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Another really long driveway (1/2 mile)

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Brynwood, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Brynwood

    Brynwood Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    We are new to snow-country life and find ourselves with 1/2 mile to clear in the winter to get to our house. This last winter a friend (who was temporarily laid-off, had some time on his hands, and took pity on us) plowed our road with his plow truck. The road is graveled and has a few uphill spots (not bad, maybe 15 degrees) but is very narrow (tree-lined) in some areas. The berms created by our friend and his plow were 5 feet in some places - almost a tunnel for parts of the road. Looked pretty, but there wasn't a lot of breathing room and pretty doesn't get you to work (in most cases).

    The "local professionals" are neither local, nor professional. We're too far off the beaten path, and neighbors who have tried hiring their plowing out found unreliable and poor performance (torn up road, crushed fence, upwardly fluctuating rates, no-shows, etc.). So, by December I need a plan (and equipment) for snow removal. I'm hoping to get it right the first time and not have to spend time and money later on another option.

    A further complication: we have about 14 feet between garage and house that I'd like to plow (a snowblower sends a lot against the walls) but I wouldn't want to send a truck or large tractor through there - too much to run into if you don't make the turn.

    Here's what I'm thinking of so far:

    - ATV with blade for around the house and front-mount snow blower (though I don't how reliable, effective or expensive these are) for the driveway. Are there good options for ATV snow blowers?

    - ATV with blade, Plow Truck for the driveway. This would work, and may be the cheapest option, but requires 2 vehicles.

    - Compact tractor with...front end loader and rear blade? Here I'm not sure what size I would need - 26hp? 30? 40? Cost would be somewhat high, but maybe the one vehicle could do everything - just be a little cold.

    - Plow truck for the driveway and just deal with shoveling snow again (painful, especially as 4 feet can dump at a time in front of the garage, blocking entry or exit. Tough, I think, to get a plow truck close enough to clear this - least ways, my friend didn't want to do it, and he's pretty good with the plow).

    - Win lottery and buy an ASV track skid steer or medium-sized Kubota with cab and heat

    I'd like to find a good balance between cost, comfort, effectiveness and reliability.

    Thanks for any ideas or opinions on best options. I wish I had the experience, but there's only the one way to gain that. Somehow I just know my hindsight is going to be 20-20.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. shaltac

    shaltac Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    Not an expert,

    But I'd do a plow truck, or if you can afford it a 40HP tractor with a front mount blower and a rear blade for the main driveway. For the smaller area a "push" blower, or a lawnmower mounted blower.

    I'm just thinking of the magnatude of this job, and an ATV is going to be too small to do 1/2 mile in any kind of time for you to get to work. You can also keep an eye out for used loaders, and used small (80 - 100HP) farm tractors to put a blade on. I keep looking at compacts, and the sometimes the price of a used larger tractor is less because of the market, and the desirability of the compact to the general public.

    Just my 2c I've only ever plowed with a lawnmower, and blown with a push blower at this point.
  3. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    The half mile section would be great for a pickup (preferably a 1/2 ton truck), but maybe a smaller truck (Dakota, Tacoma) would serve the purpose for that smaller area. Guys will sometimes rag on small trucks but they push snow pretty well. In fact, for only doing your property & maybe a couple of your neighbors' places, a compact truck with a small Fisher would do a great job. You could either find something for $2000-3000, or find something a bit newer for more $$ and use it year round for both personal & plowing. I also agree that an ATV would be too time consuming, though I like your winning the lottery idea! Good luck

  4. Brynwood

    Brynwood Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanks for the input

    Interesting idea on the front mount blower on a tractor - can you do that? Is the blower attached to a front end loader? Any idea who makes such things? I like the idea of not having to drive backward, in the dark, in windy, snowy sub-zero weather so, front mount anything is a good idea in my book. Without a cab, though, it's still going to be nippy out there.

    That's where the truck idea gets the most traction: cheaper, headlights, and a LOT warmer. If I got a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck, is Sno-Way a good way to for a blade (with the down pressure device they have - down pressure seems like it would be important, yes?).

    Thanks again for the help!

  5. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Another option is a compact tractor with a loader and front mounted blade where the bucket goes. You can stack snow 13' high without an issue and still be able to get into the tightest spots. I plow over 1 mile with mine and it has been nothing but perfect. Then you can use the tractor with a box blade or rear mounted grader blade to clean up the gravel in the spring.
  6. Brynwood

    Brynwood Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    sounds like a good idea...

