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Plowing a road w/tractor-blower attachment

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by seekay, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40


    Looking for advice from pros or homeowners who've had similar experiences/dilemmas.

    We live about 2/10th of a mile down a quite narrow private road. By narrow I'm talking 12-14 ft at the widest point and often less, maybe even 10 ft.

    We bought the place in the spring and so haven't dealt with the plowing issue yet. I am looking to hire out this year and see how it goes cost-wise, but am also trying to figure out the best equipment to possibly invest in.

    While the people who have lived here prior to us have plowed, I've nearly gone deaf hearing horror stories from our one set of neighbors, who live about another half-mile down the road. They and the folks we bought from have been plowing the road.

    This has been problematic because the road gets darn narrow as winter here in Maine bears on (and on) (and on).

    They even had to bring in some heavy equipment last season to move some of the snow.

    This year, I was planning to hire out my share of the work (preferably, I'd simply like to pay my neighbor but we haven't struck that deal yet.) (Oh and I'd also like to get something for my tax money and have the town do it but no....)

    But I'm still in the hunt/research for equipment. It seems like given the narrowness of this road, a snowblower would make more sense than a plow if all a plow is going to do is cause hassles in late winter.

    Coming from my perspective, which is COMPLETELY based on presumptions and not experience, it seems like a nice wide-cut snowblower, say on a John Deere, would be the right tool for this job.

    Yes, a fifth of a mile is not short, but if the cut is 44-inches then that shouldn't be too many passes. Up and back twice would do it, no? What depth of snow can one of these rigs reasonably move?

    Please don't hold back if I'm being hopelessly naive. I really want to make the right call here. Any advice, shared experiences you guys have would be mucho appreciated.


  2. plowmaster07

    plowmaster07 Senior Member
    Messages: 438

    Well, I personally think that you have a few options, first, can you put a plow on your vehicle?? Second, I would consider a JD compact tractor maybe in the 3000-4000 series, roughly 40hp. with a blower ( biggest one you can get) with a cab. Are you going to be using the tractor year round? Or just for the winter? With a loader, you can get the plow blade mounted on your loader arms, for great stacking, and banking pushing. Or like you mentioned, you can hire it out. Not sure on a price though. Im not sure on the depth they can easily handle, I think their built so they can take in 18" of snow... doesn't mean that it will throw it.
  3. Mick

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

    Whereabouts are you in Maine? If close enough, I'd come and give you some advise. I've been plowing those type of roads for years. Basically, if you can drive through it; you can plow it. The worst is if there are hills or hills with curves. Then, you just slow down.

    Don't let the natives buffalo you.
  4. stillen

    stillen Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    hmmm, i'd have to see this road to make a guesstimate, BUT.... since it;s a private road, i'm betting you could easily find a beater with a 8 foot plow on craigs list. You know one of those deals that say " Yard plows only"...... I see them around here for like 200 BUX... sure its a cab with egg crates as seats and a welded solid fisher, using the exhaust as yor cabin heater ..but it gets the job done..
  5. plowmaster07

    plowmaster07 Senior Member
    Messages: 438

    I think that your idea would definitely be the cheapest way to go. Just don't try to put a plate on it. What do you do for work in Leominster.
  6. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow blower


    You are not hopelessly naive, you simply wish to be an informed consumer;

    Their are a lot postings about snow blowers and tractors on the web page here and I would invite you to browse through them simply because it is a decision you have to make.

    I would strongly advise you to look at the www.tractorbynet.com web site become a member there and read the postings on compact utility tractors and snow removal equipment.

    The problem with the Kubota B3030 tractors is the noisy cabin but if you use ear plugs with a 33 decible reduction rating its not an issue the blower on those units are 60 inches wide and work very well.

    If you by more power than you need you will have a tractor with a very long life span that barely works when move snow and ice with a blower.

    Buying a farm tractor rated blower is also a must due to the quality and strength of welds and the gear box and saying that a lot of folks have kubota 2350's with blowers and have zero issues period the 2360 models are the latest version. my neighbor has a Kubota 2350 with a heated "Laurent" brand cab, wiper blades etc. with work lights etc. and she has snow blower and cleans her monster driveway with a long slope and she loves it as it has plenty of power and it is user friendly with the hydrostatic drive.

    A lot of folks put a blower on the rear and a loader on the front to clean small areas and stack snow to be blown out etc.

    A front or rear mounted tractor snow blower is no wider than the wheel width of the tractor-no matter the size.

    Maintaining access is the issue as I have mentioned time and time again. if you need a fire truck or ambulance call the road has to be open wide and clear for access.

    Having a higher horse power tractor with a snow blower such as the 3000-4000 series john deere or a kubota grand L series with either a front blower and rear blade or a front and rear blower or a rear blower and front loader.

    A good cab on a tractor with heat (and a radio as a side issue) is a must have in winter

    Tractors of this size will handle huge amounts of packed iced over snow fall easily and get rid of it quickly for you.

    The smaller gas engine tractors have a problem with lack of power simply because they are ment only for smaller driveways.

