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Gravel Parking lot ; What to expect ?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by MGardner, Sep 27, 2002.

  1. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Have plowed commercial lots for two years now after mounting a new Curtis with wings on 4X4 Dodge w/ Cummins. Was in on ---first year , largest snowfall in 50 some years , second year least snowfall in who knows. All asphault or pavement drives. Commercial property I am providing a bid for has a large area thats all gravel, fairly level with docks equipment... My question is, is that gravel going to cause me the greif that I think it will ? Or can I lower the shoes before going in there and eliminate the plow wanting to nosedive? Be interesting to hear the feedback!:eek:
  2. J.Henderson

    J.Henderson Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    I plowed a couple of gravel lots last year and this is what I find out:

    1. You will sink a little in the gravel. Lower your shoes to where the bottom of the shoe is about 3 1/2 and 4" below cutting edge of plow.

    2. Make sure the clips for youshoes are tight and safety wired. It is a b!+C# trying to find them and and dig them out of an embankment 6 ft. high and 6 ft wide.

    3. Do not plow snow totally out of lot. If you do, come spring you will have alot of gravel to pick up out of the grass.
  3. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I have a few accounts with gravel and no matter what you do, you're going to move some of it. I've given up trying to prevent digging it up, I make it clear at the start of the contract that this will be the case. Once the ground is frozen, the gravel tightens up and you don't dig as much, but I don't waste time anymore for special treatment, it doesn't seem to make much difference.
  4. dave-man

    dave-man Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    My folks have a mile of gravel road between them and the paved highway. I have been plowing it for the last few years and found that you will move the gravel around. Lowering the shoes (the mushroom type on my Western Pro) helped some but not a lot.

    When I started plowing out there (Warren County, VA near Front Royal) I waved down a number of the regular plow guys to ask their advice.

    The upshot is:
    1. Set the shoes about 1/4 - 1/2" below the cutting edge,
    2. Plow with the blade up 2 - 4" above the ground (depending on how level it is) and count on the shoes to keep you from being a bulldozer on bumps,
    3. Count on having to regrade after the snow is gone.

    The only guy who doesn't make a mess is running a drag plow turned around backwards on an old Ford tractor. It is inefficient, it is slow, and it is really cold.

    This may not be THE answer, but it works for those plowers and it has been working pretty well for me.

    I have heard that a ureathane cutting edge is better on gravel than steel, but haven't tried it myself.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2002
  5. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    YUP...Use them shoes on that gravel.....2 of my businesses
    had gravel lots. Pelican is right about after the ground
    freezes too. Come summer had to hire a couple of guys
    to rake some of it back......Now both places are paved
    so no more problem...........geo
  6. gordyo

    gordyo Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    Invest in a walkbehind broom or rent one for a few days in the spring. I have a Gravelly 566 with the broom attachment and adjusted properly it will kick all the gravel and stone off the grass and back into the drive without ripping up any turf.
  7. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    I don't brother running shoes for gravel but lift the plow, and unless there is a lot of frost in the ground don't use the float position on the controller. I found that shoes won't keep the plow up in soft gravel, or the shoes will dig in and trip the plow.
    You WILL move a lot of gravel during the winters plowing, so budget for putting it back, or make sure your not responsible for putting it back.
    Also I add a surcharge for gravel lots (about 10%) because there will be extra wear and tear on the plow and truck no matter how careful you are.

  8. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Gravel Drives

    In my experience, I would plow gravel drives with no feet on the plow. In fact I prefer to plow without feet, either the round or Myers type shoe. Steel edge, straight, full trip, Myers or Western what I use.

    My method is to drop the plow, then raise it slightly so that the nose of my truck will drop. That is, the plow weight I want is on the truck, and the plow will clear the drive sufficiently to leave the stone in place.

    I have moved a little gravel in my lifetime, not alot. And not as much as the yahoo who I hired once to stack snow with an old John Deere front end loader. That kid cleaned the lot down to the base. Had to put a few yards back in to keep the owner happy.

  9. Maverick

    Maverick Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    About 1/3 of our jobs are on gravel. I plow with no shoes also. The first couple plowings are the worst till things harden up. You will move gravel. No getting around it either way. It is very hard a plow and truck. It will shake bolts loose on the plow and create that squeak in the dash that you can't find. I would collect your 10% and then some.
  10. Rooster

    Rooster Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 650


    Nice looking pics.

    I like your name and logo!!!

  11. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Gravel Drives...

    Try using a U edge ( urethane )

    They are very good with Gravel driveways.

