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Help choosing a new plow.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by ComSweep, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. ComSweep

    ComSweep Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    It's time for me to ask for help. I've read everything I can about plows, but, no one seems to know the real differences. (Except names). First a little about us.

    We are a Sweeping Company. Normally if it snows we have some time off. Last year one of our clients asked use if we would start doing Ice Control in their lot. We figured it would be a way to make money when the trucks can't work so why not. We started doing that with a 1/2 ton Suburban, a spreader on the tow hitch and a couple of manual spreaders. That seemed to work out alright. Then we were asked if we would start offering snow plowing. Again we figured why not. We've used Bobcats, Tractors and other equipment. So we bought a Snow Bear and hooked it to the Suburban. Never did use it last year, no snow. The Suburban broke down, so we went out and bought a 2001 heavy duty Dodge 3/4 ton 4X4 with overloads. We had snow this year so we went and plowed with the Snow Bear. No Problems. Now we think we should upgrade to a real plow, and use the Snow Bear on our Jeep Cherokee as a back up. Now that you know a little about us it's time for my questions.

    1. What's the real difference in using a straight plow or a V-Plow?

    2. Which plow is easier to attach and remove for the season?

    3. Which plow is the easiest to operate from inside the cab?

    4. Which plow is the easiest to maintain?

    5. Should I get it professionally installed?

    6. Why should I care what name is on it?

    7. Which plow has the best warranty?

    8. Does anyone offer classes or video's to make it easier to run?

    We are leaning towards a V-Plow. Every one on this forum seems to know what they are doing, but, they all lean towards a Name. I personally don't care about the name. Now I don't want to start an argument, I've just noticed that every one likes a name. I'm sorry if our Snow Bear wasn’t good enough for some of you, but, we thought to start small and build up.

    Thank-you in advance for any help and / or information.

    I do think this site is great.
  2. jkitterman

    jkitterman Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    What are you plowing and what are your local dealers selling/servicing plows?
  3. ComSweep

    ComSweep Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    The nearest dealer is in Bend about 2 1/2 hours away. He's a Boss dealer.
  4. ComSweep

    ComSweep Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Found a few more dealers.

    Boss - Bend - 2 1/2 hours
    Fisher - Portland - 45 min
    Meyer - Bend
    Wesern - Portland
    Sno Way - Ferndale Wa. - no clue how far
    Hiniker - Portland
  5. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    You are probably steps ahead of many who just start out. Obviously, if you are sweeping, then you have a shop set up and are able to do maintenance and probably repair (I would certainly think :) ). As far as differences between V plows and straight blades, there is a huge production difference - weighing toward the V blade. Now, they are harder on trucks than straight blades, as they don't trip and are ALOT heavier. The advent of the newer expandable plows offer close to the best of both worlds, as they have a much greater carrying capacity, yet still trip (even though they are still heavy). As far as your other questions, there are just too many variables to answer them. It is much like asking which is easier to operate, Schwarze, or Tymco?
    attaching the plow, is usually pretty equivalent, however, many of the V's are like a two man operation to attach. same with maintenance. As long as you keep everything greased, keep your connections clean and greased up with dielectric grease, and use care when operating, they will last you a long time. Yes, they do require rebuilding here and there (cylinders, pumps, hinge pins, etc.) but most is rather simple to do. having it installed? Don't think twice...as a matter of fact, many manufacturers will only warranty it IF it is professionally installed. besides that, for the money, it is well worth it.
    as far as caring what name is on it? well,...yes... For instance, there is one company...that is a HUGE name in plows, because they are an international company. However,...they are NOT the heaviest duty or "best" plow out there. Even though they are a pretty yellow, look at the construction, the pumps, and even the gauge of steel used on the frames and moldboards...it is much thinner than many other manufacturers out there. I have known many plow mechanics over the years that know these and other plows, and we have had many conversations on maintenance and repair of these and others.
    warranty? You'll have to research that yourself. Videos? That I don't know...Some manufacturers may offer some video on maintenance and such.
    It sort of sucks that you are so far away from many dealers, One thing, though. If you go with a major player - one that is tried and true in the field, the need for maintenance and parts can and will be kept tp a minimum. Boss plows are great, but many times the parts can be a bit costlier (for the name) than others. western can be a sure bet, and parts are usually easily available. The beauty of that is, your Fisher dealer near you (45 min. away) can get parts for your Western, as these two are owned by the same corporation and parts are interchangeable (same). Or, you could just go the Fisher route, and be getting pretty much the same plow (for now).
    Another thing you may want to consider, is if you are going to do this commercially, you will want to look into a back up truck and plow. With snow removal, it HAS to be done, and you only have x amount of time to do it. If you are running two trucks, in the very least, if one truck goes down, all that will mean is that the completion will take longer than originally alloted. With sweeping, if you have a breakdown, what's the worse that could happen? the litter doesn't get swept for a night (I realize tit goes deeper than that business-wise with costs and such, but you know what I mean). With snow, you have a filled up lot, cars getting stuck, and worse yet, the liability issues. I hope this info helps, and yes, you will get different opinions on here, as well. Just remember, closeness and availability of parts is a crucial key. Dealer support is way up there as well, but it is so hard to tell how a dealer is, until you have experienced them, or talk to people in the area who have (even then there are vast variables)
  6. TurfSolutionsMN

