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View Full Version : 2 wheel drive snow plowing thoughts


JCLawn and more
12-20-2011, 09:00 AM
ok, I live in central southern michigan. We only get between 2-6inches on a normal snow. Here is my issue with 4 wheel drive trucks. They expensive to buy and expensive to maintain. I can find a ton one 1 ton trucks around here that are 2 wheel drive for dirt cheap. My thought is if I have one or two 4 wheel drive trucks for difficult drive ways and awkward hills, then for flat ground plowing and parking lots would it be fine using a 1 ton 2 wheel drive trucks with like a loaded truck bed salt spreader in it or like a ton or more of weight in the back with aggressive snow tires? Also to I would but a limited slip in it or a locker so it would be true 2 wheel drive. Would this work? or is it a theory of disaster?

Swampy
12-20-2011, 09:26 AM
ok, I live in central southern michigan. We only get between 2-6inches on a normal snow. Here is my issue with 4 wheel drive trucks. They expensive to buy and expensive to maintain. I can find a ton one 1 ton trucks around here that are 2 wheel drive for dirt cheap. My thought is if I have one or two 4 wheel drive trucks for difficult drive ways and awkward hills, then for flat ground plowing and parking lots would it be fine using a 1 ton 2 wheel drive trucks with like a loaded truck bed salt spreader in it or like a ton or more of weight in the back with aggressive snow tires? Also to I would but a limited slip in it or a locker so it would be true 2 wheel drive. Would this work? or is it a theory of disaster?

Yes to most of your questions, No to residental driveways, That locking rear end the one key for plowing in two wheel drive, the other is ballist. I assume the type of salter your looking at is a under tailgate salter just remember that salt is a removable ballist your going to have problems towards the end of a snow event if its still icy out.

You want that solid front axle in front instead of a IFS, it will carry the wieght a lot better.

If this is your only 1 ton I'd avoid getting a 4x2 and saving up more to get a 4x4 instead.

djagusch
12-20-2011, 09:46 AM
90% of the time you will be good (if the driver knows how to plow with 2 wheel drive). The other 10% of the time it will limit what you can do.

I would consider the downtime that would occur if you did get stuck. Plow service is a time sensitive service. If your late an hr because of being stuck it could lose biz.

To get more on the subject go to plowsite.com and do some searches. The topic has been discussed many times over there.
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JCLawn and more
12-20-2011, 09:54 AM
I was thinking one of the 5yd or so spreaders that takes the whole truck bed. If I had a tailgate spreader then I would put something heavy in back. I am thinking of running new 3/4 4x4's and older 1 tons. The 1 ton diesels are as cheap around here as gas 3/4 tons. So I am thinking of good summer trucks along with a back up winter truck for if I get more than expected work.
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32vld
12-20-2011, 10:02 AM
The problem with limited slip is they are limited by how much they can help.

I live on a hill that has a varying grade. Steep, then slight, then steep, slight, then moderate. I live on the second steep section. My suburban, and jeep both have limited slip. I like to see if I can make it up slow in 2wd. Sometimes the LS rear does it. Thing is LS rear is about a 1/4 effective as 4wd.

Vote for 4wd.

Lockers are made for off road use because a soft surface is needed to allow the wheels to slip when making turns being the the differential can no longer allow the wheels to revolve at different speeds.

Also your wheels will be running on cleared pavement behind a plow so locked rear wheels will not be able to slip.

Also lockers are made for slow speed use which is good for plowing but of no use helping you to get to your next job. What good is it having a plow and getting stuck on the road?

Vote for 4wd.

JCLawn and more
12-20-2011, 10:11 AM
Um that's if you go with an OEM limited slip and a redneck locker where you wield the differential. They make limited slips in varying torques all the way up to they only give when you about break the axel and lockers that are allow enough play to turn. They also make rear end lockers that are manually engaged and they make self locking lockers like the one in my dodge 1500 that was OEM.
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GreenI.A.
12-20-2011, 11:08 AM
I have both 4wd and one 2wd truck. The 4wd wil be doing all of the plowing, I would never put a plow on my 2wd (2007 Crew Cab Ford v10), even with weight on the back and good snow tires it sucks. Could it push show on an open parking lot with plenty of manuevering room? YES. But the problem is on driveways and streets, if my tires get caught in a soft patch and I get pulled off the slightest bit into snow on the side, I am waiting to be pulled out.

LindblomRJ
12-20-2011, 11:08 AM
With good tires and weight (ballast) it is amazing what you can accomplish. I wouldn't hesitate using a 1 ton 2 wheeled truck 1 ton or larger for plowing. Having a second 3/4 ton 4x4 is a prudent contingency.

