View Full Version : Anyone deal with snow blower and both dirt/paved driveway?

Brian Elfert
12-28-2014, 3:57 PM
I recently bought a house where the city required me to pave the first 100 feet of a 200 foot dirt driveway. (Didn't want to spend the money to pave the rest.) It snows here and I have issues with my snow blower. My snow blower is currently set at the level for a paved driveway. The snow blower catches on the dirt driveway all over the place. It is so bad I gave up on snow blowing the dirt portion of the driveway yesterday.

I know I can lower the skid plates on the snow blower, but then the paved portion doesn't get cleared very well. Does anyone have a method they use for this, or am I just stuck with lowering the skid plates?

Mel Miller
12-28-2014, 4:11 PM
Pave the rest of the driveway and don't look back.

Brian Elfert
12-28-2014, 4:21 PM
Yes, paving the rest of the driveway would be ideal, but it doesn't help me for this winter. I don't have the $5,000 or so to pave the rest anyhow at this time. My ultimate plan is to build a much larger garage in about five years that will cover a good portion of the dirt driveway. I will pave what is left of the dirt driveway at that time. The city has a requirement that all unpaved driveways be paved if one obtains a building permit. The city only required I pave the first 100 feet. I would have just left the whole driveway dirt if I could have.

Dom Garafalo
12-28-2014, 4:28 PM
If you don't want to pave the rest, the only practical alternative is to lower the skid plates. I have a 150 foot paved driveway but also clear parts of my lawn so I have access to my shed out back as well as my lower basement garage door and lower the skid plates so I wasn't digging up large sections of grass and dirt. If your driveway is level, leaving a couple of inches of snow on it shouldn't be a problem. My driveway has about a 5 degree incline and I don't have a problem getting up it with a snow base and I get a 130-140 inches of snow a year here in central new York. Good luck.

Steve Schlumpf
12-28-2014, 4:38 PM
Brian, just a suggestion but why not figure out a way to just clip on a couple of additional skid plates that would give you the height you need to clear the dirt portion. Seems like there must be someway to quickly attach some 1" blocks to the plates.

Brian Elfert
12-28-2014, 4:43 PM
The paved portion of my driveway is almost perfectly level. I was lazy sometimes at my previous house and wouldn't clear the paved driveway before I drove on it a few times. The packed snow would turn to ice over time. Even with only about a 5 degree incline I would occasionally spin out on the ice.

I guess I'll just have to lower the shoes on my snow blower and see what happens. I could shovel the paved portion after I run the snow blower over it, but that adds a fair bit of time.

Viking Mountain Tool Works
12-28-2014, 5:34 PM
I have a 450 foot gravel driveway and pay someone $35 to plow it. Usually dont have to spend more then 200 a year. I did try to use a snow blower for a while, but kept picking up rocks and throwing them at the house and yard. In your situation I would try to rig some kind of quick adjust blocks to raise and lower the highth.

Larry Edgerton
12-28-2014, 5:41 PM
Take a hose out and ice up the gravel part.

Matt Meiser
12-28-2014, 5:41 PM
To Steve's suggestion, maybe some 1" UHMW blocks that clamp on or something like that?

When I was a kid and we moved to my parents current house with a gravel drive my dad bought a snow blower for the tractor. I believe he used it one season. Plowing isn't great either but at least most of the gravel ends up in a single row. I found a backpack blower made quick work of putting it back in the spring. Note that there's approximately a 10 minute window between "blowing it back just before the last plowable snow of the season" and "time to mow for the first time but there's still gravel in the yard."

ken masoumi
12-28-2014, 6:39 PM
I have a long gravel driveway to plow, adjusted the height of the skid plates low enough to leave 2" of snow on the gravel,any lower ,the snow blower would grab and throw rocks all over the road and neighbour's window, and may also break the shear bolts if the rocks are big enough,I don't see any solution for you other than readjusting the plates for the paved area every time or make a clip on ramp to attach to the lip of the bucket,maybe:confused:?

Jim Matthews
12-28-2014, 10:16 PM
Any thrower that uses an auger will get badly beaten up by stones.

My mentor also has a long driveway of loose stones.
He had a long skid attached out front with a chicken wire
"excluder" across the front.

Effective on all but very wet snow.
Most of what we get here, is very wet snow.

The problem with walk behind snow throwers
is that the drive mechanism forces the
chute down, to keep it at the level set by the skids.

Brian Elfert
12-28-2014, 11:01 PM
The driveway is sand so rocks are not really a problem. My main issue is catching on the uneven driveway. I'll just have to drop the skids and live with it.

Rick Moyer
12-29-2014, 8:33 AM
The driveway is sand so rocks are not really a problem. My main issue is catching on the uneven driveway. I'll just have to drop the skids and live with it.
How much of a problem is that??? I have a walk-behind and it takes all of 20 seconds to loosen the bolts, drop the plates,, and retighten. I don't see what the problem is.

Matt Meiser
12-29-2014, 9:34 AM
The driveway is sand so rocks are not really a problem. My main issue is catching on the uneven driveway. I'll just have to drop the skids and live with it.

Your REAL issue is going to be that sand and the spring thaw! Yikes!

Brian Elfert
12-29-2014, 10:34 AM
Your REAL issue is going to be that sand and the spring thaw! Yikes!

It will probably be pretty soft for a few weeks. It got up to 50 degrees earlier in the month and the top inch or so melted and was not nice. I might have to park on the end of the pavement during the spring thaw.

Bert Kemp
12-29-2014, 11:09 AM
I'd make a little pair of ski's with a curled up front and attach them to the skid plates. It would be pretty easy to make something to lift the front edge of the snow blower about an inch or two.

Mike Cutler
12-29-2014, 3:56 PM
Your REAL issue is going to be that sand and the spring thaw! Yikes!

I use a snow blower on a dirt driveway, no big stones but there is some pea gravel. The snow blower lip is set about 3/8" off the ground, or whatever the thickness of a 7/8" box end wrench is. ( I set the blower on two 7/8" wrenches, on cement, and lower the skids until they hit the ground.)
After I'm done I use the plow on the tractor, or a push shovel to clear what is left.
Like Matt stated though, it doesn't work if the driveway has had some thawing action and then we get snow. Then it's just the tractor and blade, or a shovel.