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Transmission -- Low Range

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by Avitare, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. talked to our very experienced- knowledgable- reputable trans shop today.

    Wayne ( D and W , Traverse City, MI) says that he begs guys to plow this
    wet snow in low range.
    He explains that it cuts the pressure on the torqe convertor in half.
    Even better if the trans shifts because it will not heat the fluid as much.
    (reverse is one speed -- of course)

    We have had a melt down after much snow and have many tight areas
    that require slow speeds. The low range is highly recommended.

    Light snow with speed or long runs, (if you dont feel that it requires
    extra throttle) is fine in 2 wheel or 4high.

    Anxious to get a thermometer in this truck and get the synthetic fluid put in.
  2. kah68

    kah68 Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    I agree with his recomendation; I run 3:54 gears in my 93 Dodge and the truck works so much better in low range, the only time I notice a problem is really long reversing but a bit of RPM can make up for that. My 01 Dodge is a 6 speed so I plow on the high side of the T-case with it. I agree with the trans temp gauge, I will be adding one to mine shortly.
  3. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,030

    In the 80's we always used low range but the newer trucks with diesels the low range is crazy slow and you have to stand on the brakes when idling or the truck moves. Anything less then a ft of snow high range is fine.
  4. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,914

    ?? Allowing the tranny to shift while pushing snow generates HEAT and allows for slippage to occur.
    This is very hard on your tranny.

    DO NOT plow in "D", plow in 1st. and 4 high for 95% of your plowing

    If it is so wet and heavy that it is heating up your truck then take smaller bites.

    I do not have time to put around in a 4ac lot in low range.
    Way to slow in reverse.

    The high rpms that are required to go at any speed generate heat also.

    Having the proper axle gearing is key;)
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  5. Kenyou

    Kenyou Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    What is that magic number in case I have to change mine? I hope I don't, but just in case.
  6. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,914

    As low as you can I use 4:10
  7. packey

    packey Member
    Messages: 97

    I huess if you are useing and automatic you might want to use low range. Personally I was wandering when it would be a good Idea to use low range. My 1st gear is so low that I do not do much more than and idle to push snow in 1st high. I have only run the truck in low range a couple of times just playing and a snail moves faster.
  8. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    we use low range all the time,...........while in the feild loading square bales, other than that no-way,

    you thought u-joints cv shafts axles etc were weak before? you aint seen nothin yet

    it's just my pref. but all of my guys are instructed to use high only and drive that way the trans can shift if it wants too or not if it don't i think my guys jerking on the lever might be a little dumber than todays trans. with temp, clutch slip, torqu converter slip&temp, fluid temp. etc. sensors,

    the most snow we ever had at one time was 24"

    this is kinda on the same lines as ballast: everyone wants to keep wheel slip 0%, personnaly i DON'T want mine "nailed" to the ground in hopes of not breaking hard parts,
    on our scraper tractors they have a wheel slip monitor on them and we set the tractors up so it averages 14% wheel slip with a max of 35%, this reduces breakages of hard parts (trans. rear. axle etc)
  9. murphyslaw

    murphyslaw Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    I always plow in low gear and the tranny in 1st unless its a large lot or road and I'm runnin then i'll click it up to 2nd. I used to go threw a tanny every season but since I started doing this I have been on the same tranny for 3seasons, and in the summer this truck hauls around my 2klbs camper.
  10. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    4.10 is a good all around gear for our work trucks.

    get a good temp gauge setup so you can keep a eye on it. b&m has a real nice kit with all stuff needed. and its a stupid simple color coded dial for some of you company guys that have stupid drivers from time to time. and if you want it in the pan then get a universal b&m drain plug kit. its 1/8 pipe same as the sender unit.

    the newer autos that run off computers need drive only not over drive for the best work output. when in overdrive the line pressure drops from max to economy/lighter. try driving in drive only/3rd gear. you will feel a diffrence in pressure points and holding power.

    possibly a good thing to get is a nice truck programer. you can bump the power a bit and make better shifting with a good towing/haullin program.

