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new rural home, need dedicated car and plow

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by mtphoto, May 29, 2012.

  1. mtphoto

    mtphoto Junior Member
    from montana
    Messages: 3

    Your help greatly appreciated. We just bought a rural home in Montana. We have a 1000 foot gravel driveway (mild slope with one short steeper section) that I would like to plow myself. The road leading up to the house is a private dirt road, about 2 miles long uphill. No extreme switchbacks.

    Both driveway and road have drop offs on the side where snow can be pushed. Other residents plow the road but I may have to occasionally since I sometimes leave very early in the morning.

    I would like to buy a vehicle and plow and use it only for snow removal in the winter. I am thinking either a used pickup or a jeep wrangler? Would like to keep purchase cost in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

  2. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    Plowing gravel or dirt can be tough, especially until the ground freezes. Anything will work (either of your suggestions) for your drive, but your big question is the road, the other owners idea of plowed, timing, etc could be completly different from yours, and that is alot of road to cover with a Jeep. Personally if it were me I would look for a used 3/4 or 1 ton truck & buy the plow separate, just so you know it hasn't been beat on.
    Make sure you put "shoes" on your plow or use the pipe trick
    on here. Plan on taking it slow (very), use low 4wd to help keep you going slower. An inexperienced plowing driver ( im assuming), gravel & dirt, shoulders that drop off and switchbacks are not good combinations.
  3. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    plowing etc.

    Are you a railroader? do you work
    for the UP, BNSF or MRL?

    I only ask because of your use of
    the word Switch Backs-which are
    referred to as a hairpin turn with
    racing and or streets on steep hills.

    As you are a brand new home owner with your
    own unpaved driveway you have a bunch of issues.

    A used 4 wheel drive truck with or without a plow can
    have a lot of hidden issues- been there done that with
    a replacement transmission-and they can be very very
    expensive to repair.

    For the money spent and the total utility of the
    plow equipment I would do it this way if you have
    15,000.00USD budgeted.

    A new Kubota B3030 of John Deere equivalent with
    a year round cab and a front mounted snow blower-
    loaded rear tires
    rear snow chains

    In as much as I hate the front mounts because they
    cost so much more than an equivalent Pronovost
    snow blower and are not as efficient as rear mounts.

    The Kubota folks are always running zero percent
    sales for new tractors and equipment.

    You have the ability to purchase an extended warranty for the B3030
    and Kubota Insurance AND if the tractor is stolen, damaged or totally
    destroyed beyond use they will replace the unit completely.

    OH and ditches are not very forgiving if the shoulders of the
    road are soft AND when you get four wheel drive truck stuck
    you will need a wrecker because the weight of the plow truck will prevent
    it from backing out of deep snow if it slides into it-been there done that.

    You should check on municipal auctions too as you may find a nice
    used loader and all you will need to invest in is a new snow pusher.
  4. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,584

    LOL. Leon checking in! Gotta have a Kubota with a blower or else! :dizzy:

    And he'll be out there all freakin' day with that blower just to get out of his driveway... :dizzy:

    You do know there are other pieces of equipment out there that can move snow right... :dizzy:

    OP, have you called around to hire a contractor yet? 10-15k can hire someone to plow that for you for many years without the headaches, upkeep, insurance costs, etc. that come with having a vehicle sitting around just to plow a driveway. Thumbs Up
  5. mtphoto

    mtphoto Junior Member
    from montana
    Messages: 3

    This is an important issue for us and I appreciate all the comments. I have considered the tractor and blower option but concluded that it would take too long.

    I have also looked into hiring someone and have someone lined up if needed. The Problem is there will be mornings when I HAVE TO GET OUT at 4 am and if it has snowed overnight, I cannot be stuck. This is why I have to be able to get out independently. I have considered options such as leaving a car at the bottom and having a snowmobile but this presents its own set of problems.

    I have been looking at ads for 3/4 ton trucks.....good thing I have a few months to get this worked out.
  6. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.

  7. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    I'm not going to snow on your parade. I'm no professional, but I'll put my tow cents worth in...

    A good 3/4 ton Pickup and plow would do the work quite nicely. 1000' isn't that long, and you've got a place to push the snow, over the road shoulder down the bank.

    I'm assuming you'll be careful of that bank. This comes from a guy who put his 3/4 ton PowerWagon over a bank about 3 years ago. It happened in a split second. It is a danger, especially when you're least ready for it. It's best to MARK that driveway shoulder drop-off so you're not getting too near it when you're pushing snow, or the snow banks over the edge.

    I have a very light plow on a Ford FWD Ranger. The Ranger is dedicated to plowing, that's all it does all year; it does a fine job on my 300' drive. 100' of that is hill I push a lot of snow with it. I do chain it up and that helps. It's nice to be able to clear out my drive and parking areas (another 1300 sqft) in just a few minutes in comfort. During the summer that Ranger is gone over with a fine tooth comb so I know it's going to come thru when needed in the winter. The only time I've had a problem was when I was pushing over 2' of snow and lost a chain, on a hill.

    As for the plow, if you're going to do that two miles of road then get a good plow... one you can fully control. If it fits your budget, a BOSS Snowplow would be wonderful. It's about the most fully configurable plow you can get. At 4am, that's a plus and you can push/stack that snow almost any way you can think of....

    Have you thought about insurance coverage? It could be pretty nasty if you're plowing the road (not your drive) and an accident occurred. This could be a limiting factor.

    Are you planning on taking the truck to work? IMHO, that's another factor of what you'll buy.
  8. Lou Braun

    Lou Braun Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    My vote goes to a 3/4 ton pickup with a plow. Learn how to use that setup and you will easily handle that long driveway. Like others have mentioned, use shoes on the plow when going over gravel.

