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Advice on right equipment for the job needed

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by SantaFe snowman, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. SantaFe snowman

    SantaFe snowman Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I care take a house at 8300ft in the mountains above Santa Fe, New Mexico. The National Weather Service state that there is anywhere between 40 and 160 inches of snow a year with an average year having 80 inches. It is hard to gauge how much snow in the on average 6 or so "big events" but I would put it around 9 to 18 inches each. The many smaller events are not an issue. This past winter the main snow fell in December where there was 38 inches over the course of 2 weeks. The road up the side of the hill is 1.6 miles long with the first 1.2 miles mainly south facing and usually cleaned by the neighbor. The last 0.4 miles or about 2100ft is my responsibility and is the north facing part of the road. The road is as narrow as 8.5ft in places and a little wider in others with sharp curves. 2 years ago, I cleaned the road with a Honda Foreman ATV 450ES with a Cycle Country plow with a WARN winch kit. In a few storms the Honda could not push the snow which required plowing a few feet and then digging the snow off the road with a shovel and then continuing clearing the road that way. On average even if the Honda could push the snow, it would require at least 5 hours of work with the Honda sometimes in 16 degrees as my job entailed that a lot of the plowing was done at night. This past winter the road was cleaned by someone who does snow clearing as a side job. He used a Chevy 1500 4x4 double cab truck with a basic plow. The truck had dedicated snow tires with heavy duty chains. Certain storms would require plowing a few feet and then digging the snow of the road with a shovel etc. His comment is that it is very dangerous to plow the road with a truck as the road is narrow and the truck tends to slide. The drop on the side of the road is considerable. The Honda was stolen this past year requiring me to purchase new equipment for this winter. I was considering something like a 2nd hand Toyota Tundra V8 with 282hp motor. The truck would then have other uses as well. I am not sure what plow to purchase and would appreciate any advice. I also thought that a snow blower in addition for when the snow is too deep for the truck and considered the Honda HS1132TA is an option. I was concerned that it may take considerable time with the HS1132TA for a 2100ft driveway. All of the snow blowers that are truck mounted seemed to be too problematic based on reviews that I read as well as too expensive to be considered. A few other things to be considered. The neighbor may not be there which would require the full 1.6 miles to be plowed although there is less snow on this section and it is south facing. If I am not staying at the house, it means cleaning on the weekends which means a week between plowings. If I am staying at the house, I need to get to work without too much fuss as I am a school teacher. The problem with the commercial guys in Santa Fe is that you can be snowed in while you wait for them to get there.

    Any advise would be appreciated on the whether the truck / HS1132TA snow blower would be a good combination and if so what sort of plow should I mount on the truck. Or are there any other suggestions of what sort of equipment to purchase or am I asking too much from any equipment given the circumstances and options that I referred to above.
  2. tinffx

    tinffx Member
    Messages: 68

    Any truck should work. Also, if you are supposed to get a lot of snow stay at the house (I am assuming you have the option). Hit it before you go to bed & then get up early and plow it again in the morning. This should keep it from getting too deep. Its also a lot easier to push snow when it is freshly fallen. When it sits around it tends to compact under its own weight. When you are pushing light snow you shouldn't slide around too much. Also make sure you load the truck right with some form of ballasts in the bed. It helps the handling a lot. Also, its a lot easier to plow downhill in my opinion, so start at the top.
  3. jomofo

    jomofo Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    I'd take that guys comment about the narrow road to heart... For those types of events you won't need a big truck anyway, unless you decide to try moving all 18" at one time. Go for a short narrow truck with a plow that is only wide enough to plow your tracks when making normal turns... Making a tight 180 degree turn will require a couple of runs at it regardless to really get it clean anyway.
  4. M1N1TRK

    M1N1TRK Member
    Messages: 48

    Another question I have to ask is why do you need to stop and shovel out the road at certain points????? is there no place to pushthe snow to as you drive up the road????

    If thats the case then i would look into getting a small V-plow that you can break through the drifts or piles as you go and then that way you have to stop and shovel what a plow should be able to take care of.

