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What do I need to keep my 2.5 mile gravel road clear?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Jedon, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Jedon

    Jedon Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I live off grid in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada's in northern California.
    It is 2.5 miles up a winding gravel road to pavement where they plow.
    A few times a winter we get a really heavy snow storm that dumps 3-5 feet in a few days, 2 inches an hour isn't uncommon.
    I have a tracked Recreatives Max II 6x6 with tracks and a v-plow, it has kind of worked the last 2 years but pushing it has taken its toll and it has broken down many times this year, broken chains, snapped axle, melted drive belts etc.
    I also have a 70HP Massey Ferguson MF50E 2WD tractor with a 4/1 bucket but it doesn't like slopes and doesn't have much traction even though I have chains on it.
    I would like something that is useful year round for all the kind of things you would want to do on 100 acres in the woods so a SnoCat doesn't fit the bill.
    I thought perhaps something like a track hoe with a snowblower like a JD 450B but they are so large I'd have a hard time manueving around the house just like I do with the tractor ( has a gannon box hanging off the back ).
    A 4x4 tractor might work but my neighbor got his 110HP 4x4 chained up loader stuck in my driveway and had to have a Cat D4H pull him out.
    Perhaps an ASV MTL with a blower and plow and those new extreme terrain tracks?
    Cheaper the better of course.
    Please help, wife has had it up to here and beyond! This is now our 12th day of being snowed in, in November it was 15 days.
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Move away for the winter? Sounds like you need one of those loaders with the snow blower on it!
  3. pmorrissette

    pmorrissette Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    something like this would probably work:

  4. pmorrissette

    pmorrissette Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    or build a garage where the driveway meets the asphalt, then buy a SkiDoo.
  5. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

  6. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 622

    Even though it's only 2wd do you use tractor weights to get better traction?

    Do you plow with the storm?

    Why wait till the snow piles up more then your equipment can handle?

    Plowing every two or four inches is better then waiting for the storm to stop. Better to plow every hour then snowed in for fifteen days.

    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  7. Jedon

    Jedon Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Not an option.

    We don't own the land there, it's a state park. I borrowed a ski-doo, it kept getting stuck in all the powder.

    Yep, but it costs what, $60-70K? Also my back does not appreciate going backwards much.

    Probably but $48K and single purpose :-(

    The wheels are filled with water, the problem is that the front wheels get stuck since they aren't drive wheels. I also lose the ability to steer when pushing.

    With the 6x6, yes I did, that's the only way it could handle it but even that was too much for it over time.

    This is of course a good idea and I do it when possible. This last storm dumped 3ft in 24 hours!

    Yes I agree, still need something that can do that though, if it's a plow like I have on the 6x6 the snow piles up on the sides and then there is no place to put the new snow. That's why I was thinking a blower would be good.

    I had thought a MTL with a smaller blower and a plow could get it done, I would keep up on it and do a foot at a time.

    With a loader or tractor it's tricky sometimes because the sides of the road can be soft and very steep so rolling off is a danger.
  8. GL&M

    GL&M Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 223

    If you can't make any of the options work it sounds like you're screwed.
  9. Chris112lee

    Chris112lee Member
    Messages: 64

    Sounds like you need a snowblower with that amount of snow
  10. Chiputz

    Chiputz Senior Member
    Messages: 165


    What about something like this?
  11. Dakota Dave

    Dakota Dave Member
    Messages: 44

    I would hang a snowblower on the 3pt of the tractor you allready have. The weight on the back would do wonders for your traction. Keep the chains , the front loader should give you plenty of wieght for steering. Prefrably a pull type blower you can drive through an amazing amount of snow and blow it out into the woods. Blowing the snow out will keep the road edge from building up and causing worse drifting on the next snow. I need to blow mine out after 24" or I can't drive through. then I need to use the back up blower and back out the drive its a lot slower and I would not want to back 2 1/2 miles unless I really had to.
  12. klaus

    klaus Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    I'm in a similar situation with about 1 mile of road to my house and I get about 500 inches a year in snowfall. (we're already at 559" for this year. (http://www.skisolitude.com/mountain/mountain_report.php) So it's a significant job, and I have other maintenance that needs to be done in the summer. After quite a bit of research, I settled on a Bobcat with a blower (Erskine 73" )and I am very happy with the results. The Bobcat clears snow well with an out and back, and I can use it in the off season to do other tasks like grading, moving rocks, etc. I have an S185, turbo, high flow (which you'll need if you are blowing snow). Be prepared to do some simple maintenance on your machine and you are good to go. Here's a few videos of me blowing my driveway:



