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

What gear to plow in?

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by Hywayman, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. Hywayman

    Hywayman Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    Just replaced my 2003 2500, 5.7L Ram with a 2015 2500, 5.7L, Big Horn and I can't find a recommendation on what gear the transmission should be in. In my old truck, they wanted you to plow in drive 2. The only thing I can find in the owners manual on plowing is to plow in 4L unless you are plowing over 15 mph, then use 4H. I was surprised at this as I rarely ever used 4L for anything.

    This from the digital manual on my truck:

    When plowing snow, to avoid transmission and drivetrain damage, the following precautions should be observed.
    • Operate with transfer case in 4L when plowing small
    or congested areas where speeds are not likely to
    exceed 15 mph (24 km/h). At higher speeds operate in
    • Vehicles with automatic transmissions should use 4L
    range when plowing deep or heavy snow for extended
    periods of time to avoid transmission overheating.
    • Do not shift the transmission unless the engine has
    returned to idle and wheels have stopped. Make a
    practice of stepping on the brake pedal while shifting
    the transmission.

  2. k1768

    k1768 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 556

    D, 2wd, 4H when needed.
    Never needed 4L.
    Treat the truck with care and respect (don't gun engine, do come to a complete stop before changing gears, that sort of thing) and you'll be fine.
    Drive like an idiot and you'll break stuff.
  3. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,253

    This is a good way to get the year going.

    First gear, keeps the revolutions up to keep the tranny oil flowing and alternator charging. Reduces the need for brakes.
  4. dodgegmc1213

    dodgegmc1213 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    I plow in 1st gear with tow haul in my 04 5.7 temp stays around 180 that's also with a yard or so of salt on
  5. gc3

    gc3 Senior Member
    Messages: 713

    4wh,tow haul, complete stops before shifting.
  6. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    Top gear, hammer down. 6 forward gears, the truck can pick. Who am I to try and out smart computers and sensors, besides they have all the info.
  7. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Pretty much what I do.

    Snow deeper than 3" or 4" in a large area, whereas the snow accumulates on my blade in the lot, I use 4L. The truck pushes the snow easier, and I use the brakes almost not at all, other than to shift between D & R

    When I'm cleaning up a lot that has a minor amount of snow depth, I just use 4H
  8. Hywayman

    Hywayman Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    I had my last truck for 12 years and the Boss plow for 15 years. I was mainly questioning the use of "D" when the last truck insisted on D2. The only way to get this truck in D2 would be to use the + or - buttons on the shift stalk. Old truck had a designated D2 shift. I always questioned the D2 as I wondered how often you get out of first gear anyway?

    Oh well, got my plan now. Put plow on truck, plow snow. ;)

  9. unhcp

    unhcp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,267

    same here, prevents shifting
  10. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    Plowing at 30-35 too much for 1st. Maybe for a Gasser.
  11. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Just put it in D, it'll be fine. Last time someone asked Old dog this question he said

    "I put that b itch in Dozer mode and hammer down!"
  12. RIRAM2500HD

    RIRAM2500HD Senior Member
    from 02914
    Messages: 112

    I would think Tow/Haul button on & Traction control button deactivated. In the heavy stuff use 4WD Low.
  13. NYH1

    NYH1 Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    In my '07 1500 I plow with it in "tow/haul" mode every time and come to a complete stop before shifting. Most of the time (75%) in 4H in drive, I generally don't go fast enough for it to shift out of 1st gear. Sometimes when cleaning up the areas where the driveway meets the road, I'll put in 2wd so it turns a little easier. When I plow wet/heavy/deep snow, I might put it in 4L in 1st gear.

    I haven't plowed with my new truck. I'll probably do it mostly the same way, except play with the traction control to see if it plows better with it activated or deactivated.

  14. SnoFarmer

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

    in 4h and 1st for lots and drives.

    for roads you cold shift to 2-3rd

    shifting causes the clutches to slip ,
    this generates heat.

    you can go 30mph in 1st if need be.
    few of us plow at speeds over 15mph...

    only shift from drive to reverse or vice verse after coming to a complete stop.

    traction control can be shut off, or disabled.

    in 33 years i can count on one hand how many times ive plowed in 4lo...
  15. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 877

    Same here.

    Only use 4lo for real heavy wet stuff.
  16. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    4 low and 6th gear will yield you the best power and fuel economy
  17. SnoFarmer

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

    Originally Posted by B&B
    "80% of the heat generated in an auto trans stems from the torque converter and the shearing action the fluid goes through as the fluid coupling is being performed in the converter as the converter is nothing more than a hydrostatic drive thus it uses fluid to produce a means of coupling the engine to the trans. And in doing so creates a great amount of heat which is absorbed and passed out of the trans to be cooled, anything you can do to lessen that heat produced will prolong the life of the trans and converter as a whole. And one way to do that is to keep the RPM's of the torque converter ABOVE it's stall speed as much as possible which reduces it's inefficiency and thus it's heat production. And to do that under low ground speed/ high load demands you need RPM's, which requires either a lower gear or more ground speed while in a higher gear. More ground speed isn't usually possible during plowing conditions so a lower gear is chosen instead. Transmission are smart these days but they're still not smart enough for a plow truck, thus they still require manual input from the operator in order to be in the correct gear for max efficiency and life. Which applies to the engine as well. Lugging along in to high a gear with a good sized load out front does nothing but add heat to the engine and trans for which it then has to remove. Reduce the heat production in the first place and you increase it's service life."

    "As to how much RPM's should be run; has many variables. The stall speed of the converter itself, the individual gear ratios of the specific trans and the engine thats ahead of that trans (gas or Diesel, big or small), the axle ratio, the ground speed you're attempting to run at, the distance you're traveling in a single pass, the load on the truck etc. And this why you hear so many different "methods" of what guys use that they claim "work fine" so to speak as some need more or less gear multiplication under different conditions do to these variables but it would take a book to explain them all for each application. That's the operators job to know what is the correct gear for the task at hand, no different than a manual trans."

    "Additional benefits to the extra RPM's is more cooling flow for the heat that is still generated regardless of what you're doing...and as a plus those extra RPM's assists in keeping the charging system ahead of the electrical demands of the plow and other electrical accessories running. Guys who lumbar around at too low of an RPM are also usually the ones who have charging system "issues" so to speak. And excellent operator can plow all night with a 100A alternator and a stock trans cooler and never have a problem."

    "Regardless, the bottom line trick is to keep RPM's above the torque converters stall speed for maximum heat reduction and overall efficiency, regardless of what gear it is that's needed to do so."
  18. RIRAM2500HD

    RIRAM2500HD Senior Member
    from 02914
    Messages: 112

    I can agree with that philosophy!
  19. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,069

    So 4hi and go?
    Got it!