insure/maintain.

Will see mostly pavement but will have it's fair share of snow/muddy roads.

What's everyone's thoughts on best manufacturer and year range?
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Old 02-01-2020, 10:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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ford 1st
dodge second
chevy nope
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Old 02-01-2020, 10:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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ford 1st
dodge second
chevy nope
Thanks. Just curious why the Ford? Drivetrain, chassis, interior?

I have a 2002 Cummins, but I really don't know much about the differences in the newer diesels. I do most of my own maintenance/repairs, so prefer something that's not crazy to turn wrenches on and has longevity.
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Old 02-01-2020, 10:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My guess would be the drivetrain, well everything but the engine that is
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Old 02-01-2020, 11:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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We have a dodge/ram 5500 with a service bed/welder/5500lb crane on it. Runs about 17k lbs with our tools and junk. Itís been a decent truck for us bought it with ~88,000 miles. We have had to do a wheel bearing, front brakes, and new tires on it between buying it and 110,000 miles. Tires and brakes do seem to be a weak point between it and a real medium duty truck like a f650/750 freightliner f70. Until some exhaust bits magically fell off it was very slow and under powered but now with a mild tune itís much better and has better milage. The mechanic we use told us that a real medium duty truck would hold up better and be cheaper to run with tires and breaks, he has been somewhat right, but itís offset with the comfort and drivability of what is basically a big dually vs a real truck.

Around here and in Richiebros auctions it seems the dodge is it as common as the ford for used units. The fords mostly come with the v10 though. Iíd buy another ram, for industrial use it seems to be on par with the fords in durability and interior longevity.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Post the year of your truck(s)...
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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2014 ram 5500 regulator cab stripped cab, enclosed box. Weighs in at 15.5k when full of fuel. About 72,000 miles.

I fucking hate the truck. Interior rattles. The vents blow out like a constipated fairy fart. It cant keep tires under it to save its life. The brakes suck dick. Throws a DEF code when you use the exhaust brake.

The engine is predictable and the truck is just consistently slow. It's slow by its self with it's weird shift flares and it's slow pulling a 16k lb bean head. Not sure if the bean head slowed it down at all, but it was slow as fuck already. So take that performance evaluation for what you will.
I hate the shift flares in the transmission. Was told by dealer it was caused by "normal actions from transmission programming"
The plastic top coolant y likes to crack and leak. Get a.metal one and be done.
The brakes suck on these trucks. And they suck to change. And they wear out decently fast
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Old 02-02-2020, 04:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The big three make medium duty trucks???
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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A non Maxxforce International would be better imo. Or if you could Find a 5.9 Freightliner with 4 wheel drive.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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ford 1st
dodge second
chevy nope
Zactly!

There is a reason you see alot less Dodge & Chevy medium duty truck fleets.

My work truck is a 2019 Ford F550 extra cab 4x4 with a Maintainer crane service body and lube skid. Truck weights in at 18,650 ready to roll. I have put 33k miles on the truck since May 3rd of last year and have ZERO complaints. Runs great, comfortable to drive and no problems. I love my truck!

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Old 02-02-2020, 08:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Wow, sounds like the Dodge is more of a pig than I thought.

Also, I have a few actual medium duty trucks... International 4300 and 4700. But, I need something smaller and a little more nimble but preferably bigger than a straight up 1 ton.

As for the diesels, am I better off with newer using DEF or older non-DEF. Not a money thing, but a power and reliability thing for me.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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What ford engine is good? I read nothing but bad things about anything thats not a 7.3. Curious.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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What ford engine is good? I read nothing but bad things about anything thats not a 7.3. Curious.
I see that you are in Colorado, is that the rockies part or the flat part?

If flat, a v10 F550 would be a killer truck and probably tow decent with the gearing they have.

If you're way up in the mountains, you'd probably hate it. The F550s are solid trucks, what sucks is the 7.3 versions have all been worked to death, then the 6.0 and 6.4 ones are garbage. So you're stuck going with an 11+ with Def. In my experience, the 6.7 F550s have been pretty solid. My old work did have one that ate the short block at ~90k but it was always 20k lbs or heavier and the guy drove it like it was an F150.