    Also I would take the comment about staying at the place during the storm or which ever and plowing "DOWN" the road where that is usually a little easier to do then it is to plow "UP" the road, let gravity help along the way
  5. SantaFe snowman

    SantaFe snowman Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thank you for all the advice. There is nowhere to push the snow except the parking lot at the house as the road is so narrow. Basically if the blade is always angled that the snow ends up on the cliff side, some of it ends up falling down the cliff. If too much snow ends up on the other side (mountain side) of the road, by February, the road ends up getting narrower due to the snow banks. If one uses the V shaped plow, wont too much snow end up on the mountain side?

    Do I have it correct that everybody agrees that the truck is a better option than buying another ATV (the ATV with plow, winch etc will cost about $12,000)?

    I understand about the narrow short truck and the excellent advice about the width of the plow. Can anybody recommend a plow manufacturer for these circumstances?

    In the event that I am unable to plow when the snow falls, but only on the weekend and in the event that the snow is then deep, will the Honda HS1132TA snow blower do the job or is it too small for the 2100ft driveway?
  6. SantaFe snowman

    SantaFe snowman Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    After much research I am now looking at a 2nd hand Bobcat S185 Skid-Steer Loader with a new SB200 snow-blower which has a 66" clearing width. Various people including contractors who have cleared the road with a plow tell me the snow-blower will be safer as we will be "cutting through" the snow and getting it off the road as opposed to pushing it on that narrow dangerous road. (the house owner does not want to have a truck on the property anyway as the garage is not big enough to house it, but there is enough space for the Bobcat). According to Bobcat, that Skid-Steer snow-blower combination is so powerful that one will be able to move forward through an 18" snowfall at a rate of 2 to 3 miles per hour. This Skid-Steer is also very reliable according to Bobcat so given the 50 hours of use a year, wont result in much maintenance costs. Can anybody out there who has used a similar skid-steer snow-blower combination confirm the ability to move forward at 2 to 3 miles per hour as well as the reliability?
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    The Skid mounted blower would have to be about the best option. Big money though, especially with a heated cab.
  8. SantaFe snowman

    SantaFe snowman Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks 2COR517. Price not to bad with a 2nd hand Bobcat, not a whole lot more than a new ATV, which is what we had before, which was a total waste of time. The ATV took 5 hours to clean 0.3 miles of road and it was brutally cold after being out there for 5 hours.
  9. SantaFe snowman

    SantaFe snowman Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Anybody have any experience with how reliable a Bobcat Skid-Steer S185 is?
  10. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    Good move.

    Just be careful you dont spin that thing off the side of the cliff. Have you ever operated a skid steer before?

    How many hours on the machine?
  11. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    pound for pound/ dollar for dollar possibly the best skid ever made IMO. I have went to tracks for reasons other than snow but I have had 2 185's and my dad has had 1 also, amongst some other people i know, all have had nothing but good to say about em.
  12. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.


    for the amount you want to invest a Kubota with a full cabin and a front blower would be a better way to go as the kubota deals are 0 percent for 60-72 months and having a four wheel drive tractor with heated cab will allow you to work quickly and remove all the snow and get rid of it the first time.

    a Kubota B3030 with a sixty inch blower would suit you well.

    no I not have any business with kubota inc. I know that thier machines are great work horses.:waving::drinkup::sleeping:
  13. SantaFe snowman

    SantaFe snowman Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks for all the advice Guys ... greatly appreciated. I will look into the price of Kabuto tractor. JohnnyRoyale, I have never operated a skid-steer but will practice before the snow arrives starting in the parking area which is safe. Thanks for your concern. As to the hours, Bobcat said the machine has 3300 hours, but they say it was a landscaping company that used it and that it was not that heavy a type of work, plus Bobcat say that they knew that the landscaping company did all their services etc and that is why they recommend this machine. Bobcat say they if they dont recommend a machine they send it to action, but I dont know how much sales talk I am getting. In addition they say as I am only using it 50 hours a year, the machine will last. But this is the bit I am concerned about ... a 2nd hand machine. Do you think that I will be ok with this machine given what I described above?
  14. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    Here kitty kitty kitty, smack!!!


