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Russell Langmaid Enjoys BOSS Super-Duty Plow Featuring Custom Install


Russell Langmaid Enjoys BOSS Super-Duty Snow Plow Featuring Custom Install 

What do you get when you cross a Quigley 4X4 Ford van with an 8’ Super-Duty Straight-Blade Snowplow from BOSS utilizing the fine art of metal fabrication?

A highly functional plowing system. That was the challenge BOSS customer Russell Langmaid presented to JL Custom Fab, a regional BOSS distributor based in Bowdoin, Maine. Russell, 53, owns, manages and rents two properties and plows for 20 residential driveways. He required the fabrication work to accommodate his vehicle due to a spinal cord injury he suffered while still in his teens. He needed the van and plow for clearing the driveways of the properties he manages.

BOSS Super Duty

“This is the second custom van plow installation JL Custom Fab has done for me,” Russell explains. “Their customer service really is extraordinary. Whatever the challenge, I know that I can count on them to find the right solution.”

JL Custom Fab was founded in 2005 and is owned and operated by Jay and Sara Lacharite. Jay and his wife became BOSS dealers shortly after starting their buisness and today plow sales represent nearly half of their gross revenue. Along with serving as a regional BOSS sales/service representative, JL Custom Fab also operates a custom fabrication business working with all types of metals, something of a dying art in today’s highly automated society.  These skills gave Jay a unique opportunity to apply his “heavy metal” training to the task at hand.

JL Custom Fab prides itself on providing services that are hard to find in the area. With the ability to weld all types of metals, the company can build or repair just about anything the customer desires. For this custom job, Jay used his experience with BOSS undercarriages to make his own custom mount using the push beam from a Dodge Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Pickup Truck.

The first stelp involved ensuring that the height and width of the vehicle’s frame would work with the push beam.  As Jay explained, it really wasn’t much different from any other custom install outside of a few additional hours of labor. One challenge: Jay had to extend the battery cables to reach the batteries that are located under the vehicle about halfway back to the rear.

They were difficult to get to and with a very tight tolerance. Jay had to make up an extension harness and properly seal it to keep it out of the elements.

Russell came up with his own way to mount the SmartTouch 2 Controller.

Custom Push Beam

         describe the image         SmartHitch2

SmartTouch2 Controller


Nestled between the Topsham/Brunswick-Augusta and Lewiston/Auburn area, JL Custom Fab started as a BOSS dealer in 2006 selling 10 plows their first year. After advertising their custom welding capabilities and doing lots of customized fabrication on trucks, trailers and other types of equipment, Jay and Sara began manufacturing aluminum boat docks in 2010.

Jay began welding at age 15 in vocational school, then gained many years of experience working with truck equipment fabrication before venturing out on his own. He says that while the demand is there for metal fabrication work, fewer people are taking up the trade.

“Welding and metal fabrication is something that cannot just be taught,” he explains. “It takes years of experience to produce quality welders.”

In this case, Jay’s experience with the welding craft really paid off for BOSS customer Russell Langmaid.


                  BOSS Snowplow Plow Selector

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Off-Season Storage Procedures For Your Pintle or Auger Spreader


Off-Season Storage Procedures For Your Pintle Chain or Auger Hopper Spreader

When the time comes to swap out the snow & ice removal equipment for the lawn & landscape equipment don’t forget to take a some time to prep the equipment for storage.  Properly storing your snow & ice removal equipment, specifically your Hopper Spreader, for the off-season will help extend the life of the product and ensure that it is ready to go when old man winter returns again.

Use this handy step-by-step checklist for properly storing your BOSS Auger or Pintle Chain Hopper Spreader.

Hopper Spreader

Hopper Spreader Storage Checklist

  • Remove the rear spinner assembly, wash, rinse and let dry completely. This will be re-installed for final storage.

CAUTION: DO NOT spray directly into any electrical connections or electric motor.

  • Activate the dump switch to completely empty the hopper.

  • Pintle Spreader: Remove the bottom drop pan, wash and rinse. This will be re-installed for final storage. 

  • Remove spreader from the truck using lift bars located on the top edge of the hopper at each of the four corners.

  • Wash and rinse entire unit. Tipping the hopper up on an angle so that the water and material can easily flow out the end of the hopper opening. 

  • Remove rear black poly cover, wash and rinse the inside of the cover only.

