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Good mileage driving with plow on?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by flakesmeangreen, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. flakesmeangreen

    flakesmeangreen Senior Member
    Messages: 217

    I've been trying to figure this out since last year. Driving with an 800 pound hunk of steel hanging out in the front and over 800 pounds of ballast in the rear gives me about the same gas mileage as without the plow and ballast, according to the MPG display. This is on a stretch of road doing 30-40 MPH with the road plowed but not down to black pavement. I would think with the extra weight and the plow blocking the airflow, the MPG would be substantially worse. What am I missing?
  2. Cassy

    Cassy Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    i've found that when I drive with the plow and ballast at relatively low speeds, as you say, I get the same mileage as if I had just the ballast, or if I had nothing. My guess has always been that the truck was designed to be a truck--to be able to take on the heavy load and give relatively good mileage.

    The only time I've seen the truck get worse mileage is when i'm in 4H going back and forth and back and forth doing resi drives.
  3. Wieckster

    Wieckster Senior Member
    Messages: 131

    the MPG display is not very good way to tell mileage you need to check it the old fashion way
  4. Cassy

    Cassy Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    oh yea, and that too.

    should have thought of that--need to go find coffee.
  5. artic429

    artic429 Senior Member
    Messages: 166

    definitely check the old fashioned way..... if you really want to know and dont mind what you find :dizzy:
  6. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    I have a Dodge so I am not picking on Dodges but you can not trust the overhead mpg display. Is that a diesel or a gasser?
  7. Krieger91

    Krieger91 Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    I wouldn't trust the MPG Display. The one on our Caddy claims an average of 22. but when we cross-checked it the old-fashioned way (all highway miles en route to Minneapolis), we got 19.

    As to why this is, I haven't a clue. I know of three trucks; a 1991 1500 Silverado, a 1997 F-250 Super Duty Powerstroke, and a 1988 F-250, that get the same mileage no matter what you do with them. Drive them empty; or hauling a trailer; or a 2-ton load of scrap metal; off-road, highway, in-town....doesn't matter, they get the exact same mileage every time we've checked them.

    RODHALL Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    i agree with you checking the old fashon way. it may be different one or two tenths but it will not be whole lot

    I know on the dodges i have paid attention too it.
    86 W350 4x4 gas it got empty it was 12.6mpg with plow 12.3 and hauling 10,000 it got 12.0 mpg
    89 W250 4x4 CTD 21 empty with plow 19.7 and with 10,000 18.4
    05 2500 4x4 CTD 24 empty NO plow and with 10,000 21.4

    all my numbers are fill the truck up run it plowing hauling for few hours and then fill back up number of miles divided by number of gallons. i have never just drove around with the plow up on the front to see what i am getting.
  9. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    The part in red is the key here. The extra weight WILL have much more of an affect on the mpg's when you are driving stop and go. When you are moving at a constant, reasonable speed, weight is not a huge factor. Don't get me wrong, it matters some, but not nearly as much when you are going a constant speed, as when you are stop and go type driving.
  10. flakesmeangreen

    flakesmeangreen Senior Member
    Messages: 217

    I hear you on that, usually average 5 MPG while plowing. Thankfully, I have a nice tight route.
    I have a Dodge gasser and I know it's not 100% accurate, but for comparison sakes it serves its purpose.

    OK, I can understand the weight not having much effect once you have momentum, but what about the plow? I would think it's not aerodynamic. You think the fact that it's angled actually helps aerodynamics?
  11. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    I don't know that it would help or not but apparently a lot of drag is caused by air going under the truck. I imagine the plow help channel the air around it, rather than under. That's why trucks have those plastic skirts under the bumper, to help direct the air around the truck.
  12. mostrowski

    mostrowski Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    Although I can't explain perfectly, from what I remember from physics, wind resistance increases exponentially with speed.

    For instance: traveling 60 mph does not require twice the power as traveling 30 mph, its more like 4 times the power.

    My guess is that the relatively low speed with the plow compared to higher speeds running empty does not create a significant difference in wind resistance.