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Looks like I need to buy a four wheeler

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by SlyFerret, Feb 7, 2010.

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  1. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking I need to buy a four wheeler and a snow blower attachment for it.

    My wife and I, like many of you here, live out in the country. We have a driveway that is about 200 feet long, and when we get significant snow (like yesterday), it becomes a problem.

    In the 5 winters we've been in this house, we have consistently gotten enough snow that, if it weren't for my neighbor and his plow, we'd be stuck. The problem is, I don't want to have to depend on somebody else to be available to clear my driveway in order to get our vehicles out of the garage.

    I'm curious what you guys recommend I look for. What do you recommend as far as make/model? Engine size? Am I nuts thinking I'm going to find a blower attachment for it that will work effectively?

    My uses around here would mostly be pulling a garden trailer to move firewood around my lot, zipping around the neighborhood if I need to go see one of the neighbors, and snow blowing. I'm sure I'll find other uses as well. I see myself using it more as a utility vehicle than an ATV. I don't know that I'll ever take it out and run trails with it. I'm thinking of one that's somewhat "stout" like what I see in the pictures that Quads posts (hopefully he'll chime in here). I'm really not thinking of the racing models that I see that are made for speed and jumps.

    Thanks!
    -SF

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  2. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Do you cut grass? I use an old deere garden tractor with a plow for snow. I also use it for all kinds of other tasks other times. If you are going to consider using a garden tractor get a heavy duty unit. At least 1k lbs.
  4. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    I currently have a Huskee lawn tractor from TSC. I got it stuck in the mud a couple times a few weeks ago trying to move firewood in the garden trailer in preparation to build my new garage. Having something a with 4 wheel drive and would be helpful.

    I'm concerned that the lawn tractor wouldn't be sufficient for plowing. I don't think it's transmission will hold up to the load that a plow would place on it. Even when we only get 4-6 inches of snow around here, I usually end up with drifts in the driveway a foot deep due to the way the wind breaks around the house.

    Honestly, I plan to replace the lawn tractor with a ZTR mower at some point in the next couple seasons. Primarily because I think I can cut my mowing time significantly, but also because I don't know how much longer the cheap-o Huskee will last mowing 5 acres week after week after week. It's made it through 5 summers so far, but I'm not sure I'm going to get 5 more. They put a great B&S V-Twin engine on it, but the rest of it really wasn't made for the kind of use I put it through every week (it takes about 4 hours to cut the grass). If I only had a couple acres, it might be a different story.

    I have to admit... part of me wants to have a 4 wheeler for the fun factor. I like toys and equipment. ;o)

    -SF
  5. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    Those snow blowers for the ATVs seem awful expensive. I'd get a really good walk behind. I personally wouldn't want one on my ATV. I can't imagine taking a blower off every time I wanted to go into the woods. There is probably mounting hardware that stays on your ATV and will lower your ground clearance also. You can buy a decent ATV for what they want just for those blowers. I have a walk behind blower at work and you can really do a lot of work with it.
  6. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Too expensive. I have thought about snowblower attachments for my ATVs before, but they are way more expensive than just buying a walk-behind snowblower. I plowed snow for many years with a plow on one of my ATVs, but in the years where we get a lot of snow I run out of room to push it and then it becomes a real pain. What I use now is a walk-behind snowblower, $700 at Tractor Supply.

    In your case, I would see about getting a blower attachment for your Huskee tractor and tire chains. It will work fine with a blower and chains, not as good with a plow. Or, get a walk-behind blower.

    But, I would not get a snowblower attachment for an ATV, considering the price of the attachment. The blower for an ATV is a cumbersome thing. The blower mounts on the front, then a driveshaft runs under the ATV all the way to the rear hitch where the engine for the blower is mounted. I can't see it being practical, especially since you wouldn't be able to use the ATV for anything else with it attached and it doesn't look too easy to take off and put on as needed.

    As for the ATV, mine is a Polaris Hawkeye 300cc. They don't make it anymore, but have replaced it with a Sportsman 300. Any of the big brand ATV makes and models you buy nowadays are well-built and dependable. Find the dealer nearest you, whatever brand that is, and if you like his attitude and price, go for it!
  7. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    +1 We post at the same time and think alike!
  8. Oldmainer

    Oldmainer Member

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    Good mornin' SlyFerret...I use a large Ariens walk behind snow thrower. It is over twenty five years old and still going strong. I use it for my driveway...and walkways...not only for myself but for my sons place as well. I would not hesitate gettin' a walk behind at all...unless your a wimp and don't think you can handle snow down your neck at times...and workin' in the cold...:)
    As far as an ATV goes I agree that any of the name brands will get you around the neigborhood if you don't want to hoof it...cos it might be illegal to do so so check with the local gestapo. My son and I have a large one that we use to haul firewood out of our forty acre wood lot and ride the grand kids around. Lots of fun...but will kill or maim you the first time you get stupid with it's operation. Enjoy...and good luck...Franklin
  9. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    My John Deere 850-D Gator w/ hydraulic dump is an outstanding, but expensive utility vehicle. Very rugged two seater. I use it to haul logs out of my lowlands, carry splits and rounds of wood, and do all kinds of maintenance work around the property. Have even used it to pick rocks at a neighbor's farm. It is my primary means of transportation around out country neighborhood. I would speculate it is probably too big and awkward for recreational trail riding. It's made for workin' and not for funnin'.

