Which tractor for snow : Size Tractor Needed  -- General Tractor Discussion Forum and Review Which tractor for snow : Size Tractor Needed -- General Tractor Discussion Forum

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 12-28-2002, 22:53 Post: 46662
BigJake
2002-12-28 22:53:31
Post: 46662
 Which tractor for snow

I am thinking about purchasing a tractor for snow removal. I think one with a loader attachment would be best. I know next to nothing about tractors. Any suggestions?






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 12-29-2002, 05:32 Post: 46665
TomG

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 Which tractor for snow

There's a lot of reading on the subject in the archives. I'll start off by noting that for most people compact is a pretty expensive thing for just snow removal. A guy with a truck might cost far less. It might be good to think through year around use for a tractor, and the best choice may depend on other uses for it. Not a lot specific about a good tractor for the job can be said unless things like how much snow, how much drive and parking areas, what surfaces and what's around the cleared areas are known.

The basic ideas are how much clearing there is to do and how fast it's needed to be done. The basic approaches are plow front or rear or blower--again front or rear. People with long drives often don't like to spend the day driving in reverse and go for front mounted blowers or blades even through that does compromise loader use. Even with a blade loaders are still useful for cutting through high drifts and for piling it up, but loader buckets aren't great for plowing except for light snows.

Part of the choice between blower or blade has to do with how much snow and whether there's room along drives to store plowed snow till spring. In moderate snows, ground speeds for blades are faster than for blowers (neither are as fast as a truck). However, blowers just blow the stuff to the side rather than push it off to the side. For places that get a lot of snow, plowing means having to push the snow quite a way back from the road so there's enough space to plow more. If you run out of space and birm freezes there'd be a big job pushing it back or accepting that the road may be 5' wide by spring. In that case, the slower blower may have been faster. In general, bigger tractors use wider implements that get the work done faster unless there's a lot of maneuvering.






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 12-29-2002, 08:29 Post: 46678
DRankin



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 Which tractor for snow

Jake, Where do you live and how is your snow removal being handled now?






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 12-29-2002, 09:40 Post: 46683
BigJake
2002-12-29 00:00:00
Post: 46683
 Which tractor for snow

I live in Nova Scotia Canada, I have two bad knees therefor the present use of a walk behind snowblower is getting quite difficult. When we get snow here it is usually a lot and wet and heavy. I live next to my 70 year old parents they have a long drive, I have a short drive but nowhere to put snow. I have a 1998 chev 4X4 1/2 ton, I thought about a plow but you can only push so far.






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 12-29-2002, 16:31 Post: 46689
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 Which tractor for snow

Sounds like a tractor mounted blower is the first step, now what about summer uses? Do you maintain the driveway or is it paved?






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 12-29-2002, 18:04 Post: 46691
BigJake
2002-12-29 00:00:00
Post: 46691
 Which tractor for snow

My driveway is gravel and my father's is paved. I am a commercial lobster fisherman, so I could use the tractor to haul my boat ( 4ton) in and out of the water. We have a garden tractor for mowing.






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 12-30-2002, 06:35 Post: 46705
TomG

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 Which tractor for snow

Some people here have used compacts for pulling trailers and might comment. The idea might work but probably takes a bit of thought. My 24 PTO HP compact weighs about 3,000 lbs. with loader. It might get a pretty good push from an 8,000-lbs. load even at low speeds. Tractors are much better at pulling than at stopping. It might be a good idea to get a sense of the size tractor needed for boat hauling and then see how the size and costs work for snow clearing.

In terms of keeping a tractor busy, a little 'trying the idea on for size' probably will come up with other work for a tractor. For example, many new owners are surprised how useful a loader is and never really thought about how frequently things have to be muscled around or a crew rounded up to help wrestle something into a truck or trailer.

For alternatives, one of our neighbours does his place and one across the highway with a blower on a riding mower. That's probably a less expensive idea than a compact tractor. However, he only mows and blows while I lift, load, drill, move, drag, spread and grade with my 24 PTO HP compact. There's enough of that work to keep the tractor at least half-busy. I didn't say mow because I still mow with a riding mower and use a walk-behind tiller for garden plots. The tractor is large enough that it would take too long maneuvering around trees, buildings etc. and leave too much trimming. I also have to stay off the lawn when the ground is wet or the tractor will tear up the turf a bit even with turf tires. Another alternative might be one of the 'mule' things. They are sort of a 4-wheeler/tractor hybrid. They might work well enough as an ATV substitute and get enough tractor type work done to be interesting.






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 12-30-2002, 09:04 Post: 46709
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 Which tractor for snow

Is that the weight of the boat, or the boat and trailer? In either case it will take a tractor of nearly equal weight to safely haul a load like that size up a wet boat ramp. Might end up too much of a compromise on one end or the other. As Tom has pointed out, sometimes it is better to have more than one machine for widely varying tasks.






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 12-30-2002, 15:04 Post: 46725
BigJake
2002-12-30 00:00:00
Post: 46725
 Which tractor for snow

I am not all that concerned about hauling the boat, I was attempting to come up with uses to justify a compact tractor. Since I had our driveways plowed last year by a neighbour with a big JD ( don't know the model #)I decided I wanted one only not quite so big. I do think I want a tractor in the 20 to 30 HP range able to attach a loader and a snow blower.

Another problem is the only dealer near me is for NH but he doesn't sell or have inventory; he can order a tractor and service them. This inhibits the shopping experience. Within 500 Miles are a couple of dealers for all the big 3 with some used units. I saw one JD 1999 790 with loader for $21,000.00 CAD, it would seem this is high compared to what you guys pay new, even with the exchange.
I'll keep searching meanwhile and if you have any other tips I gratly appreciate them and thank you.






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 12-31-2002, 07:00 Post: 46745
TomG

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 Which tractor for snow

Jake: I drove my wife nuts for months trying to rationalize getting a tractor. I go through all the thing it could do and how we'd get them done without a tractor. Perhaps out of self-defense she finally said something like: 'Well, it's just something you want. The money's there so just get one without worrying about justifying it.' And so I did. I'm not the one to be talking anybody out of buying a tractor. And I'm not. I did mean 'mule' and not 'weasel' Don't know how I made that switch.

I shared your problem when I was first looking for a tractor, but the closest dealer to me is about 90 miles. I eventually bought from a NH dealer almost 200 miles away. The problems are working with a distant dealer are a pain but manageable. Unless you have a heavy truck and trailer you end up paying transportation charges if the tractor has to go to the dealer. Parts can be couried but oil and batteries can't be.

A nearby NH dealer probably does make a NH tractor attractive. I don't imagine the dealer would have a problem working on a tractor bought elsewhere if he doesn't have anything to sell you. If it's a new tractor, I'd make sure a different dealer can do warranty work. Most dealers can ship most any think most anywhere so I wouldn't be too concerned about looking even outside the region. There are brokers on the web and most manufacturer web site have dealer locators. Independent mechanics can be found to evaluate distant tractors, and there are a couple ways to handle the distance problem.

I'd really talk to a dealer. They are pretty good at listening to customers and designing packages that meet needs and budgets. This site is pretty good at tips, general orientation and specific problems but dealers are in business to do what you probably really want done.






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