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5 ton yard truck thoughts

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posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 11:41 AM
Hello fellow members!

Every few months, I jump on the local craigslist and look at trucks.

See, I've got a problem- I'm trying to build a house, but my driveway isn't ready. I'm hoping to remedy that next year, but I'm not exactly in a position to get it paved.
The problem is three fold.
One, we're talking about approximately 2500' of driveway- nearly half a mile.
Two, the elevation changes approximately 250' from the bottom to the top- I believe they call that "grade", and I'm fairly certain 10% is about as steep as anyone would want.
Three, it snows here. A lot. Snow, ice, wind, freezing rain, you name it. Cold temps- so cold the backhoe can't be started, since I don't yet have a way to preheat the block.

So- short of a big snow blower and a lot of hours per week clearing snow, the clear option is a snow plow.
I've got a one-ton 4wd dually with an 8' plow right now, but I don't have much experience using it. I've not yet tried to plow this driveway with it, but I'm dabbling around in a fairly flat driveway where I currently live.
I just don't think this truck is up to it. Even in 4wd mode, it doesn't seem to have a locking differential so only two wheels have to slip to get her stuck- and the dual rear wheels don't seem to help with this, as they just give me less weight to dig in with.

In step the five ton.
I see these listed fairly frequently, with prices all over the place- as low as 4k, as high as 30k. Many around 10k that are suitable for limited on-road use, even.

With six wheel drive and a massive set of weights on the bed, I imagine this thing could push an 8' plow up hill for days, but I have zero experience with trucks this big, and I'm looking for input.

So far I've run this idea past three people-

One says there's a reason we don't see them on the road, and it's likely because they're unreliable. I suspect it has more to do with nobody would want to drive one of these things every day for work- they're not built for creature comfort.

Two says it should be unstoppable for what I'm looking to do, and suggests finding a dump-truck model to assist with property maintenance (100+ acres, a dump would be really nice to have!)

Three says it will likely be a maintenance nightmare, as military hardware is built to be indestructible- as long as you follow the maintenance procedures, replacing a lot of parts fairly regularly.

Personally I think it would be like most any piece of heavy equipment- a real bear when its below 0 outside to start, but once warmed up generally should work okay.
The price, however, is what always catches my eye. This kind of traction wouldn't be achievable with a tractor for less than 30 grand.

Does anyone here have input on these old military 5-ton beasts?

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 11:51 AM
a reply to: lordcomac

The five ton is a beast but it's overkill.
That and it drinks fuel like it's going out of style.

I've never been a fan of a dually for plowing though.
They tend to float instead of digging in.
I suppose some weight in the back or maybe chains would still work fine.
Maybe remove the outer tires.

Honestly I would get a nice tractor or a better plow truck before buying the 5 ton.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 11:51 AM
Yeah, I'd take a hard pass on the duece and a half.
Unreliable, expensive to fix, limited parts, bad winter cold start issues, will tear up driveway if it's not frozen through.
Your pickup is perfect, just do chains and maybe throw some weight in the bed. A salt spreader in the back with sand and salt mix with the chain would be the ideal setup. Duallies have a little more contact area, so less contact pressure than regular trucks, so chains are a most have, but you can increase your contact pressure by switching to four to six aggressive, but skinny tires. It'l dig right in, especially on the front end.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 12:13 PM
a reply to: lordcomac

M939 series 5-ton 6x6 truck

I used one of these beasts in Germany in the 1980's. They don't get stuck, and do snow well.

You have to do the PMCS on them. And treat them well. However I never had "cold start" problems. They are multi-fuel, so in the winter we would run 75% gas, 25% diesel.

In the summer straight diesel.

The 2 1/2 to is also good for clearing, just less weight carrying.

Good site to buy used: .com

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 12:39 PM
a reply to: KrankBruder

Yeah, they were sweet in the 80's. Now, not so much.
As a counrry boy from Iowa, I've done quit a bit of snow removal.
A five ton truck is absolutely retarded overkill. A 2 1/2 ton is absolute overkill.
Might as well us a M1 Abrahms to mow your lawn too. Both are probably unsafe on steep grades compared to a normal truck, which would push through 3 feet of snow down hill as is, without chains.
Might as well us a M1 Abrahms to mow your lawn too.
If it were me, Id go with a tracked Cat skidsteer with blade attachment, or a John Deeee with heated cab.
It would be something you could use year round for driveway and ground maintenance.
Just depends on buget. It's easy to get stupid with unneeded equipment costs on acreages though. To me, this is a prime example, but to each his own.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 12:47 PM
a reply to: Mandroid7

