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Advice on Chevy 1500 w/4.3L

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by BrownsFan, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. BrownsFan

    BrownsFan Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I recently purchased a 1997 Chevy 1500 w/ a 4.3l V6.
    I'm interested in getting a plow setup and would like to solicit opinions from actual users.
    I know I CAN put one on, it's just a question of whether or not it's a good idea and if so what size/type is recommended.

    For what it is worth, I'm looking at non commercial plowing of my driveway and the driveway's of family and friends (like my parents who are getting old). Nothing commercial.

    I bought the truck on auction from the University where I work. It was a maintenance vehicle w/ low miles (48k) and although dirty w/ some scratches is in pretty good shape.

    What I'd like to hear about most is advice on brands of plow, type and what I should expect to pay, especially if I buy used (which is what I'd prefer).

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.:)
  2. DuraMaxAllison

    DuraMaxAllison Junior Member
    from Toronto
    Messages: 26


    well as long as you are not plannign on pushing a great deal of snow , you can prolly buy one of those home owners speacials at wally marts or some other store like that ..:ie target,etc...i dont think that lil v-6 can push too much snow ..and traction will also be a factor ..load her up with salt bags or something heavy in the winter time.
  3. mustangmike45

    mustangmike45 Member
    Messages: 72

    I have personally plowed with a 1993 GMC 1500 4x4 for the last 10 years. I used a 7'6" western plow on it and never had an issue with traction or lack of power. I still use the truck to this day as a backup plow as well.

    Granted plowing with my new 2500hd and boss 8ft super duty is much easier! Hope this helps.
  4. jcesar

    jcesar Senior Member
    from Mi
    Messages: 492

    I know a guy who used a 4.3 v6 in his gmc 1/2 ton. HAd a plow on it from Northern tool.
    Never had issues with it, as long as he had extra weight in the back. Hope this helps ya.Oh, By the way, with that little engine, GO SLOW WHEN PUSHING SNOW!
  5. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 6,078

    Why go so slow, I plow 7 commercial lots with my 4.3, never had a problem yet. She's got plenty of power. Not as much as my buddys F250 diesel but I push right beside him in snow 8" deep. Don't worry about it. The 4.3 will be fine.
  6. BrownsFan

    BrownsFan Junior Member
    Messages: 5


    I found a plow nearby on ebay that was previously on the same model truck.

    After going on the Western web site I found out my V6 will actually take up to an 8 ft. plow (my guess is b/c it weighs less than the V8). My truck also has the heavier rated front axle.

    If I go w/ this plow (western 7.5) do you recommend Timbrens (sp) or just adjusting my torsion springs? Also, what about a supplemental tranny cooler? lastly, how about timbrens for the additional balust weight in the back (necessary)?

    Finally, did you ever have power issues when you used your 1/2 ton to plow?

  7. jcesar

    jcesar Senior Member
    from Mi
    Messages: 492

    the reason I say go slow is this. My buddy's truck had a serious lack of power. Every time he tried to plow faster, his truck would overheat. Did you by chance have a bigger radiator installed in yours?
  8. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 6,078

    I see your explination now, My 06 has twin electric fans on it and a MONSTER 18,000 lbs tranny cooler that I installed on it infront of the rad. the electrics are nice, As soon at the temp gets to 105 they kick in and boom! 1 -2 minutes later it's back down to 90. There great. Never had a cooling issue at all, even in the summer blasting around town with the A/C on pulling a 8,000 lbs. trailer and givin it, the guage never moves. If your dosent have electric fans and your having heating issues I would strongly recommend them
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2006

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    just because they say it will take an 8 foot deosnt mean it will, my old 1998 ram 1500 had a curtis 7'6 plow on it, and the front would sag like there was no tomorrow, i used to put a piss load of weight in the back for ballest, that got old so i decided to go on ebay and buy some 2500 springs, and swap them out.

    so i would say a seven and a half foot plow is prolly just about right for that truck.
  10. BrownsFan

    BrownsFan Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I really don't have any interest in an 8 ft. 7.5 will actually work our better for me. It's just nice to know I'm not limited to only the lighter 7.5's.
    After reading about tranny coolers I think it's kind of a no brainer, especailly since it sounds like they are fairly inexpensive and not that difficult to install.
  11. mustangmike45

    mustangmike45 Member
    Messages: 72

    I would say that you should put a tranny cooler on the truck. I ran just a cheap one from autozone on my 93 and have never had a tranny problem in the last 13 years!

