Cyclng Truck Bodies: Is It a Good or Bad Idea?

July 2008, Work Truck - Feature

by Joe Bohn - Also by this author

Rising material costs have made it more tempting for fleets to consider cycling truck bodies and equipment. However, even though it may become more attractive in the future, such cycling typically isn’t cost-effective in most applications, according to fleet management officials.

Cycling Benefits Fleet

"We see with some degree of regularity certain customers contemplating refurbishing bodies for use on new chassis," says Ken Gillies, manager of truck purchasing and engineering for GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services, based in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Customers believe that repainting and reinstalling the body would be cost-effective.

"As the cost of bodies increase, refurbishment can become more attractive, if a fleet can somehow fit it into their operation without a loss of downtime," Gillies says.

"But from a general standpoint, we generally discourage our customers from doing refurbishing work for many of reasons."

The cost of vehicle downtime to allow for remounting requires major consideration.

GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services does have a customer that cost-effectively cycles its bodies, specially designed to transport expensive, oversized panels standing on edge.

"But that’s a rarity," adds Gillies, noting the company has the advantage of operating extra trucks, so it isn’t impacted by the downtime costs of having out-of-service vehicles during repair or maintenance.

Most fleets aren’t that fortunate — especially in today’s environment, when the trend is to cut back on the number of vehicles operated.

Cycling Costs Pile Up

Palm Beach County, Fla., incurs costs, for example, of about $100 per day for a work or dump truck to be out of commission, according to Doug Weichman, CAFM, director, fleet management division.

Allowing two months to refit a body and equipment onto a new chassis, downtime costs alone would total about $4,000, he adds.

"Beyond that you’d need the capability to do it, such as overhead cranes to pick the body off," said Weichman.

There’s also the cost of changing out and upgrading older bodies to update company requirements, such as LED lighting.

If the fleet has switched from a different, low-bid chassis supplier, matching the older body to a different chassis can pose additional problems and expense. Such expenses include hydraulics, location of power take-off (PTO), or the chassis’ exhaust system, which has a different configuration.

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

Article News

Popular Stories


Public Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Amin Amini from Verizon will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Recent Topics

Hello, We are a County Fire District and presently have above ground fuel tanks at 26 Fire Stations. We would like to install an...

View Topic

Does anyone run a University fleet similar to ours? New Jersey City University has approximately 10,000 students, 1000 faculty & staff,...

View Topic

Fleet Documents

1045 Fleet Documents (and counting) to Download!

Sponsored by

Bill Willis began his career with the Ford Motor Company in 1953 as an administrative assistant in the Kansas City Aircraft Division.

Read more