Glossary Of Snow Plowing Terms

A Frame - This is the part of the plow, that attaches to the vehicle with two pins on one end. The other end is attached to the sector, commonly with one bolt through the center of the sector. The angle cylinders mount to the A frame on one end, and the sector on the other.

Agitator - The thin "pin" that goes through the top of the spinner shaft of walk behind spreaders, inside the hopper. These are designed to break up clumps of fertilizer not rock salt, and help direct it to the opening, where it will fall onto the spinner, and be spread. Commercial models use a heavier, stainless steel pin. Small homeowner spreaders have a very thin pin. I once tried spreading salt with a tiny spreader. The pin got wrapped around the shaft, because the salt was too much resistance. I then replaced it with a finishing nail, and added a grate to the top of the spreader, to stop large solid chunks of salt from going into the hopper. This worked well. I cut the bottom out of a plastic milk crate, to make the grate. Large dumptrucks that salt the roads have a grate on top of the hoppers to stop large chunks from getting in.

Auger - This is a steel spiral. Found inside snowblower housings and salt spreaders. It directs snow to the impeller on snowblowers. On salt spreaders, it directs salt to the spinner.

Back Drag - The way you would clear a small driveway, usually by pulling up to the garage door, dropping the blade, and backing out of the driveway, pulling snow with you. These are the worst driveways to do, and are usually not worth the trouble since doing a good job is very hard. In the time it takes to do one back drag, you could do two or three "push backs".

Broadcast Spreader - A walk behind or power driven spreader that spreads in a wide pattern. A tailgate spreader is a prime example of this type. Most tailgate models spread as wide as 30 feet, or as narrow as 6 feet. Most walk behind units spread between 4 and 12 feet. Spinner RPMs, is what mainly controls the spreading width. To spread wide with a walk behind unit, walk fast. To spread narrow, walk slowly.

Bronze Bushings - These are used in various places on different equipment. They are used in place of bearings. Bronze is a porous metal. It absorbs oil. They need to be oiled regularly. On some equipment there are tiny "oil cups" that keep a supply of oil for the bushings. Bearings are almost always better than Bronze bushings.

Calcium - Calcium Chloride used to melt ice. Works down to minus 20 degrees F. Also referring to tires that are filled with liquid Calcium. Foam is more popular than Calcium for filling tires now.

Coil and Valve - This is what controls the flow of hydraulic fluid through the system, causing the blade to lift, lower, or angle. Meyer plows have three. The A, B, and C coils. The coil uses electricity to open the valve. The actual "power angle" mechanism, so to speak. They don't have to be replaced as a unit. The valves proper name is a "spool".

Conveyor - This moves salt or de icer from the hopper to the auger. Found on slide in salt spreaders.

Cutting Edge - The lower part of the blade that makes contact with the pavement.

CV Joint - Constant Velocity joint. Found on the front axle of some trucks. Used in place of a universal joint. There is another type found on the front driveshaft of some trucks. This is known as a "Cardan Joint".

DOT - Department Of Transportation

Drop Spreader - These are for fertilizer and grass seed. They are of no use as far as spreading deicers. A typical example would be the standard Scotts spreader. The green and orange model we all know well. Larger models that can be towed behind a tractor would be useful for salting long walks.

Ethylene Glycol - Simply put, this is antifreeze. Like Prestone®.

Flag Downs - People that want you to clear the snow for them, that run out into the street, to flag you down.

Guides - These are the plastic coated rods, attached to the top corners of a moldboard, to let the operator know where the ends of the blade are. Meyer and Fisher use yellow, Western uses red with little flags on the tops.

Hitch Pins - These are the pins that attach the plow to the vehicle. They go through the A frame, and the plow frame on the vehicle.

Hopper - This is where deicing material is put for spreading.

Hopper Capacity - this is usually listed by weight. Small walk behind spreaders hold an average of 40 pounds. Tailgate mounted spreaders hold an average of 900 pounds. Commercial walk behind broadcast spreaders hold an average of 80-100 pounds. Slide in airflow, and other bed mount spreaders, list the hopper capacity in pounds, and cubic yards typically.

Markers - These are rods, sticks, or reflectors on a shaft. They are pounded into the ground along the edges of pavement, to let the plow operator know where the boundaries are. They are also used to mark obstacles such as speed bumps, and drains. Sometimes to mark fire hydrant locations too.

Moldboard - This is the actually what we sometimes refer to as the "blade"

OPEI - Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. They do testing of machinery, for consumer saftey.

Pivot Pins - These attach the moldboard to the sector. When a blade trips, it pivots on these pins.

Pull Plow - This is a brand name I know. It is the style of plow that mounts on the rear of a truck. Several manufacturers make this type of plow. It's still not very popular, since it's only been out a few years. Excellent for jobs that would be backdrags with a conventional plow. Such as loading docks, and small residential drives.

Push Back - A driveway that you can drop your blade as you are turning in, and push the snow straight back. All of your next passes, are pushing the snow back, away from the house.

Push, Pass, Run, Strip - These are all ways of saying "Lower your blade and drive forward pushing snow".

Scraper Bar - Another name for the cutting edge.

Sector - The curved piece of steel that attaches the moldboard to the A frame. The blade rides on the sector, with a bolt in the center, to allow angling.

Siamese Connection - This is a pipe that a fire department can connect a hose to, so they can pump water into a building's fire sprinkler system. Here is a photo of a typical one.

SIMA - Snow and Ice Management Association.

Skids, Shoes, Sleds - These support the blades of snowplows, scraping along carrying the weight of the blade. Usually holding it a fraction of an inch off the pavement. They serve the same purpose mounted on snowblowers.

Slide In Spreader - Mounts in the bed of a pick up, or dumptruck. Typically holds 2 cubic yards or more of deicer, with a separate small gasoline engine to power it. Some have a prewetting feature. This wets the salt with a brine solution as it is spread.

Solenoid - There are typically two types. One mounts under the hood to relay power to the plow's hydraulic pump. This is just a typical "Ford" starter solenoid. The second type mounts on the plow pump unit, to open and close valves, controlling lift and angle.

Spinner - The part of a salt spreader, that actually spreads the salt. Usually a round disc with fins on it.

Stainless - Stainless steel. This is what the silverware you eat with is made from, to cite an example we all know well. Forks and knives go through thousands of dishwasher cycles, and never rust. Most items made from stainless steel never rust. There are various grades of stainless. Some do get surface rust, others are nonmagnetic. A general rule is if it's made of stainless, it will last longer than you'll live without rusting away. Western© makes or used to make a tailgate salt spreader out of stainless. Two examples of types are T-304, and T-409.

Trip Springs - These are the large springs on the back sides of blades that regulate how fast, and how much force is required to make your blade trip. They are what makes it return to it's upright position after tripping. Western Pro Plows© even have a shock absorber, to make tripping smoother. They typically attach to the top of the moldboard on one end, and the sector on the other end. On bottom trip plows, such as Fisher©, they mount to the cutting edge on one end, and the moldboard on the other. They are compression springs, instead of extension springs.

Wing Plows or Wing Blades - These mount on the sides of large trucks, on the undercarriage. Also on trains. On trucks they are usually mounted on the right side, and when lowered, extend the plowing width. The ride behind the front blade, overlapping it's path slightly. They are common on highway plow trucks, usually tandem axle dumptrucks.

This Glossary of Terms is ©1998 - 2002 Charles D. Smith. It is taken from The Snowplowing Handbook.


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