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Medium duty trucks options best bang for the buck

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The short version is mediums duty rollbacks 26,000 v 33,000 pound class and what make model powetrain and brand of rollback is the best bang for the buck. Or just best.

long version. Lifes exciting isnt it. Ive been in the repair end of this business since 1981 Shops been open since 2001. Opened my second shop in 2010. Bought my first F550 rollback in 2015. Covid hit closed one shop and started doing more towing. Found out I hated running owning and being in an auto shop and loved towing within 6 months. Mainly because I do unique challenging tow work most of the time then change some tire at 2 AM in the morning and am a hero. I fix cars that have been in a dozen shops customers who have spent thousands of dollars to no avail and then after solving some unsolvable issue all I get is paid and usually not enough or I get complaints about my charges after I’ve fixed something thousands of dollars elsewhere produced nothing. I go do some simple tow or roadside service people are jumping up and down throwing tips at me. And I changed a tire or tightened a battery cable. Funny stuff. Let alone when I get to drag something up a mountain and over a guard rail. 


Wednesday I fired my top auto tech of 15 years after listening to him cuss and complain for the last two weeks. Have another tech retiring in February and my managers wife wants to move closer to her kids any way so im closing the shop in the next 6 months to a year. 


Ive been trying to get a custom built F600 4WD but cant find anyone with one coming willing to do what I want. Maybe for good reason. Now im thinking I need to change directions and buy a medium duty truck. Im not CDL licensed but will take a class and become one most likely. If needed any way. 


My target here is Sprinter vans or similar length and weight rigs and there’s lots of one ton Duallies. Im not moving into heavy towing. Im old enough to want the easy life of rollback work and recovering crashed cars not big delivery trucks or semis. Ive started looking at 26,000 GVW medium duty trucks but wonder if I shouldnt move into the 33,000 pound class which has always been on my mind. None of this is a new thought for me except I am soon to be free to act on these thoughts. 


So the question is buy a 33,000 pound class truck or is the jump into a 33,000 pound class truck really a huge jump in headaches and costs. Keep in mind im 58 could just retire but I like to work Im to much of a busy body to not work. Dont mind strapping down an overloaded Spinter van though. What truck would you recommend. It will be new or very low mileage. And what brand truck and rollback would you advise. Im not on a tight budget but I also dont want to spend an extra $50K or more on something if it’s not the right choice. 


Thanks Andy 

Edited by Andy
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A lot of variables.... We have 2 Hino 258's with JerrDan XLP 6 ton beds 25,500 gvw that work great.  Both are air suspension and air brake.   Legally they can haul just shy of 9,000 lbs.... they will handle more when really needed.


I have been working on moving toward something bigger on our next truck to add to the fleet and im leaning toward a new extended cab Freightliner 33,000 gvw with a 23' NRC bed.   I got my CDL last year... its a big step up in truck and its capability is much higher than what we currently have.  I have been working with Nulls Sales here in PA, and by the time I add in all the bells and whistles and new equipment, im expecting right around the 200k mark.


Personally, for what you are doing, I may stick with non CDL, and miss out on a few jobs here and there.   But, if you dont mind getting the CDL... go with the bigger setup.... I cant wait to pull the trigger on one.

Edited by ESC
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I tried to order the same truck you want theres a builder in Portland but gave up. What I want in a truck doesnt really exist so it’s a matter of how to set myself up for the work that I see paying the most. Im afraid of sued equipment I also want to be done with the physical side of wrenching. New doesnt mean things wont break but someone else can fix them. 


I think I can live with a truck in the 26,000 pound class. It will be different than the F550s I currently own. Between them Im covered for the type of work I see the most of. And there are a lot more of them being made. Some of it’s kind of stupid on my part. I have low overhead in reality. When the shop closes I could go any number of directions including just using that property for impounds and a staging place. But long term I have ten more years to work probably so I might as well bite the bullet and set it in motion. 




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  • 4 weeks later...

long event getting the new truck home but it’s here. Rolled in about five pm. It was my own version of planes trains and automobiles getting it home.

if i could change anything I would have a 23 foot deck but that’s just me rambling. 

got it measured for logo’s yesterday tried to register it but forgot about Oregons luxury tax which has to be done on line. 

now I have to figure out tool boxes I want more boxes and drawers. 


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