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Conflicting views on 1500

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by GearGirl, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. GearGirl

    GearGirl Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Hi All- First timer on the site. Great info from the searches, I've learned a lot.

    Here's the situation and I'm looking for some feedback. We finally were able to afford a good truck, 2000 chevy 1500 z71 4x4 5.3 vortec engine with the tow pkg. 35K mi.

    My husband had cut backs at work, I'm holding up the fort and we were thinking about using the truck for residential plowing since he will be home.

    Everyone I've talked to down plays the 1500 and insist on the 2500 even for driveways/small lots.
    I don't want to ruin our truck. Any thoughts?
    I would definately invest in the Timb. and maybe up the torsion.
    How about my tranny, altenator, radiator, etc?
  2. porkhead1

    porkhead1 Member
    Messages: 70

    Sorry to hear your hubby got caught in a "cut back", that s*cks! :(

    As for your truck, if that's what you have, then that's what you work with. How well you maintain your truck & how you drive it have the biggest effect on how long it will last. There are plenty of people out there that've plowed for years using a 1/2-ton truck. You just have to know your trucks limits. Try to remember to come to complete stops before changing gears, that'll help save the tranny & u-joints. Heat is the #1 killer of automatic trannys. And the tranny in a plow truck gets plenty hot! :eek: while plowing, especially doing residential driveways with all the back-&-forth moving at low speeds. So, get the biggest aux. tranny cooler that will fit behind the grill & install it in seris with the trucks existing tranny/radiator cooler. Your std. alternator may be "OK" , but your battery may need to be replaced with one that has a lot of "reserve power". If you're going to be doing resedential plowing, that's a lot of low-speed driving. At low speeds, your alternator is not putting out full amperage + you'll have the heater/defroster on, the lights on, the wipers, radio, plus each time you manuver the plow, you're using more electric. So, a battery with a lot of "reserve power" would be nice. How are the tires..?? You're going to be shortening the life of you brakes, so you'll have to figure on a brake-job in the Spring. You radiator should be "OK" as long as you keep snow from packing into the grill. BTW, what brand of snow plow do you have...?? You may want to consider some "ballast" for the box. A couple hundred lbs. wouldn't hurt.

    Good luck :)

    You may want to visit this site for some more information.....


    Just my $.02 :waving:
  3. doh

    doh Senior Member
    Messages: 253

    I totally agree with porkhead a 20000 Z71 5.3l is fine for plowing, and with the tow pkg (if it was factory installed) already has an air to oil trans cooler. all you should need is a plow 71/2' and a heavy battery, if the battery is not enuff I put an optional alternator on (avalible from GM) its the same 105 amp but at low RPMs
    Z71 also gives you heavier torsion bars than the ones I use.

    FSUPERDUTY Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    one thing to consider is you are going to have a close to a $3000.00 dollar investment for a good plow and you need to have some type of plowing insurance which most guys just wanting to make some money are claiming about a $1000.00 a year.It is going to take alot of driveways to recoup that in the first season,not going to say it can't be done but it is not going to be easy!
  5. NYplowboy

    NYplowboy Member
    Messages: 35

    Geargirl, sry about the job situation. I have a 2000 GMC 1500 Z71 ext. cab with the 5.3. With the trailer towing package you should have an auxiliary oil and transmission cooler. I added timbrens to the front end, NO need to touch the torsion bars!. I have heard many opinions on this site regarding timbrens and how they affect the ride of the truck. I have many thousands of miles with them and without them, and I personally have found NO difference in the ride or handling of the truck. Adjusting the torsion bars WILL affect the ride and handling. Plow to your hearts content! just be careful, and that GM truck will last forever!

    2000 GMC Z71 ext cab Fisher RD MM2
  6. JBZ71

    JBZ71 Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    First I hope yor hubby's work situation improves real fast...The truck should be okay as long as you take it easy as already stated,plenty of old 1/2 tons with plows..Now you need to buy a plow,used,new whatever,gonna set ya back,increased wear/tear/maintenance cost,insurance.....Not sure of the average snowfall your way but what if it's lean this year,hard to outlay cash without a degree of certainty of return...The decision is yours and whatever you decide,I will pray for you and your family and have a safe,happy,healthy holiday....:p
  7. ClintSinger

    ClintSinger Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    We plow with a 98 GMC 1500 and have no problems with it at all, it has a 305 and a 4 speed auto and is stock and has a 7.5 diamond MD2 plow. We do only residential due to the high cost of insurance and we make sure that maintenance is completed at regular intervals such as oil and filter,diffs,transmission filter change/flush, grease etc and have had only to change one u-joint in approx 140,000km or 70,000 mi.we did crank the torsion bars up three turns and have 3x100 lb bags of salt over the rear wheels.we drive very careful and the truck has given us very good service and still runs like a new one.
  8. Gadget

    Gadget Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    2002 Silverado 1500 Z71 w/Tow Pkg - Timbrens, HO Alternator,880CCA battery, 420# behind the rear axles, 7.5 Diamond - MDII - keeps up with the best of them here - If you plow responsibly, remembering that it's your truck, not someone elses you shouldn't have any problems

  9. GearGirl

    GearGirl Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Thank you guys for being so helpful. I feel much better about the future and taking care of our family and truck. It's going to run us about $3300 for a Western 7.5 standard installed and as long as we clear the cost of the plow and upkeep in 2 seasons we should be fine.

    Any thoughts about getting the word out? Flyers on cars, mailboxes, ads in local papers...:blush2:
  10. gordyo

    gordyo Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    I know there has been alot of debate about plowing in 4 hi and 4 lo. Most of the reasons above are why I drop to 4 lo as soon as the truck starts to strain the wee littlest bit. That solves alot of the above mentioned problems. In low range the Engine RPM's will go up, the alternator puts out closer to its rated amps, torque gets doubled to the four wheels so the truck can move more snow with less effort therefore producing less friction (heat) to begin with, more water volume is flowing through the radiator, at the same time the fan is now spinning faster drawing more cold air into the radiator, keeping the engine and tranny fluid cool, less use of the brakes because your going slower and, if you hit something you are likely to stall the truck instead of bending the plow. Plus most accidents happen backing up. Low range forces you to slow down cause lets face it noone likes to hear the engine whine. Thinking back over 28 years pushing snow, I would say that all of the damage I have ever done to a truck and to the plow was because I was rushing.

    Just my .02
  11. nachoschevs

    nachoschevs Member
    Messages: 58

    All the plow trucks we ever had were all 1/2 tons and we never had to much of a problem. I agree about being in low range. we allways plowed in low even though the we had to because we only had a poorly running straight 6. It is better for all of the truck where things are running as if you were driving down a road. Also you are going slow as not to break things as quickly is a good plus since it is your truck and you pay the bills. If you plowed with a company truck then put it in 4high and dont worry at all. You make more being fast for a company, but you loose more being fast with your own truck in parts/high amount of up keep.
  12. Fryesburg

    Fryesburg Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    1500 plows

    I sometimes drive my boss's 1989 1500 plow truck. Its got a 7'6" western on it. The last storm I plowed 5 hours with it. No ballast in the back...this truck pushed it all. I had no problems......The western lifts high up enough in the air...so no worries about the plow hitting when driving around. I donno if the newer 1500's are better or worse but this truck he has is one heck of a plow truck...I am impressed.