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Best Choice for my driveway

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by hlenoble, Mar 13, 2005.

  1. hlenoble

    hlenoble Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 5


    I just moved to snow country (upstate NY) and am looking for the most economical way to keep my driveway clear. My driveway is about 250' long, with a parking pad for 2.5 cars at the end, and slopes down from the road. The slope is fairly gradual, with the closest part to the road slightly steeper for about 35'.

    I am not really interested in a snowblower, so the question is if a light plow on my Ford Explorer, a lawn tractor with a plow, or possibly an ATV with a plow would make the most sense.

    I have seen very light duty plows (www.solotec.com), and "personal" plows (snow bear and snow sport) that look possible. I am also considering a lawn tractor as I want to get one for mowing (about 1 acre of grass out of 4 acres of property). If I do decide on the lawn tractor, how many horsepower do I really need. I have heard anywhere from 14 - 20 and I don't have a feel for how well they plow. Finally, I am considering an ATV for fun, and thought that a plow may help justify that in my mind. What do you think?

    Thanks in advance.
    - Hal
  2. dunedog

    dunedog Senior Member
    Messages: 129


    How old are you ? How much time do you want to spent 'doing' your drive?
    How big is your lawn? Are you going to buy a cheap lawn tractor or one that will add to the mortage of your home ?
    You need to answer some questions for yourself......do you enjoy snowblowing or is it a chore that just needs to get done.
    After 25 years of beating myself up with large snowblowers......be they everything from old Gravely's to 17 hp Simplicity lawn tractors and the gamut of walk behinds,I finally got a small plow (Snowbear) and am not looking back.
    Of course I do three drives every storm (my properties) so it was getting old.
    I really like being in that warm,dry cab now.
    Hey, just a few things you need to sort out for yourself.Also look under the 'search' thread ,as this question is asked weekly in some form or another.
    Good luck with your choice and be happy you are at the end of the season .
    You have some time to get it right.
    As far as the plow thing,that is what works for me.It may not necessarily be what will work best for you.
  3. calhoun

    calhoun Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    I live in the cap dist of NY. For years I plowed with my pickups. This year I decieded to give it up so I can vacation in the winter. I was faced with the same discision. About 400' (200' paved, 200' gravel) of driveway and 4 car parking area.
    Snow blowers are slow but can do my sidewalks as well as the drive.
    A plow on my new truck would be nice but I need to put it on and take it off. I did this for years with old myers and so called minute mount fishers. It would take me longer to put on and remove the plow then to plow my drive.
    I also thought of an old beater with a plow and just park it till needed. I couldn't find any that I would trust to work when I need them.
    I ended up getting a 4' blade (MTD altered to fit) for my garden tractor. (20HP CubCadet). I got some 2 link chains and wheel weights. Total cost less than $500.00. This has been a rather mild winter and I have had no trouble keeping drives clean. This is small enough I can also do sidewalks and patio. It also handles the transition from pave to gravel well. It takes me less than 1/2 hour to clean everything up nice. I like just turning the key and plowing no hook up to do. It will not stack snow real well so I have to make sure to push the banks back real far at the start of the season so I have room for all the snow by the end. The only thing I don't like is the marks on the paving from the chains.
  4. danno

    danno Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    I had the "tractor plow" for 12 years. Same kind of driveway. First, I used to use the tractor for cutting the grass, and taking the cutting assembly off. Attaching the snow plow assembly on, with the weights and chains, for most of those years.

    Cheap to run
    rarely broke down
    once hooked up, stayed hooked up for the winter
    versatile in manuvering

    Location where I had it (in the shed) I usually had to "shovel" a path in order for the tractor to get to the driveway.
    Heavy wet snow over 4" was tough to plow.
    Takes longer than my truck to plow with.
    Sometimes it was frigg`n cold sitting on it!
    It ended up being a pain removing and installing both setups, plow and cutting unit.

    As you can see, everything has pluses and minuses. I made the choice to be more comfortable while plowing.
  5. mobo

    mobo Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 35

    I just wanted to say I have a snow blower and a atv. Its alot of fun to be out on the atv but when its really cold it sucks. I looked at alot of plows for my truck and I was going to get the fisher homesteader but the place was sold out. I ended up getting a snowbear from Sam's Club and I really like it for what I paid for it. I would also like to say that it hooks up fast and easy with no problems. I have had no problems with it and I have pushed alot of snow. I have a drive that is 100 ft long plus one that is about 200 ft long.
  6. jasf

    jasf Member
    Messages: 63

    I like plowing with my garden tractor. 48" blade on a 21.5 hp Craftsman. I did have some troubles with the angle control early on,but Sears took care of it. After the 1st freeze/thaw cycle I was able to drive up on my banks & stack snow behind them. It does get cold,but for less than $500 it's worth it. My property is wide open on the north & west sides. I tried a blower for a season.Quickly got tired of wearing all the snow I was blowing off the driveway!
  7. Tosh

    Tosh Member
    Messages: 39


    You could use a backblade (rear-mount) plow on your Ford Explorer. This place is near Albany, NY. http://www.superplow.com/video.html I believe you can get 7, 7.5 and 8 ft plows.

