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explain this (weird behavior)

Discussion in 'SNO-PRO PLOW AND ACCESSORIES by Curtis' started by 00 Ram, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    "new" (to me) Curtis home pro; used it the first time on Saturday night--no problems. Thumbs Up

    Last night, we got another 6", so I went out and started clearing the driveway, and after a few minutes, the plow decided it wasn't going to move anymore. The motor runs (lights dim quite a bit when actuating a switch), but the plow would only move a small amount, very slow, in any direction. So, I gave up and went to bed, figuring I'd have to wrestle with it in the morning.

    So this morning, I was all ready to drive over to NAPA to get some fluid, and gave the plow a try--it worked fine. Used it for probably an hour to finish up the driveway. (its long and complicated, and I'm still getting used to how to do it with this new plow and vehicle). I thought maybe it would eventually start acting up again, but it didn't.

    I've been reading through threads...sounds like maybe ice in the lines...but it was below freezing all night--still cold this morning, so how would it have melted?
    maybe a chunk of gunk got caught in a filter or screen, and it fell out over night?

    any thoughts?

    thinking I'll change the fluid over the weekend.
  2. upplowin

    upplowin Member
    from UP/MI
    Messages: 54

    Yes I've had ice cover my screen before. What kind of fluid do you use? In my western I used to use trans fluid like everyone else (even the shop that fixed it) but I use regular western plow fluid now. I found after a little research that the water separates faster in trans fluid than in plow fluid, and I've never had a problem with freezing yet. I feel dumb for not using it before...
  3. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    I have no idea what kind of fluid is in it; I just bought it a couple of months ago, and hadn't gotten around to changing whatever is in there.
    Just now came home from NAPA with 2 quarts of the blue plow stuff...its supposed to have anti-freeze properties, so...we'll see.
    Local NAPA only stocks Fisher parts, and a few other generic things.

    Also wondering how important it is to compress each of the pistons to drain out whatever is in there. (lift piston is easy enough, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to move the blade side to side to squeeze out whatever fluid remains in them).
  4. upplowin

    upplowin Member
    from UP/MI
    Messages: 54

    Yeah you will have to go back and forth with them, have someone help you get it off the ground but so the blade will move freely. Put a block of wood or something under the frame right behind the center of blade.
  5. rjigto4oje

    rjigto4oje PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,258

    I've heard guys running trans fluid with denatured alcohol that's what use no problems
  6. upplowin

    upplowin Member
    from UP/MI
    Messages: 54

    Well the atf fluid gets thick when it gets cold out, and the alcohol may help it icing up a bit but its not going to stop it from getting thicker though. It will actually start to like jell up when really cold. Depends on what location your at I suppose, with temp variations etc...
  7. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    I changed the fluid in the plow--didn't see your reply that it was important to drain the pistons, but...oh well. (the notification settings must not be right, or not working on the site). Anway..

    what came out of the reservoir was light-brown and watery. I'm not a good judge of hydraulic fluid quality, but it didn't look very good, to me. I removed the reservoir completely to check for any sludge, or clogged up screen, but everything looked pretty clean. no big chunks of sludge, --tiny bit stuck to the magnet, which in this model, is the drain plug. The screen on the pump looked very clean. The only thing I didn't do was compress the angle pistons. (lift piston was already in the down position, so...nothing in there).

    I re-assembled, and filled the tank w/ the blue plow fluid from NAPA ("contains antifreeze --protection to -50"). Plugged everything back in, and it all seemed to be working fine.

    fast forward to the storm that just ended--plowed out everything last night--no problem.
    This morning--went out to get the rest, and was able to work for about 5 minutes, and then the problem occurred again. Slow to no movement...eventually, no movement either left-right or up/down.
    I took the cover off and was poking around--can't see anything out of line. tank has fluid; attempt to operate the jack: motor makes a sound, and I can see the fluid level move up and back down when I let go of the switch...sometimes the jack moves a little bit...so the pump must be doing something.
    Tried tapping the motor with a hammer, thinking maybe it wasn't engaging, (it makes noise...but I don't know if its the "right" noise. definitely draws power--can see that on the gauges inside the vehicle). checked for anything loose...wasn't getting anywhere. jack still won't move much. wait a few minutes, and it might move some...then nothing.

    Just as I was about to give up again, and turn off the vehicle, I hit the switches one more time, and "poof", its working normally. Like nothing was every wrong.

    So...wtf? If I bring it to a dealer, its just going to work. can't troubleshoot what ain't broke. (or..what ain't broke right now).

    If anyone has any ideas, I'm listening. But I need this thing to work.
    just sold my old snowbear plow, so there's no more backup!
  8. Bison

    Bison Member
    Messages: 59

    Mine has done this in the past and it was dirty plug connections. I cleaned everyone male and female with emorycloth , rinsed with silicone spay and covered with dielectric grease. Works great. Hope that helps you.
  9. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    I don't think it could be any "one" plug, as each performs 1 function; when this problem occurs, it affects all functions simultaneously. The only electrical connection that is common to all functions is the one on the pump motor, and the motor always runs. There is a ground strap that may be for more than just the pump, but I already did clean and tighten that.

    I went out again yesterday to finish up...drove up and down the driveway for an hour, pushing back corners here, cleaning up there...no problems. {shrug}
    (doesn't normally take that long, but I'm playing around..experimenting...still learning with this new-to-me rig).

    The troubleshooting guide suggests that it could be the relief valve, so I'll try and take that out, clean it up, and we'll just have to see if it happens again.
    (other tests are: pressure test (don't have a gauge), and "clean the screen"--already did that).
  10. Capt. Fred

    Capt. Fred Member
    Messages: 68

    just to make you feel better your not alone, both my Curtis plows do it from time to time, we have tried everything that everyone on here has tried, usually its some gunk running through the system, a bit doesn't take much, gets around the screens and slows it down, most all the time it works itself out till we can get back to shop and change fluids and check connections on wires still yanks my chain though
  11. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    we've had a couple of events since the last post, and its been mostly "ok". One time, it got stuck angled for a minute--it would lift and lower fine, but wouldn't move from full left angle; it seemed like there was plenty of pressure, though, because it would move sharply for about an inch, but then stick. I just flipped the switch back and forth a few times, and it freed itself up.
    A few minutes later, the blade wouldn't stay up when I let go of the lift switch; that resolved itself, too.
    I did take out the relief valve to have a look, but I couldn't see anything obviously wrong with it. No rust or gunk or anything like that. {shrug}.

    I just hooked up to get ready for tomorrow. We're due for a foot of the heavy wet stuff.
  12. capitalcar

    capitalcar Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    I'm having the exact issue. I will park it inside overnight and all is well. It only happens when it's really cold (below 10* f). I have changed fluid multiple times in the last month (including angle cylinders) using two different brands of blue -50 fluid. I just ordered a new pump motor hoping it will fix it. I will post any good news.
  13. rjigto4oje

    rjigto4oje PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,258

    If it only happens when its really cold out why not run a heater has anyone ever ran a heater
  14. Urdum2

    Urdum2 Member
    Messages: 34

    Here is a very simple trick when moving something heavy.....place three or four garbage bags ( plastic) between two piece of Wood....you have a nice slick surface....
  15. capitalcar

    capitalcar Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Put a new pump motor in and all is good. The old one was all worn out.