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Do I have the right idea about buying a used plow?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by tibug, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. tibug

    tibug Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 21

    Hi everyone, I'm new here and new to plowing. I'm researching for a used plow for my 1993 Dakota 4x4 Extra-Cab 3.9 V6 5-speed. I'm looking for something that the Dak can carry and push without straining it too much. I'm not looking at plowing as a source of income yet; I would only be plowing my driveway and a few friend's driveways. If I got into it and wanted to make some money, I'd buy an additional beater Dakota (automatic, probably) and plow the piss out of it.

    That being said, I don't want to beat up my current Dakota too much, because I've put lots of work into it. Don't get me wrong...I intend to use it as a truck, but after the work I've done to it I don't want to abuse it by plowing a billion driveways.

    This is how the truck looks right now.

    [​IMG]

    I've been looking on Craigslist and found 4 Dakotas near me with plows. This would be ideal since I don't have a plow mount at present and everything could just swap over. 3/4 of the trucks are rotted and done, but the plows are good. They seem to be running in the $1000-$1200 range. I figure that I could salvage/sell whatever is worth salvaging out of the truck and transfer all the plow equipment to mine, then scrap the truck. I think I could probably get back half the money that way.

    This is all in the planning stage and none of the Craigslist trucks are being seriously considered, just hypothetically. As you can see, the truck is not done yet, and I have another hunk of junk Subaru that I have to get rid of before I can put another vehicle in the yard.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  2. Rick547

    Rick547 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 535

    Doesn't look like a two week project to me. Good luck and keep us posted on the truck rebuild.
     
  3. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,523

    Now would be a good time to mount the mount and looking a little lite on ballast.
     
  4. tibug

    tibug Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 21

    Oh yeah, and I'm not planning on even plowing this winter...it would be cool if I did but the truck has to be done first. It's moving a lot quicker now, but still plenty to do. If I'm not a lazyass I think I could have it all back together in a month. Just have to make some cab mounts, replace the driver's side floor using my awesome welding skills (he remarked facetiously), clean and paint the tranny crossmember, make another couple fuel lines, find the sway bar bracket that I magically lost somewhere in a single car garage, then reinstall everything! (edit: okay there's probably about 20 or 30 other things that I forgot)

    I know people who could have the thing from as it sits now to running and driving in a solid weekend (okay, maybe two weekends), but I'm slow and easily frustrated. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  5. dstifel

    dstifel Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 188

    Interested to see this project
     
  6. tibug

    tibug Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 21

    Thanks for the comments! The truck as it once was:

    [​IMG]

    Your eyes do not deceive you. The bend in the frame is due to there being very little actual frame material around the front leaf hanger. Actually, the leaf hanger was quite literally holding the truck together. Front upper control arm mounts were also about to fail.

    Short video of the damage (click):

    [​IMG]

    I was about to scrap the truck and look for a Tacoma, but then I drove to New Jersey to pick up a 99% rust-free frame.

    [​IMG]

    Compare this picture to the old frame above. To me, this is the most beautiful thing ever, but I'm weird.

    [​IMG]

    I removed every riveted or bolted x-member and leaf hanger on the frame, prepped and painted them and painted the entire frame with SPI Epoxy Primer and Eastwood's Internal Frame Coating (the green stuff you see in the first post picture).

    That's pretty much the short version. The condensed long version is that every single bushing and bearing in the outer axles/suspension was replaced, ball joints, tie-rods, steering arms, bumpstops, along with new brake lines, new fuel lines, new calipers front, drums rear, new shocks, new exhaust from the cat-back, u-joints, almost entirely new fastening hardware on the major components. Typical rebuild stuff, all of which will be documented on dodgeforum.com.

    I know someone will want to know about the motor: The 239 V6 is going back in exactly as it came out. Boring and anti-climatic, yes...but I do have a 318 V8 (stock option in this truck) that will be going in after it is refreshed. For now the V6 is a great motor.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  7. dstifel

    dstifel Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 188

    That v8 will help a lot for plowing.
     
