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So this is a question to the professionals: Traction, Weight to Power Ratio, Mobility

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by TatraFan, Dec 23, 2011.

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  1. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    So here is my question what do you feel is the most important balance of features in a commercial plow truck? Are you more into the idea of maximizing your truck's traction with say locking differentials or other traction control systems? Or, does power to weight ratio concern you more so you look for a truck with the biggest engine for a specific GVW? And how does mobility factor into your decision?
  2. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    Just me speaking here and there will be much disagreement with the following:
    I wish I had never sold my my Jeep CJ7. Great vehicle for driveways which is mostly what I do. My Ford F250 can't get into tight spots like the Jeep but the Jeep can't haul junk like the Ford.
    Mobility is more important to me than the other factors you ask about.
    Having said that, If I plowed Walmarts, I would not have either of the above mentioned vehicles.
    So to answer your question ... It all depends on what type of plowing you do.
  3. tjjn06

    tjjn06 Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 78

    Perfectly put!!
  4. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    Its a blance between all of the above. Type of plowing and the weather you encounter. But the most important things would be efficency and traction. So find what best suits your needs, put good tires on it and proper ballast and then learn what it can handel and what it wont.
  5. geer hed

    geer hed Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    The previous reply's are right on the money. As far as traction control devices such as lockers, can help but they can also hinder. You need to get used to driving with them because the vehicle will handle differently, when traveling. All you need is a good set of snow tires, and the proper amount of weight, and you'll be set.
  6. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,765

    every truck has it's own perfect spot to do work.

    Where in one spot one setup is great... it is terrible in another.
  7. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    since i do 99% municipal roads, fuel efficiency is where it is at for me. most of my work is done in 2 wheel drive with the hubs locked, and i use about 1 gallon per hour with the diesels. when i had the gas trucks, i was using 3-4 gallons per hour.
    i use good snow tires instead of weight for traction.
  8. V_Scapes

    V_Scapes PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    Are you using mason dumps or duallys for plowing? What kind of tires do you use, im thinking about putting new tires on my truck but want to get something thats good in the snow. i was looking at hankook dynapro atm.
  9. hunt 444e

    hunt 444e Member
    Messages: 62

    i ran 6 rf 10s or hankook dynapros on my one ton dump good grippy tire making it great for snow but to soft a compound to make it a good all year tire for a heavier truck. i opted to take the 4 rears off and run them on another 1 ton single wheel pickup, and ran 4 caps from treadwright on the back of the dump keeping the hankooks for steering
  10. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    i use dayton timberline mt 265X75X16 tires on the superdutys, and 12.5X36X16.5 BFG mud terrain ta tires on the older trucks.
    8.5 ft plows on the superdutys and the 88, 8 ft plows on the 78 and 79
  11. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    plow vehicles

    Number one will always, always, always be Adhesion,
    since with out adhesion you will have zero tractive effort.

    That skinny little bit of rubber touching the ground is all
    you have period and that is where you get all or none
    of your traction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    thats the nice thing about those crazy chains that can
    drop down and give you traction when you need it and
    be retracted when not needed.


    A soft snow tire like a Nokia is always good as well as
    properly siped tires to increase tread contact.

    No spin differentials are no benefit on ice period UNLESS
    they have chains installed on the tires.

    In prder to have traction it requires adhesion and without
    weight, good tread and or snow chains you have little adhesion
    if ice or deep snow is encountered.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  12. hunt 444e

    hunt 444e Member
    Messages: 62

    plowing is like drag racing in a sense you could have all the power or torque but if you cant apply it to the ground its useless.knowing when to get in and out of the throttle makes a world of difference
  13. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Personally, I think everything starts with traction.
  14. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872


    Without useable torque you have no tractive effort
    without adhesion you have no traction,
    without weight you have no adhesion,

    This is why you see locomotives of all sizes using
    sand to create adhesion/traction under those skinny
    little wheel sets of the 4 and 6 axle locomotives.

