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Opinions: Best improvements to truck/plow

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by JFon101231, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 403

    OK, so here is the scoop. I'm a newbie. Second year doing my driveway, first time doing anyone else's for $. I have an 88 K2500 LD (7200 GVW) with a 8' Fisher full hydraulic conventional plow with a big highway (maybe 8"?) edge on it. Truck has a non-posi rear end, and tires that are not specific snow tires and are different size tires front/back (225/245, I know bad for transfer case?). Have approx. 900lbs of sand in the bed just to the rear of the axle.

    Yesterday, we got about 15", and I got stuck several times. Part of this is inexperience (trusting the weatherman and getting up at 5am instead of 2am), part incompetence (i.e. backing into a snow bank) etc. I also had to turn down several jobs that I simply tried and could not make it up - any slight incline and I generally can't push snow. I know at least part is my equipment - SO, here we are. I have limited funds this year, but want to make a big step forward and do much more next year and want recommendations on where to spend and get best improvement/bang for the buck:

    1) Heavier truck - looking to get a 2500HD or 3500 for some towing
    2) Posi rear end
    3) Locking front end - i.e. ARB air locker etc.?
    4) Snow tires - studded?
    5) Tire chains - at this point in the year, it generally is only driven for plowing so shouldn't need to take on/off
    6) Snowblower - in case I get stuck, and/or to do some driveways that may be faster (not sure if I'm better off w/ like a 24" cut or bigger like 28"+)
    7) Wings - I think that would make me get stuck more but having more snow, but right now the banks of either side of the driveways make it so there is no where for the snow to go? Maybe I'm plowing to slowly and it isn't being "thrown"?
    8) Shorter cutting edge - sometimes when pushing a very heavy pile of snow the blade trips even without hitting anything and it stops me dead in my tracks
    9) Insta-act or SEHP setup - right now, the pump is so slow that even in 4Lo and 1st or 2nd gear I can't get the blade to rise fast enough that I can stack good, sloping piles. So I end up either having to start raising before I get to the pile and have to back up and repush the last 10 feet to leave it clean, or I kind of "whack" the pile because I'm not high enough. I now have piles that are as tall as they can be, and no where left to put snow.


    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  2. bizzo15

    bizzo15 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    As far as improvements to the truck go. A decent set of tires and a posi rear end will help, chains are never bad either. I'm new to plowing and actually don't even have a blade installed on my truck yet so take this for what it's worth. From what I understand especially with chain lift plows your supposed to let the blade ride up the pile at the end of the run to stack the snow rather than using the hydraulics to lift the blade. Like I said take it for what it's worth, I'm sure somebody else with experience will chime in give you some more advice.
  3. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 403

    Maybe after the first pass where you lifted it, but otherwise all i can see that would happen is to make a mount with a flat front that on the next pass I'm gonna nail dead-on?
  4. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,538

    Sounds like the pump needs a little help, but for the rest of your problems, a decent set of snow tires and plowing with the storm will reduce many headaches.
  5. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,511

    Different size tires are REALLY REALLY BAD for U-joints, drive shafts, differentials and traction. when you have 2 different size tires one set of tires has to slip, once a tire is slipping its easy to slip a lot.
  6. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 403

    I bought the truck during the summer for $850. Didn't notice the tire sizes until I was filling up with air last time. This is a low budget affair, and I've had a heck of a time finding 4 matching tires used on CL etc... I knew it was part for parts, but since I wasn't driving it far, and I use 2wd whenever possible, I thought it wouldn't be a HUGE deal. Didn't really think about what you are saying w/ the traction/slipping...
  7. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    Are all the rims the same or are they diffrent size? go to the junk yard and pick up to matching rims if 2 are diffrent then get a set of winterforce tires or something cheap like 60 bucks a tire i mean 400 seems alot cheaper then tearing down a center section for a posi trac rear end
  8. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 403

    All are stock rims, same size. FWIW, to put it bluntly, there are reasons the truck was $850, so other than a set of matching used tires and/or chains, most of these suggestions are going to be for my next truck which I hope to buy in the Spring. Just want ideas of where to spend the money when I can/do.

  9. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    Well good tires and all the weight you can put in the bed will help
  10. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079


    No Traction, no plowing.

    One of our trucks is a 2wd, non posi F350 dump. It has good snows, proper ballast and counter balance weight and it plows fine.