    Kinda gives you an idea of the amount of snow I get to deal with. But it's actually kinda fun.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  13. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    FWIW if the snowmobile you borrowed got stuck in powder there are 2 solutions- 1st is get some practice riding in powder- most sleds will handle powder with an experienced rider, 2nd get a mountain sled which are designed and outfitted specifically for riding in powder and fresh accumulation.
    Park or not, you might be able to make arrangements with the park to still have a garage or shed to park in and sled between them- it's done alot.

    I agree a blower is the best bet- I can see how 2inches per hour would get ahead of you even if you started with 2 inches down. If a 3pt blower bothers you driving backwards, get a loader mounted blower and put more weight on the 3 point - make sure you have good snow capable tires, not general traction tires or turf tires and purpose ice/snow chains. (http://www.babactirechains.com/babac_stud_models.html).
    Tires should be calcium (chloride I think) filled, not water - calcium won't freeze.
    The other option is a small dozer.
    Good family friend up in Maine in the mountains used to sled out the 10 miles like everyone else up there until he came across a good deal on a trail groomer- at which time he started grooming the snowmobile trail in the area and all the way up the property - then a sled worked fine no powder issues on groomed trail. After a few years he bought a small dozer- JD450 and started plowing the road all the way out - lots of work but doable. Mind you this is mountain area and logging roads. I would recommend modifying the track grousers to prevent side sliding on ice (they tend to act like ice skates sideways).
  14. Jedon

    Jedon Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Dakota Dave, Unfortunately my tractor is an industrial model and doesn't have a PTO so that's not an option. I could get a bobcat type hydraulic blower and mount it somehow I suppose.

    Chiputz, Not a bad idea! Funny the guy who plowed our road yesterday with a Cat D4H suggested that as well.

    Klaus, wow!! That looks like a sweet setup and if it works for you it should work for me, thank you!

    Justme, yes I am a n00b on a snowmobile and wouldn't have as many problems if I was a better rider. My tracked 6x6 would get me around just fine if I stopped plowing with it though and as a bonus the wife would actually drive it, unlike a snowmobile. I think some kind of blower is in our future for sure.

    This looks handy: http://goldcountry.craigslist.org/grd/2280711010.html

    Could Go Big or Go Home: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/grd/2293417460.html but it would probably tear up the road and washboard it.

    Maybe something like this http://reno.craigslist.org/grd/2278497932.html ( maybe a larger one would be better )
    with this http://reno.craigslist.org/tls/2284735968.html
  15. jb1390

    jb1390 Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    Couldn't do it with a truck and a v plow with chains on 4 wheels?
  16. Jedon

    Jedon Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Maybe could, the issue is that it's a gravel road that tilts this way and that way etc so would need 6 way movement probably and a setup like that approaches a piece of equipment that could do more than one thing.

    We do have a 1995 Pathfinder that could probably do the trick, maybe that with a cheaper used plow could be part of the equation.
  17. jb1390

    jb1390 Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    A pickup truck would have lots of uses during all seasons-and you could get one for a lot less money than heavy equipment. A v plow with full movement will only run you around 5 grand new-less if you can find one used. Check out some of Alaska Boss's threads to see what he does with his boss v-plow to give you an idea of what it is capable of. Without seeing pictures of your driveway, it's tough to determine exactly what you'd need. His threads have a lot of info and pictures though, that could help you make a decision.

    Here is one:
  18. Jedon

    Jedon Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I watched a video of an RC-30 with one of those cool v-plows on it, looked great! The snow here gets so heavy ( Sierra Cement )
    Some pictures might help!


    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  19. Jedon

    Jedon Junior Member
    Messages: 13

  20. Chiputz

    Chiputz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    My Buddy has a Hanson Snow Pump on his truck. We get on average 325 inches if snowfall per year with some storms dumping upwards of 2 feet at a time with severe drifting. He just puts the truck in low range in low gear and idles around blowing everything. I believe Hanson went under but there are others making them. If I had a chance, my plow would be a lawn ornament and I'd have a blower on my truck.

    Are you sure you don't live in Upper Michigan? You pics look real familiar. lol
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011