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Tips for plowing dirt,gravel drives ?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by capt caper, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. capt caper

    capt caper Senior Member
    Messages: 101


    All I've plowed is paved roads and have to plow out some dirt dirves and a gravel,dirt combo road.

    In previous posts they said the shoes? Are they enough to do it fairly well? I find the blade digs in of course with no shoes,also adjusting the blade up a little, doesn't do alot since it's hard to figure.

    What do most of you do or use?


  2. ronsracing

    ronsracing Member
    from CT
    Messages: 66

    I have shoes on my plow, they help, but the best way is to get used to the " feel" of the plow when it is digging in.
  3. Huften Lawn

    Huften Lawn Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 13

    The shoes will still dig into the gravel until it freezes. I just raise the blade a bit.
  4. capt caper

    capt caper Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    So it helps to put the shoes on then anyway? It isn't a big job to so it probably would be worth it?
  5. c5er

    c5er Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Any opionions about the depth the shoes should be set at to start?
  6. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    If you raise the blade aren't you out of the float mode ???
  7. easthavenplower

    easthavenplower Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    yes you are out of float but its better than digging gravel

    POWERBAND Member
    Messages: 70

    Dirty plowing

    Plowing in the dirt/gravel is a real challenge until it freezes solid. Shoes are helpful but if it soft you will be putting two ruts in the gravel with the shoes.. Also when you back with the blade down the shoes will dig in. I find shoes (runners) are best if not too high, just enough to help float the blade.
    My older heavy duty Fisher rig actually seemed worse in the dirt than the lighter Western standard plow due to the weight and the tendency of the shoes to catch and trip the edge. I have a light Meyers 2Meter on an Isuzu Trooper that does best on dirt until it gets too deep for it or the ground freezes .
  9. GesnerLawn

    GesnerLawn Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    I've tried shoes but didn't like the ruts they leaves. They caused more damage than I did without them.

    What I will often do is drop the blade all the way down, then lift it slowly until the front end stops dropping from the weight of the plow. Then you know you have the plow off the ground. Then maybe bump up a hair past that. I also find myself having to bump it up a little higher as the plow loads up and begins to dive down. It's defintely a little tricky.

    Also, it helps to accelerate and slow nice and easy so the attitude of the truck doesn't change much.

    Depending on how long the drives are, you can always just backdrag too. However, I only backdrag when I have to because it tends to turn whatever is left behind into ice. I know one guy who backdrags and sands all his gravel accounts.
  10. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    i drop the blade and it my stic up a bit and tell the customer what of cleaning job there gonna get some dont mine that have to rake it in the spring
  11. Cobol Dude

    Cobol Dude Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Hi everyone;

    I believe some of you use shoes even on asphault? Will the shoes leave marks on asphault?

  12. DadnSon

    DadnSon Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Year's ago, I witnessed my brother plowing with shoes on a new plow. The parking lot was asphalt and about 200 yards long when, he suddenly struck a raised sewer (square) cap with one of the shoes at aprox. 25 mph and whip the truck sideways and nealy raised the rear tires off the ground.

    Plow was damaged during this and if it weren't for the lip on the shoe that caught the sewer cap then, it wouldn't have been that bad. Guy at the repair shop where he bought the plow fixed it and removed the shoes and told him if he ever came back to his shop with shoes on he would shoot him!

    I have never used shoes and despite learning to float quite well, I don't bother bidding on dirt/gravel lot's or driveway's anymore.
    Time is money!
  13. Sno

    Sno Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    I never use shoes, they do more damage to gravel then without.

    Try not to plow gravel unless it's frozen or packet well.

    If you must plow soft gravel.. raise the plow 1" or so, and always move slow to feel for the gravel...

    Back drag if it's a small area.

    best you can do!
  14. RidgeCon

    RidgeCon Senior Member
    Messages: 144

    I agree with others here that you just raise the blade a little until a good base is formed. All of our customers wih gravel drives are aware of this and as others have said they don't mind as it saves them raking rocks in the spring.
  15. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I live in Alaska. Is there a different kind of drive than a dirt one?
    That would be cool to plow some pavement once. You guys are spoiled. Up here no one plows there driveways after the first snow they just drive on it and pack it down. After that you have a good base to plow so that you never hit gravel. This method might not work in warmer climates where the snow melts but up here in the interior we will still have the first snowflake of October on the ground come April.
  16. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    This might work for you too.
    I have 4 gravel drives I do,but they are straight runs to the main road.
    I angle to the right and back drag it the whole way.
    Go back angle left and back drag the whole way.
    I back into turn arounds the same way and stop before I reach the grass. I then turn around and do the short push to clean it up.
    Trying to push on gravel is real hard you either dig or float till it's frozen solid. They all have a center ridge/hump too I moved a bunch of gravel around till I came up with this method. I even clean-up the in front of the mail box for them, the mail carriers probally love that.
  17. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    Bfore u edges we would drop the plow and then raise it about 1.5-2" up. Now that we use u edges, we just drop the plow and go. No banging or roughness.
  18. bastalker

    bastalker Junior Member
    from Ct.
    Messages: 23

    :nono: shoes round here! I back drag the gravel drives. If this aint feasible, I just raise the blade till the weights off it, stick my head out the window, raise an lower it as necessary....
  19. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    One of my friends owns a big horse farm w/ miles of trails. She uses a Fischer with a hard rubber bottom blade. On the Fischer only the bottom blades "breaks" or bends when it hits something, allowing her to keep plowing. It's a big investment but it might be great opportunity for you to specialize in this type of plowing.. Check with local horse farms, right now the heavy hitters in the phila area are all shelling out big bucks for riding lessons for their kids