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Thread: bee trucks

  1. #1
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    hey guys kinda getting in the market for a bee truck thinking along the lines of a flatbed maybe 12' bed. dont want it too big so it is a pain to drive around just checking hives but also dont want it too small that it will take forever and a week to move hives. so i kinda settled on a 12' bed. what kinda of truck do you have and engine and how much wieght can it hold and tow? any more suggestions would be great regards Nick

  2. #2
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    If your looking for a 12 foot bed, your going to have to run a minimum of a 1 ton truck. Desiel, 4 wheel drive, 6 litter up. Especially if your looking to tow a load.

    FORD!!!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #3
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    I drive a fairly aged dodge one ton diseal.. automatic, two wheel drive dually (standard bed) with a fifth wheel hitch. it now has about a half million miles on the odometer. the automatic is a good choice if you don't have lots of experience driving a diseal truck.. 'most folks' who drive diseal with standard transmissions will noticable and frequently lug the engines. taxing the engine in this manner cuts the life of everything in the drive train by about half.

    the max towing load on most one tons is +20,000 pounds that typically allow you to carry about +10,000 pounds of cargo (truck and trailer about 10,000). at least that is how my rig's weights works out. standard transmissions and gasoline engine will give you greater maximum towing load, less fuel economy and about half the expected life of a diseal.

    if you go for a flat bed on the truck I would suggest a wood deck. hive bottom boards will slide on metal.. not so much on wood.

  4. #4
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    ok a one ton is what i was thinking is a one ton diesel going to be enought to hold 64 hives (that is how many i figured i can hold that would be 8 skid and then two layers so 16 skids of four hives) and a trailer with somthing like a swinger?

  5. #5

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    Hi there. I have a 94 Ford f450 with 5 speed, 7.3 diesel, 14 foot flatbed, 2wd. The only thing that I wish that I would have got different on my truck would of been 4 wheel drive. Other than that it is great. It hauls 64 palletized hives with ease. I don't do to much towing yet but have it all hitched up with a brake control. I paid around $8500 for it with 119k miles on it. It should last me for years. I bought it in Michigan off of ebay. Oh and it does have 2 long tool boxes on each side of the bed that is really nice.

    Matt
    Columbia City, Indiana

  6. #6
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    I would like to get a old lumbertruck with a moffit on the back, but price is an issue.
    Somethings to keep in mind when truck shopping:
    Max weight is 26,000 lbs with 10,000 lbs in tow before a CDL is needed. Anything with air brakes requires CDL. If you can find and old military M35A1 at less than $3000.00 in good running condition, buy it. The upsides of this truck are:
    6x6 makes getting into remote bee yards easy.
    20,000lb winch makes getting out easy.
    Multi-fuel engine will run on any oil type fuel.
    parts are easy to find and interchangable with hundreds of different model military trucks.
    no CDL needed and truck is rated for 2.5 ton load on its 16' bed. When the truck is dead and unusable in the future, you will still get your 3000.00 back selling for parts.
    This is what they look like:
    http://s14.photobucket.com/albums/a3...radinduece.jpg
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  7. #7
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    bluegrass adds:
    with a moffit on the back

    tecumseh ask:
    what is a moffit?

  8. #8
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    I have a 2001 Dodge, 4WD 1 ton short bed, with a Cummins Turbo Deisel. Great truck, great engine. I had a fold down, gooseneck ball attached to the bed. When doing regular apiary work, the 10' bed is fine. When needing to carry lots of supers, or when harvesting honey or moving bees for pollination, I add the 16' gooseneck trailer. Great addition. The trailer is low enough to work from...eliminating high lifting. I can harvest three tons of honey or carry hundreds of empty supers to the field or move 80 triples to the orchard. I can also park my load and drive away.
    MIke

  9. #9
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    Dec 2006
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    I have a F450 w/12' bed (64 hives ) and a F550 w/14' bed (80 hives ). Both trucks are 4x4 diesels. A 4x4 truck is very helpful off road pulling a trailer w/loader. If I had to do it over again I would get two F550. Both of the trucks weight and mpg are the same. The F550 has heaver front and rear ends and 2500# more gvw. When I need to move a lot of hives I use a 18' trailer on the F450 and pull Swinger w/F550. That gives me 240 hives and someone to run straps while I unload.

    Scott

  10. #10
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    Tec
    A Moffit is the three wheeled all-terrain forklift that you see stuck to the back of flatbed lumber trucks. Would be real handy to have!
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #11
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    #1 1994 GMC 1/2 ton extended cab short box. 5.7 Gas fuel. Custom rebuilt trans. including gorilla Sun Shell, shift kit and gas saver, towing package with electric brake and overoad springs. Great truck, able to haul 6,000 lb but tends to sway over 55 mph. Very Comfortable for long trips. Short bed is never big enough and extended cab is great for 2 with gear but hard for 3 or 4.

    #2 1993 Ford F350 7.3 Banks Turbo Diesel (about to become biodiesel), crew cab (4 door), full box, dully, 4 wheel (6 actaully) drive. Body off rebuild 1998 including the 1993 Internationl engine and tranny. Towing package with electric brakes. Usual cranky cold diesel starts when not plugged in, in the cold, usual diesel noise, usual diesel smoke. Loads of Power and space, Hauls the 6000 lb trailer like it doesn't know it's there. Hauls a ton of honey and gear to NYC each week with no problems except I'm limited to driving on commericial routes. Get's better fuel milage than the 5.7 GMC and should be running free (fuel wise) by May 2007. Diesel fills tend to be messy and not always easy to find at 3:00 am on RT 17 in Va. Oil changes are twice the cost of gas engines. No tune ups. It feels like more work to drive on long trips although I can't specifically say why. At 21 Feet long it's hard to park and get in an out of tight spaces. It costs around 900 bucks to do replace tires. Overall though a great bee truck.

