1. tru cut

    tru cut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 103

    how often do you have a breakdown and what usally breaks.truck,plow,sander<p>----------<br>Todd <br>
     
  2. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,446

    I know this isn't exactly the question, but as far as frequency concerns:<p>We have 11 trucks and average a breakdown of 1 unit every 3rd plow or so. So 1 truck down every 33rd truck/trip. We figure each unit will be down for 1 trip/winter. <p>We have 1 dedicated back-up truck that just sits and 1 truck w/ half route to accomadate breakdowns with no service interuption.<p>1 Truck down, no problem whatsoever. 2 Trucks down (avg. 1 time/winter) still can service all acocunts in a timely manner. 3 down (which almost never happens, thankfully) and then we're scrambling.<p>I don't know if this is average for your area or not, but we have less down time per unit than most of the guys I know.<br>
     
  3. GeoffDiamond

    GeoffDiamond LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,651

    I just bought that 93 F 250 HD for that reason, it is a back up truck. It does have a route but it's an easy quick route. As for truck break downs i have never had one, all my plow trucks are 95 or newer, except the 93. I did have a truck out of service after a guy with a v-plow ran a light and hit the front end of one of my trucks. I have never had a truck break down on a storm in 10 years so i feel pretty lucky. <p>Geoff
     
  4. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,446

    Wow,<br>Not even a quick-coupler leak, blown hose, frozen brake, axle joint or flat tire or loose cutting edge? Here it's rare to have a transmission last for over 5 ot 6 years. Our 1996 Dodge has had 5 transmissions. My buddy has a 1997 that has been to the dealer 17 times. For us, the model year has not coincided with dependability.
     
  5. GeoffDiamond

    GeoffDiamond LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,651

    I have never blow a trans in a truck. As for plow problems, i do a very good pre season service on them all. The trucks all carry some spare parts, so if something minor breaks they can fix it in the field. Only if a coupler looks like it in poor condition it gets replaced. Only i really have never had a break down in the opperation of plowing. I tell the guys to come to a complete stop before they shift from f to r, even if it takes an extra hour on their route it's worth it in lower repair cost. After 125 or 140 K i ditch the truck. <p>Geoff
     
  6. plowking35

    plowking35 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S.E. CT
    Posts: 1,687

    The only time I have been down in the last 6 years was last season and that was operator error. MINE<br>Any way we have a back up truck and a back up sub just in case.<br>Dino<p>----------<br> Professional Ice and Snow Management <br>Products:Services:Equipment www.sima.org
     
  7. Stephen

    Stephen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 81

    i have too had breakdowns on several occasions over the last 3 years i have been in business, but this year i added the second truck along with more accounts. I guess i am lucky that if i break down i can get a hand from my dad, who has six or so truck running during a storm. We help each other out all the time, nost notably the first storm this year. I was loading my sander and i slipped off the top of it, off my one ton dump and tried to play acrobat. i ended up spending the day in the emergency room with a fractured vertebrae and now i have to wear a brace for three months and scale down on the workload. So anyway, not to ramble on anymore but he really has helped me unbelievably in starting out but just in case i do have other subs lined up.<p>----------<br>Stephen<br>
     
