Plowing on gravel

   / Plowing on gravel #1  

94BULLITT

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I have a loader mounted blade on the Kubota L4240. It does fine on the black top and you can run the loader in float. I am having trouble from keeping it from digging in on gravel. I can work the loader up and down myself but my driveway is not very level and it is hard and I can only run 2.1 MPH doing that. I have seen guys with trucks plow on gravel and not dig in and the same for the highway department on back roads. I was on a dirt road today that had been plowed by VDOT with a loader and it was not all messed up. I have heard of people splitting a piece of pipe and putting it on the cutting edge but I think the blade still may sink in. One thing that would help would be a good hard freeze but where I live the ground is constantly freezing and thawing. How should my ski shoes be running, level or slightly higher in front? The ski shoes are 6.5" and they are round. Is there any trick to it?
 
   / Plowing on gravel #2  
Plowing on gravel is an art.

The pipe will help a lot. Use a piece of 2" steel pipe. Don't bother slitting it, just weld on tabs and bolt it on.

It also helps a lot, (unless your area is perfectly flat), if your plow is hinged, or hung so it can move up and down freely. And, has the ability to rotate a few degrees. The can be accomplished simply by having some slop in the attachment.

I made gauge wheels to replace the shoes.

Finally, pack down the first 3-4 inches of snow, by driving over it. And don't use chains.

I plow over 300' of gravel drive, and move less than a 5 gallon bucket of gravel all season.

articulated snow plow 002.jpg
 
   / Plowing on gravel #3  
Bear in mind the pivot point of a truck mounted snow plow is only about 8 inches off the ground, if your loader arms are positioned higher than that then the tractor blade could be pushing into the gravel at a more aggressive angle. I keep my plow shoes about an inch below the plow's cutting edge early in the season but then take them off once the gravel drive is frozen over.
 
   / Plowing on gravel #4  
I don't use shoes/slides nor float,I slighty tip plow back bucket couple inch from ground let my main plow pin float.
 

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   / Plowing on gravel #5  
pipe trick should work.

The only gravel I plow on is my drive and a few other drives. But the majority is backtop. That said, I dont use anything. "usually" the ground is frozen enough and it isnt a problem. and when the ground isnt frozen, it just takes some feathering.

Running the skid shoes would help. Set it up so that it holds the cutting edge an inch or so off the ground and go to town.

Also, how is your plow mounted?? Did you use a chain like on an actual truck so that the plow itself can float?? or is it mounted rigid and you are using the loader float?? if it is rigid mounted, and letting the loader float, the entire weight of the plow AND the loader is on the cutting edge, instead of just the plows own weight.
 
   / Plowing on gravel #6  
My town has fifty miles of gravel roads they plow. This year we have had more then the usual amount of fall mud season. Freeze at night and thaw in the day or three days of normal freeze up then a rain comes in and thaws it all. This leaves a rutted mess when it does freeze up and snow, as it just has, and the plows are running on the ridges or rails between the ruts. Some of these ruts are more then six inches deep. They tip the plows back and run very large plow shoes about ten inches wide and sixteen inches long set down an inch but if the shoe drops down into a rut the plow is still running on the frozen mud rail between two ruts. Nothing more they can do then to slow down and let the ruts fill with packed snow and ice and let repeated passes hone off the tops of the "rails". Once it stays frozen and they have plowed and sanded a few times they will have a good winter road that is smoother then it is in summer. Then they will ,like the state crew does, tip the plows forward so they run on the cutting edge and cut clean. The private road I am plowing is froze solid and not rutted. I put the loader in float and tip the bucket forward so it is riding on the cutting edge and cutting clean. I get some dirt when I venture off into leaf covered edges but those will freeze up soon. Also I'll have a few patches of lawn to repair in the spring where I clear a lane over my daughters lawn to her propane tank. All that will be at the bottom of the snow pile when it melts with all the dog toys and bones. Not worth worrying about as long as you don't dig right in and stop short. I don't envy you trying to plow all winter on thawed ground but then again you probably don't have that many snow events per year. I probably have as much mud on both ends as you do, just a lot more cold and snow in the middle. 18 degrees F here this AM. with a total of a foot and a half on the ground and some drifting I am going to need to clean up plus tidy up yesterdays work.
 
   / Plowing on gravel #7  
My ground hasn't frozen yet either.I try to get as much snow off as possible hoping ti will freeze.I Never use skids they just dig in. My blade is on a chain. I might try the pipe deal but my road is steep and i like to keep the ice to a minimum.
 
   / Plowing on gravel #8  
As everyone has suggested, plowing on gravel is tough especially where your base never freezes solid.
A pipe at the bottom of the blade will help too but I found it still dug in some at the ends of the plow blade/pipe.

I wound up making BIG plow skids that I use until either the base freezes or I get a good solid pack.
When I say BIG, I mean I took a pair of regular skids and welded skis to them making them about 6" wide and about 12" long with the front angled up just like a ski.
Once the ground freezes or you get a good pack they are then too big and tend to ride on top of what you are trying to plow so at that point, I pull the pins and put the smaller ones back on.
 
   / Plowing on gravel #9  
I have the skid shoes on my loader mounted Meyers ST90 set pretty high right now (I haven't measured, but it's probably 1.5" lower than the blade edge) and I have very little problem with digging in, except where the gravel is exceptionally soft and beside the road, where I have to plow at an angle. In these cases I just angle the cutting edge up a bit more. Our driveway is not even or level at all, but I can still plow in 10th gear except when the snow is extra deep or heavy. We had 10" of heavy snow on Wednesday, I had to drop down to 9th gear for that.
 
