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How bad is plowing for your truck??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by PlowVA, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. PlowVA

    PlowVA Senior Member
    Messages: 210

    Great site! Learning so much from everyone.

    I am a GC in the Wash. DC area and am getting into plowing for the first time this year. Per the advice on the site, I have hooked up with some other guys in the area as a sub and back-up truck for this year. Start slow and get my feet wet, so to speak. Still looking for more work if anyone needs anybody.

    My question is how hard is plowing on a vehicle. I have read many threads regarding keeping your vehicle in good shape before and thru the season and keeping a spare parts kit in the truck during the season. How often, on average, do you guys run into a breakdown of the truck/plow package in the course of a season?

    From one thread, guys were talking about their past plow trucks, and it seems that people go thru trucks fairly quickly. Is this due to "mechanical/wear and tear" reasons or just because guys are always looking for a new rig to drive?

    Last question. How much better is a full size pickup vs. a full size suv specifically regarding the plowing? Obviously the bed of the pickup is much better for sand/salt, shovels, snowblowers and all the other stuff you need for the job. My pickup just died and I am thinking of using my 99 tahoe for work/plowing for the time being? Any advice?

    Appreciate any info you can give me. Thanks again!!
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2004
  2. Boast Enterpris

    Boast Enterpris Senior Member
    Messages: 745

    Welcome to Plowsite!! :waving: Sounds like you are on the right track for getting started in the business.

    Im my opinion, plowing is only as hard on the vehicle as you make it. Sure it is more wear & tear than normal driving, so is pulling a large boat! I rarely have any breakdowns (nock on wood), when one occurs it is usually easy to fix: solenoid, hose, or electrical plug connection. Always keep fuses for your vehicle & plow, extra hydraulic hoses, fluids, pins, & proper wrenches with you when plowing. You can do a search for the other items people carry while plowing.

    Have you already purchased a plow?? If so, what are the specs on it. What kind of vehicle do you plan on plowing with??

    I trade trucks often because of mileage & tax purposes!

    I have never plowed with a SUV, always used a Ford F250 or F350. I think some SUV's do a good job, you see a lot of guys on here plowing with them.BOAST :waving:
  3. PlowVA

    PlowVA Senior Member
    Messages: 210

    Have not purchased a plow. Trying to decide whether to buy a new or used plow to put on my 99 Chevy Tahoe or whether to buy a fairly old pickup with a plow on it already. I know the condition of my vehicle (50k miles, perfect in and out), but what will plowing do to it. If I go with a used pickup with plow, then it is great for my GC business and for plowing it is all set up and ready to go. Don't really care about wear `n tear on the old pickup, but what problems could I run into with an old truck with an old plow??? That is the real question....

  4. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    The tahoe will be fine with a 7' to light 7'6" plow, any of the major brands are fine. Transmission and front end take the biggest beating, you should have an auxillary trans cooler and maybe make some modifications to the fornt end. A bigger alternator may benecessary to accomidate the amp draw of the electric/hydraulic plow. I have 90K on my truck now this will be its 3 rd winter plowing, and i have not had a single problem with it that was caused by the plow. Go easy on the truck and you are all set for the most part.
  5. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415


    Welcome. I'm sure if you've read around the site you realize that the wear on your Tahoe will be dependent on what type of plow you put on it, how much and where you use it, and how you operate your vehicle while plowing.
    But, I want to give you something else to think about, resale value.

    Because SUV's are not as commonly used as plow vehicles like pickups are, I'd say it's only a good idea if you intend to keep the Tahoe and drive it until the wheels fall off. You have to think of who would be in the market to buy it from you used. Most people who buy SUV's (alot of who are soccer moms) don't buy them to plow with, so if they know it was used to plow they're not going to want it. A dealer will know right away it was plowed when they look at it and will give you less for it because of that. It will also make them look closer at all the other components which suffer wear from plowing. Since dealers low ball you on a trade anyway, they'll really stick it to you because it was a plow vehicle.

    I'm not saying plowing with your Tahoe will make it impossible to ever sell or trade, just more difficult, and perhaps at a greater cost to you. JMO.
  6. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    Just think of it as a 1/2 ton truck.....although John brings up a good point. Visibility may not be as good but its basicly just a 1/2 ton truck with all the flaws and pluses of a 99 chevy pick up.
  7. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Resale value is important, but if you spend the money on a plow capeable vehicle, plow with it, no use having it suck up gas just to drive the kids around. Dealers do try to get you on anything with a trade in, but, you can make a truck look like it NEVER plowed before :cool: The dealers don't know plows, they barely know the cars they sell for the most part. Unbolt the mount, get rid of the wiring, and controller and who is going to know? The only thing that could happen is that some smart guy sees some extra holes drilled in the frame and gets suspicious, by then you will have your money. If you sell the truck with the plow, the plow itself adds a little to the value. As far as buying an old PU truck, if you need it for something other then plowing go for it. Otherwise work with what you have, how much do you really have the plow on? Just my Opinion :waving:
  8. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    I'm surprised you said that Chris! I don't mind you disagreeing with me at all, but come on. Of course dealers know plows! Every dealer that sells trucks sells some of them with plows too! In fact, right now, just about every dealer you see has them all lined up in the front row sporting brand new Fisher plows. I know that all the guys turning wrenches out back aren't rocket scientists but they're not stupid either. Any ASE certified mechanic worth his tool box will put a truck up on the lift and know in all of 5 seconds if it ever had a plow on it, no matter how crafty you are in removing the mount and wiring. As far as barely knowing the cars they sell, I'll agree with you there as far as the salesmen go, but not the mechanics.

