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Help deciding on a snow removal machine

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by uktep, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. uktep

    uktep Junior Member
    from US
    Messages: 4

    I'm posting this on behalf of someone else. He has been using a light/medium duty John Deer lawn mower rigged with a plow for several years. It's starting to fall apart and he doesn't want to spend money to fix it so he's buying something new. What would you suggest?

    This is just for plowing a driveway but it's fairly large and all gravel. It has a hill about 100 feet long with a 25 or so degree incline in spots and only about 15 feet wide. Then it opens up to a flat, 50 foot long section about 20 feet wide. Then another hill (down) about 30 feet and landing.

    The main obstacle is money, of course. He wants something dependable but doesn't want more than he needs. I think he's looking at the neighborhood of 10-15k. Anything walk-behind is out of the question. He's looking at a heavy-duty John Deer tractor, a four wheeler, and a small(er) truck. He doesn't own a truck now. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 737

    I would go for a tractor with a loader and snowblower (and chains). Can also be used year 'round, and probably retain alot of value if he wants to sell it later.
     
  3. uktep

    uktep Junior Member
    from US
    Messages: 4

    Thank you! Is there a make/model you would recommend in that price range?
     
  4. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 737

    Not really; they're generally all about the same. Maybe stick with one that has a dealer close by. I'd also stick with a hydrostatic transmission as opposed to a geared or shuttle one.
     
  5. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    if it were me i would buy an atv and put a plow on it. then you have an atv to have fun with all summer and plow through snow in the winter
     
  6. Ewcelectric

    Ewcelectric Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    ATV's don't last long doing a lot of snow at a time.
    Worked well for my 100'x25' driveway
    Didn't last long when I moved to the country. fWiw
     
  7. uktep

    uktep Junior Member
    from US
    Messages: 4

    Thanks for the replies everyone. We live in eastern pa so we only have light to moderate snowfall on average (this year is looking to be a bit of an exception). He's not really interested in recreation so an atv would still only be used for snow removal. His main challenges for removal are getting up and down his hills and keeping the driveway wide enough because it's fairly narrow to begin with in spots.
     
  8. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,830

    get a jeep or a chevy 1500 short box throw a plow on there. they have a lot of nice used stuff from dealers on ebay
     
  9. uktep

    uktep Junior Member
    from US
    Messages: 4

    Thanks. I think he looked at a jeep but someone told him the front doesn't hold up well on them
     
  10. novawagonmaster

    novawagonmaster Senior Member
    Messages: 177

    My Jeep would do well in this situation, and fits the budget mentioned.
    Ballast/counterweight and snow tires (I use and recommend Bridgestone Blizzaks) are going to be necessary.
     
  11. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,114

    Tell him to look for an old YJ with a solid front axle and leaf springs. They'll hold up to the plow, and are cheap.

    Or a Ford ranger...

    I would also suggest a Tacoma, but that plus a plow won't be in the budget.

    Definitely say no to the ATV. That is way too much WIDTH of areas for the WEIGHT of the machine. It won't be able to do it.

    You could pick up a new small 4WD Chinese tractor + FEL + Front plow + PTO BLOWER for altogether < $10k.

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/chinese-tractors/141734-meyer-plow-jinma-284-a.html#post1674634

    --- see what's going on in that post, its an adapter for a small tractor's FEL to mount a regular plow. The tractor itself has hydraulics that can control the plow angling. The FEL can do the up/down.

    So do like that, plus a blower on the back for when it really sucks, or when you need to move the banks.
     
  12. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,830

    stay away from certiam models of yj's some still had carbs whats wront with a short box 1500
     
  13. novawagonmaster

    novawagonmaster Senior Member
    Messages: 177

    After having a couple CJs and a YJ, I really prefer the TJ. Much easier to live with if you spend much time in it.
    The coil spring suspension rides and handles much better and provides better articulation off road. No worries about it holding up with a plow. Air shocks (front) make a big difference.
     
  14. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,114

    What's wrong with a carburetor? Reliable, no rotting wires to go wrong.

    But really where did you come up with that? They've been FI since at least 1989.
     
  15. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    I plowed for about 20 years with a Suzuki Samurai... a Jeep would do fine.
    10-15K would do wonders.
    (air shocks are never a good idea. springs hold weight, shocks control bounce)
     
  16. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,114

    FYI: when people talk about "air shocks", they really mean "air springs". The nice thing about air springs, is that they are *highly* progressive, and the amount of air in them can be varied.

    Having said that, there are two KINDS of air springs; the "balloon" air springs (which work in conjunction with the existing steel spring and hydraulic shock), and the actual spring-integrated-with-shock air spring, like FOX FLOAT. Neither is really well adapted for a plow. Fox float, for example, are typically used in snowmobiles. Probably good for no more than about 300 pounds each.

    Fox float is made of two chambers. The outer chamber is the "air spring", the inner chamber is a standard old fashioned hydraulic shock absorber.
     
  17. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,540

    FYI, They dont make air bags for the front.

    They are talking about "Air~shocks".
    Yes shocks are used to control unsprung weight.

    yet, some of use them (air shocks) to hold up their plows....


    and I vote for fuel injection over a carb.

    my YJ did fine plowing with the 4.0.
     
  18. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    Air shocks were very popular in the 70's. And there are many issues with anything that tries to support weight but uses the shock mounts.
    Air bags on the other hand are much more positioned to support weight.
    Then there are also the timbrens type of aftermarket additions.
     
  19. mnglocker

    mnglocker Senior Member
    Messages: 923

    Used MFWD ag tractor, diesel power with a loader, heated cab and a rear blower for moving piles. You can do just fine for 10 to 15k. It doesn't have to be shiny and new, it has to work.
     
  20. mnglocker

    mnglocker Senior Member
    Messages: 923

    And when it comes to the tractor brand, what ever has good dealer support near by. They all break sooner or later, they all need filters and maintenance parts.