  • Wash and rinse all rear drive components.

   CAUTION: DO NOT spray directly onto any electrical connections or electric motor.

  • Pintle Spreader: Remove pintle chain from spreader, roll up and fully submerge into a container of oil for storage (transmission oil is recommended). The pintle chain will be re-installed next season.

  • Auger Spreader: Spray oil or similar lubricant the entire length of the auger screw, coating the screw and all fasteners.

  • Clean and grease all bearings.

  • Clean all exposed plow-side and truck-side connectors and apply dielectric grease.

  • Remove spreader control from the truck cab and store in a clean, dry place.

  • Once the Spinner Assembly and Drop Pan are completely dry, reinstall for final storage of the spreader unit.


Download Printable Spreader Storage Checklist




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The Ultimate Glossary of Snow Plow Parts Terminology


The Ultimate Glossary of Snow Plow Parts Terminology

When considering all the aspects of a snow plow and how it functions, you can come acrossPower VXT some unusual terms. If you’re new to the snow & ice removal industry these terms could result in questions like: “What’s the difference between a solenoid and a manifold? “, “Snowplows can float?” and “what does a pigtail have to do with a snow plow anyway?” To clear up some confusion and for your future reference, keep this snow plow parts glossary of terms handy.  While some of the termimology is specific to BOSS Snowplows many of the terms are common across all snow plow brands.

11 Pin Plug or 13 Pin Plug

Male and female multi-pin rubber plug that connects at the bumper and allows for communication between the truck and the plow.

Angle Cylinders

Found on both v-plows and straight blades, the angle cylinders control the left and right movements of the snow plow.


Referred to as the “push frame,” the A-Frame connects the center section, on V-blades, or push frame attachment bar, on straight blades, to the coupler.

RT3 Attachment System (SmartHitch1)

This hydraulic attachment system is activated by flipping a toggle switch into the “up” position at the side of the plow. Then the operator goes into the cab of the truck, and using the raise function on the plow controller, connects the plow to the truck. Then the toggle switch needs to be returned to the “down” position for normal plow functions. The attachment system has a set of pins that automatically engage locking the plow to the vehicle.

RT3 Attachment System (SmartHitch2)

This hydraulic attachment system is activated by putting the plow controller into “float” mode. Then the operator can completely attached and detached the plow by raising or lowering the toggle switch at the side of the plow. The attachment system has a set of pins that automatically engage locking the plow to the vehicle.

Blade Crate

When the plow is shipped, the blade crate contains the completely assembled blade (halves for a v plow)minus the coupler, hydraulics & electrical components that are part of the Plow Box. 

Base Angle

The assembly that provides the tripping action on trip-edge style plows.  Base angles can be used as a cutting edge  to a certain point before needing to have a cutting edge installed on top of the base angle.

Blade Guides

Rubber coated “sticks” that give an indication of the location of the edges of the plow and can be seen above the hood of the truck.

Blade Lift

The act of raising the blade off the ground. The maximum blade lift height will depend on the model and size of plow, and the lifting mechanism, either chain lift or direct hydraulic lift

Blade Shock Absorber

Shocks on the back of straight blade plows that slows the return speed of the moldboard trip.

Box Plow

A type of straight blade plow with two containment wings on the left and right ends. Usually used on skid steers, backhoes, medium loaders, etc.

Center Section 

Used on V-blades only, it is a wedge shaped piece that both blade halves hinge on.

Cutting Edges

The actual edge on the plow that touches the ground, usually made of urethane or steel. It is removable and must be replaced as it wears away to prevent plow damage.

Curb Guards  

Either part of or separately attached to the cutting edge that wraps around the outer edge of the base angle to protect it from damage.

Control Box  

This contains all truck side electrical components – 13 pin harness, power/ground cables, solenoid, battery cable, controller and all mounting hardware.


Either joystick or hand held. Controls all the plow movement from the cab of the truck.


The black vertical weldment that houses the hydraulic manifold and power unit.  Attached to it are the light bar and push frame. 

Chain Lift

Type of lift system that utilizes a chain to lift the plow off the ground. Used on BOSS first generation conventional plows (1980’s) but has since been replaced by a direct hydraulic lift design.

