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Suggestions for snow clearing (truck vs tractor options)

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by chucksma, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. chucksma

    chucksma Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Looking for some guidance on clearing snow. I'm in coastal Southern, MA. Moved to a new place last year with about 250+ feet driveway and then another 250' down to barn area (only needs occasional access). The driveway has stone wall on one side and trees on the other (no ditch, fairly level with a few spots to plow into woods if needed.). Driveway is old binder coat with some cracks, and some paver base or crushed stone closer to house...kinda rough. Photos attached.

    I have a Kubota B7500 with small front end loader and made it through last winter using that. It was about an hour to clear driveway alone in bigger storms. Looking for something faster and more practical.

    At this point I'm considering a 3/4 ton CCSB truck to pull an RV. Likely something 5 years old or younger, possibly diesel.

    So I'm debating my snow removal options. Here's my thoughts so far...where am I off-base:

    1) 3PT hitch blower on tractor. ~$2500-3k. Pros: Separate vehicle (kids, wife could do it when I'm not there if needed), throws snow into woods, lower cost, no wear and tear on vehicle. Cons: Slower than plowing (max 50" blower...possibly not much faster than using the FEL?) Out in the cold, looking over shoulder to use.

    2) Front End blower on tractor. $5-6k. Pros and cons same as #1 but more expensive and no faster. Not looking over shoulder for an hour at a time.

    3) New or slightly used plow for new truck. Pros: Faster, comfort of being in cab, possible side work option (not a priority). Cons: Wear and tear on truck, cost more, potentially lead to a larger truck. Not sure compatilibility with diesel trucks.

    4) Front blade on tractor: $1-2k. Advantage: separate vehicle (can use when I'm not there), lower cost. Cons: Not sure small 21HP tractor heavy enough to push much. Loose FEL when blade is on. Pain to swap (older FEL, no quick attach).

    5) Rear blade on tractor: $1k or less. Advantage: low cost, still have FEL. Cons: Small tractor, maybe no faster. Pain to look over should.

    At this point, I'm leaning towards plow on new-ish truck. I'm already looking at an HD truck for towing capacity so seems like the extra 2-3k vs a blower will be worth it. For reference, I used to plow with a 3/4T Chevy manual 4spd years ago up in Northern VT so thinking 3/4T is enough.

    Any considerations I"m missing? Is this enough truck? I know another option is to get an older rig just for plowing but I really don't want to maintain 2 trucks and new the HD truck to be newer / reliable for long distance tows with camper. Any suggestions on a reasonable plow setup would help.

    Chuck

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  2. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,552

    I personally would get a 3 point blower for your Kubota.

    The down force created by the weight of the plow is going to junk your driveway in no time at all IMO. Plows for 3/4 tons are heavy and like to run on flat surface, and if you have spots that are un even, they will just peel it up unless you run your shoes, then it will not clean all the way down to the pavement. If the shoe goes in a hole, it typically brings binder with it when it comes threw.

    Since you have the FEL on your Kubota, this gives you the option to plow at a quick clip in a little snow, but if you have the blower, you can make piles and then make them disappear quick.

    Maybe look into a blade that attaches to your FEL to use with the blower so you can quickly windrow the snow off to one side, then make 1 or 2 passes with the blower and you now have no piles to deal with. You will not have to remove your loader, just switch bucket to blade. You also will not have to turn around the whole time to plow. Something like the attached picture?

    Again, my 2 cents for what it is worth since this gives you the option that you and your truck do not have to be around to clean the drive.
     

    Attached Files:

    BUFF likes this.
  3. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,552

    Kinda giving you a setup like this. We used this in a storage unit typically, but the front blade with the wings would allow you to carry a bit of snow down to the ends, get a good pile, then spin around a blow it over the fences producing no piles.

    You could plow a little snow quick, but if you were working in a deep snow situation, you could cut down the center of a pretty deep snow, allowing you to be able to use the blade once you cut the first pass.

    Kubota.jpg
     
    FredG and BUFF like this.
  4. chucksma

    chucksma Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    That's a great looking setup. I don't have a quick attachment on the FEL so I'm not sure how well the bolt on blades work and/or can be attached/detached. I have seen a few but no one with first hand experience. Do you recall how big that blower is and roughly how long you would expect it to take to make ~3 passes up and down a 275' drive?

    I can see the benefit of plow and blower together as you mention.

    I should have mentioned that I intend to have the driveway re-paved in the next year or possible 2 years out. I wouldn't want to beat it up too badly but do have the means to repair it as needed in the short term in the spring until the repaving is done. One of the reasons I was leaning more towards a plow on the truck.
     
  5. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,221

    You can get around not having a QA on your FEL by building a plate for the plow that mounts in place of the bucket. You'd have to pull pins but you wouldn't have mulch money into it. It's also allows you to use any plow you find used on C/L.
     
