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What Gear to Plow in

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by Antlerart06, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    I have 2015 F350 DRW Chassis.
    Only been out in it once plowing. under 2''

    I tried it in drive then I tried it in drive with tow/haul on

    In tow mode I like it better felt like my old 99 Dually manual.

    I only plowed one lot with the new truck. Then went jump in my 99
    Did notice in just drive it would spin out in 2wd easier then in Tow mode
    I haven't tried it in manual mode

    So what gear do you plow in ???????

  2. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 750

    well with our chevy's i always plowed in 3rd when i thought of it but i just picked up a 2015 f350 and it has the manual so i dont really know what to plow in because there is only 1 2 M and Drive. so I wonder if i should plow in 2nd gear, use manual (probably not gonna happen) or like you did in drive with the haul switch on.
  3. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    I think M mode will be to much of a pain

    Like in my older SD 02 and 99 Autos I plow in 1st then bump it up to 2nd

    But this truck is a different animal

    I got where I like driving it in Tow mode all time even with out towing anything It feels like I'm driving my 99 DRW manaul
  4. F250/XLS

    F250/XLS Senior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 142

    I plow mine in D and keep m'y hub´s locked all thé Time was told by m'y buddy who's Mechanic at Ford mot to plow on tow
  5. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    i push in drive.
    using a lower gear only uses more fuel.
  6. Pit Crew

    Pit Crew Senior Member
    Messages: 162

    For the last 13 yrs I plowed with 2000 and 2003 reg cab f350 v 10. Never gave it a thought about what gear I was in. Never lacked power. Definitely would loose traction before power.
    D to R ,D to R over and over and over etc. Thats what plowing is. Now I see all these posts askin what gear,T H or not. Low range ,high range. Couldn`t imagine going from R to L couple hundred times a day.
    Now I have a new 2014 6.2 with TH option. Only been out once this yer for a 2inch plow. Still never thought about what gear I was in. The only thing I did differen`t was turn off the TC, which is an option I never had before. So we`ll see how it handles a bigger snow. IF I drove a chevy, I might have reason for concern. Lol
  7. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 750

    I know you're not supposed to plow in drive because it puts more on the transmission but my problem is, driving in second i don't think I would be able to get enough speed.
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

  9. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    Not necessarily.

    Not even close to an absolute.

    FWIW, T\H is not a gear.
  10. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,392

    I put the b!tch in dozer mode and hammer down..... Been beating them into the ground forever and never had a problem.
  11. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,149

    Thumbs Up Hell yes, this is how I do it. Especially on my longer pushes. 200k on a stock 4r100 and still going.

    Never understood all this crap about what gear or turn OD off. It is not gonna use OD unless you are plowing at 45-50mph. Plowing in 2 makes no sense since it is harder on the tranny to get moving.
  12. xjoedirt55x

    xjoedirt55x Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    I agree with you that the only difference in gears and such is shift points, and if you are not really using shift points, this point is moot. But more of a question/confusion on my end..... Even if you have 2nd gear selected in an auto transmission, I was under the impression you still start in first, but it is limited and will not pass 2nd gear. I think you are saying that it actually starts in 2nd gear.
  13. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    Ford, in their infinite stupidity, engineered their trannys to start in whatever gear one selects.

  14. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,919

    Originally Posted by B&B View Post
    80% of the heat generated in an auto trans stems from the torque converter and the shearing action the fluid goes through as the fluid coupling is being performed in the converter as the converter is nothing more than a hydrostatic drive thus it uses fluid to produce a means of coupling the engine to the trans. And in doing so creates a great amount of heat which is absorbed and passed out of the trans to be cooled, anything you can do to lessen that heat produced will prolong the life of the trans and converter as a whole. And one way to do that is to keep the RPM's of the torque converter ABOVE it's stall speed as much as possible which reduces it's inefficiency and thus it's heat production. And to do that under low ground speed/ high load demands you need RPM's, which requires either a lower gear or more ground speed while in a higher gear. More ground speed isn't usually possible during plowing conditions so a lower gear is chosen instead. Transmission are smart these days but they're still not smart enough for a plow truck, thus they still require manual input from the operator in order to be in the correct gear for max efficiency and life. Which applies to the engine as well. Lugging along in to high a gear with a good sized load out front does nothing but add heat to the engine and trans for which it then has to remove. Reduce the heat production in the first place and you increase it's service life.