Dual Trip Plow

Trip system that has both a full moldboard trip, for collision with obstacles taller than 6 inches, and a trip edge, for collision with obstacles shorter than six inches.  The BOSS DXT snow plow features a dual trip design.


Function of the plow controller which opens the lowering valve allowing the lift cylinder to extend or retract, keeping the blade in contact with the ground to follow the contour of the surface being plowed.

Full Moldboard Trip

Trip system that is specifically engineered to engage or ‘Trip’ the entire moldboard when striking obstructions.  The BOSS VXTSuper Duty, Standard Duty and ATV/UTV blades are examples of blades with a full moldboard trip design.

Headlight Adapter

Way of connecting the main truck side harness to the OEM connectors and bulbs.


On most snow plows, the plow motor & pump will supply hydraulic fluid to the cylinder.  The hydraulics allow the plow operator to life, lower and angle the plow.


Used on straight blades to keep the back of the plow upright when detaching.

Lift Cylinder

Hydraulically driven cylinder, which raises the snow plow off of the ground. The BOSS system uses a hydraulic cylinder which minimizes movement of the blade while in transport.

Locking Cylinder  

Used as a angle cylinders on V-blades only, they have an internal, non-adjustable, locking value that hydraulically locks the piston in place.  Its main purpose is to keep the blade halves in place while backdragging.


The manifold is an aluminum block with channels machined into it.  It contains the valves, check valves and relief valves that control the flow of hydraulic fluid, making the plow move.


The actual plow blade. The moldboard is available in various materials such as steel, stainless steel or poly.


Replacement connector end for the 11-pin or 13-pin electrical system.   

Plow Box  

When the plow is shipped, the plow box contains the main black steel pieces of the plow including the push frame, coupler, headlights and all hydraulics.

Plow Shoes  

Plow shoes help the blade float over soft surfaces such as gravel, dirt or grass.  Shoes kits are typically optional accessories.


A material used to build a moldboard made from a slick, polyurethane material.  The slick surface minimizes snow sticking to the blade and has excellent corrosion resistance 

Power Unit  

This is the entire hydraulic pump, motor and fluid reservoir.

Push Beam

Part of the undercarriage, this horizontal bar is what the plow connects to, attaching it to the truck.

Push Frame  

Sometimes called the “A” frame because of its shape, the push frame connects the center section, on V-blades, or push frame attachment bar, on straight blades, to the coupler.

Push Frame Attachment Bar 

Used on straight and trip-edge plows only.  Sometimes called the ‘quad’, it connects the blade of the plow to the push frame.

Self-Adjusting  Wings

On some box plow designs, the outer left and right sides of the plow can move independently to automatically adjust to the contour of the pavement.  

Snow Catcher 

On a v-plow, it covers the gap where the cutting edges of the two wings meet on the bottom. It is either built into a cutting edge or attached separately.

Snow Deflector

Typically made of a rubber material or poly. Installed on the top edge of the plow and is used to increase user’s visibility while plowing by minimizing the snow that flies up over the top of the plow and onto the windshield.


This mounts under the hood of the truck, and when signaled, sends 12V battery power to the electric motor on the plow.

Mild Steel

A material used to build a moldboard made from steel and treated with a zinc powder coating for maximum rust protection. Mild steel is also the primary material used for all of a plows support and mounting structures.

Straight Blade Plow

Single plow blade without wings. Can come in various materials such as steel, stainless steel or poly.

Stainless Steel 

A material used to build a moldboard made from made of corrosion resistant stainless steel.

Segmented Trip –Edge Design

On a box plow, trip system which allows the part of the cutting edge that comes into contact with an obstruction to trip independently of the rest of the cutting edge.

Trip Edge

Trip system which the base angle trips when striking a hidden obstacle, as opposed to the entire blade/moldboard.

Trip Springs

The springs that allow either the moldboard or plow edge to trip either forward or backwards and then return to the standard position. There are two different kinds of trip springs: extension and torsion. Extension springs are for the moldboard and torsion springs are for the trip edge.


This is the bracing that is attached to the vehicle frames.  Undercarriages are specific to the vehicle year, make and model. 


Plow consisting of two independently moving plow blades.  V-plows can come in various materials such as steel, stainless steel or poly.


These control the follow of hydraulic fluid within the plow manifold.  They are opened or closed by an electric coil.

