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Advice on equipment purchase for homeowner

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by jweiss, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    Hi - I am hoping that someone can provide advice on a snowplow and vehicle, or vehicle-mounted snowthrower to replace my current setup.

    I have lived in my current house for 11 years. During that time I have done snow removal using a Honda HS1132 snowthrower with track drive. My driveway is relatively short, but VERY steep (over 30% grade). The Honda does a great job of blowing snow, and of traveling down the driveway (it pretty much "falls" down the driveway due to the angle), but struggles to get back up it. The company that maintains my snowthrower added snowmobile cleats to the tracks the first year I got it, which helps quite a bit, but there are still many times when the snowthrower needs to be more or less pushed UP the driveway.

    Due to an injury, I can't continue to manhandle the Honda back up the driveway any more. I'd like to find a small vehicle (ATV? Truck? Bobcat? Other?) that I could park at the top of the driveway and then either blow or plow down the driveway. It needs to be able to get back up the driveway, backwards I guess...

    Here are photos of the driveway. We get between 250-500" of fairly light snow each year. Last winter was over 500". The snow is fairly light (Utah snow), and the season is about 6 months long. Elevation is 7400 feet. It is not uncommon for storms to drop 1"/hour, and 24 hour storm totals are often over 1 foot. I clear the driveway every time there is more than a few inches of snow on it for safety. This is sometimes 2x/day. As you can see, there is an extra parking space at the top of the driveway.



    The asphalt on the driveway has settled in a few places and is now relatively uneven in those areas.

    Could any of you offer suggestions for rigs to consider? My neighbor has an ATV witha blade, but it seems that he only uses it as part of his snow removal tools (he also has a snowthrower), so I'm guessing it doesn't deal with the larger storms. They should have outstanding traction to be able to get back up the driveway. Thanks very much for your time,

  2. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    This might sound crazy but a powerful backpack leaf blower works very well on a few inches of light snow. Im suggesting this as a great tool to use as long as you stay on top of it every few inches or so.
  3. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    Thanks for the suggestion, I think that might work sometimes, but probably not most of the time.

    Inevitably, a few inches of snow gets driven over when we come home and needs to be removed with the snowblower.


  4. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    I'll take the piece of junk 1132 off your hands. How's $500 sound?
  5. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    Lol, sounds a little low ;)
  6. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    What'd you have in mind? I thought it was a fair offer considering its age and its heavy usage. I'm truly interested so let's talk. My email address is majorleaguelawn AT gmail . com
  7. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    And to answer your original question, have you considered a compact tractor with a blower? Kubota, JD, New Holland, Massey Ferguson and Case all make machines that would handle that job with ease.

    Check out tractorhouse.com and you'll find dozens of units that'll fit any budget.
  8. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    I probably won't be selling the Honda until I can verify that whatever I get to replace it can handle the job (i.e, next spring).
  9. Tahoe99

    Tahoe99 Member
    from NY
    Messages: 76

    What's that pickup on the left side ? Tacoma ?
  10. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    Thanks for the suggestion! That sounds like a great place to start. Any specific Kubota models that you could suggest? Would a tractor be superior to an ATV for my application?


  11. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    Yes, unfortunately I no longer have it. The two cars in the family currently are a 2000 Range Rover and a 2005 Subaru STI.
  12. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    You could probably get away with using a machine that has anywhere from 25-30hp. Equip it with a loader in the front and a blower on the rear and you'd be all set for many years.

    I would think you'd run out of room to stack the snow once you got into the heart of your season. ATVs definitely have their place but I don't think they'd be very useful in a location that gets several hundred inches of snow each season. JMO
  13. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    Thanks so much for your advice.

    So something like a Kubota compact tractor with their 50" 2-stage snowblower (e.g., BX series)?

    I called the local Kubota dealer and he suggested that a GR Series Mower with the 46" two-stage snowblower would probably work if I didn't need a tractor for other stuff. Does that seem reasonable? They are 778 cc, 21 hp, 4wd.

    I assume I would need chains on these to get back up my driveway?

    Using a blade? There would be times that it was tough, depending on how the county does on widening the road at the bottom of the driveway. What about a blower on the front of an ATV or RTV? I see that there are Bercomac blowers available, but not sure how that setup would handle a steep road, it seems quite long front-back...


