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Project Build: Mitsubishi Blower Truck

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by Badgerland, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    Howdy all mini enthusiasts.

    Awhile back, and repeatedly over the time we've been setting-up plow trucks, we've constantly had customers asking us if we could mount a snow blower to a mini truck. This has been one of those builds that I just really wanted to do. So here we go! Here are some details on our build.

    To our knowledge, this has never been done in the U.S. and we only know of a Canadian group that has tried it otherwise (I'm sure some of you have seen their YouTube Vid of it sitting in a garage).

    Mini Truck: 1995 Mitsubishi MiniCab 4x4 Utility Vehicle - Hi/Lo Range (54" wide)
    Blower Assembly: Berco 54" two stage with a 23hp Kohler pony motor

    Blower will be full remote control from in the comfy, heated cab (engine start/stop, auger direction and height)

    We waited for a month to receive the blower unit as the Canadian manufacturer seems to think the winter season starts in late November... Isn't there snow on the ground there already?!?

    Otherwise, the fit and finish of the blower is top-notch. All of the components seem well engineered, although time and testing will ultimately tell. We went with a Kohler pony motor based upon the reputation (and being a local company to us). Kohler makes some of the best cold-weather operations small engines and I know of several small engine repair guys (not dealers) that have nothing but good things to say from their experience in maintaining them.

    We looked into just about every conceivable option for attaching a blower to our application. A PTO system ultimately would've been too costly/complicated to reproduce and would've varied greatly from different truck manufacturers. The main hurdle to overcome was designing a STRONG "quick-release" mount system that would be durable enough to withstand the abuse.

    The beauty of the Berco system is that it is completely self-contained and supports its own weight when in operation. One of the design challenges is assuring enough ground clearance when the blower is raised for loading/unloading on a trailer as needed.

    Here are some pics of the early part of the build and fabricating the mount system.

    Here is blower assembly...

    [​IMG]

    Here is the front end of the Mitsu that we notched to make room for the mount...

    [​IMG]

    Here are a couple shots of the winch & receiver mount (prior to paint)...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    More to follow...
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  2. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    Project Mistu Blower Truck Continued...

    Here's the mount installed on the truck...

    [​IMG]

    Winch is installed on the mount and concealed under the front end...

    [​IMG]

    Here's the remote control assembly for the blower...

    [​IMG]

    More to follow...
     
  3. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    Continued...

    Here's a couple more shots to bring us up to date.

    Here's a front shot at operating height...

    [​IMG]

    Side profle shot at operating height...

    [​IMG]

    And here's an angle shot to show the truck with wheels, tires, and suspension upgrades...

    [​IMG]

    We're currently about 75% completed with the build at this point. We will be finishing the pony motor assembly and wiring this week (including Optima battery installation). We may end-up installing a distribution block for all of the power leads needed between the blower, rear salter, LED Flood and warning lights, etc.

    Our initial maneuver testing is complete. Once everything is completed in rough form then we'll be able to see what (if any) tweaks need to be made.

    I'll try to keep this thread updated as we move closer to completion of the build.
     
    Acerguy likes this.
  4. Acerguy

    Acerguy Moderator Staff Member

    Wow! I love how the winch is hidden behind the bumper. It actually lifts the whole snowblower rig? I'd think you might need some ballast in the back of the truck (this from personal using-a-front-loader-on-a-tractor experience). I can't wait for action shots! :D
     
  5. Stuff99

    Stuff99 Active Member Staff Member

    WOW! now that is a rig!!!

    and yes it is november, but in Sask, not even a TRACE of snow!
     
  6. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    Yes - there is a pinned fulcrum just forward of the dolly wheels which allows you to "tilt" the blower assembly back while the weight of the blower remains on the assembly wheels. This is one area we're looking to tweak as part of the build as well. We're starting with a 4000lb winch for lifting the blower, but may switch to a 12V actuator or hydraulics once the completed design is worked-out.

    There will be plenty of planned ballast in the bed. We're mounting a rear salter/spreader for bagged salt as well, so think 50lb bags of salt filling the bed area. As far as overall weight, this is the approximate plan:
    • 1500 lb truck
    • 200 lb driver
    • 400-450 lb blower & pony motor
    • 500+lbs salt
    • various other equipment adding weight

    This should supply more than ample weight pushing that blower assembly from my experience plowing with MT's. :D

    I promise action shots/vids in the future once the build is complete and the white stuff is flying. I'll even be traveling north with the rig to find snow if we have to.
     