Wiring Harness

Either 13-pin or 11-pin, the harness is installed in the engine compartment of the vehicle and is made up of a series of wires and relays. These carry electrical signals that operate the plows movement and plow lighting.

Wing Extensions 

Additional width can be added to the plow unit by adding removal blade wing extensions.  These can be easily taken on or off the blade depending on the area needing to be plowed.  The wings will add additional plowing width thus cutting down on the time to clear a lot.


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Snow Placement Best Practices for Snow Removal Contractors


Snow Placement Best Practices for Snow Removal Contractors

The 2013-2014 Winter will go down in the books for many areas of North American as one withdescribe the image record cold and snowfall.  While the calendar shows the return of Spring this week, many areas of the country will still experience additional snowfall accumulationsThe combination of cold temperatures and above average snowfall has led to minimal melting throughout the season. As a result, placement of the snow has created many challenges for snow removal contractors.  A common theme heard among contractors is: “we are running out of places to put the snow!"

Recently, the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) released their American National Standard (ANSI) System Requirements for Snow and Ice Management Services*.   The standard notes the following best practices for snow placement:

  • If snow can be removed from a lot or hard surface and appropriate room exists, always push the snow as far back as possible beyond the curb or lot edge to make room for additional snow.

  • If snow cannot be removed from a lot or hard surface, always place snow piles on a predetermined spot approved by the client and marked on the snow contractor’s preseason site report. 

  • Do not pile snow in a handicap parking space.

  • Do not bury or plow snow onto a fire hydrant, post indicator valve, or fire hookup along the building wall.

  • Avoid placement of snow piles where thaw/melt off can run across the parking lot surface. Try to place piles near drain grates to avoid icy situations during thaw-and-refreeze periods.

  • Do not push snow against a building.

  • Do not block building doorways or emergency exits.

  • Do not block pedestrian walks or paths with snow piles.

  • Do not push snow onto motor vehicles.

  • Do not plow snow in front of or bury trash containers. Sidewalk labor must shovel inside trash container enclosure for access to the doors. If the container is not in an enclosure, create a clear path to the access doors or panels.

In addition to the ASCA/ANSI standards, if you are dealing with space issues as a result of the record snowfall this season, the removal and relocation of the snow from the site may need to be considered. 

How are you dealing with snow placement this winter?  What best practices have you established for your snow removal teams? 


*This information was republished with the permission of the ASCA.

The Accredited Snow Contractors Association, ASCA, is a trade association with the purpose of advancing the snow and ice management industry. ANSI/ASCA A1000-2014: System Requirements for Snow and Ice Management Services, is intended to be implemented and applied (on a voluntary basis) in conjunction with ISO 9001 with respect to the processes of providing snow and ice management services.  For information on purchasing a copy of the ANSI/ASCA A1000-2014 standards visit:

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Snowplowing Ergonomics



When the snow just won’t stop, the time spent plowing really adds up. With hazards like poorback injuries visibility, nearby pedestrians or poor traction, ergonomics may not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking snow removal safety with your team. However, can you afford to lose one of your employees for 12 days? This was the average number of days lost from work due to ergonomic-related injuries in 2012. Among all occupational injuries, back injuries generate the highest frequency of disabling injuries. In fact, 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their life. Plus, a person that has injured his back once is four times more likely to reinjure it. By ignoring ergonomics in your business, you ignore one of the most common causes of occupational injuries.

So, what is ergonomics? Simply put, it is fitting the work to the worker, not the other way around. Following are three areas where you can focus on reducing ergonomic risks for your snow removal team.

Getting in and out of the vehicle

For vehicles that require a bit of a climb to get into, this may be more of a risk to your operators than you realize. Vehicle access has been studied by professional ergonomists for transportation and delivery drivers and was found to be a significant ergonomic risk. When training your snow removal team on ergonomic risks, offer these best practices for entering and exiting the vehicle:

  • Use the vehicle handholds and steps. Strategically located steps and handholds are crucial to reducing ergonomic risk. Longer handholds have been shown to be the best option because they accommodate a wider range of worker sizes.

  • Don’t jump. Requiring three points of contact and facing the vehicle when getting in or out are also important. Jumping or dropping down from vehicles when exiting has been shown to increase the forces on a person’s vertebral discs by as much as 80% to 90%. Simply facing out while exiting the vehicle can increase those forces by as much as 20% to 40%.

