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How to bleed angle rams?

Discussion in 'Western Plows Discussion' started by Shade Tree NJ, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. Shade Tree NJ

    Shade Tree NJ Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    Had to change the angle rams on my 9' pro plus so changed all hoses and fittings at the the same time. Just curious how to I bleed the system so that I don't have any air in the rams and/or lines?

    Thanks in advance
  2. nealybird

    nealybird Senior Member
    Messages: 700

    you don't really have to. just fill your power unit, then with the blade on the ground angle back and forth a few times. It will be jerky at first and then smooth out. that means the air is out. then you'll have to top off the power unit again.
  3. Holland

    Holland Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    /\/\ X's 2, Just work it back and forth
  4. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    When I build a new plow I just top it up, then work it a while and then top it up again. I usually run through this process three times. However, I do try to fill the angle rams by going left and right with the blade just off the ground. If you angle with the plow at max elevation the air goes to the end away from the hose so the air does not get out as well. Even after saying that. When you go right to the end and hit the stops the air will be compressed to about 1500 psi at which time it is absorbed into the fluid. It will bubble out again when the fluid is decompressed. In any case just run it and check it a couple of times like the others said in half as many words....:laughing: I just like to talk :drinkup: A couple more bears and I will stop.....
  5. Shade Tree NJ

    Shade Tree NJ Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    Thanks for the replies,guys!
  6. Willybak

    Willybak Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    Hey guys.

    Looks like I will be filling the reservoir. Well... I am actually going to take it to the dealer that just installed it and watch them do it and observe how it is done.

    Details: I just purchased the Wide-Out and plowed maybe four small driveways.
    Today I went to the shop of a mechanic friend and plowed out the front of his place.
    After I was done, I noticed that the left/right angle operation was sluggish, as were the wings when extending/retracting.
    I stopped and took a look at the plow, and saw a small patch of blueish fluid beneath the hose that leads to the Right Side Angle Ram.
    I was able to wiggle the hose freely at the connection point!
    I hand tightened it and then checked out the Left Side Angle Ram. It too was loose at the same connection point.
    Say What!!!
    I JUST bought this thing!!!
    I got my tool box out used an opened end wrench to tighten them up.
    I can tell that there must be air in the lines because I can easily move the blade right or left by hand... real sloppy.
    This is my first year plowing and today the lesson learned is to keep an eye on the plow.
    I am going to do a walk around hands on inspection before, during, and after each use.

    I have to say that I am surprised that these hoses became loose so soon/readily.

    Feedback Welcome.

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  7. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    If this is a brand new Wide-out then it came in what they call the big box, that is vertually two pieces. The blade is one and the rest is in the other. After I assemble one of these I find I must recheck all the hoses and fitting for position and security. What I have found on every single one is that the hoses going from the A-frame to the four 45 degree ORB fittings on the back of the blade are always backwards. The fittings and the hoses are all labelled ABCD but A&B hose are always on the B&C side and vice versa. I have to remove the clamps that secure the hoses to the a-frame and flip them from side to side. You would think that they could get that sorted out. I have not found the fittings or hoses loose frequently but they are built by humans, humans who have bad days. It is up to the person doing the final assembly and installation to go over the unit and make sure all is right. A good installer will know the things that need to be checked and take care of them before delivery. Somebody dropped the ball in this case. Fortunately it was minor and caused no secondary damage.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  8. Willybak

    Willybak Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    Hey Mishnick... thanks for the information.
    I took the plow to the dealer this morning and they had it back to me in a jiffy.
    The tech who worked on it discovered one of the o-rings on the right side angle ram needed to be replaced. He mentioned a burr or something. Don't know what that means exactly. He checked all the hose connections and refilled the tank. They showed me the tank filler point. Very accessible.
    As part of my emergency kit I had planned to pick up a chain/ratchet come-along. In speaking with the dealer, they mentioned that a floor jack will work just as well or easier. I have a floor jack and am going to put it in my truck box.
  9. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    The o-ring he is talking about is a seal at the base of the ORB fitting (O-Ring Boss) This little seal gets compressed under the jam nut. This type of fitting is usually a 45 or 90 degree elbo. The seal and jam nut allow you to place the fitting in the desired direction and then lock it down there. If you turn the fitting when the jam nut is tight it will bugger the o-ring. I guess there could have been "a burr" on the mating surface that could have cut the seal. Sometimes just a flake of paint can do that.

