Electric Power drain when plowing

snowplow bob

Junior Member
Western New York
I have a 1989 F150 4X4 with a electric Meyers plow (1 year old aftermarket pump motor). Single battery set up. Here's my problem. 2 year old Alternator (probably 65 amps).
When raising or lowering the plow the voltmeter in the dash drops and than recovers slowly. After a while 10 to 15 minutes of continuous plow raising and turning the voltage is extemly low and does not recover for another 5 to 10 minutes! If I'm not careful and stall the truck I need to jump the battery to get started again!

When not plowing the charging system apears to function normallu

Do I go to Dual batteries, higher output alternator or what.

Any help or advice is appreciated thanks


Junior Member
id go with a higher output alternator

does anyone know anything about using capacitors for this?
i know they use them in car audio to provide an extra boost of power...so like raising/lowering the plow would take power from the capacitor and not over load the alternator to where it has to draw from the battery


Senior Member
65 amps sounds a bit low for all that drain , so I would go with a bigger alternator.... I am in a similar predicament myself... Started going to the dual batt route , seems that by hooking up two batts , you get alot more juice when you need it for starting and plowing, But you also need the juice coming from the alt to maintain that power.. A friend told me just to add a higher alt , like a 125 or so and then I'll have no probs...

I got a 200 amp alt and am getting a smaller pulley to speed it up at idle so it can handle the drain by the plow and electric dump lift at low rpms, and idle... and I'm still gonna hook up the 2nd batt just to be safe so I have both more reserve via 2 batts and the power to fill those batts with the higer amp alt.. Should have it all in over the weekend ?? see how it goes...

John DiMartino

PlowSite.com Veteran
You need a higher output alternator to start. If you have the $ the dual batterys help too,but they are needed as bad as the alt is. I see a lot of Fords plowing around here with the headlights off at night in lit lots ,and the parking lights are dim,so i know your not alone with your problems.


Senior Member
I'm so happy to see this thread! I run a 93 F150 5.8L. I notice the volt gauge goes kooky. It has a small alternator. The Econoline with the 5.8L lists a 130Amp alt, but not the F series. It also seems to have a different belt configuration. I picked up a 130Amp alt but I haven't tried it yet. I need the truck every day, the old Fury is too tempermental lately so I'm afraid to risk downing the F150....and I hear SNOW Thursday so....LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU GUYS FIND OUT!


PlowSite.com Addict

3-5" IN PHILA.



Senior Member
dodge ram

My 97 dodge ram 2500 with the snow plow package has a 130 amp alt. I have a 8ft fisher MM and a 7ft snoman backplow . I bought a new top of the line die hard battery this season to establish a known good battery . I havent had to plow at night yet this season ( the back plow is new) . last year there was a strong draw with the headlights/blower / plow etc but it worked . thought about adding a second battery hoping the 130 amp alt wouldnt become the weak link

snowplow bob

Junior Member
Western New York
Thanks every one! Looks like NAPA will be getting a little richer. I'm going first with the heavier alternator and use the battery from my summer truck for the dual. Living south of Buffalo I'd better get in tomorrow. Thanks again!


newtown ct
dual batterys

Just as a thought I would go with a stock 100 amp alternator and than install two new IDENTICLE batterys and wire them in parallel. skip the isolater,relay, bs If you look at a superduty ford with the powerstroke option this is what they use with great succes. a 200 amp alternator will run you some big cash....so save that and buy new batterys. My regular job includes modifying car and truck electrical systems and we have been doing this for several years and have had no problems at all with our dual battery setups
#1 - Bigger alt AND bigger batteries

Use two batteries,prefferably as large as possible in case size.Group 65 and Group 31 are the best.Always look for the most reserve capacity,because that is what you need,not CCA's.The group 31 batteries have huge reserve capacities and are quite cheap at most truck shops.When adding a bigger alt,go up to a larger case size.The small case alternators cannot put out anywhere near what they are rated at,especially at low speed,and usually have a short life span when run hard.Use a Leece Neville or big Delco,they will put out some real amperage all night long and last for years.The Leece Neville 140 amp can usually be found new at most truck shops for #120-150.00.We use them on all of our trucks,never let us down,no more battery problems.

#2 - Check the plow and stuff on the truck

Bad motor,pump problems,siezed pins,all require more juice to run,killing the battery quicker.Also look for bad battery cables and connections,especially grounds,and check the amperage draw for the headlamps,blower motor and resistor,etc,as these components can suck up alot as well if in need of repair.

#3 - Change your plowing style

Use the plow as little as possible.Think ahead so you don't have to keep angling back and forth.When lifting,bump the plow up just before the curb,then as you hit the pile,the plow will lift on it's own,then hit the button again while the plow is up in the pile to take it all the way up.If you not piling snow then just lift the plow an inch,not all the way up.Keep on only the neccesary lights,keep the heater on low,etc etc,save as much juice as you can and you'll be suprised how far it will go.


Senior Member
northern Wi.
Bigger Alternator

Last year I needed help plowing, Got my buddy with a Ford 1990V8 only went a couple hours at night new battery ran down.
It had a 65 amp on it the parts store said the stock one was 60 amp and the 65 amp was the high output,I thought it was funny.
I went to a rebuilder and found a ford 3G 130amp that had same type mounting just a little larger overall size.
It took about 3 hours to trim a little clearance in the mounting bracket to allow for the larger diameter case, It fit right on belts lined up good.I had to get a different belt and change some wire terminals to fit the new regulator plug. Also be sure to put on a new wire from the output terminal to the battery terminal to handle the high amperage.
We plowed with that truck for the rest of the season added Aux. lights and plowed the short lots really worked it hard never had anymore trouble.
For continous use the dual batteries will not help if the alternator cannot keep up.
I plow continous with a 120 amp on my truck 1 battery never a problem,More batteries more wires =more money more trouble.


2000 Club Member
Where's your manners, guys?

Snowplow Bob, Welcome to Plowsite!:drinkup:

Do I go to Dual batteries, higher output alternator or what.

Your battery is like a storage tank for power, so if you have another tank, you've got more power. On the other hand, if you continuously pull more out of the tanks than you put in, eventually the tank runs dry. If you use the 130 amp alternator as suggested, you ought to be in better shape, but if you can find a bigger one to fit, that's definately better.

Also when plowing, don't use any unnecessary accessories, they'll draw your power down too. If your working an area that's lit, turn out your headlights, but run parking lamps. Keep your blower motor off high if you can, this is a big draw too.


Senior Member
Help.. how do you test the output of the alt? i cant seen to find anyplates on the thing that would tell me. I have a 98 chevy 2500 extended cab with the 5.7 350 4x4. Please help me i think i want to get a bigger one any ways but maybe i dont need it.. does any one know the output size? or can they find it out for me? it is still the original factory alt.


Senior Member
Canandaigua NY
The best thing to do is call a local dealer. They can tell you what the stock alt. is rated for. They would also be able to tell you what they have for higher output alt. You would need a amp. meter to check the output.