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2 stages tailgate spreader vs. mini V-box

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by wxmn6, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    I have been researching through Plowsite archieves, and still cannot quite make up my decision, and would like your advice as well.

    I am looking at Fisher SpeedCaster 2 w/ undertailgate mount and variable speed controller. I also am looking into Downeaster "Junior" 2/3 yard 4 foot long V-box, probably stainless steel for longer life.

    My Fisher dealer do sell the SpeedCaster 2 but not the Downeaster, so I would have to make a bit longer trip if I were to purchase them. I see some pros and cons between them. Downeaster dealer is farther away, so if the sander ever break down, I would need to make a long trip. The stainless model would cost a few hundred bucks more than the Speedcaster 2, but it have twice the capacity than the Speedcaster 2. So that would mean half of return trip to refill.

    As far as I know of, SpeedCaster 2 use 16" belt conveyor and the Downeaster use 12" chain conveyor. I feel that the chain would be more reliable than the belt, would it? The weight of each unit empty is roughly the same. An advantage of Speedcaster 2 is that it is available with the variable speed controller, which Downeaster do not offer. Downeaster have adjustable flow rate lever and adjustable chute flaps. If I were to use the Downeaster, I think I could be able to control the flow rate by driving faster or slower, but spreading width would be another story. With the Fisher, I can just stay in my nice warm truck, unless something clog up in the unit (like packed sand).

    Do I really need either of these unit right now? No, I don't. Right now I know of at least a few accounts that will like this services, but I would hate to see myself buying a small single stage unit and find out a year or two later that it is too small as if I expand the salting services. So that is why I would like to look into buying something larger than I need right now. The Speedcaster 2, I think will hold plenty of salt for several small accounts, but if I should expand much more than I expected in salting services, then the Downeaster 2/3 yard spreader would be able to carry twice the capacity of Fisher unit.

    It may sound like I am leaning toward the Downeaster, but I would like to know what your honest opinions are. Is there something that I should be aware of? Any advice or suggestion to give to me? Thanks! :)
  2. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    Well.... I just had a chat with someone a moment ago and I am now convinced that I would be going with the SpeedCaster 2. I did not realize about the added maintenance of the conveyor/gear box, and how they can mess up the truck bed.

    It seems that it would be more simple to go with the Speedcaster 2.... because I would be buying it from my local Fisher dealer and will be getting the variable speed controller too. If I should ever expand much more than I would expect in future, I think I could handle making a few stops for salt refill.

    Thanks anyway. :)
  3. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    I would think the Fischer would be the better option. You can keep bags of salt in the bed of the truck and load the spreader when you need the salt. With the Downeaster it will be taking up bed space - you'll have to fill the hopper before you leave your shop to have material.

    The Fischer will serve you well as you scale up. Handling the material becomes the bigger draw back and what will become your limiting factor, not the spreader itself. Last winter we ran about 120 to 130 skids of salt through the spreader (swing gate on truck allowed for easy loading of full skids). I learned my lesson about not greasing my block bearings EVERY time I hosed it down. Without fail you've got to grease 'em. I replaced all the bearings, idler pulley and both belts. That's about all you'll need to do down the road anyways.

    Sold the truck which is too bad because I liked the spreader. It made us some money last winter, that's for sure.
  4. sno-mover

    sno-mover Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Though I dont have much salting experience, I was thinking along the same lines as lawn lad, you could carry bags with the fisher, where as with the v-box, while you could load it with bags:rolleyes: you would really need a bobcat, or a supply house. The good side to the v is it would last longer, material wise.:waving:
  5. sno-mover

    sno-mover Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    By the way :D do you have any more pict of that nice new plow steup:bluebounc
  6. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    Nope, that's the only pic for now. Sorry. Right now it is in storage and I would have to pull some stuff out of way if I were to mount it again just to take more pics. Don't worry, I will get some more pics, as soon as my truck project is done. :) ;)
  7. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    One of the reasons that I got the fisher speedcaster II is that I did not want to really put a V box in the bed of my pickup ,reason is the cleaning of it and carrying capacity.I almost had a smith stainless V box but saw the fisher in the dealer show room and asked if it could carry sand .I made my decition right on the spot to get that.The only dray back is it does not carry alot and it compacks and makes it hard to spread if you load up early and sand later.But on a good not it spreads just as good as a V box in my opinion there has been many of times I would have to sand areas that needed 2-3 ton of sand at one place but we loaded it from the dump my friend has.