    A plow keeps you out of the elements while removing snow. Pretty easy to switch this plow to your next 4wd vehicle with a receiver hitch. You just need to transfer the wiring from your old vehicle to the new one.

    It works pretty well for my 200 feet of driveway (and the driveways of my 7 neighbors).


  8. hlenoble

    hlenoble Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 5


    I want to thank all of you who took the time to respond to my questions. I am going to need a lawn tractor for mowing anyway, so my thought was just to add a plow to that. However, after listening to the comments I am not sure I want to deal with removing and installing the cutting deck/plow, and certainly being outside while plowing may not be fun. Sounds like a small plow on the Explorer is the way to go. Anyone selling a used snow bear or snowsport?

    Thanks again,
    - Hal
  9. scholzee

    scholzee Senior Member
    Messages: 243

    I live in Buffalo NY and some Home Depot stores have what I believe is a "snowbear" but with a different name. They are normally $999 but I see some are trying to sell them for $699 now. I think that would be a good deal and if used properly get 3 plus years out of it. So check your local Home Depots if you have them where you are.
  10. calhoun

    calhoun Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    Home Depot or Lowes sell the own branded snow bears depends on what color blade you want. They also sell tractors so you can shop for both.
    Just FYI. I take the mower of my tractor every fall for cleaning and blade sharpening so changing to a plow is no big deal. Actually the deck goes off and on easyer than any plow I ever had on my pickups.
  11. butters

    butters Member
    Messages: 79

    I think the snowbear is a great choice. My Brother in Law is in a similar situation except he has a 1200 foot drive and does it with his riding mower with a blower attachment. It takes him forever to do and the belt is always falling off. It does a nice job, but it gets old after a while. I know that the older I get the less I want to be out in the cold. I would look around for some deals maybe even used. Winter is pretty much over so you'll have the whole summer to find what you need. Good luck.
  12. dunedog

    dunedog Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Reference to a Snowbear back a few posts....'and if used properly get 3 plus years out of it.'

    If used properly it WILL last a lifetime ! Check some of the people on the sight.They have been using them since they were first introduced.10 plus years.
    It's called maintenance my boy! Also like any tool using it for its intended purpose.
  13. scholzee

    scholzee Senior Member
    Messages: 243

    Sure things can last a long time when maintained. I am not bashing the plow, but it certainly is lite duty and also said with proper use. I meant for $700 you can probably go 3 years without having to spend any $ on it. after 3 years it may need paint, cutting edge, electric winch. You could probably hire someone for $250 a season, so after 3 years the plow will be saving you money but also may need maintance. Think about pushing back piles with that plow, it would be hard on it, you would have to plan your stacking very well and not exceed the capabilities of it.
  14. Plow King

    Plow King Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    If someone is using the snowbear for their own property it won't need paint or a cutting edge after 3 years. The winch that comes on them is junk, so it would probably need to be replaced. If replaced with a quality winch...you won't need one for awhile.
  15. wagonman76

    wagonman76 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Ive heard several comments about the Snowbear winch being not that great. I bought mine off ebay, but Ive seen the Snowbear and its the same exact winch. What goes wrong with the winches? Just looking for a little heads-up.
  16. dunedog

    dunedog Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Why is it that people always hammer something if its not top shelf.
    Granted the winch on the SB may not be the best out there, but is it really 'junk'...I don't think so.
    If you use Craftsman wrenches instead of Snap On does that make you a better mechanic....I don't think so.
    I see guys with the best tools out there building houses that are out of square and plumb by the time they're coming off the foundation !
    Everyones an expert on what is better than something else, but too few have had the experience to swing a hammer proper or cut a straight line with a handsaw ....
    Wagonman, I love what you're doin'...Rube Goldburg would be proud!
  17. Stan MI

    Stan MI Member
    Messages: 86

    plowed mine with

    For years I plowed mine with a 51 Farmall SA. (just over 700', turn around and barn) I just bought a Curtis at the end of this season. It will be nice to look out from inside a warm truck next year !!
  18. GeorgeNTeri

    GeorgeNTeri Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    RE Best choice GeorgeNTeri LI NY

    I say go with the sears tractor with blade and chains and the weights
    I have this setup with a sears 18 hp tractor and plow about a acre of property, yes you have to push your first snow back far enough so that you have room for other snows when they come but the set up works real well and will not cost a arm and a leg you can also get a canopy like i did for the tractor and that will keep you out of the wind for the most part the canopy does not have a back to it so you don't get caught smelling the exhaust from the tractor. I have done not only my property but that of my neighbor and use it on blacktop cement and just plain dirt area of my yard and not have seen any problems yet with ripping anything apart. Just my 2 cents, P.S. it cuts the grass good too. :)
  19. lawnandplow42

    lawnandplow42 Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    don't buy anything, and support snowplowing contractors that need to make a living. I'm not trying to be rude, but by the time you buy a plow setup, its cheaper just to hire someone who does it for a living.
  20. jasf

    jasf Member
    Messages: 63


    This is the personal use section of this site. Meant for people who do thier own property themselves.In a previous thread you said "good choice" to a guy getting a Craftsman for his own drive.I agree everyone needs to make a living,but that's not what this part of the site is for.