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GM quit making the 5500. The Ford F 550 is a comparably unit we used to get them with 19500 lbs gvw in the long wheel base. You can get an International with up to 33000 lbs capacity in Canada on single axle with hydraulic brakes. You still drive it with a normal drivers license. It also sits on 22.5 tires so it has more ground clearance than the Fords and Chevs if thats an advantage.
How many hives do you haul at once Jeff? The other issue to consider is some of these new trucks have a large and very hot exhaust system, if your in an out of dry areas I would look at the clearance and or a shroud of some sort.
 

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Ya that sucks, when GM just about went broke they cut their medium duty but I hear production is back up on them
In my day job we bought lots of the 5500. I hear the new GM will be built in partnership with Navistar and will be aimed at the Ford F 450 , size,
I would love to have the old 5500 , no emission burner, 4 by 4 and the Allison auto they are a great package. Mounting a crane like yours on a long deck they would be perfect.
 

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Ian influenced me to go the crane route as well. I went with the Spanish brand (Apijuneda) and have had my Apijuneda AJ-2006 for 2 full seasons now. I moved about 200 colonies into almonds last year, but with close to 350 going in this coming season, and plans to double that in 2022, I have sprung for a loader. I will still keep the crane for the time being, and imagine I won't sell it. I too like the redundancy of having a second option to get the bees off the truck, if for some reason the loader has an issue. And pulling honey is nice too. Although I don't quite stack em as tall as Ian! Ha. My honey production was pretty crap this year. It was was super dry, and I am building comb to boot. But it's always nice to dream about pulling stacks, one of these days.

I have it mounted on a Ram 3500 at the back. Man, I am always amazed at how much the deck moves (angles) when you get a heavy pallet 12-16 feet off to the side of the truck.

The only bummer about the crane that I have seen is it's slower than a loader, a bit more physical, and you have to get the heavy truck close to the colonies. I have been stuck good a few times, where as if I had the loader, I would have parked on solid ground and been fine.
 

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Good luck with it. You will enjoy the loader.

Re physical, even using a loader can be physical. But what happens is after you been using it a bit and get into the swing of things, it becomes more technique than muscle, it gets easier.

Having said all that, when my grandaughter was 8 years old, she was quite capable of putting a hive on the truck with the loader. Wish I'd got a pic of that!
 

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Good luck with it. You will enjoy the loader.

Re physical, even using a loader can be physical. But what happens is after you been using it a bit and get into the swing of things, it becomes more technique than muscle, it gets easier.
I completely agree with you. It's a very Zen thing. I've probably moved 500 colonies on and off so far. I remember the point in time, becoming aware of how much I was forcing it, and then relaxed my shoulders and arms to allow the crane to do it's job. What a world of difference. But I have almost twisted my ankles multiple times walking pallets around + trying to rush. But that's definitely a product of moving in the dark at O dark thirty!

Again, love the crane and looking forward to having multiple cards in the deck.
 
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