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Smoking hose to angle cylinder??

Discussion in 'Western Plows Discussion' started by Mike N, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    Western Unimount, installed on a 98 Chevy Z71. Has worked well for the last 4 years.

    Today I'm plowing my route, and I start to smell burning rubber & hydraulic oil. Hop out to have a look and when I get around the front of the truck I can hear a crackling sound. The hose for the right side angle cylinder is on fire, and pumping out plow oil. I grab a wad of snow, toss it on it and what happened next was the plow pump energizes and the plow turns right. Unplug the large two wire plug to avoid any further issue. Grab my spare hose and a few wrenches, pop it on, top off fluid and I plug the plow back in. Fire it up, all seems well. Finish my route and head home, and I unplugged the plow when I got home.

    I can see on the old hose where the frame rubbed through the rubber outer layer, and the steel braided part was making contact with the plow frame. Obviously the steel braided part was electrically charged, found a ground and that led to the melting of the hose, turning of the plow and small fire.

    I guess my question is are the hoses supposed to have an electrical charge to them, or do I have a ground or wiring issue somewhere? I have a dual terminal battery, and my plow ground runs directly to it. The plow seems to work well, lifts, turns and lowers fairly quickly so I've never considered that there may be something wrong. With the new hose installed it works as well as before this problem occured.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. twinman326

    twinman326 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,683

    That is the first I ever hear of that happening..

    Q= did you at any time hit dry payment while plowing.
    The pressure hose might of had a pin hole and when the plow hit dry payment a spark could of started the fire.Good news you caught it in time, and you weren't hurt. (Good Job)

    If you think you have a ground problem, use a test light, hook in onto the positive side of the plow motor, and touch the plow frame..If the test light lights up, you know your grounded. If the light doesn't come on then (if you have the power harness negative for the plow to the battery) take the negative (ground wire) and see if you have a open spot on the engine and ground it to there..Also the second battery should be grounded to the engine, not coming off the first battery, I would also run a ground cable from the engine to the truck frame that way the plow frame will also have a better ground..

    On my truck ( I have a chevy), I have neg battery cable to engine, engine to frame, engine to firewall. I also run two batteries. The second battery is a top and side post. Side post is for the lead wire coming from the first battery, the neg to ground. The top post is for the plow itself..I also hookup a second "sensing " 10g wire off the "BAT" post off the alt and hook it to my second battery positive cable..
     
  3. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    You have a serious grounding issue if it was looking that hard for a ground path. Clean and inspect ALL the grounds in the system all the way to and including the battery.
     
  4. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    That is an interesting story. If the hose brading is charged then, like the others say, it's a ground issue. Most vehicles that come with two batteries have sufficient cableling from the factory but if something is loose or corroded you need to clean / tighten them up. You can never have too many ground cables but why not just fix what is there rather than just running all new, redundant cables? You can use a test light to check for bad connections by simply running the lamp across the connection you suspect. In your case I would connect a test light between the plow pump / motor casting to one of the battery negative posts. Then run the plow and see if the test lamp lights up at all. Since both of these points should be common the power will should take the easier rout through the cable but if there is a bad connection it will try to go through the test light. The trick is to have some current flowing when you do the test.

    Just a crazy afterthought.... you are sure your main power cables to the relay / motor are connected with the right polarity right? I serviced one plow that was backwards. It actualy worked, sometimes but was far from four years reliable like yours. If this was the case you would think that closing the relay would create an instant short through the motor case, to plow frame and then to vehicle ground through the mount but if the mount is old and rusty ???? I know it is crazy but stranger things have happened. This must be an isarmatic system where the pump casting is just floating on that lower mount bolt, otherwise you would think power would go through the mount rather than the hose. Yes, yes I know, Occam's razer, the simplest explaination is the most likely. Check your grounds and forget about the aliens beaming up your plow and reversing wires.....
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  5. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    Twinman- no sparks that I know of, was moving slowly on a resi driveway when I smelled something. Glad I caught it in time too, scared the crap outta me to hear snap crackle and pop from up front, and see smoke and flame. Good thing I was pushing snow and not dried grass, at least I had something to put it out with. Memo to self: buy a small fire extinguisher for truck.

