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ProTech vs Avalanche

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by bytor, Nov 8, 2001.

  1. bytor

    bytor Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    New to this forum, and finding it pretty informative. However, there's little discussion of the comparison of these pushers, and what there is is pretty old. Maybe the info is obsolete now?

    So, which of these is better?

    Here's what I know about them so far.

    ProTech: Available locally (Kansas City). $5100 for the 14-footer, which weighs 1600 lbs. $4900 for the 12-footer, which weighs about 1450 lbs.

    Avalanche: Nearest source seems to be near Chicago. $3870 for the 14-footer and $3690 for the 12-footer. 1400 lbs on the 14-footer. $700 shipping, which makes it worthwhile for me to drive out and get it except I'd probably have to pay $300 tax on it.

    These prices are for the ones I'd personally use, which would be to go on a 94 Case 580SK 4WD.

    Seems to me a snow-pusher is definitely the way to go since I can have my cake and eat it too. Can push a LOT of snow, then if I need to, I can easily unhook the pusher and use the 1-yard loader.

    A big downside is that everything will take two trips. Can't transport the backhoe with the pusher mounted because it'd be too wide. And the pushers are too tall for the backhoe to straddle it on the trailer. I've got a 30-foot gooseneck trailer so I'm thinking *maybe* I can pull way forward on the trailer, with the loader bucket on top of the gooseneck, and use the backhoe to lift the pusher onto the trailer, rest the backhoe on it, and chain it down. I have serious doubts my truck (99 F350 DRW) can handle the backhoe being this far forward on the trailer, though. And potentially dangerous with the loader up so high and not being able to use the outriggers (because I'm on the trailer) when lifting a 1400-1600 lb pusher onto the trailer.

    Maybe using the backhoe to put the pusher on top of the gooseneck (it'd clear my cab by a good foot or so -- still could have a problem with sudden inclines) before loading the backhoe?

    But that's almost another subject.

    The local ProTech guy is emailing me a comparo sheet for the ProTech and Avalanche and I'll post relevant portions when I get it.

    In the experience of folks here, who have used both, is the ProTech enough better than the Avalanche to warrant a $1200 price difference?

    Also, someone earlier mentioned wanting to be able to put a big weight in place of the backhoe bucket, which is understandable considering at least 1600 lbs being carried right on the front lip of the loader.

    Mine's an extend-a-hoe, which makes it pretty heavy to start, but I plan to keep my 3-foot bucket on it when I'm pushing snow. Should be plenty, since this machine gets real light in the front end with that bucket on it. I can't even go up comparatively moderate hills without a full loader.

    Barring that, I would think you could just take the boom out of the transport position if your hydraulics are tight enough that it won't creep down on you, and/or stick the dipper out, keeping in mind the raised center of gravity.

    When I'm doing loader work and need a lot of counterbalance out back (like when moving wet clay), I've found that moving what weight you have further back is just as good as having more weight.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2001
  2. Winterworks

    Winterworks PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 97

    I just bought 2 protechs based on price. The Candian model (propusher) was half the price of the Avalanche up here. I looked at the Avalanche's and they appeared very well made and very sturdy. I just could not beat the Protech price. In your case I would go with the Avalanche.
    How far apart are your accounts? Up here everyone drives around with pusher boxes on that are that size. Technically you need a permit for that width however no one bothers you. Put a couple of flags on each corner and go. You are nullifying the time savings with the pusher by loading and unloading your machine.
  3. bytor

    bytor Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Just called the folks at http://www.wsint.com/snow equipment/protech_bsp.htm and they're about $700 cheaper than the local folks for the 14-foot ProTech. $4200 plain, and $4350 with chain binders. Binders a $150 option? Forgot to ask if these are the same thing as the load binders I've got in abundant supply.

    Downside is they're also in northern Illinois, which likely means the $700 savings would get eaten up in shipping, although I'm waiting for them to call me back with a shipping amount.

    I was thinking about trying to see if I could find buyers for about 8 or so of them locally and I could go get them and give everyone pretty cheap shipping, but realistically there's no time for that now.

    Hauling with the pusher attached? That scares me. Maybe road lanes are the "wrong size" up there just like your football fields. hehe

    My trailer's 102 inches wide, and fills a lane as it is. Would be very nervous about a 168-inch wide load, resulting in 33 inches of overhang on both sides. 3 feet of my load going over the center line on two-lane. Nah. Can't make myself do it. Taking out cars on my left and mailboxes on my right. <grin>

    I'll only be doing snow removal at one place, so perhaps the answer is to leave the pusher there and chain it to a light pole. It's not like everyone who drives by will happen to have bolt-cutters and a backhoe handy to steal it. Have even considered leaving the trailer and backhoe there (there's plenty of room for that) all winter if I can secure it enough. Or take the trailer home so a thief would have to provide his own.

