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#323755 - 02/28/13 12:26 PM Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway
lassig Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/04/09
Posts: 941
Loc: Schuyler Co, IL
Ok finally decided that maybe the driveway should have some of the snow that has fallen over the last week removed from it. First hint was when the UPS guy left my package last night at the mailbox and wouldn't drive in the driveway. With Fedex and UPS both suppose to be here today decided I should fix this. The only "tool" I currently have for this is a 34 hp New Holland tractor with a frontend loader. It did an ok job but I struggle to not tear up the gravel when I do this. Would I be better off getting a blade for the Rhino? or is there a trick with the frontend loader that I am not seeing? In either case I need to get a set of chains. Any suggestions there?
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#323761 - 02/28/13 12:43 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
fish n chips Offline


Registered: 09/06/11
Posts: 2315
Loc: Northeast Ohio
I have plowed our gravel driveways for 30 years, and I would love to know how to not get some of the gravel mixed in withthe snow removed. I have yet seen a perfect solution. It makes a big difference if the ground is froze before the snow gets on it.

One thing that I do that helps in the springtime cleanup. When I plow I try to keep the piles limited to as few as possible. When the snow starts melting, the driveway is usually cleared off before the piles are melting. As the snow piles melt, the gravel tends to accumullte on the surface. When I see this, I take the plow and pull it back out onto the driveway bringing back a good majority of the gravel. I often wonder what the neighbors are thinking when they see me plowing on a nice warm day!

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#323762 - 02/28/13 12:45 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
sprkplug Offline
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6946
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
It's my experience that plowing snow on a gravel driveway requires adopting the mindset that it's OK to leave an inch or two of snow....it's not a state highway. Trying to get it down to bare stone will almost always involve getting stone where you don't want it to be...such as the front yard.

Does your bucket have a float setting? I would angle the bucket slightly upwards, and push with the loader controls set to float. Once the majority of snow is gone, tilt the bucket forwards like you're going to dump, engage the float, and pull the remaining snow while moving backwards dragging the bucket....if you see the need.
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"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
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#323773 - 02/28/13 02:27 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
Lovnlivin Offline


Registered: 05/18/12
Posts: 1507
Loc: Eagle, NE
First-timer here on plowing the gravel driveway, mine being a little over 200 yds long.

First snow: Having a ball, plowing with the blade angled and moving at a pretty good rate of speed. Nice wide swath plowed, looks great. Snow then melted and I have gravel everywhere except on my driveway.

Second snow: Still having a ball, plowing at an angle with the snow plow shoes lowered to keep the blade from going all the way down. Plowed at a much slower pace so as not to "throw" the snow/gravel and careful to plow only the width of the driveway. Snow then melted and although I did push the gravel to the edges, I will be able to "rake" it back. More manual labor than I want!

Third snow: Still having fun (I'm pretty easy to please) I kept the blade 1-2" off the ground and didn't have to worry about displacing the gravel, even though there's hardly any left after the first two snows smile

So Sprkplug, I totally agree on the mindset of leaving 1-2" of snow, and fishnchips, I love your idea! I still have some piles that I can now move back onto the driveway and to hopefully amuse some passersby.

Overall, the ATV with 50" blade works incredibly well for me, now that I know how to use it without creating a bunch of manual labor later!

PB Rocks!
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#323778 - 02/28/13 03:40 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: Lovnlivin]
Shorty Offline
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Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 4240
Loc: Raymond, NE
Our driveway is 400 yards long.

We set the blade as high as we can get it adjusted so when the blade is lowered all the way it is barely off the ground. We still have to do a little bit of clean up work once spring rolls around.

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#323779 - 02/28/13 03:52 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
catmandoo Offline
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Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5688
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
At this point, I've been plowing snow for over 50 years, mostly on gravel driveways. The current driveway, from mailbox to house, is 1/3 mile. But I keep at least another 1/3 to 1/2 mile plowed too.

In the late fall, it is important to get the driveway ready for winter, which is different than the spring/summer/fall driveway. You really should get a good crown of gravel in the middle of the driveway, and then spread it slightly. That is, get as much gravel from the ditches, edges, and "tire tracks" into the middle, and then spread that to where it just goes into the tire track areas.

I have a 60 inch blade on my side-by-side UTV, plus a 72" rear blade and 72" landscape rake for the tractor. All will do a reasonable job of grooming the driveway gravel for the different seasons.