    Just make sure to come to a full stop before shifting from reverse to drive or the opposite! This is the number one tranny killer
  12. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    I had a 1991 Chevy 1500 W/T, with the 4.3 V6 engine in it, & plowed commercially with it for 9 years, with an 8' Snoway. My experience with that combo was, it worked fine, but I would probably not do it again. I built my own angled wings for it, & so the plow was probably too much for that truck. The 4.3 is a great engine (basically a 5.7L (350) with 2 cylinders chopped off), mine had almost 300,000 miles when I sold it, & still never used or leaked any oil. IMO, tons of power is NOT the ends to all means, one thing good about NOT having alot of power, is that you don't tear your truck's components up,... I never had ANY problems with that truck greater than replacing U-joints, & one reason for that I'm sure is, because I didn't have 400 HP straining against everything. So, getting longevity out of your equipment is worth not having a hotrod, IMO. But with that being said, the thing that I did have problems with, was the frame of that truck. Half-ton frames are not built from as heavy of steel as ¾ or 1-ton trucks, & I ended up cracking or breaking out pieces of my frame at almost every spot that the plow mounted to the truck. I have a nice shop & welder & could deal with that, & fixed/beefed everything up to make it work, but the average guy would have a major headache on his hands dealing with a cracked/broken frame. In any case, if you do get this truck to plow with, keep your eye on all points of the frame where your plow mounts are bolted to it, and for sure add timbrens to the front suspension. Also, because of the transmission/axle gearing, you should ALWAYS plow in Low Range with ½ tons,.. at least Chevy's are geared too tall to plow in High Range, no matter how little snow you're pushing. For what it's worth,... that was my experience. Good luck.
  13. BPK63

    BPK63 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 246

    I just bought a 92 Chevy K1500 with a 4.3 and plow setup already on it. I only bought it to plow my driveway and that's it. I just have too much driveway for my 8hp Snapper snowblower to handle. Last February when we got 2 feet of snow I was out there for 5 hours. I plan to cut that time down to 15 minutes now. This truck seems to have an extremely heavy suspension compared to my regular F150. I have to assume it was setup properly for a plow. I also plan to use 4low to make it easier for me to manuever in my driveway. I'm glad to hear they can go to 300k. I have 127k on this one and it runs great so far.
  14. mattunh

    mattunh Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I just purchased a 1998 Chevy 1500 4.3L, auto, short box with a 7.6" Fisher MM plow. I plan on plowing two residental driveways and two small doctor's offices. Thanks for the advice on the Timbrens and plowing in low range.

    I hope this truck works out. I only paid $6,000 for it from a Chevy dealer with 68k miles. It is very clean with no rust or dents. One benifit of buying a 1/2 used vs. 3/4 or 1 tons is they are ususally in much better condition and not worked to death.

    Any advice on plowing with this truck is greatly appreciated.

  15. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    News Flash!!!:rolleyes:
    You are plowing commercially.. This is the NON-commercial thread.:waving:

    If you found a 2500 or a 3500 in the same condition would still think was beat just because of it's capacity rating???

    Your using a 1/2 ton get the timbrens front and rear..

    More advice?? lol..
    Sell the 1/2 ton now and get a 3/4 or 1 ton before it snows..
    Get the proper INS.
    Register your new business as an LLC. or whatever????

  16. mattunh

    mattunh Junior Member
    Messages: 4

  17. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2006
  18. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Is your tranny cooler thermostatically controlled? Too cold is as bad for your tranny as too hot. Maybe has something to do with that growl? http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=36907
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2006
  19. AFM Contracting

    AFM Contracting Member
    Messages: 92

    4.3 is an awesome motor

    I have a 1994 W/T 1500 with the 4.3. It is an awesome motor, if mine was 4x4 i wouldnt hesitate putting a plow on it. As a side note you might want to look into an air intake and a transmission cooler for sure.
  20. BrownsFan

    BrownsFan Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks for all the advice. It is appreciated.
    I bought a used meyer 7.5 for a pretty good price and the seller installed it for me for $200, which to me seems well worth it.
    He showed me how to adjust the torsion springs but said it didn't need it but might after the plow is on for a while.
    My question is how do you know when you need to adjust and how do you know when you need timbrens?
    Also, what is reasonable for a tranny cooler and is it a diy or should I have it done at a shop?
    I'm only plowing my drive and that of friends and family but I want this truck to last a long time. It's a 97 but only has 50,000 miles an almost no rust so I should be able to keep it going for a long time.