  14. Yooper75

    Yooper75 Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    I wouldn't get to hung up on the brand of tractor until you talk to some dealers and see what there service departments are like. If you know any people that have compact tractors go talk to them and see what there dealer experiences have been like before setteling on brands because there is nothing worse than having a shiney new piece of equipment to move snow and then have it sit in the dealers service department for days on end when you need it. My suggestion would be a 4wd compact tractor with loader and blower as well, I would also invest in tire chains for both set of front and rear tires.
  15. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    Thanks for the advice! One of the great things about the Honda has been "Speeds Power Equipment" in Salt Lake. They come and pick up / deliver the snowthrower each year for service. I'll check around to see how the local Kubota dealer is rated.

    I figured that chains would be needed, regardless of whether it was a tractor or ATV...
  16. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    equipment purchase

    The bigger issue is traction in your specific case where whatever
    you purchase needs both loaded rear tires and chains on all four
    tires and tire chain tensioners for all four tires.

    The choice of chains is either standard cross link chains or
    the V link chains for extra traction. Ring chains are even better
    and both will mark up the driveway so thats a given.

    The ring chains cannot be mounted on the BX tractors because
    of the fender clearances.

    My drive way is so bad I think the V chains are an improvement HAHAHA.

    I would advise you to visit www.tractorbynet.com and www.mytracorforum.com
    and register and prowl the boards and ask lots of questions and post your
    pictures on the web site there.

    You should also look at the BCS 2 wheel tractors as you wil have a great
    snowblower in a small package that has gear drive and gear driven implements
    with both a single stage and two stage snow blower set up fore the BCS tractor.
    You can also add a mower and use the sulky for that too.

    You can add a riding sulky to avoid walking and you will have plenty of wieght
    and traction with snow chains for the BCS and you could put windshield washer
    fluid in the tires for even more traction with wider tires.

    The largest BCS 2 wheel gas tractor and widest snow blower will be less money than a
    Kubota with a snow blower and you will have no issues with the gear drive of the
    BCS two wheel tractor. The smaller size of the BCS will allow you to keep it
    garaged as well.
  17. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    Thanks very much for your reply, leon.

    You are right about traction being a major issue for the driveway. Even the current Honda track drive with snomobile cleats on the tracks struggles to get back up the driveway when it has a layer of snow.

    I will check out the two sites that you suggest for advice on tractors.

    I looked at the BCS two-wheel tractors. My concern is that with only a 28" snowthrower it will take too long to clear the driveway. My current snowthrower has a 32" wide intake. I'm also not sure how secure that the ride up and down the driveway would be using the riding sulky.


  18. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.

    Hello Jeff,

    Unsure about your budget buUUUUUT,

    I was thinking out load that a used
    Zaugg snow bear or a new Yamaha
    32 inch track drive snow blower will
    work as the new 32 inch Yamaha
    track drive snow blower is over
    five hundred pounds with big snow lug tracks

    The diesel snow bear would allow you to do the driveway when
    ever you want to with no issues of snow cover as the adjustable
    auger will go all the way to the pavement too.
    The snow bear has steel tracks and zero traction issues


    The new Yamahas also have a hydraulic lift and tilt for the cross auger

    The New Yamahas are a bit over $6300
    canadian loonies but the dealer has sold out
    every unit he imported to Labrador.

    He will ship to the US and the owners
    love the new Yamaha snow casters

    Please look at the old nabble home page


    The Yamaha snow blower forum

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  19. jweiss

    jweiss Member
    Messages: 46

    Not having any luck for googling "Zaugg snow bear". Do you mean "snow beast"?

    Regarding the Yamaha - looks pretty similar to my honda with 32" wide intake:


    Not sure it would do much better of the Honda with snowmobile cleats in terms of traction going uphill. The Honda weighs around 275 lbs so it is quite a bit lighter...
  20. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.


    I ment the Zaugg Bulldog:yow!::drinkup::blush2: Did I mention the 32 inch Yamaha snow caster model weighs over 500 pounds? If I did not I apologise for the error.

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011