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What Truck/Trailer Combo for moving wood?

Post in 'The Gear' started by TomR, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. TomR

    TomR New Member

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    I'm considering buying a pickup truck to replace my SUV. What truck/trailer combos have you guys found works best for moving wood - and how much can you move at a time with your setup?

    I'm thinking an F150 with V8 engine (just as an example) should be sufficient for hauling and towing 1-2 cords ... are any of you doing more than that? Whatever I do I want to do it safely. Let me know.

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Hell, I've hauled lots of firewood in an 86 Mitsubishi Mighty Max 4cyl pick-up. If it runs, it will work. What you NEED depends on your wallet and: You looking for a daily driver? Or just a wood hauler? You a handy shade-tree mechanic? Or does this thing go to the shop? You hauling wood in rough places? Or does it just need to get off the beaten path a little? How far are you going to get this wood? etc, etc.

    Anything will get the job done, your needs / demands make this a very hard question to answer.

    3 years ago I paid 3k for a 96 f-150 supercab w/ 302 and 8ft box w/ 55k miles on it. It's only 2wd but since we have a tractor where we cut wood we haul logs near the road, cut split them in the landing, and I don't need 4x4. About one or two times a year I want something that I can't pull w/ the tractor, so I put the tire chains on it and drive basically wherever a 4x4 can go. I've hauled 1/2 cord in this truck (the springs were about maxed out, but I had some smooth rides to travel home and since it's not my normal daily driver, if I blow a spring I'm not that concerned).

    Lots of options out there, do I wish I had a 4x4, 8ft box f-350 at times? Heck yea! But for the money I have in this ride and as good a vehicle as it has been, I'd have been foolish to not buy it. It's been a perfect truck for me, but for others they wouldn't have given it a second look.

    If you go to big, you'll be faced w/ a higher price tag and a rougher ride day to day. Too small, and if you are greedy and you'll beat the truck to hell. If you go small and are reasonable, you'll make 5 trips to get the job a larger truck would do in 3 or 4.

    pen
  3. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Really need a budget to answer this question.

    Your going to get recs from a 100hp ranger for $500 to a 400hp $50k turbo diesel.
  4. TomR

    TomR New Member

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    Not a daily driver but would be replacing a family SUV that is used for weekend trips and picking up stuff I can't fit in my car. So it has to be reliable. I drive to work in a small car for the fuel economy so this won't be a daily driver. Not hauling any place too rough but I do have to contend with a fair amount of snow. Distances traveled could be 10 to 100 miles with a load of wood. Looking at a max spend of 25k for the truck (new or used)...no idea what a good trailer is going to cost.
  5. Beardog

    Beardog Member

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    I like my 2500 HD turbo diesel and 5x10 Carry-on trailer. Bought the trailer at Lowes, their error led me to getting a 5x10 for the price of a 5x8. If you buy at Lowes, do yourself a favor and stop at the post office for a change of address package and take the 10% off at Lowes coupon with you.
  6. Dano5509

    Dano5509 Member

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    You should be able to pick up a full-sized long bed diesel for under your $25k price tag. I bought a 2005 Chev Silverado 3500 SRW with the Duramax/Allison combo 2 years ago. Its a full crew longbed so its big but the one ton rating and 8 foot bed will haul anything... I picked it up for $21800 and it had 45k miles on it. I think the Dodge Ram Cummins 2500 or an F250/350 with a later model 6.0 or newer with the 6.4 would be good too. I did my homework and found one without hard/heavy use and changed all oils to synthetic, tested the fuel system (good) and avoided trucks with gooseneck hitches. Lots of inventory out there and the 2.9% rate through our local credit union was great!

    I also have my eye on a Big Tex Vanguard tandem axle trailer in the 7 x 12 foot size that looks good. 5000lb payload, not so big you cannot get it into the woods and really flexible for hauling pretty much anything else with the D rings and ramp. Its $2700 in my area and will be the one I will be picking up soon.
  7. blacktail

    blacktail Minister of Fire

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    The answer is.....it depends. Bigger is better if you're only concerned about hauling wood. I have an F-150 6cyl and go light to keep from abusing it. I'm not rushing out to buy a bigger truck so I guess it's not that big of a deal to me. If a guy is really serious about hauling wood I think something bigger is in order. If you really want to haul loads, the 3/4ton and bigger trucks are made for it.
    I keep kicking around the idea of getting a new truck. It may or may not be a 3/4ton. I'm not sure if the lower mpg (or increased cost of diesel) is worth it when the majority of the truck's miles will be something a 1/2ton can handle.
  8. WoodNStuff

    WoodNStuff Minister of Fire

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    TomR, all the guys with the big trucks are probably going to laugh. I have a Mazda MPV mini-van with a 6 cylinder. It's a true mini-van before they turned into boats, space ships or however you want to describe them. My MPV has a towing capacity of 3850 lbs. I have a 5'x8' Maxi trailer with metal sides, tail-gate ramp, and 2x treated lumber deck boards. My Maxi is rated for 2950 lbs.

