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Putting Fun to Work - WARN ATV Plows
Putting Fun to Work - WARN ATV Plows by by Jim Allen
If asked to quickly categorize an ATV, many people would put it in the “fun” slot. The thing is, ATVs are very work-capable and one of the best ways an ATV can be put to work is by adding an ATV plow. For those in snow country, consider mounting a plow to your ATV and letting it do the onerous winter exercise for you. And don’t forget that ATV plows can move dirt, gravel, or any other loose material in the same way come spring. WARN ATV plows come with a plethora of options to suit your budget and cover the majority of popular ATV models, including Arctic Cat, Bombardier, Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris, Suzuki, and Yamaha.
You have a choice of three blade widths with WARN ATV plow systems: 48, 54, and 60 inches. The smaller blade is very useful for tight quarters, such as sidewalks, but it might be too narrow for some of the larger, wider ATVs. The smaller blades might also be necessary for a low-power ATV or a 4x2 model. They are a budget-friendly choice when needed only for occasional light work. In general, ATVs under about 500cc should stick with the two smaller plow widths. The middle size 54-inch ATV plow is a good all-around choice for most ATVs. The larger blade will require a heavier ATV with a fair bit of power to use it effectively.
Along with the blade size selection, you have the option of a standard blade or the tapered blade, which WARN calls the Cyclone. The yellow, tapered profile WARN Cyclone ATV plow blade (54- and 60-inch only) has a little more twist to it and is designed to throw material up and away from the surface you’re plowing. That makes it ideal for snow, where a fair bit of angle will be used to push the material to the side. The standard blades are best for moving material straight ahead, like a bulldozer, but will also throw to the side well when angled.
Base, Pivot, and Lifting Mechanisms
The lifting mechanism is the next choice. WARN starts with a simple manual control for its ATV plows that’s easiest to use with the smaller, lighter 48- and 54-inch blades. But, if you’re burly, it works with the 60-inch too. WARN makes an adapter to allow your existing WARN ATV winch to be used for lifting the plow. If you need to keep the winch available for winching, you can install the optional electric ATV plow actuator that attaches to the plow’s mounting base. WARN also offers the option of a latch-type blade pivot or an electric pivot on their ATV plows. The electric “Power-Pivot” offers instant plow blade angle corrections on the fly. The lower cost latch system is no less rugged, but you must stop to make adjustments.
The WARN ATV plow mounting system uses a center mount setup that has a solidly-mounted frame bracket to which the plow base attaches. The bracket is designed to fit forward of the footpegs to minimize the loss of ground clearance. Each ATV plow base uses oversized bushing to minimize shock on the rider as well as the machine and there are quick-release attachments for dropping the ATV plow and base when not in use.
Installation and Selection Tips
WARN ATV plow systems mount easily with ordinary hand tools. The wiring takes a little forethought to route cleanly so that it isn’t damaged by engine heat, moving parts, or external hazards, but it’s often little more than plug-n-play. Take into account the electrical power available from your ATV when choosing a plow system. Extensive and simultaneous use of lights, Power-Pivot, and Electric Actuator with a low-power electrical system can run the battery down quickly.
You’ll likely need to add air pressure to the front tires of the ATV when carrying the plow. If your ATV has an adjustable suspension, use the heaviest setting when carrying the extra weight of the plow. On non-adjustable suspensions, it might be necessary to install spacers or stronger springs to maintain a level stance. In many cases, snow chains (all four wheels on 4x4s) will be needed for traction and some ATV owners will carry extra weight for more traction when plowing. This can be as simple as placing sandbags on the rear cargo rack, strapped down of course. Don’t load past the ATV’s rated capacity.
Fun and Work
In the end, you may find that working your ATV is as much fun as playing with it. Plus, if you use your ATV as winter tool, it stays fresh and ready to rock come summer. ATV plows are a great way to make your ATV earn its keep around your house.