1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice


Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by LordOfTheSith, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. LordOfTheSith

    LordOfTheSith Member
    Messages: 40

    I am new to plowing. I have a 2004 Dodge Dakota with a light duty Sno-Way setup. I have gotten so many different answers to these two questions my head is spinning so I decided to come to where I can get professional advice. My questions are these:

    1) Do I plow in Drive, 2 or 1?

    2) Do I plow in 4wd hi or low ?

    THANKS for the help guys!

  2. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    1. plow in Drive
    2. try to plow in 2wd if you start to slide around put it in 4wd High. you can plow in 4wd low but i haveent ever needed to.
  3. ThisIsMe

    ThisIsMe Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 745

    Like Nekos said. Plow in 2 high. I like to use 2 high and 4 high only when needed. I think, "well I am in 4x4 I better be careful". Plus it is easier to steer in 2x2.

    The one exception to this rule is gravel or dirt roads / driveways. Lot of times the chatter of the rear-end hop will cause ruts in the dirt. In that case I put it in 4x4 to keep from tearing up the road.

    Might not be the best, but it is how I like to work.

  4. Mick

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

    Couple of other places I always use 4wd is on ice of any kind and steep uphill or downhill. I don't want to be trying to shift into 4wd on these conditions at all. Remember, if you are in 2wd and get into any type of tight spot, the rear wheel, under power by themselves, will tend to "push" the truck to one side or the other and always in a straight line relative to the wheels. Having it in 4wd, you'll have the front wheels pulling in the direction of the turn as well as the the rear wheels pushing.
  5. ThisIsMe

    ThisIsMe Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 745

    That is why you need an LSD. :)

    Seriously good point as well.
  6. GL&M

    GL&M Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 223

    I plow in 4-HI all the time. No sense spending the money for 4WD to fight the snow and slip and slide in 2WD. Most 2wd pickups can't get out of their own way on snow or ice.
    Once you get stuck in 2wd, shifting in to 4wd may not help. Why take the chance and ruin your night.
  7. LordOfTheSith

    LordOfTheSith Member
    Messages: 40

    My driveway is slightly uphill so I need 4wd...tried 2wd and I can't get up the driveway. Maybe if I back in the driveway in 4wd and push the snow out in 2wd is a solution. One question, you guys seem against 4wd to plow...is it because 4wd may damage the truck or the differential??

  8. ThisIsMe

    ThisIsMe Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 745

    If you are slipping and sliding that is the time to put it in 4wd. No one here is saying different.

    With LSD and ballast 4WD is needed a lot less.
  9. ThisIsMe

    ThisIsMe Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 745

    I do not think that anyone is going to tell you not to put it in 4wd. If you need it put it in 4wd put it in 4wd. Do not work around it.

    Now plowing up hill or down hill will open another can of beans. :)
  10. nichols

    nichols Member
    Messages: 47

    I've never plowed, but this would be my guess:

    When plowing, you're often probably making tight turns. In 4x4 mode, tight turns beat up on the drivetrain more (axles, CV joints, front end components, etc). Think about trying to navigate a parking space in 4x4 or something, and when the front end starts hopping around.

    If you can get away with 2wd, you don't have to deal with that as much. I know with my driveway, I won't be able to plow it in 2wd, so I'll just be careful to make my turns as large as possible.
  11. ThisIsMe

    ThisIsMe Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 745

    Good guess. :)

    But if you are on ice or snow it is a little less harmful.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
  12. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I only use 4wd when I need it. If I'm not slipping and sliding, then there is obviously no need to waste the fuel or cause wear and tear on the components in the 4wd, plus 2wd steers easier. That said, you're smaller plow rig will need 4wd a lot more than a heavier plow truck. 4-Lo has the advantage of working the trans a lot less and keeps the temp down, makes the trans last longer. But it requires more patience and you need to shift forward and reverse gently. I would recommend 4-lo on any difficult, rough or otherwise technical terrain. Install a tranny temp gauge, add 200-300 lbs ballast securely behind the rear wheels, and take your time.
  13. Mick

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

    Enough LSD (and doesn't take much), you won't even need a truck - never mind tires. You just fly up over it all.
  14. Sharpshooter77

    Sharpshooter77 Senior Member
    Messages: 162

    When I plow I always have my truck in 4wd HI. But I am surrounded by hills every were. Also when you are making the turns in 4wd there is usally enough snow on the ground to make when wheels slip instead of trying to fight each other and having it hop, Thats why you dont use 4wd on dry pavment. Also the only time I ever used 4wd LO when I had mud half way up my tires :nod: :cool:. just my own 0.02$
  15. poncho62

    poncho62 Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    My s10 Blazer is so light in the ass end, that I need to be in 4 wheel drive. Your Dakota being a smaller truck, I would guess the same would apply.
  16. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    I will tell you this, though. Plowing in Low1 (on your steering column) will extend the life of your transmission in multiples. the reason being, is that this does not allow your tranny to shift. It is when it shifts that it gets slippage on the bands. Unless it is long runs, I seldomly use L2 or drive for plowing.
  17. Dakota2004

    Dakota2004 Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    Hey Lordofthesith, post a pic of the truck i'd like to see it
  18. mayhem

    mayhem PlowSite.com Addict
    from Peru MA
    Messages: 1,016

    I only have one season under my belt, but I have a similar driveway from the sound of it to yours. Uphill, about 350-400' long, 2 car turnaround, 4 car parking at the top. I always plow in 4 hi. I use 4lo to get out of trouble. When I'm pushing snow it doesn't make any difference if I am in any forward gear since it never gets going fast enough to upshift from first gear...I keep my truck at the top of the driveway and push downhill on my first pass, then back up and I keep going up to clear the parking area into a spot I made in the woods so the snowmelt doesn't turn my driveway to mud. If its a really heavy snow (like 20" of slush) I would probably start at the top and do a herringbone pattern to push enough snow off the sides so that I don't wind up getting stuck behind a pile on the way down.

    For what its worth though I use a 3/4 ton Chevy so I've got 3+ tons of mass to help me out.

    I'd drop it into 4hi and leave the tranny in D if I were you...no point in using 2wd IMHO since it sounds like you're not doing this commercially, just your own driveway. The extra half a cup you use in fuel is unimportant.
  19. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I can't understand how running the engine at a higher rpm by not letting it shift is going to extend the life of the transmission. It is going to be hotter at 2500 rpms in low 1 than 1300 rpms in low 2. I'm not one for plowing at speed, but if the amount of pedal you give it and the level of resistance doesn't keep the truck in low 1, then I say let it shift. I've never heard of shifting hurting a trans or causing slippage. Maybe it does, but I've never heard of it. But I certainly feel that not shifting is worse due to the heat generated.
  20. The mayor

    The mayor Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    I was always told to plow in 4 wheel low. Truck has 185.000 miles and no trans problems... knock on wood.