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TopKick 2WD

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Old 11-20-2011, 08:30 PM
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Default TopKick 2WD

There are lots of 4500 Topkick's out there in the 13-15K range, ex work truck, low mileage (around 100K), '03-'05, Duramax/Allison. Limitations I see is that they are all regular cabs, and all 2WD. Cab issues aside, why don't people put these to work as tow rigs? They are cheap compared to a 1T Dually of similar year and mileage. They are also all spring rear suspensions rather than air bags.

Does anyone tow with a 2WD MD? Any issues at the ramps? Would they be better/worse/same as a 2WD 1T?

Seems like a cool project to get one, fabricate or find a use bed, jazz up the interior a bit.....Maybe sub-$20K by the time you're done?

Am I missing something here? Thx, Randy
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:41 PM
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I use an '08 Kodiak 4500 2WD as my tow rig. I have a 12' landscaping/dump bed on it that weighs over 3k empty and the off-road rear tire package. Our ramps here are pretty heavily textured, so I haven't had any problem.

I have read about people having trouble with medium duty 2wd rigs on slimy, smooth ramps.

If you did get one, definitely get the nobby rear tires, and if you are building a custom bed, either build it as heavy as you know how, or install a bunch of steel ballast weight or something.

I also use a drawbar extender (a heavy duty one) when I am launching. Not only does it give an extra foot before the rear tires get wet, but it gives the tongue weight a little more leverage to load the rear tires. These rigs do have a locking rear diff, so that's some help.

I guess if you are trying to score style/bling points with some Miami crowd, showing up in a basically commercial truck isn't the way to go, but I could care less what anyone else thinks...

P.S. I also use this truck for general hauling/moving and getting lumber, concrete, etc, and once you have one you'll never know how you got along without it. It can swallow 12' lumber at the home depot, haul storage sheds-in-a-box, etc. I welded ratchet tie-downs all the way around the outside, and have a heavy-duty truck tarp over the top. Really useful truck, because I can pull the tarp and load tall stuff too. I can haul 5k in the bed before I even start to notice there is anything there.

Note that the 4500's come with either the Dana 110 rear axle (for 16,000 GVW) or a Dana 130 (for 17,500 GVW). The 130 is actually the standard axle on the 5500. The 4500's ordered to be dumpers usually get the heavier Dana 130, and mine has the Duramax/Allison, and 4.56:1 rear end. Why they have to go and confuse things and not just make all Dana 110 trucks 4500's and all 130 trucks 5500's I'lll never know. I think the 4500's all have a 7K front axle, and the 5500's have an 8K front.

Last edited by tcelano; 11-20-2011 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:44 PM
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Here's what I did. I took my Freightliner FL 60 work truck and converted it into a hauler pickup. I spruced up the interior with new carpet and a dash kit. I just love the way it hauls, I don't even know when I have a trailer attached. It's a lot cheaper than buying a ready made hauler.
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TopKick 2WD-freightliner-008.jpg   TopKick 2WD-dually-22s-freightliner-002.jpg   TopKick 2WD-dually-22s-freightliner-005.jpg  

TopKick 2WD-freightliner-dash-t-bird-012.jpg   TopKick 2WD-freightliner-dash-t-bird-013.jpg  
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:43 PM
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Thanks for the replies!!! Good food for thought. Randy
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:21 PM
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Bustedbrick:

Which website are you finding these Topkicks on?

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Old 11-22-2011, 08:37 PM
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Www.truckpaper.com

Randy
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:44 PM
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I picked up an older Kodiak with a cat 3116 turbo, six speed trans. It had a 5th wheel setup on it for a tractor trailer. It's rated for 36k gvw and tips the scale at 11k. I pull an old 1984 Formula F401sr1 @13,500lbs. At the ramp I put it in 1st grar and it walks out of the ram with no problems. The trailer has no brakes but with the air brakes on the truck it stops very well. I will be installing brakes on the trailer but only go less than a mile to the ramp. The trailer used to be a gooseneck but was converted to a standard ball style. It has @ 2000lbs of tounge weight so the truck loves it. I put a regular pickup bed on it just for kicks. It turns better than a 1ton dually. I paid 3k for the truck and it only has 100k on the clock. When I titled it I changed the gvw to 26000lbs so it can be driven with a standard licence. Not a bad choice for the money at all!!!
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smcser View Post
I put a regular pickup bed on it just for kicks.
How hard was that installation? The 3116 is a stalwart.....

For those of you guys that have done this, what are the maintenance costs like?

Thanks, Randy
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:17 PM
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Search for the Gino thread where his 2WD heavy hauler ended up 1/3 wet in the South Florida intercoastal. No way would I tow with anything 2WD.
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bustedbrick View Post
How hard was that installation? The 3116 is a stalwart.....

For those of you guys that have done this, what are the maintenance costs like?

Thanks, Randy
What is a stalwart?

It was easy to install. Some 12" c channel and a few bolts. Even hooked the lights up. I will try to find the pictures and post them. Lots of room for bling! If it's short tow the maintance is very low. Fuel is the big cost @5-8 miles the the gallon. Remember, big trucks need big money for parts. But do a great job with the big stuff...........
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