Air operated lift cylinder?


2000 Club Member
I saw an advertisement today for an air operated snow plow lift cylinder, something I have never heard of before. I would imagine they are only used on big trucks with air compressors. Since air can be compressed, wouldn't these cylinders allow the plow to bob up and down? Has anyone seen these in use? Other than eliminating the need for a hydraulic system on a truck with a plow only, I don't see any advantage.


2000 Club Member
The trucks in my area, State, County and Towns all use hydraulics on their trucks, as do the private contractors. A couple other questions came to mind, do these trucks have plow angling by air or do they run the "funnel" style plows? Also, wouldn't air lines be more likely to experience freeze up than hydraulics? I know today's air dryers work very well, but every now & then something gets past them and frozen brakes and/or accessories occurs.

snow Veteran
I've only seen a few air lift cylinders for plows locally. The one that sticks in my mind is a fellow with an old B model mack, and a manual angle plow with one. I think they're most popular for trucks with one way plows, and you can utilize a source, instead of adding a hydraulic lift.


here's a pic of the truck



Western CT
Snow is right. I have only seen air systems on trucks with one way plow. A few are run here on trucks that contract for the state. Just one way road plowing. Guess it is a lot easier and cheaper than adding manifolds into a hydro system. They don't seem to have any problems with freeze ups. With the age and condition of some of the trucks I would bet the driver has other concerns.

75 Addict
I wonder if those are something you tend to find in certain regions? Never seen or heard of one around here - even the simple one-way plows operate off hydraulics.

Pneumatic systems are used a lot on plant machinery applications, once the air has been compressed it acts fairly "rigid" so I don't imagine the cylinder would bob up & down too much, in one respect it might actually help somewhat by absorbing the inevitable bumps and jolts rather than sending them along to the plow/mounts/truck frame etc.


Columbia, CT.
I used to plow with an old GMC that had air lift. Work fine for road plowing, slow up, slow down. Intersections and cul-de-sacs really stunk, lift the plow 3 times and had to wait and build your air back up. I don't miss air lift or the Wisconsin pony engines on the sanders one bit!:mad:


Senior Member
One of my good friends that owns a construction company in our town that also plows for the town has the air operated lift cylinder on three of his trucks. All are one way plows one is on a tri-axle and the other two are on L8000 the newest one is a 1990 so you can still set your truck up this way if you want to.

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