The UTV plow has skid shoes. I put the right side shoe all the way up (plow edge resting on the gravel) and the left side shoe is adjusted so that it is about level ground. Then I angle the blade to the sharpest setting to pull gravel from the driveway edge, and to help push it towards the center. Two or three trips each directions does a pretty good job. Then I set the shoes to about a one inch below the bottom of the plow, and make a run out to the end and back. That will get you ready for winter.

I do a similar thing with the rear blade or the landscape rake, except they don't have skid shoes, so it is done by angling the 3-point hitch and using the hydraulics to set the height of the implement. If I'm using the rear blade, I turn it backward, and drag the rounded edge over the center pile of gravel.

Then for clearing snow, I set the blade slightly lower on the outside driveway side (ditch side), whether with the skid shoes, or the 3-point hitch. With the UTV, I angle the blade to the edge of the driveway, and drop it with the winch to where the skid shoes are just barely touching the gravel.

You'll always lose some gravel. But, that is part of living in the country. Heck, you'll lose as much the rest of the year just due to dust being kicked up and blown away from the driveway when regularly driving on it.

To get the driveway ready for spring, summer and fall, make sure you've got a really good crown in the middle of the road, and good clean ditches and culverts. A good way to start is to pull as much from the edges as possible, into the middle of the driveway. Then grade that down to where it is close the edge of the driveway.

For our main 1/3 mile driveway, I generally buy 20 ton of gravel about every 2-3 years, and just have them dump it in a pile halfway from one end of the driveway to the other. I use it as necessary. Every 3-6 years I may need one or two 20-ton loads spread in some bad areas. Last spring, that was running about $225 a load.

Overall, my driveway is almost always in much better shape than the gravel county road leading to my place from the VIRGINIA side of the border. The West Virginia section is paved.
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#323787 - 02/28/13 05:10 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
John Monroe Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 1105
Loc: East Central Indiana
I have a 350 feet long gravel drive and I have a Ford Ferguson with a front loader and a grader blade. What works best for me is to turn the grader blade around backwards so it doesn't dig in and set it at a 45 degree angle. This does OK as long as the snow isn't deeper then 6 inches. Otherwise then I have to do more complicated and creative things with the tractor like leaving the front end bucket down and pushing the snow off the drive.
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#323795 - 02/28/13 06:03 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: John Monroe]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
If the winter weather allows, I'll just run over and compact the first 2"-3" of snow down to about 1"-2" of hardpack snow. Then if I have to plow, I'll set the shoes to keep the blade as high as possible, and angle it as much as possible.

Usually I'll use the showthrower/blower (whatever you want to call it) on the garden tractor. I'll pack down the snow, and leave about 1" of snow on the drive. That way I'm not picking up stones from the grass 20'-30' from the driveway.

IIRC last 2 winters all I had to do was pack the snow down. This winter I did it, but it promptly melted.....
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#323801 - 02/28/13 06:30 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: esshup]
JKB Offline
Hall of Fame 2015
Lunker

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 6692
Loc: Michigan
Shoes on your plow. shocked

Plow jockeys up here never replace the shoes because they wear or break off.

Had a contract with a big outfit and told them, if your plow ain't wearing shoes, don't bother. They never listened and made a mess.

Worst part was, is that they would come over and wreck stuff with only a couple inches on the ground that would naturally melt before noon, and send the bill!

We got our own snow removal stuff after that.

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#323813 - 02/28/13 07:05 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
sprkplug Offline
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6946
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
That's the way I do it. I bring the plow into the shop, where I have a flat, level surface, and adjust the skid shoes until the blade's edge is up off the floor an inch, to inch and a half.
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

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#323832 - 02/28/13 09:20 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
lassig Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/04/09
Posts: 941
Loc: Schuyler Co, IL
Scott,

My plan was to do as you and just pack it down and drive over it. Works fine for my 4 wheel drive pickup. Was trying to help out UPS and Fedex as I had some packages coming to finish up the hall bathroom and other projects on the house. Didn't realize a UPS truck is so light when near empty. Have a nice icy mess in the driveway right now, hoping for a couple of sunny days in the 40s to clean it up. Nothing forecast like that for a while.

Guess I will use the bucket on the tractor for now when it is absolutely needed to clean the driveway up. Realizing that I don't need to get it completely clean.
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#323835 - 02/28/13 09:44 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
sprkplug Offline
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6946
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
I've never had any luck with packing it down. Maybe for a four wheel drive, or front wheel drive car....but forget a rear wheel drive vehicle. The first warm day the pack will melt on top, then when the temps drop again at night.....instant glacier. And if your drive is uphill like mine, that's all she wrote.