    Do you have a cab on your rig, or do you just tough out the cold? What hp compact do you think would do the trick? What do you think about gray market tractors? They're cheaper and don't they make the major brands anyway? (Shibaura, or whichever it is, makes John Deere equipment, Iseki makes Ford NH, FujiYama makes Fisher-Price, or whatever.)

    Thanks for the post.
  7. vtzdriver

    vtzdriver Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 111

    Compact tractor with a blade on front (mine mounts into the bucket) and 5 foot snowblower on rear.
    Anything up to 8-9 inches handled easily by the blade and if you get a big dump, the snowblower handles it. Backing up is a pain, but I manage to clear a half mile of private road and a large yard and only have to resort to the blower about 4 times a year.
    Cab is warm and tractor is a hydro, so I can sit partly sideways in the seat.

  8. Brynwood

    Brynwood Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Wow, sweet set up. How much horsepower does your Kubota have? Any idea what I'd have to pay for a similar rig?
  9. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    where do you live and how much snow do you get? that will make a difference in what you should get. if you get a good amount of snow, a blower will come in realy handy to deal with piles. vtzdriver has a good set up that would probably suit you well. kubota offers alot of smaller tractors now with factory cabs, some even have A/C which will help even in the winter to reduce moisture in the cab.
  10. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Nope, no cab, yet! I just sit out in the cold. It really isn't all that bad. I just bundle up and the engine helps to keep you warm. I have a 32 HP Deere and it handles a 6' blade fine. You could probably dip down intop 25+ HP range, but with any hills I'd stay around 30 HP. As far as the gray market tractors I have no idea. I only have ever owned Deeres. Never had a problem with them, so I stick with what works. I use it mainly for the farm, so it's not a dedicated plow rig, but there is no job too small or too big for it.

  11. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Here's a better pic of the plow setup. I think you can't go wrong with Kubota or John Deere.:D

  12. Brynwood

    Brynwood Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    some nice rigs out there...

    Thanks everyone, for the suggestions and pix. I'm going to look into tractors, though prices may scare me off. If not, the truck with blade and an ATV around the house and yard ought to do the trick.

    Thanks again,
  13. vtzdriver

    vtzdriver Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 111

    Mine is a B2410 with Curtis cab. (24 hp). I also have a Curtis blade, like First Time Out, but I found it to be a handful for my tractor. The Snowsport is lighter and can be removed by pulling a pin, thus returning the loader to bucket use if I need to move snow.

    Curtis makes a good cab, but there are other quality competitors as well.
    Kubota now makes a B3030 with factory cab (slightly larger and with 6 more hp)
    A more basic tractor would be a B7610 (similar to my size) but would need an aftermarket cab.

    List prices:
    rear snowblower- around $1,700
    Snowsport front blade- around $1,300
    B7610 $11,900 + loader (Loaders run $2,000+)
    B3030 $16,000 + loader
    B3030 cab $20,300 + loader
  14. Brynwood

    Brynwood Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Too pricey for me at this point, maybe a used one.

    Wanna sell yours? :)

    That's good though, gives me an idea what hp to look for. Do you have any hills in your 1/2 mile?
  15. vtzdriver

    vtzdriver Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 111

    No major hills in what I plow- just a gentle uphill slope away from the lake.

    It would not be an issue, though. With proper traction tires and/or chains, the differential lock allows 3 of 4 tires to be locked together and you can go almost anywhere.

    There are plenty of used machines out there and with proper maintenance, they will last forever. Cabs can be added after without too much hassle!!!
  16. Brynwood

    Brynwood Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I'll keep an eye out, thanks again.
  17. LD4850

    LD4850 Member
    Messages: 64

    I've plowed with a tractor & plowed with a truck.
    The truck, even without lights, wipers, or heat, beats the tractor hands down ANY DAY !!!!!!!!
    If you can afford it & have the room, I have an older pickup that I put a plow on and JUST use it to plow with. NO license, NO insurance, NO running on the public roads. It plows snow GREAT !!!!!!!!!! I would love a plow for my 4Wheeler and maybe I'll get one this year to do picky stuff around the house.
    I have less then $2000 invested in the truck & plow and expect it to last as long as my last one at least. 18yrs on the 78 F250. Already got 2 winters on the "new" 94 F150.
  18. SuperPlow Guy

    SuperPlow Guy Inactive
    Messages: 79

    Another Idea

    Consider a SuperPlow... www.superplow.com mounts on a class III hitch and will plow both directions all day long....