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Outfitting new wrecker


Andy
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My quest for a new wrecker has landed me in the special order line waiting for a 2022 F550 or Dodge 5500. I’m struggling with the fact that I cant find what I want and then what I need v wait times and the potential lost revenues over the winter Most likely the ford because of the super cab v crew cab and the fuel tank on the dodge is really small Ill spend as much time filling up as I do working. I filled my 28 gallon tank twice last night. It was however a good night towing. It might have taken a third fill up in the dodge. I already think the 28 gallon Ford tank is to small. 

 

Primary function of this truck is recoveries winch out bad weather related type work. I have a nice 4x4 roll back but I rarely take it out for anything in bad weather. Wasnt an issue when I worked one of my two auto shops. I didnt do that much towing because I worked enough as it was. Today My crew runs the show well enough that ive increased my towing enough to cover the cost of a new wrecker. In some ways I think I’m being like a spoiled kid who’s dad pays for anything he wants. Because I’m looking a a fairly expensive build with all the crap I want to add to it. However my shops have put me in a position to buy what I want not what I can find at X price. And i do enough towing these days to more than cover the costs even if I could probably shave at least $20K off the price. Most of the fluff is on the truck build sheet not the wrecker box. 

 

Big question is what I really need in this truck and wrecker box v what i want. Keep in mind I havent even seen a wrecker up close since the mid 80s. I really dont have a clue what i want. Nor did i when I bought the roll back in 15 but I bought a fairly loaded truck and dont feel the extra money I spent on it was a waste. 

 

The only truck related question is about gear ratio and limited slip rear diff. theres three options on the ford ratio I like the idea of the posit track but wonder if it will make it want to slip sideways on ice. I know cars on ice with posi trac can be a thrill ride in some conditions? 

 

I’m looking at a Chevron 408 TA wrecker box most likely on an extended ( super cab) 4x4 F550 diesel. I know most suggest the 84 CA length with a tunnel box however I wonder if the added length of the super can and the tunnel box may make its maneuverability on bad roads is an issue? Any thoughts here. I like the super cab over the tunnel box even if I have to deal with storage of dirty wet snow covered gear at times. So if length is an issue here myself I’m going with a super cab if length isnt really and issue then i will do the tunnel box along with it. So thats first major question. 

 

Next is slings. I dont know that i will ever see the need for them but thats just my thoughts. Most of my tows i will have an idea what I’m picking up and I could leave them off for most of its use and put them on if I think i might need them. If there simple enough to R@R in a hurry. 

 

The chevron box with the drop arms looks like what i want over anything else for recovery stuff. I plan to target recovery that most of the local tow companies wont touch and being able to anchor myself in dirt ice snow mud might be important but thats just speculation it looks like very few boxes have anything like this short of just a shoe or spade bit. Which may be enough. I’m assuming the 408 TA box will be a considerable bit heavier which might be a negative if I’m hauling something like a 1 ton crew cab LWB dually diesel. But again I just dont know. 

 

And wheel dollies are probably something that I want on the top of the deck not in the ditch mounting. Because i think in a lot of its use they will pack in with ice and mud and be miserable to work with a lot of the time. I’m located in the center of the cascades and theres a lot of dirt and gravel roads along with some deep snow and ice at times. Any input here. Most of the builders ive talked to tell me in the ditch is there most common mounting. 

 

Ok theres my list of things that I’m curious about if any of you can shed some light on it that would be great. Be safe and thanks Andy 

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It's an awesome recovery truck, definitely get the stiff legs.  We mounted ours on a regular cab Dodge 5500.  Would love to have a super cab but the truck is long with the tunnel box.  Even with a tunnel box there is never enough room for equipment.  If you are doing mainly recovery, a tunnel box is a must have imo.  

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Stiff legs are a must have item. I built and installed them on my century 412 on a  2019 ford 450. Make sure you get limited slip of some sorts. Better to have and not need than to need and not have.    As for a sling I dont have one. I use forks or will short chain to wheel lift. Mount dollys on top of deck. Collins make self loading dolly backets. They are not cheap but well worth the money.  Also get a Mico brake lock. The oem emergency brake on truck in my opion are junk.

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On 7/24/2021 at 5:05 PM, Andy said:

I’m looking at a Chevron 408 TA wrecker box most likely on an extended ( super cab) 4x4 F550 diesel. I know most suggest the 84 CA length with a tunnel box however I wonder if the added length of the super can and the tunnel box may make its maneuverability on bad roads is an issue? Any thoughts here. I like the super cab over the tunnel box even if I have to deal with storage of dirty wet snow covered gear at times. So if length is an issue here myself I’m going with a super cab if length isnt really and issue then i will do the tunnel box along with it. So thats first major question.

I would want the longer wheel base and the weight it adds for bad weather and for anchorability when working.  Like someone else said, you can never have too much storage if your going to get heavy into recovery.  I would go with the Collins dollies over the ITD, they are rated for more weight.  I would also get the biggest drums possible for the winches, the more cable you can get on there the better.  

 

I would also recommend a training course on recovery so you know how to calculate line loads, resistance, etc.  It is well worth the money, I have been doing this for a long time and just took a class a year or so ago and walked away learning quite a bit. 

A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a great friend will ...

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