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Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by wfd44, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. wfd44

    wfd44 Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 369

    I am a new plow owner. I ran a plow quite often years ago and our ballast method on the farm worked quite well for us (either 55 gallon drums filled with rocks and rotten potatoes or a 4x8 sheet of plate steel). I am in the process of buying a used 7 1/2 Fisher minute mount to put a my '96 Chevy K1500 extended cab shortbed. Any idea how much ballast weight I should plan on using?

  2. mylawn03

    mylawn03 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    600-700lbs over the rear wheels should do it.
  3. ebaron

    ebaron Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Fisher will list the specific minimum weight for that plow and truck. Check their website. Also (I know all don't agree), but Fisher and GM recommend placing weight behind the rear axle, this counteracts the weight of the plow, and reduces the load on the front axle. Those front axles aren't the same as the old straight axles and you don't want to overload them, (esp. a 1500 with a Fisher). Don't let the weight slide forward, or then you transfer more load to the front axle.

    I'm running a 2500 HD ext cab, shortbed and run 500-600# at the rear of the bed. Works good, good traction, front end doesn't go down much.

    Tube sand bags work good, but they do get in they way when you need the bed. Rotten potatoes, won't help in traction like sand if you're stuck, or can you use them to melt ice?

  4. wfd44

    wfd44 Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 369

    :jester: Doesn't matter the family farm is long since history so no potato supply for ballast. The steel plate was great (it left the bed totally free) but it took a forklift to load it. The forklift went with the farm.

    I plan on using a combo of tube sand and buckets of sand. Sounds like around 500 to start.

  5. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    I make sure have atleast the same amount of weight for ballast as the plow weighs.
  6. GripTruk

    GripTruk Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Who wouldn't agree with this?
    The further back the weight is, the more effective it will be, and therefor you would need less of it. It could easily be argued that any weight in front of the centerline of the rear axle at all, will be adding weight onto the FRONT axle as well, which is what you are trying to counterract. 100 lbs 2 feet behind the axle is probably just as effective as 250 lbs right on top of the axle.
    As was said though, you do need to make sure this load is secured, since it will repeatedly be pushed to the front by the impact of the plow into snow piles.
  7. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    500-1000 pounds of sand in buckets or storage containers
  8. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    What do you gain form "Ballast" :confused: :confused:
  9. snooker

    snooker Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 77

    Weight distribution over the wheels is critical for steering, breaking, and traction even on dry pavement. That’s especially true for a pickup with an empty bed (which is front heavy anyway). Since ballast is not hanging off the back end as much as the snow plow is off of the front, it may require more weight than that of the plow.

    And without ballast, the front suspension takes much more of a beating from potholes, rail road crossings, etc.
  10. Gadget

    Gadget Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Shifts some load (plow weight) off the front axle to the rear takes downward loading (some) off front end components including tires. This allows them to to turn easier, especially during idle when there isn't as much power steering assist -

    Also better for traction during icy conditions
  11. BobH

    BobH Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 12


    I have the same truck and plow as you. I run with 425 lbs. of ballast placed behind the rear axle (closer to the tailgate) and have never had a problem.
  12. streetsurfin'

    streetsurfin' Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    I have about 540# to the rear of axle, Western 7.6 on W150. I can adjust a few tubes forward or add air to rear shocks to adjust headlight aim when plow is off. I'm using the tube sand and ancra tie down anchor plates. Sand gets distributed around the yard at end of winter as the bags deteriorate. It keeps the truck handling more like your used to in the event of any quick evasive maneuvers. You won't burn up your front brakes as bad with the weight more evenly distributed.

    Ebaron(Ed)....lmao about using rotten potatoes as ice melt!
  13. jo2fst4u

    jo2fst4u Member
    Messages: 98

    I have sand tubes 500# works well
  14. Thought I didn't need any ballast in my Dodge 2500HD EX cab shortbed (even though Western recommended 350lbs) but realized I was loosing traction in 2 wheel drive and putting extra weight on the front end.
    I put all my tow chains in 2 milk crates (125lbs each), have one steel plate (20" diameter 1 inch thick, 105lbs) and 4 smaller steel plates ( 8"x16", 1 inch thick 33lbs each). Its a little bulky but brings me just under 500lbs. Definately an improvement in handling for now.
    Eventually I will get a few pieces all the same size, fewest amount possible but just enough to handle by hand, weight-wise, and lay them flat across the back of the bed. This way they really do not take up bed space, leaving room to put the snowblower in the back.
    Here are some steel weights taken from my riggers handbook.
    Listed below are for 1 foot square plate:
    1/4 " 10.2lbs
    3/8" 15.3lbs
    1/2" 20.4lbs
    5/8" 25.5lbs
    3/4" 30.6lbs
    These weights might help you out if you have something lying around and need to know what it weighs. Better than trying to balance a 4x8 sheet of steel plate on your bathroom scale.:D
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2004
  15. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    Just remeber with those steel plates, or anything hard like that, to make sure it is secured to the bed of your truck. I can go right through the cab and you if you stop fast. :D :D Thinking I dont stop fast or hit piles hard so they wont moves just proves you are going to be the next reciever of the darwin award.
  16. snooker

    snooker Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 77

    I would be concerned about getting rear-ended with a 4’x8’ sheet of steel in the bed. If the sheet is thick enough or there’s enough stuff on top of it, that sheet of steel could become a low level guillotine.
  17. GripTruk

    GripTruk Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Also, with a 4x8 sheet, half of the weight is in front of the axle. You would be much more better off with 4 4x2 sheets all the way in the back.

  18. snooker

    snooker Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 77

    I use tube sand held in the back of the bed by an anchored 2"x10". It's cheap and easy to take it off or to use the sand for traction or filler.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2004