    and if you have to get a tranny remaned. find a super good shop ( if there is one in your area ) non in mine i would give a penny to. then tell them exactly how you drive it and what kind of loads you are throwing at it. thay can beef up some spots and tweek others.

    some old school trannys with valve body shift kits had 3 levels. streetstip. then tow 4x4. and last hd /plowing. you chose the levels.
  11. Little Jon

    Little Jon Senior Member
    from Buffalo
    Messages: 139

    I was told when I first started plowing to plow in 1st or 2nd gear. After two pushes I said screw this and popped it up to drive and havent looked back. Our philosiphy is push as much snow as possible. To do this we need to go in speeds in exess of what first gear will give us. There have been times when I have been pushing 5 or 6 piles left for me by another truck, if Im not doing 30 or 35 at that first pile I wont make it to pile 4, let-alone the final pile that Im stacking at. We have temp guages in the trucks, they never get hot, and we only have one truck in the fleet that has had a tranny rebuilt, but it had the plow taken off long ago to become the salt truck.
  12. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    I'm not so sure about newer trucks, but if you plow with some older trucks, manually holding it into 1st also applies the reverse band in the trans for extra overrnning control, thereby putting additional wear on the reverse band AND generating additional heat. Dodge 727 trans, a500, and a518 for sure...not sure about others.

    I've found that using Low range, and letting the trans shift itself, keeps trans temps well within the safe temp zone under most circumstances. Low range also gives the engine additional rpms to help the alternator recharge the battery better.
  13. Rowski

    Rowski Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Generally speaking...

    The torque converter generates more heat than a gear shift.

    What usually happens is the fluid is overheated which breaks down the fluid. This in turn causes slippage during gear changes.

    I personally like to use low range and let the tranny shift up its self. I will put it in 1 or 2 to hold a gear while plowing a steep drive, keep my momentum going.

  14. DUMZ

    DUMZ Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    I've always plowed in 4 high. When the snow is deep I will drop it into low when breaking open a lot. I think it's way to hard on drive shafts and axles when shifting into or out of R. I had my trans rebuilt about 5 yrs ago and they built it plowing snow. My builder told me to put it in drive and let her go.
  15. tkrepairs

    tkrepairs Senior Member
    from maine
    Messages: 186

    cranking all the way from R to 1 every time? probably rip my shifter off eventually! luckily i dont generate enough heat to worry at this point. D works for me.
  16. as stated

    granny gear cuts the load on the torque convertor in half

    Slow--wet plowing or plowing a construction site on sand, seems
    to heat the trans more than anything.

    I we can move at any speed, the trans seems to keep a reasonable
    temp --usually
    Wheels spinning and cranked over to try and stay online with an
    angled plow on crusty refrozen snow--that could have warmed her up today.
    But, I limited such activities and mixed it up with no-load runs or a quick
    run down the road to cool down.

    Ive always had a guage to monitor.
    Working from experience for now.
  17. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    when i have my personal truck in 4 hi and 1st gear it shifts around 3 grand. is it supposed to do this or is something not right?? it doesnt slip or anything and i dont plow with my personal truck but my plow truck i use 4 hi and 1st gear and it doesnt shift out like my personal truck does??
  18. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    It's normal for it to up shift at a certain speed or RPM even if you have it manual 1st or second. The ECM will override the shifter position and force an up shift so you can't over rev it or abuse it too hard.. some trucks seem to be more conservative than others.. most will up shift around 5 grand no matter what gear position the shifter is in... some will only go to 4500. I will say yours sounds a little low though, but it can depend on the specific engine/trans/axle/tire combo.

    What is your plow truck?
  19. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    98 chevy K3500 454 big block with 8' 2" boss v i also use a F550 dump but the chevy is the one i like the best.
  20. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    prob the bib block 454 has a lower rpm max as the bbc dont spin as high as a sbc motor. must be a big safty zone. my 96 350 vortec/4l80-e is about 5k rpm. my friends 00350 vortec/4l80-e is to the floor no real override shift. possibly above 5k but i have seen it go past 5k many times. :dizzy::confused: