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So I have this question...

Discussion in 'Equipment, Tools & Vehicle Pictures' started by TatraFan, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    So, I've spent a lot of time in Europe. And one thing I've noticed is the use of the Unimog (one of the two trucks I've always wanted to own [the other being the Tatra T815]) truck/utility tractor concept in places like the Alps and I've marveled at their versatility and capabilities. I've seen them with plows, mowers, front end buckets, backhoes, snow blowers (and cutters), and more. And I've always wondered why like when you see people remove snow in the US they don't demand the US truck makers to give them trucks with more specialized features like the Mogs have? Is there some reason why this type of vehicle isn't used in the US much? Are they not as good as they appear to be?

    For example 2 years ago I was visiting my home town when 6 feet of snow fell on it during one storm. I was snowed in at the folks place for two or three days until the plow guy my folks hired could get a tractor over with a bucket and snow blower attachment on it to clear the drive way. So I was thinking how when I'm in the Alps (Swiss or German usually) this small little trucks just power through this snow like nothing with snow blowers on them. And really the more I thought about the more curious I was as to why a tractor doing 20-30 mph would be more practical than a truck doing 45-50mph between areas with a snow blower on it?

    I realize that trucks are extreme expensive even used... However, it would seem to me that if say Dodge or Chevy ( say 3500-4500 series trucks) came up with a package of accessories specific for heavy duty work; I think they could make a killing a truck like. Imagine a Chevy 3500 truck with items like front and rear air locking differentials, strong frames, portal axles, deep reduction ranges on the transfer case ( like say the Atlas Box does) , maybe a front pto, centralized hydraulics, and so on and so forth. I think this type of vehicle would be a really good option for contractors who really work with their trucks.

    It might not have ridiculous features like the standard mog does of fording 30 inches of water or having 15 inches of ground clearance-but, the truck could be designed to operate a front mounted PTO Snow Blower (cutter) or other optional tools.

    So I'm curious as to why the professionals here don't demand a product like this? In my line of work I don't find many people who can answer these questions I have.

    Just look at this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGMW0STOVow&feature=related

    or
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05Mcj_Pq2Dk&NR=1

    Now that I've aborted my retro-fitting of a snow plow to the Tatra-815PMS I own ( cannot wait until the paper work clears and it is shipped from the Czech Republic to here) I think I will purchase a Unimog to play in the winter snow with...

    But really I'm curious as to your answers to that above question.
     
  2. vegaman04

    vegaman04 Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    Sub'ed for responses.
     
  3. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    I don't get your response?
     
  4. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    He subscribed to your thread.
     
  5. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Got it... Because Sub'ed for responses really made absolutely no sense to me.
     
  6. SNOWLORD

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    This is the closest I can come 37,000 GVW, central hydraulics with 4working ports at front and 6 working ports at rear, air ports on rear, 12 ton hooklift, 4x4, auto, no front PTO, not sure about clearance but more than most. This is turning out to be one of the best things I have ever bought, I wish I had 50 roll off boxes though.[/HTML]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. maverjohn

    maverjohn Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    I like this idea, lets see where it gos
     
  8. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Well, sure an International like that is very nice. Automatic transmission....( Oh that is just blasphemy if you ask me. You needed to get a manual gearbox in that truck with at at least 13gears... Because gears are your friend.... I'm just teasing you.) Does that truck have a lock up torque converter on the Allison Tranny? Does it have a two speed or single speed transfer case with air-locker? I would like two speeds myself with an air locker. I would also want a locking read different at minimum (does it have one?). There is no doubt that your truck is very nice. And the centralized hydraulics are great for easy tool attachment like plows, sanders, dump boxes and so on. I think it really is the way to go myself.

    Still what i was envisioning is something that could actually be used on a private driveway. So say an overall length of less than 200 inches. Your truck is really for big truck for big jobs. Where as the Unimog to me is a small truck that does jobs of a disproportionate size relative to its own size.
     
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    I love the Unimogs myself. I almost pulled the trigger on a US army surplus one that had a front end loader and a backhoe on the back. Check the army surplus auctions and you'll find one.

    Only real problem with them is that they generally are manuals, and unless your doing nothing but long roads, they'll kill your left leg from all the clutching.

    Next best thing in my eyes is a Bi-Directional tractor. New Holland makes one and you could stick a pusher box on one end, swivel the seat and use a snow blower on the other. I'm actually keeping my eyes out for a 90's ford 9030 bi-directional tractor.

    ....
     
  10. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    I've never found a manual transmission to be tiring actually myself. From the few test drives I've done in Unimog's found them to be rather user friendly given the forest of gear levers in the center console. I think the fact that you reverse the direction in 1-4 main box ranges is great. That really makes it user friendly I feel.

    The bi-directional tractor sounds pretty neat actually. I've never seen that set up before.
     
  11. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    You haven't found one tiring because you've never plowed snow with a manual for 30 hours strait. You could possibly use the clutch more than a 100 times in a couple of hours depending on the lot or area you are clearing.

    Here's a link to the description of a Bi-directional tractor.

    http://versatile-tractors.com/Bidi.htm

    ....
     
  12. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    When I was in college I worked for a company delivering stuff part time in NYC... I used to drive a Gruman style truck-- depending on where the delivery was going you could do hundreds of shifts in stop and go traffic... So have a really good idea what is like to shift a lot.
     
  13. SNOWLORD

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    Tatra fan FYI my truck is not an International, it measures 216" bumper to bumper, I personally would never want a clutch in a plow truck. This truck works excellent for what I do. I hope yours works well for what you want it to do.
     
  14. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Plowing is just such a different animal compared to stop and go traffic. There is absolutely nobody I've talked to that has ever plowed with a manual that didn't get rid of it after the season was finished, or said they actually liked it.

    ....
     
  15. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Okay, so it is a Freightliner... It is a nice truck and it is small.
     
  16. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    There is basically two types of terrain I've driven large trucks on: regular paved roads and completely off road... And my best guess was that it had to be more like stop and go driving given all the adjustments one would have to make in course and direction. I mean off road driving in a truck like the Ural 375D or Tatra T813 isn't really hard. So my frame of reference are those two extremes. So you are saying it is more like driving off-road?
     
  17. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    IMO it wouldn't be cost effective for either party. The big 3 make a truck just "heavy duty" enough to get the job done but not over kill so the weekend warrior can still afford it. In 99.9% of the time regular heavy duty trucks do the best for what we need to do.
     
  18. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    No, completely different than anything else.

    Think of it this way.... You're in a plow truck from anywhere to 24-48 hours strait so the fatigue factor is the biggest thing. Sitting in the same position is the second. Constantly twisting (if you look backwards when going in reverse) doesn't help, the constant adrenalin, and the amount of times you go forward and reverse thus using the clutch that much more.

    Hypothetically, If you go into say a 1 acre lot, you might clutch more than 50 times in 45 minutes in that lot depending on how much snow and where you are moving it to. Take that times 20, 1 acre lots in a snow route and that's your problem.

    I've personally never have plowed with a manual, but like I said, even I know that it would be brutal. The last person I talked to that had was a guy who in a pinch needed a truck. He said after doing his snow route his left knee swelled to twice the size and he literally couldn't walk on it for three days after the storm.

    Also for slow speed plowing, you might not be able to effectively shift out of first gear when you have a full load on your blade. With an auto, it will shift effectively for you.
     
  19. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    What do you consider heavy duty?
     
  20. vegaman04

    vegaman04 Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    Heavy Duty of the light duties lol

    GM - Ford - Dodge