Mark Oomkes
12-20-2011, 11:19 AM
You want that solid front axle in front instead of a IFS, it will carry the wieght a lot better.

There's an awful lot of GM owners that this will be news to, better head over to PS and inform them of the mistake they've been making for a long, long time.

Where in south central MI? What's your topography?

I'm going to say you should be fine with enough weight and the right operator.

Swampy
12-20-2011, 11:37 AM
There's an awful lot of GM owners that this will be news to, better head over to PS and inform them of the mistake they've been making for a long, long time.

Where in south central MI? What's your topography?

I'm going to say you should be fine with enough weight and the right operator.

Oh great I started a pissing contest, Let me rephrase that. Comparing apples to slightly retared apples. From what seen and witnessed, about solid front vs IFS in 1tons and Ford's F-Superduty (it is lumped in there even though people call it a F450, it is not a true F450 just a F-350 plus) the solid front axle with the leaf springs carried wieght a lot better then IFS with coils. Again my opinion and no one else's.

I'm not saying that GM owners made a mistake, as I'm a GM owner myself. I'm going on that at least in my area for older cab and chasis trucks is dominated by Ford. Thus is why I commented above about Fords F350 and F SuperDuty.

LindblomRJ
12-20-2011, 11:41 AM
Oh great I started a pissing contest, Let me rephrase that. Comparing apples to slightly retared apples. From what seen and witnessed, about solid front vs IFS in 1tons and Ford's F-Superduty (it is lumped in there even though people call it a F450, it is not a true F450 just a F-350 plus) the solid front axle with the leaf springs carried wieght a lot better then IFS with coils. Again my opinion and no one else's.

I'm not saying that GM owners made a mistake, as I'm a GM owner myself. I'm going on that at least in my area for older cab and chasis trucks is dominated by Ford. Thus is why I commented above about Fords F350 and F SuperDuty.

You are talking old Fords. Where the 1/2 and 3/4 tons had issue with their axles. Which was one of the few drawbacks that Fords had... Well that and the later issue with the 6 liter diesel.

Now with GM and newer Fords with torsion bars and the advent of Timbrens the issue is not as pronounced.

JCLawn and more
12-20-2011, 11:45 AM
Take you hand and point to very bottom center crack of your hand haha
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ecurbthims
12-20-2011, 12:21 PM
I used to have an old style 3/4 ton dodge 2wd ,'91 I think ,and I plowed my shops[ 3 acres of plowing ] lot with it for years with a 10 foot blade on it .I had to be carefull not to push the snow too far over the curbs or ditches ,but other than that the truck worked
amazing .I would use it on customers property in a heartbeat ,especially if I had a second truck nearby in case it needs a tug , and a set of chains would probably be handy as well .

Gatewayuser
12-21-2011, 11:36 AM
I laugh at people that plow with 2 wheel drive. Last year I passed a guy driving a 2wd F-450 with salt box who couldn't get up a small hill, I didn't even spin a tire since I was using 4wd. Guess it all comes down to driver skill but I like the safety in having 4wd. I've been plowing for 8 years and honestly there's only been a handful of times where I've needed it.

Mark Oomkes
12-21-2011, 11:44 AM
I laugh at people that plow with 2 wheel drive. Last year I passed a guy driving a 2wd F-450 with salt box who couldn't get up a small hill, I didn't even spin a tire since I was using 4wd. Guess it all comes down to driver skill but I like the safety in having 4wd. I've been plowing for 8 years and honestly there's only been a handful of times where I've needed it.

I have 3 2WD. One I've had for 13 seasons now. Only time it was stuck is when it went off the pavement.

There isn't a municipal 4WD within at least 250 miles of me. All of them are 2WD.

This is discussed at plowsite at least 10 times a year. And the conclusion is always the same. It is done and can be done, with the correct operator and some intelligence.

JCLawn and more
12-21-2011, 11:49 AM
I laugh at people that plow with 2 wheel drive. Last year I passed a guy driving a 2wd F-450 with salt box who couldn't get up a small hill, I didn't even spin a tire since I was using 4wd. Guess it all comes down to driver skill but I like the safety in having 4wd. I've been plowing for 8 years and honestly there's only been a handful of times where I've needed it.

I am just thinking is it worth an extra 4 grand with it on every truck to have 4 wheel drive on the same truck when it comes to diesel. Yes its not that on gas, but I am thinking fuel mileage for the summer time. 17-20 mpg is nicer on he pocket than 8-10 or for 1 ton gassers more like 6-10 mpg.

