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1/2 ton vs. 3/4

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by gpin, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    After ten years of only using 3/4 or 1 ton trucks, I outfitted a '98 Silverado 1500, V8, with a plow set up. I used this truck for an hour during the storm last week and I thought it was all over the place vs my 3/4 and 1 ton trucks. It also seemed to strain to keep up with the other vehicles. I see alot of 1/2 ton users out there and am looking for feedback.
  2. Big John

    Big John Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    I use a '90 1/2 ton Dodge. When weighted properly I don't have any trouble at all. Can keep up with the 3/4 & 1 tons all day long!
  3. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    John, your point about the weighting is key. My other trucks are utility beds. The Silverado was supposed to be plow ready from the factory with a heavier front end. Where do you add the weight? Behind the cab? Thanks
  4. Roger Dodger

    Roger Dodger Senior Member
    from nw Pa.
    Messages: 240

    Uuuuh, right! May I lead you by the hand to a service garage where the bays are constantly full with ½-tons requiring repairs from plowing stresses? Actually, all classes of trucks in there, but the lot has a line-up of ½-tons amidst the occasional heavier truck.

    Some guys will argue more ½-tons in for service because there's more of them in service... larger numbers. Maybe so, but they are just like any tool... crappy carbon steel ones don't match up against quality forged, chrome vanadium ones.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2003
  5. Big John

    Big John Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Using 2x10's I built a holder between the wheel wells, Kind of a H pattern. I stack 60 lb. tube sand bags from Home Depot in there which puts it right over the axle. What I can't fit in that I put behind the wheels. I usually shoot for around 900 lbs.

    As far as 1/2 tons being in the shop more, I think that has a lot to do with how you run them. You take care of it and It'll take care of you. I actually was lead to a local garage, where two F-250's sat waiting for repairs while I plowed the lot. Now in that small demographic it's two to one in favor of the 1/2 tons :p
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2003
  6. easthavenplower

    easthavenplower Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    i use 1/2 ton chevy plowed through last years blizzard to never had a problem in fact does just is well as the ford f 250
  7. danzig

    danzig Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I plow with an 86 dodge ramcharger, 318 auto limited slip. It has been plowing snow for at least 15 years. I put a snowex spreader on it to drop salt on my commercial accounts. The only bummer is that i have to get the bags of cc out of the back which is a pain. This truck is only a half ton but i have no problems with keeping up with heavier trucks. I have 2 ramchargers and i think they are tough trucks. I will look for a half ton shortbed dodge pickup so i can put a large spreder in the bed and i will still be able to get into tight spots easily. Iam glad that i didnt buy that f-350 extended cab for my lawn and snow business, i couldnt get it into many tight spots. I will buy a heavier truck when i need it for plowing but what i use now works fine for me. Bottom line is use what you have and charge accordingly so you can buy what you need to do the job!!!
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2003
  8. Bigcee

    Bigcee Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I have been plowing for forty years starting with a Scout and now a 98 Gmc all half tons and never had a problem or major breakdown due to plow stress. Its how you use the tool you have.. Plow with the storm. I'm sur The bigger the better but you use what you have available.
  9. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    The amount of bagged salt that I put in my bed requires me to use a 1 Ton Pickup.

    1/2 tons plow good to.

    Just remember though, that the 1/2 tons....

    Frames are lighter duty

    Tires are lighter duty

    Front and rear axles and ring gears are lighter duty

    Springs are lighter duty

    Transmissions are lighter duty

    Usually cant get the Diesel or Big block engine that the one tons can.

    If you can overlook those shortcomings, and plow respectively, you'll most likely be fine.
  10. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    I think a lot depends on what ERA of 1/2 ton you plow with.

    Also keep in mind, that the type/mount of snow your specific area gets per year, makes a BIG difference in equipment wear and tear. In this area of Pa. we only average around 33" of snow per year. So I might push as few as 5 or 6 times this year.

    That being said...I have talked to a lot of local folks who use older trucks. Most of them seem to agree that the older 1/2 tons (Dodge/Chevy/IH/JEEP's) 4x4's are as good/strong as the newer 3/4 tons with IFS and/or coilover suspension, providing proper maintenance is done. They don't build 1/2 ton trucks like they used to. Heck, Dodge had "Sno-Commander" and "Sno-fighter" specific plow package 1/2 , 3/4 and 1 ton trucks since at least the early 70's. Dodge used the same Dana 44's up front on both 1/2 and 3/4 tons(only difference was at the hub/rotor assy itself), and Dana 60's up front for heavy 3/4 and 1 tons.

    Being an avid Dodge guy, I'm using a 1/2 ton 77 Club Cab 4x4, Factory Big Block, auto. This truck has had a Meyers's 7.5' power angle on it since 1982. It's just had it's 2nd trans rebuild. It was used by a local car lot to plow for years. I AM anticipating a higher occurance of maintance than some of you guys with newer rigs...but for the amount of usage my truck gets plowing...it's hopefully) only a marginal amount. :)

    Maintenance is the most important part of longevity, in my opinion.
  11. ebaron

    ebaron Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    I think it is much better to put weight BEHIND the rear axle vs. directly above it. Doing it that way will take load off of your front axle and will reduce the amount it dips. The Fisher website has the load for each truck, based on plow weight. I think that even your GM manual will explain how much to put back there, and also says to put it behind the axle. The IFS front axles don't have as much capacity as the older straight axles, so this is not just for traction, it is to prevent premature wear. I do it this way with my GM 3/4 ton, the traction is great and the front does not sag as much.
    I know many just say over the rear axle, but it just simple leverage.