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First heavy truck, help me buy accessories!?


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We bought our first entry level heavy wrecker the only attachment that can with the truck was the heavy tow sling bar. 

It has an underlift, but it’s a short reach 3 stage older Holmes underlift and non telescopic boom. We don’t know the specs yet, but I think it’s a 12k underlift and 50k boom.


We want to fully equip the truck for most all tows/situations.


sorry for any dumb questions, my wife and I are trying to figure this out quickly, the the critical equipment we need for our truck, and be equipped for most all situations.

-what forks should we buy? Should we buy a whole assortment set like from Irish iron?


-because our underlift is a short reach, is there anything we can buy to be able to lift long nose trucks or motor coaches where you need a long reach? Or are we sol?


-are leaf spring lift forks a good thing to have?


-any way to lift buses and other long reach truck or buses with the boom/lift sling instead?


- should we buy a wheel lift attachment for picking trucks up from the wheels? 

Any other equipment or must haves are appreciated.



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Spring forks are going to be your friend with short reach, you may not have enough height to lift the towed truck high enough so you may need a set of risers but then you start to get into the risers causing excess leverage/strain on your under reach cross bar pin. You might look into an add on Zacklift for more reach if the rest of the truck is a keeper as you'll struggle with short reach with limited height in the HD arena, Ive been there. A training class would be a good start if you have no HD experience, its a different world altogether than light duty.

Edited by Orcas Tow
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Hello from sunny (when its not raining) Orcas Island

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I agree with Orcas tow. First thing to buy is some education on med/heavy towing. Spring shackles and risers will be your best friend for that under reach. but you must keep in mind that short/ low lift under reach set up is pretty limited on what you can do. I would certainly get a set up for the F550/5500 trucks because that truck is ideal for that kind of towing. I dont feel like you have enough reach or lift for coaches or buses. Not knocking your truck at all Its a good looking rig, but what you have there is a good sized medium duty rig. I wouldnt really call it a heavy by todays standards. Perfect for 6 wheelers and maybe the odd empty 10 wheeler.  

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Because it is a single axle and not a dual, it would be referred to as a heavy medium duty. That's not a bad start and there are parts out there to upgrade it to a unit with an extendable boom. I know in the early days of Tow411 there were several members that did some horse trading and such for booms that were hiding out. I'm sure there must be some still out there where the bed has rusted away. Yet, the boom and even winches are still attached. That along with a set of stiff legs would make for a much better recovery truck. I would throw some member names out there but there were more than a dozen that come to mind and I would surely miss one. At least a couple have since retired. Best of Luck!

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Completely disagree all single axle tow trucks are ‘heavy medium duty’.  Obviously would be dependent on chassis/wrecker specs not just # of axles.   


Good luck with new truck.   That tow bar can handle alot more than underlift & truck handles better.  Only drawback is limited use

couple snatch blocks & angle iron- easily tow a semi

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The truck is a medium to me, but it has no feet and a basic boom and a stubby wheel lift that doesn’t have enough lift... so I hope you bought it at the right price! Doesn’t really excel at towing or recovery.

Sounds like you bought the wrong truck for what you want to use it for. 

You will need tall forks and risers to get enough lift.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good Morning Boosttow ... congratulations on "growing your company" into another market. The advice the guys are giving you about training is far more valuable than all the bling, trinkets and toys you can buy. That being said, they've mentioned some of the necessary tow equipment your truck should have; especially risers and snatch-blocks. I'm attaching a link to what equipment is required by the California HIghway Patrol for rotation tow companies. The link is for the two-page, CHP Form 235b, "Tow Truck Inspection Guide". Page two is specific to heavier classes. I suggest you outfit your truck with what's required in your area's law enforcement contracts. Narrow that down by talking with your area tow boss for your state's highway patrol to learn what your state requirements are for medium & heavy operations. Priority One: Get trained first if you aren't already (formally) trained. And then, be sure to let your accounts know you have a truck that can handle medium work and RV's. 


CHP TSA Link:  https://www.chp.ca.gov/ResearchAndPlanningSectionSite/Documents/Chp234B_052017.pdf


While it may not be specific to your state, its equipment lists those basic items necessary to tow for law enforcement. As you start to gain momentum in medium towing, take time to attend some tow shows to see what equiment fits your niche. While it's great to have everything, plus the kitchen sink on board, be mindful that much of your accessories will sit in the side boxes for most of the time. Stuff like welders, cutters, chainsaws, etc. aren't really necessary on your size wrecker.  Here's wishing you the best of luck and safety in your ventures.     R.

Randall C. Resch

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Thanks for the info, I’ll definitely do that!


We are going to sell this unit and jump head first into a massive 45 ton wrecker. 99% of our tows will be loaded tractor trailers for our contracts, just wanna make sure the truck we have is overkill until we move into a rotator. We’re gonna miss this truck though, it super powerful, in amazing condition, and a super heavy duty medium duty truck! I love the look of it too. 

We are about 2 weeks out from completing a “restoration” on this rig so it in perfect shape, among with a rebuild of the wheel lift, upgraded 46 spline Loing differential, and other things. 

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