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Western Pro Plus Fleet Flex Controller Flashing

Discussion in 'Western Plows Discussion' started by horizon jay, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. horizon jay

    horizon jay Member
    Messages: 99

    Hey guys! I have a western 9' Pro Plus Fleet Flex that as of recently has been working intermittently. I will be plowing and then push: up, down left or right (doesnt seem to matter which) and then I will get no response from the plow and the light on controller will flash 4 times. It was very bad the other night (making me nervous like, oh no! bad) then I re-greased the fittings from truck to plow and controller & it worked much better but still did it intermittently. Last night I took off the pump cover and greased the plugs on the plow iso mod box & again under the hood just for good measure. Then today I go out and its the same thing it works and then stops. Any ideas? It seems to do it whenever it wants too which is puzzling. I sat at a stop light and went left to right constantly trying to re-create thinking maybe too much power draw and my alternator couldnt keep up but battery display went down to 12-11ish and worked fine. Which is lower than I have ever seen it plowing. Any Ideas? Thanks in advance for any feedback! This new plow has been giving me fits! If only warranty would transfer to buyers it would be in a shop right now!
     
  2. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    The flashing light indicates "communication loss" which means you are on the right track. This plow has what they call multiplex controls. The hand held controller is a signal generator that sends a unique frequency down a single wire to the plow where it is decoded and then power is sent to the appropriate valve/s and the motor relay. There is also a second wire that sends diagnostic information from the plow to the controller, same system. When you look at your two plugs on the grill you will see the plug with two big pins (battery + and -) and two small pings, these two small ones are the multiplex communications pins. The other plug is dedicated to plow lights and has the loop back that tells the truck that the plow is connected.
    So you are on the right track by cleaning and greasing the grill plugs, but you know you must use dielectric grease and not normal grease right? Look closely at the two little pins in the 4 pin plug, are they broken, bent or corroded? You can also look under the plastic cover on the plow. There you will see, near the motor relay, where the two big cables from the battery separate from the two small communication wires. They will be twisted together as they go to the plug on the plow module (or decoder). Ensure they are in good shape and securely attached to the plug on the module. Nest go under the hood of the truck. Find the main plow battery cables. They usually go directly to the battery + and - posts but sometimes they will be connected to the block (-) or to a main junction (+). Follow the two cables down toward the grill where they come together into a black mesh sheathing. Right where they come together there will be a small black 4 pin plug. This is where the controller harness joins the battery cable to run out to the plow. Inspect this for cleanliness and condition. Two of the wires are + and - going back to the isolation module etc while the other two are those two communication wires. Next, maybe this should be first, check your plug where the controller connects under the dash. Look at the pins and their condition. Now look at and feel the wire just below the bottom of the hand held controller. There is a hard rubber stress relief, check the wire right where it comes out and bends. These controllers often fail there because the stress relief is too stiff. If none of the above give you an "aha" moment then you need to dig out your controller cable between the controller plug under the dash all the way to where it plugs into the battery cable, something is pinched, cut or burned.
     
  3. horizon jay

    horizon jay Member
    Messages: 99

    Wow! Thank you! Not only did you break it down so I can understand it but now I know where to get started! I just got done doing a clean up from drifting and it kept cutting out. I was gettin ticked off to say the least. I really appreciate your help and I will figure this out tomorrow! I'll let you know what happens THANKS!!
     
  4. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    My pleasure, I do this every day at my shop for money but these questions keep me on my toes and make me better for my paying customers. Glad I could help. I tried to find the mechanic's guide for the Fleet Flex straight blade but the only one available online is the HTS. The lighting and control circuits are the same but the pump assembly is probably different though. Not sure as I haven't worked on a new style straight blade yet. But this should help with the electrical. Your system will be exactly the same as this.
    http://library.westernplows.com/westernplows/pdffiles/41467.00_050110.pdf
    Page 38 shows an awesome overview of the electrical you are concerned with on the truck side. Page 54 shows the plow half and the decoder module.
     
  5. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    I read tonight that the float and power on light will flash for one other reason than communication loss and that is for the security gaurd pin code locking system. When the red power light flashes slow it means communication loss, fast flash means it wants the 4-digest pin code. The float light (green) should only flash during pin code programming process. There is no listing for 4 flashes, it should b continuous either fast or slow. But how do u know if it's a slow or fast flash?
    This odd 4 flash observation points at the controller or plow module. If u don't find any problem with the communication wires I would try a different controller and then if it persists change the plow module.
     
  6. hammerstein

    hammerstein Senior Member
    Messages: 318

  7. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    Good point, all they need is the plow serial number to verify when it was installed. Two seasons warranty....
     
  8. horizon jay

    horizon jay Member
    Messages: 99

    Thanks for the feedback! I am using di-electric grease btw forgot to mention that. Last night I noticed it was flashing in different increments. 1 flash or 2 , 3 up to 4 lol. The green float light doesnt flash its just the red power light. Also I heard clicking but couldnt tell if it was plow or truck side cause there was only one of me out there. My Western dealer called western to check on the "Warranty" and they said, " Unfortunately it is non-transferable." It sure doesnt read that way tho! This is the same place that didnt know what a two wire system was ("Never seen one like that before."sales) then their mechanic was like," yeah thats the fleet flex," soo theres that too. Meanwhile here I am :mechanic:
     
  9. horizon jay

    horizon jay Member
    Messages: 99

    I should add that I never activated the anti theft. So if four flashes means it wants a code I dont have one. Nor have I needed one since I bought it. Im going to contact western about the warranty and see what they say.
     