  6. chucksma

    chucksma Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    You guys have any thoughts on that option vs putting a back blade on the 3PT hitch?

    As much as I like the idea of fabbing up something from an old straight plow, I'm not sure I can put that kinda time into a project like that.
     
  7. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,221

    Most back blades have shorter moldboards so you have spillage issues, you can get hydro angling but the big draw back is they don't trip.
    Would one work yes but they have they're short comings too,
     
  8. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,188

    Fixing the drive would be a option, It looks good over all besides the spots that are mucking. It will just get worse as time goes on. It's a piece of cake now to fix.
     
  9. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 733

    I'm a homeowner too; 600' paved driveway and about 2,000sf turnaround by the garage. Started out with a kubota b7500 and front blower about 15 years ago. Got old real fast. I switched to a plow (Western MVP) - much better. Have changed equipment over the years, but still have a tractor and skidsteer ask a backup and to move back banks.

    A benefit to the plow is you basically jump in and go. With a tractor, you have to warm it up and bundle yourself up. The plow is much quicker, of course.

    Since you'll still have the tractor and FEL, you don't have to worry about pushing the snow back too much with the plow. You can just use the tractor to break up and push the banks back when you have time (or send out the wife and kids to do it).

    I say get a plow.
     
  10. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,552

    If you are going to do a new drive soon, that helps the plow cause... now if you already had the truck that would help to make it a no brainer.

    72" Wide Blower on that unit if I recall correctly. My memory of that machine is faint on how fast you could clear passes as I personally spent very little time in it and that machine. We typically just plowed and blew piles with it. I know that it was not that great compared to a high flow blower mounted on a skid loader and that was how this machine got retired.

    Here is another option if you dont have a QR bucket.

    Clamp on FEL.jpg
     
  11. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,552

    As for the back blade... my dad (old farmer) still uses one to do his drive to this day... On an open cab tractor... :confused::confused:

    It has become a game to him to see if he can get out there and get it done with his tractor and back blade before I can get to his place after I do my stuff.

    As for time saved with a back blade... It takes him little under an hour to do his drive and the area between buildings with the blade and tractor... I can do it in about 10 minutes with my a truck and plow...
     
  12. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,188

    That's what I'm talking about, Fix the drive and use a truck plow or plow on tractor. Anything will lead to more damage whatever you use. Just driving on it will make them spots muck worse till repaired. Mucking don't stop without repair. :hammerhead:
     
  13. chucksma

    chucksma Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I'm using crusher run to keep the few small holes, cracks, and edge of the old binder coat in tact for the time being.

    Hopefully I was clear that I plan to buy the HD truck whether I plow or not (getting it for trailering). Only question is whether to put a plow on it or stick with a tractor option.

    Seems like mixed bag of opinions. The idea of a blow on the kubota is appealing in particular due to it being a separate vehicle and a lot less cost. But I do wonder if it will be big enough (both plow and tractor to really move snow fast enough. Guess it's a gut-check if the additional speed and comfort of plowing in a truck is worth +$3-5k!
     
  14. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,221

    The size of the area you have to plow really is pretty small. The extra time I'll take to use the Bota isn't worth the added cost and not having the convenience of having someone else plow the drive, etc.....
    I'd set the Bota up to do the job.
     
  15. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,188

    Your buying the truck anyways, This is a tough decision, How comfortable do you want to be? If your comfortable and enjoy or don't mind the bota use that. If you get sick of the bota get a blade for your truck.
     
  16. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    If your going to pave the driveway anyway I really like that plow that clamps on to the bucket that philbilly posted. Looks almost maintenance free, is probably pretty cheap, and since your only doing your driveway it's probably not that bad to bundle up for an hour to do it? I don't know you already have the tractor. I say save the money you would put into the plow for the truck and put it into some upgrades for the truck. As for if the 3/4 ton would be enough truck for your situation yes, plenty of truck. Just my two cents.
     
  17. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,221

    SoftCabs are available either full or heat houser or if it has ROPS there's also farmering up something made oot of plywood and plexi glass as an option....
     
  18. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,188

    Yes, I got full cabs on my skid, Bomby and trackless, Bomby and skid have oil heaters, Cozy enough I just like a truck when possible. You have to use what you got tho. Thumbs Up :waving:
     
  19. bootstrap

    bootstrap Member
    Messages: 40

    Truck plow. Ive been plowing for years with tractors. It kind of sucks when the wind is blowing hard. Leave the loader on for stacking if need be. Its much more enjoyable to be in a warm cab with a nice hot cup of coffee than out in the freezing cold blowing wind.
    You probably don't need a diesel truck just to pull a camper unless its over 12,000 lbs and your pulling it all the time. I pull over 12,000 lbs about 8 times a year with my 6.0 and it always gets the job done, and I didn't waste tons of money on a diesel I didn't need.