    That is one of biggest plusses for the automatic tire chains
    for any vehicle that is 2 wheel, 4 wheel drive. single axle.
    or mutliple axle.
  15. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    If I were designing a snow plow truck the first feature I would put into it would be: selectable lockable transfer case, selectable lockable differentials front, and rear. This way when you lock it up you have equal power front, rear, left and right. This way as the topography of the road shifts you don't have to worry about one side actually having more load than the other.

    I agree that adhesion is going to be important. But again if one side has more adhesion than the other with an open differential then you don't go anywhere. A limited slip will help- but it will never provide the same level of potential traction that a fully selectable locking differential will.

    Automatic chains they are okay-- but, I think when you need to get extra traction then it is best to use lockers with a set of really good chains.

    As for mobility-- this is probably in my opinion the most important factor after traction control has been maximized. What good is a truck that won't go where you need it?

    Power to weight ratio is important- but I think it is nothing more than pure absurdity that a 13,000+ GVW 3500-4500 series truck has 390-400hp. Having a power to weight ratio of 40 to 60 hp per ton seems a bit excessive. This is especially true when you consider that a much larger Oshkosh series truck (P or MPT) have only about 10 to 15hp per ton and weigh in the 20 to 41.5 ton range. So it seems to me odd that a Ford F-450 needs 400hp for its mere 6.5ton GVW-- So for me if you're in the 10-25hp per ton power to weight ratio range that seems more than adequate to do the job. What is more critical to me is transmission selection and range. I would rather a gearbox with deep reduction in many cases rather than trying to make the difference with raw power.

    That is the way I see it.
  16. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Automatic chains are a half-assed thing- they give just a little traction and depend on maintenance and motion to function- in other words they are under the truck 365 regardless of season and need to be maintained 365 so when you need them they are not seized, or rusted, or worn out. They are also short chain, usually only extending half the width of the tires, and they deploy to the tire and require the wheel spinning to rotate the chain head creating centripital force to splay the chain and allow them to lay infront/under the tire.

    Traction is #1 followed by usable torque. I'll never plow w/o a limited slip again. Regardless of conditions that improved my traction 1000%. Usable torque is different than max torque. My Ram CTD puts down 480lb-ft of torque from idle which is more then the ground can hold a lot of the time which means I have to control the foot and often spin my way until I have a little momentum whereas my friend's 00 Chevy 2500 V8 puts the torque down in a smoother ratio- as most gas engines do. He has open diff, never carries chains, and almost never spins a wheel at start off. I've ridden his route and know for a fact I could not plow a couple of his with out wheel spin.
    I run 500-1000lbs ballast to help plant all my torque, he runs empty.

    It depends on what task you need to do how you need the truck, but without traction you're not going anywhere, and without usable torque you're not moving much snow.
  17. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Best tires I've bought for my dump so far is re-treads from a local shop. Cheap, and the lugs are deeeeep on the tires. I get great traction.

    I also have a posi in my rear, and that is also nice to have when I don't have 4wd.

    As for power to weight ratio, I'm super pleased with my 8.1. I was out-plowing a subs newer 3500 with a 6.0 after our 12" blizzard last spring.

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  18. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Try out true air-locking differentials... They make a truck feel a tank.
  19. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    As much as I would like to, that would mean I would have to retro-fit a compressor and air tank on the truck to operate it.

    And in all honesty, I do a lot of turning when plowing, so to have the posi only kick in when needed is good for me. Less wear and tear on the drive-train. The truck felt enough like a tank pushing snow after our blizzard last year.

    It's also wayyyyyyyy better than the open carrier I used to have on my old F-350. That really stunk.

  20. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    White Gardens:

    Well you could try ARB's system they use air on demand and only the addition of a small compressor is necessary. If you don't like that option: E-Lockers from Eaton are electrically operated.



    They are great when you put them in both axles. Tank performance... Or Tatra if you will performance.
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