THE most significant changes in the manufacturers' guidelines for snowplow mounting for the 2004 model year come from General Motors and Ford.
GM has announced that it will be offering a new 9900-lb GVW with single rear wheels that will be available on regular (K35903), extended (K35953), and crew (K35943) cabs. Previously, those models included a heavier GVW and dual rear wheels.
“When you're plowing with duals, a lot of times the outside rear wheel actually is going through snow,” said Steve Strine, GM's lead engineer, Body Builders Manual, Light-Duty Vehicles. “Now you'll have four tires going down a fairly clear pathway, so I think it'll actually improve the application. They still have the GVW and everything else they need. They can mount their salt spreaders and other equipment on the back. It's just that they won't have the duals going outside the width of the plow, going through heavy snow and reducing their tractive effort.”
Strine said all other aspects of GM's snowplow-mounting guidelines are “100% carryover. Because the model has been out since 2000, it's pretty mature as far as the offerings go right now. So we don't have a lot of changes.”
Meanwhile, Ford is introducing a snowplow prep package for the new F-150 while making no changes in the Super Duty F-Series.
Dodge basically stays the same, but Ashok Natwa, manager of modified vehicles engineering, adds, “The only thing is, we don't recommend people to use a snowplow and pull a camper at the same time. It's unbelievable how many people call on that.”
The following list is for quick reference only. For a comprehensive list of the specific guidelines for each model, refer to the body builders book published by the truck manufacturer.
GM recommends that when a snowplow is mounted on a vehicle, only one passenger should accompany the driver. More than one passenger may exceed front Gross Axle Weight Ratings.
Prior to installing a front-mounted snowplow, the following process should be followed and necessary information obtained:
Establish vehicle curb weight.
Establish chassis manufacturer's front and rear axle weight ratings.
Chevrolet and GMC truck dealers can provide availability, specifications, GVWR, and Front and Rear GAWR. For vehicles already built, this information can be found on the certification label installed on the driver's door/frame or provided on the cover of the Incomplete Vehicle Document.
The following information should be obtained and provided by the manufacturers of snowplows and salt spreaders:
Specifications, weights, and center of gravity data.
Vehicle installation guidelines and instructions.
Calculation of weight distribution for the front and rear axles.
The loaded vehicle with driver, passenger, aftermarket accessories, snowplows, spreader, and cargo must not exceed the GVWR, and Front and Rear GAWR.
In addition, the completed curb weight vehicle, with all installed aftermarket accessories, snowplow, and spreader, and with 400 lb distributed in the driver-passenger area of the vehicle, must have a center of gravity that is located within the trapezoid formed by the coordinates A, B, C, D, H1 and H2, plus it must be to the rear of vertical line E and forward of vertical line F as defined in the Allowable Center of Gravity charts. If the center of gravity does not fall within the specified trapezoid, ballast weight may be required to shift the center of gravity until it falls within the specified trapezoid.
The snowplow manufacturer and the installer of the aftermarket equipment should determine the amount of rear ballast required to ensure that the vehicle, with the attached snowplow and aftermarket equipment, complies with the Allowable Center of Gravity Trapezoid and the resulting front and rear weight distribution ratio as defined in the Allowable Center of Gravity Charts published in the GM manual.
Rear ballast weight
The use of rear ballast weight may be required to prevent exceeding the GAWR of the front axle. The use of rear ballast weight may be required to ensure that the center of gravity location of the completed vehicle, with the attached snowplow and other installed equipment, complies with the Allowable Center of Gravity Trapezoid and the resulting front and rear weight distribution ratio, even though the actual front weight may be less than the GAWR of the front axle. In either case, the rear ballast weight should be securely attached in the cargo box or behind the rear axle of the vehicle in a manner that prevents it from moving during driving and stopping.
To help avoid personal injury, refer to Z-height setting procedure before adjusting torsion bars. If torsion bars are adjusted for aftermarket equipment, be sure to return them to specification when the equipment is removed. Otherwise, a front shock absorber may dislodge and damage a front brake line. This could result in an accident when minimum stopping distances are required.
Minimum recommended equipment for the Ford F-150: regular cab 4×4, 144.5" wheelbase, 8' pickup box; or SuperCab 4×4, 163" wheelbase, 8' pickup box.
Snowplow prep package (option code 63A) includes FGAWR upgrade to 4300 lb (4300 lb spring rating).
Heavy Duty Payload package (option code 627) includes: 8200-lb GVWR; 4050-lb FGAWR (4050-lb spring rating); 4800-lb RGAWR (4900-lb spring rating); rear axle capacity upgrade to 5300 lb and 10.25" diameter ring gear 4.10 ratio, limited-slip not included but available; 17"×7.5" J 7-lug steel wheels; LT245/70R×17D BSW all-season tires (5); 5.4L, 3-valve V8 engine, 4R75E automatic transmission; Super Engine Cooling (1.42" core thickness); auxiliary transmission air cooler, oil-to-water increased to 9-channel/18-plate; battery upgrade to 72 amp-hr/650 CCA.
Snowplow weights (maximum recommended): 650-lb removable snowplow equipment; 75-lb permanently attached hardware; assumes the weight of a driver and one front-seat passenger, 150 lb each, and maximum buildable Ford option content.
The vehicle must not be operated when overloaded. A vehicle is overloaded when the weight of the completed vehicle with aftermarket equipment installed, plus driver, passengers, and cargo, exceeds either the FGAWR, RGAWR, or GVWR established by Ford Motor Co and displayed on the Safety Compliance Certification Label.
The addition of ballast weight placed rearward of the rear axle may be required to prevent exceeding FGAWR, and provide good vehicle braking and handling. The ballast should be attached securely to the vehicle with consideration for the normal driving dynamics of snowplowing and occupant safety in accidents.
For Ford completed vehicles of 10,000 GVWR or less, the weight of permanently attached aftermarket equipment must not exceed the Total Accessory Reserve Capacity displayed on the Safety Compliance Certification Label to maintain the compliance representation that came with the Ford-built vehicle. Exceeding TARC will require recertification. This applies only to the permanently attached equipment, such as the snowplow frame mounting hardware, and not to the removable portion of the snowplow blade assembly.
Front end wheel alignment (toe) and headlight aim may require readjustment after installation of snowplow equipment. Failure to reset front wheel alignment may cause premature uneven tire wear. If required, reset to chassis manufacturer's specifications found in the Ford Shop Manual.
The loaded vehicle, including all aftermarket accessories, the snowplow system, passengers, and cargo, must not exceed the GVW, front or rear GAW ratings specified on the Safety Compliance Certification label located in the driver's side door opening.
The empty truck with all permanently attached accessories and snowplow components must not exceed 62% of its total weight on the front axle to comply with FMVSS/CMVSR 105 Brake Certification. Permanently attached snowplow parts are those parts not easily removed. The permanently attached parts are: sub-frame, hydraulic pump, hydraulic lift cylinder, lamps, wiring, snowplow controls, etc.
If the front axle loading exceeds either 62% of the empty truck total weight, or the front GAWR, ballast-compensating weight must be securely attached at the rear of the truck to bring front axle weight within weight specifications.
Notes for Heavy Duty snowplows:
At any time, the maximum number of occupants in the truck must not exceed two.
Under any circumstances, vehicles should not exceed GVWR, Front or Rear GAWRs.
Snowplow prep packages are not available with Sport (AAG) package.
Cargo capacity will be reduced by the addition of options.
Ballast should be securely attached inside the box at 9 inches from the rear tailgate for pickups.
The total weight of permanently attached hardware should not exceed 100 lb.