Snowplowing Questions and Answers.

As many of you know, I'm in the process of completing, and compiling a Snowplowing Handbook. These are samples from my Handbook. Remember to reload this page, so you don't miss updates. I purge my cache regularly, to help get the newest page versions loaded the first time.

Q: I really like your site.I have a 1977 Chevy K/20 and a Meyer plow. Your data on the used plow and wiring section was very helpful. I copied it so I can change my fluid and nuts and bolts and anything else.
Hi, Glad you like my pages.Changing all your bolts will really help tighten up the plow.Adjusting the trip springs properly will too.I even changed my lift arm,because the hole through it was oval shaped,instead of round. I saw this when I was changing the bolt holding it on. I happened to have a brand new one laying around,from a bracket kit my brother bought years ago.It worked fine.You also might want to change the bolt holding the bottom of the plow pump on.Mine was worn bad.Also,wipe a little grease on the new bolts when you put them on.It will help.If you have your plows owners manual,you can make a list of the bolts you need. Sizes and lengths. Don't get the bolts at a hardware store. They usually sell grade 2 bolts.Grade 2 bolts aren't strong enough.Grade 2 bolt have smooth heads.You need grade 5.Grade 5,has 3 raised lines on the head. Letters on grade 5,or any bolt don't mean anything.Only "LH".Which means left hand threads,which isn't common.So get your fluid,and your grade 5 bolts,and the brass nuts,and you'll be all set.One more note.I wouldn't use transmission fluid in the plows hydraulic system.I'm not saying you do,just warning you. Meyer fluid has a de icer in it. Alot of plows leak a little fluid.The same place the fluid leaks,water gets sucked into the system.Yes,it freezes.The Meyer,and even Buyers fluid,has a de icer in it.Trans fluid,naturally,has no de icer in it.I always wondered how Western plows handle water,since they use trans fluid.Oh well,good luck.
Q: I need new plow lights.Are they really necessary?
As far as lights go,there are many different set ups. The vehicle year,make,model,and brand of plow. Your cheapest,and best bet for lights,is where I got mine. Northern (Hydraulics). There is a link on my links page. Request one of their catalogs,you'll be glad you did. The lights I got from them,are Grote brand. Made in Canada. Meyer lights were $179 a pair,at a dealer here. I got the Grotes,for $75 a pair. They even have rubber bushings on the mounts. They are recomended for trucks,tractors,and construction equip. Had mine for 4 yrs,no problems. Western has a set up with relays built into the harness,for the Uni-mount Pro Plow. No seperate switch to turn on the plow lights.Once the harness is plugged in,the plow lights come on,instead of the headlights,when you turn the headlight switch on. The Grotes will work fine with these as well. Plow lights are a must. Mainly when transporting the plow. Most snowplows block the vehicles headlights when raised for transporting.
Q: Temp Rising with 7-1/2" Fisher Plow - Tips? Yes I know its "a lot of weight" and "a big air-dam" on the front but the truck is an '87 Dodge Ramcharger with 168,000 miles on its 360ci engine. The previous owner never had a plow on it. When I try to drive on the highway - anything above 45 mph, the temp gauge goes up several "ticks" (its usually on #2 or #3 tick) and the smell of a "hot engine" fills the cab. Its a dry smell - not a "your leaking fluid" smell. This morning I remembered to lower the plow so there is air getting to the radiator - but it still seemed to be running very hot. I've been paying attention to other trucks with plows on them and they all seem to have the plow straight-on and not angled when driving at highway speeds - but I was wondering how much it would help if I did angle it a bit to the right. Should I think about getting a high-output fan blade ? Should I change my coolant to something that has better heat transfer?
A: Here's a blunt answer for you. Stay under 45mph with the blade on, as the owners manual says. My brother likes to ignore instructions. He overheated his 91 Ram with a 7.5' Meyer several times, exceeding 45 mph. He also overheated his 95 Dodge Ram with the same 7.5' Meyer. I think he's finally learned to take it easy, or take the blade off. At an old job of mine, a Foreman had an F-250, with a Western 7.5 blade. He was transporting the blade too high, and several of us told him so. He overheated the truck so badly, that as it cooled off, it couldn't get air into the radiator, to replace the coolant. The radiator ended up buckling, the tanks on the ends were deformed. The core twisted, and all the hoses flat as a pancake. Transporting the blade in the straight position, will create more turbulance in