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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    717

    Question Flat deck truck ?

    Hi , I am looking to get a flat deck truck with a 14-16' bed , I want to be able to tow a trailer with my Kubota L3800 on it for loading.

    What size truck do you suggest ? 1 Ton ? 4X4 ?

    I can't get a new one , only used . Too many things being leased and financed already LOL

    I need it for next spring and I want to get it over with ASAP.

    If you could send pics of your setup , that would be great !!

    Thanks
    Ben
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Plymouth County, MA, USA
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Well, I don't have a large scale operation, but I just got back from working one. The had 1 tons that could hold 8 pallets and then double stack them (16 total), and 2 tons that could hold probably double or triple that.

    The 1 tons that I've seen for bees have been 3500s and 350s and work fine - able to tow along a hummer bee, but most flat beds I've seen on those trucks outside beekeeping have had shorter beds. I'm not sure if those longer 16 ft beds were reinforced or something.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,452

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    You will get lots of different opinions on this. For me the regular cab f-550 or Ram 5500 4x4 in 192" wb with a 14' bed is the perfect bee truck. It will haul 10 standard pallets per layer. 10,000 + pounds of weight and you can park it in the driveway like a car at the end of the day. What's not to like about them... Ok, yeah they are a bit rough riding when empty.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    963

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    What Jim said.
    If you buy a 350 or 450 you will eventually want a 550. So why not just buy one now.
    There are always folks posting that they haul a bazillion hives on their 450 and tow a trailer with the Empire State Building on a trailer behind.
    Legally, 56 - 64 is going to be tops. and even less if loaded with honey super & honey.
    Sure, you can stack on any amount you want but the little sticker inside the door jam is the law.
    If you can, go for the 550 with the 19500 gvw option.
    And later on do youself A GREAT BIG FAVOR and have a Detroit Locker installed in your rear axle. You will always be glad that you did!
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Maricopa, Ariz, USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    ^^^ 100% what Jim & Harry said........550 or 5500 4x4

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Applegate, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Ben, In the states, the max. weight before requiring a commercial license is 26k. This means is that when you or an employee tow a 10k trailer, you will need the CDL when driving a 550. A 550 could tow a 7k trailer without a CDL which should work for your Kubota. You definitely want diesel and 4x4 may save alot of tow charges but this will get you a heavier truck and therefore less payload. The max load for my F450 is 8 pallets of hive and a half colonies. This lets me place 2 outyards per load. The shorter wheelbase of a 12' flatbed allows me to access beeyards that others can't get into, giving more options for placing bees. My Chevy 3500HD has a GVW of 15k, identical to the F450, but has a 16' bed. It came with an aluminum panel replacing the rear glass, broken by frame flex. 16' bed 3500 = bad idea. The '90s 3500s seem to depreciate more than other trucks so you might be able to get one for <$4,000. Here is an example: http://eugene.craigslist.org/cto/4134291943.html The 6.2L turbo diesel is fuel efficient and will work well if you are not pulling alot of hills. I paid <$3000 for mine and consider it a throwaway truck. Great for the son/hired guy. A 7.3L F450 seems to hold its value more, so more spendy. Here is an example: http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/hvo/4202952167.html
    One thing to consider with your setup is if the loader will place the second pallet high enough to stack the second level. Looking at the specs, it probably will lift only one pallet. A 2WD truck would have a lower deck height if this was an issue. All considered, my preference is a daily driver F450 with a backup truck and extra trailer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Lakeland, FL, USA
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Im my opinion a 2wd diesel smaller truck, like a 350-550 range, is a waste of time. Heavy in the nose and sandy/muddy situations don't mix. 4x4 F550 with a 15'-16' ft bed would be my ideal truck. Dodge builds junk trucks. Cradle for a Cummins.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,852

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Once Navistar did away with the 7.3 the rest where junk motors. What about the new 6.7? Is that built by Ford now? I bought a Ram 5500 because I wanted that Cummins and have no regrets.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,452

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Quote Originally Posted by BMAC View Post
    Once Navistar did away with the 7.3 the rest where junk motors. What about the new 6.7? Is that built by Ford now? I bought a Ram 5500 because I wanted that Cummins and have no regrets.
    Ford's 6.7 is now a Ford built engine. There was a "divorce" from Navistar after all the problems with the 6.0 and 6.4's. I have heard mixed reports early on but assume they have pretty much gotten it right by now. I went with the Ram because I figured the Cummins was a safer bet AND I got quoted $4,000 less (in 2011) for virtually identical trucks. No regrets 30,000 miles later. The newer cabs are a vast improvement over what they used to build as well. I think it's more "pick your flavor" nowadays, they are both reliable, functional trucks with similar capabilities though I continue to have a bit more confidence in a diesel built by Cummins, a company whose only business is diesel engines. Ram is also offering a manual transmission option (which Ford does not) and now a new gas engine as well which I think savvy buyers should consider if you aren't going to be pulling a lot or driving a lot of miles, with the continued difference between diesel and gas prices the operating costs are probably going to be pretty close.. The Cummins is a $7,000 upgrade and the Aisan auto tranny is around 2 grand.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,852

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    I would have rathered had the manual transmission, but mine has the Aisan tranny. I dont think its figured out how to properly shift for RPMs and speed yet. Sometimes in tow mode with exhaust brake on with foot off trottle it still hangs in 4th gear at say 30MPH.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,452

