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

what to look for in a truck?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by jabbahop, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. jabbahop

    jabbahop Junior Member
    from vermont
    Messages: 13

    I have neither the truck nor the plow - just a long (1400 feet), steep (15% grade much of the way) road to our new house in Vermont. I'd like to buy a well used but reliable truck and plow for the job (but not much else). Any thoughts on what I should look for and look out for?

    Some of my questions...

    1) how old is too old? At some point are they more trouble than they are worth?
    2) do I need a certain model, engine size, etc?
    3) should I get one already fitted with a plow or get one than hasn't plowed and put one on?
    4) how cheap is too cheap?
    5) any lemon models or years I should watch out for?

    thanks in advance.

  2. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    Hi and Welcome to PlowSite.

    This is a tall order you have here. I'll try my best.....

    1) how old is too old? At some point are they more trouble than they are worth? This depends on how much time and money you want to spend and how your mechanical skills are. There are guys here who run rigs that are 30 years old

    2) do I need a certain model, engine size, etc? What you need is a 4WD vehicle that will accept a plow. If you're not going to do anything else except your driveway, a jeep with a Snowsport personal use plow would suit you. The more you want to do, the better equipment you need.

    3) should I get one already fitted with a plow or get one than hasn't plowed and put one on? You don't want to inherit someone else's headaches, which is what causes alot of guys to get rid of their set-ups. Unless you have someone you trust who knows what they're looking at who can go looking with you, you may be better off getting a vehicle that's never been plowed and putting a new plow on it. It's a trade off, maybe a little more $ up front, but less $ in fixing up and/or maintenance.

    4) how cheap is too cheap? Can't answer that one, it's too broad a question. Remember, you get what you pay for.

    5) any lemon models or years I should watch out for? That's another one I'll stay away from. Of course there are, but even among them there are good ones to be had or fixed.

    You should just read as much as you can on the site and you'll find out more than I could write here if I spent another hour typing. Good luck and if you narrow your decision down more and have more specific questions, come back and put them up. :waving:
  3. crashz

    crashz Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    Are you mechanically inclined? If you had a major failure (axle, transmission, transfer case, etc) could you repair it on your own or with buddy? Old trucks need tinkering at best.

    If you can find a use for the truck year-round, and have no problem repairing it yourself, go for it. If not you might want to think about hiring a local reputable contractor to plow and sand. The contractor will have updated equipment, and usually significant resources in case he has a breakdown. Don't forget the sanding/salting either. On a drive that steep a patch of ice can be dangerous.
  4. Chainlink

    Chainlink Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 70

    I must assume with a drive that big you might have land? Maybe a tractor a small ford or kubuto or what ever........As for a truck actually imo comes down to personal preference, many here would say buy american (If I wanted fullsize I would too, But my tacoma does just fine)
    I live in Vt also and might I sugggest on a driveway that long with that grade putting sand barrels and key locations. Water springs that werent apparent in the warm months can play havoc with you in the winter(ie: ice sheets)
  5. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415


    I wasn't paying attention to the size of your driveway when I posted my reply.

    Forget what I said about the snowsport. That's a l-o-n-g driveway! That combined with the grade and a long Vermont winter says you'll need a real plow for the job, I'd say at least a half ton pickup with a 7.5. See what the other members say.
  6. wfd44

    wfd44 Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 369

    Yeah, 1400 feet of drive is a road for practical purposes. You will need a real plow. Probably 7'6" or bigger which means at least a half ton truck or full size SUV. Other option stated before would be a utility tractor (Kubota/JD etc) if you have another use for it during the summer (mowing, woods, garden).
  7. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    1. Mine is 30 years old and going strong. It will go another 30 I am sure. It is the shape the rig is in more than the age.

    2. 4X4, 6 or 8 cylinder since you have a steep hill.

    3. Get one without a plow and install one. Plowing is hard on rigs especially if the operator is a little rough. If they are selling a truck with a plow it is probably wore out.

    4. Not sure what you mean? With the size of your driveway a snowsport might be too cheap.

    5. Anything with a bowtie ;) .
  8. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    So - what did you end up getting?
  9. Boondox

    Boondox Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    I live in northern Vermont and my neighbor is a ski resort, so we see a bit of the white stuff. For years I used my Kubota with rear blade to plow around my house and barn, and the quarter mile of driveway leading to the town road. It did a fine job, and I was happy with it till last winter when we had 28 straight days where the high never reached zero and most of my plowing was done at minus 20 or worse in a blowing wind.

    This year I bought a used Chevy half ton with 30k miles on it, and had a Curtis 7.5' plow mounted on it. A half ton is pretty light for that heavy a plow, but I only mount the plow when it's actually going to be used, and have about 550# of ballast in the rear. It works well, much faster than the tractor and while it's not as good at getting right up next to the house it sure is a lot warmer! Besides, my dogs enjoy riding with me now.

  10. Ole JIM

    Ole JIM Senior Member
    Messages: 137

    Hi welcome aboard!--after reading your Message 1400 ft & a 15 % grade! You diffenley need a Full sized 4X4 --& I assume? You will be plowing Down Hill?--I suggest for Long plow truck Life!-YOU plow down Hill both sides!--by plowing One Side & returning in the area you just plowed to Plow the other Side!--& if It were ME! I would look into--buying an Old State highway Plow!-Big 2-1/2 ton plow truck w/a WING--here I have seen pretty Nice used State Plow trucks GO very Cheap! at their Auctions--Cheaper than Buying a Used 4X4--& buying a Plow having It installed!--as 1400 ft of driveway is really a Long One! but that don*t really bother Me as much as that 15 % Grade!--thats the Plow KILLER in My BOOK!-- I would Persnally Forget the buying a 4X4 & look into the a Used State highway Plow!--my Opinon!--Good Luck! & let US know? how You made Out?--Ole JIM--
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2005