front of the truck,directing air away from the radiator. Transporting the blade too high, aggravates this. I transport my blade fully angled to the left. I keep it just high enough not to scrape the road. I have no temperature problems.Ok, that's the free part. Now, if you want to improve cooling, there are a few things you can do. First, be sure your coolant is mixed properly. It may sound dumb, but it makes a difference. Never use more than 70% antifreeze,or the boiling properties, and the antifreeze properties of the mixture become unfavorable.Water boils at 212 degrees F. With a cap pressure of 15psi, a 50% antifreeze solution will increase the boiling point to 265 F, and a 70% mixture will increase it to 276 F. More than 70%,and the boiling point drops signifigantly. You might want to add an auxilliary trans cooler, if you have an auto trans. The one inside the radiator, isn't enough. You might want to change the radiator to one with an extra row of tubes. With the 360, you most likely have 3 rows of tubes. A radiator for the same truck with a 440 engine,should be 4 rows. It should fit in yours, since the chassis was the same from I believe 1969-91. That would increase you coolant capacity, and dissipate more heat. As far as your fan goes, is it working properly?The clutch on it I mean, if it has one. You could add a 16" or 17" electric fan. Many companies make kits, in different sizes, that are very easy to install. If there is enough room, it can be mounted between the engine fan,and the radiator. If not, in front of the radiator then. I know it's a mouthfull,hope it helps !!
Reply: Thanks ! I was thinking that something was wrong big time given that I was seeing people driving around with 7.5' plows - all the way up - going 60+ I can (and will) live with the 45 mph speedlimit with plow on - I don't travel that far (13 miles to work) and can stay on downtown streets during the trip. Thanks for all the comments!
Q: Chuck, Actually I do have a question. My Meyer plow is stuck in the up position and a mechanic said it has water in it and is froze and I should heat it to thaw it out. It moves right and left ok. What would you recommend. (I have another 8 inches in my looong driveway). Thanks again,
Ok. I'm assuming it's an older E-47, or E-46 model pump. Not the new Quik Lift E-60. Water can cause that to happen, yes. It happened to my brother. It's another reason to change your fluid. Also, another reason not to use ATF in the system. Meyer hydraulic fluid contains de icers, to help prevent this from happening, whereas trans fluid doesn't. The first thing to do now, is go take the whole pump and motor unit off the truck, and bring it indoors. You can then use a hairdryer to help thaw it faster. Putting it near a wood stove, etc. Stand it up, and remove the fill plug on top, to allow the fluid to expand easier as it warms up. When it's not freezing cold to the touch, you're ready to drain the fluid. Take it out to the garage, shed, cellar, etc. The good news is, if there is water in the system, it will come out first when you remove the drain plug. Drain the fluid, remove the 2 strainers/filters (E-47 model)or the 1 strainer(E-46 models). If you have Kerosene, you can flush the reservior, and clean the filters with it. I found out from Meyer that Kerosene is the only solvent that won't harm the system. Replace the filters and fill the reservior to within 1" of the top. You could uses ATF now, but get some Meyer fluid, mail order if you have to, and change it again soon. Put it back on your truck, make all the connections, and it should work fine. A tip off that water may be in the system, is if you have a lot of leaks in your hydraulic system. The same way fluid leaks out under pressure, air gets sucked in, or water. Replacement angle cylinders are only about $50 each, mail order. Northern Tool and Equipment (1-800-556-7885) carries them, as well as many other non OEM plow parts. Couplers, 45 degree fittings, hoses etc. Replace them if they're leaking. Northern carries all these parts, amongst others. Now........ If there is ice in the system, none of this info below applies. The info assumes there's no ice in the system, so.... The Meyer service manual's troubleshooting section says:
(It's a flow chart, so this may sound confusing)
(You'll need a 12v test light)

Does "A" coil have magnetism?(the black wire) (you have no way to test this)

If no: Does the "A" coil have power?(black wire, use the test light)

If yes: Replace "A" coil
{ I had my plow get stuck in the up position. When I put a wrench on the nut holding the "A" coil on, the plow lowered as soon as I turned the nut. I snugged the nut, and it was fine since. I did soon after change it from a steel nut, to a brass one. }

If no: Is there power leaving the switch at the black wire?

