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Some Newbie questions.

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by AlaskaPlowin, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. AlaskaPlowin

    AlaskaPlowin Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Hey all.

    I mounted a used Hiniker 8' straight blade on my '99 Super Duty. I had it professionally mounted by a heavy truck shop. The blade was badly scratched up and ugly, so I ground it down and re-painted it. After an initial trial, the blade works great and the paint is staying on very well(!!).

    I'm using the plow for personal use... non-commercial. A few friends driveways and my business parking lot is going to be the extent of the use.

    A couple of pics...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, I've done some plowing about 15 years ago and have done some research on plowing techniques.

    I have some questions I would greatly appreciate some feed back on...

    1) Is there anything that keeps the blade in the up position in case the hydrolics suddenly decide to take a dump? Don't like the idea of driving on the highway and having the blade drop.

    2) Do most people use their plow feet down? To what depth?

    3) In reference to plowing specifically, what are the critical maintenance issues that needs to be done... truck and plow? Yearly transmission fluid change?

    4) What is the best way to focus the plow headlights correctly?

    5) For those with Hiniker plows with the quick connect/disconnect system. The blade has a tendency to move forward and backward when trying to connect and disconnect. Is there a good trick to keeping the blade stationary? A block in the front to keep from sliding?

    6) Is there a limit to the temperature one should plow in? I understand common sense should rule... and I think I'm good there... but how about mechanics/hydrolics and such?

    7) When it is cold (below zero?), is there a warm up sequence for the plow/hydrolics?

    8) The plow came with what looks like after market, homemade wings. They stick out about a foot wider than the blade and are about 6 inches above the cutting edge of the blade. I didn't put them back on because I want to get very close to a fence and a building and thought they'd get in the way too much. Obviously they are used for keeping the maximum amount of snow on the blade for distance pushing... but are there any other reasons to use them? Am I going to miss them much in plowing a half acre sized parking lot with a long push?

    That's about all I can thinks of at the moment... more to follow I'm sure. Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
     
  2. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    1) Is there anything that keeps the blade in the up position in case the hydrolics suddenly decide to take a dump? Don't like the idea of driving on the highway and having the blade drop.

    There should be a carry mechanism- you should NEVER carry the plow blade up on the hydraulics alone- that causes the hydraulics to wear out faster by creating excess pressure on the seals from the blade bouncing. Fisher's have a carry chain- a second chain from the blade up to the lift frame, I don;t know what Hinnaker used but a carry chain is easy to fabricate.

    2) Do most people use their plow feet down? To what depth?

    I don't use feet- they are to prevent the blade from diggin in soft stuff like grass and gravel (or pavers) and to help the cutting edge last longer by taking some of the weight off of it. It doesn;t scrape ad close with feet on. Setting the depth for them depends on the style of feet (roller, mushroom, sled, etc) but basically put washers under the mount (never on top) to let the show keep the blade about 1/16 of an inch off the surface. Most manufacturer's will have the instructions available (try calling a hiniker dealer or checking their site for an owner manual)

    3) In reference to plowing specifically, what are the critical maintenance issues that needs to be done... truck and plow? Yearly transmission fluid change?

    Tranny fluid and tranny adjustment if applicable, make sure all electrical contacts are clean and good, good tires, check front end for early wear, grease all plow pivot points. Basically everything you would want to do if you were driving it on a long trip in the dead of winter on deserted roads.

    4) What is the best way to focus the plow headlights correctly?

    With the blade lifted (on carry chain) and a person in the driver seat about your weight aim them to form the same pattern as normal headlights on the road. If the blade is down the lights will be way too low when you lift the blade- and you need the lights when driving to and from the plow location not while plowing.

    5) For those with Hiniker plows with the quick connect/disconnect system. The blade has a tendency to move forward and backward when trying to connect and disconnect. Is there a good trick to keeping the blade stationary? A block in the front to keep from sliding? Don;t have that plow- but my Fisher tends to do that when I push too hard- just practice for me.

    6) Is there a limit to the temperature one should plow in? I understand common sense should rule... and I think I'm good there... but how about mechanics/hydrolics and such?
    no, not really. If it's cold anough you need ablock heater for the truck then install and use one- let the truck warm up before trying to plow anything- colr tranny fluid doesn't pump so the tranny could misbehave. Use sub zero hydraulic fluid instead of tranny fluid in the plow hydraulic system if it's really cold.


    7) When it is cold (below zero?), is there a warm up sequence for the plow/hydrolics?
    Just warm up the truck for the above answer.


    8) The plow came with what looks like after market, homemade wings. They stick out about a foot wider than the blade and are about 6 inches above the cutting edge of the blade. I didn't put them back on because I want to get very close to a fence and a building and thought they'd get in the way too much. Obviously they are used for keeping the maximum amount of snow on the blade for distance pushing... but are there any other reasons to use them? Am I going to miss them much in plowing a half acre sized parking lot with a long push?

