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searching for a V-plow

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Kent Drummond, Mar 31, 2003.

  1. Kent Drummond

    Kent Drummond Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I'm a new subscriber to the forum and hope someone out there will be able to offer some guidance or suggestions. I live in southeastern Wyoming and we occasionally get major dumps of snow, such as the "Blizzard of '03" which we had a couple weeks ago. Along with our snow, we usually have a follow up with very strong winds, which blows and packs the snow so hard you can walk on it without leaving foot prints.

    I have a 1963 Unimog 404, to which I've adapted a used Northman 7.5' blade and it's very effective, however, when we get the hard, windpacked snow, it takes me quite a while to break into it and get it pushed to one side of our road (the downwind side).

    I would like to acquire, if such a thing exists, a fixed V-plow, which I could attach to the same mounting apparatus that I have for the Northman. It's the old fashioned type, just a couple pivot pins at the back of the plow, and a chain which nests in the electric/hydraulic (Meyer) lift unit.

    My thinking is that with a fairly pointed V-plow, I could more easily make the initial pass through the wind packed snow, and then switch out to my straight blade for final clearing of our road.

    I have attached a picture of my Unimog with plow attached.

    Thanks in advance for any responses.

    Kent Drummond
    Cheyenne, WY

  2. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Kent... I surely don't have any answers besides picking up a Blower..

    That is one cool ride though! Welcome
  3. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    I'll tell you what I know.

    Ok, now I'll tell you what i think, LOL

    nben has a vplow like you described. One of my Highschool buddies dads had one from an old county road grader. It must have been at least 10' wide, course it probably weighed a good 1500#. I bet local gov't auctions would have some pretty beefy stuff and maybe even a fixed v-plow like you want. Unfortunatley that is all the insight and information that I can offer.

  4. nben

    nben Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    Welcome to Plowsite! Yes, we have an old fixed vee plow. It is one that my father picked up about fifteen years ago from a local company that deals in snow removal equipment (http://www.s-a-mclean.com/ ). The plow originally was only about 6'6" wide, so he had a local fabrication shop widen it to about 8'6". The a-frame portion of the plow was also modified to fit a standard Fisher push beam. I have no idea what brand the plow is, but I would guess that it was 15-20 years old when he originally picked it up.

    The fab. work really isn't a big deal and would tackle the job myself now (I was only 12 at the time). The plow works GREAT for busting holes through tall banks, breaking out roads, and busting drifts. I can only remember using it twice, we run hydraulic vees now and thankfully haven't had the need. One huge drawback to the blade is there is NO trip mechanism whatsoever! The one time that I did get to operate it, I found that you didn't need a lot of speed for the plow to be effective.

    Here is a pic:

  5. nben

    nben Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    Here's another pic with the blade mounted on a former truck of ours:

  6. Rooster

    Rooster Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 650

  7. Kent Drummond

    Kent Drummond Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Thanks to all who have responded to my query about a V-plow. The one nben showed is exactly what I'm looking for. I'll check out the sites recommended as possible sources and see what comes up.

    I'm a little skeptical about ex-highway deparment equipment, because I suspect anything they have might be too heavy. My Northman weighs about 900 pounds, and I'd like to stay close to that range, so that my Meyer hydraulics won't be overwhelmed trying to lift the V.

    Anyway, good suggestions so far. Keep your eyes peeled an the suggestions coming :)

  8. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Kent, maybe it is just the pic you posted, but, do you run any ballast in the bed of the truck when plowing? That makes a BIG difference in how effective your plow will be. I just spent half of this winter plowing with a V plow on a truck with plenty of power, but even in light snows it performed poorly, due to a lack of weight in the rear. I was having problems breaking through in the /\ position in places that trucks with ballast and straight plows were not having problems. Having that big wedge up front is no use if you don't have the umph behind it. I was having traction problems, not a lack of power. I know you have no lack of power, and I see the chains, so I know you can get traction. Put a few BIG logs in the bed of the truck for the winter, if you have not tried ballast.

  9. Kent Drummond

    Kent Drummond Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Hi Chuck,

    The Unimog weighs 6000 pounds empty, and I have 18 five gallon buckets full of concrete (at 100# ea) loaded in the back against the tailgate.

    Unimogs have manual locking differentials, so if one wheel has traction, I go. First gear is 112.87:1 ratio, several times lower than a conventional 4WD with low range. Clearance under the differentials is 15". I assure you, traction is no problem :) I can push wet, heavy snow straight ahead as far as there's room to push.

    My biggest problem is with the wind packed snow that's about 6" to 2' deep. The straight blade just folds forward, or if angled, pulls me off to the side. The way I overcome it is to drive the mog forward with the blade raised, to break up the hardpack. Then I can back up and push it. Unfortunately, this is time consuming and generally hard on the drive train.

    I've attached a picture of part of the pile I pushed up along our road last Saturday.