If yes: Replace the wire harness

If no: Are wires in molded connector plugged into the switch tightly? If yes: Is the fuse ok?

If yes: Replace the switch

If no: Replace the fuse, and check for short circuit in harness, and "A" coil connections.

That's it. Between changing the fluid, and checking all this, your problem should be solved.
Un-thawing it did the trick! My driveway looks great and thank you again!
Q: Your web site is very helpful. I was wondering how to change the fluid in my Meyers pump(model# E46). Your maintainance tips are very good. Thank you . Happy New Year!
A: I guess things were hectic when I read this mail the first time. I can tell you how to change the fluid. All the specs are in my E 47 Factory Manual. The only difference, is the E 46, doesn't have a power angle circuit. Meaning, the rest of the procedure is the same. The same motor as the E 47, pump, etc. Your valve body is just different. So, you would remove the drain plug, just like on my pages, and the filter plug. Your E 46 has one filter. The E 47 has 2. You don't have to worry about angle cylinders. Just drain the fluid, and then flush the reservior until it's clean with KEROSENE. Use NO OTHER solvents. You don't have to flush the reservior, but I strongly recommend it. Rinse the filter in Kerosene, and replace it. Torque the nut to 75- 85 in. lbs. torque the drain plug to the same. Refill the reservior with Meyer M1 Hydraulic fluid. It has deicers in it. Auto trans fluid has no deicers in it, but will work in a pinch.
Q: "I hope to hear back from you, as I would like to pick your mind and opinion about snowplowing ideas, and I have a few ? about thoughts you have expressed in your plowing pages. Here is my first one: Why are you a Meyer fan? "