I agree they are both overkill. But if you have a use for them other than snow, they are pretty good trucks.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 01:14 PM
My concern is the grade of the hill.
I guess there's a part four to the problem- I don't have a house on that hill yet, I can't break ground until I can prove the hill is livable in the winter.
That means I'll be plowing uphill, for at least the first few years. Come spring, it gets muddy.
I've got 7-ton backhoe that is unfortunately 2wd, and I've had to push it out with its hydraulics a few times after sinking into the mud. Shes got an old perkins though, and was never really built to run in this climate. She's pretty much parked for the season after second snow without half a days work to get her warmed up enough to run. Might do better this year since I've serviced the starting and fuel systems since our last big cold, but I don't expect miracles.

A tracked skidsteer would be perfectly suitable, although a bit small for the job at hand- problem being they're insanely expensive. I could buy a small fleet of these military 5 tons for the cost of one of those.
Same deal for a good 4wd tractor- as much as I will want a 3pt hitch in the future, the used tractors big enough to tackle this property in usable condition will cost more than a 6x6- which is again why I keep coming back to them.

I mean, this is just silly:
Lot 4a: M51A2 5T 6x6 Dump (with 12yd dump bed) Very clean, low miles, 44000# axles $4995
Granted, I think this one is gas and not diesel, but still- that price is outrageous when compared to a tractor or a skidsteer.

The 20k winch might also come in handy, and if I could get the dump bed it would be a great piece of equipment for clearing fields (Looking to put in some orchards) and hauling out timbers, although it's no skidder.

KrankBruder- a bit of a silly question, but how do you think a 5 ton would do dragging (on the ground) a 10,000lb shipping container, up a hill, or through some woods? The 7 ton excavator couldn't do it, but I think that's more just a weight distribution problem. She can lift one with the front bucket, but the tires arent rated for driving around with that kind of load. I could probably load the container onto the back of that long-frame 939, if I built a dolly for the far end (40' container, 20' bed)
I wonder if I just chained it down if she'd do a wheelie.
That'd be a sight.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 01:39 PM
a reply to: lordcomac

Yeah that's pretty cheap. There aren't many rigs that will plow up steep grades, the key there would be to use a blower instead of a blade. The tracked cat with a blower would walk all over the 6x6. Short of a cat or snow cat, which would be limited volume, plowing uphill is tough.
The 6x6 would pull the container, but it would be best to lift one side so it's not plowing as you go.
There's got to be some way to rig some wheels to the container, I'd think.
Like the semi trucks use on the back end of long loads.
Maybe a sled type setup with a couple of runners welded together, or to the box.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 01:42 PM
a reply to: KrankBruder

Yeah, no doubt. They'd make a sweet camping rig too.
..or if you want to be like that dude in Tremors.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 01:47 PM
a reply to: Mandroid7

I guy I know bought on an built a camper around the whole frame. Pretty sweet. It goes anywhere.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 01:47 PM
a reply to: Mandroid7

I guy I know bought on an built a camper around the whole frame. Pretty sweet. It goes anywhere.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 02:02 PM
a reply to: lordcomac

What a price !!!
Especially if it has the dump truck feature.
Even if it turns out to be a mistake and you need to sell it, you could probably sell it for close to what you paid for it.

Have it checked by a mechanic, but little risk at this price.
Plus, with such a long driveway, you will need tons of crushed stone and it will be cheaper for you to get the crushed stone from the quarry than if you get it delivered. Just for building your driveway it will pay for itself, never mind snow removal in winter.

Good luck !!

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 02:04 PM
I've already built a three-axle "trailer" for the container- might be able to move it with the backhoe now, but winter came too fast.

A blower would be nice- I've thought about what it would take to buy a 7' wide blower and give it its own ~100hp engine, then strap that to the bucket of the loader- but we're pushing over 7k before labor, where the 6x6 would be about the same to get plow ready, and plus do the other tasks.
I guess another real concern would be how much snow I could push to each side of the road before I had to spend some serious time relocating it. Some times we see quite a bit. The extra wheels on the ground would help if I was trying to push it further to the side...

I feel like I'm talking myself into that $10k longbed.... probably cost 2 more to convert it to a dump bed, then another 1k for the plow setup... but that's probably about what I could sell my current one ton for.