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Quote Originally Posted by BMAC View Post
    I would have rathered had the manual transmission, but mine has the Aisan tranny. I dont think its figured out how to properly shift for RPMs and speed yet. Sometimes in tow mode with exhaust brake on with foot off trottle it still hangs in 4th gear at say 30MPH.
    Yes it does seem to make some odd gear choices from time to time. Of course you can always manually shift quite easily if you choose. I see in the 13's they have apparently "beefed up" the transmission a bit and modified the shift points as well and now have upped the engine torque output to 750 while it remains at 650 for the manual.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,852

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Mine is a left over 12. I try not to use the manual shift paddle as I am wondering if the computer needs to learn how to shift it yet. So far the heaviest I have pulled with it is 30K combination for some local Amish hauling lumber. Maxed out both truck and trailer. It seemed to run just fine. In fact it run it effortlessly until I had to start on hills. Then it was slow going until I crested that hill. Once up to speed it seemed to just glide over the hilly terrain here. It sure beats the heck out of my 97 F450.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Las Animas colorado
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Well it's been a long time since I have been here, and threads like this are why. You said you were short of money and these guys are talking about their $50,000 one ton trucks. If you are a commercial beek, and short on money, buy a real truck. You can get a good, low mile International 2 ton truck for way less money than a one ton. The problem with used f450's and the like is that the people who buy them run them into the ground. Most used ones are flat out junk, and they cost a fortune. On the other hand a low mile Int. or Freightliner can be had for around $10K. (100,000 miles is nothing for one of these trucks, they will go 500K with no problems) Just buy one with a box on it, take the box off and use it for storage, slap a flat bed on it, and you have a real truck that will last you a long, long time. Plus, you will not be under-trucked. (BTW, the DT-466 is the only engine to get in an Int.)
    If you are going to be commercial, do it right the first time.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    963

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Lockhart View Post
    You said you were short of money and these guys are talking about their $50,000 one ton trucks.
    Is an F-550 a one-ton, John?
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Las Animas colorado
    Posts
    49

    Smile Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryVanderpool View Post
    Is an F-550 a one-ton, John?
    Good grief!!!!This is why I do not come here often. Yes I know that an F550 is a ton-and-a-half truck, but that is not my point. The guy is short on money. Good used F550's that are not beat to death are very hard to find, and if you do find one they cost a fortune. (not to mention the problem 6.0 and 6.4l engines) But, if you step up to an F650 or F750, you can buy one for a very low cost, and you will have a truck that will last a long, long time. I was really trying to help the guy out, not prove I am some kind of internet expert.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,852

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Yes so John you are correct. In all fairness he could go out and buy a 54K 10 wheeler Ford L9000 with a 27 foot bed on it for probably 6K and it would last him a very long time with the Big Cam Cummins in it. In fact I know of one right now he could go buy from a beekeeper in Mi. However he is also asking whether he should get a 4*4 truck. He maybe dealing with yards that are fairly muddy year round if he is thinking 4*4.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
    Posts
    717

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    I am just getting into migratory Beekeeping and I would prefer to get something under $10 K that I can use for a while , I have too many other business expenses right now and I would rather do it right and get a newer truck , but I just bought a brand new one last year for moving equipment and servicing yards , but it is a half ton 4x4 and I can't put a flat deck on it.
    So it is either find someone willing to travel throughout the night to bee yards with their truck or get my own.
    That is what my options are. I really hate borrowing or renting , so I would rather have my own.
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,852

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    On the budget would be an older F450 or F350 already in a flat bed configuration. You need to consider how much the hives weigh prior to deciding the length of bed and actual weight capacity of the rearend. On a 14 foot configuration you can fit 120 double deep colonies triple high. With the approx weight of 100lbs per double deep colony you are looking at a 12,000 lbs payload on the back end without considering tongue weight of trailer for your Kubota.
    I have an 97 F450 with a 10 foot bed on it. It has been working just fine as a bee truck and I can haul 72 colonies on it as double deeps which slightly overweights the truck. However I have and can safely run it in this configuration so long as I keep my speeds low at say 40MPH and thats pulling a trailer with my 7200 lbs skidsteer behind it. My F450 is NOT 4*4 and I have been off road lots with it with zero issues. even in the southern red clay and sand they have there when its wet out. I do however have truelock posi rear end in it. I have had it stuck a few times and my skidsteer has pulled it out fine.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,452

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    Hey, we are all trying to help the guy out. Ben asked about a flat deck truck in a 14 to 16' configuration able to pull a trailer with his Kubota. I suggested what I felt was an ideal size. Finding a good truck he can afford is pretty much up to him at this point. Used truck shopping, regardless of the size can be a real mine field. I got what I thought was a pretty good deal on a 2005 International 4300 with 200,000 miles and the much vaunted DT-466 engine from a leading IH dealer in Colorado 3 years ago. It went back into the shop 3 different times and cost me over $6,500 in repair bills in just the first 3,000 miles I drove it and that dosent even count the air conditioning unit which only worked for about a month after delivery. They agreed to reimburse me $500 and said, "sorry, no guarantees with a used truck". Truth is, they are right. Caveat emptor.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Mesa Arizona USA
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Flat deck truck ?

    How many miles are you guys running the 550-5500 size trucks before you trade them in. I would think you larger guys would have some sort of regular by miles or years method to determine when you replace the truck.
    George Brenner @ www.valleyhoneyco.com
    Mesa, AZ

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