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High or Low Range

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by wsmm, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. wsmm

    wsmm Member
    Messages: 80

    I use a 1/2 ton Chevy P/U with cut tree trunks in the rear for ballast. I have a v-6 and 5 speed manual. I have some long sections to plow and also some sections that require a lot of forward nad backup driving. Would you use 4wheel high or low to make it easier on the clutch. More interested in protcting the mechanicals of the truck versus fuel usage. I'm also considering chaining all four tires as have the chains and the vehicle is only used to plow my drive in the winter and I can usually get by on one tank of gas, may not do it this year with the amount of snow we're getting. I live in Mid-Michigan,
  2. Rick547

    Rick547 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 537

    I would think it would come down to your gear ratio. If it is a low number. You may need to run it in 4 week low. If it is a high number. You could easily get away with running it in 4 week high. You should be able to tell if you are working the truck to hard or not.
  3. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    For years I pretty much only ran my dodges in 4x4 High. Diesel, lots of torque, nothing unusual ever happened.

    I just so happened to read the original owners manual that came with the truck from 1992. It said to use 4x4 Low when plowing snow. I started using low this year, and it's so much easier on the truck. Minimal loss of traction, almost never use the brakes, other than to shift. Much less foot movement on the accelerator pedal.

    My truck has one quirk. Once put into 4x4 low, it doesn't like to shift out of it unless I put the truck in neutral, and turn it off. IT pops right out with the selector shifter, otherwise, it just seems to bind up, and not pull out at all. It's no big deal, to shut off and restart, as a few of my jobs I'm there for a while.

    Now, when it comes to driveways ? If they're small, I leave it in 4x4 High, as I'm not pushing any large mounds of snow, and I'm only there for usually a few minutes at best.
  4. geer hed

    geer hed Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    WOW I am so glad to see someone else who uses Low range. Most guys will tell you not to use lo, but I have answered this before. In my personal vehicle I ALWAYS use Low range, for that specific reason that it is easier on the drivetrain. But that's me. Now I cant see what you are plowing, so to tell you to use one or the other would be wrong. The best thing to do is try both Hi and Lo and see which you feel works best. See most guys only use high because they want or need to get done quickly and move to the next. You may also find that you will use a combination of the two. I do some plowing that requires me to use Lo range for part of it and then can use hi for the rest of it. If you feel hi is lugging the truck then shift into low If you feel that Low is to slow then try high. Just play around with it and you will soon tell which works better for you.
  5. JCByrd24

    JCByrd24 Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 232

    I only plow my driveway, 1/2 ton as well. I also only use low and I have an auto. If it was a manual, I'd definitely use low, it will put half the wear on the clutch and if you have an electric plow will also help keep your battery charged.

    The only time I wouldn't plow in low was if I had nice low gears and was driving property to property a lot (basically commercial plowing) and was racing the clock. In this case I would assume money is being made at a great rate and sleep is likely needed badly and truck repairs are offset by the money being made. Any truck will plow in 4 high but wear will always be greater. Sometimes that's acceptable to gain speed.
  6. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,122

    Low range will give you all the speed you need for forward plowing. The main thing that annoys people about low is actually REVERSING, since its such a low range and only one gear ratio. Unless you're really annoyed by slow reversing, you might as well stick with low. Its easier on the clutch and the gear ratios are tighter together.

    Also, having a manual, you can always start off in low-2, which is a not-unreasonable approximation of high-1. On my truck, low is 2.54:1, so low-5 is extremely close to high-3, in theory, that can manage well over 100 kph before the engine complains. I don't know about you, but for me, that's WAAAAAAAYYYYYY too fast for plowing.
  7. not sure

    not sure Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    i have an s10 v6 5 speed manual with a plow. used to plow in high range so i could go faster and get done quick but a few times the clutch got real hot and the pedal got spongy. i always use low now and it is so much easier on the truck
  8. 1997chevy

    1997chevy Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    I have a 97 k1500 with the 5.7L w/4l60e trans and I only use 4lo. I have tried 4 high and I didn't like working the truck that hard.

    I use 4lo and 2nd gear. It gives me all the speed I need and doesn't work the truck hard at all. First is just too slow and if I had the selector in 3rd the shift between 1st and 2nd is harsh.
  9. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    in deep wet snow I make all my rigs run in Low side with Auto tranny trucks but my dually is a manual and never need to go to low side since I can plow in first gear I'll loose traction before I loose horsepower
  10. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,676

    4hi, I can't go fast enough in reverse now, sure as hell gonna be annoyed backing up in 4lo. Need someone to build a tranny with a two speed reverse. Thumbs Up
  11. Jimmy_B

    Jimmy_B Junior Member
    Messages: 23


    10 characters
  12. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    There is a time and a place for 4lo.
    but 99.9% of my plowing is done in 4hi.

    I'll make the argument 4lo is harder on your truck.
    Your producing a lot more toque in 4lo.
    This is hard on all of your running gear.

    snow and ice require a light touch to maintain traction.
    it's just to easy to loose traction in torque'ey 4lo.
    when trying to get things done.
    ya spin pushing up and into a pile, then you have to use the brakes to stop the tires and wait for the rpms to fall so you can shift into R.=slow turnaround times

    in 4hi you are running lower rpms and no tire spin=faster turn around times.

    Time, there is only so much of it.

    I use 4hi and 1st. most of the time.
    then 4hi &2nd for long roads or big long runs in a lot with little snow.
    A little speed lets the snow roll off of the blade like it was designed to work.

    It takes some experience, to be proficient.
  13. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Manual Wouldn't run in Low With Autos and in wet heavy snow High side can be hard on a Auto transmission
    Around here during a wet snow traction isn't a problem
  14. 1997chevy

    1997chevy Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    4 lo is easier on the Transmission/engine than 4hi is. Not sure about you but I think I would rather replace a drive shaft or u joints before motor/Trans.

    As for traction i have yet to have an issue with 4lo.

    And you can get plenty of speed in 4lo 2nd
  15. 98K3500

    98K3500 Member
    from WI
    Messages: 46

    Those 5 spds have lousy gearing, not like the guys running heavier duty rigs.

    I had an F150 straight 6, 5-speed geared the same way.

    Your truck would be happier in 4-lo. Start in 2nd gear if 1st is too low.

    A lot less clutch slippage that way.

    Good luck!
  16. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,613

    For an automatic, plowing in 4 low increases fluid flow keeping temps down= longer trans life.
  17. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403


    Your transfer case is separate from your transmission. They do not share fluid.
  18. 98K3500

    98K3500 Member
    from WI
    Messages: 46

    I think he's referring to more flow due to the higher RPM's you typically run in 4-low.
  19. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403

    Than Youre going to burn more gas. Lol.

    I personally toss a pallet or half of one in the back and keep it in 2ws as much as possible. But I do commercial with the storm
  20. 98K3500

    98K3500 Member
    from WI
    Messages: 46

    Something that tends to get lost in a thrad like this is the OP's situation.

    He's a homeowner who only does his driveway, long though it may be. He's also saddled with a 1/2 ton PU with a 4.3 and a light-duty 5 spd.

    IIRC, you had to slip the clutch starting out even when empty. I cannot imagine plowing with one in high range to be honest.

    That's. Me though...