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Power Issues

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Lynden-Jeff, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,433


    Well just got back in from my first storm. I have a diesel 04 F250, dual battery single alternator. When I was at one place for a little while I noticed the lights started to dim, radio would shut off every time I operate the plow. I am just running the plow, heater, radio, and dual 55w halogen rotator. I even made the mistake of shutting off the truck to shovel and it was completely dead when I tried to start it. When I'm not using the plow the truck is fine as far as electrical is concerned. What would cause this? Could it be a bad battery? If it was a bad alternator I would figure the truck wouldn't be running at all?

  2. mike psd

    mike psd PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,028

    check for any loose and bad connections first but it sounds like some weak batteries too me . if have a dvom you can test this yourself at the house or shop . if not take it to shop and have starting/ charging system tested .
  3. HomeBuilder

    HomeBuilder Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I have an 04 F350 with a Boss V-XT, and am having the same problem. Last year I had a Boss Straight blade on the same truck, and only had an issue after several hours of plowing a parking lot, this year I'm plowing a Townhome complex, and only get a few hours into it.

    I have new batteries, the belt looks good, and I have no problem the rest of the year, so I think I need a bigger alternator- anyone have any better advice??
  4. yamaguy

    yamaguy Senior Member
    Messages: 556

    When I started my truck in the morning on Saturday, It was about 25* out and I did not have the truck plugged in overnight. I was going down my street and went to adjust the plow and the truck died. I had the heat on full blast, the headlights, raido and the glow plugs kicked in because the engine was still cold. Other than that I don't have any problems. Maybe a bigger alt would be nice. http://www.alternatorparts.com/Ford_7.3_Power_Stroke_Diesel.htm
  5. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    your alternator is on its way out, my truck did the same thing last year while plowing and it being 0 out. the radio would just shut off and everything would dim and slow down. replaced the alternator with a higher output one, and replaced the serpentine belt a couple of days later when it started to slip. if you do replace your alternator relace the belt at the same time, it was a huge PIA to get that belt off and on, the thing was like 10 ft long.
  6. ptllandscapeIL

    ptllandscapeIL Senior Member
    Messages: 495

    Yeah,I'd agree sounds liek your charging system is going to the crapper,I would start by replacing your batterys and also you can have your alt. tested
  7. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    I do agree you should have your charging system looked at, but it's going to be spendy. I had a battery go in an 02 7.3PSD and it took the other battery and the alternator with it. It was like $800. I was pretty pissed that a 3 year old truck would die like that, I'd be pissed if I had your 04 too. Alternators should last a lot longer than that.
    yeah, BTW, never shut off a diesel in the cold, just let it idle away, better for the motor, better for the car. Diesel's lose heat idlling, so it will cool down nicely.

    Do you plow with your lights on or off?
    Years ago, back in the dark ages, when I'd get to a lot, I'd just put the parking lights on (only when in the light, not when moving from lot to lot), puts a LOT less strain on your electrical system.
    Also, you should try to move the plow when you are at rpm, not idle. (since most engines don't actually charge the battery at idle).
    ex. You get to the end of a run, you stack it and you lift it, while backing up (rpm's up), you set the angle and so when you finish backing up, you drop the plow and away you go. You don't drop the plow, adjust the angle, then go. Make sense?
  8. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,433


    Yea this is what I was doing, I was also plowing with just parking lights aswell. Seems I was JUST using to much power.

    Are these alternators any good?

  9. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    from what i have read the 6.0 PSD at idle pulls alot of amps. add in the heater, radio, lights and plow and you get the idea. then the alternator gets real hot and loses efficiency but your amp draw is still their. i noticed with my truck that the little sight glass things in the batteries were red when my alternator was going bad. after running around with my new alternator on the lights went back to green. this was the middle of last winter that this all happened.
    http://www.svapowerproducts.com/ this is the place i got my alternator from, great to deal with and got it to me quick.
    since i went to a higher output alternator i started to slip the belt. like i stated above its a good idea to replace your belt when you replace the alternator.
    good luck getting tension off the belt tensioner. i rented a tool to hold the tensioner up so i could slide the belt off but it still was a PIA.
  10. berkshiremnts

    berkshiremnts Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    You need to upgrade your alternator AND wires to batteries. I had the same problem w/ a 2003. The factory alternator in those years was only 130 amps. Not enough to keep everything going. I changed that truck to a 200 amp alternator and it worked fine. On my trucks I now order the dual alternators.

    Ford now upgrades the single alternator to 200 amp w/the plow pkg.
  11. HomeBuilder

    HomeBuilder Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    The batteries are only 1 month old, and I learned from last year to only run strobes (for safety) but no headlights or non-essential accessories while on site.

    I've thought about running in low range just to keep the RPMs up, but I don't really like that idea. I'm exploring high output alternators now, but $400 seems like alot to spend right now.
  12. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Try turning your heater down, or off first.....actually, turn everything off, hook a volt meter to the battery so you can see if from your drivers seat and then turn things on one by one....

    I have the 7.3 psd and find when its cold, the heater on high just about kills the system but the lights don't have anywhere near the bad effect. In warmer weather (about 35 and above) everythings OK--- good charge right away and the heater doesn't bother too much---get down into the 20's and it takes about 15 minutes to even reach a decent charge level. In cold weather I have to keep the rpms up into the 1500 range to maintain a good charge level---and that's without a plow.

    So turn on one thing at a time and see whats killing you the most----then try the plow without anything else on. This should clear up what's hitting you the hardest. You might be barely making it without the plow.