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best tractor setup for snow removal

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johnnycanuck
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 3 Ontario
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2008-10-15          157266


I am thinking about all that snow coming soon and would appreciate opinions on best tractor snow attachment combo. We have a 0.6 mile private road into our place and the snowfall can be quite heavy in northern Ontario.

Wondering if a B3030 with a cab and a 5 foot blower would be up to the task? I would appreciate advice here!

(FEL is only other piece of equipment that I was thinking of buying for landscaping and logging work in the bush - not sure if toothbar would be good idea.)

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2008-10-15          157267


When I had lots of snow to move the three point blower with a FEL combo worked great for me. Frank. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7209 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-10-15          157269


First off, howdy neighbour!! LOL Welcome to the board!!

For my 2 cents worth, the novelty of clearing 3,000+ feet of driveway turned around backwards will wear off REALLY quickly. Like half way down the road making the very first pass!!

Either find a front-mounted blower, or get a conversion kit to put a regular 3pth blower out front.

Another good option is, depending on where you are, you can more than likely get a local to clear your driveway for a lot less then you can do it yourself. My lady's folks live in Muskoka and have a similar driveway as yours, a guy in town comes out with a monster front blower on a big old Russian tractor and cleans it up for them, I doubt the cost of him doing it for the last 8 years would even put a dent in the cost of a decent blower, let alone the tractor or fuel. Never mind the luxury of watching it being done from in front of the fireplace with a hot coffee in your hand!!

If you can give a little more detail as to where you are I can maybe give you some other options better suited to your area though.

Best of luck. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2008-10-15          157270


I have the same requirement a bit south of you. The tractor will suit; consider getting tire chains. The bucket also aids front traction especially if you fill it with snow, and with a blower you need it for balance. Maybe have the dealer install a block heater.

The main decision is blower or blade. Blade is cheap and simple, but if snow is steady, eventually the snow shoulders will leave no more place to push the new stuff and you have to move them with the bucket. Blower doesn't leave shoulders but doesn't like debris like stones on the lane or tree bits blown on the lane. Blade can be pushed as well as pulled, can remove snow from around obstacles (like a house) better, and lets you operate going forward. (You have to see what you're doing, so you might be better off without a cab, at least until you're used to the operation, unless there's a front and back wiper.) If there's a dense thicket of trees close to the lane, there may be no clear place to blow. Considering all those pros and cons, I suggest you start with a blade (which you many want for summer grading anyway) and get a blower if you find you need one. If you do that, ask the dealer if the rear hitch has "power down." If not, you may want to weight the blade; I just attached a piece of heavy angle-iron to mine.

A bucket is more for transporting than for excavating unless it's like a pile of topsoil or gravel. Teeth might help, and a grapple device might make a difference, depending on your requirements. Or a box blade. Maybe have the dealer come out and advise. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2008-10-15          157272


I'm with Murf on this one.

Blowing a driveway a half-mile long, while turned around in the seat, will cause all kinds of neck pain, headaches, etc. Blowing while traveling in reverse, that far, is literally A PAIN IN THE NECK.

The B3030 with a front mounted blower will be a far better option for you, but you'll have to be diligent about picking up any fallen branches between snow events.

I also agree that it would be far cheaper to hire the work done, but I understand the difficulty with this, as well. The guy won't show up on time, or his equipment may be used at some other location, causing you to have to wait until he has enough time to make it over to your place.

In areas with heavy snowfall, I would shy away from the blade. You'll quickly run out of places to put the snow. Your driveway will eventually end up being four feet wide. A blower will keep the snow away from the driveway, preventing the wind from drifting the driveway full.

Joel ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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johnnycanuck
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 3 Ontario
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2008-10-15          157276


Wow - that was quick feedback! :-) Thanks gang.

I just returned from the Kubota dealership in Bracebridge and saw a B3030 HSDC (with cab) and front mounted 63 in. wide snowblower. Looks like a comfy solution that will allow me to drive forward.

