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To B(allast) or not to B(allast)...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by RolyF, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. RolyF

    RolyF Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    ...that is the question.
    I actually read the manual which came with my Fisher plow and found that I should be using over 300# of ballast in the back to offset the weight of the plow. Having casually observed plow trucks for over 30 years I can't recall ever seeing what appeared to be ballast in the bed. Of course that does not include spreaders, bags of salt/sand, compacted snow, and landscape tools left from the summer. I checked the specs for a few other makers and find that they require ballast as well.
    Just for fun I put 350# of bagged gravel in the back and it did level the truck nicely. But that was a lot of extra dead weight to carry and of course it does cut into mileage.
    How many of you guys are ballasting your truck, how do you do it, and what are the benefits other than a level truck?
  2. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    you're going to get it now.
  3. PORTER 05

    PORTER 05 Senior Member
    Messages: 449


    You Need To Ballest For Alot Of Reasons 1 Being To Even The Truck Out, 2 So The Steering Will Work Better, 3 So That The Brakes Will Work Better , And So All The Componets In The Front End Get Alot Of Weight Off Of Them..ive Got A F-350 And Gmc 1500 We Put 750 Pounds In The 350 And About 300 In The 1500, Ive Plowed Without The Sand Once This Season In The 350 And Compared To It Plowing Wiht It In Is Amazing Everything Is Better, We Put Sand / Salt Mix In The Baxk Of Our Trucks , We Use It As We Go Along For Our 48 Accounts
  4. Ian

    Ian Member
    Messages: 96


    Ballast? Are you kidding me?

    For starters how about some much needed traction on the back tires.
  5. PORTER 05

    PORTER 05 Senior Member
    Messages: 449

    Oh Ya I Forgot That 2, Dude Youve Got So-much Weight In The Front-end That Theres Nothing Back There In The Back, U Just Flop Around Everywhere, Plus Youll Be Able To Push Much More Snow Wiht All That Weight Back There With The Rear Tires Being Compressed To Hard To The Ground
  6. murphyslaw

    murphyslaw Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    In my 85 dodge 3\4ton with an 8' meyer(old school) i run 1000lbs or ballast. one you level out the truck taking stress of the front end two you add traction to the read tires. to not run with some sort of ballast is just plain out dangerous i did it for one year and now i know better.
  7. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I plowed with a 3500 flatbed and a 9' Fisher for a couple of times this year without any ballast before putting the Vbox sander on. The difference was dramatic. Even in 4wd, it lose traction on a couple hills. The back end kept trying to swing out on turns. Besides the plow was sitting about 2" lower and kept hitting the pavement when angled.

    Put the ballast in the back. Your truck will thank you.
  8. imdawrlus

    imdawrlus Member
    Messages: 71

    my first storm...a few weeks ago....i had nothing in the back.....my plow got hung up on snow piles 3 times....now i have about** 3 to 5 hundred pounds in the back....maby more, its hard to tell.....

    the traction was 'pretty good' without the weight....its gonna be great with it haha
  9. #1 plowtech

    #1 plowtech Senior Member
    Messages: 253

    it AMAZES ME, that most customers have no problem hanging a plow out in front of the truck,
    (not to mention a plow that sometimes is over rated for the truck),
    but wimper when i tell them they need ballast in the back.

    i ask them ,"this is a TRUCK!,is it not?

    if you dont have ballast,put it in,your TRUCK will plow like a tank. have a good night, PT.:)
  10. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883


    Is it ballast or counter weight?

    About a #1000lb, some times more never less....:nono:
  11. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    1500# in mine. I can go places and do more in 2 wheel drive That I needed 4x4 before.
  12. ta3834bbl

    ta3834bbl Senior Member
    Messages: 215

    In my Ramcharger I didn't need or use any ballast. It was very evenly balanced, 2950 on the front and 2900 on the rear, plus the plow weight. It had excellent traction with full time 4x4 then locked it was superb.

    The '01 Ram has poor 2wd traction even without the plow hanging on the front. I plowed once without ballast and it wasn't too bad. I haven't had any more snow to push but I have been driving around with about 500lbs of spare locomotive parts (scrap) blocked into the bed by the tailgate and it carries the plow much better and I'm sure it will plow in 2wd now. My fuel mileage hasn't changed at all. Gotta love the diesel.
  13. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    The more talk about ballast, the more I look around at other guys. I see so many new trucks, nice shiny half tons and 3/4 tons, you know, the white collar, homeowner types that don't bother with a beacon because they're only doing their own driveway, plus a few friends and neighbors. And you know they dont bother with plowing insurance either. Anyway, I notice them all the time now with no ballast whatsoever, the front end is dragging and the rear tires are barely touching the ground, riding around like they are the coolest thing on wheels. Ignorance is bliss.
  14. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

  15. itsgottobegreen

    itsgottobegreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,351

    I keep 4000 lbs of sand and salt in my F-350 dump. The only time I need to put it in 4x4 is when I go plowing is to get out of my driveway because I tow a trailer with the bobcat. Otherwise I am fine plowing in 2wd.
  16. RolyF

    RolyF Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    The plow with attachments runs 785#, and I believe the ballast spec for my truck was 350# or so. That's about 45% for my application, it varies by truck.
    As for traction, that sounds obvious but I have to disagree. I've pushed the heavy wet stuff so high it's flowing over the top of the blade and have never spun the tires. In 4wd the heavier the snow the more the front end gets down and digs in. Even with a 460 it isn't easy to slip. If you are referrring to balance of the vehicle where a 50/50 front to rear ratio is considered ideal then the ballast goes a long way towards accomplishing that. So if the truck gets into a slippery situation with the plow on, but not plowing, the ballast would help prevent major oversteer.
    And by the way, Happy New Year!
  17. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    with six or seven hundred pounds you'd hardly need the four wheel drive. Then your fuel consumption would be better, and the wear and tear on drivetrain parts would be minimized.
  18. danno

    danno Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    I think you`re better off dropping the "capital" letter on every word. Not too easy to read! :dizzy:
  19. sbrennan007

    sbrennan007 Senior Member
    Messages: 350

    Same here. Been plowing for 20 years now and always run about 400#'s of salt or sand in the back.

    Look at it this way, if you use sand and don't end up using it for traction under the tires at some time, you'll always find a use for it around the house.

    If you use salt bags, you'll always find a use for it while out plowing or doing driveways...

    As others have stated, it does drive much better with the extra weight in the back.
  20. john-boy

    john-boy Member
    Messages: 56

    I have always run around 1000#s except in the bronco, which is 600#s