Sitting for prolonged periods

After sitting in a static position for more than 20 to 25 minutes, there is reduced blood flow to your back and the spine loosens up, making it more vulnerable to injury. Jars or shocks from potholes in the road or running into obstacles while plowing shock the back at a time when it’s most vulnerable. To reduce the chance of an ergonomic injury snowplow operators should follow these tips:

  • Adjust your position. Operators should make a point to slightly adjust their sitting position in the vehicle at least every 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Follow the “two-minute warning.” This means that after an operator has been sitting for a prolonged period, such as 20 to 25 minutes or longer, he has two minutes where he must avoid any manual lifting, twisting or activities that could injure his back when it’s most vulnerable. These two minutes should be used to walk or simply move around, allowing blood flow to restore to the back and prepare it for action.

  • Implement good posture and control positioning. When in the cab, the less twisting, stooping or reaching the better. Keeping the seat, mirrors and plow controls positioned in a comfortable, easy-to-use location for the operator can make a huge difference. Stooping or leaning to operate the plow every time is not good.

Awkward lifts or pulling

If a snowplow operator has to wrestle with the plow to hook it up, the potential for a back injury increases. There are plows available that make this task effortless, but if your operators are hooking up a plow that is difficult to connect to the vehicle, get creative:

  • Prop the plow up before disconnecting it from the vehicle, making it easier to connect the next time.

  • Keep a long pry bar available in the truck to use as a lever to align the plow with the vehicle instead of the operator using his body.

  • Put the plow on a low-profile rolling cart when it is parked, making the plow easier to manipulate when hooking up or moving it to another location without the truck.

  • Whenever possible, leave the plow connected.

  • Contact your plow dealer. Some have accessories that might aid in the attachment process.

Identify any manual lifts that are obviously awkward, require twisting while holding the load, or must be carried away from the body, even for a moment. A good starting point is to target anything over 40 pounds. Even this weight can be hazardous if lifted the wrong way, but this gives your operator a frame of reference. Professional ergonomists will tell you that the horizontal distance from your body to the load being carried is the one factor that makes the biggest difference in preventing back injury. Also, watch for forceful pulling on things, which can actually be more hazardous than lifting.

Lastly, get things off the floor when possible. If you store materials that need to be lifted and moved manually, elevating the height at which they are stored can dramatically decrease the stress on the back. Ensure access around the load to limit unnecessary reaching or stooping. Remember that the goal of ergonomics is fitting the work to the worker, not the other way around.

The National Safety Council studied data from 2009-2010 and found the average cost of a lower back injury was $39,643. Think of your profit margin and how many jobs it might take to recoup the loss of even one back injury. When viewed in this light, there is suddenly room to spend a little time and money on ergonomics. Aside from the business reasons, you will find the more ergo-friendly a job becomes, the happier your employees will be. Anyone with experience in making such improvements will tell you there is a direct tie with employee morale and ergonomic improvements.

 Josh DeBroux.  Josh is a certified safety professional and environmental health and safety director for BOSS Products.

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Mobile Tools That Help You Run Your Snow Removal Business


There's An App For That:  Mobile Tools That Help You Run Your Snow Removal Business

snow removal mobile toolsThere’s no doubt that we are in the technology age. Now a days everyone has a "smart" something, be it phone or tablet each stuffed with fun apps. However, Angry Birds isn’t the only thing out there. There are many apps that are designed to help us organize and manage our lives. There are also apps that can help you run your snow removal business. Read below to see how you can turn your phone or tablet into a powerful business tool.

NorEaster Storm Systems Compatible with a desktop, tablet or phone, this app allows you to enter all of your customers, their contact information and any additional notes about them and their properties. This app is also equipped with maps and weather services. It tracks your invoicing and payments. Whether you are a small or mid-sized business, this app is the one stop shop that can help save time, keep you organized and help you run your snow removal business effectively & efficiently.

Audio Note (iOS) Audio Note is a notepad for your phone or iPad that not only allows you to take notes, but can record your voice for any additional audio notes. If you choose, this app allows you to record the audio first and then go back and add notes later. It’s difficult to take down notes in the truck. Sometimes they can get lost or ruined and it’s a hassle to hunt down a pen and paper. With this app, it’s all in one place and you can even add pictures of the properties you have serviced and use the app as a job log.

