First Truck Build

Hey guys. I am definitely a newbie here, but have spent quite a bit of time researching. Looking to start up this spring. I’ll focus on house washes + driveways/sidewalks - plenty of vinyl & vinyl/brick in my area. I haven’t made any final decisions on equipment, but leaning heavily toward an 8gpm/GX690. It’s a tough decision between that and a 5.5, but I don’t want to regret going too small.

Anyways, this post is meant to be about truck builds. I will be building in the bed of my '08 Silverado 1500. It’s been my daily driver since it was new & I’m about to replace it with a new one. The 08 will be a 100% dedicated washing truck.

I’ve looked at lots of truck build threads and have seen lots of great ideas. I have rudimentary welding skills, so I’m going to be building myself. The first question I have - if you build a skid/frame to mount everything on, are you securing that to the frame of the truck? Of course safety is top of mind, so I want to build something that’s as secure as possible.

Thanks for any input & thanks so much to those of you who have taken the time to leave so much great info on this forum. It’s a wealth of information.

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Absolutely secure your load. Use blind fasteners or grade 8 nuts and bolts but something needs to be holding the skid down.

All I can say is, I’m fairly impressed with my gear drive 8gpm. Buffer tank size may be an issue on a small truck bed footprint however, especially if you need a 12v system later.

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For sure. Is it necessary to secure to the truck frame, or would blind bolts through the bed be sufficient, you think?

Yup, buffer tank size & overall weight is my biggest concern if going with the 8gpm. It’s a 6.5’ bed, so I think I have enough room to lay out the basics. I’ve seen several examples of the reels sitting over the bed rails. This seems to make the most sense for space saving. I need to make a choice on equipment and start laying things out on paper, for sure.

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The blind fasteners would be good so long as the appropriate number of fasteners are used. Better too many than not enough

Great. Thanks for the advice.

I know there are lots of guys with skids who do not secure them, aside from closing their tailgate… There are skids that are built to be able to hook into the cargo rings in the bed, which is what I would probably do. Completely bolting down a skid loses one of its man advantages, having the ability to quickly take it off the truck in the event of a breakdown, accident, putting a salt spreader in the winter, etc.

All I can say is I have a 2009 2500 and wish I got a 1 ton. With your buffer tank needed for an 8gpm you may be way over weight. I have 7500xl self-leveling airbags and bilstein heavy duty shocks. Weight adds up fast be careful!

A local guy around me has the simplest truck rig I’ve ever seen. It’s a 8gpm cold water machine with a 100 gallon buffer tank and 35 gallon bleach tank. All in the back of a single cab short bed 2005 Chevy 1500. He’s got a hot water trailer but rarely uses it.

If I were building a dedicated truck mounted rig I would sell the 1500 and get at least a 3/4 ton though.

Thanks. A simple setup like that is exactly what I have in mind. And I realize a bigger truck would be better. I’m not in a position to upgrade this truck at the moment though.

In that case, don’t go with the 8 gpm. The simple fact is that the buffer tank you will need is too big for your truck, and with the weight of all the other equipment and chemicals would put you WAY over your GVWR, which means it would not be safe or legal to drive.

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I have to agree that in this case I would recommend the 5.5. A 5.5 with a big motor like that will run great and just not eat up the water that the 8 will. Weight directly in the bed like that is going to add up real quick. Also any hardware you use in the build needs to be stainless, that will save you trouble in the long run.

Thanks for the input … but now I’m a little confused.

I’ve read several posts here with guys running an 8GPM setup with buffer tanks that are 100 gallons, or even less. I understand the volume needed in the buffer depends on the supply available - should be in good shape in my area. I was thinking I could get by with a 100 gallon tank. Not interested in commercial work at this time - just washing houses.

I’d never drive with more than 20 or 30 gallons in it. So is the weight really that much of an issue?

Well, I received the first two components for this build today - the reels. Unfortunately, UPS strikes again. Both were damaged in shipping. Good news is the fine folks at Sprayer Depot were cool about it and are shipping me new ones tomorrow. Hoping UPS is a little kinder this time!

8gpm on a 100 gallon is really gonna get on your nerves unless you’re feeding from a hydrant.

Let’s say you miraculously only go to houses with 5gpm flow at the hose. You’d be pulling 3gpm from your tank after the initial fill.

That’s only 26 minutes trigger time if you keep 20% in the tank to keep from cavitating. Then you’ll be in a constant cycle of waiting, rinsing a little, waiting, rinsing a little…

Doing any amount of concrete is going to drive you crazy!

And don’t drive with tanks half full, the slosh is crazy. Think about a 240lb person throwing their weight back and forth inside that tank (30 gallons is 240lbs)

Thanks for that. I haven’t pulled the trigger on the engine/pump yet. With the buffer tank restrictions I have on the small truck, I’m now leaning toward the 5.5. I just hate to start out “under-powered”, so to speak. I learned a long time ago to buy the best from the beginning, so you don’t have to buy twice. I guess, unless I want to upgrade the truck (which I don’t), I don’t have much of a choice for now.

5.5 is a respectable machine, it’ll make you plenty of money with the footprint you’re thinking about. And your worries about a 100 gallon buffer go out the window (as long as your supply is good). A little slower for rinsing and flatwork, but the compromise is probably worth it in your case

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