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Garden tractor for sidewalks?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by cubplower, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. cubplower

    cubplower Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    has anyone done or considered leaving a garden tractor on site for plow or blowing sidewalks?
     
  2. lawn king

    lawn king PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    They are very light so traction becomes the issue, if its not 4 wd forget about moving any substantial snow.
     
  3. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    Sounds like experance talking.:nod:
     
  4. plowatnight

    plowatnight Senior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 305

    garden tractor

    Are you intending to make a profit this way or just get some fresh air? Sounds like a dumb question, I know, but you asked and it's hard to give an opinion without a bit of vital info. Are you blowing or plowing, can you get traction, will it start in the cold are there time constaints, do you have a pair of coverals? I dunno, I guess you could try it.
     
  5. cubplower

    cubplower Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    it is true that they are light but not true that you cant move any substantial snow... i plowed 16-18 inches of not heavy but heavier snow uphill last year with no chains and no problem.


    Alright ill ask my question more clearly...

    Has anyone had there shovelers that are already out in the cold use a garden tractor or small tractor to clear the sidewalks at the lots that you do. We dont usually get enough snow here in ct for traction to be an issue.

    I ask this because i have two garden tractors now with plows, and have been thinking about if i should sell the plows or not when i start plowing with a truck in a year(i am 15 now)
     
  6. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.

    With an air cooled engine you will have issues in cranking amps unless its in a shelter
    like the hoop sheds from Farm Tek or others or a wooden shed if allowed on the property.

    The other issue is fuel, some folks use low octane 87 for everything as a personal preference.

    I always buy the 93 octane for everything the year round,
    I add sea foam and or dry gas too.

    The added 10 percent ethanol to our fuel does not become an issue when the tractors or blowers are preheated by the salamander.

    The issue becomes one of heating the tractor up prior to its being started due to the cold and cold motor oil and transmission oil with both hydro and gear units.


    You should always turn the fuel off while it is running to starve the engine of fuel and avoid water and ice in the carburator. adding sea foam to each tank full or a gas can will not hurt or cause problems.



    I have always used a kerosene salamander to warm up everything I own and it works wonders. 20 minutes later and you have a warm machine ready to start.Its great for the 2 cycle snow blowers I own as well and avoids cold starting issues all the time.

    It can eliminate issues with strained muscles and overexertion when starting cold engines-been there done that learned my lesson with a log splitter engine.

    Carrying a small generator to fire up the salamander and a battery charger/jumper kit is a must if you leave the tractor on site for the simple reason that if it gets cold enough they will not crank very well and can burn out the starter.

    Being able to prevent theft of the equipment and damages from someone joy riding or vanadalising it and breaking it is another issue.

    if the tractor or tractors are gear drive you would be able to fill the rear tires with liquid rim guard for ballast weight. The Rim Gaurd costs more but it does not corrode like the liquid calcium if a tube breaks.

    Save your money, keep the old tractors and plows (as long as you can parts they are worth holding on to because you will loose money in trades or a cash sale, and spend your saved money on a Kubota BX1860 with a snow blower and front end loader and a 5 foot rear flail mower.

    The BX1860 will easily tow a lanscape trailer that can carry the smaller tractors, rear or front snow blower both, front end loader-when not needed, salt, sand, shovels and fuel etc., and it will not require a road license or insurance for short hops as long as you have SMV triangke signs, and the four way flashers and beacon on the ROPS are working properly.



    My thoughts anyway


    leon
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  7. cubplower

    cubplower Senior Member
    Messages: 182


    yea i always put sta bil in my gas... the tires are already filled on both my john deere and cub... plus i usally put on some case weights in the back(usually not needed though)
     
  8. lawn king

    lawn king PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    If you think it will work out for you, go for it. Im not trying to discourage you, just sharing my experience working snow with tractors in the northeast for decades.
     