NOAA Hi-Def Radar (android) (iOS version)  Track the current weather radar and any upcoming winter storms with NOAA Hi-Def Radar. With this app you can receive detailed storm information which is critical when preparing for a big snow event. You can also bookmark locations. If you have some widespread clients the weather might not be the same at all of their properties, you can bookmark their sites for quick access.

NOAA Snow Forecast App (andoid) (iOS version) A great compliment to the NOAA Hi-Def Radar, this app was designed with the snow contractor in mind. This app tells you how much it's going to snow in the next couple of days in a particular neighborhood, instead of a forecast generalized to an entire city or larger area.  

Radar Express (android) Radar Express is very similar to NOAA Hi-Def Radar. With this app, you get Doppler weather radar and hazardous weather alerts all coming directly from your local NOAA NWS office. When preparing for the next storm, tracking your local weather ahead of time is key.

Voxer Walkie Talkie (android) (iOS version) When it comes to communication, this app has it all. Voxer allows you to have a live, push to talk walkie talkie right on your phone for quick communication with your crew.  All of the audio is recorded so you can listen to your messages whenever you want and replay messages as necessary. You can also text and start group chats, send pictures and share your location. Use this app to keep in touch with your employees while they are out on the job to improve communication and efficiency. 

GPS Tracking Pro (android) With GPS Tracking Pro, you are able to keep track of your crew during the work day. This is especially helpful if you have someone who is going out to a remote location for a job by themselves. You can track your “lone workers” to make sure that they remain safe at the site and during their travels to and from the site.

Nav-free GPS Navigation (android) (iOS versionThis is a free GPS navigation app with voice guidance for turn by turn directions. Much quicker than using a map, and with the voice guidance, it’s practically hands free. Just sit back and let your phone direct you to your next site.

Gas Buddy (android) (iOS version) Gas Buddy is an app that uses your location to determine the gas stations near you with the lowest prices. When gearing up for the next storm, the two most important things are your plow and your truck. In order to get your plow moving, the truck has to be gassed up. Often times, that turns out to be costly, but having Gas Buddy could save you some money.

Flashlight (android) (iOS version) A flashlight app is always a good app to have installed. There are many options available for both Apple phones and Android phones. This app can serve as a backup if your other flashlight dies unexpectedly. However, some flashlight apps have other functions that may also be helpful, such as strobe lighting, different colors that may be beneficial for night viewing, and different emergency flashing lights for all kinds of needs. As a snow removal professional, you face some of the worst conditions, sometimes at the worst of hours and you never know when the only thing you’ll need is a little light.

Traffic Cam (android) This app allows you to view your local traffic cams to check the traffic, but even more importantly, the weather. You can see what’s happening locally right as it’s happening, that way you can map out whose driveway or lot you need to clear first and the best way to get there.

Google Calendar (android) Everyone has or needs a calendar to keep track of events and stay organized. But there’s not exactly a place to hang one in your truck. With the Google Calendar app you can take a calendar with you in your pocket. You could schedule equipment maintenance checks or organize when customer payments are due and then set them with a notification, so you don’t forget. Paired with a weather radar app, you could map out a rough estimate of what days you should scout for icy conditions at your sites.

Adobe Reader (android) (iOS version) Adobe Reader allows you to view PDF files, fill out forms and sign PDF documents all from your smart phone or tablet. This can be helpful if you use PDF documents to fill out job logs or have a contract with a client in a PDF format. Keep it all in one place with the Adobe Reader.

LinkedIn (android) (iOS version) Get yourself out there and build a professional image for your business with the LinkedIn app. You can look for jobs, employees and network with other snow removal contractors. You can also get the latest industry news, gain insights from industry leaders and share your own knowledge. 

It’s hard enough to manage your own business, much less managing it while you’re in and out of your vehicle servicing your customer base. With these mobile app solutions, you can take the office with you and stay organized when you are out taking care of your snow removal contracts. 


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Auger or Pintle Chain: Which V-box Hopper Spreader System Is Right For You?


Auger or Pintle Chain: Which V-Box Hopper Spreader System Is Right For You?

BOSS Hopper Spreader

If you’re doing research on electric v-box hopper spreaders, you are learning quickly that the two types of material feed systems available are the auger and pintle chain. If you don’t have a lot of experience with these spreader feed systems, you may be having a difficult time selecting which system best fits your snow and ice management needs. There are some key differences between the two that are important to understand.

