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breaking tractions with pushers in wet/heavy snows

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by American, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. American

    American Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    We have never used pushers before and from my search of past threads over the years, the most common downside mentioned seems to be breaking traction with wet/heavy snows. We are strongly considering buying three: one 8' or 10' for an 873 bobcat and one 12' and one 14' or 16' size for the pay loaders. One thing I would ask that is not completely covered in those threads is the strategies you guys have implemented to avoid breaking traction and training your people in this regard. Three of my subs have used pushers before and are very skeptical of them in wet/heavy snows. If I can get over this hurdle, I have no reason to still keep me from buying the pushers.
  2. HerkFE

    HerkFE Member
    Messages: 92

    Pushers will really improve your productivity, no question about that. But like ANY piece of equipment, if the material you are moving is wet it will be harder to move. Pick up a 5 gallon bucket of dry sand vs that same bucket full of wet sand and see the difference. You just have to adjust the amount you are trying to push. Put a pusher up against a skid steer without one and I would bet on the pusher every time to move more snow. Is there a learning curve? Sure, but it's not really that steep.

    Technique can play a big part in avoiding spinning the tires, but so can the surface you are clearing. Momentum is your friend here, just like plowing with a truck. Get your blade/pusher moving and keep it moving at a reasonable speed...NOT NASCAR!!! LOL :rolleyes:

    What your subs may be thinking about is the ability of a truck to windrow through wet heavy snow vs a pusher just moving that snow...kind of an apples to oranges comparison IMO. Try comparing a stright bladed plow truck pushing straight ahead vs a pusher for a better comparison and I think you will see the point. If you could run a 12' plow on your truck and push it, would you? Of course you would, it is a question of productivity.

    If it gets that heavy...take a smaller bite... simple as that!

    (Well, let's see how this agrees with the others here.... :D )
  3. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    There is little you can do with wet, heavy snows, much like trucks. The difference is that the loaders are much heavier, so they will be able to move more snow, due to their own weight. When the snow is wet and heavy, loaders can take smaller bites, just like trucks, and make shorter runs if possible. Try not to push too far if possible.

    The biggest mistake is using downpressure, when it comes to traction. Operators are used to using the bucket, and putting the weight of the machine on it. This will shorten the life of the pusher skids, and also will reduce traction.

    Another thing to consider, is if the pusher manufacturer recommends a range of pushers for a specific machine, the smaller pusher would be a better match in heavy wet snows. So if you typically get heavy, wet snow, then go with a 10' instead of a 14' model.

    The same goes for skid steers. On a Bobcat 873 you can run a 10' pusher, but if the snow is typically wet and heavy, go with an 8' or even a 6'.

    With backhoes, forget mounting a pusher on anything that is not 4wd. It is possible to use a pusher on a 2wd, but, heavy wet snow and 2wd don't mix.

    Short story...

    A couple of years ago, I had a 16' loader model pusher on a site. I did not have a loader available. I did have an old John Deere 710 2wd backhoe. It was a light storm, only about 4", and it was not heavy and wet. That JD pushed the whole storm with no problems, even on slight slopes. That operator was very skilled, and never even used a pusher before. On the same site I had a Case 590 4wd, with a 14' pusher. Parked side by side, the JD dwarfed the Case. The extra 2,000# of iron was a big help for the JD I am sure.

    The Case did ok, but I would rather have had a 10' pusher on it.

    When running any pusher, the front bucket should be on "float" and the pusher skids should be sitting squarely on the ground. If you see a skid steer running with the front wheels in the air, and a load of snow in the pusher box, he won't be going very far before he breaks traction.

    Another thing you can do, that will add time to a job, but make it possible to do, is to push heavy wet snow across plowed areas. That way the load is not increasing as the pusher moves the load.

    As far as the operators go, they need to learn that all 4 wheels must remain on the ground, at all times. Downpressure reduces traction. Do not try to turn with a load in the pusher box. Make pushes as short as possible.

    I can't think of any other things that will help with heavy wet snow.

  4. Jay ALC

    Jay ALC Senior Member
    Messages: 124

    I was thinking this very same thing and have debated going with a Blizzard 810SS or 8611SS on the skid steer instead because of traction issue and the blade would float on it's own vs the operator having to keep the pusher in float. I don't believe my new John Deere skid loader has a float position. Any thoughts from people who have had or used both? Thanks in advance.
  5. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384


    I'd go with blades on the skids after using pushers on them. Others may disagree, but I am not enthused with the performance of pushers on skid steers.
  6. Santo

    Santo Banned
    Messages: 255

    A set of chains come to mind. Is it newly paved? If not go to town.