Chassis/Cabs

Nov 30th, 2012 | By | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog

A wrecker without a truck chassis is about as useless as an airplane without wings yet we tend to spend too little time making intelligent truck selections for our new wreckers.

Trucks, aka chassis/cabs, come in all sizes and types from small gas-powered to extra-large diesel units. Generally speaking, the smaller ones are approaching, or already beyond the end of their useful life at a 100,000 miles while the larger power units are said to be “million mile chassis,” which has been proven again and again. A late-model diesel road tractor with 300,000 miles coming off a three-year, full-maintenance lease can be an attractive alternative when compared to the price of a new unit. And over the years, the great majority of HD wreckers have been installed on such used units. The standard fleet specs for a road tractor include a 12,000-lb. front axle with 38,000-lb. tandem rears for a total of 50,000 lbs. GVWR. This can make an excellent used chassis for a new 25-30-ton wrecker with a significant savings in taxes and chassis cost.

However, the 25-ton wreckers of yesteryear are being replaced by larger hydraulic wreckers, but too many towers still favor the lighter road tractors with standard specs as a chassis/cab. It is well to remember that the performance of any wrecker, garbage packer or cement mixer can be compromised by the smaller specs of the truck chassis on which it is installed. While it may be initially less expensive, installing a larger HD wrecker on an under-spec’d chassis can actually degrade wrecker performance far below its rating while grossly overworking the chassis, all of which costs more $$ in the long run.

Size does make a difference.