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My first time ever - learning respect...

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Shortstuff, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Member
    Messages: 94

    '04 Ram 2500 4x4 quad-cab/short-bed with my new Fisher 8' HD, non-commercial use and my first time ever plowing snow - what an experience.

    Lessons Learned

    Woke up this morning to 3"+ of the heavy wet type of snow which was 2"+ more than expected so I didn't have the plow on. I still had my 600 lbs. of tube sand in my bed (up against the tailgate) so I lined her up and jumped out to realize that my truck was now sitting about 2" higher on packed snow. Had to back up and dig out the area below the tire marks to bare gravel, pulled straight in and hooked right up. Lesson #1 - Even if the weatherman says not to expect enough to plow, hook up the plow before the storm anyway - just in case.

    Plowed my driveway and came a little too close to my porch, pushing my fold-away mirror in. Lesson #2 - There's a lot more to be watching for besides just the plow blade clearance to obstacles.

    Went across the street to a friends business to practice/learn on a large paved open lot (with owners permission of course) and started pushing to one specific area to start my pile. Even though I'm pretty good with my side mirrors, I did spend a lot of time looking over my shoulder through my rear window - this is going to take much more practice and I need to become even more proficient with my use of mirrors vice a sore neck.

    I was very surprised at how much heavy wet snow my truck was capable of pushing, but also quickly realized that the skill of "stacking snow" is VERY important as my one-level pile quickly grew in width and depth. Lesson #3 - Start stacking snow after your very first push!

    Too much speed into a heavy wet pile can cause a rapid deceleration of all objects (and humans) attached to the plow device in use. Lesson #4 - Slow down as you reach your target pile, start raising the blade before you contact it, AND secure you ballast in place at the rear of your bed. My 600 lbs. of tube sand ended up under my truck tool box by the end of the day.

    I will say that I learned rather quickly how to raise my blade just enough over grass, dirt and gravel and actually started to get the "feel" of the terrain, the "feel" of the push. Maybe I was started to become "one" with my plow??? :rolleyes:

    In closing, I will be the very first to admit that plowing snow takes skill, a lot of skill. I always had respect for those who plow, but now I can see that my respect was well earned. There is absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that I would never had been able to do anywheres near as well as I did today if it were not for all that I had learned here on this forum. I've spent the last 6 months reading and searching and watching more videos than I ever have and it was worth every word, every minute.

    Thank You to all of you who have shared your experience and knowledge here for people like myself to learn how to do it right. It would take me years to learn enough to say that I plow well, but I had a really good first day. More importantly, it was a safe day.

    Just wanted to share!


  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    throw a whiteout and you'll be all set. Oh ya, and a couple of cars trying to pull in front of you!
  3. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 309

    My first time plowing yesterday. Man did I ever suck, most places would have been quicker to just get out and shovel it. Luckily no damage and I was able to finish my run. I had all residentials then my last place was a parking lot. Parking lots are the place to learn!! So my second day out I had a much better go at it but still no where near good at it. My back dragging isnt getting right down to the surface because when I drive up to the garage I leave tire marks, then the plow rides up on that. Are you supposed to plow into the driveway? Most my driveways are a car length and a half long. How do I get the driveways really clean?
  4. jomama45

    jomama45 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,190

    Shortstuff, good post & insight. We've all been there at one time or another. It sounds like you're learning quick, but beware, there's always more to learn no matter how long you've done this.

    BTW, I had to laugh at lesson #1, I've been there more than once, that's for sure! You'll see alot of people keep their plows inside just for that one reason.

    Jaynen, hears to best way to deal with that in my expeience:

    Pull in forward & push as much snow off to the side right away.
    Back drag in front of the garage door, as I assume you're currently doing, & push this into the same pile on the side.
    Now, push the little bit of snow back forward towards the garage door, stopping a foot or 2 shy of the door. This should help "peel" the hard pack off & allow you to backdrag that same spot a second time, down to the pavement. Just don't push too close to the door w/o knowing how much snow is on the blade.

    OR, you could simply invest in a backdrag blade that goes behind your existing cutting edge.