    With that amount of hours I would ask for a prepaid maintenance plan and if they agree buy it.

    A bobcat and or case will have the potential for frame cracks around the spindles for wheels. I would ask about taking off all four wheels and look at the side frames- also pour alcohol over and around the spindles to look for cracksas the spindle mounting areas may have cracks.

    the bushings used to support the drive arms and bucket functions will be worn.

    The hydraulics are another sore subject, a cessna axial piston motor if used has a closed center hydraulic system and has a high replacement cost. The cylinders in most cases are either very hard to repair or are disposable;the other issue is that they are not equiped with stop tubes in the cylinders to prevent stuck pistons in the barrels from overtravel-and they do not retract after that because the oil port is blocked-the dump cylinder is prone to do that unless a stop tube is installed.

    The piston pump shaft seal is another worry as it is not exposed and can be leaking.

    the valves controlling the forward-reverse oil flow and to the hydraulic accessory attachment valve could be leaking and would not show up very easily if it was washed.

    The cylinder bushings and pins are another issue with those many hours they are or may be pretty worn.

    The boom arm bushings(the two at the end of the boom arms on both sides are another worry with this many hours.

    Not knowing what shape the radiator is in is another issue with that many hours I would be worried about a plugged core and bad thermostat.

    If that kitty cat has a hydraulic oil cooler I would check its mounting and I would pour some rubbing alcohol over the exposed tubing to see if there are any possible cracks that may be leaking

    I would ask to leave it running a while and then raise the seat and expose the plumbing under the seat and use a high power flashlight to look for leaks.

    I would not go near it unless they have maintenance records to prove the work they have done and receipts for parts either.


    With all the new Kubota sales specials I would walk away if it were me- and it has been me.

  15. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Sorry, but I'm going to say you will still be better off with a plow on the truck. As for the road being narrow - angle the plow to put the snow toward the dropoff and build a berm during the small snows in the beginning. Do not angle toward the hill/mountain as that just creates several problems. Go into the curve kind of in the middle till you can judge where you get the best effect. Take it relatively slow and don't plow like a maniac. If you can usually get through, you'll still be able to. Plow every 6-8". Then the berm will keep you on the road in case the road is slick. Your bigger problem will be getting later snow to go "up and over" the berms. Take it easy on the curves and speed up on the straightaways to give the snow "umph".

    I've done plenty of narrow roads and dealt with poorly maintained, steep roads with sharp curves. Haven't driven off one yet.

    The truck will do in five minutes what the snowblower will take an hour or the Bobcat/tractor loader will take 1/2 hour. I've had to use a tractor and loader. Yes, it's got power but it was slow going dumping snow off the side every few feet. And it didn't do a very good job. I'd still come back with the truck to clean up.
  16. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow removal etc.

    I have to disagree due to many factors,

    Poor visibility due to low ground height in a truck is still a problem unless you have HID lights and a camera system.

    A snow blower will remove it the first time and get rid of it period-it may take a bit longer but the problem will be gone.

    The tractor and blower can be locked up and stored at the end of the road somewhere as well.

    If the road is poorly demarcated as far as reflector posts or snow fence barrier to show the shoulder location that is a problem in any case.

    A small tractor blower like the B3030 or BX2660 with a drivers cabin with two blowers front and rear can move tremendous amounts of packed snow fall with no shoveling!!

    Adding more front side and rear lighting is easy with HID 110 volt lights with a small generator attached to the tractor or a high output 12 volt generator on the tractor.

    The grain combine light bars offered by Northern tool and equipment would work well with the tractor and a high output alternator as well.

  17. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Well, I don't have HID lighting, nor cameras, and I havn't had an issues with visibility for the past five years. And my 97 GMC sits lower than most.

