Snow plows and Quads?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by scapegoat, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. scapegoat

    scapegoat Pushin forward back

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    Please offer and input on this one as Im sure many of you in snow country can offer some guidance. Winter is coming and last year we had a couple 2' snow dumps over a day or two. The roads are plowed, but our 800' driveway isnt. We have a capable 4wd but It struggles to get to the road when its that deep. last year I used my quad to knock down a path and burn 2 ruts for our 4runner to get thru but it took some time to do it. We been thinking of getting a plow for the quad which is a 08 prairie 360 4x4. Dont care about clearing walkways and that kind of thing, only getting out to the road. Ive read a bunch on it, and find bits of info but it seems most folks say quads are pretty limited on long runs where you have to push it off to the side, and if it 6" or more its pointless using a atv with a plow. really dont wanna spend $500 on something that wont do the job. Really dont use the atv much either and parting with it would free up some cash for other ventures too. Thanks all.
    #1
  2. lkraus

    lkraus Long timer

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    Sell the ATV and get a blade for the Forerunner?

    Snow can be very heavy and the ATV is comparatively light, probably would not be able to push more than a few inches off at a time. Using my 4WD Kubota compact tractor, with an angled rear 5ft blade and front end loader (2500lbs), plus a scoop of snow in the bucket for traction, I start spinning the wheels pushing more than 5" at a time. At times, I've made passes mid-storm just to keep the depth manageable. Can't just clear a path, need to push the snow well back from the drive, because there will be more coming.
    #2
  3. Schmokel

    Schmokel Key to Happiness: Low Expectations

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    Yard truck. V8. Rotted to hell body. Welded front and rear with chains. Don't beat up the daily. Plowing is like the worst thing you can do to a vehicle. Someone else more experience with ATVs can chime in here, but I don't think that 360 has enough weight behind it.
    #3
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  4. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob Supporter

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    Quads are not industrial like a tractor. Imagine hooking a plow to a Ferrari. Nope.
    For 2' snow, you need a snow blower. Bigger is better.
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  5. Roqon

    Roqon Been here awhile

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  6. Trailrider200

    Trailrider200 Long timer

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  7. simestd

    simestd Packet plumber Supporter

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    TL;DR get a good** snow blower - walk behind or on a tractor. A walk behind should clear your drive in the amount of time it takes to walk the length 4-5 times. A tractor is overkill for a driveway unless you need it for other things.

    I've been clearing a parking lot and aircraft ramp for a flight school in Anchorage for several years. I started with a small adjustable angle blade on a properly equipped lawn tractor (wheel weights, chains on the drive wheels). From the blade, I graduated to a snow blower mounted on the tractor and I'd highly recommend that solution for your driveway. The snow blower does two things that a blade cannot. First, it displaces snow well away from your plowing area (20 - 30 feet for a good blower) and second it can displace snow the entire time it's travelling. A blade can only displace as much snow as it can carry (either due to volume or in some cases weight as limited by traction) if that makes sense. Finally, with a blade, as others have mentioned, you need to have enough space to push increasing volumes of snow into as the winter goes on - although that may be less of an issue in AZ than it is here. ATV plows are really pretty miserable performers up here - mostly due to the tiny volume of snow the blades can carry.

    As a data point, I'm currently plowing with a Jeep TJ and a Fisher Homesteader setup - BUT I have two snow dump areas that I plow into and the airport empties them several times a year. Efficiency wise (as measured by time to clear a given snowfall) the tractor and the Jeep are about equivalent but the Jeep is warmer :) Without the dedicated snow dump areas, the tractor and blower would win hands down.

    **good IMHO means 2 stage, wheels (as opposed to tracks) for maneuverability and about 5 HP driving a 24-26" clearing width. Don't fall for the under powered wider clearing widths or the notion that bigger is better. From experience, wrestling an 8 HP, 30" machine in deep snow is a PITA compared to a 5 HP, 24" machine.
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  8. Adanac rider

    Adanac rider O.S.T.R. Supporter

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    Is your snow the light fluffy stuff or wet and heavy ? If it's only a couple times a year and light I would make do with the quad . When you plow it to the side make sure you make room for future snow . If its too deep to plow , make a run with the blade up and come back for the bottom half . It's easy to spend a lot of money to have it sit for 360 days a year .
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  9. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    From what I remember Flagstaff snow tend to be on the wet and heavy side. Hard to move but doesn't drift much.
    A quad isn't going to move that. A quad isn't going to move any 2' snow fall.
    I don't know the exact quad you have, is it a belt drive or a centrifical clutch? Those don't like low speed, high load work, they slip a lot and burn up. Have low range where you can keep the revs up and keep the clutch/belt running cool? It might work if you can keep on top of it. That is plowing off the snow as it falls so you are never pushing more than a couple inches at a time.

