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Whats worse.. pushing or pulling?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by danno, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. danno

    danno Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    I was just thinking what can be worse for, say the tranny.. pushing snow OR pulling a trailer ? Is it the same "stress" on the drive train in general ?
    Of course I`m compairing same "weight" loads..

    What do you think ?
  2. DaySpring Services

    DaySpring Services PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,065

    I'd say pushing snow is harder on the tranny. A trailer is on wheels, sure it may be heavier than a blade full of snow but its alot easier to get rolling. I guess it depends on the size of the trailer too.
  3. itsgottobegreen

    itsgottobegreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,351

    2nd that!!!
  4. mr.plow

    mr.plow Member
    from Toronto
    Messages: 44

    I've never had a situation where there was enough weight in front of the plow and the tires didn't slip to caus eenough load on the tranny that you could feel. Compared to pulling/hauling heavy weight pushing snow is the easiest thing my trucks done, while it's working. I have 8611 F550.

    KCAPXIS Senior Member
    from NE PA.
    Messages: 143

    do you need 4 wheel drive to pull a trailer ?? Plowing is much harder!
  6. danno

    danno Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    Only because of the "angle" you have to apply the force to move the snow, which gives you less "rear"wheel traction.
  7. brad_diesel

    brad_diesel Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    If snow was'nt "slippery" i would'nt need 4wheel to plow either. 4wheel is a traction issue, not a push or pull, I believe pulling is harder on the tranny because you have to go from dead stop to full speed (whatever that may be) with the full load always there. pushing snow goes from a zero load to full blade load at end of push, with the end of the push being more momentum than anything. Thats my opinion and im stickin to it :drinkup:
  8. Fordistough

    Fordistough Senior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 394

    Plowing is much harder on the whole truck, because the weight is always changing and all of the sudden jerks of the plow moving. Besides it's all on the front end, which is not built as tough as the rear end where the strain would be if you were pulling a trailer.

  9. danno

    danno Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    I guess I started a good one ! :dizzy: Just thought to keep us "New England" states buzy thinking until our "big one" comes tonight !
  10. grassmanvt

    grassmanvt Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 153

    I have blown a few trannies plowing, none towing yet. I also have had the trans temp get much higher during plowing than towing. I had one truck that I had to stop and let it cool, that same truck towing never got warm towing. So, for a multitude of reasons, I'd say plowing is harder on it.
  11. NoFearDeere

    NoFearDeere PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,709

    Plowing is harder by a long shot. ;)
  12. Jpocket

    Jpocket Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    Plowing is much harder on the truck because at the end of a run you have to stack the snow. If you think about it your gassing the truck meanwhile the tires aren't spinning, so all of that strain is on the Transmissin and drive line. Towing your pulling a load with wheels.
  13. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,317

    I'm gonna have to say plowing is harder on the truck. For all the reasons already mentioned. I have a manual tranny, therefore don't have as much issues as you auto guys, but let me tell you, the tranny every once and awhile makes some nasty sounds pushing snow. Never while towing. Although, I do see much higher tranny temps while towing (230 degrees). Never seen the tranny over 100 degrees plowing.
  14. daninline

    daninline Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    Towing is only hard on the truck when you 1st take off for the most part.
    Pushing snow gets heaver the more you go and it's under a full load the whole time.
    Plus how often do you go from D to R when towing only a few times.
    Plus the final push into the pile is a very hard load
  15. wddodge

    wddodge Member
    Messages: 64

    You have a manual trans with a temp guage on it??? That gets to 230 degrees when towing?????

  16. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,317

    Yep. ZF5 in 5th gear really likes to get hot. I have to drop her to 4th and the temp will come right down 190-200, but it is a bit too slow. I'm in the process of putting an external pump on the tranny and running fluid through a cooler. The newer ZF5 and ZF6 have internal pumps which help with temp. THe old body style Ford's with the ZF5 don't have any means of temp control. The tranny only gets that hot in the summer, and only when pulling on the highway, and it only hit 230 once. I usually try to max out the temp and 215.
  17. bigjeeping

    bigjeeping Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    Wow.. did you take physics in college? Well I did.

    First we'll go over some simple physics of pulling a trailer.....

    When pulling a trailer, sure it stresses the tranny during acceleration, and it stresses the brakes during deacceleration. But once you overcome the force of friction (between trailer tires and ground) and you get the trailer rolling, the ammount of stress on the tranny decreases significantly.

    Even better yet - If you're pulling a trailer and you're not accelerating (you are staying at 30mph, or have cruise on) there is no force acting on the tranny at all (except the force of friction on all the tires).

