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delayed reaction, plow holds power

Discussion in 'Western Plows Discussion' started by Andy96XLT, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    Today while plowing I notice that after I let go of the joystick the plow pump kept getting power. I noticed this because my battery gauge went lower and stayed there, and than a few seconds late it came back to where it usually is. It never did this before, it only dropped in voltage when i was lifting or angling the plow and once i stopped touching the joystick the voltage would go back. Can anyone help me out with what the problem might be? I don't want to burn out the pump.
     
  2. Tony350

    Tony350 Senior Member
    Messages: 546

    I would think your solenoid is sticking on.
     
  3. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    If the pump motor continues to spin then clearly the solenoid (main motor relay) is not releaseing. The question is whether it is the relay sticking or the controller. I would try removing the two small wires from the relay and then using jumper wires ground one of the screws and then touch the other screw to 12v. When you touch the second wire and complete the circuit the relay coil will magnetize closing the relay contacts and sending power to the motor. You should hear a click when you do this and if the plow is conected the motor will spin. Now you need to pay attention to the motor when you release the wire and break the coil current flow. At that time the relay should click open and the motor should stop immediately. If the relay is the problem it will not release immediatly and the motor will continue to spin just as you have described above. If it does delay then you can be sure it is the relay, change it and you should be OK. If it does not delay after trying it several times then I would suspect the handheld or joystick controller is the problem. The controller is what sends power to the relay coil to activate it and deactivate it so if it is faulty the relay will not work properly.
     
  4. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    thanks for the help, i just did the jumper thing and it did not click off immediately, it stayed. While it is still an issue I am happy because it is a $20 solenoid issue instead of a $200 controller issue. I will go to my western dealer tomorrow and pick up a new solenoid. Thanks for the help!
     
  5. twinman326

    twinman326 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,683

    I would also have your charging system check out for a load test just in case...
     
  6. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    That's great, if that solenoid stuck when you jumped it then it is definately the problem. You are right about the price, you got lucky. Glad we could help
     
  7. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    Do you know about what my voltage should be under load? I will check everything tomorrow. It couldn't hurt to put a new battery in, but the battery works fine now. Also the alternator seems perfectly fine. This is all under non load though, the voltage drops pretty low under load....
     
  8. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    If your vehicle starts OK then I wouldn't worry about your battery because with the extra load of the plow if the battery or alternator were shotty then starting would certainly be a problem. As far as voltage goes, when there is no load ideling the alternator should bring up system voltage to about 14 volts. When the vehicle is cold it will be a bit higher and when it has been running for hours and hot it will be a bit lower. Of course when the engine is not running the battery will be at 12 volts. If it is lower than that, like 10 or 11 volts then you may have a bad cell. Battery voltage is not really a reliable thing to tell you a lot. What really matters is how the voltage holds when under heavy load. At a garage they would put an AVR on it and create a load that is about 3 X the amp/hour ratting or typically about 300 amps for about 20 seconds. If battery voltage goes below 9 v during the test they will suggest a new battery. Think of the battery like a water tank that is 12 feet deep. Now think of the differance between a million gallon tank and a one gallon tank both 12 feet deep. With no flow (water flowing out) they will both have lets say 12 psi at the bottom. Now think about opening a huge tap that lets 300 gallons per minute flow out for 20 seconds. The one gallon tank's pressure plumits while the million gallon tank runs the whole test with little effect on the pressure. That is the difference between a good battery and a bad one. The fact is that even a half dead battery will show 12 volts if ther is no load on it. Now concider the alternator. If you have a 100 amp alternator it would be like a 100 gallon per minute water pump filling water into your two tanks as the level drops. But since you are still using 300 gallons per minute and only filling in 100 the net effect is the same, the pressure plumits on the small tank and stays steady on the big one. I hope that is not too confusing. The bottom line is that your battery needs to be strong or your alternator will be working too hard and will probably pack it in prematurely too.

