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Grease is bad!!

Discussion in 'Western Plows Discussion' started by Blacksmith Cycl, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Blacksmith Cycl

    Blacksmith Cycl Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Well...not really but it does have it's proper place and places where it should be avoided.

    I recently had my plow completely disassembled for some maintenance and repair. While I was at it I greased a bunch of typical wear surfaces. One place I greased that was a big mistake was all the pins. It has always been a little bit of a pain to remove the pins so I figured greasing them would be good maintenance.

    The next day out I wound up losing both main pins as well as the pin that holds up the storage foot over 10 or so hours of plowing. After losing the first main pin I considered the possibility that I forgot to put the clip in so I checked all the other clips and they were all there. The clips are plenty tight and are not stretched or deformed in any way. I mean really....pins and clips are not rocket science...at least that was my thinking!

    The only thing that it could have been was grease on the pins and in the clip holes. I have never lost a pin before. I assumed (yeah....I know....) that the tension of the pin would be enough to keep it from popping out but I was wrong. I guess the friction of the clip being a little crusty helps hold it in place.

    So..I hope my ****** day helps someone out!!
  2. drp

    drp Senior Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 170

  3. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    Scary thinking.Do you also not place a safety pin in your pintle hook or your pin to lock the lynch pin for the hitch in your receiver?You see where I'm coming from? You should NEVER assume anything--the life you save might be your own.And lubrication is always good in all these applications,you should never let rust build up.
  4. Blacksmith Cycl

    Blacksmith Cycl Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I think you may have misunderstood me. Let me lay this out so we are both on the same page. If you still think I am doing something wrong then I am open to suggestions for securing the plow in a safer manner.

    The tabs on the frame of the truck and the tabs on the A-frame of the plow are connected with a 1" diameter hitch pin. It has a big square handle on it. This pin in kept from slipping back out by a stout hair pin cotter. The hair pin cotter is a spring type (rather than a split style that requires folding the halves over) that is made to be easily removed to facilitate quick removal and installation of the plow. This is the main point for attaching the plow to the truck. BTW...."Hitch Pin" and "Hair Pin Cotter" are how the parts are tagged in the Western parts diagram.

    These pins, and the clips that keep them from falling out, have been working just fine for me. My only complaint was that the pin and the clip were tough to remove. A little bit of surface corrosion made it tough to slide them in and out. I greased the pin and in the process I greased the small hole that the clip slides into. This made both the pin and clip easier to remove and install.

    My next time out plowing I had 3 different pins lose their retaining clips and fall out. I am 100% sure it was from greasing them. The design of the clip is a spring type and it is shaped so that the spring tension naturally pushes the clip into place. The conclusion I have come to is that greasing the clips allowed them to overcome spring tension and pop out due to the normal shocks encountered when plowing. Both times that I lost the main pin, it was shortly following me hitting a hidden object such as a small curb buried under the snow. The second time I lost a main pin I stopped the truck shortly after hitting a curb with the right corner of the plow. Almost immediately I noticed the plow moving differently than it should. I got out and found the pin a short distance past where I hit the curb.

    As a side note...I did have torsion clips...aka lynch pins....securing other pins on the plow. They didn't come loose.

    The only thing I assumed was that greasing the clips was acceptable. obviously it was not and your statement that "lubrication is always good in all these applications" is not actually true. Since the clips are not an item subject to wearing out or known for rusting beyond the point of being serviceable, lubing them is actually the dangerous situation. Since self preservation is pretty high on my daily to do list, I'll leave those clips dry from now on. Especially since I can afford the pennies required to replace them when I doubt their condition.

    So....do you still find my thinking scary?
  5. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    This is an interesting experience you are having. Clearly you are using all the correct pins and retainers as you describe them. Fasinating that they fell out as a result of grease. I can see your logic as they are often hard to get in and out. It's bad enough when it's -40 without having to fight with dry pins too. I have never tried greasing them. I don't own one but I do service them daily and have been tempted to grease a bit as part of the service package. Now I will certainly not! And I will be watching for owners who do so I can warn them of the potential for disaster. Thanks for your story, good information is only bad when not passed on.... Hmm, note to self, be sure to keep spare pins if I ever plow with a greased unimount.
  6. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Losing greased pins is also the result of the pins themselves being capable of now easily rotating in the holes. And on a Uni when they rotate too much the retaining clip catches the tabs and it turns the clip right out of the pin thus the pin falls out. Greasing the actual clip hole in the pins doesn't help the matter any either, and yes it's due to the exact theory (fact really) on your thoughts. It's still wise to grease the pins, however.....keep the grease out of the clip hole and drill the clip holes larger and use a more robust clip.

    They'll stay in then. :salute:
  7. lawnproslawncar

    lawnproslawncar Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    Or use a product like pb blaster. Prevents rust but pins still have "traction".
  8. Blacksmith Cycl

    Blacksmith Cycl Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Phew!! Thanks guys. I thought I was going to have to resort to scientific method, a double blind study, finite element analysis, or even destructive testing to get anyone to believe that greasing the clips/pins was what caused them to pop out. :dizzy:

    Hiring an engineer gets expensive just to prove a point in an internet discussion so I am glad common sense was enough to support my statements!!:D
  9. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    No,not at all,but by your description,when you say pins and greasing together,that to me ONLY implies your mounting pins,NOT your safety pins/clips.There certainly is no real reason to grease safety pins/clips, other than maybe an occasional dab or 2 if some rust makes it difficult to engage/disengage.:drinkup:
  10. Blacksmith Cycl

    Blacksmith Cycl Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    OK...we ARE on the same page. That is exactly what i thought. A little grease to make it easier to pull out and push in the clips. Well that makes total sense until you find out that greasing them makes it more likely they may pop out allowing the pin to slide out.

    Also...as B&B pointed out, greasing the pins goes a long way towards allowing the pin to rotate which can push out the clip.
  11. I have plowed with western unis and ultras for almost 20 years. i now have 4 trucks plowing and i grease every pivot point on all of my plows after every push and never lost a pin yet ? just lucky i guess. i have lost a few kick stand pins on the uni from someone putting plow on not knowing where to put it . I also change all pins hair pins or what ever you want to call them every year .