    Now let's take a look at plowing...

    Plowing consists of: <p>
    1) REPEATED & VARIED acceleration and deacceleration<br>
    2) Pushing piles of mass.

    The product of mass and acceleration equals force.

    The high levels of acceleration and mass means you are putting TONS of stress (force) on your tranny.

    IMO, pulling a trailer is easier on your tranny.
  18. corkireland

    corkireland Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Editorial note: I think I might have spent too much time thinking about dervations this weekend.. Sorry for the long post.

    And the difference between one college course and a physics major! I applaud you on your valient attempt and for the most part you are correct but here is where you error.

    Friction and the air drag(which is dependent on speed= -cv(coeffiecient of drag times velocity) of the trailer are always putting force on your truck. And when you are going a contant speed there is no net force. However the engine still has to maintain the force equal to that of the friction in order to maintain the constant rate of speed. Ergo you always have that added stress on your transomission and more importantly the torque and shear forces on the gearing inside the transmission provided from the output of the engine. So the force doesn't really go away but its just being held in an oppositte but equivilant state.

    But Engineers took this into account when designing the truck and as long as you were within your towing capacity then the truck is designed to take that kind of stress. The truck was designed to carry the additional weight in the rear and the transmisssions installed were meant to match the CGVWR of the Trailer and Truck.

    However with both situations this problem becomes one of a conservation of momentum problem. Momentum being MV or Mass times velocity.

    When we couple a trailer and a truck or mate a plow on a truck we in essence have created a system with more mass. No matter what kinda of collision or deaccelerations or accelerations momentum is going to be conserved and thus when truck designers are thinking about these types of momentums and forces they had to think about these things.

    I think most of will agree that most trailers when loaded even though supported by wheels is still alot more massive than a plow with a full load of snow in front of it. And one would generally agree that they pull trailers at higher speeds than that of pushing snow. Thus there is a lot more momentum involved with the trailer truck system and thus more stress..

    However the truck was designed to take the stress. With plowing there is less mass and usually less speed involved thus less momentum however the front components of the truck where designed to carry the engine and its occupants and behind the front axle so some of the weight is distrubuted between both axles. With plows we add the additonal weight in front the axle if its raised or stackign thus putting stress on components which will handle the load but the design limits compared to rear and trailering are much different espcielly considered the fact that the turning component are up front unlike the rear where usually there is a solid axle with less moving parts. (in dynamics, the less parts moving usually equates a stronger system).

    However when a plow is being pushed it becomes a similiar system to the trailer in that the engine is overcoming the friction caused by the increasing snow mass and the cutting edge assuming that its a completely straight forward push. And at a lower speed and less mass there is ideally less stress per push but the fact that we repeat this several times gives us the additional stresses of plowing.

    Also taking into account that when we tow we don't have this mechanical obstruction of our air flow to the radiator and transmission coolers so we expereicne often cooler temps when towing. The excpection would be if we are using a gear that is ratioed to low to allow the engine and transmission share the force. Like was mentioned above. In this case the transimssion will take most of the stress. Like wise in plowing if we transport for longer distances then the air is not getting to the radiator and tranny cooler as easily and thus less cooling.

    Therefore overall I think we can say that plowing puts alot more stresses on our trucks in a shorter period of time. However if we did less tranportting and more maneavuring with trailers. The additional stresses of the greater weight would be worse. (This is why more times then not, companies who have to shift alot of semi trailers around on there property will have a dedicated toter truck or several that are designed for the stresses of stop and go and back and forth with such heavy loads.

    Well I think I have bored enough of you now I think I'll go work on my Quantum Physics II homework. Yuck!

    Have a great day!
  19. brad_diesel

    brad_diesel Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    I am sorry mr. bigjeeping, I did not know stating my opinion on something was "WRONG", it clearly states, "I believe", and "my opinion". Not once did I say i had a degree in anything to support my belief or opinion, all i have is my 22 years of plowing experience and never blowing out a clutch or trany. Also, I have seen my trany temp rise while pulling heavy loads in summer, but never while plowing,(in winter of course) My knowledge of anything else ends there and I apologies if my opinion has offended anyone. I have seen plenty of guys blow out a trany plowing, but it is because of poor plowing practices (i am only referring to those i have witnessed with these poor plowing practices and later needed a new tranny) So, anyway, thank you for the lesson in physics :salute:

    Have a nice day
  20. bigjeeping

    bigjeeping Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    corkireland - great post!

    bradiesel - didnt mean to come off offensive, just thought I'd try to think up some of my old physics lectures!