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auger or chain feed? Pros and cons

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Shoreline, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Shoreline

    Shoreline Member
    Messages: 59

    Looking into upgrading to V box spreader. Not sure whether chain or auger feed would be best. Planning to use untreated bulk rock salt and possibly adding a wetter system as well.

    Thanks for your thoughts,
  2. dodgegmc1213

    dodgegmc1213 Senior Member
    Messages: 997

    auger. less moving parts, less bearings, don't need to keep it oiled like a chain, and no salt in your truck bed.
  3. gtmustang00

    gtmustang00 Senior Member
    from Berlin
    Messages: 745

    I prefer chain. The only auger spreader i have used was saltdogg and i hated it. Not much material would come out, even wide open.
  4. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,032

    The only thing better about an auger is it doesn't fill the box of your truck or cover your chassis with salt. Augers are more prone to freezing and settling then chains. We only oil our chains twice a year, start of season and end of season. JMO
  5. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    What kind are you looking at? Electric or hydraulic?

    My experience is based on an auger and I will never, ever buy either an auger drive V-box or electric spreader again.

    The auger is limited to how much salt comes out the discharge opening, which for me wasn't even close to enough. The auger motor in mine (Meyer\Swenson MDV) was such a piece of crap that they ended up sending me a brand new one with a conveyor chain. I shoveled that thing out 3 times last year because it would not spin. I carried a pipe wrench with me because I would have to use that to get the auger started........frequently.

    In a way, I am thankful they never got it figured out, because I never would have been happy with the amount of salt that can be applied with an auger drive. Especially compared to a hydraulic spreader.

    Also, the spinner motors on the Swenson\Meyer are crap. They do not have enough power to spread wide enough (12' max) and enough salt to do a job in one pass under certain conditions. We have to do 2-3 passes compared to 1 with a hydro. Not to mention, the spinner motors will not last. We are on our third one since late last February or March. 2 this year already.

    IMHO, if you get any type of lake effect, and you drop any amount of salt per event, you will not be happy with an auger drive. You might be mildly happier with an electric\conveyor type model.
  6. Shoreline

    Shoreline Member
    Messages: 59

    Mark, what brand and model of spreader have you been happy with?
  7. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    LOL, all my Monroe spreaders have been great.

    I have one 14 YO Monroe Muni V-box that has had minimal maintenance. 2 chains, a handful of leaky spinner motors and some hoses. Bearings are original. And we have spread thousands and thousands of tons of salt through it. I also have a Monroe UTG with dual augers that works fantastic. I had 2 Monroe RDV's on 550's but one was rusted out and was replaced by a stainless dump box and the UTG mentioned and the other was on a Ford 6.0 that I couldn't afford to keep.

    From other guys that have had bad experiences with electrics and don't have the need for full hydros, apparently the gas ones are a good way to go. I fully realize that a lot of guys here are very happy with their electric spreaders and I am not doubting them, I am just saying that in my operation they do not work. And want to make you aware of the potential issues.

    For the reasons Dave stated, I don't know that an auger system will ever work "great". And you are very limited on the amount of salt going through the hole.

    FWIW, the only reason the electric spreaders are not at the top of my worst purchase ever list is because I used to own 3 Ford 6.0s. Down to 1.
  8. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,973

    You guys should see a Hendrickson 6 yard stainless box with an auger on central hydraulics... frig that thing spins soo fast it's like a grain auger on a silo... there is no doubt in my mind it wount have trouble keeping up, I think auger is the way to go and have never had trouble with it not putting down enough salt
  9. potskie

    potskie Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 768

    I went from Monroe Gas chain to Airflo hydraulic chain to Electric snow ex auger then to Fisher Electric chain. My current salter is the best I've ever used hands down except when handling clumps the hydraulic just crushed them or blew the gate off the truck trying :rolleyes:

    I hated that auger. I could count three between when I pressed on and salt coming off the spinner. I could also read a book while waiting for the thing to empty at the end of the night. Drove me nuts. The Fisher I've got now is instant salt and can move a lot fast, open the door and crank it up.

    I will never choose to use another auger drive again I hated that experience.
  10. blizzardsnow

    blizzardsnow Member
    Messages: 83

    We run both. I prefer the chain drive. Yes it requires more maintenance but at least it'll spread the salt if temps drop into teens unlike the auger driven saltdogg. Salt needs to be very dry and fairly warm for it to work right.
  11. johnhenry1933

    johnhenry1933 Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    I have a chain drive (hydraulic) sidewinder by Monroe. Nothing beats it.
  12. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    Yup, emptying, being picky about salt, inability to crush chunks, packing the auger and not enough power to get it spinning, limiting the amount of salt it can feed=never again for me.

    I'd rather replace a chain every year than put up with the crap an auger makes you go through.
  13. Shoreline

    Shoreline Member
    Messages: 59

    Thanks for all the info guys, chain drive it is when the time comes.
  14. allseasons87

    allseasons87 Senior Member
    Messages: 813

    Love our drag chain spreaders. Any excess material that is conveyed to the front of the spreader gets dumped into a low profile rubber maid storage container and dumped back into the hopper
  15. chachi1984

    chachi1984 Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    I like our chain/conveyor it will eat through anything. does leave some mess and you should grease the bearings once a week. most gas v box spreader are all pretty similar.

    looks at the snow way gasser seems like a pretty good v box
  16. dodgegmc1213

    dodgegmc1213 Senior Member
    Messages: 997

    all I know is my saltdogg works great, puts plenty of salt out sometimes to much and I only have the lower slots open about 3-4 inches. I ran wet and dry salt worked fine. now if I know the temp is gonna fall below freezing in a storm I run empty to prevent freezing up of salt. when its in the 30s in a storm I have the salter full and it sits all storm turn it on at the end no problem. now chain is good we run a downeaster gasser. but again samething gets really cold that salt freezes in there. we had it freeze a few years ago took a pipe wrench to it got it loose turned the clutch on went for a sec and snap there goes the bed chain.
  17. r.renterprises

    r.renterprises Member
    Messages: 31

    I love my hiniker stainless v box electric. Second year running it absolutely no problems used to run snow wolf had lots of otoblems with the gas motors. They guy I bought mine from now is running 3 like mine and no gas units. They work great and are priced competitive
  18. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    I guess I am not understanding these statements. 99% of the time we are plowing\salting the temps are below freezing. Most of the time snow is falling and accumulating because it is below freezing.

    If I had to run empty spreaders until we were done plowing because it was going to freeze in the hopper I wouldn't bother having plow\salt truck combos. Or I would just get real salt spreaders.
  19. dodgegmc1213

    dodgegmc1213 Senior Member
    Messages: 997

    whats the point of having salt in the hopper during the storm anyway? ok just some weight but it can freeze up. theres no point to salt during the storm your just wasting product, unless you have a a lot of traffic and need to salt. all we do is pretreat and then salt when the storms over. yes snow falls at and below and sometimes alil above freezing. so if its gonna be around 30 or so during the storm and the salts not soaked it will be fine in the hopper and you got your weight. but when it getting into the teens and single digits with 30-40 mile wind and real feel is in the negatives, we don't even pretreat and we run empty, once its over and time for clean up then we load up and salt. but just because we choose to run empty sometimes doesn't mean were not gonna have plow/salt truck combos. what you gonna do waste money on another truck to salt with??
  20. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 638


    So do you salt heavy traffic lots during the storm or not? We do, sometimes that's the only way to clear hard pack on high traffic areas during the storm. I wouldn't call it a waste, using a couple tons of salt vs scraping with buckets........