DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch


Quit breaking your back in the driveway! If you already have an offroad truck with a winch and some skills with a welder you can make your own plow! Here is a write up on how I built a snow plow for the front of my offroad truck using mostly scrap metal and the winch I already had on the front of my offroad Suzuki Vitara ‘PJ’.

Starting with Version 1

I am starting with an existing plow that I built about 5 years ago to pull behind my car and van. It had a small ATV winch and lifting structure with a blade frame and HDPE cutting edge that all fit nicely into a 2″ receiver hitch and required nothing more than a 10 gauge power and ground wire. You can read the entire 6 part series on it starting here. It contains instructions for how to build the blade that I will be re-using in this post: DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Part 1

Here is a picture of the previous version:

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow – In Action
V1 of my snow plow build

Gathering the parts for Version 2

What do you need to start out with for this version 2 build?

A front end that has a receiver hitch in the middle and a winch. Most jeeps and pickups have aftermarket availability for front bumpers with a winch and receiver hitch. If you have a Jeep Wrangler you could bolt the winch in the factory spot then add a receiver hitch up front. The rest is just building a lifting frame and plow blade.

In my case I just got done building a full custom front winch bumper for PJ with this exact use case in mind. This is the reason that it actually has 3 receiver hitches up front (I like options…).

Stating the obvious just in case, this is purely a homeowner plow / play toy. It actually does plow pretty well but it is not commercial strength and if you run it into curbs it has no trip edge and will bend or break.

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
I grabbed my Maxx Haul adjustable receiver hitch to throw in the front just to see what it looked like and what options I could come up for making a drop bracket. It actually looked pretty close right off the bat.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
I brought out my now rusty receiver hitch plow setup that I built 5 years ago. This thing plowed many driveways before the winch finally got rusty inside and locked up last year.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
I took the lower part of the plow pivot off the old frame and because of the way I built it out of 2.5″ receiver hitch tubing I was able to pin it directly on to the Maxx Haul drop hitch. Sweet!

As a random note about building stuff using common dimensions. When I originally built this plow I used standard 2″ square 1/4″ wall tubing which fits inside 2.5″ square receiver hitch tubing (also 1/4″ wall) and common 5/8″ hitch pins. Because I went with standard materials I was able to just un-pin the lifting arm from my old frame and pin it directly on to the Maxx Haul drop hitch which saved a lot of time.

Just as a general note it is good to use common dimensions and parts for whatever you might be building that way it is easy to repair and upgrade in the future.

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
I pulled it inside out of the wind so I could get a better look at it. Way better to do this now than when it is actually cold and snowing.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
I was able to throw my winch line up over the stinger / hoop on the bumper temporarily to raise and lower the plow while I grabbed random parts out of my junk pile(s).

What I was doing in the picture above was trying to figure out what height and what materials I could use to have a frame that the winch line could go up and over for lifting the plow. I ended up with a tube that was about 9″ tall and a large D ring that is no longer certified for lifting so I didn’t feel bad welding it.

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
I think this setup will be the ticket! Yes I know the D ring is way overkill. It was retired from rigging since it is out of spec and was laying around in my junk pile, so I am using it.

Welding the parts together to make a new lifting frame for the plow

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
To get the 1.5″ tube to better match the contour of the shackle for welding, I just pinched one end in the vice some to make it more of an oval.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
A couple minutes with the MIG welder and we are in business. Inside of the other end of this tube I welded a 3/4″ nut that fit perfectly inside the 1.5″ tube. More on that later.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Since I am using synthetic rope and don’t want it to fray I got rid of ALL sharp edges where the rope will be. An 80 grit flap wheel on the 4.5″ grinder worked very well for this. For the inside of the shackle where the grinder didn’t fit a small drill bit flap wheel worked great.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
This is an old bump stop off the rear of an S10 pickup. They are usually VERY cheap from the junk yard and I keep a couple of sets around just in case. It will work great as a soft stop when raising the plow. Here I am welding a 3/4″ x 2.5″ bolt to the top of it that will go through the hole on the ball mount and thread into a 3/4″ nut that I welded in the bottom end of the tube with the shackle on top.

Side note about Timbren bump stops. These are awesome load carrying bumpstops. They are designed this way so when you put a pallet of mulch in the back of your pickup and bottom it out then the bump stops actually help carry the weight instead of just having a hard rubber stop. These are cheap at the junkyard but if you buy them new they are actually quite expensive. If you want you can check them out on Amazon HERE.

Fixing the blade angling system

The blade angling system on this plow consists of a pivot on the plow that is made from 2×2 tubing going through a piece of 2.5×2.5 receiver hitch tubing that I had cut windows in the side and drilled for a 3/4″ bolt. The screw rod was cut out of a broken trailer jack, but you could probably buy some beefy 3/4″ or 1″ allthread and nuts at the hardware store. Pretty simple. Again this was all made out of some tubing and broken stuff I had laying around the house.