    That's a pretty scary thought, too, but if I have a hidden battery disconnect, then I guess my only concern would be vandalism. And while glass isn't prohibitively expensive, the whole reason I'm getting into snow-pushing is because I can spend most of the time in a WARM cab while keeping the new business going in the winter. :)

    I guess there are lots of possibilities to make the equipment extremely difficult to steal, though heavy equipment theft is a huge problem out here, and nothing will make it impossible.
  4. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    I own just over 200 snow pushers..... all ProTech's.

    My opinion is that the ProTech is built better than Avalanche. Avalanche has two side suppor struts which will not allow the side panel to 'fail' in a side collision (like striking a curb from the side). ProTech's have a built in failure point. This is good. If the side panel doesn't fail the stress is transfered to the bucket support arms. Expensive date when them there baby's snap. Rather the side panel fail than the arms on the loader. This has actually happened with an Avalanche or two (and I've spoken to the people it happened to).

    ProTech has great customer support if there is a problem (from personal experience).

    As for pricing - if you have no dealer in your market, you can go direct. I can give you contact names if you email me your email address......

    As for the binders.... get the cheap ones aftermarket or mail order. ProTech knows they are not in the binder business. We purchase ours from A. W. Direct for about $24 each. The chains are not there to hold the pusher on the loader bucket. They are there to prevent side to side sway. If used properly there is no need to put undue stress on the chain. No need to "dump" at the end of the run.... merely raise the bucket (level) and the snow drops out the bottom. We have guys that are very good at stacking the snow with the pushers, but they never dump the bucket as there is no need. One more thing... just get one binder per pusher. You don't need two. One side chain can be sized to hook with little slack and the other side (with the binder) can be snugged up to stop sway during travel and/or pushing.

    As for size and transporting from place to place - in most of the markets we are in we use 12 footers and drive them on the road (not quite legal, we know), and in our own market here in Erie we run 14 footers on the road (although we get a boatload of snow here and it's just accepted that this happens - all will be fine as long as we don't cause an accident along the way somewhere).

    Also, we "station" pushers at large sites, and then just move the loader from site to site.

    One more thing.... the BSP model will work just fine on a 2.5 yard bucket articulating loader, even though they recommend the SP model. That's how well they are built.....

    Oh.... and I doubt you'll have to chain it to a tree. We have them stationed on sites in 6 states, and have not lost a one. I know another contractor in New Jersey that has about 70 of them and he hasn't had any stolen either. That's a damned large item to stick in your trunk and drive away with. Takes some work.

    We also have our decal on each unit (both end plates) and the advertising is great.... and we get lots of inquiries just from the pushers sitting on customers sites..... Cheap advertising.

    If you have more questions, email me and I'll try to assist as much as I can.....

    As you can tell, I'm a proponent of ProTech's......
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2001
  5. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    I have 2 14' ProTech Snow Pushers.

    I bought them on impulse, the price was right, and they really help when the time crunch is on. Over night, and early morning.
    However during the day we switch back to a regular blade, because there are too many cars in the lot to use a pusher. If we didn't have the blades, we probably wouldn't switch.

    As far as getting them on site. We get the loaders on site first, then we go around with a pusher on a trailer, and unload it with the loader. We just leave our pushers, un chained and they haven't been stolen.

    However we leave the blade on the loaders, because if its a day storm, the blade is on and we are ready to go. If its a night storm, it is easier to take the blade off, and hook up to the pusher.

    The ProTech pushers have stood up fine to tough Maine winters. Would probably use more pushers if there were bigger lots around here. However most lots around here are so small that during the day the pusher is often too big.

  6. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 700

    I have 4 protechs, 3 14' and one 16'. I like the simplicity of the hook ups,often we don't even bind our on just throw a lose chain around the back of the bucket so they dont get away from the loader.The are often off and on many times during a night so that we can clean loading docks and stack snow.The Avalanch seems fine but the price is usually to high and from what I have seen of the bucket hook up, it would be tough to use a bucket with teeth which we some times do if we get caught doing something else with the loader when it snows. We use our Pro techs all the time even during the day, we store ours on site and usually just transport ours from site to site right down the road.
  7. lm116

    lm116 Junior Member
    Messages: 16


    When I was at the BBQ at Taconic I ran into 2 other manufactors of pushers. I believe one was RCS sno-pushers and the other Strom sno-pusher. Not a 100% sure on names. These guys I believe had worked for Pro-Tech and then started there own companies.
    The RCS was simalir to the Pro-tech but had a few different features.
    The strom pusher was a completely different monster altogether.
    They were less expensive than Pro-Tech if memory does not fail me, but maybe someone else from the BBQ has better info.
    Hope this helps.
  8. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    My 2 cents is more to do with your counter-weight question bytor.