    Some will say yes- because you can plow more snow per pass, but realistically no. They may help you get closer to objects by letting you have more room between the truck and the object in which to see and watch the blade, but if you know how to plow as you say you have had experiance and plow with common sense you're windrowing much of the lot anyway, and it's not like you need to finnish as fast as possible to get to another account or client since it's just you.
     
  3. kingriver

    kingriver Senior Member
    from alaska
    Messages: 217

    What type of paint did you use, looks GREAT !!!! I like to color matching with your truck,, :cool:
     
  4. AlaskaPlowin

    AlaskaPlowin Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Thank you!



    My plow doesn't have a carry mechanism. I've seen them around on some models... but most I've seen, don't. I'll have to email Hiniker and see what they have and suggest. Like you say, I can also fabricate.

    The plow didn't come with feet, so I bought a set. They came with the washers. Why do you say to never use washers on top? It would seem if I didn't put any of the remaining washers on top, the feet would drop to the retaining pin and possibly bind when the blade drops. I set the feet at about an inch and got great results... very little snow left behind.

    Good tips... didn't think about the blade weight effecting the head lights.

    Yeah... I've lived here in the interior for forty years. My vehicles have Transmission Heaters, Oil Pan Heaters, Block Heaters & Battery Heaters. I think I'm set. Not sure what type of hydrolic fluid I have, but I'll check with the heavy truck shop and see what they suggest.

    I plowed my parking lot this weekend, and although there was only a couple inches on the ground I think I got the hang of how to keep the snow in front of the blade... for the most part. Windrowing is a good skill also. I figured out it pays to have a plan before plowing a big area. If not, a guy can spend a heck of a lot of time moving snow from areas more than once. :)

    I appreciate your awesome, detailed reply. Gonna help!
     
  5. AlaskaPlowin

    AlaskaPlowin Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I was hoping no one asked that question.

    I used 10 cans of Krylon from Home Depot.:)

    I spent about three hours using an angle grinder to get rid of all the paint edges and to rough up the surface. Then I used alcohol and some tack cloth to get the surface clean. Next I sprayed Rusty Metal Krylon Primer on all the surfaces... about four coats. I used a Gloss Black on the cutting edge (6 Coats) and Gloss White on the blade (6 Coats). For the back side of the blade I used a Flat Black (4 Coats). I figured it'd reflect less headlight glare back at me.

    I didn't have a heck of a lot of faith in the paint holding up to the beating it was going to endure. Especially the cutting edge. But with just a few bucks and a few hours of time invested, along with how horrible the blade looked before, I didn't have a heck of a lot to lose. I definitely couldn't make it look worse. :D

    With about 4" of snow on the ground, I plowed three chip gravel driveways and my parking lot, which is part gravel and part paved.

    Needless to say, I got into a lot gravel. I am really impressed with how well the paint held up. No scratches on the blade at all and just superficial markings to the cutting edge... no scratches.

    So far so good.

    Thanks for the props on my truck and set up. A couple of my employees suggested I paint sharks teeth on the blade like the old WWII fighters... ain't gonna happen. :) I like the clean look.
     
  6. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Go to any hydraulic shop (or any shop thet deals in hydraulic supply), or any brand snow plow dealer- they all sell low temp fluid, and all low temp fluid should be the same. If you have that many heaters, use low temp fluid for sure.

    The washer's on the top can prevent the feet from dropping down to the surface properly, causing them to bind. If the feet are properly installed they should never bind when being pushed up. Fisher warns specifically against putting washers on top. Never useing feet I have no practical experiance to say yes or no it will or won;t happen, or when it will, or whatever. Try it and see how it goes for you. I would set the feet closer than 1 inch tho- at one inch you really have the feet just dragging alog for the ride and not doing anything until you actually dig a 1 inch trench- know what I mean?

    Yeah, without a plan even a small lot can be several hours of pushing the same snow back and forth. I try not to fill more than half the blade when windrowing with a straight blade- it keeps the roll off to a minimum- adding a sno foil or a deflector will also help- it's trial and error- the biggest thing you already learned- have a plan first. Know where you're going to put the snow before you drop the blade for the first time and make every motion count- don't backup when you can turn and push forward for example.
     
  7. ibuildcars4u

    ibuildcars4u Junior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 18

    one of the biggest mistakes is people forgeting about re-torquing all the bolts. depending on the amount of plowing you do. if its not commercial than it should be done every winter before you plow for the first time. commercially depends on the amount of hours you put on it. ive used red locktite and still found bolts loosing torque and needed to be re-torqued. alot of people put the plow on and never check unless something happens.
     
  8. AlaskaPlowin

    AlaskaPlowin Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Great Tip!

    With the amount of pounding these plows take... it'd be wise to re-check the bolts. So far I've plowed three separate times... five driveways and my parking lot.

    Thanks again for the input.