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Add a Ranger for residentials?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Billious, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Billious

    Billious Member
    Messages: 72

    This is my first year out on my own - having plowed for a contractor in the past, I'm pretty comfortable - and our first few snows have gone very well. I have plenty of backup, and my routes are set up well.

    When I was gearing up last Summer, I wasn't sure what I'd be more successful selling - Residential or Commercial, so I kind of hedged my bets. I bought a 2002 F-350 with dump bed, and added a Snowdogg 8.5' VXF (which I'm very happy with!). I also already had a 2008 Polaris X2 700EFI with a Moose plow that I pull on a trailer behind an SUV.

    As it turns out, I sold a lot more residential than Commercial. During light snows, one of my employees and I go in the plow truck and we're able to get through everything in a long night. If it's a little heavier, my routes are set up so I take an employee with me in the plow truck for the big stuff, and I have another crew take the ATV/Blowers/Shovels out to the small residential stuff.

    I feel like the prospects are good for a lot of growth on the residential side for next year, and I'll probably want to add another truck with an actual plow for residentials. A Jeep would seem like a good choice, except we do full service with walks and the whole nine yards, and it seems that hauling shovels, salt and blowers in a Jeep would not be awesome. Also, this vehicle needs to be useful for my Summer garden maintenance business.

    For these reasons, I was thinking of going with a Ford Ranger. I've had good luck with them in the past, and they do well in snow so long as you keep weight in the back. The Summer business doesn't require another full size truck, and for the purposes of our residential accounts, a smaller vehicle would be preferred.

    Does anyone have any good experiences or horror stories regarding plowing with a Ranger? Can anyone think of an alternative that would meet my requirements? Thanks for the consideration!
     
  2. Triton2286

    Triton2286 Senior Member
    Messages: 654

    Sounds like for the amount of work you hve both winter and summer a ranger would be a great replacement for the SUV.

    Can't see any downside to it considering the current residential setup.
     
  3. Billious

    Billious Member
    Messages: 72

    The SUV would probably still go out, since I need to pull the ATV - there's a number of contracts where that setup is the boss. But there's also a bunch of contracts where a full size plow makes life quicker and easier.

    Regarding the Ranger, one thing I forgot to mention... I'd have to go automatic. For whatever reason, finding crew in Wisconsin that can drive stick and also don't have a suspended licence for DUI is almost impossible. As we say here in Wisconsin "Out drinking your State since 1848"... I've seen some rumblings that a Ranger with an automatic can't withstand the rigors of a plow. Anyone have any experience with this?
     
  4. Triton2286

    Triton2286 Senior Member
    Messages: 654

    It is true that the ford transmissions in the ranger and explorer are on the weak side but there a guys on here that plow with rangers and do fine so as long as you have an employee that you trust to not beat it to **** it should do fine.

    Have you looked at a Colorado/Canyon as another option?
     
  5. Sawboy

    Sawboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,591

    I am a Ford guy through and through, but have never liked any of the Rangers / Explorers. The GM compacts are even worse. Total hot garbage. This is the one place I would steer someone to a Toyota. An older one can be had for a real good price and they are almost indestructible. Additionally, parts for these trucks, both replacement and perf upgrade are easily sourced and cheap.

    Now if you're dead set on not using a foreign vehicle (many are, despite the fact that American vehicles have more foreign parts than American, but I digress) and want American, go with the Ranger. They're the lesser of two evils in my mind. Oh yeah, you'll notice I made no mention of the Dodge Dakota. That was on purpose ;)
     
  6. Billious

    Billious Member
    Messages: 72

    My landscape SUV that pulls the trailer is an FJ and my sales car is a Scion - I'm perfectly fine with Toyota, just a little stunned to get that recommendation here!
     
  7. wislxer

    wislxer Member
    Messages: 89

    A-friggin-men!

    Drive a ten year old Taco and then a ten year old Ranger and I think you'll see why I so vehemently agree with him. Night and day in how solid they feel.

    Decent used Tacos are hard to find though and cost way more than comparable Rangers/etc. mostly because people like me would pay way more for the Yota.

    And to your original question I think the small truck is a great idea in your situation and I don't have anything against Rangers or S10s or whatever.

    Oh yeah and your hiring issue is no surprise. WI is full of drunks for sure but damn do I love my home state.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  8. Meezer

    Meezer Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 291


    Going by your criteria & ruling out a Jeep, if it were me I would buy a Dodge Dakota with a 4.7L engine.Thumbs Up
     
  9. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,114

    Only if you feel like continually wrenching on the thing.
    Ranger > Dakota without question.

    Toyota would be the best bet for a mid-sized truck, but you'd want to aim for something fairly recent. If you do end up looking at them older than 2004, check the frame THOROUGHLY. Dana (the company the frame manufacturing was outsourced to) really humped the dog on the coatings. If you're going with the new style 2005+, you are best off with 2009+ since the frame got some significant reinforcement added that year. The older ones are fine, but its obviously better if its stronger. The main issue with an 2005+ Tacoma, is that they tend to be... larger... than a typical compact truck. Frontier/Ranger/S10/Colorado/Dakota can all fit a 6.5' plow. Tacoma needs a 7' minimum.
     
  10. Meezer

    Meezer Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 291


    Continually wrenching?????

    I have a 4.7L with 325,xxx+ miles on it, had to do very little wrenching & it's still going strong. I did have the tranny rebuilt at 220,xxx but other than that it's been routine maintenance. Thumbs Up
     
  11. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    My ranger does pretty good. Handles a 6'8 drive pro well. Run about 300 pounds if ballast and havnt put the thing in 4wd yet. Mine is. 4.0 with a 5 speed. It's only the first year so I can't talk about how well it will do in the long run but the truck already has 198k on it as it is and other than brake lines it's really solid.
     
  12. Meezer

    Meezer Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 291

    Sounds good, time to push some snow & make some moneypayup
     
  13. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,114

    1 unit does not make a trend....
    Tranny rebuilds are never fun.
     
  14. Meezer

    Meezer Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 291

    Actually, it is part of a long list of facts. Btw, I never said that I had only 1 Dodge ..;)

    Rebuilds are never fun but trannys go out in all types of trucks.
     
  15. Dog86

    Dog86 Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    We have a Ranger with a Small Sno-Way blade on it. One tough truck for it's size. We only do a few commercial accounts, a 24hr Factory, Shopping Plaza, 2 Church's and our own Trucking lot. Use just one F-250 with a Boss V and the Ranger So nothing is small and the ranger isn't really good for plowing big lots but we still do when the other trucks busy. It really gets the piss beat out of it and has been going stong for 4 years. The plow came off a 94 Explorer before that was used just for plowing a Apartment building for 4-5 years. The Body was what failed before the thing quit running. It was just so Rusty from never being cleaned after winter that everything was just crumbling.

    For driveways the Ranger is king. I find myself making to many 10 point turns in small drives where the Ranger would be half the time to do the same lot with a 3ft smaller blade.