    TurfSolutionsMN Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 302

    If I was you I would strongly suggest looking into Blizzard Plows (owned by the same company as wester & fisher). They are a well built plow and in my area they are alot cheaper in price. They have a plow called the Speedwing, this is a great commercial plow its operates the same as a straight blade, but has built in wings. I would go to there website and watch the video. They have dealers in Bend & Klamath Falls.
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I have to correct Runner. My Fisher XtremeV DOES have a trip edge. I can hookup in about 1 minute, by myself. It is heavier than a straight blade, but is much more productive and versatile. I would go with the brand that has the closest dealer, especially where you are new to the business. That means Fisher, Western (the same) or Hiniker for you. Around here all we see are Fisher, Boss, and a few Blizzards. I personally chose Fisher for a few reason. They are manufactured locally. The truck I bought already had Fisher push plates. The dealer I purchased from has been in business for more than 20 years, and is very knowledgable. They keep a full complement of parts on hand. They are also a full metal fabrication shop which came in handy when I had a weld come undone.

    To answer your questions more specifically:

    1: Vee plow is more versatile. In Vee you can punch through almost any amount of snow without worry about getting pulled off to one side. In Scoop you can carry snow across a lot and cleanup winrows quickly. You can run straight for normal lot clearing. Dog leg position is handy in certain situations.

    2. Each manufacturer claims their system is the easiest. You need to look at their websites, get some product demos and ask around. The Fisher is a piece of cake if everything is lined up right. If not, there can be a little grunting and groaning involved. One thing that helps is too put the plow on BEFORE the storm. A few inches of snow under the tires really messed up the alignment. I have never not been able to hookup by myself. If you have a shop to keep them in any brand will be easier. Generally, with the new "Minute Mount" generation, the plow is installed and removed for each storm, not seasonally.

    3: Most brands offer a fixed joystick or handheld controller. They all have basically the same functions. I personally love the FishStik, and feel it increases productivity.

    4: Maintenance should be similar for all. Annual fluid change, frequent application of dieelectric grease to electrical connections.

    5: YES. You are new to this. They will make sure all functions work properly, and show you have to attach and remove the plow.

    6: You shouldn't. As I mentioned, buy the brand you like, and can get serviced.

    7: Check their websites.

    8: Most dealers should be willing to show you everything you need to know about using and installing and operating the plow. If they won't, try another. As far as learning to plow, talk to some friends in the business. Maybe you can ride shotgun or drive for hire and learn the ropes.

    These are just my opinions, hope this helps.
  8. hotshotgoal30

    hotshotgoal30 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    im going to vote for the western as the one of the easiest i have ever put on. im talking about the ultra mount. go to westerns web site and they actually have a video of a chimpanzie installing the plow, no joke! it literally takes 45 seconds or less maybe a minute if your bad. lol but thats just my opinion i havnt seen fishers system but im sure they are comrable
  9. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    I just want to acknowledge the correction on the trip edges. Both the Fisher AND the Western V's have the trip edges, and while I haven't used these V's (only Boss), I CAN tell you that many guys that I have talked to that have both Boss and the Western V w/ the trip edge say that the trip edge makes a HUGE difference in plowing in a scoop position - both on the driver and mainly on the truck. With the Boss, you can hit something (manhole cover, rise in pavement, etc.), and it will bring that truck to a dead stop - just like hitting a solid wall. The trip edge allow the blade to give a bit, so it rolls over the object. It isn't real smooth, but it sure beats the slam of the boss. Thanks for bringing that up.
  10. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    Funny store about the western v. Couple of years back one of our blades on the v got bent just a little bit, but enough to not allow the blade to trip. On our last snow fall one of my guys hit something and almost snapped the blade in two! because the trip no longer worked.
  11. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    I can sell you our Western V..........Lightly used