  7. andy_george

    andy_george Member

    That does look awesome. Nice work...I'm jealous!!

    -Andy
     
  8. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    Progress Update on Build...

    Progress Update on the build....

    We finished our custom wiring harness to the blower assembly and fired everything up. I've never known anything that induces the need for beer more than wiring. :sly:

    I shot a quick video of our engine and remote function testing: Mini Truck Blower Build Engine Testing

    Impressions:
    This thing is going to move some snow! The 23hp Kohler sounds beautiful at idle with the muffler and de-icing system installed (sounds more like a Harley at idle than a small engine). The impeller on the blower creates a very strong pressure/wind rush out of the chute. We actually blew several cans over on a nearby table the first time we fired the motor and increased the throttle/rpm's. The remote chute functions seem to be just the right speed. We all had smiles on our face when we first fired the engine and the beast came to life. I'm looking forward to throwing some snow all over the place as soon as we can.

    I did some more maneuver testing yesterday. The truck handles very well with the blower - better than expected during tight, full-lock turns and over uneven terrain. With the blower supporting the majority of its own weight, it is barely noticable on the truck.

    Here's a couple more shots:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next on the build list:
    We're waiting for the salter to arrive so we can finish fab work on the interior remote control stack - it's going to be quite the control stack. This will also allow us to button-up the final wiring. We're finishing fab work on a custom roof rack to mount front flood/work lights and light bar. We've just about finished the paint prep for what we're painting and vinyl work.

    More updates come'th soon!
     
  9. Jeaz Dan, that's a pretty nice out fit ya got there!
     
  10. acidgear

    acidgear Member

    Looks great Dan! I can't wait to see it throw snow.
     
  11. Acerguy

    Acerguy Moderator Staff Member

    Hmmm.... I just checked the forecast. Looks like you're going to have to wait a little longer to try it out! :( I just have to come with an excuse to head over your way to check it out.
     
  12. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    Thanks guys... she's coming along.

    Keith - I know...I had just looked at the forecast again and its just not going to be cold enough to support what I hoped for. Oh well, sooner or later its gonna be flying. Not to mention...I've had 3 offers from Canadians to "demo" it out for us. :eek::D
     
  13. zardoz

    zardoz Member

    Well done Badgerland! Looks like some first class gear you have there.

    z
     
  14. Gormley Green

    Gormley Green New Member

    Nice! What are the rims/tires?
     
  15. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    DWT Black Diablo's with 23x8 SG Diamondbacks (think All Trails on steroids). One of my favorite wheels with definitely my recommended tire of choice. :)
     
  16. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    Progress Update...

    We're in the home stretch of the build. We finished-up most of the wiring and fabricated the "control stack" box and mounts. The wiring took some time, but we managed to squeeze all necessary functions in: Pony motor ignition/kill, winch control, auxiliary and warning lights, salter remote, and of course blower functions. My main goal was to have the blower remote within a finger's reach while my hand remained on the stick shift:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's a profile shot with the salter installed:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    More...

    We made some changes to the roof rack fabrication - here's the final product with the LED floods and light bar installed:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And a shot with the LED floods lit (camera didn't like this one too much)...

    [​IMG]

    The truck is ready for snow to complete testing. We have only minor details yet to complete, and the vinyl to be installed (most likely tomorrow). We test loaded the truck on a trailer this evening and our mount design worked as planned (no hang-ups on trailer ramp).
     
  18. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    Excellent build. What kind of LED flood lamps are those?
     
  19. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    Thanks Greg.

    The lights are manufactured by Sound-Off. We've spent the last year evaluating many different lights and tried to find the best bang-for-the-buck in LED work lamps for our lower-amp applications on the trucks. I liked these enough that we became a dealer.

    For most people, good LED lights seem too pricey, but its hard to compete with something that draws less than 3 amps, has a 1000 lumen output, and will most likely out-last the truck. :D The other thing that most folks don't realize is that LED's pierce through snow falling and bad weather instead of reflecting back like halogens.
     
  20. Stuff99

    Stuff99 Active Member Staff Member

    I love the LED lights! never knew that they go through the snow like that... also love that roof rack. has a nice mean attitude to it. what does a set of those run anyhow? I imagine its only a matter of time until LED's replace current headlights.
     

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