After last winter, we needed to find a better way to handle snow on 4 miles of private dirt road. I did it all last year with an open station tractor that I put together a cheap cover for and a manual rear blade. No heat, no wind protection, and using the tractor and blade on that much road was very time consuming. We talked about a plow for the pickup we own, but the plan is to replace it as soon as we can. No sense spending the money to add a plow at this point. Not ready to replace it right now though, and even if we did do I really want to hang a heavy plow on the front of a newer, nicer truck? Probably not.
I've been occasionally checking Craigslist for a used plow truck. One turned up down in Colorado, and I went to see it today. It's a 1997 F-250, 351 gas engine and an automatic transmission. Current owner bought it to plow snow with a couple of months ago, but it's been sitting and they decided to sell it. The ad stated that it wouldn't start, electrical problem. I did enough internet digging to find the maker of the plow has gone out of business and parts are unavailable, but standard enough that other brands can be modified to work.
It seems to have a battery or maybe starter problem. I tried to charge the battery with my red pickup for about 10 minutes, that didn't get it to turn over. I strongly suspect the battery in the truck is junk and a new one will fix it. It was live enough to operate the plow hydraulics, and I was able to verify that it lifts. Couldn't test angle since the plow was in the bed, but the motor ran when I moved the controls. After some brief negotiations, a little truck pushing and some maneuvering, it was winch time.
I really like my little winch. It's set up to slide into the receiver hitch on either end of the truck, and I used Anderson SB connectors for power. There's a 500 amp solenoid under the hood, when I flip the switch on the dash it sends power to the plugs on the front and rear through 1/0 cable. Used it for the winch, and the jumper cables today. I have a wireless control for it but the batteries died and they're small, difficult to locate ones.
For the folks who are wondering, yes the winch is below the trailer floor level there. Once the front end of the truck came up the ramps though, the attaching point on the white pickup was high enough that the cable didn't drag across the trailer.
I haven't measure it, but from the way the plow fits in the bed I'm guessing it's 7-8'. Little bend in the center and it needs skid shoes, but overall it looks pretty solid.
This photo was not faked, staged, or modified in any way. When I opened the hood, this is what I found.
It needs work. Battery, maybe a starter, brake reservoir cap, tires and full service on the plow setup. Overall, I think it's a solid truck that will do what we need to do. Yup. I bought a 20 year old plow truck that I haven't heard run, has four bald tires, that comes with a discontinued and unsupported plow and family of rodents under the hood and I still think it was a good idea. Maybe I've been in Colorado too much lately, got a contact high...