    Are you serious about strapping a generator to the tractor for lighting? A couple of Hobbs are quite effective at a reasonable amp draw. And some of the new LED lights give the sun a run for it's money and will work for two years off a watch battery.

    Where did that thread go about installing an inverted magnetron flux capacitor overdriven direct laced interwoven user inferface capacitor go?

    Just ask...........

    Some Timbrens and a Fisher should take care of everything
  18. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872


    I was referring to the fact that the road was not obviously demarcated in some way and with low visibility sight and line of sight illuminated vision is at a premium and an absolute necessity if night plowing is done .

    I having spent 22 years underground in zero light conditions in my daily work and it has made me very aware of low light conditions. It is no different in theory than the amount of light used in the surface strip mines on mining shovels using high intensity discharge mercury vapor lighting.

    LED lighting is intense at short distances and diffuses quickly rendering them useless as spots and high output flood lights and they are poorly focused.

    Capacitors store electrical energy and are useless for low voltage lighting lighting purposes.

    I made a simple reference to the use a generator for purpose of lighting as an aid to traveling with an active snow blower in low light or snow storm conditions with high winds.

    (If the web master wishes to do so he is welcome to remove my responses)
  19. SantaFe snowman

    SantaFe snowman Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks again for all the advice guys. From my extremely limited experience I still think that the getting rid of the snow with a snowblower is better than trying to push it on that road, as long as I can do the 0.3 miles (1600 feet) in less than 1 hour. According to Bobcat I should be able to move forward at 2 to 3 miles an hour in 18" deep snow with the 66" wide snowblower. At this speed I should be able to go once in each direction taking me less than half an hour to do the whole road making me more than a happy man.
    As to the truck option, the contractor who plowed the road last winter had to shovel the snow off the road in places as it was too deep for the Chevy 1500 truck with snow tires and chains to push it. It also took hours for the contractor to plow this piece of road. The neighbor who plows the other 1.3 miles said he wont take his truck up this section as the road is too narrow and the snow too deep. There is no place to build berms as the road is too narrow is places. Also the snow on the edge of the road is eroding the edge as it melts in spring making the road even narrower, which is another advantage of getting the snow off using the snowblower. As to the lighting, the ATV had halogen lights up front which gave sufficient light to plow, but yes it is a small vehicle so you are very close to where you are plowing. I put 2 of 35W halogens at the back for reversing and that was also sufficient light to reverse which is only necessary in the parking area. Good point though, I need to check that the Bobcat lighting is better than the ATV, given it is a bigger machine plus the loss of vision due to the cab. I also dont know if the snowblower will reduce visibility due to increased blowing snow?? Leon you are correct that the road is poorly demarcated. With all the snow on it you cant see where the mountain ends or where the ditch starts and ends. In a few places you cant see where the cliff side starts as chamisa bushes in a few places hold the snow up making the road seem wider than it is. I put in reflectors that stand 4 feet tall every 40 feet or so on the mountain side of the ditch. My mental note was then to be about 2 feet away from the reflectors as at that point I would be about where the road meets the ditch. The problem was that the substrate is rock so it was very difficult to get the reflectors in the ground. Even once I did this, some reflectors got buried in snow by mid winter as 3.5 feet wasnt tall enough, some got pushed over by the snow sliding down the mountain or the snow that came off the plow even though I tried to plow most of the snow away from the mountain. I am not sure on how to improve on this except maybe to put each one in the ground with a little concrete which will be a huge job.

    I have some work to do to see that I am not buying a bunch of trouble with the 2nd hand Bobcat and new 66" snowblower, but if the machine is good, theory as well from some members advice make me believe that this will still be the safest, most menouverable way to go while getting the snow totally off the road in a reasonable amount of time.
  20. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    That's why we use driveway markers to mark drop-offs - such as ditches and mountainsides. Mine are 48" of fluorescent orange. By the time they get buried with plowed snow (that doesn't go over the side), I've got a nice bank of snow that I can see over the hood and plow.

    I don't have street/pole lights to go by at night.

    But, it's your money. Do what you want to do.