A: My first experience plowing was at 15 yrs old. Usually the shoveler, and "guide man". The truck was a 70 Chevy K/10, with a Meyer ST 90 ( 7.5') blade. Power angle.(E 47, cable operated pump unit) That truck moved mountains, and never had blade troubles. I worked for the Township I live in, driving dump trucks (72 Dodge D600, and 88 Ford F-700) and a few pick ups and mason dumps, all Fords and Dodges. I plowed parks, and Rec. areas. Public works took my big F-700 to plow with on the roads, so I used the pick ups and mason dumps. It was odd, they all had Meyer plows. All the road plows, were Western. A few ancient no name blades too. Some of the Meyer blades were beat up, but plowed good, and always worked. Typical "bad ground ", and "solenoid shot" type of problems. Nothing major. When I worked for the Board of Education, I did walkways. They contracted out the lots. I had a 12hp John Deere, with a blade I made, and a Craftsman 8 hp blower. I did it for 5 years. The entire time getting myself worked up at the stupidity of the contractor doing the plowing. Seems he lacked common sense. Anyway.... I left the school, and started Landscaping with my brother. He had a 79 Dodge Ram Sno-Commander. Paid $500 for it with a ST-90 Meyer plow. It came from the factory(dealer) with a engine mounted hydraulic pump. Had push pull controls inside. Someone disconnected all the lines, and put an E 47 pump and motor up front. That guy was a butcher he bought the truck from. I saw the guy in action, when we looked at the Ram to buy it. The plow worked fine that day. The guy was butchering a Western on a 79 GMC K25.(no reflection on Western)At the start of the season, the plow worked fine. Two storms in, all sorts of troubles.happened. He ended up with the blade stuck in the up position, with 8" of snow on the ground, and more falling. He took it for service. The fluid they drained, was mostly water. It was a mix of blue Meyer fluid, and ATF. A dingy grey/purple color. He needed a new valve body, with coils and valves. The water rusted everything, and clogged ports, etc. Worked great with the new parts. The plow blade was beat to piss too. Sloppy, dented, etc., but 15 yrs old. I can imagine how the butcher plowed with it while he owned it. My brother sold it. I got a good deal on a 74 Jeep CJ 5, about this time. It had a 6 foot, or 6' 6" Western blade on it. I loved the stick mounted in between the bucket seats. I worked it with my elbow, and my hand on the shifter. Very comfortable. I like the overall height of the Western blades. I like the sharper "curl" the moldboard has. I like the heavier duty design. I know the same Western pump, operates the 10ft blades, as operates the 6' ones. I like that it lifts much higher than Meyer. It also stacks snow much higher than Meyer. I like the way the Western blades drops fast with an ice breaking bang. I hated the mounting setup on the Jeep. The lower plow frame mounts to the front axle, NOT the frame. Mine was bent, so I got a new one, thinking it would be different, to the frame. I got the same axle mount one. It made steering impossible. If I dropped the blade angled to the left, the Jeep spun out to the right. If I angled it while moving, I had to fight to keep it on course. No doubt the plow pushing on the axle was the problem. I mean in only 4" of snow !! Western baldes are heavier than Meyer. Western lights stick up way too far above the hood though. I hate them. I put a Uni-Mount Pro Plow on a 93 Silverado. That truck plowed like hell. It was a 1/2 ton, and the Pro Plow was not recommended. He scraped up the bottom of the a frame bad. It was too heavy for the truck, but still plowed great with a 305 motor too. I liked the tiny joystick control, which I mounted on the right side of the dash, within finger reach, when the manual trans was in 1st gear. Perfect. A friend has an 85 CJ 7, with a 6 ft Meyer blade, E 47 pump. It's mounted to the Jeep frame, not the axle. He plows like hell. Same engine I had,etc. I also installed a Meyer ST-90, on my brothers next truck, a 91 Dodge Ram, E 47 pump. He had no troubles at all for a while. I then bought my 80 GMC K 25. I paid $1500, with the Meyer ST-90, E 47 pump. It had 134,000 miles on it. Hard miles I'm sure. The plow owners manual was in the glovebox with the truck's owners manual. The plow manual was dated 1978. I know the plow was original equipment. A quarry was the original owner. The bed was completely washboarded, from gravel being dumped in, and boulders I'm sure. I think the frame is bent in the rear too, but it drives fine. Anyway..... The blade was sloppy, so I replaced all the bolts. I changed the hoses and couplers. Changed the fluid, and cleaned the strainers. I drained the angle cylinders too. Cleaned all the electrical connections, and replaced the nuts with brass ones. I replaced the lift arm, since mine had an oblong hole, from wear. That tightened up the blade. I removed the skids,shoes,sleds, or whatever they call em by you. No one here uses them. I plowed 4 seasons, with no trouble. Last year, the pump motor siezed. I removed it, unsiezed it, lubed it, reinstalled it, and it's been fine since. I sanded the blade (moldboard) smooth, primed it, and gave it 2 coats of yellow, then a clear coat of isocyanate moisture cured urethane. It looked like glass. Last year I had to replace the solenoid. I carry a spare anyway, so no big deal. The blade is 18yrs old, and I just replaced the cutting edge last year. It's a little sloppy, but it got me through a blizzard, 26" , plowing 30 hrs straight. I had no trouble. Plowed twice this year, and no problems yet. When I bought this truck, my brother bought a 95 Dodge Ram. I mounted a Meyer ST 90, E 60 Quick Lift pump. Everything my brother has owned, he's killed. From dirt bikes, to cars, to trucks. He hammers whatever he drives. He plows to fast, and recklessly. He doesn't maintain his plow unless it breaks. Last week he changed the fluid, because the plow stopped working. The pump motor went last year, and it turned out, it was a broken spring for a carbon brush inside the electric motor. When I removed the motor cover, water poured out. A year of water inside I'm sure, caused the spring to break. It was not a Meyer motor. I told him where to get a spring, he got a new Meyer motor instead. I mounted it. That night, plowing, the motor fell off !! The bolt holes were starting to strip. The threads were dust. I have to drill and tap 2 new mounting holes this week. Now, my brothers plow is 4 years old. He's replaced the cutting edge once. He has a bent A frame. The angle cylinder blots are 1/2 sheared, the crossover relief started sticking last year, he's on his second replacement motor, he fried a touchpad, so it's his second. His blade has been welded back together twice too. All in 4 years. His blade is the one with the caption "If you think your plow is a dozer blade, think again" on my webpages. Now........ My blade is 18yrs old. His is going on 5. When they sit side by side in the yard, everyone thinks my blade is his. His looks 18yrs old, not mine. His angle cylinders are rusty, and ordered new ones last week. Another job for me. His bolts are worn, so the blade is sloppy too. He plows like a madman. Foolishly. In Oct., he blew his truck motor, with 95,000 miles on it. Got it replaced, a week later the trans went. He got that replaced. It blew that night, on a highway, had it redone again free. His tailgate salt spreader, was 2 days old, and he tore the motor off it. The replacement motor on it now, is crooked, since he bent it. My point is, with a driver like him, any plow will get beat up. If it's a stronger Western blade, the weaker link will be the truck frame. Better to bend the plow frame, than the truck. Meyer is heavy duty enough, for a sane, smart driver. Who wants a maniac plowing with one of their trucks? If it's the maniac's own truck that's different. I still keep my brother off my accounts, unless I'm there. I guess if your operators are hard on equipment, Western is a better choice. Seems new truck dealers used to push Meyer. Now they push them all, though I see alot of Diamond plows now. Which Meyer owns. Western is second I see most, then Fisher, and Diamond. I personally don't like bottom trip blades.