  10. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Kent, 6000# + 1800 = 7,800#.... That is not much, even compared to some 1 ton trucks with a loaded V box full of salt. There are posts on here of guys running at 11,000# when loaded full of salt. I would be more inclined to have 2,800# of ballast in the Mog. I know how low 1st gear is in the Mog, as a young guy into 4 wheeling, for me a Mog was a dream truck :D Most of the guys on here know that a Unimog is the "tank" of 4wd's.

    Like you said, when angled, the resistance of the snow slides the rear of the truck. The same thing used to happen to me in a Jeep I had, that was just too light. I had little in the options dept for adding weight, but you have room, and I believe the (rated) capacity for it.

    What you are trying to do is similar to highway plows winging back compacted windrows along the highway, only you are trying to do it head on. They need weight to do the job, and they have it.

    Since I have no experience with a fixed V plow, I will draw on experience with a tractor/front end loader. When trying to move compacted snow, steering is only possible by using the split brake pedal (and even that is not the greatest). I wonder if it would be hard for you to control where the truck "wants" to go with a fixed V, and the somewhat sharp turns of your road/driveway?

    Maybe Geoff D. (hint) will give some input, as he has experience with bigger trucks, wing plows, and road plowing. I think some of your problem is you are trying to do a job that is not what the plow is designed for (moving deep, hard, compacted snow). Another thing which might not be possible, is "plowing wih the storm". You mention 2' of compacted snow. Is it possible for you to get out and make a pass or two before the snow gets that deep? Most guys on here plow every 6" or so, depending on the account, and how fast the snow is coming down. Since (I ASSume) you are only plowing your road/driveway that you have the time to make several passes during the storm, instead of waiting until the end?

    I am just throwing ideas out here for you :)

    Another option, though it could end up in breakage, is to replace the trip springs on the plow with solid tie rods. MANY years ago, Meyer plows had optional tie rods to replace the trip springs so you could use the plow to grade soil. IF you are running the plow on a gravel road/driveway, then you may be running it just off the surface as it is, and not really need the tripping protection? Again, just a thought.

  11. Kent Drummond

    Kent Drummond Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Hi Chuck,

    Thanks for all your comments. I really appreciate them. Also, it's good to know that you're aware of what a Unimog is and of it's capabilities.

    You did mention something that I've been considering, and that's replacing the trip springs with solid rods. All I'm clearing is about one mile of dirt road, so there are no curbs or other hazards under the snow which would cause problems.

    With respect to the weight of the mog with ballast, I think it's plenty adequate, given that I have no traction problems at all. The back end doesn't swing. It's the hardness of the snow when the plow is angled that pulls the front end to one side, as the plow is folding forward. If the blade is square, the blade just flops forward, until I can build enough snow against it to keep it upright. Then I can push forward with no problem. If installing solid rods would keep the blade upright, I might be able to peel the hardpack snow up and keep working that way.

    As for plowing regularly to prevent the snow from building up, that would require plowing around the clock. When we have our screaming ground blizzards, the snow drifts back in almost as fast as I can clear it. For instance. It was nearly two feet deep when I left work last Friday at 2:00 p.m. to go open our road so some neighbors could get through. It was clear when I left for work in the morning. I plowed for 4-1/2 hours and it was in pretty good shape when I quit for dinner at 7:30. When I went out again in the morning, it wasn't as bad, maybe 1 foot deep, but hard as concrete. I got a basic path through in about an hour, but I'm sure, had I had a V-plow like that shown in nben's attached picture, I could have pushed straight through the accumulated hard pack. From an initial path, it would have been easy to put the straight blade back on and finish the clearing.

    In conditions such as we have, a rotary would be the most ideal, but I can't justify the expense of a larger Unimog with a snowcutter. One of the things I've been looking at is a Hanson Sno pump. Again, an expensive alternative. I've been clearing our roads for 25 years with a 38" wide two stage rotary on our Gravely tractor. Blowing snow is the best way to go, because the rotary tosses it up and the wind carries it off. No berms to cause more drifting. Unfortunately, a small rotary is slow, and in the really hard packed snow, not very effective. I'm just trying to get the best of all worlds. The Unimog, in it's present configuration can do it all eventually.

    Having said that, based on my experience and observations over the past two weeks, I'm convinced in my mind that a fixed V would be a real enhancement :)

  12. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    I think your main problem is the plow is too light duty. I would watch for a used, heavy duty 2 way Frink or Everest road plow. This will require a different hydro system then your electric pump, so you are looking at an expensive upgrade. I would also load up with some weight, and that will help you a lot.

    I December we recieved about 22 or 24" of snow. Not all of our shop area got plowed, some spots had drives 3 or 4' high. I was able to plow this area with a loaded single axel 2 wheel drive dump truck. The truck has a road ranger tranny, with deep low reduction, combined with a 7 yards of sand, the truck went right through it.

