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Blade width preference

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Greenman2ooo, Oct 16, 2000.

  1. Greenman2ooo

    Greenman2ooo Banned
    Messages: 107

    I was wondering what width blade you would prefer. Is 7.5' too small or would I be happy with that. Would an 8 or 8.5 be better for certain situations??? Would an 8 or 8.5 be too wide for residential drives and parking spaces? I hear 7.5' are the dealers best seller, but he says that is because so many guys with 1/2 tons use them. I do know he told me Western recommends up to a 9 foot plow for my truck.

    I'm guessing the bulk of its use will be in parking lots slightly less than one acre in size, but also in wide open areas. I don't want to sacrifice mobility and my ability to clear parking spaces between cars. Would my vehicle become more cumbersome or more productive with an 8.5 foot blade?

    Another dealer says "everyone" uses 7.5' and he has relatives that plow, etc.

    Please, no input on brand preference or styles, strictly blade width. :p
  2. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    It depends on the brand and model of the truck.

    1/2 tons, any brand, 7.5 is a good fit, however some brands require a 7'

    3/4 ton chevy, gmc, dodge, all can use a 7.5 up to a 9 (depending on if its a heavy or light duty 3/4 ton)

    Ford 3/4 ton heavy duties, they don't make an ld any more. skip the 8, and get an 8.5 or 9, the turning radius on these trucks is much larger than it's competiors. I know guys with chevy HD 3/4 tons that use a 7.5 blade. They do it because they can push like 8" of snow at a time with out a problem, try moving 8" with a 9' foot, no 3/4 ton truck will like it, but they will (you will just have little controll).

    1 ton trucks any brand, go with a 9', or an 8.5' v-plow.

    You need an F 450 or 550 to take the 9.5 v-plow, i can't really see useing a 10' streight blade with a F 550. It can be done, however i don't think enough is gained with the increased blade size. Like i have said before a F 550 ( I will say the same thing about GMC/Chevy's F 550 copy cat, when it comes out), is an F 350 on steriods, you have increased gvw, but you waven't widened the trucks stance. The wide truck i think will help you controll the 10' blade. I would recomend a HD 9' on a F 550, gives you a solid blade, but allows the truck to move more snow, however the truck is not strained or overloaded.

  3. SLC1

    SLC1 Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    For a 3/4 ton pickup I would get 8.5' plow. As for a 1 ton dually or pickup I would get a 9'. These are for straight blades. I think wider is better, a personal feeling, I have 9' blades on all my trucks and have not been unable to a single place because it was to large. Sometimes while driving down a busy main road with the plow it can feel a little to big but for the most part it is fine on the trucks. I used to run all 8' plows until I tried a 9' blade, you can see a significant increase in productivity over the 8'. Just my two cents.
  4. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Geoff,, with all due respect for your experience and opinions I don't know where you come up with some of the things you comment about.

    >> I know guys with chevy HD 3/4 tons that use a 7.5 blade. They do it because they can push like 8" of snow at a time with out a problem, try moving 8" with a 9' foot, no 3/4 ton truck will like it, but they will (you will just have little controll).<<

    Maybe your snow is different than ours, but I have never had much problem moving snow with the 8' blades we run. And those have been on a K1500, a K2500 and two S-10s. The only caveat to that is the one time we had 2-3" of wet snow/sleet and it had frozen over on top, nothing we had could have pushed straight through that. And that same storm it was only the downpressure on the Sno-Ways that allowed us to clean to pavement. The guy in the next lot was only able to plane the high spots with his Fishers.

    As far as 1/2 vs 3/4 ton, other than the heavier suspension allowing you to carry a heavier blade what is the magic of plowing with a 3/4? Weight is virtually the same, drivetrain (other than axles) is the same so what's the big advantage? We didn't see any difference when we moved up other than more available horsepower, we had traded up from 305 to 350, same axle ratios though.

    Last April we got 14" of moderately wet snow. It came fast enough that it was all on the ground by the time we were half way around the route. I started pushing with the 2500 and later swapped to one of the S trucks. Granted the S took more throttle but I didn't feel I was ever having trouble pushing.

    Another guy here is running a 9' Sno-Way on an older F-150 short box. He doesn't seem to have much trouble with that either.

    As far as control, I don't see much difference either, although I know I can turn into a full blade easier with the 2500, but not enough to make it an issue.
  5. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Alan, i am not running the 7.5' blade on my 3/4 tons. I run 8.5' on 3/4. I know people that run 7.5' those were some of the reasons they gave me, i can't help it that they run 7.5' (maybe they buy them because they are cheaper). I think turing a truck is a major isshue, if you can't turn a truck with a fully loaded blade, then there is a problem, too much snow or too much blade. These are the reasons that i think these people run 7.5' blades. They sleep in and don't start plowing to like 7 am, and the snow has changed to rain, and it is proabably at it heavest point. Now the guys that do this aren't major plow contractors. One guy uses a 7.4 because when he leased his first truck it came with a 7.5, 2 years later he moved up to a 3/4 ton for towing, and kept the same 7.5 plow (hopefully this makes everything more clear. One thing i will add is, that most guys i see and know run an 8 or 8.5 with a 3/4 ton.

