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Transmission Question

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by KenFred, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. KenFred

    KenFred Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I am entertaining the idea of putting a small plow on my 03 Explorer. My main concern is tranny problems.

    With my transmission I have three choices, Auto 4X4, High 4X4 and Low 4X4. In the auto mode if the truck senses it needs to be in 4X4 it will do so automatically. This leads to my question of when plowing would it be easier on my transmission if I leave it in 4X4 auto then to lock it in with 4X4 high?

    Would the transmission be more prone to overheating if it is in 4X4 high?

    As you can see I am not a mechanic so any assistance would be apprecited...

  2. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Use 4 x 4 HI. Adding an additional trans cooler would probably be advisable.
  3. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    I agree 100% with JMR. Keep it in 4 HI. As for the trans, any good trans shop can install an auxiliary cooler for around $150.00. Some plow installation companies may offer this service also.

    If you plan on putting a plow on an Explorer, you will want to find a very light plow. Explorers are not really made for plowing, especially commercially, but will be fine for your own personal driveway and maybe the neighbors.
  4. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    For plowing the transmission wont care if you are in auto or 4 hi. Its still the same strain on it. The autovrs 4 hi will make a difference with the transfercase though. I believe it would be easier on the truck to leave it in 4 hi so things arnt enguaging and such. Going down the road between places(unless its realy slimey and you can tell its constantly doing its auto thing) I would leave it in auto

    being in 4 low will definatly be easier on your transmission though. Weather it is needed or not :confused: Dont go flying down the road in 4 low but if all you are going to be doing is putting down your drive then 4 low is fast enough and easier on your truck.

    I generaly stay in 2wd but if needed I plow in 4 hi but I plow at a fairly high speed. If I ever get to the point were I am straining then I will try 4 low.

    Fors explorers were known to have weak tranys but I dont know how they are now. I would definatly look into having a cooler added(even if it has a factory one) and I definatly woulld not use it to plow comercially. JMO for your drive and a family member or 2 it should be fine though.
  5. wirenut

    wirenut Senior Member
    from nh
    Messages: 507

    the main thing is don't put it in 1st and go it needs to shift
    or you will be changing it because you cooked it.
    i try not to use 4wd by going just fast enough to
    keep the pile moving thus a lot easier on the truck the trying
    to be a bulldozer in low range.

    my 2cents
  6. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    You are absolutely correct. My bad. The transfer case will be much happier in 4 HI. This vehicle should be used only light duty plowing ONLY. It will not take the stress of commercial plowing. Go slow and be careful.
  7. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174


    Many people here try to plow in 2wd for different reasons.

    Your vehicle is much lighter than most of us are used to driving. Personally, my truck weighs 7,000 pounds plus 2,450# of salt and another 700# of blade. That is a lot of weight to make it easier to plow in 2wd.

    Your truck with a plow on it may weigh 5,000 pounds with 4 or 5 bags of salt in the back for counterbalance. That is not a lot of truck to warrant plowing in 2wd. Personally, I would put it in 4HI while plowing and auto 4 when driving around town. Keep the trans in D wrather than 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Also, if you have to go somewhere where you will have to go over 40 miles an hour, turn the overdrive off. It is better for the trans.
  8. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    for a plow go with something like a homesteader ar suburbanite both will hold up good for a few driveways, i would say 4 hi for plowing auto around town.
  9. ProEnterprises

    ProEnterprises Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 379

    whats a surbanite?
  10. SWC

    SWC Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 134

    Lol They live in Surberia, where it snows a lot.:D
  11. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    Suburbanite is a plow made by Western. It is their SUV plow.
  12. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,817

    4 wheel high low is for deep wet heavy snow
  13. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    Select 4HI or 4 LOW the same way you select your tran. gears. 1st gear or 4th gear. 4Lo when you need the xtra power and traction, 4Hi when you don't need the xtra power but just need the 4wd traction.
  14. Nascar Fan

    Nascar Fan Senior Member
    Messages: 167

    Transmission range selections

    My personal preference is 4low with a lighter vehicle like your explorer.The difference really is in the tranny supply and pump along with the the number of forward friction plates for 1st, 2nd third,gears.Now that probably off the top of my head is a e4od trans,see using high range is ok for light accumulatins of dry powdery snow, but wet heavy? no way.Now i have a reason to say low instead of high range.High range is a slower revving on the motor,plus needing the force of having push x amount of weight for x amount of feet.The E4od trans only has 3 friction disks and 5 steel plates so heat is the problem and with the engine having to work down low from using high range,the transmission pump is going to be quickly heated and it will not be able to supply near as much fluid to the transmission as it would in low range.The torque converter is also affected because of the lock up that is required,but thats also too long to explain.I have rebuilt many a GM 4l60E and a few E4od's and just letting you know what i find so someone wont find it in your's later and you having to say "if i only knew"
  15. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    Yes I agree with nascar. I recommend on lighter vehicles to use 4LO all the time. Did this with a Toyota 4cyl. and plowed many years without a problem.
  16. poncho62

    poncho62 Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    I think that Nascar is correct. A lighter vehicle needs the extra gearing to do the job. It doesn't have the weight. I use an S10 Blazer and low is the way to go. It doesn't have the power to plow in hi gear. I do driveways only. No heavy jobs.
  17. KenFred

    KenFred Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks for the advise and suggestions. I know I will not be able to plow commercially, but I am planning on doing driveways and maybe some smaller parking lots, such as convenience stores, or small doctor's offices.

    What are your thoughts on my capabilities to do that? In terms of what plow I should use all your suggestions have been good. I am leaning away from the homesteader after talking with a fisher retailer. The plow doesn't even have springs it uses large elastic bands. So that leaves me with the sno-way plow for Suv's and the suburbanite by western. I think the sno-way is lighter and the down pressure might help out my truck in terms of less wear and tear.

  18. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    I think you should be able to get away with small lots. Just remember there is more to snow plowing than just attaching a blade to a truck. Insurance, dependability, liability, etc. Once you start plowing another persons property, you open up an entirely different can of worms.