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Best engine for plowing?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Sweetpete, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. Sweetpete

    Sweetpete Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    1st of all, I'm NOT here to start a brand war. I was just curious, what is, in your opinion, the best engine for snowplowing? Diesel, small block gas, big block gas?

    I'm only curious because, my 5.4 V8 seems to do a great job pushing snow, so what, if any, are the benefits to going with a bigger gasser?

    BTW, this is only pertaining to snow plowing. I know alot of you guys use your trucks for landscaping too. But I was just wondering about snowplowing.

    Thanks for any feedback.
  2. 2004 f250 psd

    2004 f250 psd Member
    Messages: 57

    Hi I have had a gm 2003 6.6 diesel and ford 2002 5.4 gas and a 2004 6.0 diesel And out of all of them a like the 6.0 the most for plowing / towing / all-around use so my money is on ford 6.0 psd

    TRUE TURF LAWN Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    i have a gas motor but i would love to have a diesel.
  4. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,868

    I've plowed with gas, I've plowed with diesel..They both work great, however diesel is a little easier on fuel consumption
  5. lorentzlawnsnow

    lorentzlawnsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 143

    my favorites are always the ones that run.
  6. Acmemechanic

    Acmemechanic Senior Member
    Messages: 137

    best motor

    I got beat to it. One that runs is my reply.
  7. grotecguy

    grotecguy Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    My primary truck is a Dodge slant 6 and a 1 barrel carb.
    It has pushed 16 inches at a time.

    I have used a Cummins diesel and it was a pretty sweet truck.

    Mark K

    ADLAWNCUTTERS Senior Member
    Messages: 212

    Been there done that.Diesel wins hands down.I can move snowplies almost as high as the hood of the truck from a dead stop.With the gas truck you have to take a running start and hope the back end doesn't kick out. If your doing driveways then a gas truck is ok. For me i will NEVER own a gas truck again.In the spring the truck pull the lawn trailer with no problems.If your thinking about buying one spend the money for the diesel.
  9. MSC

    MSC Member
    Messages: 75

    I have had a bunch of plow trucks over the past 18 years of plowing and I have to say that Diesel is the way to go.
    They seem to have a little more grunt when your pushing bigger piles of snow.
    And they seem to use a little less fuel than gas engines. but not much.
    That all depends on who is in the seat.
    I am a Chevy man at heart, but I really have to say that my
    Dodge 3500 diesel is one heck of a plow truck.

  10. Gas vs Diesel

    Diesel is the way to go. But if you do gas, anything will work, but in deep snows, a big block will actually use less gas becasue it will work less hard.

    I have a 1999 2500 chevy with a vortech 350. I have pushed 20" of heavy wet snow, it did it just fine, but i am sure a diesel or big block would have done better.
  11. Sweetpete

    Sweetpete Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    You guys are awesome. Thanks for the great responses. I can't believe I didn't get 1 smart alec remark. I'll continue to check in. I'm stunned at how many guys prefer the diesel?

    I always thought the diesel takes way longer to warm up and is way heavier on the front end than a gas, thereby making it less suitable for plowing. But, maybe I'm wrong.

    Any ideas on this? Thanks again. Fantastic insight.
  12. murphyslaw

    murphyslaw Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    there is a point you guys are skipping. No matter on what engine you have if you dont have the proper counter weight you'll go noware. yes diesel's are great gas is good but all the power in the world wont help when ur spinning ur tires. there is a saying in the 4x4 industry "horse power digs holes torque gets you out." so for that fact diesels are most likely a better choice althow my three trucks are gas. my off road truck is a diesel and everyone laught at me the first time i showed up with it at a trail run " you have a diesel, thats not going to work." and now that they have seen the difference in hp vs. torque they dont say that anymore. now they call my rig the "john deere"
  13. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    Well since you havent gotten a smart assed answer yet I'll be the first. Gas will work just fine if you buy a chevy :p jk

    Actually IMO one of the best plow trucks out there if buying new would be a new chevy 2500HD with a 6.0. Just for plowing. If one were to buy a older truck I would vote for the 350 chevy. Vortech or carbed still a great package IMO. That said I bought a diesel.

    Diesels do use alot less fuel when working them so thats a plus but for plowing snow it dosnt seem to be a difference to affect your bottom line for strictly plowing. Diesels seem a lil more controlable when pushing but thats a very small line IMO. A medium size gasser like a 6.0 has more than enough grunt to move any snow you want......it all comes down to traction anyway. Even with loaded down with ballast you will probably be able to zapp your tires at will even with a moderate gasser.

    A diesel does take longer to warm up but if you run a winter front when needed its not an issue. A diesel is also nice in the aspect in that even with a plow up front you arnt going to over heat em if they are running right. Some gassers even if running right you have to be a bit more watchfull and carefull with a blade on for it running warm.

    A diesel does weigh more but with proper ballast and a proper set up truck its affect on the front end is small. Plus more weight on the nose for plowing:nod:
  14. Big Dog D

    Big Dog D PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,134

    I own and plow with both the 5.4L gas & the 6.0L diesel. If you have the gas and you are happy with it, keep it. Plowing with the diesel is nice, it gives you a bit more power and because of the weight better grip on the front axel but is it worth it? The diesel is a $5000.00 + option, unless you need the extra power for things other than plowing you most likely will never see any co$t savings nor ever realize any benefit from it other than bragging rites.
  15. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    In all my plowing I've done, I don't think I've ever wished for more power.

    Traction is always going to be the weakest link.

    I don't think I ever give more than 1/4 throttle while plowing.

    I say buy the engine that wil make you the happiest the other 90% of the trucks use.
  16. Andy N.

    Andy N. Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    I have no issue with plowing with a gas engine, did it for my first three years. Then I bought a diesel. The reason I bought a diesel (6.0psd) was for towing and also for plowing. I load that puppy up with lotsa salt and have an 8.5' plow and can't feel it in the throttle. Plus, my truck will run from 2am till 9pm without ever shutting down. That is what diesels are for, working, and I make my truck work. I am completely satisfied with this engine and I will never buy a gasser again.

    I bought timbrens for it last year also, both front and rear, and what a huge difference when loaded with several tons of salt in the vbox and the plow on.
  17. Sweetpete

    Sweetpete Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    Wow...absolutely fantastic. I never would have guessed. I really appreciate the input. It would be a hard sell for me to justify the extra $5k, but I'll have to kick it around over the next few years.

    Right now, I really enjoy my 5.4 and so far, so good. Thanks for the info and feel free to keep the thread going. I will check in often.
  18. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I wouldn't worry about needing huge amounts of power. I plowed for several years with a 'temporary' 305 in my one-ton. When/if it felt like running on eight cylinders, I think it was 150hp brand new... by the time I retired it, it had at least one completely dead cylinder and was still pushing snow with no problems...

    Mind you, it was horrendous climbing steep uphills with ballast etc. in such a heavy truck (7100lbs empty, no plow gear)...
  19. Hubbard Place

    Hubbard Place Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2

    Ask yourself how long that plow truck will last. Plowing isn't easy on the truck, and a $5000 option takes time to pay for itself. With diesel prices high, it will take a while on fuel cost alone. With that said, I would drop my 5.4 for a diesel in a second if I could seriously justify it.
  20. Andy N.

    Andy N. Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    Yah, I hear ya, there is a chance that the diesel engine will way outlast the truck thus making it seem like it doesn't pay for itself.