" It has been my experience that they are not the best plow suited for heavy commercial applications, also they have not done much R&D or improvements in over 30 years with the current plow design"

A: It works fine. I don't see a reason to change it. The cylinders are strong enough, if you see blown ones, I mean split sides, it's because the crossover relief got stuck. It's set at 3,800 pounds. That's a pretty hard hit. The A frame is strong enough, for it's purpose. It seems the choice of the Carpenter,Roofer,rural Homeowner or Electrician, etc, who has one truck, and wants a plow. I'm sure price plays a big part. Landscapers too.Dodges used to be the most popular around here, and they all had Meyer plows. Many of these truck still plow every year here. Tons of Meyer plows. They're not too heavy, and the new mounting system is a hit. I like it. They changed the pump design, offering the new E 60. The pump has a higher flow, and the motor a higher rpm, as well as being a larger motor. The only desired improvement over the E 47. Faster movement. The blade flies compared to my E 47. Yes, my brother's 1994 plow, will mount on my truck in a second, figuratively speaking. His and mine are identical, except one thing. His blade has 3 trip springs. Mine had two. After having tripping problems, while trying to scrape up packed snow and ice, I welded a mount onto mine, and installed a third spring. It's much better now. Now if I can figure out a way to mount a shock, like the Western. You may, or may not know about the Meyer Husky line. It's been around a while. Four trip springs, taller, heavier gauge steel, thicker cutting edge, longer angling rams, etc.

"They (Meyer) do slush very well, but the Western does also, and it is my opinion that the Western is although similar in design, has a few items that make it superior in design.Also on older pre quick mount designs the blades are easiliy adaptable to the Meyer clevis."

A: I think they both do slush well too. Now that's interesting. I love the Western blade design. I don't think the blade A frame design changed at all, with the release of the Uni Mount system. Never thought about using a Western blade. I like the trip shock on the Pro Plows. Excellent idea. Bottom line, I like Western's blade design, and Meyers E 47 pump. If I bought a truck that had a Western blade, I'd keep it. If I had to buy a new plow, and Western was cheaper, I'd still buy a Meyer. With the slow E 47 pump too. It suits my needs. I plow with my truck, and no one else. I can rebuild anything a shop can. Since my brother has one too, parts are shared. I also have an old 1970 cable operated pump, and the motor is like new. I checked the carbon brushes. It will fit my E 47 too. The valve bodies are different, but I can rebuild mine, I'm sure. I have the factory service manual. I'd just have to spring for a 3000psi pressure gauge, to set reliefs etc. I like that Meyer's fluid has deicer in it. I don't think ATF would need to have a deicer in it, though it might. Western uses ATF for the hydraulic system. Remember, where fluid leaks out, air and water can get sucked in. Keeping the reservior filled to the proper level, reduces condensation in the reservior. Again, I like both plows, but have more experience with Meyer, and prefer Meyer. Next round of questions now?

New 9/13/99
Plow Q & A Page 2


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