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Low range

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by firefighter, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. firefighter

    firefighter Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 44

    If your running a automatic trans, the tranny repair people will tell you when the plow drops you should be in low range. Thats what I was told after burning out my trans.

  2. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    Why's that? i would guess it puts less load on the tranny, more on the case, but as far as fuel eco, time (efficiency), and speed go, its not that practical, i guess it just gets everything spinning faster in there, the pump pumps better at higher rpms

    Any insight? its kinda interesting to me, since i just rebuilt mine last summer.
  3. NoStockBikes!!

    NoStockBikes!! Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    I had heard that too, but with my minimal practical experience in the matter, I wasn't gonna chime in before. My personal truck, subbing by the hour, will be doing it in low range, unless it's a very light easy push.

    Now if it was a multi vehicle business I owned, I might be able to calculate making enough extra off the increased speed would more than pay for a tranny rebuild, but I'm gonna err on the side of caution. The guy I'm subbing for is the one who told me "low range"
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2002
  4. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    By putting your truck in low range, you've mechanically reduced the load on your transmission. It's kind of like adding a pulley to a hoist to reduce the force needed to lift a load.

    I use low range in heavy wet snow. There's really no need in powder, that doesn't add much drag to your truck. Add a big tranny cooler if you don't have one, and stop before changing direction.
  5. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    I always stop before changing direction, and installed a large aftermarket cooler in addition to the radiator cooler, seems like it runs/drive fine, im going install a tranny temp guage on my a-pillar, anyone else do this? i would imagine it is helpful in keeping an eye on the temp while working it hard. :confused:
  6. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    It's a BIG help.

    If you notice temperature climbing, stop and put the truck in nuetral at a high idle to cool things down. Heat is the number one killer of A/Ts
  7. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    Everytime when I plow snow, I put my '89 Toyota pickup truck in 4wd low range. I am told that it is supposed to be alot easier on my transmission when plowing snow. I got alot of resource from this great site and Chuck Smith's Snowplowing Handbook. That is how I learned and I continue to learn today.
  8. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    I don't run low range at all. It's just too slow backing up. And too easy to really rev the engine if you're trying to hurry.
  9. firefighter

    firefighter Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 44


    The mechanic's told me that the trans will not work as hard in low range when plowing. The clutch plates in the trans will not burn up and start slipping. They will glaze to. Also as the other have said use a trans cooler. I also have one on my truck. I also installed a temp gauge. Temp runs around 150 to 190 deg. You must keep the trans running cool. Trans cooler and running in low range will do this. If i plow in high range the trans temp will run + 200 deg.
  10. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    its just such a killer on time, course if its better in the long run.... I just dont like to use low cause it seems like you arent going anywhere, its slow in reverse and easier to over-rev, someone said that already. if its a heavy one i will use it with out hesitation, thanks!
  11. staley52

    staley52 Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 98

    my recomendations are
    if you are running a big motor and light load run high

    if you are running a big motor and heavy load still run high

    if you are running a small motor and light load run high

    if you are running a small motor and a heavy load run low

    the load is not the problem it is the power when you are running hard and fast with a small motor the trans has to work even harder to keep up

    my personal trucks 1985 s10 2.8 a/t it starts snowing it never leaves low I am in a small town and speed is not an issue with low it has power enough to pull the trailer with tractor and blowers and sander in back max speed in town 30 - 35mph

    other truck 1980 3/4 350 granny low m/t last time it saw low was when I pulled a tractor trailer out of the ditch this motor has lots of power and I used to have a 83 just like it but a/t and it only saw low when I was doing gravel lanes and wanted to go slow
  12. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    When plowing with a manual tranny our truck never sees low umless we need to go reaaaaaaaal slow, or have a reaaaaaaaly big load to pull. The truck has a 454 so torque is never an issue.
    Now our 84 K-20 has a T350 and 350ci engine, if the snow if light, we use Hi Range, but if it gets deep or wet and heavy, into low it goes. I dont want to buy another tranny for the truck.
    My 98 with 6.5 diesel and auto, only sees low range when backing up steep hills, or pushing back really big banks.
    The diesel just revs way to much in low range to use it effectively all the time.
  13. Joey D

    Joey D Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    I use low for sled pulls, never plowing.
  14. gordyo

    gordyo Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    I have always been an advocate of Low Range when the engine and tranny start to work hard. Light Fluffy Snow and no strain on the engine or tranny then no problem running in High Range, but as soon as the engine starts to strain in too Low Range go all my trucks. I have actually got all my operators trained to recognize this engine strain because now when I radio them and ask them to drop to low range they usually reply that they all ready have. I realize that this is only my opinion but here is my reason for it. I started plowing snow in 1976 for my Dad who taught me to use Low Range when plowing and we never replaced nor had any transmission work done on any of the 6 plow trucks that we owned, nor to date have I ever had any transmission work done on any of the College's trucks in the past 16 years that I have managed Snow and Ice for them other than fluid and filter changes.
  15. Joey D

    Joey D Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    I say use what works for you. I personaly wouldn't use it but thats me. 1 plus to using it is the truck will be traveling slower reducing damages by fast plowers.
    Using low would double my plowing time as the diesel with 4.10 gears would be slow going in reverse.
  16. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,613

    The key is make sure you do not have the over-drive available ( not strong enough of a unit ). Keeping it in low ( 1 ) forces the trans not to up shift and can over rev and engine and weaken the trans and oil fluid. Not good. The second key is to make a full stop between forward and reverse. And don't forget to power flush the trans fluid every year. ( cheap insurance)
  17. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    There are huge differences in the dependability of trannies from the 80's and early 90's to the ones in recent. The durability is much greater now, although you still can have problems. I'm not saying to abuse the trans, but there's no doubt they are a little better now than they were 15 years ago.