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Chains and Driveway of Death

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by ridektm, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. ridektm

    ridektm Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I'm relatively new to plowing and just accepted my first STEEP driveway. It's about 1/8 mile long with one 90 degree turn. The whole thing is steep, but after the turn it feels like straight up.

    The driveway belongs to an older couple (friends of mine). They generally take care of it with a snowblower, but asked me to help them out when it's too much for them. I'm expecting them to call me when the driveway is impassable.

    The drive is right on the edge of a hill with no railing or bank. I think I'll need chains in addition to more ballast, but since this is only place I need them I'd like something "easy on" and "easy off". Any brand/purchase suggestions? Chain vs. cable and can I get away with a just a set on the rear??
  2. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Don't know about chains but pushing the snow uphill is alot easier to control then pushing it downhill Blade angle is very important too JMO

    MOWBIZZ Senior Member
    Messages: 500

    In this case I wouldn't really worry about chains if you're plowing with a 3/4 ton 4x4 or better...I would definitely drive up the hill (not plowing, unless its fairly level ) and when you get to the top do the part up there then plow your way down in low gear and 4wd LOW. Should be plenty of torque and engine braking power to angle plow to the DOWNHILL SIDE so you're creating a windrow on the drop off side...just my way of seeing this...and "define" impassable. "Impassable" for a 2wd car may be a piece of cake for your truck, but then again I wouldn't take on the hill with 2 feet of snow either...use common sense and you should be okay...and hey, there's always "triple A" to haul you out if ya get schtuck...
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
  4. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,030

    Find new friends with a flater driveway. I only need you when it's bad, I've heard that so many times. LOL:D
  5. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,593

    I agree with JD- No driveway is worth possibly wrecking your equipment. Had a driveway years ago just like that; trust me its not a good feeling when your sliding into a ravine in a 10" storm and your only half way thru your route. If they are really your friends they will understand. Do what you can with the truck, and finish the hard part with their snowblower.:drinkup:

    KATTRANSPORT Senior Member
    Messages: 143

    Grow a set and just have at it. Just have a friend bring a video camera. If anything you will be a youtube hero for the day
  7. scitown

    scitown Senior Member
    Messages: 422

    I agree with all of the above, If you dont think you could do it or it is going to take you a half hour to put chains on and grab some extra ballast, use the snowblower. plow what you can blow what you can't. Most important dont forget the video camera.
  8. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    A decent set of V-bar chains will work well.....cable are not worth it IMO. Diamond "european" chains are easier to on/off, but will not grip like V-bar (still much better than cable though). One set for rear should be enough (although I always have a back-up set for the front "just-in-case") with plenty of ballast.

    Chains are not hard to install after you have done it a half dozen times..... a 2x6 block can be helpful. Do use tightners or a bungie. I always plow in 4-LO. I'm in the mountains, so 1/2 my plowing is up-hill, but yes.....down-hill is easier.

    Good Luck
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
  9. tc21

    tc21 Member
    Messages: 47

    Its always a good Idea to have a set of chains just in case. (Since were having frezing rain in northern NE I'm reminded how tough it can be). If there is ice under the snow it can be tricky. If your going to have a lot of snow why not plow it more than once? They will understand. It's a lot of work for the truck to plow a drive way full of snow. Driving up and plowing down works good. Or you can raise the blade up and plow up hill taking half the snow. Some times punching it to the sides as you go up in short pushes works aswell. I would plow it more than once. Good luck.
  10. ridektm

    ridektm Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Hey thanks for everyone's advice! I think I'll go with the v-bar chains for the rear and ballast, plow downhill in 4lo and take it easy. My truck is a 3/4 ton 4x4 and I may not need the chains but I it will just make me feel better. I'll also bring the video camera and post any action - although it will have to be after I jump out and catch the truck going down :)

    I also have to say this site is awesome - where else can you get feedback from Colorado to the Northeast - Thanks again!!!
  11. ehalaby

    ehalaby Junior Member
    from NNJ
    Messages: 2

    My driveway is similar but far worse. two sharp turns and a 90. 10' paved cliff one side mountain other. I always leave truck up top but when cought out I always found it best to back up and push down. Used to plow up at times or drive up but depending on conditions last 90 was impossible and I would slide sideways till wedged or worse. Never again. And I have plowed 20years and done alot of impossible uphill drives. Just my opinion. Have gotten everything from my 4x4mason dump loaded to my f350 rack loaded with salt to my dodge 2500's spreader and salt. LOL....Now have a dodge2500 MVP 8'6" and a 6' snoway spreader. No problems except when 3" of sleet and neighbor decided to use driveway as a bobsled run. IDIOT!!!!!! didnt find out till half way up drive. half hour and a yard of salt later I made it up. Always go up backward if in doubt. Plow will almost always save you ass if you start sliding back down. Go up in reverse and slide backwards.....JUMP!!!!!!!lol......Good luck....btw never used chains....Smart plowing will always prevail.....
  12. LawnProLandscapes

    LawnProLandscapes PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,129

    throttle up and hold on :cool: when in doubt throttle out haha wait are those my sled riding motto's or my plowing motto's :drinkup:
  13. Oasis

    Oasis Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    Hey dont forget about the 53rd state up north lol tymusic
  14. Jbowe

    Jbowe Senior Member
    Messages: 167

    Alaska and Chains

    I like questions like this because everyone has thier way of doing it. Heres what I do and I have several like you described. My customers always want the snow plowed off the bottom hill side of the drive, go figure. What I do is angle my blade all the way right then plow up the hill side of the drive windrowing to the hill side. You should have no problem without chains. I never use them myself and rarely get stuck. Then clean up on top and when you start down angle your Blade left and windrow the remainder over the side. Very easy to do. You may have to do a clean up but thats easy since by this time the drive is basically clean.
  15. ridektm

    ridektm Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Alaska - Jbowe??

    Hey Jbowe - that sounds like a good plan. I guess I'm just intimidated having never done hill plowing. Part of my fear is that since I don't have limited slip differentials I'm worried the open diff will limit my "climbing" capability or ability to back up if needed when going downhill.

    Does your rig have the limited slip diff's or do you use lockers??

    Thanks and by the way I'm jealous - Alaska has to be the best place to have a plow :)
  16. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    when u carry weight up hill it all transfers to the back so it makes going up pretty easy.when ur going down forward it puts it on the front tires. so if ur on a hill and have to go backwards up it all of the weights on the front tires so they dig push u right back up the hill. i would just say take ur time or get new friends
  17. Jbowe

    Jbowe Senior Member
    Messages: 167

    Limited slip

    My 3/4 ton is the one I drive and it does not have a limited slip. I have not had any problems at all with it on the hills. Just make sure you have the right weight in the back. I use 800 lbs. Just take your time and watch what your doing and you won't have any problems with that drive. After you've done it a couple of times it will be just like pulling up to a regular drive on flat ground. You just need to trust your truck to do the job its designed to do. Good luck
  18. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    get a set v bar chains
  19. TL697

    TL697 Senior Member
    Messages: 189

    I just picked up a steep drive...

    It is only about 100 ft long, but...

    It is very steep going down towards the house and basically, levels off at the garage...

    I usually plow down in 4x4 Low, and windrow to the down hill side, backdrag, turn around, and plow up and out...


    Today, I had a butt-pucker moment...

    As I was almost up and out, I spun a little, and then proceeded to slide back down the hill towards the house gaining speed... Thank goodness I only had 1/2 the drive done cuz the plow eventually backdragged enough snow to bring me to a stop...

    I ended up using the homeowner's snow blower, and finished it, but...

    Any recommendations?
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2008
  20. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    studded back tires