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What gear are you in?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by haligan125, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. haligan125

    haligan125 Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 64

    What gear do you usually plow in?
    What I mean is do you go to 4 lo first for the power aspect or stay in 4 hi for the speed? I guess it depends on what I am doing here, but i use 4 lo a lot esp with heavy wet snow
  2. wirenut

    wirenut Senior Member
    from nh
    Messages: 507

    the worst thing for an auto is to put in low,it needs to shift other wise
    you will cook your tranny..... :nono:
  3. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    Always in drive and 4 hi with overdrive off.
  4. RON66106

    RON66106 Member
    Messages: 53

    Excelent advice I run a 2003 F250c PSD and untill the snow gets too wet and heavy (havent seen that yet) I keep it in high range. Keep in mind your particular truck might require some different needs. I have seen some and owned one at one time (six cylinders ) that needed worked different. The less the trans. shifts the less wear and tare it accepts. The name of the game is production and low repair cost. Try not to exceed the trucks limits and use it for years to come. Ron
  5. slade

    slade Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    Question. I have a 88 chevy 1 ton and a 76 chevy 3/4 ton and always put the transfer case in 4 hi and the transminssion in low is this the right thing to do?
  6. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    This is another one of those questions with lots of variables depending on the type of snow, the road surface, the grade, your vehicle, yada, yada, yada.

    But, certain basic principles hold true. Less shifting, less wear and tear on the tranny, less heat. But, how fast are you plowing? Some guys will say time is money, plow fast. Others will say do that and you'll look like a goof when you hit something and bust an angle cylinder or set your air bags off.

    All I can say is that when I have my plow on and ballast on board, if I'm on level ground and the snow's not too deep and or wet, I don't even need to engage my 4wd. The weight combined with my new tires lets me push with no problems and since I push reasonably slow, I just leave it in drive. But, I have 4:10 gears, which is another wild card in this discussion. If you have a higher gear ratio and maybe less weight, this may sound silly to you.

    So all that being said, it's like that old 70's show "Kung Fu"......know your truck Grasshopper......know your conditions. Be one with the storm, be one with your vehicle, and you will be successful. And, if all else fails, there's always the old tranny temp gauge which if you don't have maybe you should consider installing. If it gets hot, then you know you have to correct something in how you are operating your plow vehicle in order to keep it out of the red.

    I guess everything I've said is somewhat arguable, but for one. Heat is the enemy of your transmission. You must find the set of variables which works for you in order to avoid it.
  7. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    Here's my take on it. (for whatever it's worth)

    Tranny in "Drive"
    Transfercase in "Lo"

    Keeping the transfer case in LO circulates trans fluid through the cooler faster. Also the gear reduction of LO range, mulitplies the available torque and generates less heat back in the tranmission.

    Plowing heavy/wet snow in High range makes the trans work harder,and thereby generates more heat.
  8. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,817

    4hi i rarely need 4low
  9. wfd44

    wfd44 Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 369

    My $.02... I use 4 hi with the trans in either low or 2nd (starts off in second) if it is a bit slicker underfoot. Starting in second decreases the amount of torque applied to the wheels. Low helps keep the revs (thus the battery) up. This is with a 4L60e and doing driveways (no long runs). Everytime an automatic shifts it generates a certain amount of heat (due to clutch slippage). Of course starting in second with a load in front of the blade the torque converter is seeing a heavier load and generating more heat too. However transmission pump rpm and therefore fluid flow to the trans cooler is directly proportional to engine rpm.

    Basically keep an eye on what your transmission is doing (shifting and heat) and choose plowing gear selection (both transmission and transfer case) accordingly.
  10. Norman B

    Norman B Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    only use 4 lo if you get stuck I have been plowing for about 15 years and have never used 4lo also when you are going from job to job use 2wd whenever possible
  11. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    Wow...lotsa guys plowing in 4 hi. How often does the tranny get rebuilt?
    Are you folks mostly doing residentials or larger lots? I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers...I'm genuinely curious under what conditions you are using 4 High. While my old 77 will certainly plow in 4 high, I've found that doing so, will shorten transmission life considerably.