Since I have read here that this tractor tends to be a bit 'light in the pants' I am thinking more about adding a 72 in. rear blade, partly as a counterbalance, rather than weighting the tires or using a balast box. Not sure about the need for chains - maybe will try it out 1st without them.

We have investigated getting the plowing done but then as you all say this presents its own challenges...on balance probably better to just do it myself...and if it is not done then I know whom to blame! Tnx!

....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7209 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-10-15          157279


Ok, now we're getting somewhere.

I know exactly what you are dealing with, I have a place over at Port Carling, 'heavy snow' can be an understatement!! When those winds push the moisture in off Georgian Bay it's hibernation time! LOL

I wouldn't too excited about using the blade as a counter balance, for several reasons, first and foremost, weight, the rear blade just doesn't weigh enough. Also, you want a counter balance that won't interfere with your moving around so it must be close in to the back of the tractor, the added width will be a PITA too. A box blade is a little better size-wise but not by much, it will be better for summer use on your driveway though.

If you search through the archives there's a lot of good info on how to make a drawbar and a plastic barrel (filled with concrete) into a first class weight block. Total cost about $50 and an hours time.

Best of luck.

....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
best tractor setup for snow removal

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2008-10-15          157284


Having formerly done commercial snow plowing with strictly a truck and plow, I tend to be the lone voice here when it comes to not using a tractor for plowing. IMHO, a nice warm 'n cozy plow truck listening to the radio plowing a long drive makes it short work.

I now use a big skid steer on steel tracks equipped with a rigid, power-angling straight blade from a plow truck to maiantain my mile of private road, and plow the neighbros' drives too. And it has an enclosed cab with heat. Given a choice, I'd MUCH rather be in truck which is 3-4 times faster

Now, keep in mind we only get 36-42" of snow here so blowers are really not used here, nor is having high embankments of snow an issue. And with "global warming" we only get about 6 snow events a season anyway, and then it usually melts soon after.

If you have the inclination and the money, look ino a V-plow which allows you to push as much as 3-4 yards of snow at a time and pile higher than most FELs can reach (depending on the type of snow).

....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7209 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-10-15          157285


Quote:
Originally Posted by earthwrks | view 157284
Now, keep in mind we only get 36-42" of snow here so blowers are really not used here, nor is having high embankments of snow an issue.


Jeff, with where the OP & my summer place are, when a storm comes out of the north-west, there's nothing but 200+ miles of Lake Huron, beyond that is that much more again of Lake Superior.

36" - 42" of snow is ONE good storm up there if you count the drifting that follows the storm itself.

Best of luck. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2008-10-15          157287


Murf I was going to mention that about your area. My cousin lives near Traverse City. MI. He said the first year he lived there they had 6' in one snowfall---looked like your avitar of the "outdoor beer cooler"--- and had to leave his home from the second floor. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2008-10-15          157289


I've just gotta come to the defense of the three point blower FEL combo. I had a Case 1070 tractor (100+HP)/ Westendorf WL42 loader/ IHC #80 8 ft. three point blower. I often had neighbors blown out to get to work on a mile or more of gravel road long before the county got to it. As long as you are in familliar surroundings, some good mirrors and good rear lights you guys have the twisted neck thing blown way out of proportion. The most used attachment that anyone with a compact tractor can own is the FEL, so why be mounting and dismounting it when it isn't nescessary, leave it on and use a rear blower. Not to mention the added cost of a front mount machine over a three point. Someone mentioned using a box blade as rear ballast, I couldn't agree more plus it is a very usefull tool. Frank. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1545 Moravia, NY
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2008-10-15          157291


I've been doing long drives with 3ph blower for a long time. I just don't see the twisted neck thing. I've plowed, mowed, baled, chopped hundreds of acres over the years one eye on equipment one eye on row.

If money no object I'd have a winter cab tractor with a big heater in it and a big blower on front. Just because I get a little lazier and look for easier ways to do something.

