1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

The Ultimate Jeep Plow?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by i_am_chris, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19


    It seems like Jeeps are viable plow vehicles with arguable lists of modifications appropriate for varied situations. I'm no gearhead so some of the mods are beyond my comprehension, but I am good at gathering requirements, assembling specifications, and paying for things.

    With that in mind, I'd like to get a list of things the group thinks would be appropriate if I were able to build a Jeep plow vehicle essentially from the ground up. In searching the 'net it seems I could find someone to build the vehicle to my specs. But, I don't know what those are yet.

    I do know this about where we want to plow:

    1) the main driveway is 1500' long, in southern Vermont, all hill, and it rises 600' from bottom to top. Kinda steep in a few places but I've yet to get stuck with the '03 Xterra, '89 Toyota Pickup, or '84 F250 as long as in 4WD and have tire chains when there's snow on the ground.
    2) the additional private road and off-shoot driveway that I'll plow add another 750', though this is pretty flat.
    3) The driveway and roads are gravel
    4) Being that the driveway goes up the side of a mountain there isn't much room to turn around, hence the notion that a Jeep, with its tight turning radius, would be much better than a big truck. I've already had problems negotiating with the '84 F250 when needing to turn around.
    5) We don't go four-wheelin in the off-season; the Jeep would become my wife's primary vehicle in non-winter. In fact, since I travel for work a lot, she'll assume the role of primary plower. So, we don't need to jack it up, put big muddy tires on it, etc. Simple is good.

    That's about it for requirements.

    Let's presume that a Jeep would work for my requirements, rather than have a bunch of posts saying why it won't work. I'll take a lack of posts as an indicator that I should look for another vehicle. With that in mind, I'm open for suggestions as to a base vehicle, engine size, transmission, plow size and brand, axles, gears, tires, whatever. What would be the ultimate plow Jeep?

    If I can define it and afford to build it, I'll paint it red and drive it home in a year or so :)
  2. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    So, can you plow it downhill? A Jeep isn't going to push much uphill. There is an unlimited amount of modifications you can do to a Jeep, but if you need chains on the hill then you might want to think about a tractor, or making an area big enough to turn around and putting a plow on the F250. A Jeep won't carry a very big plow, means more trips and tougher to push the banks back. Don't get me wrong, Jeeps are great and I'd love to have one for plowing, but for your particular drive I would go with something heavy. Either a tractor or an old fullsize yard truck. If you get a lot of snow.
  3. bryanj23

    bryanj23 Senior Member
    Messages: 135

    If he can only plow uphill the Jeep might actually be better. Given that it will have a smaller blade, in low range it should have plenty of torque as long as it is not a 4 banger. Could even do a small block v8 conversion if power was a concern. Besides...he did say his wife would be the primary driver and the one to plow, jeep would be much less intimidating and easier to handle/maneuver if she is not used to driving the larger trucks. I think it would probably work. How much snow do you typically get?
  4. mayhem

    mayhem PlowSite.com Addict
    from Peru MA
    Messages: 1,016

    Lots of power, small plow, load it up with ballast and make sure to take a winch with you too.
  5. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I'm just thinking about the distance he has to plow. I know the blade is narrower, but there's a long way to go and a lot of opportunity to get the little lightweight vehicle spinning it's tires, with a blade and snow in front trying to hold it back. You can't add much ballast in a Wrangler or CJ. A plow between 6 and 7 feet wide, angled, is not going to make a very wide path on the first push. Next trip adds another 3 feet to the driveway, I'm wondering if 2 trips up and back (4 passes) will be wide enough for cars to pass. I don't think so. Now you're trying to push back bankings the whole way, and you also want to get them back far enough to leave room for more snow from the next storm. The more passes you have to make the bankings are getting bigger and heavier, and you can only take a smaller slice of it. I'd want something heavy to do the job. Not saying a Jeep won't do it, but it will be a lot harder on it, especially for the wifes daily driver. Why beat up a nice vehicle? This is definitely someplace I would recommend a yard dog. They have their own list of problems, mostly due to maintenance problems that comes from sitting all year, but I think an old 4x4 1 ton dump full of sand with a 9 footer should do the job nicely. And no matter how well you build a Jeep, you won't change the dynamics of a small light vehicle trying to push weight-the more power you add to it, the easier you will lose traction. This type of situation is where you need lots of traction, but keep in mind traction is what breaks driveline components. A lot of guys will tell you not to plow with chains just for that reason- it makes more sense that if something is going to give, let it be tire slip rather than a u-joint breaking. So I'd want the beef of a 1 ton or a tractor. I would still recommend owning the plow, can you imagine hiring that out? I guess my downhill question was stupid, you need to plow it both ways no matter what. And I didn't see the part that said the wife was going to do the plowing. But you're right, the amount of snowfall is going to be real important too. A little here and there is no big deal, but 6 inches or more would be a real job.
  6. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Having missed the wife plowing part, I went back and read the original post and found where he says he doesn't want the negative posts, only the pointers on what to put into the Jeep. Sorry, my bad. Any Jeep with 4:10 gears and an automatic should work as well as it's going to. Good tires with a lot of siping and biting edges, no larger than a 30-9.50 because narrower is better, and the taller it is the more gear you lose (and turning radius). Put a cooler on the tranny if you do find an auto. The injected 4.0 liter I6 is your best motor choice. I think somewhere around 93 they improved the galvanized bodies so they don't rust out. Late 90s TJ with coil springs might be the easiest to beef the front suspension if you want to. Stay away from CJs. They are far cooler but they rust out and need to have extensive body work done every time you turn around, plus they are carbureted so that's another host of protential problems. Any new plow is going to be simple to take on and off; she isn't going to want to fight with a 1976 Fisher. I've always wanted to try a Sno-Way with down pressure on a Jeep, because of their light weight. I would put a winch on the back in a receiver mount, maybe throw it on the front in the summer, but when plowing it will do the most good out back usually, and mke sure she knows how to use it safely. Or make friends with a neighbor who can pull her out if she gets it stuck. At the very least have a good tow strap and a cell phone. A good stereo, good heat and defrost and a large capacity heated coffee cup is important too, maybe a little emergency kit with blankets and bandages for when she breaks a nail using the winch...
    Man, I can't imagine asking my wife to put a plow on, plow a mountain road, and maybe extricate it if she gets it stuck. I would be hiring someone who could do the job right and sand it too, especially if I was away a lot. And just consider it a cost of living in that location.
  7. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19