    For moving snow, the 850D Gator would be marginal at best. As others have said, a front mounted snow blower on a utility vehicle is very expensive and cumbersome. In my driveway (40' x 175') a snow plow on front of a utility vehicle is pretty much useless in more than 3" of snow. My 18 year old Ariens 28" walk-behind snowblower has been a reliable workhorse of a machine. Cleaning up after a typical 8" snow fall with some 24" drifts across my driveway takes me about two hours +/-. For various physical reasons I must go very slowly and a younger man could probably do the same amount of work in about 1.25 hours.

    Fortunately, my farmer friends have a large tractor mounted plow and a tractor rear mounted PTO snow blower. They now do most of my clearing for me. I have been thinking of selling my reliable 28" Ariens snow blower and purchasing a larger 32" Ariens model powered by Briggs and Stratton engine w/electric start - Model ST32DLE. This is probably the snowblower I would purchase if I decide to trade-up. A walk-behind in this category is one I would recommend for a driveway as large as yours.

    Hope this helps a little. Good luck with your decision. John_M
  10. 91220da

    91220da Member

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    I have an older gravely 17 hp hydrostatic tractor with chains and a 48" ariens front mounted blower. Dedicated only for snow removal. I agree with the other guys. If you have to mount and remove a blower from your quad or lawn tractor it gets to be a pain. I got the whole setup for 500 bucks. Cheaper than a small walk behind. One of the best things to look for is an old willys jeep with a cap and a plow. They are unstopable when plowing snow. Short wheel base and equal weight distribution. Almost forgot to mention my drive way is about 300 ft long and 12 foot wide.
  11. Born Of Fire

    Born Of Fire New Member

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    Polaris Sportsman 500
    Moose Plow
    The 500 is more then enough CC s and it has some get up and go
  12. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for your feedback guys!

    I'll see what units are available for my Huskee. I assume that the ones that mount on the front of the tractor will pull power from the PTO pulley underneath, eliminating the cost of an engine on the unit itself. I'll also look into some of the bigger walk-behind units.

    I'd still like to get a four wheeler too... I'll keep my eye out on craigslist to see what pops up. I probably won't buy new.

    -SF
  13. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    i have a 4 wheel drive kubota diesel tractor with a plow and ag tires
    and like everyone is saying once it gets deep you cant push it and
    if you get more snow there is now where to push it to
    had a hard time this past weekend after the snowfall getting it cleared
    a snowblower mounted on a tractor dedicated to snow clearing would be ideal
    that is my thought
    have seen them on craigslist, just havent bought one
    would like to find a snow blower for my jd 420
    and mount it and forget about it
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Yamaha Kodiak atv. The 4 wheel drive comes in very handy when plowing snow or even hauling wood. I've used it for plowing snow at our place and several neighbors also have me plow their driveways. Looks like I'll be doing that on Wednesday again.

    I've have had this machine almost 6 years now and still have 3500 miles on it even though I don't ride trails! It really does come in handy. Along with hauling wood and pushing snow I am constantly using it. I'd be lost without it. The atv we had before this one was not 4 wheel drive so could not plow snow with it.

    The snow blade is quick on and quick off. There are 2 pins and one quick link so it only takes a couple of minutes to put it on or take it off.
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    +1 to Quads and Jack Straw.

    If the primary reason for an ATV is for snow removal and you think your best option is a snowblower I would go with a less expensive walk-behind or attachment to the garden tractor.

    If the primary reason for an ATV is for hauling wood/play and you're looking for another reason to "sell" the idea to the spouse by saying it could also be used for snow removal I would go with a plow set up . . . realizing it does have some limitations.

    As for the type and size . . . if I was to buy an ATV today for "work" I would be looking at a 500 cc machine . . . powerful enough to do everything you would want to do, but cheap enough to make it relatively affordable. You can use smaller cc machines . . . and larger cc machines . . . but 500 cc is perhaps an ideal size. As for makes/models . . . there are many good brands out there . . . and many folks have opinions on what brand and features are best . . . it often comes down to what you want to pay, what you value for features and who the local dealer is in your area.
  16. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Ding ding ding!!! :coolsmirk:

    So far, you guys have convinced me that a walk behind snow blower the way to go for what I need. I'm going to look at two stage models, probably 24" wide or so, with electric start.