    Before spending your dollars on a plow setup, ask a local plow guy about what a standard annual plow charge would be. You may find that having a pro do the work is a better choice than purchasing the equipment for your own use.

    You might want to purchase a tractor for other uses. Any tractor with a front plow or a back blade can plow anything. Plowing will be slower than with a pickup, but you can stack and move snow easier with a tractor.

    I have a similar setup. A plow on the front of the F350 is the default choice. The tractor gets used to move snow piles. Last year we had a storm that landed trees, branches and debris in the areas that needed to be cleared. The tractor with a rear blade and front loader was just the ticket for this job.

    Lou Braun
  9. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Id say go with the 3/4 or 1 ton. that can always come in handy for odd jobs around the house or helping someone out during the year, if you keep it on the road.

    Just be careful!
  10. view_sonic

    view_sonic Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    You can find 2nd generation Dodge CTD trucks in your price range. The trick is finding one that is mechanically OK. As far as type of transmission, forget the manual. Almost exclusively, trucks that are rated for high towing capacities
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  11. woodsman

    woodsman Senior Member
    Messages: 119

    This what i use on my 1400 ' gravel driveway, and a 96 F150, works very well.
  12. Aveerainc

    Aveerainc Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 129

    I have a 700' driveway with drop offs and one steep section. Plowed with an ATV which was great for light storms and sucked when I'd wake up to more than 12 inches of the wet stuff. Sucked even more if I had to plow when it was snow/rain/sleet and was not fun.

    Went to a 97 jeep wrangler which was decent but a little light. I am not a fan of Meyer plows either. Sold the rig and bought a 2008 Jeep Wrangler 4 door then added a snow Dogg stainless steel plow. Could not be happier with the set up. It handled the record snow two years ago and the jeep gets me through anything on my way to and from work when the roads are not yet plowed. And I can take the top and doors off the jeep in the summer and have a blast cruising around in it. And the 4 door is a lot heavier than the 97 I had.

    Now if you need to tow horses or a big boat go for a truck with plow because the jeep only tows 3500 pounds.
  13. 90plow

    90plow Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    Why not just buy a fwd suv or truck and drive out and leave the plowing to the other guy whos been doing it? If you cant get out of your drive then you probably wont make it down the street either...
  14. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,322

    I vote for 3/4-1 ton truck with 8'-9' straight blade. Another thing to think about is you need to Plow with the storms. So sleep could be tough. If you can keep your speed up on the main road you can push a good amount of snow. Going down hill you can push more snow than uphill. Push too much snow and your front end can slide. Run some decent ballast with good tires and you should be good to go. I'd recommend a full trip blade as opposed to trip edge.
  15. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    OP hasn't been back since June.

    mtphoto, if you do come back: Have you checked what the other residents are using? It sounds like they have configurations that work fine for them; I imagine a similar rig would work for you. Your budget sounds like more than enough considering you're not looking to also use your truck as a daily driver.
  16. Dennis Baunach

    Dennis Baunach Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    We live in snow country in WA state in the backwoods. We get 3+ feet of snow ea year and I need to plow out about a mile of dirt/gravel logging roads (some my drive and some neighbors). One of the biggest problems is side casting the snow far enough over the banks. It will quickly build up not allowing any more room for more snow. I need to use my backhoe to spend hours pushing it further over the banks.( I plow when I get around 4-6" of snow).

    For the past 17 years I have used various rigs including:

    A case tractor with front and back plow which with didn't work out well. Too slow, I'm out in the elements too long and not heavy / fast enough to side cast the snow over the banks.

    My back-hoe. I made a front blade attachment which when plowing large amounts of snow it would lift the front wheels off the ground. and again too slow to throw the snow over the bank.

    Twelve years ago I finally settled on a late '60s Ford 6cyl gas 3yd. dump truck (Big Blue) with an old county plow on it. I need to put a lot of weight in the bed for balast and chain up the duals to make it up and down the hills. I have never liscenced it and it never goes further than a couple miles from my home. This truck really moves the snow, nothing slows it down but it is a bear to maneuver in tight spots and it 's on it's last leg (pretty well worn when I got it). Even though it's much faster I still run out of room ocationally so put the snow.

    I am now looking at a new used 3/4 ton Dodge pu. to put a plow on next year. I don't see how a V plow would help me as I always need to side cast left or right over a bank. I am sure though a wide plow is absolutely necessary and plenty of speed is necessary to throw the snow over the edge far enough to not build up too high. Also you WILL need shoes on the plow as sugested by the others.

    Call me if you want and I can tell you all about the trial and errors I have made over the years.
    Dennis 509 675-5427

    Dump trk 2a.jpg

    Dump trk 3.jpg

    Dodge ram 97 2.jpg
  17. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I'm another Washington guy that lives about a half mile from where thr county plow stops. I started by hiring it done but quit after he stopped due to no place to put the snow. So dug out with the loader. After using a backblade on my tractor, and also running out of room to push snow by mid-winter, I decided on a 6' rear snowblower. One pass out and one back to the house and I've got it done. Kind of a pain in the neck but it sure works. Don't care how deep or how wet the snow is. It's also nice to have the snow off in the woods when it all melts in the spring rather than having it mud up the road so bad.
  18. SkiJohnnyB

    SkiJohnnyB Member
    Messages: 54

    I have about 800 feet of driveway i plow. 1st 2 years i had a dedicated plow truck that i wound up driving to work every time i plowed (convenience, it was already warm, etc). I gave that up, sold my daily driver and my plow truck and bought a new to me (gently used) truck and put a new plow on it. No reason to maintain an extra vehicle..got the latest easy on/easy off plow. I plow in comfort and then head off to work.