    If you get good snow tires (exact match not required), and more weight it will make a world of difference.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  11. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 403

    Still looking for some snows, hopefully can find some in the next couple days either 225/75 or 245/75/R16.

    More weight than the 900lbs in there?
  12. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    You have 900lbs and still cant push any snow? are you sure your 4 wheel driveworks
  13. jimmyzlc

    jimmyzlc Member
    Messages: 74

    I use a 1991 Chevy 3/4 ton 2 wheel drive got it about have full of wood, it has newer all terrain tires on it and it plows great.
  14. HD-tech-NH

    HD-tech-NH Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 27

    Exactly and it's when you strap chains on that it will go bang! Have you priced chains? You could buy 4 good used tires for what a single set of chains costs. that being said the traction chains provide is unparalleled. Does your plow move faster if you rev the engine to 2000-2500 RPM? A good way to try this is in park! Chain lift plow doesn't need to be lifted to push up the pile. Surprised that you would take on a rout with faulty / uncertain equipment and know how. Those people depend on you to get them out!
  15. harryhood

    harryhood Junior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 14

    I'm in a similar situation. It's my first year plowing and I'm using a $400 '79 dodge 1/2 ton that I have no intention of using after this year. So there are lots of things that should be fixed and done to make it a better snow mover, but I'm not putting any money in it.

    I've had to say no to my neighbors when they asked about plowing their driveways since I barely trust the truck enough to do my own.

    I'm chalking the issues this year with the truck up to a learning experience.

    Good luck to you for the rest of the season.
  16. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 403

    Thanks for the feedback so far. A couple answers:

    Yes, plow moves faster when its rev'd. I think the pump is wearing out, because if a fair amount of snow is stuck to it and/or I'm into a pile a little, it won't budget (at least not without revving it out of gear)

    I can "push snow", I just have gotten stuck several times while either stacking or on an uphill slope where I couldn't push while the blade was on the ground. Yes, 4wd "works" as I've seen at least the DS front wheel spinning, but with the open rear axle its 2 or 3wd at best really. Plus, with the aforementioned impact from mismatched tires that may be the majority of my problem.

    I had previously plowed with a 91 or so 1 ton Chevy dually that was 2wd and the only time that was ever really stuck was when I backed into the pile from the town plow.

    "Chain lift plow doesn't need to be lifted to push up the pile" - I'll have to try this. While I know it does work a little, it seems like that creates a whack when first hitting the pile more than it would seem woudl be good for the plow/truck before starting to lift (which feels more like the edge is tripping).

    "Surprised that you would take on a rout with faulty / uncertain equipment and know how. Those people depend on you to get them out! " - The only person I have an "agreement" with is a neighbor, and while he has a slight hill, as long as I keep up with the storm I haven't had any problems. For the others, they realize it is me "helping them out" and they are not relying on me to get them to work etc. I'm basically trying to make some extra money so I can buy a better truck come spring time.

    Hopefully I can find some tires and maybe score a used belt driven hydraulic pump and solve the majority of my issues ASAP. Found a set on CL but they sold within a couple hours :(
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  17. harryhood

    harryhood Junior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 14

    where about in Connecticut are you? I'm in East Hampton.
  18. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    For you and for JFon101231, I'll note that if you invest in tires you won't have to throw them away with the truck, you can most likely put them on the next truck too...unlike lockers (which would be great, granted).

    Snow tires are the answer to traction if you have to drive it on the road. If it's never going to touch pavement then I'd go with chains (and who cares if they're strapped to bald all-season tires).

    Mismatched tires won't make a difference either way in that condition. They will break stuff when you drive in 4WD where there's traction (like clean pavement, or maybe with chains on gravel/snow).

    Slamming into a huge pile is the fun part of plowing! :cool:
  19. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    BTW - when I say exact match not required, I mean tread pattern - size is important. :D
  20. MBrooks420

    MBrooks420 Member
    from Erie PA
    Messages: 79

    I'd say the biggest problem is the mismatched tires. We had a 1/2 ton at work with a Fisher Speedcast, and I could easily outplow it with Mountaineer with a snowbear. The tires were the same "size" according to the numbers on the tires, but were actually quite different. When plowing the fronts would always be spinning slightly, and it had zero traction.