    Talk to Plowking35
  12. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Thanks for the feedback and experiance with gravel lots. The plow is an 8' Curtis with wings added. So far the Curtis has treated me very good although it seems to be heavier than my cohorts who are running Western plows. The reason for concern is that on arriving back at the house to plow out my own it would just dig in and slam the truck sideways when pushing out my hill thats gravel. Throw that 1 ton Dodge sideways like a toy. Sounds like if I take on these places with gravel (large) lots there may be some cussin involved. :eek:
  13. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    You've got that right! Make sure you price it for the added hassle and wear.
  14. plowking35

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

    WE run urethane edges on all our trucks, but for you guys that want the steel advantage on asphalt but have gravel to plow, at least set one truck up with a u edge. They wont/ cant/ dig into the gravel. If u edges have one place where they totally shine this i it, plowing gravel lots is no different to plowing asphalt, no waer and tear on the truck, and smoooooooooooth as glass.
    Call me for details, or drop me a pm.
  15. ceaman

    ceaman Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    Urethane edges are the best on gravel!...... and manholes.... and speed bumps...... And those gass fills at the gas station..... and over the expansion joint between concrete and asphalt....
  16. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    So I will recon that a urethane edge will not sound like an 80mm mortar going off in the cab when hitting a manhole cover @ 5 mph? But will it hold up also to the daily abuse of plowing? Just testing the water because frankly, I don`t know. That`s why I`d prefer hearing it from experianced operators rather than a speal from the dealer. Maybe they make 1 for my Curtis. If it will tame that bonejarring bang that usaully happens then .........that adds to the stress factor when you are expecting theres one in there somewhere, ruins a late night coffee too.:realmad:
  17. ceaman

    ceaman Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    I am an operator not a dealer.

    You are correct in your thought of removing the jolt! A properly broken in U edge will ride smoothly across most all surfaces, absorbing the irregularitys. My 9'2" Boss V doesn't trip easily, that was my reason for purchacing the u edge. As an added bonus you can extend it past the blade edge to act as a curb guard and scraper as well.
  18. Maverick

    Maverick Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    Anybody make an U edge for a 9' Sno-Way? Where and how much? Send me a direct email for this reply please.

    Can someone explain how a piece of plastic can hold up better than steel? You would think that running an U edge on concrete would shave it down to nuthing in no time and gravel would really nick it up bad . What makes these U edge so tough? I just don't know much about it so go easy on me.
  19. plowking35

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

    Urethane edges last longer because they have a highr resitance to abrasion than that of steel at the same weight. The other fact to consider is that the edge is 1.5" thick, and if a steel edge was that thick it would last forever, but would never be usuable due to weight. The u edge is not plastic, it is synthetic rubber, just bushings used in suspension components. We all know that uner the flex and weight of a car or truck that the urethane lasts longer and has better ride quality that does rubber, and if your suspension was steel on steel, well that wouldnt be very nice would it.
    But being a flexible product, it will absorb bumps and iregularties that steel cant, IE gravel- man hole covers-speed bumps- curbs- catch basins and any other obstacle you put in the way.

    I will have to say that the most pleasant aspect of the urethane edges is the way it performs on gravel. During the first time plowing this year, my truck still had a steel edge, and I was plowing next to another of our trucks that has a urethane edge. The lot that we were in was a paved lot that turned into a gravel lot. I watched as the urethane edge plow made the transition with no trouble at all. So I proceeded to do the same with the steel edge, imagine my surprise as the steel edge came off the asphalt onto the gravel. I ate the steering wheel, the plow hopped violently, and gravel was pushed up into a pile.

    When the urethane edge plows on gravel, stone or grass it just glides right over the top of it. No messy piles of stone or gravel in with the snow banks. If a large stone is contacted, the urethane edge just bends right over the stone, it is like having another trip mechanism built right in. Further more you don’t have be as care full when nearing a curb. The urethane just glides right over the curb with no harsh jolting or bumping.

    We plow a driveway that is made of asphalt grindings; it was installed late in the fall, and is very loose in nature. The owner was afraid we would plow off much of his new driveway, but as the picture shows, the driveway is 100% in tact.

    Also when pushing piles back or stacking s, there is no need to raise the plow when going over grass. As picture shows, we pushed snow 40-60 feet across the lawn and no damage resulted.

    I personally have a stone driveway, and I would back drag the entire driveway, so as not to have a stone lawn in the spring. With the urethane edge, I can plow with the blade down all the way and not have any stones picked up.

    call with any questions 860-608-1842
  20. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Sounds like a U edge will be going on my plow if I can obtain it, thanks to the comments posted. You know it does make sense and you would think it may even clean better because of it`s flexability. The individuals behind the wheel fighting the storms need every break they can get. I will call my guy this AM & see if he carries it & what price we are looking at. I am definately interested in the product. Maybe backdragging will not be a big problem .