Regional Preferences

In general, in the United States, auger feed systems tend to be more popular in the Midwest and Ohio Valley areas. Pintle chains are the preferred feed system in the New England region. It’s hard to say why but perhaps familiarity with previous v-box hopper spreading systems or agricultural products has led to the regional spreader feed system preferences.

Spreader Flow Rate & Pattern

Among the auger’s greatest advantages over the pintle system is that it has fewer moving parts and no chains to maintain. It has a simple steel auger with flighting that “pulls” the salt and sand material towards the discharge chute. The even pulling of the material by the auger allows the auger feed system to have a more “even” flow of material, and as a result, the spread pattern coming off the spreader tends to be more even than it does with a pintle chain system.

The pintle chain system utilizes a flat, 12” wide (BOSS) pintle chain which basically acts like a conveyor belt feeding material from the hopper to the discharge chute and spinner assembly. The large surface area of the pintle chain allows the system to carry more material to the discharge chute than the auger, especially when set at “Max Flow” settings.

In order to lessen the weight load of the material on the auger, most auger hoppers utilize inverted “v” baffles. These baffles help to control the weight and flow of the material onto the auger. If the weight on the auger is too great at startup – the motor could get damaged. Many pintle chain systems also use inverted v baffles as well – although they may not be always be needed with this feed system.

Because the pintle chain system is metallic and exposed to highly corrosive materials like salt, the need for maintaining the chain links, etc, is greater than it is for the auger feed system.

A tradeoff for the even flow of material that an auger system provides compared to a pintle system, is less material feed capability. In other words, if you set both systems at “max” flow output, the pintle system will have the ability to spread significantly more material than the auger system. Carefully consider the specifications of each before purchasing. For instance, the difference between the BOSS Snowplow feed systems:

Auger Flow Rate at MAX Setting                                    Pintle Flow Rate at MAX Setting

2.3 cu ft (0.06 cu m) per minute

4 cu ft (0.11 cu m) per minute


Material Flow

The auger system also has the capability to break up chunks of salt and sand that sometimes form inside the hopper – the auger can in fact “crush” those clumps and allow them to be processed and spread. Many of the auger spreaders, have a feature that protects the auger motor from being overloaded by materials that jam the auger. The system will sense the jam and cause the auger to move in reverse and forward a couple of times in an effort to clear the jam. If the object is not cleared – the controller will indicate a jam has occurred, allowing the operator to clear the jam and save the auger motor from serious damage.

Most auger system v-box spreaders utilize vibrators to keep the material in the hopper loose enough to flow to the feed system. However, even the best vibration system in the world cannot overcome material which has frozen into a solid clump because of moisture or water intrusion. It is very important for the operator of the spreader to try to keep the spreading material as dry as possible, and ideally, not allow a filled hopper to sit for extended periods of time in very cold weather as “bridging” can occur. Bridging happens when the material freezes into a solid mass, no longer flowing into the feed system, creating a solid “bridge” of material over the top of the feed system much like a bridge over a flowing river.

Pro’s & Con’s Wrap Up

Auger Feed SystemAuger Feed System


  • Fewer Moving Parts
  • More even flow of materials
  • More even spreading pattern


  • Less maximum material flow for spreading
  • Material with rocks in it could cause jamming


Pintle Chain Feed SystemPintle Chain Feed System


  • More maximum material flow for spreading
  • Less potential for jamming


  • Less even material feeding than auger         

  • Less even spread pattern than auger
  • Pintle Chain maintenance

      Hopper Spreaders

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The Snow Plowers Guide To Winter Storm Preparedness