    As for the ATV... I still have some convincing to do, but I'm working on that!

    -SF
  17. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

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    We have a large, circular driveway (stonedust) and some winters we get very little snow, but we can get "slammed", too. We have an Ariens ST824 snowblower. It gets the job done effectively. I weigh 125 lbs. and I can handle it with no problem. It's pretty much "idiot's delight", it's like mowing the lawn (my chore), you figure out the most effective way to attack the expanse of accumulated snow. The toughest part of the operation is the big parking area in front of the garage bays.

    Good warm boots and gloves. Waterproof pants!! I use ski goggles and I always wear hearing protection (be really careful if you have to step into the road and are wearing them). And I'm the one who schedules the yearly service call and sees that it is delivered when the shop is giving the discount... .
  18. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    Holy Sh&#$!t! $5200 for an ATV snowblower?? I've been thinking about getting one when my lawn tractor dies (have a snowblower for it now and works great). Had NO IDEA they were that expensive. For that cash, I could have my driveway plowed at $40 per plow @ 12 plows per year, for almost 11 years!!! No thanks! I've also thought about the plow for the ATV, but I just keep thinking that the ATV is too light to push a decent load of snow, and I'd hate to have to make a thousand tiny passes. I have a good size ATV - weighs about 650lbs, but still not sure how the plow would handle even moderate (~6") of heavy snow. Cheers!
  19. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    You will be surprised what your atv can push with a plow. I can honestly say i have never had a storm my quad (04 sportsman 700) could handle. Mine is slightly heavier than yours at 750lbs. I don't make half pases or plow during the storm etc, no tire chains either. One of the secrets the dealer sold me on was the 5' blade, this way it clears the path where the tires will go.

    I like it much better than snow blowing.

    I haven't had any concerns with running out of places to push the snow, i always push it back farther than the edges of the driveway etc. Sometimes after the storm i will knock the banks back if there is another big storm in the horizon.

    Last price, all ready had the quad. The plow kit was $600 ish about 3 years ago. This was for a glacier plow system. Has quick mount, taking the plow off or putting it on takes literally a minute.
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Go with a plow . . . but as mentioned go with a 5 foot plow . . . I think I have $500 or so into my set up which includes the Moose Country plow, mounting kit and an easy lift kit (uses spring tension to manually lift the plow). On powdery snow, there are no issues . . . with wet, heavy snow 6-8 inches I may plow at least once during the storm or take half swipes if needed. I also push the snow way, way back off the driveway since once the snowbanks freeze up there's no pushing the banks back like you could with a tractor and/or pick up.

    Yes, using an ATV with a plow may not be as fast as hiring a guy with a plow truck or buying a plow truck of your own . . . but a) you can plow your driveway when you want to clear the driveway and not wait for the guy to show up, b) $500 (or whatever the cost is these days) still should work out to a relatively quick pay back vs. hiring a guy or buying a full size plow and c) it's just plain fun . . . and in the summer you can drop the plow and use the ATV for trail riding and working on the wood.
  21. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    My drive is 1400 feet long and i bought a used plow truck and you should do the same. You can pick up a used one for way under 2 k or why not just offer to pay the neighbor to keep it clear for you??.
  22. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    You could pick up a used plow for your Silverado, cost could be around 2 grand installed as most 7.5ft plows will run apx 12-1500 used plus a mount, or you could get lucky and pick one up with the proper mount as a package best time to buy is at end of snow season/ summer. Not as much fun as ATV but less expensive, and it is nice being inside the cab instead of out in the elements.
  23. woodmeister

    woodmeister New Member

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    I have 1000' of driveway 250' of which is 19% grade and my 2004 suzuki 400 handles it just fine, I also have a F-250 super duty with a plow and that has trouble at times because of the grade - thats never an issue with the quad besides theres all the other uses for the quad.
  24. catnfool

    catnfool New Member

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    I have a 20 hp 'bota hydro 4x4 with a rear mount blower, and my neighbor has an older Griz 600 with a plow. We both live on a double black diamond driveway :) He chains up his yamaha and plows most of the time; only when we get 12" or more of wet/sloppy snow do I fire up the Kubota. If I could only have one, I would whine and cry to momma till I got both...

    I also have a 650 Kawasaki Prarie and border a million acres of forest service! OK, you can shoot me now; I'm happy!!
  25. GatorDL55

    GatorDL55 Member

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    SF - you have a nice truck - go on craigslist and look for a used plow for your truck. Get a plow for your truckin addition to a four wheeler. Nothing like plowing your driveway in five minutes. Also, stick a post on craigslist for snow plowing and after one winter you'll pay for the plow and atv. Next year I'm sure you could get a lot of prepaid contracts given the winter that you guys had in Columbus this year.
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