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Jeep for a long steep driveway?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by i_am_chris, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19


    We bought some land in SE Vermont. Our new driveway is 1500 feet long and has about 5-600 feet of vert from bottom to top, with an additional 1-200 foot secondary driveway. Its gravel & surepack. Some of it is kinda steep!

    Anyway, my fiancee is going to be the primary plow person since I travel for work. Neither of us is keen on a big vehicle - I have an Xterra and she has a Honda Del Sol. We bought an '89 Toyota xcab pickup with a plow but, based on our early experiences, we don't think this is going to work out that well on our new place.

    She's likely going to have to give up the del sol, and I'd like her to be happy with what she's plowing in. So, I was thinking about a Jeep. maybe even one of the unlimited models with the extra 15" of space in back. We are going to need to put a plow on the front and, methinks, a small spreader on back.

    Now, I've read a bunch of posts that say lighter trucks are okay for personal use. I think our personal use will put a lot of wear on the truck. Is the Jeep still a good choice? In the summer, we might use it to haul wood around, with a trailer attached.

    YOu can check out our project at http://yippee.chriscouture.us/

  2. dunedog

    dunedog Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Sounds like you need a bigger more rugged beater truck. Something you can leave chains on...!!!
    Most of the newer Jeeps are not made to do a rock and shale drive like you are describing.....and you will probably ruin or damage it.
    I know some of the driveways you mean !!!! You need something really rugged!
    Just my opinion....
  3. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    The Toyota you have is going to be stronger than anything "Jeep". Before you go out and spend more money try plowing with the snow. Don't wait for the snow to end, push it every 2 or 3 inches, use the low range and go slow. Good luck.
  4. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    I don't see the Toyota being a huge problem, if it is set up right. Has it performed poorly in that type of situation before or are you just guessing that its not going to? You can't plow with a Grand Cherokee at least not with a "real" plow so that leaves you with the wrangler and the liberty. The wranglers are small but can handle any light duty plow. The libertys are bigger inside and as far as i know you can put a Fisher Homesteader on it but i doubt the homesteader will hold up well in that situation. I really think you can stick with the toyota if its only used for plowing. Otherwise get a used truck that is bigger and "better". Or just hire someone to do it. I don't know what to say, you could get a nice crew cab tacoma with and put a 7' Curtis on it or a 1/2 ton truck for someone to drive daily. It depends on what you or your wife want to drive everyday that seems to be a factor in your decision.
  5. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    I think the Toyota we have now is going to fall apart before too long. Its an '89 with about 140k miles on it. The plow is an old fisher, the guy cut the sides off so it would be smaller, and he made his own plow frame. Its got a 2000lb winch on it used to lift the plow (I'll post a picture or two when I get a chance to take some) and - I found this out well after the purchase - he had burned thru two winches in the years he had used the method.

    I was hoping we could get around a bigger truck, but after reading some other posts it seems like we need to scale up, get something that can handle a 7 1/2 foot plow, and get used to it. We are likely gonna have to buy a new vehicle (long, long story) - any suggestions? I poked around on some of the mfr sites, but I don't really know what I need and everything seems either a) really big or b) too small to handle the job right. I think we'd prefer a manual vs automatic, and some of the trucks don't have an option for manual. Maybe I'm being too picky on that.

  6. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    I think you will have less problems with the automatic. If your going larger, a 3/4 ton full size truck is definitely stronger than a 1/2 ton. As for the plow, try the dealer closest to you 1st. If you have any problems you will be glad that you did. It sounds like your current rig has been butchered and if the previous owner butchered the plow, he may have butchered the truck too. 130k is not much for a Toyota, GENERALLY. We have an 85 4 cyl, 5spd as a back up truck with over 300k on it.
  7. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    While I normally don;t like autos I think th auto would be the better choice for your steep drive- a limited slip/posi in the rear only (or an air locker) also might be a very good option. The Toy would handle it IF properly setup and driven, but if you have to go with a replacement get a bigger truck- and if it's not an SUV add some weight in the back.
    I would even go so far as to suggest letting her keep the daily driver she loves and get something else as a plow only truck. Also don;t let too much snow accumulate between plowings reguardless of what you decide on- remember the more snow in front the harder the work it is to push it up hill.
    Depending on your situation maybe a medium size tractor would be a better option.
  8. MR5BY5

    MR5BY5 Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    For what it is worth, I have been plowing my private driveway in Lake Ontario "snowbelt" for over 25 years with short-wheelbase Int'l Scouts and, currently, a 1980 Jeep CJ-7.

    These short-wheelbase vehicles work great but nothing like this on the market today is built for the abuse like the old machines! If you look around some of the off-road forums (try "The Ultimate Jeep" forum - I can find the address for you if interested) you may find some people that have Jeep CJs that are re-built to better-than-new condition with all the heavy-duty stuff that would make them perfect for your application. (Fiberglas bodies and brand-new frames are available for these units as well as engine swap kits to install late model engines!)

    Make sure you get a recommend from someone on this forum as to what kind of plow-rig you should get - they vary hugely in price, features, and durability. Some of the older electric-hydraulic plow systems (like the Meyers unit I have) are poorly designed and unreliable! That is why you have a winch being used to lift your current plow - much more reliable than the old electric-hydraulics and cheap to replace when it gives-out!

    Good luck and happy hill-climbing - I'm glad my driveway is on the level (if subject to 100+ inches of snow each season!).

    BTW: The CJ-7 is an automatic and I like it much better than the manuals I had in the Scouts! One Scout was 3-speed which did not have a low enough 1st gear ratio, the other was 4-speed and a real bear - too bad it got too rusty to fix!
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2005
  9. SteveB(wi)

    SteveB(wi) Member
    Messages: 70

    I second the scout

    the other was 4-speed and a real bear - too bad it got too rusty to fix!

    I had a '67 Scout, 266 V8, 4 speed, posi front and rear, 6½' blade. Man that thing would push snow and go anywhere. When the going got tough chain up all 4 and it was unstoppable. The body eventually got too rough, bungees holding the doors shut, boat tank for fuel, plywood floor. Hated to get rid of it but it was time.
  10. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345


    You know, I decided to check out your web site so that perhaps I could offer some insight to your plow choice dilemna. When I went to the site you mention, there is a posting saying the site is closed in protest of the Bush election.

    One of the great things about Plowsite.com is that it is has always been a politically neutral forum. It is about plowmen helping plowmen. There are extensive writings by professionals about many topics, by plowmen who give their time in furtherence of their profession.

    If you want to make some petty comment about any election or politician, go find another forum. This is not the place for it, and you should not expect help with a plow problem when you clutter the forum with such nonsense.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2005
  11. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Definitely interested!
  12. i_am_chris

    i_am_chris Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    A) I appreciate that you took the time to visit the site, and would have certainly appreciated the help.
    B) I made no political comments on plowsite.com, and still haven't. The link is to a web site about our building project. The content changed for a day, and has returned. If you would still be interested in commenting on our plow situation, I'd still appreciate the help.