    I take the big rear bucket off in the winter and put either the 12" or 18" on for the winter. Two reasons. Visibility as they are narrower and 2) - I keep sharp teeth on them to pick away at frost if the occasion comes up to do some waterline work. A wide bucket or dull teeth are useless in frozen ground. Never felt the need for more weight, but you could put a couple hundred pounds of pickled sand in the rear bucket too, or consider loading the rear tires if needed.

    From the land of frozen ground 6 months of the year....
  9. Winterworks

    Winterworks PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 97

    John, my new Protech "pro-pushers" have two side support arms similar to the Avalanche. Not sure why they went with that but it could be due to the fact that the side panels are just sheet steel with no framing like the old models. They are also stitch welded instead of full welds. We will see how they hold up. I compared my new ones to an Avalanche. The Avalanche looks better finished due to the full welds however at nearly half the price I can pay for a lot of welding!. The protechs are also a nice shade of ORANGE instead of the usual yellow!
  10. Taconic

    Taconic PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 180


    The RCS pusher boxes seem a bit heavier than the Pro Tesc or Avalanche boxes and come standard with a poly edge as well as thicker side walls.I can get anyone more info on these boxes if you like just give me a ring.
    John Parker
  11. Pro-Tech

    Pro-Tech Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 6

    Which is better?

    Hi guy's,
    If you want any comparison info I have a couple documents I would be more than happy to e-mail, fax or whatever. Some of the larger differences are that the chanel supports on the back of the Avalanche are made out of bent plate. They use 2 pieces of bent plate, Pro-Tech uses 3 structural channel . Bending plate creates a weak point at the bend. Pro-Tech uses a structural channel which is measured by pound per foot and is actually thicker at the bend. The welding process are different also. Avalanche uses a process called hard wire or "MIG" welding where as Pro-Tech uses "Flux Core" welding which is considered a structural weld because of it's deep penatration into the steel. Pro-Tech made in the USA and a 10 year warranty on non wearing parts.

  12. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    As a welder who is competent in stick, mig and tig welding I would question your rating of welding. I think that mig welding is penetrating when done corecttly. I know that welds I make mig or stick will hold up.

    75 what is your opinion on this?
  13. Pro-Tech

    Pro-Tech Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 6

    welding process

    MIG (hard wire) welding is definetly a good weld, but Flux core gets better penetration. Fireman how are you? We met at the Taconic show.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2001
  14. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    Pro-Tech is a helpful person if he is who I think he is. Don't want to say names in case he wants some anonymity. I just spoke with him over the telephone earlier today for the first time. Very straight forward guy IMO.

    Not trying to brown-nose. Just thought I'd let others know he wasn't some slick talkin' factor rep who tried to sell me some line of crap about his product.
  15. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I know him personally as well and glad to see he is on the site now.
  16. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    I am sure "75" can tell us what weld is the best.

  17. bytor

    bytor Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Well, well, well! Fantastic, informative replies, guys. Thanks!

    I've ordered my ProTech 14-footer and should have it in a week or two. The reasons I went this route are:

    1. Seems strongly favored here.

    2. 8-gauge vs 10-gauge.

    3. Local guy was extremely helpful.

    4. Turned out the $5100 quote I got was for a different model. "Only" $4600 for the correct one, so the premium came down to about $700 instead of $1200.

    As for keeping equipment on-site, whoever talked about just leaving the pusher on-site makes a good case. I'll go that route. I'd like to leave the trailer and backhoe there, too, but doubt I'll be able to make myself do that even though it's the only place I'll use either during the winter.

    As much as I hate hauling it that far, I guess I'd hate worse not having it anymore. hehe

  18. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    Well, just got home from a day of (stick) welding. ;)

    I'm going to have to weigh in on the side of "flux-core" for heavy structural welding - that's not to say that MIG is a bad process by any means, but for applications like pusher boxes, loader buckets etc, flux-core is the way to go. Weld penetration is good, another plus is "deposition rate", in other words the amount of weld metal that can be laid down in a set time, especially on 'dem b-i-g groove welds. :D

    At work, we generally use the MIG for fabbing miscellaneous metals (such as stairs & railings) and lighter gauge material, while flux-core is used for the welding on structural steel (columns, beams, etc) And, of course, good 'ol stick for the bulk of the "field work".
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2001
  19. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    What did I tell ya, the Man with all the answers when it comes to welding.

  20. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Not to counteract you 75. You have much more experience than me.

    I have done some pretty serious fabbing with my mig. I do use the stick welder when out in the field. All I know is that you can do solid work with either if you prepare the work while. I have a few truckframe and heavy trailer repairs done with a mig. I also have made numerous repairs out in the snow using the old stick welder because of inabilty to get the machine to the shop.