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Old 09-21-2013, 12:34 PM   #1
sailah OP
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Heavy duty trucks and pulling a mini excavator

I am n00b

I'm looking at a business (to buy) where the company might be hauling around some heavier equipment than what they have now. Currently have a Volvo EC35 mini ex (8000#) and are pulling it with a F450 on a 10K trailer.

There might be a need at some point to get a full size backhoe or dozer (or both) and I'm wondering what a reasonable rig to pull it with would be. Pulling one at a time obviously.

First off I know a little bit, but I'm not well versed in the actual mechanics of what is involved. I assume a CDL will be required to yank around a D4-5 sized dozer or a John Deere 310 sized backhoe.

For the truck part, they don't really need a dump truck, what they would need is a crane truck to offload generators and electrical equipment. I've been looking at crane trucks out of curiosity but a little lost on axle capacity, air brakes etc.

Say I had a John Deere 310 and needed to haul it a couple hundred miles at most. Looks like that's about 15k lbs, a D5 is about 20k lbs.

Would this do the trick? Are air brakes required for hauling the above loads? How hard is it to get a class A CDL for driving this rig?



http://www.truckpaper.com/listingsde...x?OHID=4393879

I'm guessing that a class 7-8 truck is the best best. Air brakes? Anything else I should at least do my homework on? From the looks of it, even a F550 would not be the right rig for the above duties. F650?

For the trailer I hear beavertail, tag-a-long, equipment trailer, dovetail. I don't understand it all. I just want to be able to load a dozer or backhoe, chain it down and go. I assume some ramps built in would be handy at the jobsite.

Sorry for all these dumb questions, just trying to wrap my head around the $ cost and whether it's worth it.

Thanks
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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Just remember you're hauling more than just the weight of the backhoe or dozer, your also hauling the trailer and tie down chains and any extra buckets. So ya gotta know the total weight of what you'll be towing. That will answer a lot of questions for you.

I say just get the class a cdl. You will be rated for anything smaller and give you the flexibility if you need to rent or lease a tractor trailer. Any cdl you'll need a cdl physical then take the written test to get your permit. After you get the permit you have to have so many hours of logged driving with an instructor. Then you can take the driving test. So there is a bit of a process to it. I don't know what state your in but you should be able to download your states cdl handbook and it will explain all that.

Good luck in your endeavor!
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:10 PM   #3
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Just did a quick google search and a 310G backhoe tips the scales at 15995 ponds for typical operating weight. That's on a new unit per the John Deere website so I'm thinking a older unit could be heavier or lighter.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:14 PM   #4
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A 1992 D4H tips the scales at over 22000 ponds!
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:17 PM   #5
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Thanks, I probably won't be getting the CDL it will be someone(s) else. And yes, thinking the class A.

Regarding the truck, seems the air brakes are worth the extra hassle and they only come on class 6+. Rethinking maybe a single axle dump in the 7 class or bigger. What is the right name for the trailer I need?
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:27 PM   #6
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From the people I work with that have CDLs, just get the Class A. Same work as the class B but without the limitations. Right now I am doing my best to avoid getting one, just more hassles. I only need a log book for a week or two a year and still stay under the CDL restrictions.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:37 PM   #7
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Trailer glossary.

I don't recall ever seeing a boom truck like the one pictured in the OP hauling a medium duty tag-along carrying anything approaching the weight of a full sized backhoe or smal dozer.

It could probably be done, but it's usually a dumptruck in that role. You definitely want the rear axle closer to the hitch when hauling that kind of weight.

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Old 09-21-2013, 09:17 PM   #8
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Thanks very helpful. I agree the dump is most commonly seen but I hate to buy a truck just to haul the trailer without it having a secondary role. But the axle being close to the back is a good point. Fortunately the dump trucks are reasonable in used condition. Is a single axle fine in this role? Most of the single axle dumps have a 21-23k rear axle I have been looking at.

It seems that there are a lot of ex plow trucks on truck paper. Municipal maintained. I'm sure rusty from driving in salt and snow. Any particular reason to steer clear of them? They do seem to have the engines and frames to deal with the pulling duties and I can use the plow to clear away slower drivers and grandmas?

Assuming that the backhoe is around 15k and I can live with a dozer in that class as well, what would be the trailer (size and weight) recommended? I like the beavertail for the ramps. I'm sure it's a pintle. and air brakes too?
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:44 PM   #9
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I'm pretty confident a single axle dump like this...



...would do the job.

Beavertail, pintle hitch tag-along trailers along these lines are what you're looking for, I suspect.

Municipal plow trucks can be hit or miss. Depends on how well they keep up on maintenance and how well the operators treat (or mistreat them).

Remember that any plow attachments add to the weight of the truck which can mean decreased payload. Corrosion would be another concern...
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:03 PM   #10
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Why not something like this:


We had something similar when I worked for a bridge company, very useful because you could pick things right off the trailer with the boom. Man I miss having a boom truck around. . . .
Here's a picture from the top of the boom, as high as it would go:


Our truck:


My boss shoehorned a sleeper between the cab and the boom, but it was a shaky, noisy truck at 65 mph. . . .
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:38 PM   #11
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Would an M936 (5 ton Military wrecker) be a good choice for this? they have a crane, should have plenty of towing capacity, and are very stout in their build. I would be concerned ofcourse with condition, and amount of highway use as they top out at ~55 MPH in stock form. The price would be less than buying a new truck, but there is concern about upkeep costs too...

