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Help Selecting Plow for Deere 544J

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by DGODGR, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member
    from s/w co
    Messages: 639

    Hey Gang!
    I have also posted this in the Heavy Equipment Forum but thought there might be some who frequent this forum and may not see it in the HE forum.
    I haven't been on the site much lately (except for help in Western Plow Forum) and I'm back here now looking for some valuable Plowsite advice.

    For several years I have had an '04 544J (low hourThumbs Up) that I have not been using much for snow removal. I have installed a third valve, and have a JRB model 416 coupler but I have not installed the coupler yet and am still running the pin on bucket. For the first time in many years we are experiencing a winter with a significant amount of snow fall. I have about (7) subdivisions, +/- 35 rural driveways (some paved, most gravel, many have long, meandering narrow drives (+/-12' wide), and then typical turn around and wider areas at the house), and a couple of propane yards. I am currently using the loader to help with the driveways, once I'm done doing the main roads, as it takes the skid steer (my son in an A300 w/100" snow bucket) a few more hours to finish the driveways. We are already to the point of needing to push back as I must go 20-25 MPH to get the snow up over the windrows at the edge of the roads. While this is fun launching the snow, like I'm blowing it, it's not ideal for safety (blows and packs the snow onto the windshield, and possible hard impacts with proud rocks) and can take several passes to make a difference and get cleaned up.
    So that's the situation and here's the question at hand. I am trying to select a plow that will give me the most bang for the buck. As you probably know I am looking at sending upwards of $20k for a quality attachment. In my town, the Deere dealer sells Rylind MFG. attachments, and Worksite Pro (Deere) attachments. The Rylind is available almost immediately and the W/S Pro would take a while to order in. I am currently thinking about a 12' wide plow. The W/S is a trip edge design (I haven't seen them) and my salesman says that he has sold a few and that the customers are not happy because the trip edge design trips to frequently due the weight and forces of the loader. I have seen some Rylind products before and they are built very stout. I'm not sure which version he is offering at the moment (I'll know more tomorrow). They make a trip edge version (reverse trip w/ spring canisters at the top of the plow) and a non-trip edge version with an A style push frame and 3" diameter pivot. The trip version also has an oscillation feature. The non-trip version can be used for dirt as well (this would add some versatility and value as I am an excavation contractor as well). I would also consider a Kage pusher as I can see the box giving me the opportunity to do large lots but I am concerned about the tripping feature. I would like to have the security of a trip edge for pavement/curb locations (not currently plowing "in town" lots though) yet I don't want something that will trip too easily. I also like the "floating" type hitch design as well. I do not know anyone with this system and the only thing I can find on the 'net is the one Kage video with the Kawasaki Z50 loader. I would also consider an HLA or Metal Pless plow (with the rotational actuators) that converts to a box, reverse box, or just a wider plow. While this seems to offer the most versatility I also have some concerns with these as well. I have heard that the actuators can be a bit fragile, and that the wings are also susceptible to damage. This is particularly a concern for the winging back I will need to do the widen the roads. I would think that this would put a lot of stress on the wings. I believe that they both are also a trip edge design, and would also give me the ability to do lots if the opportunity arose. I have also seen the Henke plow and it even comes with a wing, and tower, mounted to the angle blade frame. It looks like a good road set up but it might be asking a lot of a 3 yard loader to push a 12' blade and use the wing at the same time. Maybe one would have to use one at a time (depending on conditions). I know that there are other manufacturers I have not mentioned. Please feel free to recommend any.
    Another thing to consider (though not really an issue now as the ground is frozen pretty hard) is that we often have snow and then sun and relatively warm temps. This makes the gravel road surfaces a bit soft and very easy to plow the gravel along with the snow. Think spring like plowing conditions. This winter we are mostly having highs in the low thirties and lows in the single digits. This is making for frozen ground conditions but we often see daytime highs in the 40s in winter.
    The Rylind blade will cost me about $17k I have been told. I was quoted a Kage several years ago and it was about $15k. The others I don't know what the cost would be. It would be nice to know what the others would cost. I've heard that Paul has now become a rep for Metal Pless so hopefully he will have some good advice as well. I have come to trust his experience and advice since considering the high volume resi-blower model that he has introduced to this forum.
    I would appreciate any advice on the selection of the attachment that will best fit my diverse needs.
     