    I hate to disagree with another Sox fan, but I couldn't help it there. No offense! :waving:
  9. PlowVA

    PlowVA Senior Member
    Messages: 210

    Just got off the phone with a guy here and he said that I shouldn't put a 7.5 plow on the Tahoe. He said that no dealer around here would put even a 7 foot plow on my Tahoe. I figured if I beefed up the front end a little it should take it. Ratlover said, "it's a 1/2 ton truck, same as the 1/2 ton pickups"

    I am thinking that a Sno-Way is a good option for me. A little lower weight. What do you guys think of the poly vs steel question???
  10. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Of course John, your right in a way, and i was not disagreeing with you to begin with. No Probelms :waving: :drinkup:

    They may sell trucks with fishers on them, but they don't know anything about them. Look in any auto trader magazine. In the write ups on plow trucks they call EVERY plow a "minuite mount plow" even if it is another brand not a fisher. They also call conventional setups minuite mounts. Why because they only know 2 buzz words when it comes to plows "fisher" and "minuite mount". Kind of like "o yea those are great cars "as long as you change your oil", or the timing belt vs the timing chain. All bs they use to make the person think that they know what they are talking about. I can see right through most of them just from being with people who are buying cars. Ask any salesman about plows, the only thing they know is warrenty talk or the word "NO". Of course iam generalizing here, there is the occasional dealer who does know what they are talking about on all aspects of cars/trucks/suv's/plows, etc. From my experience most do not. Could a mechainc tell" maybe, but i don't think they really look at them until after you have left with your new vehicle. Don't the salesmen and sales manager usually look it over themsealves for obvious signs of probelms? Then one or two of them take it out for a ride and thats it, you got your money. Can you always tell a vehicle plowed, I doubt it. I know of a few cases where you could really cover it up, especially in cases where no drilling of the frame is required. Just My Opinion, i have never done it, but i know of people who have done it multiple times and the dealer never suspected a thing.
    Just what I think, surely iam not trying to start a riot :waving:
  11. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    He's full of it. If I cared to put a plow on it I would put a Blizzard 7'6"LT. Weighs 550 lbs. and will work great. Although as previously stated you should consider resale value if you are not going to keep it for any length of time. Usually these vehicles end up with a plow after 6-8 years old.
  12. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I think I read somewhere that plowing cuts the life of a 1/2 ton truck in half.

    If your considering a lexan moldboard, look at the total weight of the plow, including frame and mount. I know some brands "save" weight on the moldboard, but have extra bracing which brings the total weight back up.

    Also, consider the weight of your Tahoe to the weight of a regular 1/2 ton pickup. This is probably why the dealer won't put a 7.5' on it.
  13. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415


    No riot, but the debate is great :nod:

    I'll agree that in order to find something, it helps if you are looking for it. I'm sure that alot of stuff slips by the dealers if they're not on the ball. But, alot of stuff doesn't too. Like a few years back when I traded in my old Caddy for my first Dodge Ram p/u, a 1500. They didn't have that thing back there for 10 minutes when the guy threw it in my face that it didn't have the original motor. I guess it all depends on where you go and a little luck.

    But, anyway, if everyone agreed with me, it wouldn't be any fun talking about this stuff now would it? :drinkup:
  14. PlowVA

    PlowVA Senior Member
    Messages: 210

    Mick, so you're saying because of the added weight of the rear section on the suv versus the lighter weight of the pickup rear, the Tahoe is already carrying around the extra weight in the body itself. The frame, suspension, etc might already be close to its' limits??? :confused:
  15. eng50

    eng50 Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Plow VA:

    PM for the name of a great dealer in Mannasas, he will beat any price, and has a full welding shop on site. He also is open 24 hrs during storms etc..
    They are realistic and don't just blindly use manufacturers recommendations for size/vehicle fit.
    Hope this helps..

  16. PlowVA

    PlowVA Senior Member
    Messages: 210

    Eng50, unable to PM for some reason. Any other way you can get me the dealer's info?
  17. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Yes, that was what I was getting at. Consider the total weight of a pickup vs the total weight of the SUV. Would the pickup be significantly less, allowing for the weight of the plow to be added, but not for the SUV? I'm not saying that is it, just that it might be. I don't know either weight.
  18. z71Worker

    z71Worker Member
    Messages: 89

    Hope that isnt true.. if you have the right plow prep pckg, not a heavy duty commercial plow and are not kamikaze plowing it shouldnt hurt it that bad... right? :rolleyes:
  19. QMVA

    QMVA Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    Mick I can see where your coming from but on Pickups you add the weight of the plow and all the ballast that is added. SUV's don't require as much ballast sense they have all that extra body weight. Personally I would take your Tahoe into a shop to have them look at the suspension to make sure everything is good then put a 7.5' plow on it. If you go the pickup way get a used one without a plow then buy one separate. Allot of guys sell their old plow trucks with plow because they are about on their last leg. True you might find a good one but most likely you wont. Another factor you might want to think about is are you doing commercial or residential plowing. Commercial plowing is more demanding on a truck then residential. O and welcome to Plowsite. :waving:
  20. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    Plowing generaly takes a toll on the front end and the trans(depending on model and preventive matinence gennerally goes a long ways.) Banzi plowing is generaly just hard on sheet metal although it can chow tranys at a rapid rate if you banzi plow and do it stupidly.