Plowing with an ATV

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.plowsite.com target=_blank ?>Sn' started by AB Lawn Care, Oct 12, 2000.

  1. AB Lawn Care

    AB Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 585

    I have been researching plowing and blowing with an ATV,and thought I would ask if any of you guys have any experience with using ATV's.Please relate your pro's and con's.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 849

    I had a friend that plowed with a Honda 4 trax. He did it from when he was 15, until he got his liscense at 17. Then he got a Jeep with a plow, and already had 20 accounts on one street. The ATV had no trouble. He weighed about 300 pounds though. He ran chains on it, and it did great.

    The local high school I used to work at, got a Suzuki to do the walks with the year after I left. They got wheel weights for it, and tire chains. It too does a great job. In fact, when I was there, we did all the walks with two 26" 8HP snow blowers. It took about an hour on a 4" storm. With the quad (ATV) one guy does all the walks in 45 minutes. They still call in 5 guys to do stairs though. It still takes them the hour to do all the stairs.

    The only problem is the wear bar, or "cutting edge". It wears out really fast. They run $20, so it's no big deal. Then again, it's only 2" wide, 1/4" thick mild steel. I told my friend I'd give him one of my plow's old 3/8" high carbon cutting edges, that worn down is about 2 1/2" wide. Would make a big difference I'm sure.

    Then again...... Dino, do you carry a urethane cutting edge for a plow that small? Would be great for all the gaps in the walkways. Those little plows have trip springs, and do trip a lot. Urethane may eliminate some of the trips though.

    The only other draw back I see is transporting it from job to job. It will get covered with snow in the back of a truck, and loading it in the snow would be "fun" too. A van may be a better way to get it around, but in a storm, a van may not get around too well.

    ~Chuck
     
  3. AB Lawn Care

    AB Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 585

    I would be using it for residential drivways and walks.Would it not be faster just to chuck the truck and drive it to each job?????Atv's are very fast + no loading time.
     
  4. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 849

    Yes, it would be much faster, but you'd be much colder.
    Also, depending on where those jobs are, and your area, you could get a hassle from Johnny Law. Around here, they HATE ATV's and dirt bikes. Mostly because they can't catch the dirt bikes, even on the dryest nicest day.
    If all your accounts are in a small radius, then driving it from job to job is a possibility. My friend who did it at 15, did driveways too. He strapped a grain shovel on the back rack to do the walks and steps with. Of course you would plow all the walks you can, but around here, they like to put steps by the street, and have a walk up to another set of steps by the house. DON'T EVEN THINK of driving a ATV on anyone's lawn to get to the walks.

    ~Chuck
     
  5. AK Snow

    AK Snow LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    I plow my own driveway with a Kawasaki 300 and it does O.K., but not great. Limitations are relatively small blade size and only being able to push snow (with a good high speed slam!) into piles about 2.5 ft high. Over the course of a season where to push snow to starts to become a problem when you can't pile it any higher. Also, most blades for ATVs are pretty light - not much good for anything other than fresh loose snow - if the snow is the slighest bit packed the blade tends to ride up onto the top of the hardpack. I'd suggest using a wench to raise and lower the blade - I've yet to see one of those "handle off to one side" lift systems that come wih ATV blades that works really well. I have about 4,000 sq ft of driveway/parking and doing a thorough job of clearing a 4 inch snowfall usually takes me about 2 hours with a 4 foot blade (but I'm pushing the all the snow a good ways off from the drive). Using a ATV would probably be the ticket for sidewalks and small driveways, but as for myself - I've just purchased a skid steer and will be taking delivery on it tomorrow. Bring on the snow!

    Dave
     
  6. AK Snow

    AK Snow LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Whoops

    A couple more beers brought to mind a couple other points to consider. If you're using a ATV in snow that is deeper than its ground clearance the undercarriage tends to "float" in it and traction can become a problem (unless the operator is of sufficient weight to help force the machine down!). Theoretically, you're plowing over the area your wheels are going to be rolling over so this shouldn't be a problem, but in reality I've wasted a lot of time rocking and dragging mine out of deeper snow. Also, if you're running real agressive tire tread or using chains you'll need to keep an eye on tire inflation. ATV tires are rated for pretty low tire pressure to begin with and if you couple that with the machine's relatively high amount of torque in the low gears you can have problems with actually breaking the bead between the tires and the rims. I usually inflate mine to about double the recommended psi (12 vs 6) to avoid that problem. Of course the 12 psi I put in the tire while in the garage probably drops a good bit when I start plowing outside when its -30 degrees or so!

    Dave
     
  7. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 849

    Might I add you'd want an ATV that has reverse. You don't want to plow with a 2 stroke engine either, 4 stroke is what you want.

    ~Chuck
     
  8. diggerman

    diggerman LawnSite Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 702

    We used to use a yamaha 350 big bear with 4x4 and a reverse in it.Other than being cold and the lack of power swivel on the blade it worked grat.It would move 7 to 10 inches of snow easy.We only used it for side walks,it came with a manual lift and the blade attached at the foot pegs.This was alright but this kind of ruined the ground clearence so I modified the blade so it was set up like a regular meyer snow plow.I then used a deep cycle marine battery and what is called an actuator to raise the plow it worked great.The reason that we sold it is that we got so many accounts that the period of time the plower had to be out dictated the need for a cab and heat
     
  9. Ken

    Ken LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    I have a relative who has a Polarois with a blade. The ATV and blade are about four years old. The unit works okay but the blade set-up is very light duty and would destroy itself in commerical duty.

    If someone made a commerical rated hydraulic blade, I think it would be a hot set-up. I still think my Deere garden tractor with its 54" full hydraulic blade is just as quick.
     
  10. Bill c

    Bill c LawnSite Member
    Posts: 114

    I have a yamaha grizzly 600 cc with a 50" vblade and it has no problem pushing a foot of snow.
     

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