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Plowing with a topper?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by BushHogBoy, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    Is this a major PITA? Seems it could be more especially if the windows get iced/snowed over badly :( It would be great to keep all your gear and equipment dry and out of the snow. Theres a few Blazers and one Excursion (PSD) with plows around here but they at least can heat the windows from the inside. I've seen a few pics of plowtrucks with toppers but I'm skeptical of the window clearing issue.

    Anyone got input?

    Thanks
    Eric
     
  2. NJ Plowman

    NJ Plowman Senior Member
    Messages: 799

    Remove it for the Winter...
     
  3. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    So its that bad eh? Seems it would be...

    Ok thanks, just thought it would be nice to store everything in out of the elements :(
    Thanks
     
  4. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    Put the cap on and use your mirrors when backing up. I plow with a GMC 3500/dump bed. Even with the back empty, you can barely see through the 1 1/2 slices in the metal bed. I also put on a vee box so it's useless looking out of the rear window. Learning to use your mirrors is also easier on your neck.
     
  5. alamarc

    alamarc Member
    Messages: 67

    I learned on a GMC 2500HD with a 8 foot bed. I didn't have a hard time with it at all. I guess if you can't use mirros then you have to take it off. But i found it easier to just look at the mirros instead of turning around.
     
  6. NJ Plowman

    NJ Plowman Senior Member
    Messages: 799

    Loose the top, throw a tarp over the stuff when you are done using it. :drinkup:
     
  7. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I did last season with a topper fir the first time- loose it for plowing.

    I had to prop the rear window open with a driveway marker for plowing. I know how to use mirrors, but when doing resi work seeing what it directly behind you is often important and impossible with mirrors only.

    The side windows are not such a big deal for snow collection- but not having clear sight over the bed really increases the danger and frustration backing out of drives on to the street. I would have first removed ALL the tinting on the windows, then added more and larger windows. Visability is a big issue. Also, without an insulating foam/window gasket (the thing between the truck rear window and cap front window) snow collects on thoses windows and is really hard to remove.

    I'm going back to an open bed this year (already have actually) and will be making a plywood bed cover to anchor to the stake pockets instead.
     
  8. RHarrah

    RHarrah Member
    Messages: 40

    Why not put a polecat heater (or similar product) on the windows?
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2005
  9. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    Ok so we have a toss-up... I am definately a mirror guy, learned how to drive in our 1 ton 12 passenger Ford van before I even had my permit I was backing the trailers for dad at the campground, at the lake, etc. (I was way better than dad he is not a mirror guy and you can't back up trailers in that van without knowing mirrors). For a year I worked and drove out of a 1 ton dually 8'x12' flatbed with a solid headache rack that stuck out past the cab quite a bit and no rear window vision.

    But I can see the topper being a pain to plow with.

    Justme, great idea on the temp. tonneau. Years ago my grandpa made a tonnaue for his '87 Dakota using treated plywood and black exterior carpet (truck is black too). Used aluminum trim peices on the corners to hold it all together and look a little nicer. His cover worked great, he built this after using a topper for a while and finding it wasn't everythign he wanted. I think the tonnaue started to wear out or he got tired of it, his topper is back on now LOL... Only thing I didn't like about the one he built is its pretty permanent, and it was the kind the back half hinges up at a small angle (30 degrees?). I'd want the kind that has folding sections or a soft top one maybe (them suck when cold).


    Hmm.. yeah i probably won't run the topper i'll think about it more but even as a mirror driver, sometimes its nice to be able to turn around and look out.

    Those heaters for wipers, don't know how powerful they are but wonder if they would clear the windows? it would take a few sets of those to be effective on all of the topper windows... that would get pricey. never known anyone to use wiper heaters but i'm sure its standard on your mercedes/bmw/etc... payup
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2005
  10. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Go with out the cap. I dont know why people buy caps for pickups to begin with, buy a van if you want an enclosed space. Caps restrict visibility quite a bit on a pickup truck, makes it even worse then trying to see out of a long SUV for example. I rely mainly on mirrors to back up even when visibility rearward is good but as was said above, there are times where you really have to turn around and look or risk an accident.
     
  11. RHarrah

    RHarrah Member
    Messages: 40

    This topic poses a particular interest to me too.

    I do not have a dedicate truck for plowing instead I use my truck from my full time business which would heavily benefit from having a cap on during the winter. In my opinion, which is one of inexperience in snowplowing, if you can easily backup using the mirrors and you are not in the afore mentioned residential situations then the only disadvantage is the limited visibility. How much more limited is the visibility in a pickup with a cap than a dump truck or other setup that doesn’t provide the unrestricted visibility of a pickup without a cap? The benefits of a cap would outweigh that disadvantage for me. The advantages would be the security and weather protection that I would need for my other stuff (none snow work related) that I need to carry, functional ballast in the rear and a place to mount a light bar and other lights without mounting them directly into a brand new truck.

    While I respect the opinions of limited visibility doing residential work, I plan on doing commercial work and see backing out of a drive to be of little concern myself.
     
  12. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    The wiper heaters are a good idea, but they won;t cure the issue I encountered. They would melt some of the snow left from the normal snow fall, but I found a major downdraft through the gap between the cab back and the cap front which replenished the snow as long as there was any on the roof of the truck. (besides a foam gasket thingy is way cheaper from Whitneys)

    There is no visability difference, for practical purposes between a cap/topper and a dump- both restrict your visability severily to the rear and rear sides, both are consequently dangerous to back up out of a drive- and both IMHO don't belong in residential plowing. I own both and plow both. Learned to plow in the dump and I am a very capable big truck driver as in I know how to use mirrors and drive big trucks useing only mirrors, but there are situations when being able to see behind the truck- directly behind the truck where mirrors don't let you see- is almost necessary. There are many other situations where the stress level for the driver is reduced by that visability. It's MUCH less needed in commercial situations so feel free to ignore me for that.
     
  13. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    Take the cap off. Put it in the backyard or make a doghouse out of it. Be sure not to put it back on. That's what most of us real men have done.
     
  14. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Okay, so your going to plow snow with a van ?
    Maybe do a lil hunting on the back 40, in a van ?
    Head out on a 12" plus frozen lake to ice fish, in a van ?
    Haul your tools to a remote site or camp, in a van ?


    Actually plowing with a topper is no big deal, have done it for years. Just leave your back window up when plowing and you can see right out the back.
    Just remember the window sticks out further then the bumper.
    Todd