  2. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Get the trip blade, yes you could use the non trip for dirt work but in dirt a 544 isn't going to be able to push a 12' blade.
     
  3. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member
    from s/w co
    Messages: 639

    I agree that the 544 would not be anywhere near big enough to fill the blade but maybe as a knock down machine. Regardless, the dirt worthiness speaks to how stout the blade would be. I have been at this juncture before, and decided trip edge would be better for snow removal, but now I'm afraid that it would trip too much (based on what I've heard).
     
  4. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,737

    I have a kage blade that I push with my takeuchi skid loader. Earlier today I used it to push back the edges along an 1/4mi driveway at a neighbors horse farm. My boss dxt plow on my pickup would just keep continuously tripping and the kage blade on the skid steer did it effortlessly. The banks were about a foot tall frozen slush and the trip edge of the kage only tripped when it dug into the gravel driveway (not everything here is froze yet) and not at all while winging back the driveway. The trip edge of the kage seems to trip right about when it should, curbs, rough parking lot sections, drains/man hole covers, unfrozen ground, rocks, stumps, etc but holds it's normal position when plowing things that you should be plowing with it. I've never used a kage on a wheel loader but I'd imagine they would work about the same and the trip feature would be similar as well. Having the box attachment is awesome as well, I did my parents driveway and or shop with the box attachment on, dumped that off and used just the blade at the horse farm which would have been very difficult to do with a normal push box without wrecking something.
     
  5. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Look at your area small towns, my hometown had a loader with a blade and wing. They've since went to a truck because of politics. But ask the super. You'll want trip, just imagine finding a manhole cruising at 12-15 mph, nothing gives easy on a loader-now you replace the manhole yourself, and at that speed it won't be just a ring.
     
  6. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,495

    You should look at Snow Wolf too. I know they make an 11' Ultra Plow now, but no Fasttach for it. Or 10' or 12' Alpha Plow. I think they are built really tough.
     
  7. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member
    from s/w co
    Messages: 639

    My local DEERE salesman is saying that he has sold some Worksite Pro trip edge units to a local municipality and that they are not happy with them.....they report that they trip too much. I certainly don't want to hit a MH cover at any speed. I've hit one before on a backhoe and that just about put me through the windshield (I was not going very fast either!). To be clear, I am currently plowing private, gravel, subdivision roads (I may not have specified that in first post) and there are no manholes, or water valves in any of them. The only thing that I may hit in the roadbed might be an occasional proud rock. I still believe that the trip edge will be a better option (as long as it doesn't trip too much). I also have the opportunity to do oil field work with said plow. In that scenario I would be plowing dirt roads, and well pads, that will probably have a lot of snow on them before the trigger is ever pulled. They will also have had a fair amount of traffic on them before there is enough build up (or accumulation) for them to want to spend the money on plowing.
    I know that I am looking for a VERY versatile attachment. It seems as though there is a lot for me to consider in order to get the most value for this substantial investment. This is why I am reaching out to you all.
    Mark, I am not sure that your experience will be comparable to mine. I do see the value, and versatility, of the Kage system, and it looks like the skid steer units (I think that the are called Snowfire) and the larger wheel loader units (Snowstorm?) are designed the same. I am not sure if the two systems would react the same since the loaders are so much bigger (mine weighs 30k#), and exert much more force to the plow than a skid steer would. I appreciate skid steer reviews as they can speak to the versatility and durability of the brand but not specifically how they will perform, or last, in front of a loader. I would really love to hear from those who have any experience with the Kage installed on a 3 yard loader? If so, please let me know how it is working for you.
    I appreciate all the feedback thus far, please keep it coming.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  8. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,046

    Craig manufacturing makes a heavy angle blade that I'd run for your type of plowing and they're pretty much bullet proof. I will bet my life on it that you will fold up a Kage and drive over it. A 5000 series Horst or Heavy metal plessis might suit you needs http://www.craigattachments.com/wl0600/
     