    Maybe the newer trucks are different, but in my 727 trans, if you manually put the transmission into "Low" or "1"...you are manually applying the low-reverse band in the trans...which does not normally get used when the transmission shifts itself during normal driving. By applying the low-reverse band, you are generating more transmsission heat (extra band applied), as well as putting unnecessary wear and tear on the low-reverse band. This is usually the 1st thing to fail in a 727 plow truck for that reason.
    Putting the transmission in "Drive" or "2", and the transfer case in "Lo" range, eliminates the manual applying of the low-reverse band, generates less internal transmission heat, and less wear and tear on the trans. Also with the engine spinning faster, the battery stays charged better, the converter doesn't work as hard (and thereby generates lessheat) and the trans fluid gets cycled through the trans cooler faster...thereby keeping the trans temps lower, and extending the transmission life. This may not apply as much if you are doing small driveways...but while doing rather large parking lots, it defenitely keeps the trans fluid cooler.

    Anyone have any thought on this? I'm curious why 4 high is so popular.

  12. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    I've never gone through a tranny using 4hi. 4low is TOO low and too slow. I've got to get the accounts done. I can't fiddle fart around all night using 4 low. I think I used it one time to pull a friend of mines' chevy out of a deep mud hole he thought he could get through.
  13. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    4 high, in drive with tow/haul mode on.

  14. lawnmedic

    lawnmedic Senior Member
    Messages: 703

    My trucks are to be left in 2wd whenever plowing, 4hi when going between jobs if road conditions are bad. If 4wd is needed when plowing my driver better have a good reason. The 86 got a transmission rebuild at 150000 miles(this truck bought used), no other truck has ever had a rebuild!!!! Good tires and proper ballast is best..
  15. fordsrbetter

    fordsrbetter Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    when in gear the tranny isn't building heat the torque converter is so starting out in second will build way more heat than just puting it in drive. let the tranny do its thing, this is were a good towing shift kit comes in. when the tranny shifts its the only time there is any slippage(this makes heat). plow in the hi side of the transfer case and drive think of the converter as always slipping the clutch (on a manual truck) the gears aren't slipping the clutch is (same in a converter)
    when your out of the stall speed the converter isn't generating nearly as much heat. heat kills the tranny fluid which kills the clutch packs. get a tranny temp guage and never worry about it.
    sorry for the long post. D.J. Walsh
  16. ta3834bbl

    ta3834bbl Senior Member
    Messages: 215

    I agree with the converter being the major heat maker! I plow in 4 low unlocked and in drive. But, I have an older 727 automatic, all these newer trucks have what would be considered 'granny gear' first gears and overdrives. If my truck had an overdrive , with a low first gear to go with it, then I might plow in hi range also. But I prefer low range in drive in my truck because:

    1. 3.55 gears in the axles
    2. 35 inch tires
    3. 2.0:1 transfer case ratio ( newer trucks have 2.7ish gears)
    4. 2.45 first gear in the auto.

    just my .02
  17. kstt

    kstt Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    What about with stick? I plow four residential driveways and small lots. There's lots of small pushes - forward and back. I'm using a Jeep YJ with a four banger. Seems to me that 4-Lo is much better for the clutch. In fact, it seems to me that plowing is the reason they MAKE 4-Lo. (New Jersey snow - always wet n heavy).
  18. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,317

    4 hi. 1st or second depending on how fast I'm going. RPM's minimum 1500. Standard, though, and all other posts have pretty much been autos.
  19. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    With a stick, always use low range with 2 gear to minimize clutch slipage and heating and have first to fall back to when needed in a TJ
  20. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    How many of you guys have blown a tranny while snowplowing?