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How do I evaluate an older plow truck

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by seekay, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    Hi all,

    I am looking to buy a dedicated plow/yard truck this year, for next winter. My tractor and blower is real nice but with some storms we've had the wind and drifting was too much, I need something I can take out during the storm to keep up, versus doing it all at the end.

    Seeing lots of plow trucks for sale on CL, all the time. Would like to spend about $4,000.

    What size truck/make do you recommend, and what should I be eyeballing on the vehicle and plow itself when I go take a look? I have no experience at all with plows, and don't want to buy a lemon because I didn't know how to evaluate it.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. Chiputz

    Chiputz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    The biggest thing for me is the truck itself. You don't want something you'll be fixing everytime you plow. Check the drivetrain over for leaks and bad u joints/ 1/2 shafts. Check the tranny fluid, if it's starting to look like chocolate milk or smells burnt run the other way. I prefer a standard trans but that's just me. Talk to the owner and find out about maintenance done on the rig. Take their answers with a grain of salt as they are selling the rig. Your best bet would be to have a friend who is a mechanic go with to take a look if you're not sure. You can throw a lot of cash at a truck in repairs pretty quick if there is problems with front ends or trannys. As far as plows go, there are many makes and models out there so if you're not comfortable turning wrenches or troubleshooting electrical, go for the simplest set up. The more complicated the system, the more can go wrong. Check out the cutting edges, mounts, look and the wiring, if it's all chewed up or the plugs are all corroded there may be some underlying problems. Good Luck
     
  3. Milwaukee

    Milwaukee 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,180

    For that price you better buy truck without plow. Then buy plow for that truck.

    You once know why they sell at that price because they were tired of spend money repair and thought why not sell to sucker buyer.

    ROT, Tran, tired engine, Cooling system ready to pop leak, loose rear axle, and rot frame/body.
     
  4. Mabepossibly

    Mabepossibly Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Look around for prices for used plow set ups in your area and also price out a few new ones. You could easily spend $4k on a basic plow.

    But in general, if it is just for your driveway get a half ton American truck. Jeeps do well but it sounds like you need a yard truck with a bed, and I personally dont feel that most compact trucks are built strong enough to take plowing. Plenty of guys on here will say Im nuts and that their Toyota is an animal. Just do some homework on your own if your looking at a compact truck and make an educated decision.
     
  5. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    and get one with the least amount of rust on the under side. like tranny cooler lines/ brake lines / oil pan / tranny pan.

    mabye best bet find truck then put plow on it. then its a lot cleaner to start.
     
  6. dforbes

    dforbes Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    If I were going to buy a truck off of craigslist, I would spend the $100 and have a mechanic look at it.
     
  7. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.


    It would be counter productive to buy a used plow truck in
    my opinion when you can trade up to a larger snow blower
    and tractor with a cab and heater.

    Why rehandle the snow when you can remove it all in one pass
    with a larger blower? If you bought a used truck and it crapped
    out in the middle of the driveway what then?


    Even the smaller Kubota 1860 with a 6 foot wide rear mount blower will remove
    almost 6 tons per minute if the snow is one foot deep traveling one mile per hour
    which is 88 feet per minute.

    A wider blower will require you to travel slower on the first pass but you can cut three or 4 foot on the next pass with the engine tunning flat out for the rear blower at 540 R.P.M. and move 3 tons per minute or more.

    A tractor and blower upgrade will last you much much longer than a used plow truck AND

    there will be no snow banks!!
     
  8. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,401

    I assume you have no cab? curtis make an awesome cab for most tractors, a low watt block heater keeps it ready to go at any time, the blower is best as mentioned above to keep banks down....make a 6"bank and the wind will make a 12" drift... thinking about a front end loader to complete the set-up so i have the best of both worlds, when i clean snow i have to take my jacket off because the heat is on high to keep the windows clean,
    however i just bought a 90 chevy 58,000mi w/meyers plow for $500. it was a boces auction, needs some work but then it is a toy!
     
  9. fruitcakesa

    fruitcakesa Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 37

    I sold my 98 GMC 2500 with a relatively rust-free body and 8' MM1 plow for $3k.
    It still needed brake, ujoint and some other work and the buyer was thrilled to find it after all the rust buckets he looked at.
    I, on the other hand, replaced it with a Kubota l4630 that I mounted a QA plow and rear box blade on. Full factory cab too. It is slower than the truck but a much more year round practical tool. Consider your long term options vs money spent and hassles encountered with an old beater truck.
     
  10. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I gave $1,200 for the 1989 Chevy 2500 with an 8' Fisher that I used to have. It never gave me a any troubles. The only thing I had to do was put new transmition lines on it. You will beable to find a alot of good plow trucks in the Spring. I usualy buy one in the Spring for cheap and sell it in the Fall for a profit. Last Spring I bought a 1985 F-150 with a 7.5' Fisher for $500 and sold it for $800. The Summer before that I bought a 1987 Jeep Cherrokee with a 7.5' Meyer for $500 and sold it for $800. I never had to put any work into either truck. You should wait untill Spring and you can pick up a good plow truck for cheap.
     
  11. harryhood

    harryhood Junior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 14

    I've been plowing my yard this winter with a '79 dodge w150 that I picked up for $400. I had to rebuild the carb and patch a leak in the hydraulic pump for the plow. Other than the fact that it's a POS it works and the price was right.
     
  12. BenB

    BenB Member
    Messages: 39

    If it's for next winter definitely take your time, I must have looked at twenty trucks, most in that range were rust buckets, but sometimes you can find an old truck in decent shape, if your lucky you'll find a non commercial one someone has owned forever just for their driveway. But for the money a cab and heater for the tractor might be a good option unless you need a work truck too.

    Buying any old truck is luck of the draw, hard to find one's that have good service records, a mechanic check is a good start though. As for the plow, older ones are relatively simple, and there are tons of good people and info on here to help if you like turning wrenches yourself. Check hydraulic lines for leaks, all operations, ask about fluid changes and any other service.