  9. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,197

    Sorry for chiming in late, I am freezing my but off in Minnesota and was just made aware of this post. I truly believe that the best plow for a 30K# machine is the Metal Pless Maxxpro. Metal Pless excels in heavy equipment plows. The Maxxpro is specifically designed for the heavier class loaders that the OP is referring to. But before I go any further I do want to mention that I find it dangerous plowing with a plow without a trip edge. There has to be some kind of safety built into a plow that something must give should it catch an obstacle. No matter how well you know your site winter has a way of making obstacles appear under the snow that were not there before. Ok enough said, you all know my point of view on that issue. With what the OP described that he will be plowing the Maxxpro with its softdrive trip edge is ideal for his situation. Should you catch obstacles or even uneven patches of frozen gravel or dirt the softdrive trip edge will fold back without lifting the plow up, relieving jolts on the plow, the machine pushing the plow and the operator. Now let’s talk about the wings on the Maxxpro. Metal Pless is the only plow manufacturer that makes its wings from CHT 400 steel. This is a high density wear resisentent steel that is 4 times stronger than regular steel. That means that our ¾ inch wings are equivalent to 3 inches of regular steel. The reason Metal Pless uses CHT 400 steels is to get the added strength but keep the weight down on the plow. The wings also have the same trip mechanism as the main moldboard giving you an added protection for the wings along with our standard relieve valves. Now as foe which Maxxpro to get, I would suggest as small as the 1048-18, but he can go as large as the 1248-22. That is my two cents, I hope it is helpful.
     
  10. SNOWLORD

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    Definately not a kage or snow wolf on a wheel loader
     
  11. mnsnowfighter

    mnsnowfighter Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    544 plow

    Depending on what your budget it will dictate what plow is best for your scenario. We have run virnig, wausau, kage, arctic sectional, pro-tech, boss, falls, you name it and we've ran it. The best advice is to figure out exactly what 85% of your work will be for the piece and go from there. Just because this one event that needs push back doesn't mean your going to need to buy the most expensive option to do the job. We have always made sure and have plans that if it does snow that much we bring out the loader blower and push back that way. As far as my opinion I run a Kage on my 624J loader but the Metal Pless is a very good plow also.
     
  12. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member
    from s/w co
    Messages: 639

    The Craig MFG plow does look stout. It looks like they offer a wing option as well. I first saw that option on a Henke plow and I like the way those (2) MFRs have a wing tower mounted to the loader push frame. This looks like a rather cool set up for roads. I'm not sure that I like extra width of the wing (while folded up) for the driveways but the wing looks fantastic for pushing back the windrows. It looks like Metal Pless offers a winged unit (Wingmaxx) too but it doesn't have the tower for the leading edge of the wing. Do you have any experience with the Kages Dave? Thanks for contributing to the conversation Dave.

    Thanks for joining in the conversation Paul. Did, or do (I'm not sure if you are still associated with your snow removal company anymore), you run any Metal Pless plows? I do recall us having a discussion about the HLAs before but I don't think you mentioned MP at that time. I have always been looking at a loader attachment (vs. mounted to an AG tractor) so maybe I steered the conversation toward the HLA. I'm not sure the extra cost (don't even know how much more it would add) would be worth while, but how would the Live Edge work on rural gravel roads? It seems to be getting a lot of attention on this site. What is the difference between this system and the Soft Drive? It seems like it would probably work well with in town lots, should that opportunity arrise in the future, but maybe it's not ideal for gravel roads (or is expense the only drawback?). If I'm not salting would the extra expense be worth it? Are there any drawbacks to the Live Edge? What type of support is available in the US (this would apply to the HLA and Craig plows as well)? What about lead time? When I got my quote on Monday (my dealer actually sells Rylind and Henke) I was told that they no longer have anything in stock, for rent or purchase, and that the lead time is 45 and 60 days respectively. Winter will be mostly over by that time and I would probably be better served to wait for preseason or show pricing in the future. Is this so for a Metal Pless as well?

