Picking a Tool Truck Chassis

Exterior of a tool truck

Tool trucks are the perfect way for the owner of a mobile tool franchise to transport tools to and from customer locations, as well as showcase tools through a mobile storefront.

When designing a tool truck, the first place to begin will be with the choice of truck chassis. It acts as the foundation for the rest of the build, making the chassis critical to ensuring that the one chosen is reliable and optimal for the layout desired.

As you pick out your tool truck chassis, you’ll want to work closely with your custom builder. They will be able to advise you throughout each of the following steps.

Step 1: Pick Your Preferred Configuration

Not all chassis are designed in the same configuration. Choosing the right chassis configuration comes down to the primary use for the tool truck as well as the amount of tools that will be transported or showcased at any given time.

The following are all common configurations for tool truck chassis:

  • Cab and chassis: A common foundation for a tool truck is a standard cab and chassis. Both medium-duty and heavy-duty cab and chassis are used in the design of tool trucks. The benefit of this style of chassis body for tool trucks is the amount of customization options available.
  • Step vans: Step vans are a good pick if you are looking for a smaller tool truck option. These vans are designed to make entering and exiting the vehicle extremely easy and efficient. This makes them a good choice when delivering tools in a speedy and efficient manner is your primary goal.
  • Tilt cab: Similar to a cab and chassis, the main differentiator of a tilt cab is the way in which the engine is accessed. Instead of a traditional hood, the entire cab of the truck tilts forward in order to provide access to the engine.

Step 2: Choose Your Manufacturer

After determining the style of chassis you prefer, you will need to choose your chassis manufacturer. There are numerous manufacturers of chassis that are appropriate for tool trucks, with the following being some of the most popular choices:

  • Peterbilt: For 80 years, Peterbilt has supplied the North American commercial vehicle market with rugged and reliable chassis options. They remain a reliable and trusted choice for the tool truck industry.
  • Kenworth: Since 1923, Kenworth has been focused on finding ways to use the latest technology to build efficient trucks for their customers. Their trucks are well known for their reliability and premium quality, making them a great pick for mobile tool storefronts.
  • Freightliner: For over 75 years, Freightliner has been a future-focused manufacturer, leading the industry through innovation. They continue to place an emphasis on quality as they push the boundaries in creating the most technologically advanced trucks on the road. Their innovative builds are a great pick for the base of your next tool truck.
  • Ford: Ford has become synonymous with rugged capability, outstanding performance, and durability. Their chassis options are an excellent pick for medium-duty tool trucks.
  • Isuzu: Known for trucks that work as hard as the people who drive them, Isuzu continues to provide reliable and innovative chassis options. Perhaps one of the most widely known for their tilt over cabs, Isuzu is a popular choice for tool truck upfits.
  • International: Since 1902, International Trucks has been a leader in producing medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. Their premium lineup of chassis makes a durable and reliable choice for tool trucks of all kinds.

Step 3: Add on the Extras

With the style of chassis chosen and your preferred manufacturers listed, it is time to focus on the extras. As you work with your custom builder to pick your chassis, it will be important to consider what extra equipment you’ll want added to the build. This helps to ensure that the chassis chosen can handle the weight and size of the add-ons.

Popular extras include:

  • Generator
  • External storage boxes
  • Rooftop A/C units

Step 4: Customize the Layout

Finally, before you settle on the right tool truck chassis, be sure to outline the custom layout you need for your build. By coming up with a rough outline of your preferred layout, you can ensure that the chassis chosen will have enough space to accommodate your preferred design.

  • 12-volt testing panel with a service counter: This is a popular choice when your tool truck will act as a mobile storefront. It can allow you to assist customers and showcase the operation of tools you are selling.
  • An on-board generator: When you park your tool truck, an on-board generator allows you to operate equipment and run your mobile showroom without the engine running. You can look into traditional generator options, such as those fueled by gasoline or diesel, or you might consider the addition of an alternative fuel option.
  • Additional shelving or storage space: Depending on how you plan to use your tool truck, you may want to include added storage space and shelving in your layout. Storage space can be located on both the interior and exterior of your truck, making it convenient to deliver or showcase tools.

Work with Summit Bodyworks to Design Your Tool Truck Today

Designing a custom tool truck begins with the right chassis. At Summit Bodyworks, we can help you explore available options, ensuring that you drive away with the ideal tool truck for your specific needs.

Want to see what our work looks like in action?

Check out Raymond W.’s Freightliner MT55. This tool truck is the perfect example of an upfit on a step van chassis. This custom MAC Tools truck was built on a wide-body Freightliner MT55 step van and is fully upfitted. Additionally, our team helped make the tool truck complete with a number of upgrades from the inside out.

Or, take a look at Kyle R.’s 24′ Kenworth T370 for an example of a cab and chassis build. Kyle’s custom Matco truck was built on a 24′ Kenworth T370. This truck is chock full of upgrades with a sleek, rivetless body, a custom wrench-shaped grab handle, custom removable rolling carts, and more.

To learn more about designing a custom tool truck, reach out to our team at Summit Bodyworks today.