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plowing with two wheel drive?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by crew, Dec 4, 2000.

  1. crew

    crew Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    I am in the market for a dumper and see lots of two wheel drives with plows.What are the limits to plowing effectively with a two wheel drive truck? Is it snow depth that puts you past the critical mark? Can enough weight in the bed make the lack of four wheel drive enough to get through anything?
    The 4x2's are so much cheaper and and have fewer things for employees to break - seems too good to be true.
  2. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    You will need weight, and very agressive snow tread. On spot chains are a very good idea, or at the very least regular tire chains for deep snow and ice. The real limiting factor is hills. 2wd on hills doesnt work, keep the 2 wd trucks in parking lots.
  3. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Ok Plowing with 2 wd.

    Depends on what you are trying to plow. Plowing lots and roads can be accomplished with 2wd, however driveways are not as easy.

    It also depends on the truck you will be plowing with. A F 750, will plow better than a 2wd F 350 or F 550, just because the truck weighs more.

    The other factor is the type of area you live in. If you live in a a "flat" area, 2wd will work much better than in a hilly area.

    A good thing to add to any plow truck is a set of on-spot tire changes. The disadvantage to onspots is the must be engaged when you start plowing, because they have to be engaged when you are moving at no more than 5 MPH. Also if you plan on useing on spots for over the road travel, the speed of the truck can not exceed 25 MPH.

    A v-box spreader, or some other sort of weight is also a good adition.

    I will give you two ideas for 2wd plow trucks. I don't know what size truck you want so, I am just taking a guess.

    Ford F 450 or GM 3500 HD

    Ford F 650/750 or International 4700/4900.

    I wouldn't attempt to plow with a 2wd pick up, there just isn't enough curb weight to the truck. I would want at least a 15K gvw for a 2wd plow truck.

  4. crew

    crew Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    Thanks for the responses. I want no bigger than a one ton so i guess it 4x4.
  5. ICky

    ICky Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Plowing in 2wd....

    Ok been lurking around the forum for awhile but feel I must respond to this subject.

    I plow with a 1980 chev c20 (modified)

    It can be done! Hills are no problem. Just be sure you plow downhill *grin* Uphill forget it.

    cambered corners .... be very careful

    stacking snow .... careful you don't hang up the front end or you will be there for quite some time.

    But all things considered, with enough weight and low tire pressure and some reason and caution the ride is not that bad.

    I did put a powertrax unit in the rear this year and look forward to plowing with it. (not enough snow to worry about yet this year but its snowing as I type)

    I would not be hesitant to advise you to try plowing with a 2wd if you have access to a cheap solid truck, but remember weight counts.

  6. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    I think before you buy a 1 ton, look at two sized trucks.

    The "15,000" GVWs GM 3500 HD's and Ford F 450. These trucks with enough weight added and chains, it will plow fine. They are also a better choice for work trucks because of their higher payload, if you want to carry a v-box with a full load, these trucks are a better platform.

    The other size:

    The Ford F 650 and International 4700, trucks with GVWs in the area of 26,000 just under CDL requirements.

    Now these trucks are true mid sized trucks, that are heavy duty. They have a high curb weight, and when you add the body, and possibly the 5 yard sander, you will be able to plow any lot with ease.

    Again these trucks are larger and heavier, and have high maintmance cost. However they are very economicly priced work trucks. They have a much greater work truck capability.

    Price wise you will be suprised at the cost of a Ford F 650. You can find F 650s with the cat 3126 B engine, and 6 or 7 speed trans, 10 or 12' frame lenght, xl package, for under 34K. Now upfitting will cost a little more than a 1 ton sized truck, however you will have a heavy duty long lasting work truck.

    Do youself a favor, look at all the options before ya buy. The last thing you want is to buy something and find out a year later it isn't what you really want.

    So price and look at 4X4 1-tons, 15,000 and 18,000 GVW 1 ton sized trucks, and look at true medium duty work trucks with the 26000 GVW range.

  7. mowing king

    mowing king Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    if you have the skills two wheel drive is better, i plow with 2wd for years. I drive and plow on Very steep hills. but like i said you gotta have the skills . 4wd works great most newer plow guys should use 4wd. I have 3 2wd trucks and plowed the big years. the 2 4wd trucks are good but a true talent really will not need it.
  8. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 700

    Let me guess you hunt with a wood club too.I have been plowing a long time and have used many two wheel drive trucks but I sure wouldn't be stupid enough to choose one over a 4x4 if I had the choice.I you are plowing on hills with a two wheel drive you better have plenty of weight and if its icy chains or a really good run for it are a must.There have been times in a two ton dump loaded with sand where I have gotten a properly weighted 4x4 pickup and pull the dump out of being stuck on a small incline, so if you really have experience you will get a 4x4.
  9. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    Digger you can reply with a different opinion, but dont put the person down in the process. The writer of that post about 2wd trucks is a friend of mine(mowking) and is a very sharp individual. He has the largest lawn main/ landscape company in oyr area and has grown it that large in a very tough market. He owned the 2wd trucks and started plowing with them as well. He does own 1 4x4 but he has never had a problem with the 2wd, may be that our climate is more condusive to a 2wd truck, or he has been lucky. He certainly doesnt use 2 wd because he is cheap, he uses top of the line equip., and isnt afraid to spend the money for it. So please watch the personal attacks.
  10. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    I didn't interpret it as a personal attack. But, it is kind of an ignorant statement to say that a "true talent really will not need" 4WD.

