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Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Eric B, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Eric B

    Eric B Junior Member
    from 64118
    Messages: 6

    PlowSite.com Community,

    Let me start by saying this is a good, educational, helpful, interesting site. The general attitude and willingness to help the new guys is very cool.

    Before I start asking questions, let me get a few things out there about myself:

    Yes, I'm a "newbie" by some standards but I'm not an idiot. I love doing new things, I love cold weather. and I'm an ISTP (which should tell you plenty right there)

    I've always fantasized (in a non-sexual way) about conducting some sort of PROFITABLE business out of my pickup. I'm not impressed by the guys who buy a heavy duty pickup and drive it to the office and grocery store, but it is much cooler to NEED the chains, lights, 4WD, diesel motor, etc

    Based on what I've read so far I think I'm a lot like most of you - I hate being told what to do, I hate working for other people, and I admire the accountability, responsibility, and pride that comes with self-employment. Though I haven't owned my business yet, I've developed this appreciation by working for a farmer and another guy who cut a lot of grass by himself.

    Back to the main point of my post - yes, it's obvious I don't know the first thing about the Snow Removal Industry, but I can figure it out. My first year I will likely start with (2) culdesacs and a few small business lots for family friends. I don't intend to undercut any business, steal business, or piss anyone off. I simply want to take my skills (night owl, operator at heart, business degree) and use them as another excuse to get out of the house on a cold night.

    MY IDEA: find a pickup with a plow, have it professionally inspected, spend less than $8000, and (being October in KC) get to work hauling and doing other miscellaneous work to make money with my pickup.

    Oh yeah, that's the other reason. I've gone nearly all my life (I'm 23) with pickups... I've been through 10 vehicles thus far... and I currently have a car. I've never gone through winter (I grew up in Iowa) with a car and I'm getting cold feet. I want to sell my car, get a pickup, and do as much as I can on a part time basis to pay for gas, beer, and a fence for my dogs. Anything past that can go to... probably my next vehicle

    Rewind - MY IDEA: spend around $5000 on a 1977-86 F-250 regular cab gas-powered 4x4 with a plow

    There's really not much else to say - it's 1am, my mind is wandering, so here we are.

    To be honest, my only questions when I started typing this were:
    How does the 77-86 F-250 do pushing snow?
    Is the 4.9 inline six enough power for pushing? Is the 302 enough?
    Or is the effectiveness determined by the tranny?
    Is the C6 a decent transmission for the job, or is a stick shift the only way to go?

    Feel free to reply to any part of this mess

    If you read all of this, I thank you for your time, I apologize for the boring parts, and I hope we can all engage in an enjoyable conversation about living life.

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  2. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    I'm sure the truck you describe will push snow, I'm not a big car guy so i cant speak for exacts on that truck, but I will say get the auto because a: hands free for plow controls & b: auto is better because it go backwards fast so it will help cut down on time. Sure if you prefer a stick it can be done, but I think auto is easier imo.
  3. Eric B

    Eric B Junior Member
    from 64118
    Messages: 6

    Interesting.... I'm definitely glad I asked. That makes perfect sense. That would have been frustrating to learn that later on, thanks
  4. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    I personally wouldn't want to plow with something that's not fuel injected like the vehicle described. Been there, done that, not much fun. Its amazing how much ambient air temperature can make a difference on how a vehicle runs. With an old vehicle there is no computer to adjust fuel mixture and timing. There are benefits though, they are much easier to work on. I think if I had 5K budgeted to spend on a truck, I would opt to get something at least 1996 or newer (OBD II). Their out there, but not always easy to find. Good luck, Dave
  5. Eric B

    Eric B Junior Member
    from 64118
    Messages: 6

    That helps a lot. I've seen some HD trucks under 8000 - this comes to one of my other questions -

    Which cab/bed combos are the best for plowing? I'm thinking regular cab and longbed would be better than extended cab due to the shorter wheelbase. I don't really want an SUV

    Thank ya
  6. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    I think its really personal preference. I have plowed with every thing from a Bronco II, all the way up to a reg cab, long box and a crew cab short box. Ideally for me, I like a regular cab long box (I just like the way they look) but I also like to be able to haul more people when I'm not working the truck (that's why I have a SUV and Crew cab). I did have a regular cab long box "plain jane" GMC a while back and loved that truck for plowing. The windows always stayed clear and it was easy to see where i was going.
  7. I would recommend a regular cab long bed. The long bed gives ya extra space for storing ballast weight, salt/ice melt, a snow blower, walk behind spreaders, etc, as well the the already mentioned extra space for non snow related work/play. I would also highly recommend you try to find a truck a bit newer then the years you mentioned. The perfect scenario would be to find a truck without a plow that was never used for plow duty (for obvious reasons such as the added wear and tear etc), and then get a new or good newer used/rebuilt plow mounted on it(therefore you won't have to deal with a 20+ year old worn out plow system). That may not be possible based on your budget but that would be the ideal scenario for your case. I would also recommend you look at getting a tailgate spreader so you can provide salting services also.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  8. Eric B

    Eric B Junior Member
    from 64118
    Messages: 6

    Very good point - I have been looking at vehicles w/o a plow - how much does it cost to get the harness installed? Is it something a guy w/o welding experience could do?

    Just today I've found a family friend with a great 1990 Bronco 5.8 automatic with a plow that was just installed last season. I'm somewhat leaning towards the Bronco when I think about using it as a personal vehicle (with our 2 dogs)

    I guess that brings me to a basic question - what determines snow pushing effectiveness in a vehicle? Could an experience guy do it just as well in a SWB vehicle as a LWB vehicle? Or will the shorter wheelbase make life that much easier? Or is the motor/trans/tire setup more important?

    (okay, forgive me, I think I will start a new thread for these questions)

    Can a spreader be installed on the Bronco? How much do those setups run?
  9. Plow Nuts

    Plow Nuts Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    A bronco is a good choice to plow with. The trans is a 3spd c4 or c6 I believe with the 5.8 motor so the motor is plenty. The swb vehicle definetely makes it easier in tight spots but you will find you will need some timbrens fro the front to keep the nose off the ground as you can not put ballast in the back of the bronco--GOOD CHOICE MY FRIEND.
    As for a spreader start small with a hitch spreader--I think snow way makes one and home depot sells them as well. Look on ebay too for them
  10. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    What do you normally drive (auto or stick)? I have had both autos and sticks Hate the autos.

    To me plowing both driveways and parking lots with the same truck is stupid!!! Ive plowed with both (driveways only) will NEVER use a pickup for driveways again. I can plow 2X the driveways with a jeep as with a truck (that is more $$ for me. Id never plow parking lots with a jeep and wont. The right tool for the job.

    Would you use a 63 horsepower tractor with a 10 gang real mower to mow a 1/4 acre lot? No

    why use a PU with a plow, that is 24 FT long (my F150 with plow was that long) to plow a drive that is 50 Ft long?
  11. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    That Bronco would be a beast plowing, plus they are cool. I had one in college and still want one today.