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Old 11-06-2011, 06:35 PM   #1
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Best option to register plow truck

Hey everyone, need some opinions.

I picked up a 1986 and 1/2 (registered as 1987) Nissan Hardbody pickup. It came with a wooden bed and a plow package. It started by jumping (in spite of sitting for 1.5 years) but didn't move as the clutch slave cylinder failed. It was used prior to that for plowing on private land only and was not reigistered since 04'.

I bought it for $300! I could scrap it for more than that. I bought a big battery, slave cylinder, wipers, and a few other odds and ends. Totaling about $450 for a running, driving, yard plow truck. Absolutely no complaints there. Oh yeah and I had to clean 3 mouse nests out of it too.....
I had no intention of registering it because I assumed the frame was too far gone to inspect. Turns out, the frame is good with no soft spots I can find. The front part of the body has had the rockers replaced with aluminum and fiberglass. There are no rust holes anywhere else. The floor has a touchy spot or two, near the rockers, but I think it might pass as is.
Lights work, brakes work well, steering feels pretty tight.
Tires are good tread but mostly dry-rotted. Brakes are good but have some surface rust in places. In Maine that would fail because no rust on any brake lines is tolerable. The steering might pass with no parts, but who knows.

So, it's got some issues if i wanted to register it normally. I don't want to put money into this thing for tires or brake lines. This would be my 3rd vehicle registered to me. My honda, a volvo wagon that is the backup car/trailer hauler (also, I towed the nissan home with it and a tow bar!), and now this vehicle. I have some friends that live a town over I'd like to plow out if I could get this thing on the road. I don't want to plow as a business, but I might like to do a few driveways on the street for the big storms. A few bucks when people give a call and ask me to is a good deal for me. No pressure to show up at 2am, but a few bucks here and there.

I can register it as farm if I want to. Inspections still include tires, brakes, drivetrain, and lights. However, I don't own a farm and I'd be limited to a 25 mile radius from my town, which would need to be painted on the door. That could work if there were no inspections. I've heard many people say they register it farm and don't worry about inspection. I don't think that's a good idea.

I can register it antique if it is 25 years old (it will be in january) and is used for show purposes. According to my friend who is a cop, police won't worry much about it being an old junker if I'm not driving it as my primary vehicle. No problems there, it won't leave the yard very often. It would be nice to have a pickup on the road though, for gathering firewood or hauling a refrigerator or something.
Antique vehicles require NO inspection! Now, you have to sign an affidavit saying it's for "show purposes and recreation" and that you intend to upkeep the vehicle in good condition.
Also according to my cop friend, it must appear inspectible going down the road. If it's got rust holes or looks like a death trap, they'll ticket you for it. This truck actually appears pretty good. I need to repaint the side door that is an odd color, though.
The only other thought is that if I'm in an accident, i can be sued because the vehicle was "unsafe." Now, I think that's true even if I'm driving a fully inspected vehicle anyway.


What do you all think? I'm really leaning towards antique, I'm just worried it's a "fudging" of the law. I don't want to drive an unsafe vehicle, but I'm aware of the tires' limitations. I won't ever be driving this truck on the interstate, it will almost never leave more than a town or two over.
Thanks!
B
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:51 PM   #2
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Re: Best option to register plow truck

hmm gonna have to be from someone from your state to answer... IL where i am doesn't have any inspections (and yes all our brake lines are rusty and alot are rusty deathtraps haha)

we do have farm vehicle registration but i don't know the stipulations...

id say it highly depends on your area as far as police enforcement. id imagine they would leave ya alone if it only gets used a handful of times a year ya know. now if they saw it daily well...
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:10 AM   #3
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Re: Best option to register plow truck

I wouldn't take chances like that to plow my friends driveways for chump change. Ask them if it's worth paying for the repairs you wouldn't do if you were just using it in the yard...let them chip in and make sure they know you don't want a fully obligated plowing contract job, you'll just be doing it when it's convenient.

I'm jealous. I wish I had a plow.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:54 AM   #4
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Re: Best option to register plow truck

yea that is true, plow trucks and ex plow trucks are usually worn out in every aspect...an yes you will be fixing the thing more than using it usually.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:21 AM   #5
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Re: Best option to register plow truck

Realistically, how much will you profit off of plowing driveways per year after you spend the money for license and insurance?

If you went the antique route and did have an accident (which I imagine is very possible if you ended up sliding down a steep icy driveway that you were trying to plow and out into a busy street), there would definitely be an investigation as to why you were being paid to plow driveways in a vehicle that you certified would only be used for show.

Perhaps you could just sell it now as a good running plow truck and make a quick $500 profit.

Why not put a plow on the VX? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkWY6VDAFfM
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:56 AM   #6
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Re: Best option to register plow truck

Good points on the maintenance issues.
My reasons for wanting to register/insure the truck are not just for plowing out friends. I'd like to be able to occasionally use it for dump runs, moving big objects, scrapping metal, off roading, etc. I suppose all the normal things you'd do with a truck. But, I don't intend to drive it more than 1500 miles a year. That's why antique is appealing, in spite of the inherent risks.

Plowing for friends at my leisure is sort of a side issue. I need the truck for my own driveway more than anything... the driveway here is a nightmare for a snowblower because you have to put all the snow 4 car widths to the left...... which means blowing it onto an area you have to go over when you get there. In small storms, no problem. In bigger, wetter type snow storms, it becomes impossible. The driveways I'd like to give help to by plowing are actually both on dead end streets, so the risk is somewhat minimized. I guess liability IS higher though, given the "unsafe" nature of the truck. I'm just in a situation of having my cake and wanting to eat it too.

As for being paid for plowing out friends, yes, they'd pay me. Would they pay for parts for the truck? Probably not. Is there profit to be made? Well, sort of yes, sort of no. I know, cost-benefit analysis has to be weighed here. I should say this. Living on a musician's income (no part time job) it would be very helpful to pull in an extra $50-$100 for a storm, even if it costs $25 in gas.

Erik-
It's funny you found that video! I watched it last night, it's hilarious. My favorite part is the raise/lower switch configuration. That thing is genius!

Thanks for the advice guys, I'll mull it over some more.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:41 AM   #7
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Re: Best option to register plow truck

Here's a photo of the gem.

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Old 11-07-2011, 07:01 AM   #8
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Re: Best option to register plow truck

I'm even more jealous...looks a lot better than I expected.

I looked on Craigslist a few days ago and it seems like plows/plow trucks are much cheaper than they were in previous years. I hope that keeps up, maybe I can buy one next fall.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:37 AM   #9
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Re: Best option to register plow truck

Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
I wouldn't take chances like that to plow my friends driveways for chump change. Ask them if it's worth paying for the repairs you wouldn't do if you were just using it in the yard...let them chip in and make sure they know you don't want a fully obligated plowing contract job, you'll just be doing it when it's convenient.

I'm jealous. I wish I had a plow.
Call Mr. Plow. That's his name.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:42 AM   #10
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Re: Best option to register plow truck



Yup, this winter I think I can afford Mr. Plow when we get a lot of snow but I'll probably still shovel small storms.
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