  10. horizon jay

    horizon jay Member
    Messages: 99

    Kudo's on the warranty Hammerstein! I havent gotten an answer yet but after being on hold they said they would have to call me back. At first they tried to say that warranty was for the dealer and I was a "consumer". Insinuating that This wasnt my warranty even though it clearly states commercial warranty in bold at the top & That my warrant was this ----. This warranty is not offered to purchasers of snowplows for personal, family or household purposes. A separate, “limited” warranty is offered to such purchasers.<--
    I said that ^ isnt me & he said yes it is, I said no I am a business, I plow commercially. All in all kudos to Jeff at Western. He was very polite and said he would get back to me today. I will keep you posted!
     
  11. horizon jay

    horizon jay Member
    Messages: 99

    Warranty does transfer for commercial plowers!!!!! Thank you Hammerstein & Mishnick ! Western owners dont let anyone ever tell you different. Western rep said he doesnt know why its thought to be otherwise but after talking to legal team I should be covered! Great news! Now to talk to the dealer. This should be interesting... Thanks guys!
     
  12. hammerstein

    hammerstein Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    Its probably the dealer not wanting to work for what Western offers to pay for warranty work. I too have a new pro plus with fleet flex and was not thrilled about it, actually asked the dealer if there was any way to get a non fleet flex one. I also have 2 older pro plus and don't like the fact that they are not all interchangeable now. Also don't like all the buttons on the controller that I don't or will never need.
     
  13. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    That is true about dealers not liking to do warranty. The paperwork involved takes as long as the repairs and they don't get paid for that either. As I understand they are expected to "suck it up" because they profit from the sale and install so they must absorb it when there is a problem. Just be persistent and call Western directly if they don't come through for you. From what you describe it has to be a controller or plow module problem. If you never put in a code it should not ask for one. And if there was a code in there already it shouldn't work at all unless the plow and controller are mated with the same code.
     
  14. horizon jay

    horizon jay Member
    Messages: 99

    I have an appt on Tuesday at dealer to check it out. I checked wires for disconnects and or burns and see nothing so I think you are right Mishnick. It has to be a box or the controller. I will let you know what happens. Thanks guys!
     
  15. horizon jay

    horizon jay Member
    Messages: 99

    Had my appt today. Sat at the dealer all day. (well for a cpl hours then when they diagnosed plow they said a cpl hrs so I left and came back). The first thing I see when I show up this morning is the work order stating : HE IS UNDER THE IMPRESSION ITS COVERED BY WARRANTY:. I was like hang on lets discuss this before you take my keys. It is covered. Call Western right now. They called and lo and behold... ITS COVERED. Long story short day is gone and my plow is fixed. They said the controller issue was due to a loose ground (just a lil embarassing) but I checked that prior to taking it in? (they did replace the nut on terminal tho). Really hoping that was the real problem and not a mod box or controller that was just playing nice for the techs. Anyway my plow has been leaking fluid from what seemed nearly every orifice it has, on and off from day one. Replaced an elbow and hose after blowing one out myself and it was still leaking. Thought maybe lift cylinder was leaking, not sure? I called and dealer said it was just purging through breather and I was stacking too high. Well, come to find out the seal from the reservoir to the motor was bad and it was leaking from there and just spraying everywhere! They said its a common problem with the new fleet flex and they had a brand new one do it last week (1 week after install). So if you have a 2011-2012 fleet flex and its bleeding out, that may be your problem & check there first! When I bought that plow I took it direct to dealer (I never saw a fleet flex before) and asked if it was covered under warranty and did I need them to install it to keep warranty. They told me warranty does not transfer so install didnt matter. Today that same guy said he learned something new today and they always just assumed it didnt transfer and they were not sure where that "rumor" started. Warranty does transfer for commercial operators. All in all the dealer was VERY helpful today and very nice to deal with. They took care of me and treated me with respect. I did the same to them. Had I gone in there cussin and yellin Im sure my plow would still be broke. ( the me 5 years ago would have done that). So if you have a plow that you bought used but its still within 2 years, It is covered (at least Western). If they argue tell them to call Western and you will wait. Had it not been for Hammerstein and Mishnick I never would have contested them and probably been out at least a cpl hundred bucks today, probably more. (They spent about 4-5 hrs on it. Not sure shop rate plus parts.) Chalk 1 up for the little guy! I feel like I won the lotto lol, which is sad because it should have been that way all along. THANKS AGAIN GUYS! I APPRECIATE YOUR HELP!!
     
  16. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    That's awesome news. But I am wondering what ground was loose to cause communication loss? Most ground connections would just shut the plow controller off.
    As for the leaks, the new Wide-outs and MVP + are notorious for leaks from the factory. The most common thing is the loose ORB plugs where the o-ring is emerging out from under the fitting. The last MVP+ I fixed this on we found the plugs were stripped on the Allen key hole but loose on the threads. How does this happen? If you tighten enough to strip the hole but still not tight enough to seal and stay tight?
    In any case, glad, as you say "chalk one of for the little guy."