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lowest displacement for plowing?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by cward05, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. cward05

    cward05 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 113

    hi everyone,
    I'm looking to buy a new truck but I want something with good gas mileage and a nice tone (w/ or w/o flowmasters). I'm looking for a USED chevy or dodge 1500 or f-150...what size engine is good? im lookin for 4wd, and probably manual trans.
    v8? v6? is this too small to plow with? i've got a pretty steep driveway and right now, my current truck is an 83 chevy k10 with a 5.0 in it. it's great, but i hate practically seeing the gas gauge go down at idle lol... I've done some research, but a direct answer would be great! thanks. oh by the way, i'm looking to spend up to but preferably not more than $10,000 and i want a 7'6" plow most likely
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2006
  2. exmark1

    exmark1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,321

    Frankly you could get buy with a 6 Cylinder! If it did end up being heavy snow theres always low range, there are guys plowing with 4 cylinders and such!
  3. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    But, he does want a 7'6" plow. I would say a 4.7l Dodge Dakota with a Snoway would be as low as I would go for that size, but that is just me. The more power the better:p I have a 1993 Chevy 5.0 right now and I do really well on gas. I get about 16+ sometime a little better when I don't feel like going 70 MPH all day!:rolleyes: Maybe you might want a newer V8?
  4. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    you might try the 6 cyl cummins in a 2500 dodge. great fuel mileage, low displacement, moderate hp, good torque, and nice tone. you'll also have a good solid front axle for the plow and a high output alt. not a dodge man but sounds like a good truck to me.
  5. PhantomRacer

    PhantomRacer Senior Member
    from boston
    Messages: 128

    Doing quite well with a 4.3 v6 94 2wd Chevy with a snowbear.

    It is most likely a suspension/frame issue than an engine issue. Unless you work for the highway dept, I am sure any full size truck will have enough hp/torque.

  6. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    yeah, its not about "displacement". anything will work, with the appropriately sized plow. I would go with an automatic transmission, though. and preferrably, a trans. cooler, as well. They are much better suited to the task. check the towing ratings on any truck...with a manual, its next to nothing. same truck w/ automatic...huge amount. Plowing (and towing) takes far more out of the tranny than the engine itself.

    my old dakota (3.9l v6) was a GREAT snow pusher. I dare say better than the 1-ton plow I drove doing city streets for a few seasons. I would get stuck...couldn't go up a couple of streets that were steep grades....dakota would climb right up hills like that, while pushing snow, with no effort whatsoever.

    I also had an old 1960 jeep pickup, which had a small 6. (don't remember the exact size, but it was smaller than the dakota's). That thing was scary in terms of torque. you could pull tree stumps with it. (and I think that was its job, at one time).

    gas mileage: they all suck, so just forget about that. my current dodge 1500 with 318 v8 gets 14mpg; the old dakota got 15. If you want gas mileage, get a toyota. but it won't sound cool. and it probably won't be that much better mileage, either.

    If I won the lottery, I'd buy a jeep cj for plowing the driveway. shorter is better. it makes it WAY more maneuverable in the tight spaces. they are plenty powerful enough to move snow. even a 6.5 foot plow...makes no difference in a driveway. the brunt of a driveway will take 2 passes from any size plow to clear it, so a bigger truck/plow is no advantage; the cleanup in the parking areas and other tight spaces is far easier with a smaller truck. i just put a snowbear on my full sized dodge, and the plow is great! its the truck I want to replace. LOL! check out the video's I posted yesterday...you can see that whenever I have to turn, (which is quite a bit in my driveway), one back wheel is always driving through unplowed snow, packing it down. that would happen with the biggest plow that this truck could handle, just because the wheelbase is so long. and I just can't do the job I could do in the parking area (not shown on the videos) that I could do with my old setup.

  7. cward05

    cward05 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 113

    thanks guys! i appreciate the responses. i think i'll stick with whatever's on the lot lol...it sounds like all have about the same mileage and i want a full size truck, so shoppin here i come! thanks again.
  8. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I just want to add fuel milage is not always related to the displacement. In Dodge for example, the 318 and the 360 get very close milage, might as well get the bigger engine in such a case. Do some homework on the trucks that interest you before signing on the dotted line.
  9. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    gee, I don't know about that. depends on how you look at it, I guess. From discussions on the dodge truck forum that I've visited, it seems to me (unscientific) that the 360's are considerably worse than the 318's. (there's alot of this :cry: about the whole mileage thing over there, and what to do about it. they're both notorious gas-guzzlers). and they only produce 20 more hp. and their mileage drops precipitously when towing. still we're only talking about a couple of mpg's. But when the numbers are so low to begin with, that's a large percentage. But certainly not like trying to compare my old mazda 323 which got 38mpg!

