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For many Landscape Contractors, having a truck is nothing special. As long as it runs and holds all of the equipment needed for that day's project, it's all good. But that day will come when "Ole Reliable" won't turn over and you lay her to rest in the scrap heap to later become a soda can. Now, you can go out and buy another clunker that has seen better days or you can take a crow bar to the wallet and get a new truck that will last you 20 years or more. LCN's world headquarters is only a few city blocks from a sprawling auto center, so we decided to head on down and check out some of the commercial trucks available from three leading producers of trucks for the landscape industry. Chevrolet Chevrolet has three trucks in their commercial lineup, the S-10 pickup, the Silverado and the Kodiak. Let's take a look at the S-10 first. The standard Chevy S-10 pickup is one of the most common trucks in the company's line that is purchased by Landscape Contractors according to our helpful sales associates (who insisted the only day we were there was the day to buy even though we were doing research). No fancy stuff here, just straight up truck. A Vortec 4300 V6 engine is standard on 4x4 models, but the 2WD comes with a Vortec 2200 or Vortec 4300 V6. The 2WD models come with power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes. The double-wall welded cargo box measures over 88 inches at the floor. For 2003, the Silverado models have a redesigned body style and a number of new interior features, but what is really important is the engine. The standard Vortec 6000 comes in the Silverado 1500HD, 2500, 2500HD and 3500 models. A Big Block Vortec 8100 V8 SFI engine is available in 2500HD and 3500 models models and produces 340 horsepower and 455 lb.-ft. of torque. The Duramax Diesel 6600 V8 engine (also available in Silverado 2500HD and 3500 models) generates 520 lb. Ft. of torque. The Silverado Regular Cab comes with a Vortec 4300 V6 engine that is standard on all 1500 models. A Vortec 6000 V8 engine is standard on 2500, 2500HD and 3500 models. Also standard is a five-speed manual overdrive transmission. The cargo box on this one measures nearly 65 inches wide and nearly 79 inches long. Fuel tank capacity is 34 gallons. The extended cab comes with the engines listed above, but provides seating for up to six, and a standard fourth door. Also, the Quadrasteer four-wheel steering system is available on specific 1500LS and LT extended Cab Short Box models. Quadrasteer allows the trucks to maneuver much like smaller vehicles. At low speeds it gives the truck a reduced turning radius for making tight turns. At highway speeds it enhances steering control, whether you are pulling a trailer or changing lanes. The Silverado Crew Cab has four full-size doors and can seat six. It also has the Quadrasteer option. The Crew Cab is a big 79.7 inches wide and 19 feet long. For uplifting, an option may be the Silverado Regular Cab Chassis Cab. It features a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of up to 11,400-pounds on the 2WD or 12,000 pounds on the 4x4. It comes with a five-speed heavy-duty manual OD transmission, and also is available in four-speed heavy-duty automatic OD transmission with Tow/Haul mode. An extended cab version is also available. For towing or removal of big trees the Kodiak Chassis Cab may be just the thing. It comes with a standard Vortec 8100 V8 engine or an available Duramax Diesel 6600 V8 engine. The I-beam front axle has a 6,250 pound capacity. Dodge The Ram is Dodge's old standby. They've got the 1500, 2500, and 3500, as well as the Chassis Cab and the Dakota to fit your Landscape Contractor transportation needs. Qualified commercial customers can enjoy the "On the Job" benefits program which offers advantages that include body uplift allowances and discounts on Mopar accessories. The 1500 comes in regular and new Quad Cab design, featuring forward-opening rear doors and windows that fully lower into the door panels. Full-size Ram models feature 6-foot-3-inch or 8-foot cargo beds. With a V8 transmission, it has a towing capacity of 8,650 pounds. The Ram 2500 (as well as the 3500) comes with a high-strength 36,000-psi steel frame that features a boxed front crossmember, and an H-shaped rear crossmember that helps resist twisting and bending. The 2WD models come with front coil spring suspension and a 600-ampere battery. The 4x4 models feature a shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system. Also optional on this model is a Class IV hitch receiver for towing. Now we come to the big stuff. The 3500 has dual-rear wheels, standard 136-ampere alternator and 750-ampere battery along with an auxiliary automatic transmission oil cooler and transfer case skid plate on 4x4 models. Four-wheel disc antilock brakes with Electronic Variable Brake Proportioning provides brake balance for any loading and road conditions. The Chassis Cab is similar to the 3500, except it's a bit shorter and a bit wider. The fuel tank holds 35 gallons and it comes with front and rear shock absorbers and a front stabilizer bar; front independent coil springs (4x2 models); front, solid live axle with coil springs and four trailing arms (4x4 models); and rear longitudinal leaf springs. The Dakota has a stiff, three-section carbon steel ladder frame that has a yield strength of 30,000-pounds-per-square inch. It also is quite roomy. There is a regular cab version and a Club Cab(R) version. The Club Cab(R) has folding rear seats that provides 26-square-feet of storage when folded up, and seating for three when folded down. At a little over 5 feet, the Club Cab(R) bed is about a foot smaller than the regualr cab. It all depends on whether you want to carry equipment or workers. Ford Ford's big trucks are the F-Series. There's the F-150, F-250, and F-350. There's more F's but these three will suit your needs just fine. Let's start with the F-150. This is one of the most commonly purchased trucks by landscape professionals according to Charles Phillips, a sales consultant at Joe MacPherson Ford, located in Tustin, Calif. "Usually they (landscape professionals) just get a stripped down version," he said. "As long as they can bang it around, that's all they need." Well, a stripped down version may be fine, but let's look at the engine size and towing capacity. The engines on the F-150 are the 4.2L V6 or the 4.6L V8. The V6 has a Gross Combination Weight Rating of 9,000 pounds while the V8 is 10,000 for towing purposes. Of course, Ford is pushing their Triton(TM) 5.4L V8. It's optional on the F-150, but it's sweet. Rated at 260 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque it can definitely handle its own. Its GCWR is anywhere from 12,000 pounds to 15,000 depending on the axle ratio. These trucks also give you over 40 inches of head room. With the F-250 and F-350 models, the thing to look at on these is the chassis. Starting at the front, the 4x4 models of these trucks has a monobeam front axle, while the 4x2's have a Twin I-beam independent of the front suspension. As we work our way towards the back we find that the maximum conventional towing capacity was increased this fall to 13,900 pounds when properly equipped. The fuel tank holds up to 38 gallons. The brake system is a standard 4-wheel anti-lock braking system with discs all around. For towing, up to 13,900 pounds can be hauled. The standard engines for these "Super Duty" trucks are the 5.4L Triton(TM) V8 and the 6.8L Triton(TM) V10. The horsepower on the V8 is 260 hp while the V10 clocks in at 310.

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October 17, 2019, 6:22 am PDT

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