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Chevy: Ideal for Dump Truck Upfitting?

The demands and expectations placed upon a dump truck are extreme, to say the least. Whether hauling sand or gravel, salt for road maintenance or used by landscapers and contractors such trucks are the backbone of our ability to get big jobs done. Hauling is only a piece of that puzzle. Considerations of payload need to be balanced with those of overall performance and the unpredictability (angles and load-shift) of real-world use. In other words, you need to know what you need in terms of specs to get the job done correctly, efficiently and safely.

For those in need of such a capable vehicle, Chevy Dump Trucks provide the required versatility, both in terms of performance and suitability for upfitting. In fact, in its chassis cab variant, the Silverado 3500HD (recognized as the ‘Most Awarded Pick-up Truck in America’) makes a perfect platform for a dump body upfit. Whether you are looking for a more bare-bones work truck or something that needs to double as a mobile workspace the Silverado has you covered with its WT and LT trims.

 

Pricing, Powertrain & Performance

Opting for the Regular Cab, you can choose between the Regular and Extended Wheelbase (with only the former available on the Crew Cab configuration). Available in both two-wheel and four-wheel drivetrains the 3500HD is priced to start from $33,630 MSRP (2WD WT) to $39,985 MSRP (4WD LT). This doesn’t include the upfit, of course, but we’ll get to that later.

The 3500HD serves up two options in terms of available powertrains: the first is a Vortex 6.0-liter Variable Valve Timing V8 SFI serving up 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. The second, a Duramax 6.6-liter Diesel V8 mated to an Allison 1000 six-speed transmission blasts out 445 hp and a staggering 910 lb-ft. With a 7312 Max Payload, you can expect the best payload numbers to come from the 6.0-liter gas-powered V8 in the 4×2 configuration, while the best towing numbers come from a 4×4 regular cab.The latter, properly equipped, can tow up to 23,300 LBS.

These numbers are based primarily on the 2017 model year, which is important as it marks the introduction of the new Diesel V8, as well as a proprietary air intake system that accompanies it.  With massive torque and confident power, the Diesel option should be a top pick for anyone in the market for a Chevy Dump Truck.

 

Driving

In a discussion of driving and handling, it’s important to note that we’re looking at how the 3500HD performs prior to upfitting, favoring the diesel powertrain. Considering what it has under the hood, the Silverado offers impressive acceleration, sprinting from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds off the line. With smooth shifting, the Silverado 3500HD is a great representation of a heavy-duty truck done right.

As would be expected, the weighted steering is noticeable but the optional digital steering assist feature can help to improve maneuverability. Expect to work the steering wheel, but the 3500HD is surprisingly nimble on the turn, offering quick response and very little body roll.

Confident braking wraps up the Silverado’s impressive roster of features that lend it a strong sense of drivability. Comparable with that of any competitor in terms of panic stops, it actually excels in terms of everyday braking scenarios.

 

Dump Bodies

Should you decide that a Silverado 3500 HD is the right truck for the job, there is a wide range of Dump Body styles that are available for up-fitting a 3500 HD Silverado chassis cab. There is also a wide range of suppliers, dedicated to the creation of quality products.

Whether you’re looking to satisfy light or heavy-duty demands, there is a body style to suit your needs. From light-duty builds with rear and/or side dumping functionality, to medium and heavy-duty offerings, like Contractor or Titan Dump bodies. Within their field, a Landscape Body might be ideal for greenskeepers, nurseries and outdoor contractors, be it a reinforced uni-body design, or a versatile stake rack cargo body.

Dump body accessories such as coal chutes and spreader aprons can also be valuable considerations when tailoring your upfit dump truck. The right choice of bodies and accessories help to ensure that you’re able to get the job done right.

 

Know The Job

The most imperative part of determining the best dump body up-fit is understanding exactly how you intend to put it use.

For example:

  • What are your limitations in terms of length, and ride height?
  • What types of loads will you be working with, in terms of size, weight, and consistency?
  • Are you interested in high-tensile steel, stainless steel or aluminum construction?
  • Will rear dumping be sufficient, or do you require side dumping functionality as well?

 

Obviously, asking these questions will help you choose the right body style,  weight class, material, dimensions, and features. But it will also help you determine if the Silverado 3500HD is the right fit for your needs. For more heavy-duty needs you might opt for a low-cab-forward design (or for an, even more, heavy-duty option).

It really comes down to deciding the right fit for the intended job. If you’re an independent operator or contractor, you know the job better than anyone. If you’re looking to upfit one or more vehicles as part of a fleet, there are a number of steps you can take to improve the fit process.

 

Helpful Hints

First, talk to the drivers and operators who will be using the truck on a daily basis. This will help to ensure that the vehicle has the features that they need to get the job done, and may allow you to enjoy some savings by not including more than what is needed.

If fitting a number of vehicles, understand what can (and what must not) be standardized across them. While specificity can create a better product, it should not be excessive as it will overcomplicate the process.

Lead time can be a factor on any upfit, let alone on multiple vehicles. For this reason, planning is important to ensure that the process runs smoothly. Whether you’re looking at the Silverado, or another make and model, whether you’re looking at a Dump Truck or another upfit body style, make sure that you know what you want, plan accordingly, and your new truck might be on the road sooner rather than later.

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