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gear ratio for the perfect plow truck

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by murphy4trees, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. murphy4trees

    murphy4trees Member
    Messages: 62

    I love plowing with an '87 Ram charger... this dedicated truck is awesome on tight driveways and small lots...With the right weight in it and a good 4" snow, its close to twice as fast as a full sized pick up on my route... Now there are no lcoking hubs... so I either run in 2 hi or 4 hi over the road depending on conditions, then drop it into 4 low to plow, on all but the lightest of snows. Plenty of power, and reduced wear on the transmission...

    So I bought and 88 Ram charger for $1,500 last fall. The truck had a plow on it which had just been put on and only used a couple of times for his personal driveway. We put a spare blade, and plow lights on it and a C valve in the mysers pump and put it to work after my buddy blew his rear on Valentine's day... So I haven't plowed in it, but moving it around I noticed how low the gearing is... It would be so slow backing up in 4 low as to make it extremely ineffcient.

    My buddy said it plowed great.. I guess he was plowing in 4 hi.... This thing is geared so low that 4 low feels like creeper gear in a dump truck. I haven;t checked gear ratios yet, and can someone tell me why Dodge would gear a 2 door SUV so low.... In the mean time, I probably won't switch out the rears, even though I have another set on a junk pick up truck. Just accept the trcuk with its limitations...

    your thoughts are appreciated
  2. AbsoluteH&L

    AbsoluteH&L Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    I hope that was a misprint, if you swap the REARS you better swap front gears too. LOL I never plow in low, thats for when I'm stuck. Crawl it out. Your 87 may have high gears alowing you to easily plow in low. As for better for tranny- maybe, but it's rough on the rest of the drive train. You have **** loads of torque romping on your u-joints and axles. Keep a light foot if you feel you need to plow in 4 low. I would hate to have to stop a put it in low at every drive way.
  3. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    I only plow in 4-hi, rarely do I use 4-low.
    Sounds like you already have the proper gear ratio for plowing.
    I woundn't change them.

    The reason Dodge offered a option of different gear sets is that the Ram Charger/ Trail Duster was in competition with the Jeep, Scouts, and broncos. It needed to be able to be used as a utility vehicle, taken off road, used to tow a trailer or used as a plow truck not just a vehicle to go to the grocery store or to the soccer game..
  4. CNY Plow

    CNY Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 145

    If you have the rear-anti-slip you can / should do most of your plowing in 2 HI,
    droping to 4HI when you need some extra traction or control.
    With no rear-anti-slip you will need 4 HI just to maintain control.
    If you're plowing in 4 LO you have waited too long, the snow has piled-up too high and you should be using earth moving equipment.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2007
  5. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    I can't do my plowing in 2hi and why stress the rear drive line?

    With an LSD rear end the rear will want to slide to the down hill side you will want to use
    4hi to counter act this.

    4lo is to slow you are loosing money.
    plow with the storm.
  6. CNY Plow

    CNY Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 145

    I probably should have been more clear on my use of 2 WD.
    We get a lot of lake effect dusting (ligh cover, not much weight) and if I get out there before the municiple guys hard pack the end of the drive way I'm not pushing any real weight on residential pushes - I can get by in 2 WD and save the gas.
    But, yes, I am mostly in 4 HI

    RODHALL Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    I'll point out that the 87 could have 2.94 or 3,23 or 3.55 gears and had a NP208 transfer case. 88 could have 3.23 or 3.55 or 3.91 gears and had the NP241 transfer case.
    Now gears could be some of what you seeing/feeling BUT 208 lo is not as low as the 241lo so if your only seeing it in low range it may be the transfer case. if your seeing it 2wd also then it is one truck is geared lower then the other.

    oh i never plow in low either
  8. kah68

    kah68 Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    Well I am running two cummins diesels, both 3:54's one stick one auto, I plow the stick in highrange because it has a nice low first, the auto I plow in low and it's perfect, I would really like to change to 4:10's in the auto and drive/plow in high range all the time. I would think with a low torque v-8 that I would prefer lower gearing as the V-8 will have to rev higher to make power and lower gears will keep the truck in the power band longer.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2007
  9. ROWDY

    ROWDY Junior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 13

    Would lock out hubs be an option? Not that pricy.
  10. jjklongisland

    jjklongisland Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    Plowing in low with my 84 ramcharger was damn near impossible. The gearing is so low and torquey that I would have to start off in 3rd gear not to rattle my teeth out of my head. That thing in low felt like it could pull a house down... I always used 4 high. One time we had this light storm but very windy and at the school I plow there is wide open fields. All the snow blew onto the bus loop. I went in 4 hi like normal angled left and started chugging along until she would go no more. I made it like 30 feet and then she would almost stall out... I would back up and hit her again... At one point I swear the snow was over half way up my door. I was determined to get through this loop... I dropped her in to 4 low and she kept chugging along and got through her... The only time I used 4 low other than just trying it out. After I made 1 pass trying to widen her out was impossible, I just kept bouncing of the piles of snow (really bald wide tires at the time) They had to get a payloader in there to clear the rest...

    It was alot of fun and sweat...
  11. kah68

    kah68 Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    If you have a good tranny cooler and gauge you can plow in whatever range you feel good with. Most tranny guys will tell you to plow in low range to keep the fluid cooler and keep the line pressure up. With 3.54's in my W 250 I always leave it in low range, reverse is not too low, if I need more speed in reverse I apply more throttle!

  12. packey

    packey Member
    Messages: 97

    most of what you are noticing in gearing. I will only very rarely drop to 4 low matter of fact I did it Friday in an out of town sub division where I was pushing over 14 inches of snow. Other than that I will push up to 10-12 inches in 4 High. Normally I don't allow this to happen but every once in a while the snow really dumps and you just can't help it. My truck is a 72 power wagon with a 4sp with granny gears a 205 transfer cas and 3.55 gears. 1st hi is plenty low enough unless you just need a tractor. Then if that is the case go to lo range
  13. murphy4trees

    murphy4trees Member
    Messages: 62

    as fate would have it

    I was taking the 88 ramcharge in for repairs, that is the truck with the low gearing, and the rear blew on the way to the shop. Well it almost blew, it started making this metalic clunking sound coming out from a dead stop, then would quiet down at about 5-10 mph. the mechanic & I both checked the drive shaft which appears to be OK. Jacked the back tires up and swithching it from reverse to drive with the brake on, the rear was slamming back and forth, making a terrible sound and vibration.

    Couldn't find a tag on either rear, so I AM wondering if the only way to determine the gear ratio is to count the teeth on the ring and pinion gears and divide the larger number by the smaller number. The mechanic has been busy and to my knowledge hasn't pulled the inspection plate. I called a Dodge dealer and they said they didn't have any info for that vin #.
  14. packey

    packey Member
    Messages: 97

    The gear ratio should be stamped on the ring gear. Once the inspection plate is puled you should be able to find it. Also their should be a tag bolted to the rear with the gear ratio. If it is a dana 44, 60, 0r 70 the gear ration should be stamped on the top side of the rear houseing on the drivers side.