When the job requires a dump truck you have several options: buy one, rent one, lease one – or convert your pickup truck into a dump truck. In this article we discuss options for turning your pickup to a dump truck. We’ll also talk about the pros and cons of doing a conversion and when to hire a pro.
Pickup to Dump Truck Options
There are three major options for converting your pickup truck into a dump truck: a dump truck insert, hoist conversion, or full conversion kit.
Dump Truck Insert
A dump truck insert is far less invasive than a hoist conversion or full conversion. It’s more of an add-on than a conversion. The plus side is you do not have to remove the existing bed to install it. Although you will have to lose your pickup’s factory tailgate. You insert it into your truck’s bed, and it will lift up from the bed to provide dumping capability. The downside is it adds weight and reduces your hauling capacity. It also changes the look of your pickup truck. See Buyer’s DumperDogg dump truck insert in action in the video below:
Dump Truck Hoist Conversion Kit
This option allows you to still use your existing bed by, in essence, adding a hydraulic lift assembly underneath it. In this way you are not adding the weight of an insert to your truck’s overall gross weight – lowering your hauling capacity. It is less invasive than a full conversion but will likely require modifications to the fuel tank and wheel well placement. Your pickup truck will still look pretty much like it did when you drove it off the showroom floor. Until you push a button and amaze your friends with your pickup truck’s dumping capacity.
Dump Truck Full Conversion Kit
A full conversion means removing the factory bed on your pickup truck. Obviously, this is a much bigger deal than installing a dump truck insert. You will completely remove the original bed and install an aftermarket dump bed. You will very likely have to make modifications. This usually involves the fuel tank and bumper. The good news is you may be able to earn a bit of cash selling the OEM truck bed. This option is best for turning an older, not so pretty, but good running pickup truck into a useful, dedicated dump truck. Probably for a lot less than the cost of buying an actual dump truck.
Tools Needed for Dump Truck Conversions
In addition to the standard tools like wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, and the like, you’ll need a welder, cutting torch, grinder, and a hoist or cherry picker. You’ll need to be comfortable around electrical components and hydraulics.
Enhance the functionality of your dump truck with a tarp retention bow set, cab guard, side wall extension brackets, wireless control, and more. Each vendor has accessories specifically made for their dump kits. Check out some of the options in this DumperDogg video below:
When to Hire a Pro
As soon as someone says welding is required, we tend to take a time out. If you have to make modifications to things like the gas tank and bumper, you might want to hire a pro. A conversion professional can also offer customizations like painting parts to match the color of your pickup. Here’s an example of that with a Pierce conversion kit:
Dump Truck to Pickup Truck
If you later feel that doing the conversion was a mistake, can you go back? With a dump truck insert it may be possible. This is less likely with a hoist conversion – depending on how much modification was needed. You can’t easily undo a full conversion. Our advice is to try it on an older pickup first that you are not emotionally attached to or financially dependent upon.
Dump Truck Conversion Vendors
The big names in dump truck insert and conversion kits are DumperDogg by Buyers, Truck Craft, and Pierce.
DumperDogg by Buyers
Buyers was founded in 1946. Their DumperDogg dump truck conversion kits are offered in steel, stainless steel, and polymer for 6- and 8-foot beds. Made in the USA.
Truck Craft has been in business since 1992. They offer dump inserts in steel or aluminum. Their TC-121 aluminum insert lifts 7,000 pounds up to a 47-degree angle in 18 seconds. It has a low floor height – just 3.25” above your pickup bed. They sell accessories for their kits including an electric salt spreader.
Pierce has been in business for 40 years. They have stock dump bed kits for Ford, Dodge, and Chevy/GMC. Load capacity is 2 tons with a maximum angle of 45 degrees. Quick 10-second dumping time. They say most installs take less than a day. They also sell full conversion light- and medium-duty kits. Their kits are made in the USA.
Converting your pickup truck into a dump truck is not only possible but may be the most cost-effective option. That said, it will only make financial sense if you plan on getting a lot of work that requires a dump truck. For the occasional job, renting is often the least expensive option. Really think through whether converting your pickup truck to a dump truck makes sense for you. If you have the tools and the expertise, you can save money doing it yourself. If you don’t, hire a pro. A bad conversion will cost more to fix in the long run.