I am looking at a 1997 Chevy T6500 flatbed truck. It is has a V8 Chevy 350 engine not a diesel. Pluses to this is it is crazy cheap to fix. Minus is it gets suck gas mileage. I am not moving hives crazy distances but I figure gas will be a expense that is significant. Was wondering what insights might have. Oh plus I live in California, so any older diesels are not going to work because of the CARB law kicking in on old diesels...
How big is the deck.? If you have 500-800 hives, seem like a good truck. You'll likely have room for a syrup tank, patties and room for deadouts and or extra boxes,bottom boards/pallets and lids. If you keep your hives in fairly large yards you'll be able to bring all the equipment you need for the day and be able to keep working at one site all day. This will reduce the cost of driving between yards. So even if fuel is pricey, you won't be burning too much daily.
Diesel trucks are good for many things. However they are more expensive to repair by a wide wide wide margin. 6 injectors will set you back $3500, CP pump $1200, Chevy typical 200K service is about $8000. However if you find a local shop they can drop in a junkyard 350 for under $1000. If you are not going 80,000 miles a year, gasoline is best. If you want to run 36,000# on the highway, diesel is the only way. 067.jpg
When you move up from a "pickup" to a real truck with air brakes, you will find that the engines and drive train are much more reliable. A bvuddy of mine has 2.2 million on his Western Star, with peoiple lined up to buy it when he retires.