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New grader operator - snow plowing question

Discussion in 'Motor Graders' started by RVR6000, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. RVR6000

    RVR6000 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Hello - Recently started working for a rural township in northern Wisconsin. Have been doing a fair amount of grading of our gravel roads this fall but the outgoing guy didn't give me a whole lot of advice on plowing snow with the grader. We have an International truck/wing setup as well as a John Deere 770 with cable wing for maintaining the roads. Was wondering what everyone's opinions are on plowing snow with the grader....do you let the blade float while on paved surfaces. I believe my predecessor would drop the blade all the way down then just lift it a hair. I wonder if that really accomplishes anything versus letting it float. We do not have carbide blades on the grader so they are changed fairly often. Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Jonas302

    Jonas302 Senior Member

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    Jan 4, 2015
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    Location:
    mn
    You can let the blade float on blacktop unless it gets packed in then you have to stand on it and peel up the hardpack
    Front plow also? On gravel in the right conditions sometimes can float the crown and control the shoulder side, the outside is always softer where they don't drive
    Watch your wing cable it needs to stay taught don't let it get slack or it will brake when it has a chance make sure to have extra cable and clamps available study the cable routing now take pics with your phone its not hard to replace but even easier to mess up when its -30 and blowing
     
    DB2 likes this.
  3. RVR6000

    RVR6000 New Member

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    Oct 28, 2019
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    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Thanks Jonas. No front plow other than the V plow that is used a half dozen times or so per season. Getting the seal replaced on one of the lift cylinders this week so already took a bunch of pics of the cable path. For our gravel roads....some have good gravel....some aren't much more than a cow path so I'll likely be holding the blade up a bit on those.
     
  4. rsherril

    rsherril Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
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    224
    Occupation:
    Geologist, Retired from teaching sciences
    Location:
    Far West Colorado
    I'm guessing that you have significant accumulation of snow judging by your location and accessory equipment. Do you have tire chains? A shop to thaw the machine out in? Snow mitigation with a grader is serious business with the speed that is necessary to keep things moving well. The blade is not designed for give, even in "float". Puts a lot of wear and tear on the machine and the road. Get to know your roads and priorities, (school bus routes, traffic patterns, hills, etc.). What are you going to do if you get stuck? How will you handle driveways?
    In my situation I chain up early, (4 sets on the tandems), and leave them on until I'rm ready to go back to grading. My roads are usually soft until after the first snow, so I am careful to just expose enough road to faciliate melting and hope they freeze up to a hard surface soon afterwards. Here, sun and low humidity will "evaporate" the remaining snow and ice even in freezing conditions provided some of the road base is exposed, (all of my roads are gravel). Problems show up in the spring when they begin to thaw unevenly. Best to have clear roads by then.
    Good Luck, you came to the right forum for good, experenced information and advice.
     
    DB2 likes this.
  5. RVR6000

    RVR6000 New Member

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    Oct 28, 2019
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    Location:
    Wisconsin
    rsherril - sorry it took so long to reply. Yes, we can get a fair amount of snow here but outside of a major snowstorm the typical snowfall at a time will be maybe 1 - 6 inches. We have a mix of asphalt and gravel roads the majority being paved. The town quit plowing private driveways several years ago so that it a plus. We have three sets of chains and plenty of extra links for repair. I don't believe the previous patrolman ever chained up more than one set of wheels in his 32 years there. All the equipment goes into a heated shop at night (or whenever you're done). We keep it about 60 degrees inside. We have very good working relationships with the neighboring towns/villages and help each other out if someone get stuck. If it's really bad there's a heavy tow company about 20 minutes away. In addition to the grader we have an International 7400 dump truck (single axle) with plow and wing.
     
  6. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    Nov 9, 2014
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    Occupation:
    Finish grader operator
    Location:
    NB Canada
    I never use float, I like to be in control of the MB. I find on float it seems to bite manhole frames harder. I learned to plow on an old 14E so it didn't have float anyway. Once the snowbanks are bigger and harder, you can use your wing like a rudder to get around sharp corners. Until then, a bit more pressure on the right side of the MB can slide you around
     
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  7. rsherril

    rsherril Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Geologist, Retired from teaching sciences
    Location:
    Far West Colorado
    Sounds like your in good shape, better than I these days. I would recommend that you consider going no chains or all four tandems wheels chained as I posted a similar question and was told that the unequal traction could result in excessive stress on the chained wheels resulting in damage inside the tandem case, (broken drive chain maybe), causing bigger problems than I would want to deal with. Given that you will going faster under full power, a sudden slow down due to the blade being close to or on the road surface, this was a real possibility in my circumstances. I'm all about avoiding problems, especially in the cold and snow.
    By driveways, I meant leaving a windrow of snow and ice where the driveway hits the road. Some people can get quite irrate upon discovering their driveway blocked, especially if the previous guy would clear it. I generally slow down and square the blade as I go by to carry most of the windrow past that point. Maybe your township has a policy on this.
     
  8. DB2

    DB2 Senior Member

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    Jan 4, 2015
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    Location:
    Winnipeg MB Canada
    One thing I would mention is that once you get the ends of the blades set (I use float to get it level on the ground) use the moldboard tilt to apply or retract pressure as needed. Easier in my opinion than working both ends all day long. Good look on your new endeavour !
     
    Jonas302 likes this.
  9. RVR6000

    RVR6000 New Member

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    Oct 28, 2019
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    Location:
    Wisconsin
    As mentioned...a lot of good info here. Getting new seals on one of the wing cylinders tomorrow then the wing goes on. Weather Service is talking about a mix of rain/snow tomorrow and again mid-week. Put the spreader on the dump truck before I left for the weekend. We have a couple roads with steep hills intersecting down onto a state highway so we try to give them a little more attention so people aren't sliding right out into traffic. I forgot to mention we have a part-time guy who helps with the mowing and plowing. He's been a huge help in bouncing questions off of as well. He said the previous guy would float the blade all the way down then "jerk" the handles up just a bit to take some of the weight off the cutting blade. I guess when you think about it, that's a huge amount of weight on the grader blade compared to the snowplow on the dump-truck.
     
  10. vernier

    vernier Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
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    Location:
    Wi.
    RVR6000, Glad to see some new blood getting in this game! I have been doing this for a while and if I am on new blacktop I always let the blade float, it seems to clean things up pretty good. I usually start out with the moldboard tipped back just a little then every mile or so roll it ahead just a touch. This gives you basically a new edge, once it is rolled all the way forward back it up & start over again. You will want to get on your heaviest traffic roads first before they get it packed down. Everybody has their own way of doing things, I'm sure you will figure it out. We might not be too far apart, I'm in Rusk Co. Good Luck!
     
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  11. fast_st

    fast_st Senior Member

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    The city boys here plow with a big Austin Western, front plow angled left to push toward the divide, blade angled left, wing pushing left and the ass end crabbed over with a grader clearing almost three lanes in one pass and really hauling!