    In my market, a guy plowing with at 2WD truck works for the State or the City. And rocket scientist's they aren't.
  11. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 700

    Thank you John you are right,just thought he was the one being a little condecending,but I guess you got to know Dino personally to get away with that.
  12. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Guess I got no talent,, been told worse

    Well, maybe a true talent won't need 4WD, but then again, maybe you only have true talent if you live where there isn't all that much accumulation from storm to storm. Plowing is a lot easier when you don't have to worry about dropping a wheel off a culvert, into a ditch that has the snow from several storms in it. Or have to deal with real hills and close quarters. It can be done up here, but not efficiently or realistically. Probably 30% of our sites, both residential and commercial have some sort of incline or off camber area where 2WD is somewhere between chancy and virtually impossible. I think that maybe another 30% would be plowable with 2WD, given a good driver, but even then it will be slower and probably require visiting those sites with a 4x4 to clean up corners and stuff banks back after the storm, again, not so efficient. I'm going to try some of the easy places with a 2WD this winter, but it's a pretty serious 2WD, a GMC 5500 with a 10' Western and it will be packing 3-4 tons for traction and there will be a set of single chains in the cab as well.
  13. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    I've been doing more reading lately than posting - not too much time (sorry all), but we have two sets of tire chains in our trucks (4 chains) for a reason - we need them on occasion. We also carry cards from our associated tow-truck driver. I will give a tow to those unfortunate few who are otherwise prepared and not giving-any-attitude to me. If unprepared or they're being rude, I give them the card and say have a nice day.

    I appreciate all the friendly tows I received over the years too (that's how I got the cards).

    I think maybe I could plow 20 percent of the work in 2-wheel - with a time penalty and a lot of spinning.
  14. mowing king

    mowing king Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanks Dino for the nice words.

    I did not take any of that as an insult.Because i was Half Kidding. Yes i did hunt with a wood club,but now i use a V-club. I started with a dual wheel dump truck and put a plow on because thats all i had, And thats what i really meant. If all you have is 2wd or Dual wheel drive you can learn to plow with. yes 4wd is easy to use and it may be better but you don't Need 4wd to plow.

    the true talent line.I was a joking just to see if alan was watching. I know it takes great skills to plow 2wd or 4wd. I am a liitle dumb so please type slowly,i have my volmue on loud.
    I will be using the ploy edge club when it needs to be replaced. I did get the v-club because dino recommend it and i love it. thanks again
  15. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    LOL I think this new guy has been a lurker for a while. He fits into our looney bin too comfortably ;) Welcome to the fun King.
  16. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 700

    It really sucks when the new guys have a sense of humor,kind of ruins the fun
  17. Aspen Snow

    Aspen Snow Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    1978 F-350 2wd 9' Fisher plow, 3 yd Sander.

    Great in Parking Lots.

    Not made for driveways.
  18. SCL

    SCL Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    Northern Illinois F350 2wd 8" Fisher Western Spreader. I am limited to parking lots and flat driveways. When I got this truck it had standard street tires that spin on dry pavement. I turn down driveways and hilly ares for the exact same reason. We plow with a peallet of salt and a pallet of retaining wall block in the dump box. If all you have is a similar setup yes you can plow, but take jobs that fit your equipment. As for us I see a 4x4 in our future, hopefully another 1 ton dump. And just to clarify, I too am talentless.By the way, what is this "powertrax" that icky has mentioned. Is it a limited slip and is it possible to put those in a 1 ton dually?

    [Edited by SCL on 12-07-2000 at 02:44 PM]
  19. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Oh, Oh....

    Someone else with a sense of humor.

    Now we'll be "off thread" more, and Dino will have to watch is closer.....
  20. Turfworks

    Turfworks Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    Snow Plowing Discussion

    Thanx Guy's for all the light hearted entertainment as posted. Sure is a good pastime in between late night weather checks. So far,no plowable snowfall here in New England but have been putting down some sand as needed.Anyone willing to share some thoughts on bidding commercial lots on a seasonal basis??? November thru April for snow and ice maintenance,always interested in hearing of other's experiences.So far,November has been easy on the equipment and good for the A/R,probably get it hard in February,as in Murphy's Law of Blunders,Keep Smilin'!