The Snow Plowers Guide To Winter Storm Preparedness

snow removal

As snow removal professionals, we all know the feeling, listening or reading the weather reports and watching the radar screen as the storm clouds draw closer and closer. While residents make preparations for staying in, you are making preparations for going to battle with the latest winter storm. You’ve done everything from checking the bolts on your snowplow to checking your windshield wipers and  the fluid levels in your truck but what happens should you still have a break down or get stuck? Whether this is your first storm hitting the road as a snow removal contractor or your 100th storm, remember that you’re getting ready to go out into dangerous conditions. Prepare for the worst with this list of survival items before you face the next storm.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Blanket
  • A can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for water)
  • Windshield Scraper
  • Booster Cables
  • Road Maps
  • Mobile Phone and car charger
  • Compasss
  • Tool Kit
  • Paper Towels
  • Bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow for added traction)
  • Tow Rope
  • Tire Chains (in areas with heavy snow)
  • Shovel
  • Container of water and high-calorie canned or dried foods and a can opener
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Canned or compressed air with sealant (for emergency tire repair)
  • Brightly colored cloth
Along with these winter survival items, you should also keep a set of spare emergency parts for your plow. If you are a BOSS Snowplow owner you can get an Emergency Parts Kit available for both BOSS Straight Blades and Power-V plows. The parts kits include a cutting edge bolt kit, eye bolt kit, power unit solenoid kit, hydraulic fluid, hose, trip return spring, 12 volt relay, dielectric grease and ratchet strap. Parts kits can be purchased by contacting your local BOSS dealer. However, BOSS owner or not, it is recommended to have a set of spare parts on hand for your snowplow.

Remember, being prepared for any situation is the key. Don’t wait until you need what you could have packed ahead of time. Stay safe and happy plowing!


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The Top 5 Blog Posts From 2013 | THE BOSS SNOWPLOW


Top 5 BOSS Snowplow Blog Posts From 2013 


As 2013 draws to a close, we took a look at the past year and the blog articles that haveBOSS DXT been developed and posted on THE BOSS SNOWPLOW blog page.  Here is a summary of the top five blog posts of 2013.  



When it comes to buying a diesel-powered pickup truck for plowing snow, there are a few things you should consider before a purchase.


Before you purchase a snowplow, read about these important factors while considering your options.


Despite the twenty year tenure of the hydraulic lift snowplow system, there are a few myths that exist regarding the system.


Keep these common snowplow storage mistakes in mind and avoid them when preparing your snow plow for storage.


A look at hydraulic vs winch ATV snowplow systems.


What blog articles would you like to see from THE BOSS in 2014?  Comment with your ideas below.  


Happy New Year!



BOSS Snowplow Plow Selector  



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7 Reminders For Safe Winter Driving


7 Reminders for Safe Winter Driving

With winter officially upon us, road conditions in many places have become more hazardous.snow roads resized 600 And whether you’re the one plowing the roads or commuting from one plow site to the next, we could all use a refresher on some tips for driving safe this winter season. Take a look at these tips from Shift Into Winter:

  1. Maintain a safe following distance. It takes longer to stop on a slippery road. Look ahead and keep plenty of distance between you and the other cars (at least four seconds).

  2. Drop your speed to match road conditions. The posted speed is the maximum speed under ideal conditions. In winter, it is safer to drive below the posted speed. No matter how much experience you have, the way your vehicle will move on snow or ice always has an element of unpredictability.

  3. Watch for black ice. Slow down when approaching icy areas such as shaded areas, bridges and overpasses as these sections of road freeze sooner than others in cold weather. Watch for “black ice”, areas of the road with a thing, almost invisible coating of ice, as it can cause our vehicle to suddenly lose control when you brake or corner.

  4. Accelerate and brake slowly. On slick roads, start slowly and accelerate gradually to maintain traction and avoid spinning your wheels. When stopping, plan well in advance, apply the brakes gently and slowly add pressure. Never brake suddenly.

  5. Avoid sudden moves. Slow down and steer smoothly and gradually to avoid skidding. Accelerate gently, turn slowly, and brake carefully and early. Avoid unexpected quick movements that could put you in a spin. Anticipate turns, stops, and lane changes well before they occur.

  6. Know how to handle a skid. A skid happens when your wheels slide out of control on a slippery surface and is a result of driving too fast for road conditions. If you start to skid, ease off the brake or accelerator, and look and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go. Be careful not to over-steer. If you are on ice and skidding in a straight line, step on the clutch or shift to neutral.

  7. See and be seen. It is critical for drivers to see and be seen in low light conditions, and when blowing snow impairs visibility. Always drive with your headlights on.   If you are out plowing snow, don’t forget the visible strobe light for your vehicle.

Keep these tips in mind whether you’re on the job or just heading down the road and stay safe this winter season.



photo credit: <a href="">Ulf Bodin</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

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