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Buying Plow, Need Help

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by oldmankent, Mar 1, 2001.

  1. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,322

    Wow, this site is just what I'm looking for. I want to apologize for the long post that is going to follow, but I would appreciate some advice from people who know about plowing. Here is the situation. I have a 1996 F250 4x4 ext. cab 8' bed PSD, and would like to get a plow for personal use and very light commercial use. 5 driveways tops. Probably not even that many. My truck has alot of weight on the front end already with the diesel and the damn TTB front end. I would like to get a 7.5' plow that was as light as possible. I also want to buy one used, as I'd never pay off a brand new one with the amount of plowing I'd do. I love my truck and want to keep it awhile, hence the lightest plow possible. Does anyone have any recommendations as to what might fit my needs? My main worry is weight, and I want to go light regardless of what the truck can take. Also, I'm worried about the rubber spring stoppers contacting up front with the plow on. With no plow right now, I only have about 1" of space. I was thinking about a lift of 2" or adding a leaf, but read somewhere in here that that might not be a good idea due to frame stress. Any suggestions, thoughts, whatever would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
  2. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    Welcome to the forum! There's lot of great people in here, and even more great information.

    For your plow, I would recommend going with a SnoWay. I have a 7.5' steel 25-series on my '96 Z71 extended-cab short-bed. It's lighter than the other plows, and it has worked great for me. I do some driveways, a townhouse complex, as well as a HUGE car dealership. Like I said, it's lighter, but it also has a "down-pressure" system which hydraulicly pushes the plow down on the ground. Scrapes really well. You can take a look at them by clicking on the link below:


    As far as the excessive front end weight goes, you can either get load boosters (such as the Muscle LSE's from NAPA), or you may even be able to get air bags from Air Lift. There are a lot of products on the market to help in that department.

    Good luck with your decision!

  3. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    How's the Sno-way been working for you Tim? It sounds like a good choice for the application oldmankent has posted, and having downpressure available would make up for the lack of weight when backdragging.

    I'd suggest staying away from adding lift, Tim's suggestions of load boosters/air bags is a good one. (I use a 2wd GMC for plowing, I added load boosters to my front coils) Adding a leaf is good for carrying extra weight, but might make your ride a bit harsher. Don't know how the $$$ will compare to having load boosters installed vs adding a leaf, might want to check into it.

    Since you mentioned buying used, there's one thing I'd like to mention: Unless the plow you buy came off the same truck that you have, it may require some "custom fab" work to mount it up to yours. This is no problem, just make sure it's done "right"! I work full time in the welding business, and I've seen quite a few that were done "wrong" come in the door to be fixed. If you're not inclined to do the fab work yourself, any reputable welding company will be able to build a plow mount for you. And check out http://www.snowplowing-contractors.com for info on going over your used plow to get it back up "like new" condition.

    I'd better apologize, my post's longer than yours was. Good luck, and keep us posted!

    [Edited by 75 on 03-02-2001 at 02:54 AM]
  4. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    If ride harshness is a big concern, I would look into the air bags vs. load boosters. The air bags can be adjusted, you can fill 'em up when you hang the plow on, and deflate them when you're empty. I've got them on the back of my truck because I have a spreader too. The spreader makes for good ballast, but when it's full, my truck would start to sag. With the air bags, not only will it raise the back end up, but it also increases the "leverage" the spreader creates on the front of the truck.


    My plow did really good this year. No problems, other than the headlights not switching over, but that was installation related, not the plows fault. I am very happy with it. Although, I'm a little miffed about my spreader's paint peeling. Not rusting... peeling. Not a huge deal though.

