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Do I really need ballast?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by rswojo, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. rswojo

    rswojo Member
    Messages: 50

    First a little background.

    I have been plowing my driveways for years using a 1978 Ford F-150 equipped with a Meyer ST-90 plow which weighs about 790 lbs. This rig was purchased new by my father, who gave me a good deal on it in 1987. I have never used ballast, nor did he. I plow and then park it in the garage. If I have to drive it somewhere I remove the plow.

    I just got a 2013 Silverado 1500 regular cab long box and I am considering a Boss-Sport Duty 7' 6'' or a Sno-Way Model 26 7" 6" plow for the Silverado. The Boss weighs 421 lbs. plus approximately 50 lbs. for the mount and specifies 182 lbs. of ballast. The Sno-Way weighs 471 lbs. and I assume the mount weighs about the same as the Boss. I haven't found any specs for ballast on the Sno-Way.

    Would I have to dick around with ballast if I use it the same way as the old plow? The only driving would be the trip home from the dealer if either one performs as reliably as that old Weber which didn't require any service other than fluid changes, new hoses and a seal kit when it was 18 years old.
     
  2. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    You can do without ballast, I wouldn't recommend it but it's your equipment. It's harder on your front tires, brakes, shocks, wheel bearings, steering components, ball joints, rear tires, etc., it will create under-steer and require you to run in 4X4 at all times when the plows mounted for reasonable traction but you don't HAVE to have it.
     
  3. rswojo

    rswojo Member
    Messages: 50

    OK so I have this ballast behind the rear tires to lessen the weight on the front end when the plow is on. Then when I remove the plow to drive somewhere my front end is light. I think this would lead to less steering control and more tendency to hydroplane on wet roads.

    It takes me 25 minutes to plow 4-6 inches of snow on my driveway and 45 minutes to plow a foot. While plowing the plow is down on float ~75% of the time. I never plow in 2WD.

    You are right, it is my equipment, but it sounds like a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation to me. I can really understand ballast for someone who is using his plow commercially when the plow stays on the truck 100% of the winter, but for a homeowner doing occasional plowing I'm not convinced.

    Maybe I should look into the Sno-Way 22 Series plow which weighs only 285 pounds and search around here to see what people think of their performance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  4. rswojo

    rswojo Member
    Messages: 50

    So much for that 22 Series idea, they aren't made to mount on a 1/2 ton truck.

    Also, I never had any problems with my '78 F-150 that were related to or caused by that 800 lb. Meyer plow.
     
  5. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    If all you ever do with your plow is your own drive, why bother with ballast. If you do use ballast make it capable of sliding forward in the bed when the plow is not on and it will give you all around better traction on the snowy roads.

    You can not put a 22 series on that truck.
     
  6. rswojo

    rswojo Member
    Messages: 50

    HeHe I am not smart enough to figure out how to do that and if I was I wouldn't have the time to design it.

    I thought I could visit the plow site and figure out which brand of plow would be the best to buy but there seems to be a little bit of brand hyper-partisanship here. The more I read, the more confused I got. I even started thinking about keeping the old F-150 with the Weber. The Plow Site is great for maintenance questions, support and generic issues.

    I looked at about 6 brands of plows in my area. My dealer that sells Western, Boss and Sno-Way said he wouldn't even sell me a Western, too unreliable. The Fisher dealer doesn't install and I don't need trip edge. Curtis dealer is too far away, same with Hinicker and Blizzard.

    I will be getting a Sno-way Series 26 7' 6" for these reasons:

    Sno-Way is made in my state.
    Dealer is closest, installs, seems knowledgeable, honest and his price quote was pretty good.
    The 26 has the features that fit my situation best and looks well constructed.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Basher and thanks to everyone else who also chimed in.
     
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Ballast makes plowing easier. And easier on the truck. Try plowing with it for a couple of storms then take it out. You will know right away if it makes any difference for you.
     
  8. rswojo

    rswojo Member
    Messages: 50

    I think one row of maple firewood stacked next to the tailgate should weigh about 200 lbs. If I want to drive without the plow I can just back up to the garage and throw it on the woodpile. Stacked on a rubber mat it shouldn't shift. Rinse and repeat as needed. It will be interesting to see if I notice any difference.
     
  9. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    Yeah some folks keep their brand blinders pretty tight:D
     
  10. alldayrj

    alldayrj PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,096

    Its a pickup truck, 200 lbs in the bed is what its supposed to have! My truck rides much better with weight in it, plowing or not
     
  11. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    ballast is a two sided thing. some say you absolutely must use it, others will tell you it is a waste of time.
    i have never used any ballast of any kind over the past 45 years other than the snow that falls in the bed of the truck, and never had any problems.
    but then again my plow is always down because i plow municipal roads. the only time it is up is when i am done for the 1 miles ride home.
    once home the truck is parked till the next plow session, and if it needs to go out without plowing i remove the plow.
    i know other people that will put 1000 lbs in the bed and swear it makes the truck plow better. yet they get stuck on average 2-3 times per hour, and use twice as much fuel as i do.
     
  12. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,419

    how has your rear tire wear been....I put 300#'s in my 2500hd just for normal driving traction and see an improvement...truck with the plow usually has 300-500#s of ice melt in the back.......
     
  13. 2006Sierra1500

    2006Sierra1500 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,758

    I'd run 500 pounds all day every day. It wont lighten your front end because trucks are meant to haul loads. If there was a safety hazard with a couple hundred pounds, the payload wouldn't be over 1000 pounds.
     
  14. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    My truck rides SOOOOO mulch better with 5/800lbs in the bed or the trailer ball.
     
  15. rswojo

    rswojo Member
    Messages: 50

    It has 189 miles on it, 179 from another dealership to mine and the 10 miles home.
     
  16. rswojo

    rswojo Member
    Messages: 50

    My '78 F-150 got 15 mpg loaded, unloaded, pulling a boat, nothing seemed to matter. However, empty that 300 6cyl. had a lot more zip.

    This new Chevy is going to be a whole different experience with the V8 and all. Hell, if I want to be able to pass someone I will be able to do that.
     
  17. rswojo

    rswojo Member
    Messages: 50

    The new Chevy rode real smooth on its way home empty. I have ridden in empty 3/4 ton trucks and they ride much, much better with weight.

    I bought a new boat last year and my stepson said he didn't even notice it behind his Silverado 1500 but the old Ford sure knew it was there. I had to start out in granny, the front end rose with the extra tongue weight and it really dogged it down.

    One plow dealer I talked to said June through August would be the best time to get a deal on a new plow as the manufacturers force the dealers to stock up and the dealers are worried about unloading the inventory and being stuck with unsold inventory. Evidently the manufacturers like to keep their plants running in the summer and would rather see the dealer sit on the inventory. Sometime in July is when I will get the plow.
     
  18. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    I think i'd look for a left over now, if a dealer has one left from last season now is when you will get the best price.
     
  19. rswojo

    rswojo Member
    Messages: 50

    He quoted me $4800 for a Series 26 7'6" installed but I didn't ask if he had one in stock as I was just starting to shop. I also plan on opting for the wireless control and I will need some of them sticks that stick up on each side of the plow ( you know, them whatchamacallits). Are them sticks stock or do they cost extra? I didn't have any on that old Weber and I always wished I did.
     
  20. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    Sticks (blade guides) are standard. Talk to your dealer again, if he has one in stock he might give you a deal. Ask if there are any factory incentives available.;)

    Shoot me an email my address is in my signature