    There is a big difference between plowing with a 3/4 tons and half tons, i can go on for days.

    Alan is ya think i am crazy, fine, i don't care. Like i said these are the things i have heard, and again the smallest blade i have is an 8' (yard truck) all front line trucks are 8.5 and up. All i was saying is that you can use a 7.5' on a 3/4 ton unless it's a Ford, the advantages are when you get a mix storm the truck will perform better because of the smaller blade (these mix storms are common in maine).

  6. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 700

    Blade width really depends on the snow you get,Here in Iowa there relly is no diffrence between a 1/2 and 3/4 ton truck.I have both and have never noticed the diff in amount of snow moved and I have 9ftrs on both.Maybe,maybe if you were moving 10inches everytime you go out you might see a diffrence but I have moved 10" with both without a noticable diffrence.
  7. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Another thing to consider is the age of the truck. I used to have a 9' fisher on a 88 GMC 1500, the truck plowed ok but had trouble turning, and in deep snow ( an 8 or 7.5 would have been a better choice). When i had the plow installed, both my dad and the fisher dealer looked at me like i was crazy. That was my first GM product, also one of my first things i bought for the company, with out my dad's approvel. I will admit the truck took a beating, when it was traded in 95, it had 160K of hard miles (it had the 4.3? v6 in it, and a 5 speed).

    Back in the early 80s we ran 8' on 1/2 tons all the time. However, how many of you would think about putting a 8' or 9' plow on a brand new 1/2 ton? Or could you find a dealer to install it?

  8. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    >>There is a big difference between plowing with a 3/4 tons and half tons, i can go on for days<<

    Please do, it escapes me and I might be able to learn something
  9. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    well days proably isn't the best choice of words however, this is what you will get.

    All Brands. Heaver Frame, to support the plow, as well as transfer stress better.

    Heavier Transmissions. I believe there is a big difference in trans between 1/2 ton and 3/4 for GM.

    Larger engines, the option of disiel.

    Increased payload, allows for v-box spreaders.

    Heavier front end drive trains. I am sure of this for Ford, not quite so sure on GM and Dodge.

    Different rear ends, which may provide better performance.

    For Ford and ( i am not sure about GM, i know dodge is coil) front leaf springs, which allows for a better front suspension platform (easier to add leafs, ect for a heavier front end)

    Often a bigger radiator, provieds better cooling, for the engine.

    Higher ground clearance, may avoid getting stuck in some cases.

    Not as big as an isshue now. However the old 96 and older Ford 150s, had 15" tires, all 3/4 tons and up had 16"

    I also believe that the 3/4 ton provides a bigger alternator, because of the large engine combinations allowed.

    Thats all i can think of right now. However i am comparing new trucks.

    Also i am saying that for the commercial plower a 3/4 ton is a better platform. For a home owner, a 1/2 or even a compact truck if fine if you can get a plow for it.

  10. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Alan,you really dont think there is any difference in plowing with a 3/4?My 3/4 GMC handles the weight so much better than the 1500 GMC it was on before.I know my 1500 sb 4x4 weighed 4470 empty,the 2500 HD 4x4 with a 350 weighed 5400-thats a lot of weight in my opinion.I can put my v-box in the 3/4 and load it up.The 1500 wouldnt stop if i tried that,not to mention it would be dragging the rear bumper in the snow-making a cheap pull plow out of the bumper.I plow with my S10 and love it,but if your going to get a FS-after owning them i recommend the 2500 LD as the minimum for plowing if you havent already bought atruck.I know most guys including myself and Geoff,run heavy Fisher,Western or Diamond plows,maybe your light Sno way is fine on a 1500-i know the Minute mount was strain on my 1500 Z71,and a breeze on the 2500.Other than this plowing is the same for me,i still like the S10 the best anyway,its like a slotcar and pushes amazingly well for a little truck.
  11. Snow Pro

    Snow Pro Senior Member
    Messages: 146


    Let me know next time you get 10". I want to see your 1/2 tons push that with a 9' blade. Around here they won't even install anything larger than a 7 1/2 on a 1/2 ton. You must get a lot of dry powder.
  12. Snow Pro

    Snow Pro Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    Greenman2000 -

    I have a suggestion that you can lose with. Get a 7 1/2, an 8 1/2 and a 9 1/2 blade all for the same truck. I'm talking about Pro-Wings. Get a 7 1/2' blade installed with wings. The wings will add about $200 to the cost but will pay for themselves the first time out. Each side adds 1' extra plowing width. You can use one, both or none, depending on where you are. In an open lot you double your productivity going from 7 1/2 to 9 1/2'.