  8. tibug

    tibug Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 21

    True, but the V6 had pretty good power output for its day. The Magnum motors from '92+ made a ton more power. In fact the 1992 239 Magnum made more power (180hp) than the 1991 318 LA (170hp). I'm not saying I disagree with you at all...the V8 will be nice, but the V6 isn't a total dog.
     
  9. tibug

    tibug Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 21

    From my research it seems that a 7ft plow would be just about the max to put on this truck, and it would be better with a 6.5ft. Does that sound about right?
     
  10. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,529

    Get the 7 ft. Then you don't have to mess with wings
    When you realize a 6ft is to narrow .
    The weight diff is very minimal
     
  11. tibug

    tibug Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 21

    Thanks SnoFarmer. I think my truck has a fgawr of about 3000 lbs. Not sure how much weight is on the front axle stock but I think its got enough to spare for a decent sized plow. But I'm new to this so thanks for the advice.
     
  12. dstifel

    dstifel Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 188

    I run a western hts on my half ton only weighs about 400# and works great.
     
  13. tibug

    tibug Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 21

    Cool, so even a lighter 7.5 may not be out of the question.
     
  14. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    Always look at the width of the blade angled, then add from that for the min. size plow. The weight difference in those 6 or 12 inches aren't much.
    I have a 8' on a full size truck and a 6'8" on a Sammy. I wish both were wider.
    Always run with ballast in the far back. It isn't engine that plows, it's torque. You can achieve that two ways. Cheapest is gearing. It's all about the gearing. I plowed for about 20 years with the sammy. Started out with a 1.3L now a huge 1.6L :dizzy: but it's gearing. Yes my Cummins will push a house but not the same. Your V6 will be fine. Remember the issue isn't pushing the plow but pushing the snow. Plow with the storm. Better to push 4" three times than 12" once. Did I mention add weight in the back? I would add 5-700lbs to the sammy, 2-3000lbs with the full size. The only difference in the V6 and V8 in your case will be the cost of fuel. Oh, with stick you will find it's better to be moving, then drop the plow. Easier on the clutch.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  15. tibug

    tibug Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 21

    Thanks! Good tips there. I guess I'll expand my search to larger plows. Ballast was another thing I didn't really know much about but I'll be sure to consider it. From what you describe, I would think I should put almost a 1/2 ton in the bed of my Dak? Time to buy some tubes of sand! :)

    Oh, I also have some brand new Firestone Winterforce tires in the skinniest size I could find...so those should help.
     
  16. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,529

    I dont think 1000lbs is necessary, for a 7ft straight plow.
    heck, i only run 500-600lbs with my 10ft V plow
    300-400lb would be a good pace to start.
    placed behind the wheel wells, by the tale gate.
     
  17. tibug

    tibug Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 21

    Cool, sounds good. Now to find a good deal. I've been scouring Craigslist and found some reasonably priced things but nothing that shouted "Buy it now!!!"

    I'm looking for a good deal right now because I don't need a plow yet...when the truck's done I'd be willing to pay what some of these ads are asking.
     
  18. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,414

    why go thru all that work to create a nice clean truck and destroy it in the salt with a plow?
     
  19. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    Truck:
    I have plowed with nothing in the back... plows differently with 600lbs in it. Even plows different with 1200lbs... Stick more than that in - don't have to use 4wd.
    You should try different weights yourself and see what you like. I think you will see what I'm talking about.
    I started out empty, then went with 2500lbs, only because thats what a pallet of salt weights. :D
    Thats how I buy it. Then once I add the other 20 bags of other ice melts, spreader, tools, it added up quickly.
    Sammy:
    I have plowed with the back empty... Can't hit the brakes hard. Back wheels raise up. (makes it rather hard to steer. But I also have a heavy front end from other goodies added on.)
    With nothing in the back and you hit some deep stuff with the plow angled, the back of the sammy swings around. But it could also be the big mud tires. Way wrong tires for snow. Must add weight.
    Remember, there are cheap plows and there are expensive plows. You get what you pay for. I like my snoway plows.
     
  20. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    Because creating a nice clean car doesn't work the same. :D
    Spreading salt... work clean. Thats why I like bags.
    It's behind you. It's the salt that is already on the road that eats your truck.
    Fluid film the truck and it helps with the rust.