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Buy equipment or wait and see

  • Use the bucket on the CAT

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Too long didn't read at bottom

We just moved to western Montana from Eastern Washington before Christmas in 2021. We moved to a rental at 3600ft and it was really not that bad. The first piece of property we tried to buy was at 4100ft and it got quite a bit more snow. The property we ended up securing is just over 3850ft and as you would guess is just about in between as far as snowfall goes. There was much more snow activity out there than our rental, but less than the 4100ft property.

We just purchased a CAT 430F IT for all of the upcoming work I'll be doing on this essentially bare land. The property is a hair under 10 acres and I'd have about .5 a mile of gravel road to plow if I chose to plow it. The times we went out there before purchasing it, it was unplowed in March, but it was not bad 6-8" typically.

We have 4wd vehicles and we have decent winter tires on them. I originally figured I would buy a plow for my pickup, but I'd never shopped around for them. Well after recently seeing the prices a few months ago I started second guessing the truck plow. Now that I have the 430 coming to me I am checking out attachments for it. Looks like I could get a plow or a 'straight snow push'(?)<<<never really heard of the snow pusher.

There is about a .25 mile of straight road and .25 mile of winding driveway. Elevation change is not too bad maybe 140' to the whole thing. In the winter it will just be myself, my wife and 3 children. Nearest family is 4 plus hours and I don't imagine we'll see them during the winter unless we go to them. Point is I'll only need to remove snow if my wife or I deem it necessary.

I think I could get by with just using the bucket but it seems even though I think of myself as a decent operator, I could probably end up making a mess of the gravel here and there. Then there is the clown world lead times these days. If I want a plow (or whatever) I'd be better off getting it on order now.

CAT is running a 0% interest for 24 months deal and I was already going to get a thumb and a 4 in 1 front bucket.

TL;DR
.5 mile of road and driveway to plow. Don't really need to remove the snow, but everything would just turn into a sheet of ice if I do nothing.
Tough out the first winter on the new property with a standard bucket on the front of my backhoe
Buy a plow for the backhoe
Buy a push box for the backhoe
Buy a plow for a CCLB F-350
 

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Family member has a 420F IT with a 10 ft HLA5000 https://hlasnow.com/blades/5000.php he uses to plow his 1 mile gravel drive, hay yards and areas in pastures for feeding. To remedy the digging in issue put a piece of pipe on the cutting edge ( called gravel guard). We used 4" drill pipe since it's for corrals and was on hand. The pipe glides over the ground and doesn't hook/dig in. Pic below is not what we did, it's just for reference.

Gas Bicycle part Wood Tints and shades Flooring



Given the state of getting thing's especially equipment it would be advisable to get something coming now instead of waiting much longer if you plan to have it by the time snow fly's in a about 4-5months.
BTW.... you'll enjoy the 430.
 

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Plowing that much road with a bucket rather than a blade is going to get tedious. Not sure where in western Montana you are (I'm on the Divide near Helena), but you could see some heavy snowfalls. A blade on your truck would make quick work of 1/2 mile of road. I'm a big proponent of the Law of the Seven P's - Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. I've plowed with a bucket - no fun. And plowing on a tractor or anything without a heated, enclosed cab when it's -20F or below = No Fun At All.
 

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That'd be rugged alright! Just call me a softy, but I always have to hide my smile inside the cab of the truck when I'm out plowing and I see the neighbor out plowing his driveway with his ATV. He's always MORE than happy to have me take a few quick runs while he goes back in the house where it's warm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Plowing that much road with a bucket rather than a blade is going to get tedious. Not sure where in western Montana you are (I'm on the Divide near Helena), but you could see some heavy snowfalls. A blade on your truck would make quick work of 1/2 mile of road. I'm a big proponent of the Law of the Seven P's - Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. I've plowed with a bucket - no fun. And plowing on a tractor or anything without a heated, enclosed cab when it's -20F or below = No Fun At All.
Edge of Corvallis, about an hour south of Missoula.

Judging by what I'm hearing from many directions, I am sure at this point that a plow on the truck would be better. Having said that I think I can risk being cheap for a winter so I know for sure why I need to spend the money for the right tool on the correct vehicle. I do have an enclosed cab as well for what its worth.
 

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Half mile of driveway would suck with a bucket, but based on your description would work fine for a season.
 
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