  9. plowatnight

    plowatnight Senior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 305

    lawn tractor

    About the kubota, I concur, There is nothing better. I have a gf1800 4x4 with over 5000 hrs and never had a wrench on it, except for routine service. Plowing sidewalks works fine if you don't anticipate running out of space or lacking traction. By the way, to increase traction, fill the tires with windshield washer fluid, its non-corrosive, not harmful to grass or concrete cheap and easy to work with. If you have the work already. try to strike a balance between your cost to buy and operate and your level of efficiency. The best equipment is great, but the cost could bankrupt you. Cheap ineffective broken down junk could cause you to lose your work and bankrupt you. That is why I like this forum because there are many lifetimes of experience here for the asking.
     
  10. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    i have a gc 2300 massey tractor 23.5hp tractor, and a older ford 2x4 tractor with industrial lug wheels in the back (like a skid steer) never have problems with traction, and what these tractors lack in the amount they can push, they make up for in handling, and speed. they are light enough they wont ruin concrete, but push way out to the sides.
     
  11. TPC Services

    TPC Services Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    We have use JD 455's for years an not have had a problem yet!! one of the proeprty management companies we work for had 3 of them all with blades then each had a broom attachment for them for real good on light less then 1 1/2" snow falls. they even had cabs on their's. before they sub the work out to us. they are a little bit better then a ATV with having the engine weight on the front of the tractor it clear down to the side walk better!
     
  12. lawn king

    lawn king PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    Many years ago, i had a 12 hp mtd garden tractor, im guessing she weighed around 400 lbs ? We had a 4 ft plow rigged to the front, but would loose traction as soon as the plow was under any real burdon. Some of you guys are talking about kubotas & 23 hp masseys, those are cuts not garden tractors, whole different ballgame!
     
  13. cubplower

    cubplower Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    lawn king my john deere weighs 700 lb dry, my cub weighs 800 dry.. i add 100 lb of ballast to the back... plus me, so thats 950 for the jd and 1050 for the cub when plowing. then with ag tires there is no need for chains. ive really never had any trouble with getting stuck actually.
     
  14. Schuley

    Schuley Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    I use a JD 345 garden tractor with a blower and tire chains for sidewalks. We do a couple miles of walks every snow fall, we use toro single stagers untill the snow gets over 5 or 6". It loses traction going up hill with heavy wet snow. but we just try to drive to the top of things and blow going down hill. It works great, but as soon as I can, i want to upgrade to a JD 2305 or similar wit h4x4 and hydros.i wouldnt recomend a blade. You end up running out of room to push snow half way through the season, and when it gets wet and heavy, you spend more time spinning your tires, and backingup and getting a running start. Not worth it. Get a blower and you won't be dissapointed. Stick a suitcase wieght on back too to help with traction.
     
  15. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    the ford we use is a 2 wheel drive garden tractor, 16hp. we found a knobby skidsteer lug tire, to put on the back, and about 300lb balast on the back. still pushed well for what it is
     
  16. lawn king

    lawn king PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    The weight you are talking, 1000 + lbs is much more than your average big box store garden tractor.
     
  17. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    Your average box store tractor can not stand up to the rigors of non-commercial mowing. Though I have a buddy who used one successfully for his own drive though last winter, inculding three +16 inch storms. he said he plowed every two inches, runs chains, and made a ballast box for the rear. See how long it lasts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  18. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,202

    I bought a John Deere X360 2 years ago. I put a 44" blower on it. The guys managed to get 4 hours on it before they decided it was too slow. They had problems keeping it going straight on sloped sidewalks and found it very slow. The next one I try will be 4x4 for sure.
     
  19. plowatnight

    plowatnight Senior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 305

    garden tractor

    My kubota is a front mt. 54/60" cut 18hp 4x4 That is a garden tractor. With all due respect, .... an MTD (stands for "made to die") is not a garden tractor. Experience is a wonderful teacher, Go ahead and give it a try.
     
  20. lawn king

    lawn king PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    A diesel, 4+4, compact utility tractor is not your run of the mill garden tractor, is it?