But money says I use the most practical set up I can afford and the old rusty 2nd hand blower I bought from Art a few years ago serves the purpose well. Art it's still a awesome blower, Stored under cover summers and in by the wood stove during the winter.

....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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cutter
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 1307 The South Shore of Lake Ontario, New York
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2008-10-15          157294


I tend to agree, if I could afford a machine for each purpose the front blower is nice to have. Fact is, I can't, so the Kubota has the three point with hydro chute and I leave the loader on and that is used almost as much as the blower.

Now, if I had a paved driveway and barnyard, a front mount blower would pretty much do it all. In my area a truck with a plow is generally sufficient as well. My objection to that is the need to constantly remove the plow (if that is your only vehicle). ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2008-10-16          157298


I should have been more specific about a plow truck. I was thinking of a dedicated "beater" perhaps that wouldn't even be plated or insured. However having a nice truck and plow is great. And the plows made now only take about a minute or less to disconnect/connect.

Maybe I missed it but have the postings about the truck plow-in-the-FEL-bucket been revived here?

Over the weekend on Craigslist I found a skid steer 8' blower in nearly new shape for $1800 (which could be front mounted on the FEL providing the right attachment and hydraulic flow requirements are there)---isn't that about like a fraction of new cost?

....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2008-10-16          157300


More variables to plug into the equation:

Better traction if the tractor is on cleared snow. You get that with a front plow, blade or blower, or a rear blade or blower going in reverse, but not with the common setup of pulling a rear blade.

Plow is fastest, pulling a rear blade is second-fastest. Blower is slowest, uses the most fuel, needs a little servicing, and can clog with wet snow.

I have a front blower for one tractor, and a rear blade (I sold its 6' blower) for another. Most winters I don't even attach a blower. I used to use it to clear the snow shoulders, but it's faster to use the front bucket.

I modified the blade to pivot at a higher angle than original, so the snow gets more moved over and less just pulled or pushed along. (With the extreme angle its cleared-path is the same as the tractor track, so I adjust the hitch so it follows the tractor, and if I can get the tractor through an obstacle I know the blade won't hit anything.) I installed a height-increaser so deep snow doesn't so much spill over the top. I reinforced the mounting so nothing will break when I push backward. I replaced one of the vertical hitch linkages with a crank adjuster so I can change the L-R up-down angle from the seat, on the fly. I ground a slight radius at the ends of the bottom or biting blade, so it doesn't catch on sidewalk irregularities when I help my neighbors. With no power-down, I weighted it.

Have fun deciding. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7209 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-10-16          157302


Harvey, Frank, I agree with you, turning around is second nature to me too, after 30+ years of farming and construction.

However, if you've never done it, it doesn't work so well! My gals father borrowed one of my machines for a driveway project he was doing. After a single day on the tractor he was crippled and spent the next 3 weeks with a stiff neck and running to the chiropractors office.

Jeff, a 24hp Honda mounted straight onto the back of a regular 3pth blower and then hooked to a plow trucks harness is a pretty slick setup too, and much less $$$ than the hydraulic units are.

Best of luck. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2008-10-16          157305


I thought about mounting a small blower in the front bucket, before I decided to concentrate on the rear blade.

Because working in reverse is hard on the neck, I sit facing the side, so only have to twist back about 50 degrees. That means no feet on the pedals, so having a powershift transmission is critical -- if I have to stop I flick it into neutral without having to twist back to facing forward. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7209 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-10-16          157307


If you like plowing snow with a rear blade, you should try it with a regular snow plow like you would use on a pickup mounted where the FEL bucket normally is!!

No turning around, unbelievable traction, speed and the ability to either stack or push over snow banks!

Best of luck. ....

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best tractor setup for snow removal

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cutter
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 1307 The South Shore of Lake Ontario, New York
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2008-10-16          157310


If you do that, make certain you use a setup like Murf made for his rig and not one of those solid mount Curtis loader blades. You want the thing to float, the old plow with the chain will allow that. I had a Curtis and it was not suitable for anything but a paved driveway and then I have reservations. ....

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