    But I will agree, it is probably the wrong tool for the job. 800' is a lot. If it is just moving snow, need a snow blower. If you have some property with that long driveway, a tractor. Because you will need the tractor for the rest of the property. Something like a 25HP 4WD L-series Kobuta.
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  10. Adanac rider

    Adanac rider O.S.T.R. Supporter

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    Yes if it's wet and heavy you will have to keep on it with a quad . Another option would be to help out a neighbour with $$$ who has the proper equipment .
    #10
  11. scapegoat

    scapegoat Pushin forward back

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    The quad is a 360cc, 4wd with low range and belt drive. One big thing I think I forgot to mention is our drive is not paved, its cinders like 3/4" +- lava rocks. I think I read somewhere an atv plow would be a nightmare as it would tend to dig in to the cinders and make whoop de doos. Wow, glad I asked here. I was thinking Id be able to set the blade at an angle and move along leaving a few inches of snow on the ground that we could easily drive over in 4wd.
    #11
  12. Type301

    Type301 Adventurer Supporter

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    That's a small ATV to plow with. If you plow while it snows and take small bites it can work. You will need feet on it to make it not dig in (it still will, but less). Or be diligent about holding it above the ground.

    Blowers can be a problem on gravel too unless you keep them up a bit. Less problem on a blower.

    2 foot dumps are better to blow.

    ATV plows are a pain to store. You also need to take the plate on and off if you want full ground clearance for trail riding. Not a big deal, but a pain.

    I used to plow with an ATV, as said above it takes a lot of planning to have places to put your snow. You only get to move it once.

    You will need chains. And it wears your ATV out fast.
    #12
  13. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    You're in Arizona; why not just wait until Spring? :-)

    Seriously, the ATV isn't gonna cut it for your purposes. 2' of heavy wet snow, 800' gravel drive, a blower isn't gonna cut it either (unless you own stock in the company that makes shear pins). IMO you need a truck with a plow. Or to pay some other guy who has a plow truck.
    #13
  14. simestd

    simestd Packet plumber Supporter

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    Either a blade or a blower will have skids or shoes that can be used to adjust it's height over the plowed surface, but a gravel surface will be hard on equipment however you handle it. If your driveway is anything but smooth and flat, due to span, the effect will be worse on a blade than a snow blower (at least until you build up a good frozen layer over the gravel).
    #14
  15. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Not gonna argue, just going to state that at the bike shop where I worked we used to plow the lot with a Honda 125M. Then we used an ATC250 Big Red, plowed all the Ohio snow we dealt with. We'd run down the sidewalks of the street near the shop, keep people happy. Then it was a TRX250 about the time I went to a new job. We didn't use chains or anything like that. We just ran the ATV, none were 4wd at that time. I'm sure they used bigger and 4wd ATVS after I was gone.

    Sure you might hit a depth that may be a bit of problem. We did. Then we'd keep the blade up and plow off the top first, then come back blade down. Even the 125M would push slushy stuff in the lot.

    That is our experience.
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  16. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto aka: trailer Rails Supporter

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    For 1 or 2 times a year? I would find a neighbor with a tractor. Pay them $1-200 every time you call them to clear the driveway. It will be cheaper than buying another piece of equipment.
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  17. concours

    concours WFO for 47 years

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    I have a 3/4 ton yard truck & plow. 4wd tractor with snow blower. Walk behind 13hp snow blower. And, a 1996 Polaris Sportsman 500 quad with a Moose plow. No tire chains. I have been plowing snow 48 years, and figured getting a plow for the ATV was an amusement. WRONG. Three 50 lb “tube sand” (sandbags) on the rear rack and I plow up to 5” of light snow, or less of “wet cement” snow like a champ. HANDS DOWN the fastest snow weapon I have. Once you’re sure there are no obstacles to snag on, I hold it pinned in high range, up to 25 mph...
    Donuts & 4 wheels drifts as well.
    Sounds PERFECT for occasional use on your long driveway.
    And I had the Prairie 300 with the same plow. Works perfect plowing in low range.

    Also, plowing does not ruin a vehicle. Dipshit operators ruin plow vehicles. I’ve plowed with a Scout, Jeep, 1/2 ton Ford & Chev, no drama. Ever.
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  18. slobinski

    slobinski easily amused

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    Mine's a Sportsman 700 with a 48" plow (wish I'd gone with the 60"), which works pretty well with the snow we get here. Tire chains and low range are a must; also as was mentioned with this setup you can't let it pile up much. I've bolted a scrap of 3" angle iron to the top of the plow blade on occasion to keep it from floating when the snow gets heavy, but this has its limits too.

    I've got about 600 feet of gravel driveway; the road is about a mile long. There are three of us with similar plows who work on this as needed. There's been a time or two when the guy with the Kubota tractor has to come along and help out. Funny thing is, I never see these neighbors the rest of the year, but when the snow piles up we seem to get it done.
    #18
  19. concours

    concours WFO for 47 years

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  20. C Squared

    C Squared Now with TURBO! Supporter

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    Ive gotten my 97 F350 7.3 with chains on the front stuck once. V bar chains. 600 foot driveway. I had a CJ with a plow years ago. ANGLE THE PLOW AND SPIN THE CJ SIDEWAYS AND STUCK. I know what I am doing and how to plow. Have a plow for the 4 wheeler, but have not used it in 11 years. I can get at everything with the big truck. 4 Wheeler is fine until it isn't. I have had to push piles up to 8 feet tall. You are not doing that with a wheeler. But, if you don't need to you are fine.
    Inlaws next door got by with a wheeler and plow for most of last winter with a .34 mile driveway. They were gone when the big ones hit and i cleared that. 1 thing mentioned was clear it wide, Can't push snow back it there isn't room.
    #20