Tires..... The stock continentals are garbage. What we did on ours was go to 245s up from the 225s, along with a 14 or 16 ply tire depending on the weight you're carrying. Don't try to go with an aggressive tread either, all 19.5s suck off road, so just get something mild, otherwise they'll wear terrible.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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My current work truck is a 2016 f550 6.7. Just hit 71k on it. I drive it like I stole it. With full transfer tank it's 21k pounds. Tools, 8k crane, welder and compressor. Only issue so far is broke centering pin on crane side getting up a 1' concrete ledge. It's governed at 83mph, I drive it with my foot on the floor and it gets 7.1 mpg. On the hills in norcal I can do about 55. If I've got anything behind me it's 45-50ish. If I have 10-15k then it's 30-45. Damn good truck, for a ford. Sucks up the def and fuel, but so does my personal fiat 3500 towing
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Old 02-03-2020, 07:44 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Yota, I am in California, Montrose is a small little city in LA

So Ford 6.7 > 6.4 and 6.0? You mention 7.3, so I am assuming you are talking an older 550?
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Old 02-03-2020, 09:00 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Wow, sounds like the Dodge is more of a pig than I thought.

Also, I have a few actual medium duty trucks... International 4300 and 4700. But, I need something smaller and a little more nimble but preferably bigger than a straight up 1 ton.

As for the diesels, am I better off with newer using DEF or older non-DEF. Not a money thing, but a power and reliability thing for me.

Have you looked at isuzu's? A little NPR sounds perfect for what you need. But if your only set on the big 3 as said the f550 or 450 would be best but damn that fuel milage seems really bad as posted above.

Most tires will wear out fast at 20k all the time. Retreads are your friend.

I ran a GMC W4 for 7 years in NY traffic with a 12foot tall utility body.130k with an oil change every year during downtime. Tose damn things are beasts. It got roughly 12 mpg at 17500 lbs. The later ones can be had with the bigger 5.7L diesel.
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Old 02-03-2020, 09:14 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Looking at picking up a used medium duty truck. Ford/Chevy/Dodge 550/5500. Needs to be 4x4 and will service multiple purposes. About three days a month it will have a 300 gallon vacuum tank with small vac pump (this will be a removable setup). Will also hall equipment on gooseneck and bumper pull trailers. And, will probably want a service bed on it with tool boxes.
How much do the trailers you pull weigh? Something that tripped up the bean counters at work when they bought medium duties is that many of the guys could not use them to pull trailers with as it would push them into another liscense class due to the weight of the medium duty + trailer. Obviously a specific state issue but something to be aware of if the medium duty is pushing you close to your liscense weight limit.
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Old 02-03-2020, 09:30 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Have you looked at isuzu's? A little NPR sounds perfect for what you need. But if your only set on the big 3 as said the f550 or 450 would be best but damn that fuel milage seems really bad as posted above.

Most tires will wear out fast at 20k all the time. Retreads are your friend.

I ran a GMC W4 for 7 years in NY traffic with a 12foot tall utility body.130k with an oil change every year during downtime. Tose damn things are beasts. It got roughly 12 mpg at 17500 lbs. The later ones can be had with the bigger 5.7L diesel.
did the Isuzu/ GM variants ever come in 4wd? I'm thinking they might be a little light on power with mountain passes everywhere in the OP's area.

With all the newer diesels the '7.5-'10 or '11 trucks were the first round of DPF/ emissions trucks and are asking for problems. I wouldn't rule out a '05-'07 Chevy/ GMC 5500 with a 6.6 duramax and 5 or 6 speed allison. 7.3 trucks are reliable but are going to have a 4r100 4 speed if you get an auto. I personally would stay away from 6.0 or 6.4 fords.
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:39 AM   #20 (permalink)
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did the Isuzu/ GM variants ever come in 4wd? I'm thinking they might be a little light on power with mountain passes everywhere in the OP's area.

With all the newer diesels the '7.5-'10 or '11 trucks were the first round of DPF/ emissions trucks and are asking for problems. I wouldn't rule out a '05-'07 Chevy/ GMC 5500 with a 6.6 duramax and 5 or 6 speed allison. 7.3 trucks are reliable but are going to have a 4r100 4 speed if you get an auto. I personally would stay away from 6.0 or 6.4 fords.
Yes, and it's extremely handy especially if you don't have weight on the back.

550/5500 isn't MDT.
MDT=two big parallel pieces of straight steel C-channels for a frame and air brakes.
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:51 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I see that you are in Colorado, is that the rockies part or the flat part?
Yeah, I'm in Montrose, CO, which itself is relatively flat/hilly, but I do a significant amount of work to the East and South (Ouray and Telluride). So, I'm regularly pulling steep passes with either an excavator or a vacuum tank which is probably around 4,000 pounds full. (I do not not tow with the tank on the truck).

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My current work truck is a 2016 f550 6.7. Just hit 71k on it. I drive it like I stole it. With full transfer tank it's 21k pounds. Tools, 8k crane, welder and compressor. Only issue so far is broke centering pin on crane side getting up a 1' concrete ledge. It's governed at 83mph, I drive it with my foot on the floor and it gets 7.1 mpg. On the hills in norcal I can do about 55. If I've got anything behind me it's 45-50ish. If I have 10-15k then it's 30-45. Damn good truck, for a ford. Sucks up the def and fuel, but so does my personal fiat 3500 towing
Wow, kind of crazy with all the power numbers listed out of the modern diesels, that it has to run that slow. Personally, I don't mind taking it slow (I always try to be careful), but I'm just wondering how hard the engine is working if you have to dial it back that far.

