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Going to need a new plow truck - advice

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Colonel Monk, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Colonel Monk

    Colonel Monk Member
    Messages: 60

    Howdy All:

    First post here, my name's Monk.

    We have a 1979 Jeep Cherokee Chief with a Western 7.5 or 8' Hydroturn Plow.

    The control is one of the older red t-handles.

    We have plowed snow with it since 1982 on our wooded 1/2 mile driveway. When we bought the plow, we had to fab a mount for it, since western didn't have one for that vehicle. We have a northman mount to the frame, then built a trapezoid "copy" for the plow motor, and everything else is western.

    Anyway, it's been a great plow vehicle. 258 6 cylinder, so we have plowed in low range all these years. I know it seems an unlikely plow vehicle, but with 11.5" tires with monster lugs it's pretty damn good.

    FFWD to now, we are using an outboard gas tank (because the tank rusted out 20 years ago), I put my foot thru the floor, the brakes don't work, radiator leaks - it hasn't driven more than 100 miles since the 90s probably...

    OK, so we are looking for a replacement. Have toyed with the idea of a half-ton Ford truck (dad is a ford guy). Not new model, but something maybe 10-15 years old?

    Old man has a 2003 F350 for hauling trailers that he's selling while it's in good shape, so kinda looking to parlay that cash into a cheaper truck with lower maintainence costs to haul wood and possibly plow.

    What we like about the Creep (as we call it) is short wheelbase, so it turns around easy in our tight driveways.

    So would like a truck that can handle that plow that is automatic and as short a turning radius as possible. What pickups from the last 15 years fit that bill?

    Another idea I threw out, is buying one of the late model Jeep wagoneers (1990) with 360 v8 - would be cheap, and we could just bolt our existing plow on since they were essentially the same frame as the older Cherokees/Wagoneers...

    Your thoughts?

  2. Sawboy

    Sawboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,700

    Short wheel base, easy to turn around, dads a Ford guy.

    Allow me to introduce, the Ford Bronco. Thumbs Up
  3. Colonel Monk

    Colonel Monk Member
    Messages: 60

    True, true.... That's one of the reasons the Wagoneer thing came to mind - same plow mount.

    So, what about pickups? What I'm wondering is, what pickups have a reasonable turn radius?

    Had a buddy with Silverado (not ditching Chevy trucks) and it needed 4 lanes of traffic to turn around. Trying to avoid that.

    So do Ford/Dodge turn sharper? What american pickup has the shortest wheelbase in a full-size truck?

  4. dt5150

    dt5150 Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 143

    i don't think you're going to find the turning radius you want in a full size truck, likely have to go with another jeep, or smaller truck like an s10, ranger, dakota. or foreign, toyota, nissan. love those old chiefs though, always wanted one.
  5. Colonel Monk

    Colonel Monk Member
    Messages: 60

    Yeah, kinda silly but we are looking at a Wagoneer at the moment.... Since they made them into the 1990s, we could get one with automatic trans and V8 and the plow equipment we have would bolt right on.

    Still kicking ideas around.... I know that we could plow with anything, it's just a matter of using the plow we have another 30 years or having to get something that fits a more modern truck.

    Shame, that our Creep is so rusted out - that 258 straight six has never not started. Underpowered, but stoopid reliable. Maybe it's the 1/2 thick cake of oil encasing the motor that has protected it all these years, I don't know.
  6. not sure

    not sure Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Ill vote any half ton in your price range. I think the ifs chevys turn pretty tight. Im plowing with my single cab short bed chevy 1500 and i love it. For @ 4 years i plowed with a 2 dr s10 blazer that turned on a dime
  7. Colonel Monk

    Colonel Monk Member
    Messages: 60

    Howdy Not Sure

    I'm also here in michigan, in antrim county.

    What year is your chevy 1500?

    Used to caretake at a farm up here in college years ago, we had a 84 K5 Blazer that was also a great plow truck - probably better than our Creep since it had a V8 and automatic trans.....
  8. not sure

    not sure Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Its an 88. First year for the newer body style and ifs. Throttle body fuel injection and an automatic with overdrive. Its been a great truck
  9. Big-Foot

    Big-Foot Junior Member
    Messages: 25

    I had an 81 F150 full size truck with Meyer plow. It was a royal PITB to maneuver around in my driveway. I sold it and bought a Jeep Wrangler TJ with Western Plow. The Jeep with the plow is about the same length or a little shorter than just the F150 alone was. It turns on a dime and unless I'm trying to shove a foot of wet snow 200' it does it with little effort. I have Blizzak Revo tires on it, 210# of sand in the back. Engine is. 4.0 6 and automatic trans.
    I will never use anything other than a Jeep going forward..

    While we weren't pushing a lot of snow when this picture was taken - here is a picture of me and my little buddy "WAMBO"....

  10. Colonel Monk

    Colonel Monk Member
    Messages: 60

    Howdy Randy

    Looks good. Yeah that's been my experience with the Creep as well - it's a plowing fool but a little weak on the slush when the drive caves in.... But, we have saved the clutch all these years plowing in 4 LOW so it will still get the job done.... The giant "super stinger" cleated tires are a plow truck's dream on dirt/gravel driveway - we have not gotten stuck since those tires went on around 1990....

    I know so many folks plow with pickups - I've always been disappointed in the turning radius of pickups! I had a buddy with a 2002 Silverado and seems like the wheels only turn half as much as they should. Our drive and my Aunt's has a bunch of tight nooks and crannies and I only have to 2 point turnaround in them, I can only imagine the PITA of doing it with a 3/4 ton truck.

    Someday, we will probably end up with pickup. My dad is waffling on selling his beloved F350 (can't blame him) and the Wagoneer we were looking at sold.