Sure would be a spectacle heading down to the nearest fueling station...

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 02:27 PM
I have a M-35A2, Duce and a half. We call it the BFT, Big F@#$ing Truck. Maintenance isn’t so bad and it gets about 10 miles per gallon on flat land, a lot less in the mountains. I used it to build my cabin, way back in the woods of Tennessee.
Starting for mine is never an issue in winter.

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 04:44 PM
Buy a mahindra 4x4 tractor with snowblower and buckets/forks/post hole digger.

That will actually be useful all year, cheaper and easier to use, and better all around.

If you have a half mile drive, you have yardwork in your future.

Trust me, get a tractor.
edit on 23-12-2019 by Notoneofyou because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 04:58 PM

originally posted by: Nickn3
I have a M-35A2, Duce and a half. We call it the BFT, Big F@#$ing Truck. Maintenance isn’t so bad and it gets about 10 miles per gallon on flat land, a lot less in the mountains. I used it to build my cabin, way back in the woods of Tennessee.
Starting for mine is never an issue in winter.

Appreciate the input.
As far as I know, the 939's are basically the same truck with a bigger frame and heavier suspension. In that regard the deuce might be a better way to go- but the bigger bed and weight capacity makes for a more useful yard truck for me. It'd be nice to take it out to the local gravel yard and not have to truck in fuel for it... but I'm already trucking in diesel for the backhoe and those problems won't get less numerous. An onsite fuel tank is likely in my future anyway based on how many acres I've taken on, and diesel fuel doesn't break down as quickly as todays crappy gasoline.

I've never spent more than a few weeks south of New England, and only passed through TN twice... but I spent a night in a shack in West Virginia in January about ten years back- it wasn't what I'd consider winter.
It's a lovely warm night here tonight, almost 6pm... 0C.
Expecting a mild week, tomorrow will only be -4C.
With a good wind (common on the mountain) is about -30C - or -20F. Mostly overnight, but a big hunk of steel like this will heat soak it pretty hard, and even with a small fire under the oil pan she might not start until 2pm the next day, assuming you can keep the batteries topped off.

Granted, that's a diesel engine- I've never worked with a mixed fuel engine. Adding gasoline to the fuel likely means the compression ratio is lower- Or at least the fuel injector would inject past a ways past TDC. Makes for terrible efficiency but it might also mean jump starting with WD40 or propane into the intake wouldn't be so brutal to the rings.

What are the chances they've got variable injection timing via a lever? My old VW Rabbit diesel truck did, and you could feed it any nonsense fuel you wanted as long as you timed the injection correctly for the fuel volatility.
Never did try to run it on pure gasoline but I ran for probably 100 gallons ( 600 miles?) on old motor oil cut with gas, diesel, brake fluid, various solvents... Two barrels accumulated over years of dumping combustibles. I miss that truck, but the road salt got her.

Maybe I should just start plumbing all of my cooling system with quick disconnects, and get myself a diesel fired water heater bolted to a little garden tractor with a pump.... what could possibly go wrong pumping near boiling coolant through a below freezing engine head?

posted on Dec, 23 2019 @ 06:59 PM
Smaller is better, for sideways slide...big task, huh....

posted on Dec, 24 2019 @ 10:57 AM

originally posted by: GBP/JPY
Smaller is better, for sideways slide...big task, huh.... what, when?
Are you drunk?

I guess if you're on the highway blacktop ice smaller will be better for sideways slide. Or in a drag car.
Turning 10 tons on six wheels sideways in a foot of snow at under 5mph sounds different.

posted on Dec, 24 2019 @ 08:12 PM
A real V plow works good for throwing the snow into the bush when plowing. If the driveway is straight you can get the speed to use the plow correctly. Those plows do mount right to a plow undercarriage. The boss V plow does not work like the real V plow with the wing like grooves that toss the snow. A friend of mine used to have one but he no longer needed it because he sold his land and the people who bought it bought the plow and old big Dodge pickup it was on.

I have a six and a half foot snowblower on my tractor and a plow truck with a straight blade, the other truck is dead with the boss V'plow on it, you need a 3/4 tone truck with a one ton suspension for that plow

posted on Mar, 23 2020 @ 07:17 PM
invest in a skid steer, grade off your driveway with some nice rca. Then maybe get a snow bucket.

I'd skip on the army vehicle.....want something that is more common for parts....

You can do a lot of plowing with any size truck

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