    Another test that I often do is called the voltage drop test. You can use a voltmeter or a test light. Connect your test device from the battery + to the motor + and activate plow lift. Using a test light it will be on initially but should go off completly when you engage the plow. If it glows when you run the plow you have a resistance in the + circuit. Using a voltmeter you should see no more than 1 volt when the plow activates. This is kind of like a kink is a garden hose. Pressure builds up behind the kink and will try to find an alternate rout but if there is no kink the water takes the easiest path to the end of the unresricted hose.

    The same test goes for the ground return to the battery. Put your test device on the motor housing and the battery negative post. In this case the light will be off initially and should remain off when you activate the motor. If it lights up when the motor turns then you have a bad connecton on the ground circuit. Again if you use a voltmeter you should not see more than one volt while the motor spins. In either case Pos or Neg if you show a voltage then look at your battery connection to ensure they are tight and the same for the motor cable connections. Also examine your main plow connection at the grill of your truck. Make sure they are not corroded, dirty or loose. Remember that little tube of dialectric grease they gave you if you bought your plow new? Well that dialectric grease is designed to keep your plug from corroding. You can get it at any hardware store if you don't have any.

    So there is my electrical diatribe for the day. Good luck.
     
  9. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    I went to the dealership today and picked up a new solenoid for about $30, I could have got it online for cheaper, but that's okay, I don't mind supporting my local dealer. Anyway as I was explaining my problem the dealer told me to give my older solenoid a few love taps with a small hammer, and i might not need to buy a new one. I thanked him for the info but decided to buy a new solenoid because I figured, what the hell.

    Anyway I get home and am just about to change it but decide to take the old solenoid off and just for kicks give it a few taps and reconnect it. Wouldn't you know it, it works perfectly now. I didn't even bother putting the new one in, but it is in my truck to keep with some other spare parts until it inevitably does crap out. I just wanted to post this so if anyone else had this problem and was in a bind, they could maybe save some money and/or not get stuck:waving:
     
  10. twinman326

    twinman326 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,683

    As for your charging, I would worry about it..If you have a load test done by any auto parts store, or garage, they can tell how the battery, alternative, or both under load.. If the battery bad, then the alternative has to work harder to keep the electrical going..If the alt is bad, the the electrical is trying to get it full 14v from a battery that can not deliver because the alternative can not fully charge the battery..

    Checking the charging is very important especially when the plow more pulls between 150-175amps...
     
  11. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    forgot to mention i did that yesterday too. Everything checked out. Thanks for the tips.
     
  12. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    Good to hear that things worked out. It makes sence that tapping on the relay made it better but it was smart to buy a new one too. Maybe it will work for another few years but then again maybe it will fail comepletly next time you really need it.
     
  13. no lead

    no lead PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,308

    i would suspect a bad connection at the solenoid was the problem. a bad connection will cause the cable to heat up and make the solenoid stick on. classic low voltage situation.
     
  14. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    ^^^^^ definitely possible. Things did not seem loose, but its always important to check and recheck your connections.
     
  15. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    A loose connection will cause heat when high current is passed through it. That could certainly cause heat distortion and subsequent relay failure. I trust that this was checked at the get go but that would have also caused a voltage drop which would have presented as a slow running motor. The original complaint was a motor that ran too good, or should I say toooo long..... No under performance here right. As for flogging the battery and charging tests??? If I tried to sell that to a custormer with a bad relay they would probably be upset with the inflated bill and ask "what made you think my battery or alternator were bad?" I would struggle to answer that. I believe in the "kiss" system, that is Keep It Simple Stupid. If it ain't broke don't fix it right. Andy69xlt... tell me that you checked that your cables were tight first.

    Anyway, hope for snow and pray your plow will run when it does.
     
  16. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    when this problem first manifested itself I checked all wires because that is very simple to do. Everything was tight and set. I than did the wire jump test which pretty much proved the solenoid was sticking. I bought the new solenoid but since my western dealer suggested i tap the old one i took the suggestion and now everything seems good. I used the plow yesterday to clean up the ice and snow we got and the issue did not resurface. I don't think there was any power drain or bad connections this time, just a bad solenoid. Although a lot of times wires are to blame because they are simple, sometimes a part can just not be functioning correctly. :)