    So currently, thinking about revamping the Creep for a few more seasons. Fixing the brakes, new u-joints, fluids, and I'm considering cutting the body off behind the front seats and plugging it with a sheet of plywood, hillbilly style..... The heater/fan doesn't work well enough to defrost the windows and I'm sick of it. Rear body totally rusted out, I'm getting asphyxiated with exhaust so I figure I'll cut it off, and reuse the back window in the cab. Ought to be able to see and back up without opening the door and looking backward the whole time....

    The engine still runs and runs and runs, and the plow is great so I guess we will make due. I just moved back to midwest from CA (picked a great winter for that, eh?) after 15 years and till I find work we will have to make due N git 'er done.

    Got about 6" overnight so I'm getting ready to get out and fire up the Creepy Heep and push some snow. World keeps turnin', Creep keeps runnin'.

    I probably need to take a pic of that bad mother and post it here.

    When I got her out of retirement this season, the whole body is covered with green mold/moss, and there was a giant squirrels nest inside that filled a 30 gallon trash bag. The pinecones I vacuumed out filled the 16 gallon shop vac.

  11. Big-Foot

    Big-Foot Junior Member
    Messages: 25

    Creep sounds a lot like my old 81 F150 Plow Truck "Booger"...
    He was far from pretty and the bed was ready to fall off because of rot. Exhaust system was just barely there, floor boards would have been pleasing to Fred Flintstone but not to me.. He had roughly 70k miles on him but had been used as a farm work and plow truck his entire life. The carbureted 302 ran okay, but he really needed a new carb as he kept stalling out and the carb was beyond help due to some water having gotten into the fuel system and it corroded the guts of the carb. The creeper gear 4 speed worked well.
    Anyways - We have a lot of nooks and crannies here too and I had to manually shovel or snow blower those out before. Now I just shovel back a couple feet or so from the garage doors and the plow drags it back just fine. Of course I have to shovel our sidewalk and decks, but that's not too bad..

  12. Diesel_brad

    Diesel_brad Senior Member
    Messages: 208

    I am going to put my $0.02 in here.

    I have an 04 Ranger that i adapted a 94 Western Uni-mount to. I typically have 300-900lbs of weigh at the back and it plows BETTER than a full-size with a 7.5' blade

    The 6.5' blade was not quite wide enough with my 32" tires, so I made some 6" winds(that bolt on with 3 bolts each) to make the plow to a 7.5'

    If you are handy, you can adapt your jeep plow to almost anything

  13. Colonel Monk

    Colonel Monk Member
    Messages: 60

    Booger - love it! That's awesome.

    Yeah, Booger and the Creep have much in common. Backdragging works pretty well, that's true. We inherited a Kubota tractor with a box blade so I've been doing in front of garages with that - works decent....

    I'll have to see if I can get some pics up.
  14. Colonel Monk

    Colonel Monk Member
    Messages: 60

    I dig that rig - the wings are really nice, would love to have a pair. I think our plow is 7.5' as well. It was originally from a Chevy full size.

    I'll bet with the shorter wheelbase that turns around pretty fine.

    I think that commercial plow outfits need to use 3/4 ton trucks for durability sake. They are stuck with the crappy turning radius, so they just make do and their experience makes up for that. I've plowed our driveway a hundred times, but when you take on a new one (obviously, one which isn't just a straight slab next to a house in a subdivision) you have to think it thru to minimize turning around....

    And since they are on a grueling schedule, there's no time to do a super clean job like we can do on our house. I just spent 4 hours doing about 3/4 mile of driveway and two houses, and most of that was trying to clean the drive since I can't push the snow over the banks anymore!! Maybe this thaw will settle it some.

  15. Diesel_brad

    Diesel_brad Senior Member
    Messages: 208

    I'm with ya. I do my drive, my neighbors 1/4 mile mountain side drive, another neighbors and my mothers. This truck is about perfect for driveways. I even have a 150lb salter for the back of it
  16. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Senior Member
    from jersey
    Messages: 232

    i had a great experience with a first generation toyota tundra. it was awesome for plowing too. had a snoway on it with down pressure that was fantastic
  17. finn

    finn Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I use a short bed Chevrolet single cab stepside with a Boss plow in the UP. Turns pretty sharply for my tree lined driveway, and it is heavy enough to push quite well. Jeeps don't work well in my experience.

    The Full sized Bronco turns really tight, as a previous poster pointed out, but the newest one is a 1996, and they are real rust buckets. I have one that I was going to turn into a yard plow, but I'm not sure the body is good enough.

    I've seen a few Tahoes with Plows too. Not commercial but for the work you describe it might be ok.

    Stick with a narrow mud and snow tire and an automatic. My chevy is a stick and it (clutch and trans) is a high maintenance, clumsy unit in tight spaces compared to my old F150 or my F450 rigs.

    I think any SWB, single cab 1/2 ton will fit your needs.
  18. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

  19. Colonel Monk

    Colonel Monk Member
    Messages: 60

    I just sold my 98 Toyota T100 in CA before I moved back to MI. Solid Truck, lots of torque, tight turning. Punched thru ridiculous deep snow at lake tahoe week in week out for years.

    Wished I hadn't of sold it, but was having engine troubles and wayyyyy expensive to fix!! I spent more on repairing a few motors on that than you'd have for 4 GM longblock 350's!!

    Still loved it. Perfect size, and great gas mileage for a nearly full size half ton.
  20. Colonel Monk

    Colonel Monk Member
    Messages: 60

    What year 1/2T Chevy? That makes sense, I have just noticed that the larger 3/4 ton and above Chevys, the front wheels barely seem to turn - so in addition to a longer wheelbase you can't turn! It's no wonder they had that 4 wheel steering for a while, because they didn't turn worth squat!