I had 6 tons of #11 stone hauled in and dumped in a pile two years ago. Around December 1st, I put the plow on the mule, and shovel the bed full of the stone. It provides weight for pushing snow, and if the drive ices over I have traction material to spread in the tracks close at hand. Works well.
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

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#323836 - 02/28/13 09:50 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
lassig Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/04/09
Posts: 941
Loc: Schuyler Co, IL
Not to mention what a stuck UPS truck can do to polish it nice and smooth.
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#323860 - 03/01/13 06:58 AM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1939
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
For my ATV, the shoes either fall off, or grind off after a few plows, I have given up on them and rely on height adjustments.

The key is a good crown on a wet day in the fall (I borrow a york rake for the tractor), and then compacting the works down by driving on it a lot. You want to get any loose gravel mixed into the mush. Also don't use filtered gravel, but mixed gravel so it can compact like concrete when dry.

Then when you know the ground ISN'T frozen, you must keep the plow raised or you will toss too much gravel. If it IS frozen, drop the plow and ask bystanders to back off and let it rip full-speed!

Right now we have had several days of wet, sloppy snow. I have had to plow this nonsense twice now with (the flu). The stuff is so sticky that even raising the plow an inch or two results in tootsie rolls of snow which is picking up the loose gravel and rolling it to the side. VERY annoying as I will have to rake this crap in the spring out of the lawn. I am trying to be careful and not let the rolls exit the edge of the driveway, by my neighbor came over and "helped" and dug the ever-living snot out of my turn-around and pushed all of the rolls into the ditch. Gravel and all. Arg!
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#323864 - 03/01/13 07:45 AM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13633
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Boy-O-Boy, I'm glad that I have no idea what you guys are talking about.
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#323877 - 03/01/13 08:59 AM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
Bluegillerkiller Offline
Hall of Fame
Lunker

Registered: 09/08/09
Posts: 3536
Loc: Illinois, St. louis area
I do my 800' driveway with a tractor and rear blade.. I make 2 passes one coming up the driveway one going down being sure to dump all the spoils still on the inside of the driveway edge, then when the snow melts I make 2 more passes putting the rock from the melted snow back level in the middle of the drive.. Works like a charm..

However driveway goes from normal 12' to 8' in the snow but it helps keep people away from the soft edges..


Edited by Bluegillerkiller (03/01/13 08:59 AM)
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#323879 - 03/01/13 09:48 AM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4251
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I also use a 3-point hitch scraper blade on my 1/3 mile-long drive, but I cut high so no gravel is moved (I drive slowly). I would love a front mount blade though. I have a skid-steer mount on my loader but want a manual angle since I do not have extra hydraulic hookups on the tractor. I found some of these online, but at around 3K, I cannot justify it. I think a 3-point hitch snow blower would be similarly priced which seems odd to me.

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#323904 - 03/01/13 02:37 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1939
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
I couldn't use a back blade as a couple of times this winter already the snow would have been up to the frame of the old Ferguson. Can't get no traction if the wheels are suspended when the snow cogs on the blade. Have to spin the blade and push in reverse, and honestly that is a bit slow for my tastes.

I tried an old home-brew 3-pt snowthrower picked up at auction this winter, and it constantly clogged. When it didn't, it just tossed the driveway around in large clumps. No wonder it was so cheap! The back-blades you get for smaller tractors just are not tall enough unless you get out several times during a storm.

So it turns out the 4-wheeler works the best, and for the least cost! The driveway is 1200' of hill. 2 passes up and back and most is done in 5-10 minutes. The turn-around usually takes some car shuffling so it may take a while to clean. Takes about 15-20 minutes total on a big snow day.

The best part is when the snow gets deep on the sides, I can take the 4-wheeler on top of the piles and knock off the tops. Talk about fun!

The only trouble I have is when the snow gets compacted from the wind in drifts across the driveway. Then I get spun around trying to get through it since the 4-wheeler is relatively light. It takes some pretty good speed and cheek-clenching on the seat to blast through. I only have a 350cc, but it is handy being light when you get stuck you can lift it out by hand.

Some lessons learned over the past 11 years of dealing with my nemesis:
1. Never use finely crushed stone. I has materials left over from a sidewalk project I dumped in the driveway. That stuff sticks to shoes and tracks all over the house. It releases dust like a volcano.
2. Never use a single-size sorted stone. If it rolls under the tires or shoes, it will be flung into the ditch by plows. Sure it looks pretty, but not all over the lawn in the spring.
3. Old plow trucks suck. They never start when it snows out, only on bright clear warm weather when purchasing. Environmental hazards based on the oil puddles under them.
4. Sand/gravel mixes are best, similar to mixes used for concrete. They compact well enough to prevent erosion, resist dusting, are easy for kids to ride bikes on.
5. Rake (York or otherwise) at the first sign of washouts or potholes. Left too long they become exponential problems.
6. Keep a crest. Force water to run off into the ditches rather than at any length down the driveway. Requires raking/blading a few times a year. Don't have them too high or your parent's handicapped van will bottom out (whoops!)
7. Get one of those rubber paddle add-ons to your weed-eater which allows for super-fast removal of gravel from the lawn in the spring. I have yet to get one.