    I did use that argument, though, to justify my purchase of a full-sized model last time. When I bought my Dakota, I thought I was going to save a few bucks on gas, 'cuz its small. well...not really. it got 15mpg. for 1mpg less, I now have a much bigger, much higher capacity truck. seems a better bargain, to me. for a little more money (they don't give away those small trucks; they're nearly as expensive as a big truck!), and a little more gas, you get a LOT more truck.
  10. mullady76

    mullady76 Junior Member
    from LI,NY
    Messages: 4

    For the best MPG get a diesel. I average 19+ MPG with 4.10's, auto, 35" tires with my Cummins. My buddy has a 4.7L in his Dakota and wishes he could get that kind of mileage.
  11. douglasl330

    douglasl330 Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    Nothing sounds as sweet as a turbo diesel pushing snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!--you can't just tune up your 5.0L chevy---unless your gears are in the 4's or taller range you should be around 15 or 16mpg----"had an 84---was a rust bucket that got this milage plowing" No truck that pushes snow is going to give you commuter car milage! Figure what your needs are then work from there, I agree with most posters in this forum--sometimes the smaller truck don't deliver the milage---Wifes 4.7 gets about 17 on a good day---my 1 ton 7.3 burns a gallon an hour pushing snow!
  12. go plow

    go plow Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    gmc/ 5..3L
  13. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Gotta agree with you. My mom's 4.7 Durango get 13.8 on a good day!
  14. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    look it doesnt matter on horsepower it has to do with tourgue low end gears
  15. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 209

    As stated earlier: it's not about displacement & horsepower. I'd also add that it's not about torque either. It's about traction. You can get as much torque as you need by using low range. But traction is where the rubber hits the road... literally!

    Up until a few years ago, I plowed my driveway with a '53 Willys pickup with a 134 cubic inch 4 banger. With chains on all 4 wheels that little truck could not be stopped -- it had plenty of grunt. That's with and engine rated at only 72 hp (and I think about 100 lb/ft torque). Those stats put that powerplant in the range of a Geo Metro (3 cyl. econo-box).

  16. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    yup yup yup!!!
    I had a similar vintage jeep pickup...had the 6, but still tiny by todays' standards. w/ chains and ballast, it was unstoppable on flat ground. but I couldn't get up the hill in my driveway, because the front axle was inoperable...a lack of *traction*. When I was shopping for a replacement axle, I came across a plow setup that would fit my Dakota, so I went that way.
  17. pools&plowingct

    pools&plowingct Member
    Messages: 73

    the international 7.3 should have enough its 444 cubes
  18. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I have plowed with everything from a dakota 4x4 with a 2.5 4 cyl to tri axle dumps and as far as minimum displacement I would say nothing with a 3.7or smaller, 3.9's are ok and the 4.7 is a good all around motor, it is what I have in my durango but it has some go fast goodies,.... no matter what you get just make sure not to overwork it,..... if it feels like it is stressing the truck then drop to low range
  19. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    the window sticker's on the trucks new list only a couple MPG difference from a 360 to a 318. The Dakots with a 318 only got like 12MPG versus a 1500 with a 360 at 13 back in 1999 when I was looking for a truck. Percentage is greater at lower MPG but the real numbers of the actual MPG are more relevent to most of us.

    As to older trucks plowing- my father plowed an old IH scout with a 10 foot frink cut down to 8 feet. It was also unstoppable. It;s not just traction, it is a combination of torque displacement and traction. The old trucks like a willys or a scout were small and light but rugged. They were geared low in the tcase and usually the 1st gear for amplifying the torque. you may only have had 100ft-lbs at the crank but in 4low in first you probabily had 300 or 400ft-lbs at the ground. Big difference.They don;t gear them that low anymore because today's trucks are not intended for the work those trucks were. Today's F350 is not designed with the intention of dragging plows and furrows across a farm field in liu of a tractor like the Jeep was after the war, or the Power Wagon, or even the Scout. They;re designed for road travel and fuel economy. Diesel's push so well because they have high torque at the fly wheel which adds up to more torque at the ground after multiplying through taller gears of tranny and todays tcases. 480Ft-lbs off a Cummins B series at the flywheel means around 800ft lbs in 4low at the ground. (auto tranny absorbes some as does the tcase.)
  20. douglasl330

    douglasl330 Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    Big nate--1st time I've seen one of those--Where are you hiding the plow lights or you don't need them with the clear moldboard? Blade looks scary big--seen a couple of the 6.5' on the older style Durangos- never anything like that--Wife would kill me if I slipped that set up on her ride!!!!
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2006