    Thanks for joining the conversation. As it stands I'm working the loader on rural gravel subdivision roads and driveways. This would logically be my focus for the attachment. My point in this conversation though is to find something that will serve this application best but will also offer me the versatility to be diverse enough to put the machine, and attachment, on other projects as well. This is a big investment and I've been in business long enough to know that times change and I want to be able to switch gears if I need to, or want to. As an example, a few years ago my primary work was a 10 acres of parking lots and several miles of sidewalks. Now I have several rural subdivisions and lots of driveways. Things change and I want to make an informed decision so that I may change with them.
    As I read it, your opinion seems a bit vague to me. You mentioned that you are running a Kage on your 624J. Can you please elaborate on how it works for you, your application, etc.? Have you run a Metal Pless? Can you elaborate on that too? I certainly would like to have a blower attachment for my loader. This, most likely would be an even larger investment and a much narrower application. In the mountainous terrain that I live, and work in, I would be, in most situations, limited to operating the unit on the road itself (not really any shoulders) so once I started doing this operation I would then have vertical edges and could no longer effectively windrow past the edges. This would force me to have to plow, and then blow (or just blow) each event. This is definitely better for me financially yet it seems that it is not ideal for the customer when considering service provided (how long it would take to get the roads open and/or getting to the next customer) or cost. I am open to other points of view on this as well so please feel free to offer discussion.

    Thanks for all the contributions thus far. I'd look forward to more.
     
  13. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,197

    I guess it has been a while, as for your first question I sold my business last year to my two brothers and the commercial part to two employees Rye and Chris. I am now a paid sales rep for Metal Pless, that being said if I did not believe they are one of the best plows on the market I could not represent them.
    I talked to my sales manager last night and we both agree that the LiveEdge option may be to aggressive for gravel roads. It sounds to me that you will be -plowing gravel over pavement most of the time, so our HD model would be the best fit. This video shows how the soft drive works. http://youtu.be/KknzbROIywo
    We have plows in stock ready to ship within a week. I hope That answered these questions, bring on more if you have them.
     
  14. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,046

    I've never owned a Live edge before but I would think it would be better then a normal plow as when running our Arctic Pushers they were the best plow we'd ever used on gravel as they never dig in. I'd trust Paul's opinion as he won't steer you in the wrong direction. I have never personally owned a Craig but they've been building blades for more then 20 years as we have looked at many years ago when there weren't many manufacturers making them for loaders and tractors. They are built incredibly stout and from what I'm surmising from reading your posts you need something to stand up.
     
  15. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,988

    Live edge works amazing for gravel but would find it hard to justify as there are no salt savings
     
  16. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,046

    I know people will not like my opinion on a Kage or Snow Wolf but the best thing for those plows is to be left at the dealers. There is nothing special about them and I have no clue why anyone would buy one. If you need a pusher and an angle blade buy a wing plow. I've seen the Kage wheel loader blade in person and I wouldn't even consider buying one as they're not built heavy enough and for the life of me can't understand why anyone would want that type of blade.
     
  17. SNOWLORD

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    Live edge pushers work excellent on gravel lots
    And again no kage or snow wolf on loaders just to flimsy for my taste
     
  18. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,197

    Well it looks like I may have been wrong about the LiveEdge on gravel. I personally have very little experience plowing gravel so I assumed the LiveEdge would pull up more gravel then a standard cutting edge. Thanks to others with more experience using LiveEdge on gravel we have a clearer idea how it handles gravel. Thanks for the feedback, you see even at 53 years old I am still learning.
     
  19. Hysert

    Hysert PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,269

    Paul I spoke with your Hamilton rep Nick. Had a few questions and he answered them all, he also wants to see if he can get me a Liveboxx to demo? I really hope he doesn't come thru cause I'm a sucker for cool stuff.. you probably don't remember me as we met a last yr LO gtg lunch at Jacks? I'm definitely not a big player like JD or Chad, but I totally get the cost savings once the blade is paid for..
     
  20. NickSnow&Mow

    NickSnow&Mow Senior Member
    Messages: 647

    Glad to hear someone like you say that. I have absolutely 0 experience plowing commercial but thought it was a dumb idea from the start. Leaving half of your plow somewhere while wind rowing just isn't realistic. who wants to leave there pusher part (kage) half way across a parking lot and then come back and hook it on. An mp of snow wing will also kill the thing for back dragging since its just a regular old strait plow instead of a reversed box. They think it's such a genius idea for condo complex's but those places are so tight theres never any where to put the stupid kage and if you do find a place by the time you're done back dragging the driveways you'd almostt be faster just to use the strait blade instead of hooking back onto it and the going back to where you where working.