  8. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 849

    What breaks the most? How about why most equipment stops working all together, or improperly?<br>Since I haven't had any problems myself in recent years, I'll use my brother as an example. Let's take this year. We got to plow for the first time last week. I got there to pick up my plow when there was 2&quot; on the ground, and still falling. I would have gotten it sooner, but this Condo Complex doesn't want me parking it with a plow on it. Anyway, there he was asleep. I had to get him up, and get him to move his truck. Then move his trailer with snowmobiles on it. Then hook up his plow, so I could get to mine. I hooked up ASAP, and he went off to pick up a paycheck from his day job. I went right out plowing.<br>When I was plowing the Diner we do, he showed up. He did two pushes, and hit a steel plate in the lot's surface. It jarred the truck hard enough to make the clumps of slush fall off behind all 4 wheels. It was 4ft before the end of the push. He reached the end, and the plow wouldn't go up. It wouldn't angle either way. He waved me over. The solenoid was clicking. I told him he had a bad ground. We checked all the connections. All were clean and tight (after I cleaned them), no luck. I figured maybe there was rust on the pump motor shaft, and it was siezed up for some reason, since if the shaft was siezed, the solenoid would just click too.I had to be sure the motor was free. This being the first year he left the pump on year round, I was concerned about rust in the motor. The motor spun fine. I put the 2 screws in loosely, and told him to try it. It went right up. I tightened the screws. Told him to try it. I saw sparks at the heads of the 2 screws. I snugged them some more, and no more sparks. I guess the motor housing being steel, mating to the aluminum pump housing, isn't a very conductive connection. The corrosion on the aluminum being the culprit. He plowed the rest of the storm, no problem.<br>After, he went out to salt. He mounted the salter on the truck, and it didn't work. He hooked up a trickle battery charger to the motor terminals, and it worked fine. The test light showed 12 volts at the plug. The ground in the plug didn't work. Bad ground. Looking underneath, he found the ground wire broken off the terminal where it mounts on the truck frame. He replaced the end, and tooth washer, and it worked fine.<br>These are two instances. Bad grounds are the most common reason for equipment not working, and a slew of other problems. Headlights dim? Check the grounds. Tail lights dim? Check the grounds.<p>Oh and on gas powered 4 stroke snowblowers, be sure to keep the gas cap snow and ice free. If the pinhole in the cap gets covered, the blower will stall out. I found this out the hard way. Something told me to try loosening the gas cap, and trying to start it again. It fired right up. I shut it off, and put the cap in front of the heater duct in the truck for a minute. Thawed it out, and I was back in business.<p>My right front marker light was getting dim for some reason. I tried changing the bulb from the front, no better. Before I could investigate further, since it was under the battery, I had a little fire. the wires going to it cooked. I heard the fuse in the cab pop. i drove back home, and set out to rewire it. Long story short, the battery acid ate into the electrical tape, and it held it against the wires inside the loose tape. It just ate the insulation until it crumbled away. Then it shorted out. I had a spare wiring harness in the garage so it was no big deal. My point is, rinse your battery often, and keep the connections clean. Clean the battery with Baking Soda.<br>Plow motor connections should be checked for corrosion, and the coil wires as well. Be sure to check the lead from the battery to the solenoid, and from the solenoid to the pump motor. <br>If you have a tailgate salter, be sure to keep the plug clean on the truck. Use a cap for it, most come with them nowadays.<p>Th only part I've had break is a front axle shaft, and I knew I was going to break it. It was the last account I had to do, the final time, during the Blizzard of 96 here. I heard the U joint making noise, and just wanted to finish. I had 3 more pushes in a straight line. I hit the gas, the joint snapped. I tried to back out, to limp home in 2wd. As soon as I turned the wheel, I heard the ears snapping off the axle shaft, and stub axle. I got towed from there to my buddies shop. Had the truck back the next day at 10. Cost me $127.00. Not bad for a used shaft, installed.<p>On a final note, in this long winded off on a lark reply....<br>My truck is an 80 GMC K/20. I plowed one season with my brother and Mario our friend. Mario had a 95 Silverado 1/2 ton, and my brother had his 95 Ram 1500 which he has still. Durijng three snowfalls that year, I ended up plowing all of our accounts with my &quot;old bomb&quot;. No problems. This was because neither of their trucks would go into 4wd. What a shame. The light on the dash was on, shifter engaged, but no 4wd. Gee, I had to get out and lock my hubs, perish the thought.<br>On the Chevy it was the &quot;dick&quot;, or the motor and rod. On the Ram, it was some sensor on the front axle that got torn off who knows when. the Ram was grinding bad in 4wd. The dealer replaced the axle. My brother watched the guy do it. Took him 10 hours to ASSEMBLE the axle, and install it.<br>So in review, check all your grounds often, even if things work ok. <br>Clean your battery, and flush the area often.<br>Check all your plow connections.<br>Never let a gas cap ice up on a 4 stroke.<br>Check your salter connections.<br>Be ready for electronic 4wd to fail when you need it most. ;&gt;)<p>~Chuck<p>----------<br>Chuck's Chevy Truck Pages - Snowplowing Central<br>http://members.aol.com/csmith669/plowcentral.html
     

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