Swampy
12-21-2011, 11:59 AM
I laugh at people that plow with 2 wheel drive. Last year I passed a guy driving a 2wd F-450 with salt box who couldn't get up a small hill, I didn't even spin a tire since I was using 4wd. Guess it all comes down to driver skill but I like the safety in having 4wd. I've been plowing for 8 years and honestly there's only been a handful of times where I've needed it.

Key word: Driver Skill. I started plowing in a 2wd 6 years ago, The truck as a 2wd F-SuperDuty 4spd granny geared with a 5:13 rear end plow was a 9ft straight blade fisher. Took me about 3 years of getting stuck before I got a good handle on it, then the owner sold the truck. By the end of it I learned to use the forward momentum, and the shear wieght to my advantage pushing snow, Keep the tires moving on a slope (not spining), and found out you can only do so much. Parking lots with that slight slope where you stacking snow, or the loading dock that you can only take pieces out a time. At that same time the other driver in a F550 4x4 would try to bite off more cause he had 4x4 got stuck just as easy.

I follow a simple rule: Just because you have 4x4, means you get stuck worse. Scale it back and don't be fooled by calling it insurance you wont get stuck, because you will. Another rule to kind of over rule that one. If a 4x4 won't push it, get a loader.

Gatewayuser
12-21-2011, 12:01 PM
I am just thinking is it worth an extra 4 grand with it on every truck to have 4 wheel drive on the same truck when it comes to diesel. Yes its not that on gas, but I am thinking fuel mileage for the summer time. 17-20 mpg is nicer on he pocket than 8-10 or for 1 ton gassers more like 6-10 mpg.

I've had 2, 2wd trucks one was a 1500 and the other a 4500 Cab over. I will never buy another 2wd truck. I don't know if you guys get the ice like we do, 2wd just doesn't work on that...of course nothing really does. There's been plenty of times I've needed the 4wd for pulling equipment out too. Just depends on what you need it for but for me I always spend the extra to get 4wd. As far as upkeep I've never really had issues, ones at 210k miles now.

GreenI.A.
12-21-2011, 03:10 PM
one of the things I haven't seen mentioned yet is the type of snow. Some areas are prone to lighter snow while others get a heavier wetter snow. With light fluffier anow 12" deep is easier for a 2wd to get out of than a 4wd in 8" of wet heavier snow.

Gatewayuser
12-21-2011, 03:15 PM
one of the things I haven't seen mentioned yet is the type of snow. Some areas are prone to lighter snow while others get a heavier wetter snow. With light fluffier anow 12" deep is easier for a 2wd to get out of than a 4wd in 8" of wet heavier snow.

True, we get wet snow here, there's been times where its over a foot deep too.

Darryl G
12-21-2011, 03:50 PM
Personally I would never want a 2WD plow truck. It's not just the plowing, it's the getting around between accounts. Heck, I have a hard time getting around during some storms in 4WD...granted I'm usually out pretty early, before the road crews have really gotten things under control....feels more like I'm motorboating than driving sometimes.

GreenI.A.
12-21-2011, 05:31 PM
Personally I would never want a 2WD plow truck. It's not just the plowing, it's the getting around between accounts. Heck, I have a hard time getting around during some storms in 4WD...granted I'm usually out pretty early, before the road crews have really gotten things under control....feels more like I'm motorboating than driving sometimes.

Thats a big factor to. I know around here the trucks are clearing the roads before the first flakes hit the ground for the first few storms. But by the end of winter when towns/city have gone over their snow budgets they end up waiting longer and longer to call out the trucks. Instead of having the crews out all night they'll wait to send them out till just before the morning trafic starts. Last winter we had one storm where the main road my dead end is off of wasn't cleared for a solid 18 hrs leaving 4-6" since the trucks last pass

JCLawn and more
12-21-2011, 05:40 PM
Haha well right now I use my zero turn for plowing. We had 6 inches of wet snow with ice under it and I pulled my 5x8 trailer and 1800 lbs mower with my 2 wheel truck. With only 200lbs of salt in my truck. This was at 2 am haha. So I'm use to that.
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PlantscapeSolutions
12-28-2011, 01:18 AM
Even though I live in Texas I'm from Maine. I would be embarrassed as all hell to be seen driving a 4x2 with a plow. Even with a ton of weight in the back it's going to suck trying to push the truck, plow, and snow up a gentle hill. A 4X2 and a plow is guaranteed frustration.