  5. MJ

    MJ Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    oldmankent - welcome to the forum. I think that if you're planning to get your plow in Bar Harbor area you should look into a Fisher plow. Fisher pretty well has this area sewed up for the snowplow industry. Do a search on past posts for other people's experiences with other brands. You need to think about service when something goes. I'd recommend staying away from used - when I started looking that's what I thought, too - that I'd get a used one, at least at first. Everyone I talked to advised against it. If it's used and for sale, more than likely it's used up. Pins worn out, blade (or moldboard) cracked and worn, hydraulic lines leaking, pump seals worn/leaking and so on and so on. Then you still need to get push plates for your model truck. I think in Bar Harbor, you could get enough work to pay for it. For a light duty plow, look at the Fisher LD model.

    Good Luck,
  6. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,322

    Guys, thanks for the replies. I am a little worried about the air bags, as they may require more maintenance than a steel spring would. As of right now, with no plow my rubbr spring stoppers bottom out on potholes on the road. An extra leaf may make the ride stiffer, but it is the damn jaring of the frame bottoming out on the axle that rreally bothers me. I have checked out the snoway, and if I was buying brand new, that is what I'd get. I can not find a used 7.5' one though, so it will probably end up being another brand. 75, what kind of modification do you think a mount from a 1990(pre uni-mount) Western 7.5' plow that was on a 1979 F150 would require? thanks again.
  7. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    If you are looking for a light plow, dont get a fisher they are anything but light. And Fisher would be unhappy about a LD series plow on a F-250. In fact they wont warranty that plow for that application.
    The snow way and even a meyer plow is pretty light weight, and will do the job. Used plows are out there, like anything used just look them over good. I have bought many used plows and no problems yet.

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    I have to agree with Dino, good used plows are plentiful and good deals are also out there. Just take your time and check out the plow as best as you can. Good Luck !
  9. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    To be honest with you, without actually seeing the mount and truck together I can't say exactly what modifications will be required. I'm not sure how many differences there will be in the frames between a '79 and '96 Ford.

    However, I can give you a general idea: Any of the components that attach to the frame of the truck itself will probably have to be modified, while the upright that carries the powerpack/lift arm likely won't have to be.

    Again, comparing the parts you have to the truck you have will give you a good idea of how much work this is going to take. If modifying the existing parts to fit will mean a lot of cutting and slotting of holes, it may be better to fab new parts from scratch to fit. This will take longer, but give you a better job in the end.

    The existing mount may be wider/narrower than the frame on your truck. If the difference in width is minor, you can make up plates to take up the space. (I did this helping a friend mount a plow on his '87 GMC, needed to take up 3/4" of space so used a 3/8" plate on each side drilled to match the bolt pattern and placed it between the mount and frame) Resist the temptation to pack it with washers! Using a plate spreads the load out evenly.

    You may find it neccesary to trim a portion of the mount to clear parts on the truck frame. If you have to cut a lot away, this will weaken the mount so it would be best to fab a new part if this situation arises.

    Don't forget braces going from the mount back up to the frame. The mount you have now may or may not have them with it (I've seen a few trucks come into our shop with NO braces!) but they are essential to help distribute the stresses caused by plowing. Again, because frame configurations vary greatly from truck to truck, it may be easier to simply build new braces.

    I always use backing plates when I bolt the plow mount to my frame, in effect "double framing" the area where the mount attaches. Same with the braces, if possible. (Sometimes it isn't due to suspension components being in the way) And use Grade 8 hardware, I like to use fine thread bolts with steel (as opposed to nylon) locking nuts. And on the subject of bolted connections, resist the urge to make the holes oversize for ease of assembly. Under the stress of plowing, things will move. And use bolts, don't weld the mount to your frame even though it might seem easier up front. First time you have to repair something you'll be wishing you could unbolt/cut the bolts to remove it!

    Lastly, when I'm doing a job like this I spend some time cutting cardboard before I ever cut steel. Rig up a way to hold your mount where you want it on the front of your truck, then take a look at what is required to make it fit. If new pieces have to be made, cut and try cardboard patterns first. It's a lot easier and cheaper than hacking up steel!

