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Thread Title:

Duramax OK in Medium duty? VS CAT power?

Created On Tuesday June 01, 2004 16:11 Diesel Talk
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Joined: Apr 2004

Note Tuesday June 01, 2004 16:11 View users profile View thread in raw text format
Diesel Talk
Hey y'all--

I'm looking at a new truck purchase. Need to keep BBC (front Bumper to Back of Cab) dimension as short as possible but am tired of parts and service hassles with my Isuzu FTR cabovers. Looks like the new C6500-C7500 is the shortest conventional cab around. The truck will be loaded on my train and space is tight.

They're available with CAT 230 HP and Allison MD3060, which is similar to the powertrain in my Ford F750s (250 CAT , upgraded to 800 ft/lb, MD3060) but the dealers tell me Duramaxes outsell CATS in those trucks 10 to 1.

That tells me that Chevy parts that are specific to a CAT-powered truck will be hard to find. And in fact the truck itself will be hard to find in stock and I may have to wait for one to be built.

Downtime is EXTREMELY critical for me, and any repairs must be completed within the same week or it's an additional logistical problem and $$$. The truck will be in a different city every week, so I don't have an opportunity to build a relationship with a service facility.

One one hand, I can buy a CAT powered Chevy truck and most of it can be serviced at CAT and Allison dealers. On the other hand, a CAT-powered Chevy is an oddball and that may be a problem. On the third hand there's the Duramax -- the Isuzu connection is not a plus for me because of my other Isuzu problems and tho I don't follow the Duramax internet boards closely, I have heard about the problems in the early models.

So my questions are, how are the Duramaxes doing in the 04s? Is buying a CAT-powered Chevy asking for trouble? Taking in mind my special circumstances, should I just buy an International instead? -- it's only a few inches longer

Although I'm giving up about 20" of space by buying a conventional, I don't think there is a cabover medium that will be an improvement in parts/service. I do hear good things about the Mitsubishi truck and the company's support. I'd welcome any comments about those too. Oh, and there's the Peterbilt 320 but that's well over $80,000 and will take 3 months to build. The Mack 600 is the same story as the Pete, and parts/service aren't so great.

thanks for any comments or ideas
Kevin Thomas
Transportation Manager
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus

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