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Have you looked at isuzu's? A little NPR sounds perfect for what you need. But if your only set on the big 3 as said the f550 or 450 would be best but damn that fuel milage seems really bad as posted above.

Most tires will wear out fast at 20k all the time. Retreads are your friend.

I ran a GMC W4 for 7 years in NY traffic with a 12foot tall utility body.130k with an oil change every year during downtime. Tose damn things are beasts. It got roughly 12 mpg at 17500 lbs. The later ones can be had with the bigger 5.7L diesel.
Those things are sweet for what they are. My grandpa had one (bought it for his son's business venture that fell through, cause he's a lazy bum). My grandpa basically repo'd it from my uncle, took the box off, made it a flat bed with a gooseneck hitch and threw some aggressive MTs on the back. Pulled all his horse and cattle trailers with it and out pulled all his buddies' one ton diesels (this was in the 90's).

So yeah, I know they are pretty good, but I need 4WD to get through all the alleys and shit in Telluride in the winter, and they suck at keeping the roads plowed up there. Also, has to be on the smallish side.

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How much do the trailers you pull weigh? Something that tripped up the bean counters at work when they bought medium duties is that many of the guys could not use them to pull trailers with as it would push them into another liscense class due to the weight of the medium duty + trailer. Obviously a specific state issue but something to be aware of if the medium duty is pushing you close to your liscense weight limit.
When towing, I'm typically pulling around 10,000 lbs or so. 7k mini ex on an equipment trailer. But, I would like to be able to step it up and tow a bigger machine if/when needed.

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did the Isuzu/ GM variants ever come in 4wd? I'm thinking they might be a little light on power with mountain passes everywhere in the OP's area.

With all the newer diesels the '7.5-'10 or '11 trucks were the first round of DPF/ emissions trucks and are asking for problems. I wouldn't rule out a '05-'07 Chevy/ GMC 5500 with a 6.6 duramax and 5 or 6 speed allison. 7.3 trucks are reliable but are going to have a 4r100 4 speed if you get an auto. I personally would stay away from 6.0 or 6.4 fords.
This is always my issue. I like the Cummins, hate the Dodge automatic (heard the newer ones are better). Like the fit and finish of the Ford, but not sure about the diesels after the 6.0/6.4 issues. Also, seems their automatics are better than the Dodge's, but not exactly an Allison. Don't really know jack about the Chevy's these days, other than Allison is good. Not sure I want IFS on this type of truck.

My current light truck line up is this:

Service Truck: 98 Chevy 3/4 ton with service bed and tired Vortec 5.7 (tool boxes and small jib crane, NOT hydraulic cranes/welders/compressors). Plumbing Truck, engine/trans is pretty hammered. Over 200K miles. Not using much anymore due to engine likes to randomly not start every now and again and 2WD sucks in CO in winter. Engine cutout issue is baffling. And I don't have 2 days to spend diagnosing it. Not going to pay a shop thousands of dollars to fix a truck worth $1,500-2K.

Tow Rig: 2002 Cummins 4WD manual quad cab. Been a great reliable truck. Pulls my mini everywhere I need to go. Has 365K on the original motor. Still runs good though. Wish it was 4 door.

Small Vacuum Tank Truck: 1997 Ford F-350 single cab 4WD 7.3 flatbed. About 175K on the motor. Runs decent, but my Cummins pulls stronger. This truck sits in the shop 27 days out of the month.

So, I'm looking for a truck where I can easily just add/remove the vac tank (it's welded to skids with bed pins), have a flatbed with tools boxes or possibly just a service bed (if dimensions work), 4WD and 4 door and can tow with it over the passes. Tired of paying registration and insurance for two trucks that barely move, have a lot of miles, and are accumulating more problems. I'll probably never get rid of the 02 Cummins. Been too good to me, and I owe it to her to see if I can hit 500K on the stock motor.

The CDL (class A) is a good point. I have one, but my nephew that works for me does not. And, I find that guys that have a CDL don't want to get out of the truck and grab a shovel. Or, they want to make 120K a year if they do.