    I drive the MPV for work and family stuff. We have three kids in the house. And then I hook up my Maxi and go get some wood. It's a good hauler. I've hauled some heavy wood without any issues.

    Would I like a F-250 or F-350? You bet. But we're also a one car family. My MPV gets us 22 MPG in the city and about 25 MPG on the highway. Can I get these stats with a big truck? No. And it hauls tons of wood to boot.
  9. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I use a Dodge 2500 diesel and an 18ft 10k trailer.

    Not sure how you could get by with just ONE vehicle. I thinned the fleet down and now just have 3, but at one time I had 7.
  10. WoodNStuff

    WoodNStuff Minister of Fire

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    I'm really very blessed. My wife and I have the same vision of what a good life looks like. We drive less. We walk or bike more. We eat out less. We cook at home more.

    My wife is a professional baker by trade. Luckily for us, she can easily walk about 1/2 mile to work. She loves the exercise and the unwinding time prior to getting home in the afternoon. I need the car for work; it's a requirement of my job. Other than that, we use the car for grocery shopping, lumberyard runs, or loads of wood. Oh, yeah, I sometimes take the wife out to the store, restaurant, or bar. Sometimes.

    Really, though, having just one car is our way of life. It feels very natural, normal, and easy. We used to have two cars but one sat a lot. So, we figured why pay double insurance and mess around with parking, etc. when we really don't need the second car?
  11. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    When sizing the truck, consider how you will distribute the load. Do you plan to fill the truck bed and the trailer with wood? Just toss the gear in the truck bed and use the trailer for wood hauling? Half-ton trucks have come a LONG way in terms of capability since about 5 years ago. 10,000 lb tow ratings are common and that used to be at the upper end of a 3/4 ton truck's capability not too long ago. Two cord of green wood has the potential to weigh 14000+lbs and depending on the trailer type, add in 2000lbs or more of trailer weight.

    You say you're looking to replace an SUV? So it needs a real backseat with real doors too right? That's going to limit you with 1/2 ton trucks to 5 1/2 foot beds where with a 3/4 or 1 ton you have the option of a 6 or 8 ft bed, even with a crew cab.

    I think you should be able to put together a clean used 3/4 ton crew cab 4x4 gas engined truck and trailer combo for your $25K budget. Diesel power is fantastic but you stated mileage is not a primary concern as the truck is not daily driven. Diesel pickups are carrying a hefty premium in the used market due to their performance potential. Especially pre-2007 models.

    A note on trailers: If the trailer you pick has electric brakes, make sure the truck has either a factory or aftermarket brake controller unit. Most single axle utility trailers are sold without brakes installed but have provisions for retro-fitting them in the future. Heavy duty single axle trailers (5000lb rating usually) and most tandem axle trailers have brakes installed from the factory. Believe me, with 10,000 lbs behind you, you want those brakes to work.
  12. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I never did the math but I hauled 4 cords on one trip this summer between the truck and trailer.

    I don't know if this is right? http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/firewood.html

    If so that means I had about 20,000lbs of load and whole setup was sitting at around 30,000lbs. Handled it fine in any case.

    We used to haul 1 cord in the bed of my Dad's old 79 Chevy. It's still around and kicking. Don't know HOW those tiny 10 bolt axles didn't explode yet though./

    WoodNStuff I keep the truck and Jeep parked unless I need them. Usually drive my TDI Jetta. BUT everything is paid for and it doesn't cost much to keep them around considerin how handy they are to have.
  13. WoodNStuff

    WoodNStuff Minister of Fire

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    Nice on the Jetta. I've thought about a Jeep to replace the MPV for when the kids are out of the house. It would depend on the towing capacity. I'd like something someday that can tow more.
  14. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Thanks for the link Nate, I had to adjust my numbers. And yeah 4 cord is some serious weight. Hope that was a serious truck/trailer! My '89 1 ton has no issues with over a 1/2 cord (stacked water level) in the bed plus a trailer. And yup, at about 5 MPG (we're working on that) it stays parked unless my lil' GMC Canyon isn't up to the day's work.
  15. Mt Ski Bum

    Mt Ski Bum Member

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    whatever type of truck you get.... make sure it's a Ford. Fords are way better than GM's or Rams ;)

    btw, as a reference for how much wood a truck can haul, my Ranger can haul about 1/2 cord in the [6 ft.] bed with a topper on.
  16. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    This is my old truck 95 with 12v Cummins and 5 speed. Full cord of wood in the bed.