  13. Rooster

    Rooster Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 650

  14. Kent Drummond

    Kent Drummond Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for the links. I've been a participant on the Unimog listserve since 1995 and am very familiar with all the possible attachments for Uniomgs, including those made by Schmidt. The problem is that my Unimog is a 404 (gas engine) and was never intended to be a snowplow. The setup I've made is all fabrication, and for my purposes, works great. If I was into serious snow removal on a full winter basis, then I'd pursue one of the larger, diesel powered models, for which the Schmidt attachments are designed.

    All I really want is a lead on an old, small, fixed V-plow that I can pick up for a few hundred bucks and adapt to attach to the same plow mount that I have on my mog. It shouldn't be that hard :(

  15. hyperpack

    hyperpack Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    Fixed V Plow

    I have used a couple different brands of Big V plows and have talked to several old timers who have used them alot, and decided on a Falls Plow To put on my 15 ton grader. This plow has a 8 foot cutting width and about 11 foot at the tips of the wings, it also has alot of lift to the moldboard. This type of plow rolls and lifts the snow about 3 feet off the ground before it rolls off the tip of the wings. It takes much less power and speed with this plow than the ones that are like a wedge and just slide the snow off to the sides without lifting and rolling it. There are a couple brands that make each type of plow, I just can't remember the names it's been a few years since I was buying mine.
    I do have a nice little fixed V plow I would sell , I can measure it up when I get a chance if you are interested. It looks like it would be a good match for your truck but It may be a little heavy for the Meyer lift to handle. I think any fixed V might be too much for that type of lift, Not because of the overall weight but because these plows are much longer. I am in northern Wisconsin, If you hurry I could put you to work for a couple hours, More snow is predicted for the next couple days. I would love to get a chance to try out your truck, And you could run the loader or grader.
  16. nben

    nben Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    I just got back from a two day trip, got your mail, and read all the responses. Geoff has a good point about your plow being too small. Everest makes a nice 9' quick-switch dustpan that probably wouldn't be too big for that truck. We currently are looking for a used one for our HD3500 wing truck. One of the biggest advantages that it would have over your straight plow would be the right-side blade discharge height. It has a nice curve that would throw and pile the snow higher on the road edges, making your truck less of a bulldozer.

    On another note, gotta love those Gravelys. We currently run two of them and are super machines. Durable and versatile all year long! We also run a couple of Walkers with blowers, but when the deep heavy stuff hits, the Gravelys will cut circles around the Walkers. :D
  17. kojak

    kojak Member
    Messages: 32


    I saw a solution to your situation a few years back. A guy in eastern Europe with a similar setup to yours mocked up a reversed ripper to the back of the truck, and would back up, and chew the snow up / turn around and plow it.

    I know it would be time consuming and is not ideal, but if you cant find a blade that works , it might be worth a shot.

  18. Before you go to replacing the springs with solid rods here is a trick that we have used. Bolt a heavy, strong chain from the upper portion of the blade near where the springs bolt on to and run the chain to the A frame. The chains can keep the springs from working. Be careful.
  19. farmertim

    farmertim Member
    Messages: 95


    Oshkosh makes (or use to) a fixed V thats 7.5 ' wide and rolls snow back about 4 foot high.
    it weighs my guess about 600lbs and even in granny gear it rolls the snow back well.
    It has a severe angle which makes the plow long (about 10 foot) but it will cut through frozen and packed snow like no tomorrow.
    The one I have had a three point Ag hitch that I was able to weld a western HD 9' A frame into to use for my fast hitch on my 100 hp loader tractor.
    I assume you could do the same to fit the pins on your unimog.
    I don't know if the pump will lift it or not for the leverage is pretty heavy given it is a long plow.
    Western also made one for pickups, but don't know how many years ago but it was maybe 7 foot wide is all.
    There is a few of those oshkosh V's around here mostly loggers use to use them to clear the logging roads now they are selling them because they all have plows on their pickups and they have good roads to log off of.
    I know of a mid size V for sale for 800.00 but its bigger than mine but its about 9' wide and will roll snow up about 5 foot and then over its bank it makes as it goes along.
    It currently has a female road plow hitch set up like you see on county trucks ect.
    I can get more details if you want.
  20. Kent Drummond

    Kent Drummond Junior Member
    Messages: 6


    Thanks to all for the responses. I've been busy on another project and haven't checked in for a few days. I'll try to answer each in turn as they were posted.

    Kojak - Trying to rig something on the back of the mog would be pretty cumbersome. For the amount of time that would take, I can just as easily drive the mog forward into the hardpacked snow with the blade rasied, to break it up, and then go at it again with the blade lowered.

    RWK - A fixed chain to keep the blade from tipping is a thought. All things considered, as annoying as it is to have the blade tip, it probably prevents more serious damage.

    Tim - The Oshkosh V sounds like it might be just the thing. I have a line on a V over in Nebraska. I've sent pictures of my Unimog and it's mounting setup over to the owner and he's going to make an assessment as to whether or not he thinks it might work. If it looks postive, I'll be taking a drive over to check it out.

    We've had about 10" new snow since Saturday. Fortunately, the wind hasn't packed it hard, so the straight blade has been working just fine. Four quick passes and the entire road is cleared :)