Western Snow Plow Troubleshooting

by Josh NuttallUpdated January 18, 2018
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snow doser image by Ivan Hafizov from Fotolia.com

Western SnowPlows are at the top of their game as one of the foremost four-wheel drive pick-up truck and SUV snow plow manufacturers. The best products provide the best results. But even the best products experience problems. When you are on the job, digging businesses and other clients out of the latest snow storm, you do not want to be caught with your plow out of service. And when you do experience problems, you need to know how to fix them quickly without the help of a qualified service dealer. You need to know how to troubleshoot your snow plow.

Snow Plow Motor Problems

The motor is the heart and soul of the snow plow. If it will not function properly, nothing will be accomplished. There are a few possible reasons why the motor will not function. The motor may not be receiving power from the battery. If this is the case, there is a problem with the wiring itself, the cab control or the harness fuse. These items may need simple repairs or 100 percent replacement. The motor relay may not be grounded, which is another call for a wiring assembly replacement. If the motor relay itself does not operate, the motor relay will need to be replaced. The connection between the motor and the battery may be incomplete. Clean the battery contacts and the cables, and reconnect them to test the connection. It is also possible that the motor is just worn out and in need of replacement. Keep an extra motor on hand so you are not out of commission for a few days waiting for a new unit to arrive. It is also possible that the hydraulic pump has seized. A seized pump will also need replacement. Keep extra parts on hand, so you can replace parts immediately when these issues arise.

Snow Plow Blade Problems

The snow plow blade assembly itself can experience any number of problems. It is easy to know that the blade assembly is malfunctioning because the motor itself is working properly. An easy fix and possible cause of the problem is that either the incorrect hydraulic fluid is being used, or the fluid level is too low. If the wrong fluid is in the system, replace the existing fluid with the correct fluid, or top off the hydraulic system with the correct fluid type, and test the functionality of the blade. It is also possible that too much weight is resting on the blade’s A-frame. If this is the case, remove the accumulated snow and ice, and test the functionality. The hydraulic pump may also be clogged; the pump filter will have to be replaced, and he hydraulic system will have to be flushed and refilled before the plow will function properly. The vehicle battery may lack power. Replace the battery. Inspect the charging system to be sure it is functioning properly as well. Other problems may be related to the cartridge valves. If the cartridge valves are either sticking or damaged to any degree, the snow plow blade will malfunction. In any case, the cartridge valves will either need to be cleaned or replaced depending on their condition.

Hydraulic Oil Leaks

Hydraulic oil leaks usually come from the hydraulic pump. There are three reasons for the oil leaks. The first is that there may be damage to the exterior of the pump unit. There may also be loose or damaged o-ring plugs. Also, the pump shaft seal may be damaged to some extent. In all cases, there is an immediate environmental and operational need to repair the problem quickly. External damage will require replacing the reservoir if repairs cannot be completed. O-rings can be replaced easily enough if you have replacements on hand. If the pump shaft seal is damaged, it, too, will need replacement.

It is vital to have the replacement parts on hand to keep down time to a minimum. Do not be caught out in the snow without a working plow.

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