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Sno-way Plow Electrical Question

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Simbuck, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Simbuck

    Simbuck Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Hi, I just found this great web site and registered.

    I have a Sno-way STD mounted on a 1991 Jeep Cherokee with the standard equipment (no plow-specific engine parts).

    Last week I found that a loose ground wire prevented the powering of the plow motor and, after tightening it hoped that it would also solve the problem I've been experiencing where the amp gauge drops significantly when I raise the plow.

    It didn't, so yesterrday I replaced the negative battery clamp, cleaned up all wires and contacts, and coated them lightly with diaelectric grease before reinstalling them.

    I fully charged the battery overnight and, although the drop in amps is not as big as it was yesterday, it is still noticable (last week the headlights dimmed when I lifted the plow).

    Does anyone have a solution for determing why the lifting (and to a lesser degree turning) the plow drops the amp gauge?

  2. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Lower output alternator plus a smaller battery and the normal higher amp draw of the plow pump. Dimming of the lights is normal, adding a larger or even 2nd battery and larger alt will help. You can also manage how you plow, don't repeatedly swing the plow full left to right, don't lift it all the way up when backing up when just off the ground will work, push in a lower gear to keep the RPM's up.
  3. JeepTJ

    JeepTJ Senior Member
    Messages: 225

    The plow pulls a lot of amps (100+?) when in the up mode. You will see a drop in volts because of it. The Cherokee was available with several different alternators, up to 135 amps, I think. Which one do you have? Even though you said you fully charged your battery, did you check the specific gravity to see it is at full capacity? How many cold cranking amps (CCA) does your battery have. You may want to get one with 800 - 900 CCA. I have a Wal-Mart Everstart Maxx with 875 CCA in my XJ. It made a big difference for the plow over the stock 650 CCA battery that was in the Jeep.


    On edit: What festerw said!!!
  4. Simbuck

    Simbuck Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks FesterW and JeepTJ!

    My battery was (supposedly the biggest I could fit in the Cherokee (according to Advance Auto), but it only has 790 at 32 degrees and 670 at zero (the Jeep is parked in a 5o degree garage, so it's pretty warm when I take it out.

    My guess is that the alternator is whatever was standard in '91 and isn't big enough fr plowing as you both suggest.

    My neighbor is a good mechanic and says he'll replace the alternator if I find a more powerful one, and will replace that battery with the biggest I can fit in the Cherokee, even if I have to rework the hold down clamp.

    I've learned to lift the plow only a few inches when backing up as you recommend, FesterW, and that is a great tip for all homeowner plow operators!

    Thanks again, men...I'll let you know how it plays out.

  5. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    There have been many good suggestions made, I will add;

    Cleaning all your connections will help, so could a fluid change. Don't forget the connections at the 150 amp circuit breaker and the ground at the endhead on the pump. Cleaning all connections including coils, harness plugs and the stems on the valves will help your control receiver last longer.

    Are the power and ground cables attached directly to the battery? If not move them so that they are.

    Lubricate all the moving parts, Fluid film works very well.

    High amp HOURS are most important when choosing a battery, it's not about cranking power it is about reserve.
  6. Simbuck

    Simbuck Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    WOW - THANKS for the additional information, Basher!

    I did indeed forget to clean the cables attached to the 150 amp breaker, and will do so.

    Yes, the power and ground cables were connected to the battery by the Sno-way installer.

    My battery has a reserve capacity of 90 minutes, Basher...is this sufficient?

    Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) @ 0°F: 610
    Cranking Amps @ 32°F: 763
    Reserve Capacity (minutes): 90

    I'm looking locally for a 135 amp alternator but haven't located one yet. Do any of you know the amperage in the stock '91 alternator (I've seen several alternators locally with 90 and 110 amps, but will hold off for a 135 amp if necessary to make a big difference in performance.

    I really appreciate the help offered here!

  7. Simbuck

    Simbuck Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    It seems thst the stock alternator is 90 amps, and the only alternator I've found on-line is 115 amp (the 135 or 136 amps are listed only for Grand Cherokees on the sites I've visited).

    SO, the $54,000 question is, would it be wirth $200 to install a 115 amp alternator over the stock 90 amp? (It doesn't seem like a big improvement but I'm no electrician.)

    Thanks again everyone for your patient assistance!

  8. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Have you checked a local rebuild/repair shop. Often they can rebuild your stock housing to much high specification.
  9. Simbuck

    Simbuck Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    No basher, I haven't - but will, although that sounds like a job best performed at the end of the plow season if I can get by with the two Jeeps as is until then.

    We've been clobbered with snow over the last few weeks and there's another Nor 'Easter due Wednesday that may hit us again depending on how the storm tracks.

    My neighbor did a wonderful job repairing the brakes yesterday, and I mounted the plow and pulled it into the sem-warm garage.

    When I mounted the plow on my '95 Jeep Cherokee yesterdeay to clear some snow in preparation for the next storm I noticed the voltage drop big time the first time I lifted it after plowing down the hill. But, after about ten minutes it seemed to drop less, which I attribute to that Jeep being in zero degrees overnight. Would a cold battery that warms up account for that initial big voltage drop?

  10. Simbuck

    Simbuck Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I'd like to thank Festerw, JeepTJ and Basher for their help.

    I removed all of the cables both under the hood and iinside the plow, cleaned and applied diaelectric grease and reinstalled them.

    While the gauge still drops occasionally (especially when the defroster is on), it recovers immendiately and doesn't drop as often, which I attribute partially to festerw's great advice to only lift the plow enough to back-up, instead of all the way up (which I thought I was doing but caught myself lifting it fully a few times).

    Thanks, men, for all of the advice.