Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact

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Jasper1
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2013/08/04 17:19:09 (permalink)

Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact

Hello,
This is my first post.
I'm going to be starting a mobile Gelato business. I am curious to see if getting a gas or diesel step van is better.
I don't plan on being on the freeway and only plan on driving around town to about 10-15 locations a day.
I'm looking at spending about $15-$20k on the truck and hopefully another $15-$20k for the equipment and the retrofit. I'm looking at a 15-18ft truck and the weight I'd be carrying is not that much. A 300lb Gelato case, 200lb freezer and 200lb fridge and prep table and 3 bin sink and wash sink and a few cabinets.

I saw a truck online and they have a video link and the diesel motor is pretty loud.
So I'm curious what the benefit of a gas or diesel would be.

Also, any advice in building the truck would be great. I have to have a platform that slides out since the customers need to see the Gelato trays and see the presentation and because the floor of a truck is about 30" at least and the Gelato ase glass starts at 30" it will be too high from the street level to see inside the truck.

Also, I was trying to runs much of it as I can n lithium batteries but I would need too many. My max amps at 110v is around 50 amps with two AC units, the gelato case, fridge, freezer and water heater.
I live in the desert and saw those evaporative coolers and they run on 12v and only take 4.5 amps and also saw a flash water heater that operated on two D batteries and propane and that would decrease my amp draw even further.
Just curious if anyone has used these swamp coolers or flash heaters.
The only washing I would be doing is the ice cream scoops and 5 liter bins so I'm wondering if a flash heater would be the way to go.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
post edited by Jasper1 - 2013/08/04 18:02:11
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18 Replies Related Threads

    roadkillgrill
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/04 18:03:42 (permalink)
    Diesel is a pain in the..... I have one, wish I didn't!!!
    #2
    fishscale28
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/04 18:57:34 (permalink)
    And see I love my diesel...so glad I went that route instead of gas but everyone has their own preference.  I know my diesel genny is twice as efficient as gas (and last so, so much longer) and my diesel truck-fully loaded-gets better mileage than my 07 Tundra (V8 gas).  
     
    I've owned several diesels and many more gassers...I personally think diesel is the way to go for a variety of different applications.  And if you're looking to spend that much on a truck then you can get a newer diesel that is much cleaner, quieter and even more efficient (the Cummins 5.9 is one of the more notable) than some of the older ones. Of course gas is easier to come by, might be easier to work on (I think they're both about the same), will be less of an initial purchase and repairs will be cheaper.  But diesel is more efficient, last longer and is made to run.  A lot.  Hope that helps!
    #3
    Jasper1
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/04 21:59:32 (permalink)
    Thank you very much, I really appreciate it.
    One example of diesels I found was a 2006 with 43k miles for $29k or a California state vehicle that's a 2000 with only 3,000 miles and 230hrs on the engine and a 7.5kw Onan generator for $26k.

    The 2000 truck is 5.9 liter Caterpillar and the 2006 says 4.5 liter turbo diesel.
    I don't know what's better, later model with low miles or 2000with super low miles. If I get diesel I'm leaning towards the newer truck.
    Plus the 7.5k generator may be too small for me.
    My peak amperage will be 50 amps.

    Thanks
    post edited by Jasper1 - 2013/08/04 22:09:43
    #4
    fishscale28
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/05 00:12:41 (permalink)
    I think either of those trucks would be great. As far as diesels go neither one is even "broken in." With good fuel, great oil and even better routine maintenance just about any diesel is going to last several hundred thousand miles. 500k and up on the 5.9s (the straight six, which this may very well be with different emblems and paint) is very common. That's what most of the FedEx (and maybe even UPS) use in their fleets and you know they're rode hard. But well maintained.

    The genny would be an added benefit and might be perfect for what you need. My genny is a a 10k watt rated at 44 amps at 240 volts. If I ran it on straight 120 I'd be around 88 amps. I have all the usual coolers, lights, hood, fans and even central AC (mini split) and have plenty of power left over so it might work out well for you.

    But again most of us end up getting much, much cheaper vehicles that are way older with lots of miles but are mechanically sound...don't be against saving a few bucks and getting something with a little more age on it. But then again there's lots of comfort in knowing your baby is pretty new! Just be sure you have a mechanic check it out...even an oil sample might not hurt.

    Again-either of those trucks would work well. And from my experience-start pinching pennies now because everything is going to be way more expensive than you anticipate and you'll be glad you did!
    #5
    daddywoofdawg
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/05 16:00:07 (permalink)
    50 amps sounds like a lot!I have a diesel and really like the mileage.
    #6
    Jasper1
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/05 17:18:06 (permalink)
    Thanks, I really like the idea of a diesel but wish it was quieter.
    Also, I think it would be 50 amps at peak. Two AC units at 15 amps each, display case at 4.3 amps, freezer, fridge and water heater.
     
