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1/2 mile driveway 9000 ft high in Colorado

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by johnstra, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. johnstra

    johnstra Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    And my driveway is up hill all the way with switch-backs in it that really hold the snow. Biggest snowfall I've seen so far is a little over 6 ft (two of those) with several 3+ ft storms.

    This will be my 5th winter here and I'm looking to improve on my snow removal tools. I have a 6'6" Western plow on a Toyota 4x4 and it's actually just fine some years, but 2 of the 4 winters up here I've run out of room. After a big storm 2 years ago I was desperate so I bought a 30" Troy Bilt blower. I use it around the house and when the road closes in on me I work the snot out of it clearing the 1/2 mile road.

    I was tempted to just upgrade my blower to a 45" model - still a walk behind. Problem is, I'm afraid it'll still struggle to clear drifts from the road. That and the berms is what I spend most of my time fighting. The walk behinds just climb up on it and don't clear it. Will a bigger walk behind help or will it still walk up on the dense drifts?

    I'd really like to go with a skid steer and hydraulic blower. One of my neighbors has one and it handles pretty much anything. Like most people, though, that's a lot of $$$ to spend. Even a used loader w/ blower is probably going to come to $12000 or so at the very least.

    I've also been wondering if a mini-loader, something like a Toro Dingo would work. It has a 44" direct drive blower from Toro you can put on it. I really don't care if I have to stand or sit in the cold as long as I have a machine that'll do the work. Seems this kind of machine would be a lot stronger clearing drifts and berms than a walk-behind.

    So what do ya'll think? Bigger walk behind blower, tractor with front mount blower, skid steer with blower, or mini-loader with a blower? I'd really like to hear your opinions.

  2. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    Honda makes the best walk behind blower. I've got a 928 tracked unit and I can literally throw snow 40 feet at full speed. Honda also makes a bigger model (HS1132) and I am positive that will fly through anything you've got. They are pretty spendy but they're worth the investment. Check out the link below...

  3. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,830

    Do you really want to use a snow blower on a 1/2 mile long drive way? I would go with a skid steer or a tractor with a blower. Is there a place that you can stack the snow at the bottom of the drive way?
  4. mike psd

    mike psd PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,028

    family friend of mine has pto unit the runs off tractor and man that thing clears thorws snow like 60 ft easy .i would say a blower would be best for large amount of snow you get . unless you get a big loader to really make those piles
  5. JimT

    JimT Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    You can use the skid steer year round.
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,256

    A mini-skid would do the job just fine, howbeit rather slowly. If you get one of the older Dingos, you can switch between hydro pumps from low to high volume and vice versa. So if you get some wet, heavy or the banks you should be able to get through them with little problem.

    A tractor or skid steer with blower would be what I would look for, in the long run it will be best IMO.

    Rich, he's already using a blower and you can't push a half mile drive down switchbacks and then stack it. He has to get rid of it as he's going.
  7. johnstra

    johnstra Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks for the responses, guys. I'm really leaning toward getting the skid steer. Currently, I spend a lot of time and energy keeping up with storms. Any time I expect more than a foot I have to go out every few hours to keep the clearing manageable. If I have the skid/blower, I can wait until storms are finished dumping and then go clear once. That is a HUGE incentive.
  8. itsgottobegreen

    itsgottobegreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,351

    Say if you picked up a bobcat 773/763 HI flow (defently recommend with a blower) for about $15000. The got the Bobcat 72" HI flow blower. ($5500). You will be out about $20k. But Next time colorado gets hit by a blizzard. You will be all set to go work for other people. payup We have plently of members around colorado who would be willing to put you to work on the BIG ONE.
  9. johnstra

    johnstra Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I don't think hi flow is available on 773/763 bobcats. Am I wrong? Looks like they are all standard flow at 16.7 GPM. And is high flow really even needed? My neighbor's Deere is a 17 GPM standard flow and he's never had any problems - even in 6 foot March storms. He runs a 72" Loftness blower rated 16-22 GPM.
  10. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    John, Responded to your other post regarding tracks before I saw this one. Should have no problem with a blower that is properly matched to the flow of your machine. Quick Attach, for example, will install a hyd motor optimized for your flow rate at time of order. My PT-1845 is only rated 15 GPM, and the blower works just fine.

    As a primary snow machine, be sure to get a heated cab or plan to rig something up yourself. A heated wiper blade would be nice if you can swing it. I have an open cab with a flexable golf-cart windshield on my PT, but I can "usually" choose to use it under less-than-nasty conditions.

    You are welcome to come over and look at mine, as we may be fairly close neighbors.

    Bailey CO
  11. itsgottobegreen

    itsgottobegreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,351

    Well it would be news to me. Since my 773G has HIGH FLOW. And my buddy's 763 has HIGH FLOW.

    A Hi flow blower will still spin faster than a low flow blower. Yes you can get low flow blowers, but they will not throw snow as far a high flow.
  12. wnpeugh

    wnpeugh Junior Member
    from ut
    Messages: 2

    Truck mounted Snowblower....

