Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Our tiny future...

A couple of comments below about Asian minitrucks ties in with some chatter I have heard here in central IL. It seems a few farmers are opting to scoot around in one of these rather than climb into the old Ram and burn a few gallons of $5 diesel.

Each Japanese Mini Truck may have some slight variation (with respect to mileage or features) however here are the most common characteristics of a vehicle:

* Dimensions: 10 feet long, 5 feet high, 4 feet wide
* Weight: 1800 lbs
* Truck Bed: 4’ x 6’ with fold down sides.
* Bed capacity: 880 lbs
* Engine: 550-660cc, Liquid Cooled, 2, 3, or 4-Cylinder, Gasoline-powered, with approximately 40 Miles per Gallon
* Transmission: 4 or 5-Speed manual transmission, Low/High range
* 4x4, 12” All Terrain Vehicle tires, some trucks with differential lock or axle lock
* Standard heat, defroster, windshield wipers, headlights. Some units have A/C.
I had heard of a guy around here driving one after he ...umm, lost his license to drive. But then I saw one on Route 41 in Indiana last Friday. I'm pretty sure these vehicles are not sanctioned for road use, but debate continues about that.

Oddly, for $5K, it might be an answer for me. I gave Aaron my Colorado pickup to drive when he came back, and rather than plunk down for a Gator-type ATV, one of these babies would suffice to zip around our farm. It would also keep my commuting car - a studly Pontiac Vibe - clean and uncluttered with tools, parts, etc.

Sooner or later fuel costs make all kinds of formerly silly choices reasonable. When all you want to do is travel 3 miles to see if a field is dry (which after last night could be a week or so...) a minitruck could be ideal. I like the dump feature too.

How about it? Any experience/recommendations?


Anonymous said...

We have two on our dairies and love them. Reliable, handy for treating cows and durable. It will take us about 3 weeks to use a tank of gas and the workers like the rain/wind/snow protection when moving between barns. They are a little different to service/maintain...don't let a regular mechanic try to fix them...get somebody that works on smaller engines or Honda engines. Much safer than 4-wheelers and the workers don't go drag-racing with them like the Quads.

Ol James said...

They are road legal here in my state. A cousin of mine,(yea, I'm kin to 95% of the folks around here), bought his a few years back. According to the state, as long as it has the lights, seat belts and can go around 35mph it can be licensed for road use. He drives it everywhere, including his treestand.

Russell and Janelle Mills said...

There are many of the mini trucks here in my rural community, but I couldn't get used to folding myself up to fit in the cab. I farm in northern Utah and we have a pretty dense network of compressed natural gas filling stations, so I opted for a CNG/Gasoline powered Chevy 3/4 ton pickup (about 10 years old) instead of the mini-truck. I fill it up with CNG for 63.8 cents per gallon and can drive it for almost 1/2 the cost per mile as a mini-truck. Sorry, I realize no one else in the nation has that option. (Oklahoma does but at about 90 cents per gallon). By the way CNG actually costs about the same as ethanol, but the NG utility was smart enough to bypass the oil industry and target the CNG subsidies directly to the consumer. The cost and subsidies to CNG are actually very similar to ethanol. At 63.8 cents per gallon the Utah consumer is content to overlook the subsidies, inconvenences, and downsides. Seems like there is a lesson for agriculture and ethanol in their marketing plan.

John Phipps said...


That sounds like what I'm hearing. I think the danger of ATV's has become an issue for anyone with employees.


OK, I'm missing something. What's a treestand?


64 cents a gallon??? You just gave several readers heartburn.

Ol James said...

Well Mr John a treestand or tree stand is where you plop your rear end in usually very hot or cold weather, in the hopes of seeing a deer, elk, moose etc., etc. Hoping you don't get fired because you called in sick from work, so you can invoke your "Pioneer Spirit" and put protein on the table and brag to your buddies about the number of points on the rack. (a Hunter)
Please don't tell me you are a "tree hugging-bunny loving-ban fur-organic-peta life member who believes animals have MORE rights than humans-vegan???" But, I can get along with most folk, except the aforementioned, haha, just kidding.