Bleeding Air in the lift ram - Help.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Jason Pallas, Feb 2, 2001.

  1. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    I've got air trapped in my lift ram cylinder on a solenoid controlled Western unit. Can anyone tell me how to bleed the air out? Much appreciated!!
  2. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    Put it to work. Make sure your reservoir is topped up. As the oil flows into the lift, it will mix with the air to froth abit, and then be evacuated when you put the blade down. The air should bubble out of the oil when it reaches the full reservoir. Repeat as required.

    Don't lift the ram by hand - that's where the air comes from.

    Happy Groundhawg Day
  3. OP
    Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    I've worked it a decent amount but there still seems to be a little air in the ram - what about losening the quill and then manually pushing the ram down all the way? Would this force out the remaining air?
  4. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    The last little bit is there because the lift chain adjustment doesn't retract the piston all the way. I wouldn't loosen that quill - one siezed bolt that breaks off, ... and you think you've got problems now.

    Warm it up, cycle it while pushing it down by hand several times, that should do it. Warm oil froths more than cold oil.

    It you still want to take it apart, check your weather forcast first. :)
  5. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Deere John is right,they are pretty much self-bleeding.If you wanted,you could loosen the quill,and let some out,but I don't think it is neccesary.Try it without the lift chain,put it all the way up,then push it all the way down,so it is getting a full stroke.Like he said above the lift chain will stop that last bit of piston movement.
  6. OP
    Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    Thanks guys - I'm headed out now to give it a try. Unfortunately - no real snow in the forcast for a couple of days - just passing showers. Who knows, maybe we'll squeek out an inch or two here somewhere and get in a push. Thanks again!
  7. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    What makes you think theres air in the ram? How did it get there in the first place?

    Turning the quill will do nothing to release trapped air.

    You can loosen the packing a half turn and raise the ram via the pump oil (and air) will come out, then tighten back up while raised (not too tight).
  8. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173

    Hey Jason,

    Not to knock you for trying but I've been following your posts on trying to fix up your pump and from what I've gathered you might have been far better off just paying your local dealer for a servicing. Between the time you've spent repairing it, added to the time posting and waiting for replys you might have been better served having someone experienced do the work for the $ 125.00 bucks it might have cost you for a complete service.

    On top of that, provided you have a good dealer you'd probably have a warrenty on the labor, and some piece of mind that you know its all going to work the way its supposed to when the snow starts flying.

    Unless you have lots of free time on your hands I tend to let people do what they do best. Sometimes money spent ISSSS money earned.

  9. OP
    Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    I agree with you totally - unfortunately, all the dealers and service people around here seem to be real idoits. I'd much rather throw $125 at this and know that it's fixed right.
    I'll condense the nightmare of this and then you'll know why I've taken to repairing a lot of our equipment myself. The truck '92 F250 has had a consistent electrical systems drain problem while plowing. Last year we replaced the batttery and the alternator ($100 and $180 aprrox)and thought it was fixed (not much snow after so - who knows?).
    This year problem returns. Battery tests bad - replaced twice. About this time I take it in to have the electrical system diagnosed by Western Dealer - could be bad luck/bad batteries, but batteries shouldn't go bad like that. System checks out. Two weeks later - problem returns. Same dealer checks the alternator - now says its bad and replaces it ($250). A day later, the problem is back - return it to the same dealer, he no says the battery is bad again - another ($100).
    Now up to this point, all these failures have come during snowstorms - the only time problem seem to ever manifest themselves! Each time I've taken it back to the dealer, I've given them an extensive list of the symptoms and also of the things I know that it isn't. I've also listed several things that I believe might be the problem and several things that I'd test/check. Each time the dealer assures me that all these things check out. To this point, the dealer assures me that the pump amp draw is normal and the pressure is good. So, I can pretty much eliminate the pump as the source of the problem (I constantly find myself having to troubleshoot equipment when I do take it to a mechanic - to prevent them from just treating the symptoms and not source!).
    Finally, I cave in and take the truck to the "big Western dealer" on this side of town. They're really expensive put they do most of the installations around here and I've heard they're good - (BUT REAL A#$HOLES). I tell them the history, the symptoms and the what I think may be the problem and let them have at it. (Note: anytime I ever give any advice or suggestions as to any mechanical matter to these guys, I'm very acquiesing - so as not appear "pushy or like a know it all" - always ending with "you guys are the experts so ....."). At any rate, I go to pick up the truck - ANOTHER $304! For what, you ask - a new electrical pump motor $140 and $160 to install it - and rehook the elcetrical contacts to it. As close as I can figure that's about $45 a bolt - as there's 2 mounting bolts and two electrical leads. By the way, at $62/hr labor - it took the mechanic 2 1/2 hrs to do the job. So, let's figure 15 minutes to run the amp load test on the motor (well actually 12 minute to smoke 2 cigarettes and 3 minutes to load test it) - then 15 minutes per bolt. Here's the kicker, the problem was only slightly improved. So, finally, I decided if want something done right..... So, took the pump apart, flushed the system, blah, blah, blah and I think I finally found the problem. It looks like a few worn o rings and an angle cylinder that may have been binding were causing the pump to ultimately strain and load the system.
    So, utimately I blame myself for not getting a Western Mechanic's Manual and chasing this problem down to begin with. I could have bought a new pump (power unit) with the $ I've spent trying to fix this. I wish I could find a decent plow mechanic around here. I know a lot of other compaines with the same problems. Some have even asked me to do repairs as they know that I do all the summer equipment mechanic work myself. I'd much rather pay someone to do this work if I knew it'd be done right. I do know some great mechanics - and I treat those guys like gold (tip 'em, comp 'em, etc..) but they don't know much about plows. Don't worry - I didn't think you were knocking me - I wish I had the luxury of taking it somewhere. Unfortunately, I tried that route and I only ended up wasting about $1100.

    PS - I'm sure air is in the ram - it was really "squishy".

    PSS - Thank god for - everyone's input on this has been very helpful. Had I know about this site eariler, I may have been able to save some of that money. Sorry for the long post - venting feels so good.