    Take a look at www.hansonsnowblowers.com
    I friend in my remote neighborhood uses this beast to clear about 1.5 miles of dirt road for a group of homeowners in Utah at 8000' MSL.
    Should mount to the plow mount you already have on your Toyota, use the same hydraulics and comes in at under $10k.
    Benefits.. comfort of your truck (WARM), thrower not a plow and clears the width of your truck at a single pass.
    I've just ordered one for my 3/4 mile of driveway, really loking forward to it. My wife really doesn't want to have to do the Snowmobile thing any more!
  13. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    That Hanson would indeed be a viable option, but at 800 lbs plus the head frame and lift, not sure I would try to mount it to a Toyota or any thing less than a one ton truck. You would stay nice & warm though and would be one less piece of equipment (but not engine) to maintain.

    If you had a full size truck and plow, this could be an ideal additional way to deal with the big storms (like most all of last winter!) However, as non-turbo engines loose about 3% of sea-level HP per 1000 ft altitude, that 27HP Kohler becomes only a 20 HP and may not be up to the task at 9000 ft. with a wetter fall/spring snow.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2007
  14. johnstra

    johnstra Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I have thought about getting a Hanson, but as Rip says, I don't think my Toyota will handle the 800 lb beast. I do have a 3/4 ton Dodge Ram that I could put it on, but my Cummins is a manual and Hanson says you really need an automatic so you can drive slowly enough. I even thought about buying a beater truck to put it on since I could get an old truck plus the Hanson and still come out way less than I'll spend on the skid steer. But I can use the skid for road maintenence and other work in the summer so I think it's the best option for me.

    Thanks for the feedback on High-flow RipT and GottaBeGreen. I just haven't seen any used 773/763s with high flow. If I find a high flow in the right price range I'll get it, but there aren't many used ones around. I'm looking at Cat, Deere, and Bobcat.

  15. itsgottobegreen

    itsgottobegreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,351

    Those handson blowers are a joke. Watch the video on them. There are several post oh here about them. They are not well liked.
  16. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    Although to be fair, not sure if more than one or two folks actually OWNED or had even used a Hanson. They look like they would serve a purpose for some applications.

    I've seen the videos of another "shop-built" unit with a JD diesel engine in the bed that did not seem to be to be any faster or more powerful than the Hanson. Blowers in general are an alternative to a plow for certain situations, even the ones on big skid steers or front-end loaders. Not fast, but they can "get rid" or at least move it to where you will not have to deal with it again.
  17. alpenmountain

    alpenmountain Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I actually own a Hanson, and am VERY happy with the equipment. I live just outside Steamboat Springs, Colorado and we receive between 350 to 450 in of white stuff each year. The Hanson will blow up to 100 ft of the fluffy stuff and around 50 ft of heavier wind packed snow. I have cleared snow up to the bottom of my truck window, although slowly it still handled the job. I also don't have to "pile" snow several times a season with the throwing distance. The Hanson is very well built and heavy, so I do suggest a larger vehicle. I have an F350 4X4 CC Diesel with air bag suspension (my truck in attached picture) and haven't had any problems. I ordered the unit with the 30 hp Kohler which is fuel injected. All the controls are mounted inside the cab, including electronic start, chute and deflector controls. There's nothing better than warming up the truck, grabbing a hot cup of coffee, cranking up the tunes and clearing your driveway while your neighbors are freezing using their walk behinds.
  18. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    Welcome to the forum Alpenmountain and WNPEUGH and thanks for your personal experience-based comments. Unfortunately there are an over abundance of off-the-cuff opinions that mostly serve to confuse the issue. Even my own concern about available power remaining at our altitude, although I do know first-hand how altitude sapps power from my other engine-driven machines!

    Glad Hanson offers a higher-output engine.....now if it was a lightweight turbo diesel.....

    What plow frame are you hanging it on? Is it stock or beefed-up? How much ballast are you running? I figure the blower & truck-side mounting hardware must be a bit over 1/2 ton!

    WN: What truck will you be running yours on? Getting the larger engine also?

    While there are a few of us Western folk here on the board, we are vastly outnumbered by the northeast and mid-west guys. Let's build up our ranks.....lots of snow (any day now!) and plows out this way.

    Again, welcome aboard guys!

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2007
  19. alpenmountain

    alpenmountain Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for the official "Hi-Ho".

    I use the Western Ultra-Mount system for both the Hanson and an 8' Pro-Plus panel. Each have their own lift frame/light kits so I can disconnect one and hook up to the other in a couple of minutes.

    Did some custom fabrication on the frame of the Hanson, mainly due to the set-up height of the F350. This keeps blowing angle set properly when lowered.

    As for ballast, I had a steel plate "cut to fit" the bed. It weighs about 1000#. This way I don't loose any bed hauling space during the winter. It's removeable in Summer with "slot cuts" which I can hook up to using an overhead winch (also used for Jeep hard top), raise, lower and store supported off the garage floor. Had the plate treated and coated so it won't rust or corrode.

    Winter will be here soon enough. For us in the mountains of Colorado it's a season, for many it's only an event.
  20. Jt13speed

    Jt13speed Senior Member
    Messages: 366

    Alpenmountain, Do you think you could get some pictures of what your setup looks like...bigger pictures so we can actually see them, please. You have a seperate western plow also? Do you use that for like cleanup or what? Does your truck have a lift and big tires? kinda looks like it from that little picture. thanks