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Plowing with a Subaru?

This week on Car Talk, Tom and Ray talked with Leanne in Connecticut. (You can hear her call right here.) Her scheme? She wants to plow her own driveway. With her Subaru! Can it be done? Is she entirely whacko?

Listen to her plans, and share your family-plowing ideas right here. From ironing boards to plastic sleds to titanium-based, Subaru-endorsed blizzard-proof designs, we'd love to hear what you think!

It’s a free country! Snow plowing is very tough duty on any vehicle, causing transmission, differential, and frame damage. If she can find a way to hook up a plow, go for it - but I wouldn’t do it. Better she find an old garden tractor and hook a plow up to that for her driveway.

She’s on the right track. I’ve been working on a “SnoWedge” to move the snow from the 1/2 mile driveway of my NC Mountain home. Total cost of parts was about $5 for a couple of bolts. The rest of the material I had laying around my shed.

You can’t appreciate SnoWedge II without seeing SnoWedge I, both of which were variations of the original man-powered SnoWedge I used for a dozen years or so. (Posting this for the “grins” value.) :slight_smile:

The disaster that was vehicle-powered SnoWedge I, Winter 2009:

Lessons duly learned. Nothing but success this time, January 2011! The pictures are taken of a 17" snow we had this January.

Next invention: The DriftBuster!

Despite the success of the SnoWedge on my neighbor’s old Ford Bronco, my wife still won’t let me attach it to her Subaru Forester! :slight_smile:

Tough Love 101: She’d Be Better Off Getting A Long Extension Cord And Using Her Hair Drier Or Curling Iron Than Screwing Up A Car That Has No Frame And Was Never Intended For Such Abuse.


I bet you can pick one up used.

“Subaru snow plow” googles really well. There are even videos.

Whathisname’s wife here. I’m coming down on the side of Leanne’s husband on this one. My husband has spent 10 years of our marriage tinkering with this idea. I feel like a homemade snow plow widow! Here’s a link to the original man-powered version of his contraption. The other two pics are of the guy I suggest you hire in the first place!

I’ve been using a home made snow plow for at least 30 years. The main principle is attachment to a solid point under the front end - 3 VW products I’ve had (Dasher, Quantum and now a 2000 Passat wagon) have a conveniently placed torsion bar. It has a wooden frame about 6 ft. wide canted to the passenger side and has a “blade” faced with old aluminum siding backed with wooden slats and attached solidly to 4 studs cut to a curve. The side closest to the front is braced against the side of the bumper and attached to the torsion bar with 2x4 struts that have a U-cut in the end and a bolt “closing” the U behind the torsion bar so it doesn’t fall off when I back up. The bottom edge has a lip of that flexible black plastic lawn edging with a little flex so it “gives” along the driveway. It rests on two casters so it doesn’t drag directly on the ground. Although my Passat has “only” front wheel drive (a manual transmission V-6), I’ve easily plowed over 8" of snow and never slide sideways. The Honda Accord wagon I had was a bit more of a challenge to adapt the plow for (no torsion bar in front) but with a little innovation, it worked fine.
The original investment was about $5 for molly bolts. Yesterday, I repaired it for the first time after I unfortunately caught an edge on a big frozen glacier on the edge of the previously plowed driveway and fractured the main support beam. It cost me $3.60 for a new 2x6! If anyone’s interested, I have pictures…

Go for it Leanne! I have had similar ideas about outfitting my Subaru as well. The problem is finding good connection points on the vehicle. Modern bumpers are not made to deal with the stress, so you have to find a place to attach that can handle it. There is the possibility of damaging the car in the process, but that’s a small price for indulging your inner wacko. (and I say as a fellow wacko)

I’ve thought about trying to attach a small plow to one of these if I ever move back up north.

It seems like it might work for clearing sidewalks and driveways, and maybe even a path to the nearest plowed street since it always seems like the side street where you live is the last one to be plowed.

At 620 pounds, you might need to load up those cargo racks for traction.

You need to check out this YouTube clip, called “The Plow Guy”.

Snow here in the Northeast can get mighty heavy. I’ve thought about doing something like this with a small pickup, but there’s a reason people use big p/u’s and real plows. Some guys don’t even want to use their big p/u’s for fear of ruining them. Plowing snow is hard on real trucks no less cars with low clearance and under powered engines. After this winter, I’m up for buying a used (beat) full size p/u with an old plow and keeping it just for snow and hauling stuff on the farm, but I always figure when I buy it, it’ll never snows again. Look for an old Jeep CJ (I4)and a narrow plow, I worked for a place that had one of those that did a pretty good job.

Saw this on Yahoo. Might be the ticket.

I already posted this to the other thread, so please excuse the duplication. I wanted to share this photo that a Subaru enthusiast friend of mine took last wee in Lansing Michigan. Apparently it’s a mid/late 80’s Subaru GL Turbo Wagon with a custom plow attachment!

Its already been done, sorta, kinda, with another car but in reverse.

Link below.

Here’s a video of a guy from Minnesota who is using his Ford Taurus to plow his driveway. It’s very tempting when you are from Minnesota

Love your show - never miss it! - Denise Rowan

What about the airbags? If the homemade plow is attached to the bumper and enough pressure is exerted, wouldn’t that risk the deployment of the airbags?

You can buy a self-supporting snow blower for use with a Japanese mini truck. I wonder if perhaps it could be adapted to a Suburu car?


Not a Subaru, but still a homemade plow:

About two years ago I bought a new truck. I then modded my old truck, a 1986 Chevy Blazer, for plowing my driveway. I spent around 60 bucks or so, for plywood, lumber and hardware - for the rest I used bits and bobs I had lying around. It worked very, very well until the transmission blew and I had to have the truck towed away as scrap. But until then it worked exactly as planned - no drift could stand in its way!

First, I stripped off the front end as I wasn’t going to be driving on the street.

Then I built the plow itself. That’s 3/4" plywood and 2x6 braces with angle iron on the edges.

I attached it to the car using the bumper mounts and 2x8’s. I added the guy-wires to hold up the front end. I just wrapped them around the hood mounts and used turnbuckles to supply some tension.

And there she is! My redneck PLY-PLOW!

I’ve seen other versions, but none quite like this!

There used to be a plow available from the Subaru dealer for the old Brat and Wagon of the 70’s and 80’s. They barely produced 80hp, probably half of the modern Subaru, where a lot lighter, and had narrower tires. The only advantage they had was a hi and low transfer case instead of a full time all wheel drive. If you just keep it in low gear and don’t fly into heavy snow banks it will be fine.

(I’m realize I’m late to the party here; story of my life.)
As I recall, the problem which prompted this situation was that Leanne’s husband drove a Ford Ranger which couldn’t handle a few inches of snow… so Leanne had to either plow the driveway so he could get out, or she’d have to give him a ride to work.

All of the DIY Subaru-plow ideas are cool but, uh… why can’t that Ranger handle the snow? I drive a RWD ranger & live in MN, and I don’t have this problem.

I suspect a more simple solution (albeit not as creative) would be: put some weight in the back of that truck.
(seriously, how’d the guys miss that?!?)