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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    184
    Location
    Northeast..new hampshire
    Tractor
    Zetor C-42 with HL50 loader

    Default Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    I'm new to tractoring, learning with each use (10hrs up to now) anyway I plan on using my tractor's FEL for plowing and snow removal. It's a steep driveway about 400' long, the area is in the NH "snowbelt". The tractor is 40hp, 4wd with front chains for the winter, and loaded tires. I also have a heavy duty back blade (7ft woods), I plan to use that to catch what the FEL misses. My olde plow girl has gone to Dodge ram heaven 1976-2004 thus a new tractor takes her place. I am familiar with the driveway, plowed it for two years and had a routine.

    What kind of problems can I expect? Anything I should know before my first attempt? I'm low on $$ so snowblower attachments and plow attachments are not an option for this year.

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Super Member Inspector507's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    5,817
    Location
    Central Ohio

    Default Re: Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    What kind of driveway? Stone, dirt or pavement?

  3. #3
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    184
    Location
    Northeast..new hampshire
    Tractor
    Zetor C-42 with HL50 loader

    Default Re: Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    Sorry, it's a dirt road..

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    1,162
    Location
    Upstate NY, USA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3710 HST and a Kubota ZD21 60Pro

    Default Re: Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    I live in the snow belt in central NY and have been plowing or blowing snow for 25 years. If I have time, I'll use the FEL to clean out my turnout, but it's very time consuming. My driveway is over 800 ft long, with an 80" blower I'm done in 30 - 40 minutes, no matter how much snow we have.

    I'm sure you can get by with the FEL and the backblade, but it's going to take some time to clear anything over a few inches. Do you still have the plow off your old truck? If so, you could rig it up as a front mount on the tractor. You can push a lot more snow than you can drag, and you don't have to drive over it or kill your neck by using the back blade in reverse.

    I plowed for years with a tractor and a truck and 5 yrs ago I switched to a large blower, I'll never go back to a plow.

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    121
    Location
    Near Ithaca, NY
    Tractor
    JD4100 HST

    Default Re: Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    Rameye,

    I've had a JD 4100 20 hp HST with a FEL and 6' Woods heavy duty back blade for three winters. I generally use the blade for snow removal, and the FEL to pile it. There's a couple of things I do on my dirt/gravel driveway and parking areas - before the ground is really frozen, I use the blade backwards so it doesn't dig in. Once you get a snow pack, then you can turn it around and use it normally. The other trick I use, since I'm on a side hill and I encounter all kinds of angles in my driveway approaches and parking areas, I pull the tilt pin and let the blade seek its own angle. I leave the pin out all winter.

    The only time I use the FEL for clearing is when the snow is too deep to plow with the back blade. Then I'm basically pushing it a short distance and piling it. This is what works for me. I'd think with a long driveway, angling the back blade and pushing it to the side would work well if you can push it far enough back to allow for additional snowfalls. If you get too much snow, scoop it up and pile it with the FEL.

  6. #6
    Elite Member thcri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    4,664
    Location
    Minnesota SE
    Tractor
    New Holland TC29D, 2001

    Default Re: Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    My FEL is all I use. My drive way is not that long though. So I do end up going over it a few times to pick up the spillage. With 400ft you may find you have to go over a whole bunch of times. Your back blade will help on picking up. Maybe make some spillage side plates for your loader to help out some.

    Murph

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    546
    Location
    Western PA
    Tractor
    Mahindra 3510

    Default Re: Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    Rameye,

    It can be done. This past winter we had lots and lots of snow (for this area at least) and I plowed and dug out all the neighbors who already had some banks >6' that had frozen when the new snow came [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img] I used the big Case.

    When using a FEL for blade or dozer type activities such as pushing snow, leveling dirt, etc. tilt your bucket so the flat bottom is just past vertical.

    It will push just like a blade, except that it doesn't clear to the side (not angled to left or right). For spreading dirt, the pile gets smaller and dirt spreads nicely. For snow, when you can see the snow starting to pile above the bucket, or start to lose traction, just swing to the side and make a cut off the side of the road, lift the bucket to make a taper away from the road.

    Then back up and start where you left off. Works quite nicely. With your bucket just past vertical, you can usually see the bottom edge, and definitely tell if you've hit dirt before making a "ditch" in your road. Makes it easy for very precise work. It also doesn't dig in nearly as much like this.

    For what it's worth, I am planning to build a blade to clamp on the front of my bucket that I can angle for snow removal... or maybe just get an ATV to play with the snow [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

    Oh, and buy waterproof coveralls for plowing. As you move around in the seat, the snow will constantly be melting beneath you and lead to a wet bottom. Not a very pleasant way to spend the day...

    -JC



  8. #8
    Super Star Member RoyJackson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    18,827
    Location
    Bethel, Vermont
    Tractor
    John Deere 4400 MFWD, Deere 855D UTV, Z920A Zero Turn Mower and assorted implements

    Default Re: Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    For your length of drive and the location you're at...you'll be looking for a blower soon...

    However, in the interim,, you'll find a rear blade is the way to go for the time being... You want to plow using the convex side so it doesn't dig in. Then, the loader for back dragging snow close to the house and vehicles.

    This has been my set up for the last few years. Granted, plowing in reverse isn't optimal, but I don't have enough driveway (or enough snow regularly) to justify a snow blower.

    Since you're in NH, I'm sure you'll get a blower soon enough. I wouldn't dump any funds into a front blade. But you can use that rear blade for other purposes throughout the year.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    647
    Location
    Quebec
    Tractor
    Kubota MX 5000

    Default Re: Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    There are different kind of buckets, snow buckets are wider and higher, they are at least as wide as the outer part of your rear wheels, its pretty much a must as far as snow removal with FEL , around here farmers make a little cash on the side by clearing driveways and some do it with only a FEL, of course its with AG tractors but a 40 HP 4x4 with tire chains and loaded tires like yours should be able to do it unless your driveway is really a slalom ski slope.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    1,129
    Location
    Oklahoma City
    Tractor
    Deere 855 (24hp/19@PTO)

    Default Re: Plowing Snow with a FEL?

    The snowfall here in OK is scant compared to NH. I clear the trecherous spots around our mile of neighborhood road. I've used a FEL and BoxBlade. The going is very slow...and greatly accelerates cutting edge wear when plowing on hardtop (I know you are clearing dirt roadway). You can continue to push a swath through the snow even after the FEL bucket fills, but it's kind of a deception. After the bucket fills, everything that spills out the sides will have to be bucketed again to clear it from the drive. So, once the bucket fills, you gain very little by continuing to push. At that point it's time to empty the bucket and start again. TEDIOUS!

    This a popular topic every year. It seems in most of the deep snow states TBNers see the blower as the "cadillac" of snow removal. I got a good deal on a hyd angle front blade a while back. Plan to use it for just the purpose of snow removal. I don't expect it to work as well as a blower, but I am very hopeful that it will be lightyears ahead of my FEL speedwise for clearing the few inches of snow we get most winters.

    OkieG

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