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Here is a picture of the old blade angling system. I always hated the way I set this up because it was hard to thread the rod into the big nut in WHILE inserting the heavy plow. It was also intersecting with the bump stop when raised and angled. This was ripe for a V2, I just never got around to fixing it until now.

I ended up cutting off both of the nuts I welded on the plow frame plus the bolts on each end of the adjusting rod (this was some hack I welded on in the cold after snapping it off while plowing a couple of years ago). I will be replacing these with a trailer hitch pin so that I can put the plow on THEN just drop the adjusting rod on and pin it with a hitch pin.

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Cutting off the angled end of a couple of hitch pins. The NEW system will use trailer hitch pins with hitch pin clips at the end to keep the adjusting rod on. The inside of a 3/4″ coarse thread nut fits over the outside of a common hitch pin perfectly.

TIP: When cutting material in the chop saw that is too short, insert another piece of the same OD material in the other side of the clamp so you have something for the clamp to push against. Above I was trying to cut a hitch pin down so I inserted another hitch pin on the other side to keep everything tight and in line.

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
I cut the old bolts off the threaded rod and welded on double stacked 3/4″ nuts. The bolt is just in there to keep the nuts lined up for welding. The inside diameter of the 3/4″ nuts is just about perfect to drop over the outside of the 5/8″ trailer hitch pins.

The large threaded rod and nut you see was harvested out of a common trailer jack many years ago. It is a little bent at this point but still works fine.

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Hitch pins welded onto the plow frame, double 3/4″ nuts welded on either side of the threaded rod. This whole setup just drops onto two hitch pins and is secured in with hitch pin clips. I also changed the angle slightly so the threaded rod didn’t interfere with the bump stop.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Here is a close up. I welded a washer on the threaded rod to have something to push against. The socket sandwiches the other side to keep everything straight(ish). Works good enough.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Here is view of how the tube connects to the bumpstop with everything loose. I cut off a small piece of tubing with a 3/4″ ID to take up some of the space since the hole for the shank of the ball is 1″. I also put washers on both sides. The bumpstop just threads up into the bottom of the tube where I welded a 3/4″ coarse thread nut inside the end.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Blew everything apart for painting. A quick wipe down with paint thinner then some Rustoleum industrial black. The salt eats this stuff up pretty quickly so make sure you paint it and keep it painted and pivot points lubricated after each season.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Painted the new posts on the frame also.

Plow Edge Guides / Markers

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
I cut two ~2 ft sections of red PEX tubing I had laying around to make plow edge guides / markers. I previously had short fiberglass CB antennas here but last year I accidentally dropped the plow and busted both of them off. These turned out better anyways.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
To attach them to the blade I just bolted two 3/8″ x 3″ bolts to the blade with the shank side up. This will give the tube some support. To keep them on while on the highway I cut slits at the bottom then cinched them down to the bottom nut using a hose clamp.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
This is why you use blade markers / indicators. I can see exactly where the blade is even though it is all the way down. If I didn’t have these and couldn’t see the blade at all. It would be pretty easy to forget it was there and run it into something. It also warns others so they don’t run into your plow when parked in a parking lot.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
All finished up and ready for plowing!
Yes the bump stop doesn’t like the angle but I didn’t want to weld the bracket on where it had to be oriented a certain way. These timbren style bump stops are quite squishy and pretty tough so it will be just fine. If I feel cute later I might fix it, idk 😛
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Ready to do some plowing this winter!

Video

Here is a video of it going up and down and angling it with a battery powered drill with 3/8″ drive. I have a remote control winch so I can raise it up and down anywhere within about 20ft.

Finished pics outside!

DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Here is a cleaner pic without all my garage junk in the background.
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow Using Offroad Winch
Mr. Plow

This mod cost me pretty close to $0. I had already built the plow and used almost entirely scraps and supplies laying around the shop. A bit of ingenuity will goes a long way if you are willing to be flexible on design.

Things I didn’t expect and may or may not change in the future:

  1. This winch is WAY stronger than the crappy harbor freight atv winch I was using. I used to be able to hear the old one bog down but this one doesn’t at all. I am a little afraid of over-lifting and bending stuff even with the bump stop in place.
  2. I should have welded the bump stop on at an angle to match the angle of the lifting arm. Would be a quick fix, we’ll see if I actually do it or not.
  3. I don’t really like wearing on my synthetic rope. It should be fine for as little as I will use it but I might consider swapping the rope to something else during the winter or putting a small ATV winch back on like it used to have.

Alternatives?

If this is too much of a project for you you do still have some options but you will need a much bigger budget. Below is a link to a plow that goes into a 2″ receiver hitch and lifts up and down with a winch just like the one I built, except it is much fancier and it has a trip mechanism so it will flip down if you hit a curb with it.

Now YOU, go outside and build something! It doesn’t matter as much if it works or not. The important part is that you got off the couch and learned something.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *