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Is 4WD really necessary?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Tiller1240, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. Tiller1240

    Tiller1240 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I'm looking for some advice from you guys out there that are using stakebody trucks to plow snow. We are currently looking into replacing a truck in our fleet and are primarily looking at stakebody trucks (Ford F450 or F550 with something like a 12' stakebody). In my shopping, I have noticed that many of these trucks are 2WD and I am wondering how they fair plowing snow?

    I would imagine that with the added weight, especially if carrying salt in the rear, that these trucks would have sufficient traction and power to plow snow without any problems, even in 2WD. Anybody have any experience/advice?

    PerfiCut Lawn & Landscape, LLC
  2. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    They'll do it. Use lot's of weight and avoid loading docks, inclines and driving too far into the snow pile.
  3. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Do a search on this and you'll find hours of reading.
  4. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    I do most of my plowing with a 550, rare are the times when I NEED four wheel drive. I wouldn't go without it, but I know for sure I could plow all but the worst storms without it, I also run a 3 yard salter so my ballast and weight over the rear wheels is covered.
  5. tman3007

    tman3007 Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    My thoughts exactly! I'd still feel a little more comfortable in a 4x4 because you just never know what situations you can find yourself in.
  6. crazymike

    crazymike Senior Member
    from Toronto
    Messages: 639

    I run an f550 aswell and never use the 4wd. I also use a tailgate salter which weighs less than a 3yard and plow many lots with the truck empty. I don't even have good tires.

    Last year my 4wd was broken in that truck and I lasted all season without having to be pulled out. I didn't even have good tires. For this truck you shouldn't even be in 4wd for prolonged usage according to the dealer and a few other people.

    If you can get 4wd, get it. But it's not a big deal to not have it.

    Everyone I plow with jumps on the 4wd bandwagon for these dumps, yet most of them plow with kodiak 6500s and have no problems. And 6500s don't have 4wd.
  7. frndinalowplace

    frndinalowplace Senior Member
    from 7hills
    Messages: 142

    This season I am running our dump truck for plowing. It has just been outfitted with a blizzard 810. There will be lots of ballast, and brand new aggressive tires. My parking lots are flat. So I see no problem with the rig I am running. The problem I had was the front end of the truck sat pretty low since it is also not a solid axle. Installed heavier duty springs, timbrens. and taller tires. That problem is solved. All in all I think the truck will do just fine for my situation.
    Good luck.

  8. ptllandscapeIL

    ptllandscapeIL Senior Member
    Messages: 495

    if you can get 4x4 get there is no debate when ur in the field and you need why kick yourself cause you dont have it??
  9. yamaguy

    yamaguy Senior Member
    Messages: 556

    When I worked at the Jr college we had late model ford and chevy diesel 4x4 pickups and a C6500 dump that we plowed with. By far the best truck was the 2wd dump and the one Ford that had a v-box in it. They were loaded with salt and when we would get alot of wet heavy snow they performed the best. The 4x4 even went out on the one Chevy a couple of times and I would just dump a scoop of salt in the bed and it would plow like a dream.
  10. Ole Tower

    Ole Tower Senior Member
    from MAINE
    Messages: 210

    is 4WD reqally Necessary?

    NO! as our largest Contractor locally has a Fleet of 2WD One Tons He Plows with--w/ 10ft plows & w/ Sanders in the Bed We don*t have any Problems! & all our Trucks have Regular Summer Tires & the Entire Crew Drives them Who evers Called IN! --OleTower--
  11. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    yes it is almost mandatory
  12. Vaughn Schultz

    Vaughn Schultz PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,565

    Learn to drive :dizzy:
  13. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    nevermind the weight in the back. what about when there is not weight in the back? it will work but my basic thoughts are any truck without four wheel drive is limited and in some situations useless.

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    As a main truck, 4x4 is required. As a fleet with a specialty application, perfect. Each truck has its limitations 4x4 or not. An example using a GMC 1500 RCSB to plow a 1000space lot, where it is perfect for the drive thru's.

  15. bam

    bam Senior Member
    from .
    Messages: 201

    we have a fleet of F450s. all are 2 wheel drive. while I work primarily in DE, my co-workers work in NJ, PA, CT, etc. and just like on this post, mixed reactions.

    Personally from driving the trucks ranging in years from a 93' up to an 05', I can tell you it is doable. Like previous guys have said, you need to know your surroundings, think about how you're plowing and have some weight in the truck. A good set of traction tires goes along way as well. I also have driven an F350 pickup and have not yet put it in 4 wheel drive.

    I would ask the guys that are skeptical if they have personally owned or operated a 450/550. Running a truck like that is much different than running even an F350 single wheel base truck. From experience, I can tell you a crew cab F450 with 9' wood/steel deck on it weighs in at 9500Lbs., alot more than my F250 that is around 6600Lbs.

    My immediate area may only see 30" of snow per year, but I'm sure that your area is much the same. I'm sure Baltimore actually sees a bit less. However, I do have co-workers that see 60"+ a year, all using the equally equipped trucks.

    So it is possible, and if it we're really bad out, I'm sure you could give the truck a tug with a skidloader or backhoe, and get right back on the road.
  16. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    how about a loaded dually pulling a trailer sinking on a newly constructed "gravel" drive. lots of fun. first you get to spend a half hour trying to get the trailer out. then you get to spend another hour trying to get the dually out. lol. (we had to unload it before yanking it. wouldnt budge.) granted that is a uncommon occurence.
    now that i think about it i had to get a international 4900 yanked once too.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2007
  17. amars415

    amars415 Member
    Messages: 41

    As someone pointed out earlier, you need to use common sence and visualize what you are getting yourself into. I bet you didn't make this mistake again did you?
  18. KenP

    KenP Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    I like to plow in two wheel drive, but I carry about 3k of material in the bed. So no you don't need it, BUT you will need it if you get stuck, at times for stacking and getting from job to job. So it's better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it. All of my trucks under a 650 are 4wheel drive.
  19. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    so instead i should have said "im sorry i cant do the job because im worried the truck might get stuck?" heavy dualies are great for on road trucks. take them out of that environment and put them in precarious situations and you do it at your own risk. no different than the little oil trucks we have running around here all winter that slide off drives or sink in mud and snow. weight in the back is a benefit for traction but also can creat more of a problem if the truck isnt on flat ground. id still have four wheel drive in the fleet to handle what you shouldnt be trying to do with the two wheel drive dually but to each their own. i look at them as a big heavy piece of lead being dropped into a snowbank.
  20. Little Jon

    Little Jon Senior Member
    from Buffalo
    Messages: 139

    I switch back and forth between an F550 dump & F350 dump. Could I plow with out 4wd? Yes! Do I want to? NO!! I am the type of person who likes to push the equipment to the outer limits of what it can do, then when I get there, keep pushing. I cant count the number of situations that 4wd got me through situations last year. I dropped the front end of the 550 off the end of the parking lot (2' drop from pavement to grass that we forgot to mark) got out of it with the 4wd. Went to far into a pile and got stuck, took a couple minutes but 4wd finally got me out. Got the back end hung up on a pile that a loader left in the middle of a lot, again 4wd. And I had to plow a 400' stretch of road at a property that was right off the water, the whole road was covered in a snow drift that went right up to the windows on the truck, plowed that...I was sideways the whole time with the engine screaming at me but I got it. These are all things that you wouldn't think about but when your out there they can and do happen, to me if your out there in the worse, the truck needs to be equipped for the worse. Last year during approximately 20 outings I got stuck no less than 15 times and had to be towed out 0 times.