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Glide Into an Upgrade

Glide Into an Upgrade

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Tax and insurance savings

The benefit of a glider truck or glider kit is that producers get a like-new truck at a much lower cost. In addition, producers also can receive significant tax and insurance savings. “As long as you keep the price of upgrading within 75% of the cost of a new truck, you don't have to pay federal excise tax, which can range anywhere from $10,000 to $13,000 per truck,” says Steve Howard, the Terex Roadbuilding national sales manager for concrete mixer trucks and plants.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the cost of a glider truck upgrade within 60% to 70% of a new truck's cost to reap those tax savings. State sales tax savings are also possible, since the taxes on a refurbished older truck are not as high as they are for a brand-new truck.

There are also potential insurance savings. If producers use their old titles and old VIN numbers, they'll have lower insurance costs. It's simply a matter of having the state transfer the VIN number from their old, donor truck's title to the certificate for the upgraded glider truck. The glider truck then is considered the same model year as the old truck, so the glider won't incur a new truck's higher premiums.

Factory assembly or kit?

A producer who sends an existing truck or its components to a manufacturer like Terex Roadbuilding certainly can expect to have fewer headaches and a shorter production time obtaining a glider truck.

“You have greater assurance that you're getting a top-quality upgrade,” says Koomler. “Once it's done, that full glider is ready to roll. Also, though it depends on a manufacturer's production schedule, a producer can generally expect to see delivery on a glider truck within three to four weeks. You can save a fair amount of money having the manufacturer do it.”

But Koomler concedes that many concrete producers have other, valid reasons for building their own glider truck. “A lot of them do it just to keep their guys busy during the slow winter season,” he says. “They understand it's going to take them longer to build and they'll end up with more labor hours. But there is a benefit because they can retain really good employees. That's worth a lot.”

Although a glider may make sense, Koomler offers one caveat: “Decision-makers must consider that glider trucks aren't really new. You're reusing old components, so you do still run the risk of major component failure. That's why you don't see too many producers go out and buy an old used truck to glider. Fleet managers prefer their own old trucks and used components because they know how they've been maintained. They have a better idea how well and how long their own components will perform in a glider truck.”

Howard sees this trend continuing. “Perhaps half of front-discharge producers have either done or are now doing gliders. And that number's creeping up,” he says. “I expect the larger national companies will continue to rotate their trucks and buy new trucks, and the smaller companies will tend to take the used equipment and glider it out and do more refurbishing like they always have.”

As long as there are any economic advantages to reusing old but still viable equipment, glider trucks and glider kits will keep on flyin'.

For more information on the manufacturer, visit www.terex.com.

Five things you need to consider when building your glider truck
  • Don't just assume your old suspension is good enough to reuse. Look carefully at its bushings and all of its pivots. Make sure it will hold up over the years you plan to operate your glider. If it isn't up to the task, you're better off installing a new suspension as part of the glider process.
  • Regarding any component you're reusing, it's better to do the necessary maintenance on it when it is outside the truck. Spruce it up before you put it back in. It's best to have an engine rebuilt before you install it in your glider. That way, you know it stands a good chance of lasting at least as long as the frame.
  • Unless you have an electronics expert on your staff, you should seek technical assistance from your glider kit manufacturer when you're ready to install the electronics and wiring. This can be tricky, and since the smooth operation of your truck depends on it, you don't want to leave anything to chance.
  • Reseal everything that needs it, the drum drives, the pinions, the axles, and the brakes, when you have these components out of the old truck.
  • Call your glider kit manufacturer for technical support if you have any questions.

— Dale Allen Steinke is a senior business writer.