    I'm talking to a solar and battery guy and May go with a ton of batteries.
    I'm gong to start a thread on that and see what others think.
     
    #7
    chasendad
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/05 19:40:11 (permalink)
    a 7500 diesel onan is a good generator and will run 2 airs and anything else that I've tried in my motorhome. I dont know much about batteries but I doubt they will run your truck, my 2500 watt inverter wont run 1 a/c in my motorhome...
     
    #8
    Jasper1
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/05 19:55:53 (permalink)
    I'm thinking about only one 15,000btu A/C and hoping that will keep a 15ft truck box at 80 degrees. I read that 15,000btu cools a 800sq ft room. A 15ftx 8ft box a tons smaller than that.
    If I can get by with just one AC then I think I can use batteries for sure.
    I was planning on using a 5k watt inverter.
     
    I'm curious what other think about using one AC in a food truck. Especially since I'm ice cream and not heating anything at all.
    #9
    RodBangkok
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/05 20:22:14 (permalink)
    About your freezers/reefers, are they rated for normal internal ambient air temp?, most are.  If so that means that if you operate them in a very hot ambient air environment, their efficiency will be less than the specs.  Also remember these units will be dumping hot air from their compressor units into your space.  Don't run too close to your rated spec on the inverter or generator system.  If possible setup these units in a test environment first to see how they really run at different ambient air temps before you commit $$ to the AC power system.  A lot of factors in picking the right A/C unit, how big is your service window, how good is the truck insulation, is the outer surface reflective, radiated heat from truck exhaust and/or road surface thru an uninsulated floor.  An ideal setup for frozen only is to use external compressor reefer/freezers with the compressors external to the service/storage space, and in your part of the world where it can be very hot insulated floor also.  
    #10
    Jasper1
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/05 23:01:11 (permalink)
    Thanks,
    I was just looking at normal 19cu ft stainless NSF fridge and freezer. I didn't know they made ones with external compressors.
    The AC unit I was looking at was a Coleman Mach8 because of the low profile and I'll have the solar panels over the AC unit.

    I'm still 2 months away from getting my investment money so I'm just trying to get all the variables out of the way so when I have the cash I already know how I want to build the truck.
    #11
    Rcoy
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/06 00:45:28 (permalink)
    There was a long detailed thread about inverters and batteries a few months back and for that person's setup it was impractical, I have an onan 12k qd and it is really very quiet, and has enough power for anything I may ever wish to use on my truck. On a truck with no hot side, one a/c may work well, the problem with most food trucks, is the hood fan sucks the air out faster than the a/c can condition it.
    #12
    fishscale28
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/06 01:25:51 (permalink)
    One AC might do you but as mentioned never underestimate the heat put off by your equipment. I have a little 48" True prep cooler and that damn thing will heat the whole kitchen to 90 in a matter off 6 or so hours. I usually keep my roof fans (installed for makeup air so my hood wouldn't suck out all the cold air) and it keeps things decent but those compressors out off tons of heat. Remote/external compressors are ideal but haven't seen that in a truck. With some insulated copper tubing it could easily be done though. But in reality having some built in vents near your cooler/freezers will mak a huge difference.

    And the batteries aren't a horrible idea but very, very heavy and rather costly. I think most people with a decent draw like yours will opt for generator. S much easier, consistent and never needs a charge.
    #13
    Jasper1
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/10 13:55:59 (permalink)
    Thanks for the replies.
    I just didn't want to have to run the generator 10hrs a day 6 days a week.
    That's an oil/filter change every two months at 500hrs.
    It would be 3,000hrs every year, how long would a generator last with that many hours adding up.
    I think the cooking food truck people have it better with a generator since most of their appliances can run on propane and all my mine are electric so the generator needs to constantly be running.
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    fishscale28
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/10 19:08:08 (permalink)
    Some of the lower spinning generators (diesel at 1800 rpm) can easily go 20000 hours before needing replacing or an overhaul. You might be able to go with your solar setup and a small Honda generator unit for backup or to quickly charge the batteries in times when you need instant juice
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    daddywoofdawg
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/10 22:48:09 (permalink)
    Or a propane freezer and fridge. and I still don't understand why you don't want shore power.
    post edited by daddywoofdawg - 2013/08/10 22:50:01
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    Jasper1
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/11 00:27:54 (permalink)
    Thanks. I was going to get a small portable generator for just in case.
    I can't really use shore power since I'm going to be going to different locations daily and most of the places I'll be going to don't have accessible power.
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    Rcoy
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/11 11:17:34 (permalink)
    One reason to have shore power is the ability to park your truck overnight loaded out.
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    Jasper1
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    Re:Is gas or diesel better for a food truck, ice cream truck to be exact 2013/08/11 14:34:47 (permalink)
    The truck will be stored at a storage facility here at night and I'll be plugged in all night.
    I ink that's the only time ill be plugged in.
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