    liquid2009 001 (Small).jpg

    liquid2009 002 (Small).jpg
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  12. Turbodiesel

    Turbodiesel Senior Member
    Messages: 428

    Another high speed plower , huh? What did you hit ? Cutting edge didn't even get a chance to trip.:dizzy:payup
  13. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    Wasnt me, one of the employees. It wouldnt trip because the blade had a small bend in it,, Now it has a "bigger" bend to it. He said he hit a curb! I think he fell asleep
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  14. Chris-R

    Chris-R Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    You've received some great advice. I must reiterate the idea that you want to buy a plow from a dealer that is close to you. This way, if something breaks, you can conveniently go get a replacement part.
    A straight blade plow is great for plowing roads, driveways, etc. A V-plow has the big advantage of scooping snow, slush, etc. but it is usually heavier and beats on the truck more. An expandable plow (wings) is like a hybrid of the two. It can't quite scoop like a vee but it comes close and it gets very wide. All three get the job done. Preference is more about speed and ease of use than anything else.
    As for hookup, all the major brands hook up fairly easy. They all like to hype how their plow hooks up the fastest. In reality, they all hook up in a matter of minutes.
    I have owned Fisher, Boss, and Sno-Way plows. They all have their advantages and disadvantages so the best advice I can give you is to visit the dealers and look at their plows and compare. When you have things narrowed down, come back here and ask us any questions that you may have and we all will be happy to help out. That's what makes this forum such a great place.
  15. mr.muddmotors

    mr.muddmotors Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    yeah what chris-r said. ive had meyer, western and blizzard. the "hybrid" plows are neat and work well
  16. ComSweep

    ComSweep Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Thank - You

    A big THANK - YOU to everyone. I will be going to Portland next week to look at all the different dealers there. Hopefully I will find one that we like. I think that so far out of all the information that I have gotten, it will be a V-Plow of some sort. I was also thinking of putting the SnowBear that we have now onto a small pickup or our Jeep Cherokee. That way we can always use it for little stuff our to help out.

    Thanks again all,

    Happy Plowing
  17. bad93blaster

    bad93blaster Member
    Messages: 70

    if i had to choose i would go to the local parts store and see what parts they carry instock

    i run fisher plow plows because evryone around here does i couldnt tell if they are better or not.
    i know if i break something in the middle of the storm i can get the parts fairly fast. there is only one boss and myers dealer around here they are 3 towns over from where i plow and not open sundays
  18. beatle78

    beatle78 Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    Does this mean that with the Boss, a trip blade?, that it beats up the truck more then a trip edge.

    I had a neighbor tell me that recently. He said the plow takes the hit when the trip edge snaps back, but the truck takes the hit when the trip blade snaps back.

    It made sense to me.

    I'm glad I got the trip edge for that reason alone!
  19. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    Actually, the Boss doesn't have a trip edge,...so when it is in the scoop position (or open V, or dog legged), there is no trip at all. It is plowing with a steel wall in front of the truck. I have personally seen bumped and cut heads and cracked windshields from guys who were driving (and riding passenger) who weren't fastened in. No, this isn't typical of normal driving...but these guys weren't exactly dropouts from NASA's university of space engineering and astro physics. I have also seen an object struck so hard that it stalled the truck and another time it busted a headlight right off (did both of these two personally). What I was stating was, atleast with the Western, though not REAL smooth, it is able to jump up over things a little better. With both (and all) plows, you need to take care and use caution, but sometimes, you do get rolling at a better roll or clip than you may realize, and that is when stuff happens. we've all been there. A little common sense goes a long way, but curbs and such can sneak up on you all the same.
  20. beatle78

    beatle78 Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    ahhhh, I see. OUCH! No trip at all? That would scare me!