    You failed to mention if the road is asphault or dirt and that is an issue with throwing stones if the houses are close to the road- but a non issue with a big blower as the snow can be blown forward until you have an open space on the side of the road.

    A private road will fall under the same criteria as a public road as far as access for emergency vehicles as a fire truck has to be able to move in and out and turn around.

    Thier are a lot of used tractors and snow blowers on the market and a used piece of equipment is always a gamble, but saying that a good equipment dealer is an asset.

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2009
  7. sbt1

    sbt1 Member
    Messages: 59

    Skip the JD. Get a real tractor, a Simplicity. You'll be able to move that snow no problem. And it'll last 30 years. I have two of 'em, made in 1975. Still going strong.

    Plowmaster, with all due respect it's a Meyer, not Meyers. No "s".
  8. plowmaster07

    plowmaster07 Senior Member
    Messages: 438

    All fixed! :redbounce thanks for catching that.:)

  9. jtdiesel65

    jtdiesel65 Junior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 3

    I've been using a 6 ft front mount blower on a Kubota L3710 (37 hp) along with a 3 pt hitch 6-7 ft scraper blade. The scraper blade is manual adjust and can be set offset. Rear tires are loaded and have chains. I don't have a cab because I also use the tractor as a skidder, brush hog, etc, etc. The cab wouldn't last 2 seconds in the woods so it's not an option.

    There is nothing like getting a face full of freshly blown snow in sub zero temps.

    If your driveway has any length to it, you do not want to be plowing or snowblowing backwards because your neck and back just won't hold up. Unfortunately a front mount blower is way more money than a 3pt hitch blower. You would also need to make sure the tractor you get has a front or mid-mount pto shaft.

    You will not be able to use a 3 pt hitch scraper blade driving forward for heavy or deep snow. The reason is the tractor (one which a howeowner might have) will not have enough weight in the front and the tires will not have the traction required to keep the tractor straight. You will need to use turning brakes to maintain a track and that won't always work.

    If you have a gravel driveway, you will be buying shear pins by the box...and there is nothing like changing out shear pins in subzero weather. If you snowblow when the ground is unfrozen, the blower will pick up rocks and even with shear pins, you get some damage. I'm on my second paddle and I've had the auger push a rock completely through the steel that forms the back of the blower.

    In terms of speed, blowing is OK when the snow is light and not very deep..perhaps up to 6 inches. If its wet or deeper, speed drops off. If it's real deep like 12" or more, speed can drop all the way down to 1 mph or perhaps less.

    What I tend to do now is use only the blade when the ground is not frozen. If the snow is not too deep, I'll turn it around so as to use the backside of the blade. If I do this, I don't pull up gravel and rocks and it acts to pack and smooth the surface somewhat which is better for the blower later.

    When it snows and we expect a large amount, what I try to do now is make several passes driving forward using just the scraper blade during the snow storm..so I never let the snow accumulate past what the blade can handle driving forward. It's just much faster using the blade than the blower. If banks start becoming a problem, I'll either use the blower or offset and turn the blade around and going backwards, use the blade to scoop and roll the banks over into the ditches.

    I recently bought a truck with a plow and I'm hoping to use it for much of my snow removal now. The reason being is the time required to plow and sick of being out in the elements. I plow 1/2 mile and two short driveways. A basic "get it so people can get out" is about a 2 hr job even when the snow is not that deep. A thorough snow removal is about 4 hrs.
  10. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,236

    Quote of the day folks.


    Cuz we all know Simplecity's are built as good now as they were 30 years ago.
  11. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Seekay-I would also be willing to come by and look. Get your post count up so you can Private Message and let me and Mick know where you are. Or put up the county you are in, that will let us know if you are close enough.

    It sounds like a blower is the way to go if you want to do it yourself. You don't have to worry about the bankings building up. If you are going to use a truck plow this year, Find a local contractor with a wing truck. Get him in there every couple of storms to push stuff back so you have some room. Maybe your neighbor can plow the road, you'll pay for the wing truck.

    As for a tractor, it depends on you budget. If you buy a JD X360, you can put cab and blower on for about for about 10G. No heat, it's an air cooled engine. The more you spend, the more creature comforts and power you get.
  12. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Like my Bolen's snow thrower. I have a 77. 1/8 plate steel for the auger housing. They still make em like that, right?
  13. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,478

    I've got a 320' driveway that's got a turnaround as well. As you can see in the pictures, I've got a retaining wall and trees that block one entire side of the driveway. And on the other side I've only got about 50' of open space where I can pile plowed snow. Instead of plowing my own driveway I use a 24 HP Craftsman garden tractor with a 46" blower on it. This way I'm able to put the snow exactly where I want it, and don't have to drive all over my lawn early in the plowing season to push the first snows back far enough to make room for snow that I get late in the season. It just depends on your given situation as to what works best for you. And by the way, I'm able to blow my entire drive in about 20 minutes, and I'm able to blow about 12" of snow 30*40' which is plenty for my situation. If you submitted pictures it would be easier to give you advice.

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