    64 hives and a loader sounds like alot for the 350. I think you might be better off with the 550. I agree wholeheartedly on the 4X4 for pulling trailers in and out of yards. Newere with diesels and transmission does not mean better. 1993 was the last year for the international with Ford. I've heard (not witnessed) of difficulties with both engine and trannys on the newer trucks. My friend runs a new Duramax Diesel which he has had several problems with.

    Buy a chey truck for comfort and a ford for work.

    [size="1"][ December 31, 2006, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: Joel ][/size]

  12. #12
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    >>Buy a chey truck for comfort and a ford for work.


    aint that the truth, well except for the newer Fords out there. We have a F350, crew cab, long box, auto, four wheel drive. Just a beutiful riding truck, much nicer ride than our old 95F350!
    We also run an older GMC 5 ton gas job during the honey pull, which allows us to pull multipule yards in a day. Makes things logistacaly simpler and quicker.
    But it runs only to take honey off and move bees around, for it costs a small fortune to drive that thing around!

    [size="1"][ January 01, 2007, 11:40 AM: Message edited by: Ian ][/size]
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  13. #13
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    bluegrass sezs:
    Would be real handy to have!

    tecumseh replies:
    given 'this' old back... too die for!

  14. #14
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    Illinois
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    nick,
    I read through all the posts and wondered just how many hives you have and how many you move at a time. I also wondered what kind of investment it would require to buy a truck, run and maintain it and whether it would be worth it. I know one pollenater that buys old trailers, loads them with hives and moves them around with his pickup. I don't have that many hives so I don't have the problem but when I need to move 12 to 15 hives I rent a Uhaul open trailer. They work great since they are so low to the ground. They have a long spring loaded ramp that allows one to rolls hives on with a hand truck. It is also a lot easier to use for transporting supers full of honey since you can load a stack of supers by just rolling them up the ramp. They are also cheap to rent and you don't have to store them. On the other hand you can buy a trailer a lot cheaper than a truck.

  15. #15
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    yea i talked to a buddy yesterday and he said for the older truck that i would want go with the dodge or ford diesel. He siad that the chevy 6.5l diesel just wasnt a great engine and he is a die hard chevy man. he thought that a one ton would do that job but with so much wieght i would have to add a few leaves of suspension in the back told me it would ride like a wagon when empty but it would get the job done. thank for all the advise guys. this year we are buying a bunch of hives and will be up to 650 so it is time for the truck.
    Oh a 550 is the same thing as a 350 except more supension and heavier axle right? the same engine? regards Nick

  16. #16
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    swarm trapper sezs:
    he thought that a one ton would do that job but with so much wieght i would have to add a few leaves of suspension in the back told me it would ride like a wagon when empty but it would get the job done.

    tecumseh replies:
    the longer the truck wheel base the smoother the ride. also all makes of truck do not have equal rides loaded and/or unloaded.

  17. #17

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    I know my f450 rides rough unless its loaded then its pretty smooth.
    Columbia City, Indiana

  18. #18
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    swarm_trapper
    on a 550 you have a heaver frame, computer is set differently and you have different gear ratio. I had a 91 diesel 350 for several years. there are times that 40/48 hives is all that you want on. however a used 550 4x4 is not as easy to find as a 350.

    scott

    [size="1"][ January 01, 2007, 08:15 AM: Message edited by: sjvbee ][/size]

  19. #19
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    I use an F350 super duty dump truck that I bought new in 89. It can only hold 40 2high 8 frame hives double stacked but I mounted a pickup crane on one of the side boards so I can drive up and load individual hives without lifting. It's not too big to use for day to day work and the only time it would be worthwhile to have anything bigger is during pollination. I can carry six 55 gallon drums of syrup so I can pump feed, and when I don't need it for beekeeping I can haul two yards of gravel at a time to maintain my road. Four wheel drive would be handy, but I have learned to work around that disadvantage. If I had to replace it I think I wouldn't change the setup much.
    doug

  20. #20
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    Lets look at the math for the 64 hives on a one ton pulling a loader. My 350 weighs in tare at about 6300, I think the Gross vehicle weight is around 10,000. That leaves 3700 lbs to haul on board.

    64 hives (singles) with a flow on @55 lbs = 3520
    Skids- 16 X 40 lbs = 640
    1 beekeeper driving ( a svelt beekeeer@175)= 175
    Misc. necessary equipment = 100
    Toungue weight of 6 X 12 trailer w/loader = 300
    2 full tanks of diesel (32 gals) = 300

    Total weight =5035

    Of course doubles or 1 1/2, the more likely configuration would add several hundred pounds more.

    I beleive My 7.3 diesel could pull the 20,000lbs mentioned but we put the hives on the trailer and haul equipment in the truck (including a 4 wheeler). I haven't had that much weight on the truck so don't know what the squat factor is. I do know the fines for being overloaded or the liability in an accident would not make it worth the risk. The trailer allows me to drop the netted bees if I need in the event of vehicle or trailer problems, when I arrive at yards @ 4:00 am, when I want to load in the cold and haul anytime in the next few days. My rig loaded runs around 15,000 lbs and the truck has the power but the less I have on the truck the better for me.

    [size="1"][ January 01, 2007, 11:53 AM: Message edited by: Joel ][/size]

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