Just thinking out loud here.
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:22 AM   #12
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If you don't want a dump truck to haul the thing don't buy a truck at all. A lot of independent operators I know just hire out the hauling. Owning a truck, trailer, and maintaining a CDL is expensive and a pain in the ass. Trucks break down and burn lots of fuel.

Single axle dumps really suck. They're uncomfortable to drive (HORRIBLE RIDE) and are really limited with what they can haul. If you're going to try to make a go at putting a dump truck to use, you might be frustrated by a single axle. A tandem axle rides better and hauls more stuff. Most important to you- they tow better. Put a beavertail loaded with a backhoe behind a single axle and you're pushing it. I don't care if it's within legal limits- I've driven both and if I have a choice I'd refuse to tow a big load with a single axle.

Is there a specific reason why you're looking at a 310 or are you flexible? I guess it all depends on what you're doing. I run a 710 at work and it's a beast- very powerful machine, but it's also pretty big and weighs close to 30,000 lbs if I recall. In terms of dozers weight is pretty critical. If you go to small you might just frustrate yourself. Can't push big piles of dirt unless you've got big weight under you. There's a happy meeting ground, and again, it all depends on what exactly you're doing. We have a D5 at work, and for what we do with it it's frustratingly small at times and I've NEVER thought "damnit this thing is too big."

You can get a lot done quickly and efficiently with an excavator with a blade and a thumb and different buckets. (Ditching buckets with a wrist are pretty slick for finish work). Backhoes have to be repositioned (outriggers up, swivel seat, brake off, drive 5 feet, brake on, swivel seat, outriggers down) every time you need to move. Excavators just crawl and can swing 360 degrees. Really the only benefit of a backhoe over an excavator is that you can drive one over the road for short distances and you can move material in the front bucket a little easier and faster. Unless you're doing huge work I think that anything in the JD lineup from 120-160 is pretty nice. You already have the Volvo, which is a great size for the small jobs.

Good luck.
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:37 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

Adam, I don't really know the answer to your questions regarding the intended use of the equipment. I do know that they do site prep work for cell tower companies, which I gather is clearing a space for a concrete pad for a generator etc. I don't get the feeling it's heavy earthmoving type stuff. They aren't cutting in the road to the new tower site, they are prepping the site for their electrical components.

The owner was subbing a lot of the prep work out , but it doesn't makes sense to be doing that from what I can tell in the numbers. He is also laying a lot of fiber optic cable which is why he has the mini ex. In reality he is an electrical contractor that does quite a bit of fiber and tower work. In our negotiations he mentioned that he formed a partnership with a friend and they went out and bought excavation equipment that would be run by the other guy but my guy would have access to it. It doesn't appear that was a success.

I'm just trying to figure out if it's worth it. Sounds like it might be worth considering buying the equipment and having it hauled. If I had to guess it would not be getting moved more than 2-3 times a month if that.

Regarding the truck, yeah I wouldn't have a use for a dump truck for anything other than hauling this rig around. I would envision a crane truck being used quite a bit which was the reason for asking about that.

I'll know more once I get closer to agreement with the seller.

Thanks
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:18 AM   #14
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I'm in the business and can tell you that a mid size tagalong and a double axel truck or a single w/ tag will be what you need. Trust me, the dump will get used for more than pulling. You just need to sell " removal " to the customer. I use a hook truck w/ roll off, very handy!! You can drop on site and send the truck off. You'll want a 15 or 20 yard at least. The DOT is pain, so get a set up that "qualified" to pull / carry the weight. Don't bother buying new, plenty of good used equipment for the right $$. The most important thing, get the right guys to drive and operate for you. One last thing, do you really need a dozer if you're "not moving earth"? A midy excavator, rubber tire back hoe and large bobcat can get a lot done. You'll really only need a dozer to stump and the right guys can get that done with the other 3 machines most of the time. BTW, What part of the country are you in?
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:08 AM   #15
sailah OP
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Originally Posted by 1 lunger View Post
I'm in the business and can tell you that a mid size tagalong and a double axel truck or a single w/ tag will be what you need. Trust me, the dump will get used for more than pulling. You just need to sell " removal " to the customer. I use a hook truck w/ roll off, very handy!! You can drop on site and send the truck off. You'll want a 15 or 20 yard at least. The DOT is pain, so get a set up that "qualified" to pull / carry the weight. Don't bother buying new, plenty of good used equipment for the right $$. The most important thing, get the right guys to drive and operate for you. One last thing, do you really need a dozer if you're "not moving earth"? A midy excavator, rubber tire back hoe and large bobcat can get a lot done. You'll really only need a dozer to stump and the right guys can get that done with the other 3 machines most of the time. BTW, What part of the country are you in?

The answer is that I don't know the answers to your questions. The company is an electrical contractor specializing in tower work. But they have found it's very cost effective to trench their own for fiber optic cable going to towers. I'm not sure if it would be cost effective to own my own excavating equipment and dozer, especially if I have to hire a crew and keep them busy doing just that. I probably won't know more until I close and have a discussion with the seller regarding ways to reduce direct costs and bring the work in house. From our many discussions so far, it appears there is plenty of work for adding more crew, but adding a dedicated dozer, truck, excavator I think would be way over extending at the moment.

The honest answer is that I like looking at big ass toys and just didn't understand what would be required to haul it around. I'm in Pittsburgh.

From what I have read online, owning a truck& trailer will cost about 3k/year before fuel not including crew to run it. Having the equipment hauled for me might be more than that if I'm delivering 2 times a month but when I factor in the new employees, fuel, DOT and cash outlay, maybe it's smarter to have it hauled or rent equipment close to the site vs hauling and owning my own.
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