    As to how much RPM's should be run; has many variables. The stall speed of the converter itself, the individual gear ratios of the specific trans and the engine thats ahead of that trans (gas or Diesel, big or small), the axle ratio, the ground speed you're attempting to run at, the distance you're traveling in a single pass, the load on the truck etc. And this why you hear so many different "methods" of what guys use that they claim "work fine" so to speak as some need more or less gear multiplication under different conditions do to these variables but it would take a book to explain them all for each application. That's the operators job to know what is the correct gear for the task at hand, no different than a manual trans.

    Additional benefits to the extra RPM's is more cooling flow for the heat that is still generated regardless of what you're doing...and as a plus those extra RPM's assists in keeping the charging system ahead of the electrical demands of the plow and other electrical accessories running. Guys who lumbar around at too low of an RPM are also usually the ones who have charging system "issues" so to speak. And excellent operator can plow all night with a 100A alternator and a stock trans cooler and never have a problem.

    Regardless, the bottom line trick is to keep RPM's above the torque converters stall speed for maximum heat reduction and overall efficiency, regardless of what gear it is that's needed to do so.
    Hint, Come to a complete stop before shifting from forward to reverse
    this alone is probably one of the biggest killers other than heat and slipping(shifting)
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
  15. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,259

    isn't technology grand? several years ago it was all so simple, but the f'in thing in "D" and press the skinny pedal. if you are pushing 2 feet of the heavy wet stuff, then throw it in low range.

    now it's OD on, OD off, tow mode, "M" - whatever the F that is?? Is it the moron's version of a manual transmission? that triptronic crap? what a gimic. but people eat it up. and then when it goes bad, more dollars for the dealership.
  16. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,919

    what is it like plowing in D.

    Because you can go just as fast in 2nd and save a shift = less heat.
    then you also minimize any chance of it down shifting , again causing slippage and heat.

    99% of the time it's 4h & 1st. even in a open 2ac lot

    I think it would be a good idea for some with a OBD port to plug in a scan tool and watch their tranny temps.
    They might be surprised how hot it really is getting.
  17. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,259

    plowing in D, or 2, or 1 makes no difference in trans temp for me when in high range. the trans will start off in 1 (sometimes 2 and then downshift to 1 if needed). for long pushes i may select 1 from the get go just because i don't want it to upshift.

    but when trans temp start getting high (i have a gauge) i use low range. this only happens when pushing over a foot of heavy stuff. it's amazing how fast the temps drop after a few minutes in low range.

    a trans temp gauge is a must on any automatic plow truck in my opinion.
  18. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,919

    ^ you have a one of a kind truck never sell it.

    and all of the autos I have used start in 1st when you select D.
    and most start in 1st when 2nd is selected.

    what temps are you running. over 260*F

    Ive never had to use 4LO because of heat....
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
  19. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,259

    well i have the ford e4od which is very sensitive to heat - much moreso than a lot of other transmissions out there. when i start getting to 190 or so when plowing (happens very rarely) i will then put it in low.

    typical plowing temp is about 170ish. when not plowing i run 140-150.

    other transmission out there may be perfectly happy at 230, but i know mine wouldn't.
  20. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,919

    Heat is what sends a transmission to the shop 90% of the time according to the Automatic Transmission Association,

    Only about ten percent of the failures of automatic transmissions with less that 100,000 miles on them are from something other than heat failure.

    Engineers design a transmission to have a normal operating temperature of 175 degrees F. At 250 degrees, the rubber parts are going to loose flexibility resulting in control servos that leak resulting in slippage when the car starts up cold in the morning.
    At temperatures higher than 250 degrees, the clutches and bands start to slip causing imminent failure.