    [​IMG]
  17. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    100 miles with 2 cord and a 1/2 ton truck doesn't sound like a lot of fun especially if it is heavy green wood and you have to deal with traffic.
  18. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    No kidding! I'd never drive that far to get wood. Furtherest I went this summer was about 15 miles.
  19. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    $25K will get you a nice setup.

    I would look for a good used dump trailer with a 10k lb rating. Aside from the obvious ability to dump out your wood, they usually have higher sidewalls that are great for hauling wood.

    I would also go the route of a 3/4 ton, 4x4, extended cab, 6 foot bed, gas engine truck. I'm partial to Fords, but Chevy makes a good reliable truck too.

    If, and only if, you think you be doing closer to 100 miles per load than 10 then I would look for a diesel truck. I love diesel as much as the next guy, but they carry a big premium and the reliability and fuel economy isn't what it used to be.
  20. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I will prepare myself for the onslaught ....

    I recently got rid of my F150 for a Honda Ridgeline. Yes yes, not a true truck say the truck folks. I wanted a vehicle that would (1) fit in the garage, (2) have great awd (not 4wd), (3) could safely carry my kids, and (4) be able to tow a trailer. The full-size crew cabs, even with a 6.5' bed wouldn't fit in the garage, so I decided to look at mid-size truck plus trailer combo. Of the mid-sized ones, the RL is the only with enough room between wheel wells to carry sheet goods flat. It also has the built in trunk, comes ready to tow 5,000lbs, and thanks to the independent rear suspension handles incredibly well for what it is. The awd system is excellent and even the base trim level (which I have) comes with more than I would have wanted in terms of luxury items (was used to a decade old stripped F150). I average between 19mpg and 20mpg driving back and forth to work which is mostly back roads - get a bit higher, 22mpg, on the highway. I have a 5'x8' heavy duty trailer with brakes and easily pull it around full of green wood. Plus, I can always park the trailer and unload/process later - couldn't do that with the truck. Further, it's much easier to roll really large rounds up onto the trailer as opposed to lift them.
  21. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Depends on what kind of wood you're hauling and how fresh it is. 2 cords of red oak for example is going to pushing up against 10-11,000 lb of weight. You're not doing that in an F150.

    A full size pickup truck with a 6' bed is going to hold at the most about a third of a cord of wood...regardless of the weight, thats about the max volume you can get in the bed. Step up to an 8' bed and you're talking maybe a half cord of volume.

    Personally if your SUV still works for you in every way except wood hauling, I'd just get a trailer for it with a max capacity thats near your SUV's towing capacity and use the trailer for hauling wood.

    Given your budget you've got an awful lot of options...you could get a dream setup for that...1 ton deisel pickup of your choice with a double axle dump trailer is doable for $25k...but from a money perspective, you're going to spent a buttload less money getting a grapple load of logs delivered to your house every year and do all the cutting and splitting right there. Or even get the wood delivered cut and split and season it yourself. Most of us burn wood for many reasons but the primary one is often to save money on heating your house...investing upwards of $25k on a wood hauling setup and then hauling wood between 20-100 miles distance is an investment you'll never recover, no matter how much oil or gas you save by burning wood.
  22. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Not really sure I buy this math. 4 cords is 512 cubic feet of wood. Say the truck and trailer bed are 8 feet wide and you stacked it 2 feet deep, you still need 32 feet of length.

    Thats one massive pile of wood. A full year's worth for a lot of the people on this site.
  23. TomR

    TomR New Member

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    Ah yes the voice of reason. You are probably right. My SUV has a 5k towing capacity and I'm going to look into trailer options for it. What's a ballpark price for a trailer that can handle that kind of weight on the new market?
  24. WoodNStuff

    WoodNStuff Minister of Fire

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    Well, I got my Maxi trailer two years ago. It cost me $1200 new. I'd say you can get a beefier trailer for less than $2500.
  25. klustgarten

    klustgarten New Member

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    Several years ago I bought a 91 GMC 2500 3/4 ton 4 wheel drive for $2500. It has been a great work truck. So far I have used it to get all the materials to completely remodel an old house that I bought and to get all of my wood. I also use it to drive to work but that is only 1.5 miles. I keep one good vehicle for my wife and kids, I get the junker. This has been both economical and practical for us. In fact today I brought home about 3/4 of a cord of red oak in one trip.

    I feel that what I have is the minimal truck that I would want. When you pile up the weight it is not just springs that matter. Axles, bearings, and breaks are all heavier. Being able to stop is a good thing! I also used the 4 wheel drive today. The oak that I cut was over 3' in diameter in spots. I was able to pull the trunk with a chain to get it into a better cutting position and then flip it to finish the cuts. This cheap truck has already more then paid for itself in 3 years and I see no problem with it lasting another 3 years. Spending a lot of money on a vehicle defeats the purpose since it would be cheaper by a long shot to just pay for the heat. My vote is for a cheap utility truck.

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