   / Plowing on gravel
  • Thread Starter
#10  
I just talked to a guy that I know that does alot of plowing. He said that he does not like to mess gravel driveways when the ground is not frozen because the blade cuts in. He has on old Meyer plow on his truck.

Plowing on gravel is an art.

The pipe will help a lot. Use a piece of 2" steel pipe. Don't bother slitting it, just weld on tabs and bolt it on.

It also helps a lot, (unless your area is perfectly flat), if your plow is hinged, or hung so it can move up and down freely. And, has the ability to rotate a few degrees. The can be accomplished simply by having some slop in the attachment.

I made gauge wheels to replace the shoes.

Finally, pack down the first 3-4 inches of snow, by driving over it. And don't use chains.

I plow over 300' of gravel drive, and move less than a 5 gallon bucket of gravel all season.

View attachment 294881

That's a good idea on welding tabs onto the pipe. I may have to end up going to gauge wheel, that is my last resort.

Bear in mind the pivot point of a truck mounted snow plow is only about 8 inches off the ground, if your loader arms are positioned higher than that then the tractor blade could be pushing into the gravel at a more aggressive angle. I keep my plow shoes about an inch below the plow's cutting edge early in the season but then take them off once the gravel drive is frozen over.

The blade has 4 sets of adjustments in the back. The manual says to use the upper holes but the loader runs really close to the ground. Here is a picture. I have tried where is it pictured and all the way up and all the way down. I think I need to be somewhere in the middle.

IMG_20120828_121033.jpg



I don't use shoes/slides nor float,I slighty tip plow back bucket couple inch from ground let my main plow pin float.

My plow is rigid mounted to the loader.

pipe trick should work.

The only gravel I plow on is my drive and a few other drives. But the majority is backtop. That said, I dont use anything. "usually" the ground is frozen enough and it isnt a problem. and when the ground isnt frozen, it just takes some feathering.

Running the skid shoes would help. Set it up so that it holds the cutting edge an inch or so off the ground and go to town.

Also, how is your plow mounted?? Did you use a chain like on an actual truck so that the plow itself can float?? or is it mounted rigid and you are using the loader float?? if it is rigid mounted, and letting the loader float, the entire weight of the plow AND the loader is on the cutting edge, instead of just the plows own weight.

The blade is rigid mounted mounted to the loader. I can now see a advantage to a blade that floats itself. I probably have around 1500lbs riding on the ski shoes I imagine. I have let the ski shoes all the way down and it still cuts in.

My town has fifty miles of gravel roads they plow. This year we have had more then the usual amount of fall mud season. Freeze at night and thaw in the day or three days of normal freeze up then a rain comes in and thaws it all. This leaves a rutted mess when it does freeze up and snow, as it just has, and the plows are running on the ridges or rails between the ruts. Some of these ruts are more then six inches deep. They tip the plows back and run very large plow shoes about ten inches wide and sixteen inches long set down an inch but if the shoe drops down into a rut the plow is still running on the frozen mud rail between two ruts. Nothing more they can do then to slow down and let the ruts fill with packed snow and ice and let repeated passes hone off the tops of the "rails". Once it stays frozen and they have plowed and sanded a few times they will have a good winter road that is smoother then it is in summer. Then they will ,like the state crew does, tip the plows forward so they run on the cutting edge and cut clean. The private road I am plowing is froze solid and not rutted. I put the loader in float and tip the bucket forward so it is riding on the cutting edge and cutting clean. I get some dirt when I venture off into leaf covered edges but those will freeze up soon. Also I'll have a few patches of lawn to repair in the spring where I clear a lane over my daughters lawn to her propane tank. All that will be at the bottom of the snow pile when it melts with all the dog toys and bones. Not worth worrying about as long as you don't dig right in and stop short. I don't envy you trying to plow all winter on thawed ground but then again you probably don't have that many snow events per year. I probably have as much mud on both ends as you do, just a lot more cold and snow in the middle. 18 degrees F here this AM. with a total of a foot and a half on the ground and some drifting I am going to need to clean up plus tidy up yesterdays work.

It would be nice if the pipe trick would work but it is just so much weight. I know in the dress up the gravel in the in the summer if float the loader it will cut in so I float it myself. I guess I could try tipping the plow way forward and see what happens.


My ground hasn't frozen yet either.I try to get as much snow off as possible hoping ti will freeze.I Never use skids they just dig in. My blade is on a chain. I might try the pipe deal but my road is steep and i like to keep the ice to a minimum.

I have to have my driveway clean for customers/ deliveries, that is one of the reasons I got this tractor.


As everyone has suggested, plowing on gravel is tough especially where your base never freezes solid.
A pipe at the bottom of the blade will help too but I found it still dug in some at the ends of the plow blade/pipe.

I wound up making BIG plow skids that I use until either the base freezes or I get a good solid pack.
When I say BIG, I mean I took a pair of regular skids and welded skis to them making them about 6" wide and about 12" long with the front angled up just like a ski.
Once the ground freezes or you get a good pack they are then too big and tend to ride on top of what you are trying to plow so at that point, I pull the pins and put the smaller ones back on.

I may have to make some big skis.
 
 
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