What a Coincidence! This comming spring we have won the Contract for 3 of the 9 schools in the district. If this works out, in another year or two we will likely be working all 9. We are the only Landscape Co in the area with a WAM and mainly recycler mowers, that was a big part of the bid. What you show on your pic is the evolution of the 580D we bought this fall when we had recieved advance notification of the bid award. If you look on Toro's website go to the Golf and Turf section, the 328 Groundsmaster is the Kubota engined 325D Groundsmaster. I have 3-325D's, 2-345's and 2-322Ds and now a 580D.
If you are towing around a 580 and a 328D with a V10 F-350 the that should have all the power we need, as we will be doing the same. My only question on this is the durability of the V10, from local people I have heard 80K, 100K or so and here 120K before issues. All machines have issues, what bothers me is the issue where a tow truck is required.
The V10 has enough power. A few recommendations from the kid (who teaches Forestry, and works Ground Ops in the summer):
1. Get a winch on the front of that truck. Not for the truck- for the mower. Those WAM's get stuck all too easily, and they're a PITA to pull back out. He'd have a 4WD on his wish list, only for the trucks towing the WAM's, but the District won't spring for them.
2. The V10 went through a complete redo in '06- 3V version. All the prior durability/service issues went away. Expect well over 100,000 miles with minor issues. And get an automatic with mutiple drivers- but you already knew that.
He also said, if you wanted more info, I should pm you his email addy. He had some thoughts and experience on the equipment that gets used as well. (Hustler Super Z's are da bomb for field mowing). Let me know.
Our maintainence is by the factory severe schedual for all of our vehicles around here. We use only high quality lubricants and filters. We still see more rear tire wear than front but it is the type of wear that comes with heavy loading, rather than from wheelspin. The closest thing to off roading the trucks see is turning arount in the field behind our shop, which is mowed and smooth. Lastly, this will not be a plow truck, and probably not used in winter for a few yrs unless needed for backup duty for our walkway crew.
There are issues and then there are ISSUES with durability. I fully expect to see the check engine light come on a few times, We have a Snap On Modus diagnostic unit for that. Brakes and suspension things are a given with all the towing, Haven't had a hitch ball mount make more than 1 summer without slopping out the pin hole with all the towing we do.
ISSUES are like when the crank broke (6.5 GM diesel), the connecting rod went out, locking up the motor(7.3 powerstroke) only first gear and reverse left by the Dodge 2500 HD diesel (covered under warranty) but all things I don't need when there are less than 150K mi.
You just outlined all the reasons why a gasser is a better bet for your type of usage. Interestingly enough, you listed the common problems from all the motors/powertrains listed. (GM 6.5's were horrible, CPS in 7.3's, and Dodge trannies).
To make a diesel pay, you need a high-mileage application... with mostly highway miles involved. A lot of short hop, stop-and-go driving actually increases- not decreases- the diesels operating costs as maintenance starts going through the roof.