    Good luck to both of you! :drinkup:
  5. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 309

    Thanks jomama45 I am gonna try it. Seems pretty obvious now that I picture it. I hooked up my plow after it was really cold out and all the quick disconnects were froozen and wouldnt budge. Luckily I read somewhere to have a torch on hand to warm up the connections to melt the ice. That saved me big time. I got so much respect for guys that can pull out all the stops and provide a reliable service all season. Being prepared seems never ending!
  6. TommyMac

    TommyMac Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    Hey...What part of Mass are you from???....Believe me your not the only one caught with your pant's down....I plow for Mass-Highway & did not have any of the 11' plows on the Mack's...because like you said it was only supposed to be a 1"-2" snow not 5" & in regards to using your mirror's It will definately save your neck, I know it can be hard if your not used to it but just back-up slow & don't forget when you swing around you got a plow on the front so you don't clip anything
  7. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,281

    Next time that happens, just tip your head gear forward towards the plow blade and drive the truck up to it making sure it'll line up with the horns correctly. Once the truck is close enough you can usually give it a nice push on the head gear and get it into place that way. I did that a lot before I had a garage.

    You'll soon learn your truck's size better than you ever though. You'll be able to park it better at malls/grocery stores, get through tighter spaces, etc. Definitely the upside of plowing!
  8. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Member
    Messages: 94

    Thanks for all the great comments and helpful hints. Trust me when I tell you that I take all the help I can get!

    I'm in Bellingham just over the Woonsocket, RI border.

  9. Mick

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

    If you have many garages, invest in a back blade - goes on the back end of your truck. Back up to the garage, drop the back blade, drive forward a couple truck lengths, lift the back blade, back up again, drop the front blade and plow on out. Saves a lot of time.

    Re: Lesson #1 - Ballast will also affect plow alignment. Remember to hook/unhook with the same amount of ballast.

    Re: Lesson #3. Goes along with stacking - Push the first snow back far enough to allow for future snow. You'll need to have a good idea of how much snow your area gets.
  10. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Keep a small jack handy for hooking up your blade and I still look over my shoulder alot, mirrors can be decieving. Your neck will get strong after a couple storms. Good Luck.:drinkup:
  11. TommyMac

    TommyMac Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    That's cool I live right next door to you in Medway....How'd the 600lbs do for ballast, do you run the stock tires on it....I ask because I'd suggest putting the same weight of the plow for ballast (800lb plow = 800lb ballast)

    Tom ussmileyflag
  12. ChevKid03

    ChevKid03 Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Nice post... I actually plowed the town roads yesterday for the first time... Gentleman at the Town Barn was a real nice guy.... You guys did get about 5"... I couldn't believe it! Goodluck this year!
  13. TommyMac

    TommyMac Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    What town did you plow for....How'd you like town plowing

  14. TommyMac

    TommyMac Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    No what sir, you make a great point about the mirror's on the p/u trucks...all my trucks have the "West Coast Style" mirrors so your looking @ exactly what you see in the mirror...And I'm a little partial to driving with mirrors seen I'm a trucker...How much snow have you guy's got in Canada so far???

  15. mansf123

    mansf123 Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 817

    i try using the mirrors but something just makes me turn my head, especially plowing a supermarket when every idiot in town decides to come out and shop.
  16. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I tell the gf the same thing.:D
  17. CityGuy

    CityGuy PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,220

    With regards to your speed comment. I have found that and with time you will too that you can take your foot off the accelerator and just coast into the pile and not have to use the brake pedel until you shift into reverse.
    Keep up the good work.
  18. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    the mirrors will save your neck... however turning and looking will see that STUPID Lady that had to walk behind you.
  19. dchr

    dchr Senior Member
    Messages: 159

    Cannot stress that enough! First storm of the year a few day's ago and had two people do exactly that at two different sights - amber on the roof going,hazards on,back up alarm screaming and they still walk across the parking lot right behind you (why not use the nice clean sidewalk that I just cleared?):cry: Also had a guy pull up and park inches from my back bumper to drop someone off WTF:realmad: I get out of the truck and the guy say's "sorry didn't see you":dizzy: Just some more of the fun things to watch out for-Good luck this season.

    Messages: 88

    Great post Steve, sounds like you learned more on your first day out than a few ppl i know that have a full season under there belt.. lol Have fun and best of luck to you!
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009