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Thread: ATV size for snow plowing?

  1. #1
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default ATV size for snow plowing?

    My snow blower is on it's last legs and our new driveway is long and narrow with the property line on one side and the house on the other so not much space to throw snow. I figure if I'm going to have to drop money on a replacement snow handling tool, it might as well be a dual purpose unit

    I've long been a Honda fan so was thinking about a 400 or 500 foreman. Will this be enough machine to move snow, or should I look at a larger machine?
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    Supporting Member Hoyt-Hunter's Avatar
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    I use a 500 Rubicon with no problems. Never needed chains either.


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    My neighbor has a Rancher that he plows with and he moves that snow around easily and quickly (big driveway)- actually makes it look fun.

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    Most four wheelers will be 'enough' to plow snow, but there are limits. For one do not expect to be able to cut the snow after it has been driven over, most can not cut through drifting, make sure that you move it back far enough early in the season or you will run out of room. One of our neighbors uses an older 250cc machine to keep his drive way clear, but he is retired and stays up on moving the snow. We have both a snow plow truck and a compact tractor mounted snow blower and use them both. What is nice about the snow blower is that I can 'direct' where the snow goes. As a side note, they also make snow blower attachments that mount on ATV's, so that might be worth looking into.

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    Really any size ATV works for plowing...smaller equals less broke and bent parts, larger goes through anything including bending and breaking things. I've used and 400 and a 550 as a plow rig, never needed anything larger.

    What I've always done is ramped my snow piles through the winter and just keep driving up the ramps and pushing the snow over the backside of the piles.

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    I have a Yamaha Kodiak 400 that I have been plowing snow with since 2005. It is more than enough to keep my drive and some of my neighbors drives clear. Just go with the "optimal" width of plow. A 400 - 450 will easily handle a 48" plow. I have a buddy that has a 350 and it worked fine for a 48" plow. He went and bought a 60" plow and it was like an anchor in heavy snow. He ended up selling it and went back to a 48 and lived happily ever after. So far.

  7. #7
    Member JR2's Avatar
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    I use a 2001 king quad 500 and it does great. Wore the first plow out and on my second now.
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  8. #8

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    I have a Honda Foreman 450. I've been plowing with it for around 9 years now. My plow is a 4 foot Moose plow.
    I also have a snow blower. I think it's good to have both. Although I very rarely use the snow blower. I would
    have to use the snow blower if the snow gets too deep. It is important to push the snow back further than you
    need at that moment. If the snow piles freeze hard, it's tough to move them again. So the pile works it's way
    inwards limiting space. A snow blower throws the snow away. It also helps to plow several times during larger
    storms.

    The snow can push the atv around in certain situations. If I am plowing on a side hill and the snow is heavy. The
    back end of the atv can work it's way down hill some. Then when you try to back up the atv, it can get sucked into
    the snow you have pushed down hill.

    I plow all over the place. I have two driveways, pathways around the yard and I even plow strips in the yard and field so the deer
    and turkeys can get down to the grass during times with heavy snow coverage. I also use my atv to create kids sled
    paths and ramps. The Honda 400-500's are very capable of plowing. But it also doesn't hurt to have a snow blower around.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    I'll be honest, while I love your "dual purpose" strategy, ATVs are not the best at plowing snow, especially if it's packed, wet, or icy as been stated. A quality Honda snowblower will save you much time and frustration, and enable you to put the snow wherever you need it, even if it means just blowing the snow in front of the blower and blowing it again until you get past a building.

    I used to always have a romantic idea about plowing snow on a four wheeler, but it's typically an exercise in futility. You can't stack it very well, you need wings on your plow to carry anything at all, but then you lose maneuverability because the weight of the snow in your blade with wings is half of your whole ATV, so it will barely steer unless you have chains in the front. To protect the frame, ATV blade trip very easily too, so if you have a gravel drive, even the smallest pebble or ice clump will make your blade trip. If you try to beef up your springs, you can do real damage to your frame.

    So while I love the idea of ATV plowing in theory, I like to keep ATVs for playing and hunting, and using something much larger for plowing and or get a quality snowblower. If you have a smooth paved driveway, and have a great place to push the snow, then it could work OK, but make sure you have goggles and hotgrips

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