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Old 02-03-2020, 11:40 AM   #22 (permalink)
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This is always my issue. I like the Cummins, hate the Dodge automatic (heard the newer ones are better). Like the fit and finish of the Ford, but not sure about the diesels after the 6.0/6.4 issues. Also, seems their automatics are better than the Dodge's, but not exactly an Allison. Don't really know jack about the Chevy's these days, other than Allison is good. Not sure I want IFS on this type of truck.
Here's a 2 second search result for a 4x4 kodiak https://www.rockanddirt.com/TRUCKS/S.../item/13517475

https://denver.craigslist.org/ctd/d/...066254415.html

They had straight axles and could be had in a crew cab. The cab is actually a GM van, a mixture of GM van, 1 ton pickup parts, and medium duty truck parts.

With trucks these days do you pay dumb money for a pre DPF truck and deal with old truck issues or buy an '11 or newer truck and hope you don't have fuel/ emissions issues? It sounds like either way you are keeping a spare truck around.

Another factor to consider is do you do all your own work on your trucks or have someone work on them? It takes some factory software and tools to work on a newer truck, plenty of independent shops have it but If you are taking it to someone I'd ask them what they can/ can't do. Or do you have 1 dealer that's better than another when it comes to diesel work near you? Anyone decent can work on a '07 and older truck pretty easily, the new junk is more specialized and throwing parts at it gets really expensive.
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Old 02-03-2020, 12:20 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Here's a 2 second search result for a 4x4 kodiak https://www.rockanddirt.com/TRUCKS/S.../item/13517475

https://denver.craigslist.org/ctd/d/...066254415.html

They had straight axles and could be had in a crew cab. The cab is actually a GM van, a mixture of GM van, 1 ton pickup parts, and medium duty truck parts.

With trucks these days do you pay dumb money for a pre DPF truck and deal with old truck issues or buy an '11 or newer truck and hope you don't have fuel/ emissions issues? It sounds like either way you are keeping a spare truck around.

Another factor to consider is do you do all your own work on your trucks or have someone work on them? It takes some factory software and tools to work on a newer truck, plenty of independent shops have it but If you are taking it to someone I'd ask them what they can/ can't do. Or do you have 1 dealer that's better than another when it comes to diesel work near you? Anyone decent can work on a '07 and older truck pretty easily, the new junk is more specialized and throwing parts at it gets really expensive.
I know I'm being nitpicky, but damn those Kodiaks are tall. I have a few jobs where I have to get a truck into parking garages, and I can't imagine that Kodiak would get in there. Other than that, I like the idea of the truck.

I guess another option is to buy something like an 06 manual 550/5500 and just rebuilt the damn motor and trans (clutch) right off the bat. Thoughts on that approach?
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Old 02-03-2020, 05:17 PM   #24 (permalink)
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2014 ram 5500 regulator cab stripped cab, enclosed box. Weighs in at 15.5k when full of fuel. About 72,000 miles.

I fucking hate the truck. Interior rattles. The vents blow out like a constipated fairy fart. It cant keep tires under it to save its life. The brakes suck dick. Throws a DEF code when you use the exhaust brake.

The engine is predictable and the truck is just consistently slow. It's slow by its self with it's weird shift flares and it's slow pulling a 16k lb bean head. Not sure if the bean head slowed it down at all, but it was slow as fuck already. So take that performance evaluation for what you will.
I hate the shift flares in the transmission. Was told by dealer it was caused by "normal actions from transmission programming"
The plastic top coolant y likes to crack and leak. Get a.metal one and be done.
The brakes suck on these trucks. And they suck to change. And they wear out decently fast
Thats why the company i work for has been getting rid of them, we did delete most of them but there is a timer in the ECM that throws a def code anyways..

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My current work truck is a 2016 f550 6.7. Just hit 71k on it. I drive it like I stole it. With full transfer tank it's 21k pounds. Tools, 8k crane, welder and compressor. Only issue so far is broke centering pin on crane side getting up a 1' concrete ledge. It's governed at 83mph, I drive it with my foot on the floor and it gets 7.1 mpg. On the hills in norcal I can do about 55. If I've got anything behind me it's 45-50ish. If I have 10-15k then it's 30-45. Damn good truck, for a ford. Sucks up the def and fuel, but so does my personal fiat 3500 towing
i have a 2019 weights 19320 same setup and i like it so far, only 6k on it. did lose the upper pan gasket but its a REALLY common issue covered under warranty.

Sometimes i miss my 6speed 01 f550 though
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Old 02-03-2020, 06:04 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I guess another option is to buy something like an 06 manual 550/5500 and just rebuilt the damn motor and trans (clutch) right off the bat. Thoughts on that approach?
When did dodge start with the 4500/5500 trucks? I think they all had 6.7's but I could be wrong. Newest 7.3 Ford should be an '03. Finding a 6.0 or 6.4 550 with issues and swapping in a 5.9 or 6.7 Cummins might be an option.
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