    Going to get out the ohmmeter and test light tomorrow at the shop to check grounds.

    Basher- I was thinking the same, just surprised at how well the plow has/still works, and have never seen anything like dimming lights or erratic operation that usually comes with a grounding issue.

    Mishnick and Twinman- Single battery setup, although the truck has a second tray I've never added the second battery. I run a big ass Napa dual terminal battery, the top posts are dedicated to the plow and the side posts are for the stock battery cables.

    Mishnick- Polarity is correct, and it is an isarmatic setup.

    I'm done plowing for today, so the truck is sitting with the plow power wires disconnected until I have a chance to look at it further. I will clean and check every connection on this thing, and let everyone know what I find.

    Thanks to all for your responses.
     
  6. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    Might have found something. I had to go back out to clean out a couple resi drives, plow seemed all ok during this. After finishing the last one, I got out to feel the hoses to see if they were hot (like if they were carrying current). They felt fine, so I grabbed the two wire plug to check it, and the plow side of the plug was warm. I felt a little further down on the wires themselves and they were hot. Closer inspection showed the insulation on the ground wire is swollen at the plug, like it's full of corrosion and causing a voltage drop right there. Tomorrow I'm going to cut it open to have a look, and if it's not repairable I should be able to buy a plow side two wire harness from the Western dealer down the road.
     
  7. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Don't even waste your time trying to repair, just replace it. you will never get clean current flow.
     
  8. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    I'm kinda figuring the same, because it's so close to the plug itself. I'm going to stop at the Western dealer tomorrow morning, if he doesn't have a the part in stock I'm going to run an old battery cable in it's place for the time being.
     
  9. twinman326

    twinman326 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,683

    Seem like you a grip on the problem..

    Not to far from you..How was the weather out there yesterday??
     
  10. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    Today I changed the cable, and at the suggestion of the Western dealer I replaced the old square tower style solenoid with the newer round style. Total cost for both items was $65. All seems to work well.

    Twinman- Yesterday was sunny and 30, and today was sunny and mid 30's. Much nicer than Saturday, which was when all heck broke loose for me. Where in NY are you?
     
  11. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    Why did they suggest replacing the relay? Are the new round ones supposed to be better than the older tower type? I have seen those tower relays last for more than ten years. Maybe they were concerned that the lugs would break off when you try to change the cable? Still for $65 you can't go wrong. I wonder did you get the power cable plow side too? If the plug was corroded there may be some problems on that half too. Just to be sure you could do a voltage drop test. Just run a voltmeter from battery + to the + terminal on the plow motor and measure the voltage difference between the two ends when the plow motor is running. Do the same on the negative side from battery - to the pump casting, again test while plow motor is running. The less the better but I would expect to see no more than one volt on each side. Any more than that and you will not get the best performance.
     
  12. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    I explained what happened Saturday morning with the hose smoking and catching fire. I told him I was out of the truck putting out the fire, and the plow pump turned on and the blade swung to the right. He said the solenoid had to be stuck to send power to the motor, and when there's an issue with Western's they tend to default to the right. He also agreed the plow side cable looked bad, he could see the split in the casing and the corrosion on the wire. The way I see it, the plow is probably 10 years old and the solenoid was probably the original one. For an extra $14, I eliminated that as being a potential problem.

    Now of course with my luck since I just fixed my plow it won't snow anymore this season.
     
  13. twinman326

    twinman326 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,683

    15min from Ithaca..Hell broke lose Saturday afternoon..did get home until 8pm Sunday..

    I don't think were done with the snow yet..Maybe one more round...
     
  14. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    Did the plow just suddenly activate or was the motor running when you got out allready? Because if the motor kicked in on it's own the relay wasn't stuck, it was engaged by some other problem.
     
  15. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    Honestly I don't know. I was so shocked by the hose on fire and trying to put it out quickly that I wasn't paying attention.