    Well, I've probably raised more questions than I answered! Good luck in your search for a plow, sorry guys - my post is really long this time!
  10. 4 Saisons

    4 Saisons Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Rob, An educational post is never too long...

  11. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    It would equire to much work. I believe the front frame section was alot wider than the 92+.
  12. MusGuy

    MusGuy Member
    Messages: 65

    About Meyer

    Stay away from the c-8, and so on... They are pretty heavy actually, I have mine on a f250 and it needed airbags still to get it ride correctly.... I love my air bags, they make the truck perfect for the job.
  13. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Get a Snoway,they can't be beat for performance and weight,if your just doing drive ways.You could also go with the lexan model without the upper harness and lights.Your truck lights will work just fine (will shine through or above lexan),the setup is much lighter,and less wiring.Just have someone go over the welds if it is used,as they tend to crack.Also add a set of Timbren springs.They are much easier to install than airbags,easy to remove,and the best of any load boosters.

    DYNA PLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    oldmankent, you my friend are in luck. i have my 7.6
    snoway with downpressure and one of dino's highly
    talked about urethane edges, for sale!!
    it came off of my 94 f250,this will bolt right up to your truck. i put new hoses on itthis year.
    one bad thing---i live in wisconsin.
    how much you say? 1150.00 takes it.
  15. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,322

    Ok, I'm going to go out on a limb here, but how about those personal plows made by snowbear or something? I know they are light and cheap, but they have one that fits my truck, and if I went really slow, I don't think I'd break the thing. Remember, I'm not plowing commercially. It is a manual angle plow, but I can live with it. It does have a power up and down. Any thoughts, other than it is a piece of junk. Thanks
  16. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    As someone who likes to build things "heavy duty" I'm probably biased here, but I am going to say a Snowbear plow is not a good choice for your application. Here's why I feel this way:

    Overall construction is very light to save weight. You will probably find it neccesary to do some backdragging to clear driveways, and the light plow will tend to ride up over the snow rather than pull it back. Downpressure on the Snoway solves this problem.

    Manual angle is something you will grow tired of in a hurry, especially for doing driveways. You are going to have to move the snow out of the driveway and onto the customer's property, and being able to control your blade angle from in the cab is a big plus. (I know that at one time plows were ALL manual angle, but I figure hydraulics were invented for a reason!)

    Due to being built light to save weight, long term durability in a severe service environment like plowing is bound to be reduced, especially in a "snow state" like Maine. Think about how hard the plow will be working when a dump of the heavy, wet stuff has to be cleared.

    I don't know anybody who uses one, so I can't comment on how well the power up/down system works on these units. I do know it's a small ATV style winch with cable, as opposed to the hydraulic ram used by the bigger plows. I'd be concerned about the winch cable getting slack and possibly coming off the drum.

    I think you're better off spending some more money up front and getting a plow that is more suited to your purpose. Just my opinion, hopefully someone with some experience with the Snowbear units can offer some input.
  17. MJ

    MJ Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Oldmankent - I've found this to be true, over and over; You get what you pay for.


    UNCLE BOB Member
    Messages: 76


    Anyone ever heard of Northman Plow's ????
  19. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    01HUMMER - A carbide edge will shatter and snap easier than a U edge.All our municipal plows have U edges,and no more shattered carbides when you catch a pothole or catch basin.Also Boss plows are great,but too pricey,and way too heavy for the application he was inquiring about.

    UNCLE BOB - Northman makes some good plows.I have a 9ft on a 93 Super Duty and it has held up well.Blade is indestructable,but the harness has it's weak points.Also,the paint is ugly (blue) and comes off easy.Mine has a permanent harness,but the newer quick mount is much stronger.

    oldmankent - You would be way better off with that used snoway DYNAPLOW has than a snowbear.Just check the welds and add a piece of angle iron behind the rear lift cyl mount (they bend easy)
  20. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031


    I would take DYNAPLOW up on his offer.


    I think he meant Urethane cutting edge, not plow. As for the personal plows, I don't know what they're made of. From what I've heard, Urethane edges do an excellent job.


    P.S. Do us a favor, please don't post in all CAPS... it's taken as shouting.