    Also, make sure your cistomers understand that you will not ever under any circumstances plow a single parking space in between 2 cars. We need a minimum of 2 spaces. Some guys I know won't plow less than 3 spaces together.

    Do you other guys out there have any minimums?
  13. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    We have a diner that's open 24 hours, and gets busy when it snows. We leave a stack of cones by the door, and the manager has someone come out and put a cone in a space when a car leaves. The manager, or owner also watches the parking lot, and tells people where to <B>not</B> park. We do a section at a time there. People naturally tend to park in the spaces that are cleared already anyway. It's the spaces right out front that we use the cones for. People don't want to have to walk far to get in, but we need to get the spaces cleared. Especially since they get used 10X more than the rest.

  14. Lazer

    Lazer Senior Member
    Messages: 399


    If undecided, get an 8'.

    Depending on brand, some 8' are quite a bit heavier-duty than 7 & 7.5.

    They're wide enough (angled) to clear a path in front of all tires, even when turning slightly.

    Without know what you're plowing and what you're mounting it on, 8' is most always a safe bet.

    Unless you're plowing confined areas, I'd advise against a 7.5'.
  15. Greenman2ooo

    Greenman2ooo Banned
    Messages: 107


    I will be mounting it on a 1995 F250 HD. The truck is rated for up to a 9 foot Western plow. Yes, my front gvwr is heavy enough for a 9'on a 3/4 ton, due to the higher ratings of the HD. Would the 8.5' be much more productive??? I just wondered why you recommend the 8' over the 8.5'? I'd rather not push it (it being my front end) to the max with a 9 footer, but maybe an 8.5'?

    What will be plowed with the vehicle? My accounts will consist of commercial lots-- most of which are 3/4 acre or so, less than 1/2 mile of private road, and a couple of 2-4 acre lots. Not all of the above deals are sealed, but past experience tells me I will get a good percentage of what I have bid. I also expect to pick up some driveways along the private drives. All driveways are short, slightly rectangular drives of no more than 40-50' long and ~20' wide.

    From everything I'm hearing, my truck shouldn't have trouble in all but the heaviest snows, even with a 9'. It's kind of like spring mowing. When you are in the heavy, wet stuff you have to slow down and take less than a full swath at a time.

    I'd hate to give up any productivity when the extra 6" of blade only cost $65.

    By the way, thank you all for being so helpful. I have learned so much from others in such a short time that people sometimes mistake me for someone who knows what he is doing. :)

    [Edited by Greenman2ooo on 10-17-2000 at 04:05 PM]
  16. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 700

    All the things that you are showing as diffrences between the 1/2 ans 3/4 ton are not capability issues because engine power is no diffrent between the two.Weight capability was brought up but I do not belive I said any thing about putting a sander in a half ton, and the addition of extra weight for plowing should be done with care because of transmission and brake wear on either truck.And no matter what you do traction is the ultimate limiting factor,no matter how much power you have you will run out of traction first.I have never stalled out a truck due to lack of power unless you are bucking pile and if one of my guy gets caught bucking piles he's gone.So other than a little extra carring capability and what you deem to be a durability issue the two trucks will push the same.
  17. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,222

    I think and 8' is just the right size for most applications but for residential a smaller blade would be better butt for commercial i would stick with the 8 and up sizes.
  18. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    I said it before and will say it again. On a Ford 3/4 ton get at least an 8.5, i have a lot of ford trucks. If you are going to plow lighter accumulations, ie 4 to 5" at a time, the 9' should be fine. I used to plow with a 9' on a 97 HD 3/4 ton with no problem (unless you plowed like 10" of very wet snow). If you don't want to worry about controll, power, ect get the 8.5, however you should be fine with a 9'.

  19. SLC1

    SLC1 Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    I agree with Geoff, I would get at least the 8.5' or 9' I think the productivity gained with the extra 6" is a lot. And like you said, if it is heavy wet snow then you just go slower. I don't know anyone who waits until there is 10" of snow out there to plow. On most of my accounts we are out with the first inch of snow on the ground. So I would not worry about the truck not being able to handle it.
  20. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    Pleasse we all know what plow is the most effeciant, it is a v plow.
    Any plow, in 4+ inches very quickly becomes 1/2 of what the width is once a winrow is formed. With a v plow, in the scoop position, I am still 7'10" or more, and I have very little spillage. Every pass is the same. Get the v plow and you wont regret it.
    P.S.If I was to purchase a straight blade for that truck, I would get the 8.5'But I wouldnt cause the v plow rocks all commers
    Bigger is always better.