Serious snow removal

January 27, 2014

For the last week I have obsessed about UTVs in the manner of someone gearing himself up to buy a new one. Of course I prefer the used market, but there’s a scarcity of worthy machines for the compulsive tire-kickers of Kijiji to examine.

The few UTVs which are for sale generally have plows attached and look as though they were equipped on the dealer’s order books as ultimate-snow-removal-machines-for-country-properties. That role in Eastern Ontario belongs to a 75 hp, 4WD farm tractor with loader and 7′ snow blower. Anything less is a toy.

I wandered over to You Tube to look for videos of Polaris Rangers plowing snow. There were quite a few, but each video featured a Ranger scraping along a driveway to remove three or four inches of snow. The videos never show the important parts: the beginning and end of each run. Where do the guys put the snow? What happens when the drifts get big? or the township plow completely fills in your driveway?

Snow storage isn’t part of the job; it’s the whole job. I can’t see how a small plow can help.

A couple of years ago I explained to an uncomprehending friend that the purpose of a homeowner’s snowblower isn’t to blow snow, it’s to take the snowbanks created by passing plows and pile them in places higher than the owner can reach with a shovel. For that reason alone the blower is worth garage space: it lets your driveway continue to operate at nearly full width until spring by finding creative places to store snow. The top of a hedge is a reliable storage place: usually your neighbour won’t catch on until he tries the same thing from the other side and discovers the space is already full.

Around Forfar we don’t even bother with snow until it gets up over six inches, and what would one of these expensive, light plows on a Ranger or Rhino do if it encountered the four foot drifts I had to deal with this morning?

Even with the tractor-mounted snowblower I’d had my work cut out for me. Fortunately the cab on the TAFE kept me dry while the blower tossed the snow up in the air, after which the wind whipped it away to become some other township’s problem. The first trip out the 600′ driveway wore out a 7/16″ shear pin, though. The new one held for the rest of the morning’s job, though as I broke for lunch the white stuff was drifting rapidly back into the gap I had created.

When the township plow goes through on my side of the road I’ll get to do the whole thing again. A tractor’s designed for the constant shifting and rough use it gets moving snow. Repairs to old tractors are relatively cheap. Rangers are wonderful machines for light hauls, dog-walks and people-moving. I just think repairs are too expensive to abuse these machines with snow removal duties.

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2 Responses to “Serious snow removal”

  1. Dennis Says:

    After much searching via Google I was glad to see that at least one person out there has written about the 2004 Polaris Ranger TM to some degree. Your pages are an enjoyable read and I learned quite a few things. I am putting together a page dedicated to this particular machine on my website (not there yet, but soon) and if you don’t mind I will put a link to your blog and maybe insert a few quotes. I noticed that you categorized the TM as a “loss leader”. Wondering how you came about that info. Thanks.
    -Dennis

  2. rodcros Says:

    Dennis:

    Here’s a 2003 article to illustrate the market before the great UTV boom of the early 2000’s.

    http://www.hobbyfarms.com/farm-equipment-and-tools/farm-utility-vehicles-14957.aspx

    The Club Car Carryall and its equivalents the Kawasaki Mule and the John Deere Gator were modified golf carts built to capture the small-acreage utility vehicle market in the late 1990’s. Polaris had a fine ATV line at the time, but needed to enter this price-sensitive market as well.

    The Polaris Ranger TM was cobbled together from the parts bin of the Ranger 500 6X6 with the addition of a less expensive Robin 18 hp lawn and garden engine and drive clutch assembly.

    Their 9 hp air cooled engine long a staple of the EZ-Go line of golf carts, Wisconsin/Robin/Subaru also produces the rest of the Polaris ATV and gas UTV engines, though it’s hard to find this information online.

    Here’s an informative review of the 2006 TM. The Gator seems to be firmly in the reviewer’s sights.

    http://atvconnection.com/articles/2004-polaris-tm-ranger-2/


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