Snowplow installation guides

Snowplow season is upon us, and the national association for the work truck industry, NTEA, has issued a reminder that all of the major truck manufacturers, RAM Trucks included, have by now posted their recommended equipment and prep packages for snowplow installation for 2014 model-year vehicles. The guides are intended for professional installers, but if it’s your truck you’ll benefit by knowing what the packages and mounting requirements entail.

So, time to get to work. If you’re buying and installing new equipment from the manufacturer, factory-installed Snowplow Preparation Groups (or their equivalent components) are recommended and listed for each vehicle. Unless otherwise noted, standard warranties apply to RAM 4×4 HD Pickups and Chassis Cabs that have aftermarket snowplows installed in accordance with these guidelines.

Snowplow buyers should be aware that plows and their mounting hardware may result in vehicle weight distribution or front axle loading that can affect brake performance, or exceed the vehicle’s front gross axle weight rating (GAWR). Therefore, the following cautions apply:

• The loaded vehicle, including all aftermarket accessories, the snowplow system, passengers, and cargo, must not exceed the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), or the front or rear gross axle weight ratings (GAWR), which are specified on the Safety Compliance Certification label located in the driver’s side door opening.

• The empty truck, including all permanently attached accessories and snowplow components, must not exceed 62 percent of its total weight on the front axle to comply with applicable motor vehicle brake certification requirements. Permanently attached snowplow parts are those parts not easily removed when the blade is removed. They include the plow’s subframe, hydraulic pump, hydraulic lift cylinder, lamps, wiring, snowplow controls, and other equipment.

• If the front axle loading exceeds either 62 percent of the empty truck total weight, or the front GAWR, a compensating weight must be attached at the rear of the truck as ballast to bring front axle weight within the vehicle’s weight specifications.

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