That's all I can think of...
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#323913 - 03/01/13 04:31 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
sprkplug Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6946
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
Maybe you need more robust skid shoes?
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

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#323919 - 03/01/13 05:12 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: sprkplug]
catmandoo Offline
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Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5688
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
Originally Posted By: sprkplug
Maybe you need more robust skid shoes?


My thought exactly. Many years ago, while still in high school and college, I needed to replace the skid shoes for the snowplow on my old 1940s Willys Jeep.

Instead of finding replacements, I cut and welded new flanges to the back of the plow, and made "skids" out of cast iron barbell weights. To this day, they are cheap, and tough. The also roll, and work almost like wheels under your blade.

I don't remember the dimensions anymore, but I'm thinking I probably used 3/4 or 1-inch galvanized water pipe nipples as bushings -- whatever the hole size was in the weights. The largest weight (and associated bushings fit between flanges). This was so long ago, I don't remember size of the weights, but they probably ranged from 2-3 lbs to 10 lbs. The bolts fit inside the bushings, and all the weights had the same size center holes.

I got drafted, and went to places where they didn't need snow plows -- long before I ever wore out those skids/wheels. I plowed one heck of a lot of acres of store and gas station parking lots in those days.

If I wear out the skids on my UTV plow, I'll probably do something similar. If not, I'll just make some "skis" from some old mower blades, or some other tough materials.

As I've said to many people over many years, the first implement anyone should every buy after getting a tractor, is a decent welder. A good reciprocating saw and angle grinder help too.

This advice probably applies equally well to UTVs and 4-wheelers.

Grumpy old me,
Ken
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#323963 - 03/01/13 11:11 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: catmandoo]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
For Dad's snowthrower that he uses on his concrete driveway I made skid shoes out of 2" wide by 1 1/2" thick and 6" long teflon blocks. His drive is 14' wide, 230' long. His garden tractor mounted snowthrower is only about 40" wide, so it takes quite a number of passes.

IIRC they were made for the winter of 2008 and they haven't worn out yet. They don't leave marks on the concrete like steel shoes would either. He leaves more marks from spinning the tires with chains on them..................
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#323972 - 03/02/13 07:29 AM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
lassig Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/04/09
Posts: 941
Loc: Schuyler Co, IL
Thinking hard about buying a plow for the Rhino and a set of chains for next winter. We have had it easy the last two winters so no need to plow until recently. Nice thing is is that I already have the winch on the rhino so will not need to buy that.
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#324034 - 03/02/13 07:27 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: lassig]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
If you don't have one on the Rino, put a roller fairlead on it.
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#324197 - 03/04/13 03:54 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: sprkplug]
catmandoo Offline
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Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5688
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
Originally Posted By: sprkplug
Maybe you need more robust skid shoes?


One more thought, as I'm out preparing for our supposed forecasted big storm ...

In the last 50 years I've bought and sold a lot of equipment, including a number of snow plows of all sizes.

As I was greasing, checking bolt torques, etc., I recalled that most snow plow skid shoes, from garden tractor to pickup-size, come without any washers and lock washers. Just a bottom and a top nut.

People always complain that their skid shoes come loose, and they fall off.

If you have skid shoes, and they don't have flats and locks under the nuts on the adjustment bolt -- add them. Remember -- the lock washer goes under the nut, and flat washer goes under the lock, against the structure.
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#324236 - 03/04/13 08:18 PM Re: Need advice on "plowing snow" on a gravel driveway [Re: catmandoo]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Ken:

One test that we ran consisted of bolting panels to a merry-go-round type of contraption, and bending the panels, letting them "twang" back into place as the whole thing rotated.

Bolts/flat washers/split ring lock washers/and the type of locking nut that is deformed were all used. Every one loosened up within 24 hrs, no matter how tight we torqued them. The solution?

Nuts with nylon in them as locking nuts. (Nyloc nuts) They were used a maximum of 2 times when replacing the panels. Replace a panel a 3rd time? Replace the nuts too. Never had another panel loosen up.
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