    We have potential for lots of snow, definitely storms with 6" or more are in the realm of possibility on a regular basis. I plowed with the F250 last year; my approach was to push the bulk of the snow on the downhill run and then clean up on the uphill. Our driveway is cut across the side of the mountain, so there's a downhill side where I push the snow. Last year I did plow some to the uphill side but then when the temps rose the run-off from melt couldn't get to the drainage ditch so it ran right down the tire tracks. This year I'm going to try pushing most of the snow to the downhill side, as far over the bank as I can w/o driving myself off the road. Envisioning five or six runs downhill.

    My wife can't drive the F250, its beat and smells like exhaust and old farmer. Makes her kinda ill. Handles really rough. Plus there's two stretches where you can't see the road for a moment, due to the steep pitch - she'd not handle that well.

    Chains are a must, w/o chains the trucks won't go up, and going down w/o might get a bit hairy too :eek:

    Making the driveway bigger isn't likely to happen unless we wan't to create more space with a lot of boulder relocating and backfilling.

    So, its either going to be a custom Jeep or we buy a new truck with a plow, and she's not really keen on owning a full-size pickup. Neither am I for that matter, just doesn't appeal much. I'd keep on with the F250 but like I said I travel a lot for work so she'll have to assume plowing duties. Otherwise we'll have an unplowable mess.
  8. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    What happens if no one is home when it snows? I mean, if she is at work or out shopping or visiting relatives or whatever, and you or she comes home and theres 3 or 6 or 12 inches already?
  9. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    I know she isn't worried about breaking a nail: http://yippee.cc/20060703.shtml

    Nice idea on the heated coffee cup.
  10. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Gotcha. Checked out the website, what I couldn't find is like a home page saying what it is you are doing. Looked at a lot of pictures and determined that you are trying to build something. Appears to be an ambitious undertaking.
  11. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19

  12. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Here's what I'd do (remember I'm a nut)

    Look for a new/used Unlimited Rubicon with a hard top since right off the bat you get front and rear selectable lockers, electronic swaybar disconnect, crazy low gearing and the added bonus of a longer wheelbase.
    Air bag it front and rear (to help with the weight of the plow and added ballast) with an onboard compressor if you wish.
    Mount up a 7'6" Snoway 22 series.
    Get a winch, with the longest cable you can, some snatch blocks and tree protectors.
    Get a spare set of wheels and snow tires (theres alot of personal choice there so I'll leave it at that).
    Get some chains, although hopefully you won't need them much with dedicated snows and lockers.

    Then in the summer you can throw the mudders back on, deflate the air bags, pull off the plow and hard top and enjoy summer.
  13. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Well, we did build on the side of a mountain, so I guess a bit of nuttiness doesn't hurt :)
  14. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Yeah, Fester has got it right. With all the money you saved by not having a regular house, you should be able to afford a Rubicon.
  15. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Not an issue, she is always there.
  16. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Most people are nutty some just choose to ignore it, I choose to embrace mine and it sounds like you do too, LOL.
  17. Cfdff85

    Cfdff85 Member
    Messages: 84

    I have a 1984 Jeep J-10 Pick up with and 8ft bed, it plows like a 2500. It has a 7.5 Meyer plow and it is the strongest machine i have plowed with.....its a a jeep......Unstoppable
  18. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    How about a Scrambler?
  19. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    The scramblers that I have seen get ......

    Hi Chris,
    The Scramblers that I have seen here in the Northeast are pretty rotted....otherwise a set of locking differentials, a good set of aggressive snow tires,good heat,good wipers,good lights,power steering and maybe one of those receiver mounted spreaders and a winch... away you go.......
    Are you looking for something to drive year round or just a yard rig? The reason I ask is an older skid steer with a plow and bucket ,some chains and you could use it around the property year round.I ran a Case with a snow blower,had good heat a stereo etc....wasn't half bad.
  20. jonzer12

    jonzer12 Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 31

    Rubicon is overkill for plowing, Locker's have little advantage over Limited-Slip in ICE/SNOW. 4:1 transfercase is also overkill for plowing. 4:11 gears are not actually deeper than regular model TJ as All Rubicons come with 31 inch tires which equals same ratio as plain TJ equiped with 3:73 gears and stock tires.

    Get a 4liter powered TJ, unilimted will offer a slightly longer wheelbase. Good tires, remove the rear seat and add some weight. Only real important thing is to make sure you get one with a D44 rear end and 3.73 gears. Beware Jeeps with Dana 35 (weak axle) and especially jeeps with 3.07 gearing.
    The AW4 is the best automatic tranny found in jeeps, somewhere around 2001 they changed from 3 speed to 4 speed. They are generally though of as bulletproof trannies. All the manuals that came in jeeps are sound units, although most are not very smooth.

    Stick with a TJ, they will be much more user friendly to your wife than a YJ or CJ. If you plan on using the Softtop pick up a 2001 or newer TJ as they have sailcloth tops that are much better than previous ones.

    Thats all I think of, a Jeep will suprise you with its abilities.