    Did you notice when you saw them top up your plow that the fill point is on the top in the most awkward spot? Or did he fill it from the side? The top hole with the gray plug is actually the filler and the side one is the fill level. You are supposed to add fluid from the top until it comes out the side but with the blade down and wings retracted. I have a little filler device with two right angle brass fittings that allow me to top up with a regular funnel.

    Regarding the cum-along or jack. Most people don't carry either. What we do when there is a failure is what we call "high chaining." When the plow fails and won't lift you just drive it up against a pile of snow which will push the plow up naturally, Then you just hook the chain up as tight as you can and then drive off the pile, the blade will stay up so you can drive to the shop.

    I have had a little lifting device in mind for this for years, never got around to build it. I envision a kind of threaded thing with a crank on one end and two hooks, one goes on the chain and the other hook goes where the chain hangs on the lift frame. This would be a simple, small tool that would enable an operator to lift the plow when they don't have a snow pile to use. Some day I will build one and maybe sell them.
  10. Willybak

    Willybak Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    I see what you mean about the burr on the mating surface. In fact... when I tightened it prior to taking the plow to the dealer, I may have inadvertently messed up the o-ring.
    The elbows are 90 degrees.

    I did not actually see the tech fill the reservoir. They had the truck in the shop area where customers are not allowed. After they brought it around to the front of the service dept customer entry, the service desk guy showed me where to fill it... and he pointed to the fill level on the side. The gray plug seems to be made of plastic... and is more than hand tightened. I guess that channel lock pliers will loosen it. I wonder how fragile it is... I wouldn't want to crack/break it. I have over cranked a few bathroom sink pea traps in my day :)

    I can see the need for the type of filling device that you speak of... which I will make... great idea... thanks.

    I think that pushing the plow into a snow bank is the easiest way to raise in order to high-chain. Yet... as you mentioned... a situation could arise when/where you are not able to use that trick. I will carry the jack since I have room in my truck-bed tool box.

    Interesting idea... sign me up for one :)

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise... it is very much appreciated.

  11. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    Regarding the gray filler plug... Delicate... yes. Important..... absolutely! The important thing to know about this plug is that it is actually a little pressure plug kind of like a radiator cap. It has a 5 lb pressure relief valve in it. When the fluid level goes down, as you fill a ram, air is allowed into the reservoir but when the level goes up air is trapped until it exceeds 5 psi. So what happens is that bit of air in the top of the reservoir acts like a bladder or balloon. It compresses and decompresses but does NOT breath in an out. You have to understand that this blue, highly modified aircraft hydraulic fluid is a desiccant. That is, it absorbs moisture from the air. When they cook it at the factory to make the viscosity (thickness) stable at a wide range of temperatures, it makes it so it pulls water out of the air. So... if air comes in and out every time the level goes up and down then water is collecting in the fluid. We all know what water does when the temp goes below freezing right? Well when moisture freezes in the fluid it collects on the sump screen and plugs it up. We get calls all the time that go like this "My plow worked great initially but after a few hours it stopped working and sounded like it was out of oil, I took it to my shop and checked the level but it was fine. After leaving it in the warm shop over night it worked fine again, for a few hours and then did the same thing."

    We will first ask how cold it was where they are, then we ask when was the last time you changed your fluid and finally we ask if they still have the original gray filler plug.

    When I do a service I always pay attention the first time I pull that plug. I listen for the sound of trapped pressure escaping. If I hear it I am happy, this indicates the plug valve is working. If I don't hear anything I wipe it off and then try to blow through it. You should not be able to, if you can get a new one.

    They are so delicate that people break them with pliers or drop them in the snow and loose them. Then they replace them with cheap mushroom type vents which breath freely. That's when the trouble starts.

    Regarding the high-chain tool. I have been stuck on the side of the road on a summer day while transporting a plow from one shop to another. There was no snow and I had no jack. Even the truck I was driving was missing the tire jack (last resort) so I had to sit and wait for rescue. :cry: So if you have room for a little jack that's a good thing to carry.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012