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True Plow Oil or ATF?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by madadam, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. madadam

    madadam Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    What is up with ATF in these plows? I hope you never get water in your Hydrolics and it gets really !@#% cold out and it freezes. All I know is waterand ATF don't mix and the plow oil has antifreeze in it. If someone has heard different let me know.
  2. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    I have used regular ATF for many years with no problems. I recent years I started using synthetic ATF for better cold weather performance. This has been in Fisher and Western pumps. (It even said in manuals that is was acceptable) Meyer pumps do tend to like a lighter fluid so I do not use ATF in those but there are those that do. If you are concerned about anti freeze in it you could add 1/2 to 1 oz of methol alcohol to it (depending on system fluid capacity). Alcohol is the only anitfreeze that can be added to oil because only it can bond to both the water and oil at same time at the molecular level. Do not use isopropyl as it is 30 to 50% water by volume as bought over the counter. At a 50% water level Isopropyl freezes at about -25. Add in any water it may find in system at the freezing point gets a lot higher yet. Methyl alcohol (Dry Gas and Gasoline antifreeze) has a freezing point of minus 144 in its pure state and when it takes on the same amount of added moisture that deluted Isopropyl does, it will have a condsiderably lower freezing point too.
  3. NJ Plowman

    NJ Plowman Senior Member
    Messages: 794

    I have used straight ATF in my western pumps for over 10 years with no problems at all. We change the fluid on a yearly basis and have never had any problems. :p
  4. madadam

    madadam Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    ok I see neyers pumps you should run maybe there fluid. But western and the others are using ATF. Hey thank you all for the useful info.
  5. ggwash21

    ggwash21 Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    I have a E-60 and run ATF3 mopar fully syntheic oil.. never a problem, and we have the record for the coldest temp up here. (-60) never had a problem.. We run ATF3 in all of our plows blizzard 810, sno-way V, 2 meyers, 2 westerns and so on. i have seen alot of questions on ATF i took a chance when i changed and loved it ever since.... :gunsfiring:
  6. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 481

    If you get water in your plow system it will freeze no matter what brand or type of oil you use. I have had seal problems for the last couple years and had to drain the system 2 or 3 times each year. I just had the pump rebuilt and found out that 3 seals were not instaled correctly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for no more frozen pump.

  7. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    i like using the true hydraulic fluid the they say to use so the dont give uoi sh@t about it later
  8. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    I have used ATF for the last 7 years and have never had a freeze up.
    In a Western pump and a Myer.
    But you must drain and refill at least once a year.
    Remember if stuff leaks out, stuff can leak in. There is always going to be water getting in, the seals on the rams and lift cylinder try their best to keep it out,pits and scratches on the rams will let it in.
    When I did a change this season the ATF came out PINK, It had a lot of water in it.
  9. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    Man remind me to never stand under a car lift you guys own. At 3 bucks a quart X 2 times a year = 6 bucks. Sorry but im not that cheep, I buy the good stuff. Always rem this oil is cheeper then metal...Rob
  10. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    ATF fluid is tuff stuff and it has a lot harder life in a tranny than it ever will in any plow pump.
  11. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    Does anyone know what snowplow hydraulic fluid is? I use synthetic ATF since it is thinner than regular hydraulic fluid. Is plow hydraulic fluid as thin as ATF? Probably the same stuff? It is cold up here so I use what works in the cold which is synthetic ATF..
  12. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    Yes ATF is a hydraulic fluid because a automatic tranny is hydraulicly run and controlled. I use syn ATF too as it flows better in cold weather. I would love to see the spec on some of that snowplow fluid. You never will though because if you knew it you would not likely pay the extra money for it. No plow OEM makes fluid, they use something off of the shelve and package it for their needs.
  13. streetsurfin'

    streetsurfin' Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    That is right. They cannot tell you to only use their oil. They may recommend it, but that is not the info you are looking for. Look for the type of oil that is spec'd for the equipment, i.e. Dexron/Mercon, Type F, 10W. For them to insist you use their oil or to deny warranty because of not using their brand is illegal unless they provide it to you and every customer for free. This is how the Moss-Magnuson Act was explained to me.
  14. LINY Rob

    LINY Rob Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    western installation instruction manual
    call to western
    call to my local dealer

    all confirmed that I could use Dextron III in my new western

    its not the cost, its the convience
    but if you figure out that its about 1/3 less you can change your oil 2-3 times a year and not be so concerned.
  15. blizzardplowman

    blizzardplowman Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    A 5606 mil-spec hyd fluid is what I use in all my equipment, be it Blizzard, Hiniker or Western, I have found over the years that it produces a much lower amp draw and works down to -56f before it starts to thicken up. Not the least expensive oil but when time is money what dose it matter. I'd rather spend a little more now then have a problem during a storm.
  16. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    You have to be carefull because it is possible to use to thin of a oil when it is warmer. Also some milspec hyd oil is not compatable with conventional seals. I am not saying it is the case here but it can be because if it is spec'ed for aircraft, they use different seal materials in their actuators.
  17. Robo

    Robo Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    I believe snoway uses an aircraft spec hydraulic oil in their plows stock. I assume because it doesn't get stiff when cold. As said earlier synthetic ATF will probably work just fine. :nod:
  18. blizzardplowman

    blizzardplowman Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Never had a proble with it in warmer temps- if its snowin its cold :D , It is a extream cold spec oil- you can;'t run it in a auto trans but anything that is hydrolic is fine- including skidloaders up to 45 or so the operating range is -50 to +50 give or take I don't have a spec infront of me. We have run this oil for 12 years in all our equipment and it is very close to snoway or meyer or blizzard low temp oil. Not 100% but close. The key to any oil is how if performs when cold, the amp draw is what gets plow motors and causes the truck to burn wire harness or other electrical equipment. Jm2c
  19. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    My guess is it is probaly close to a striaght 5w oil. I have had a few old tractors that used 10w non detergent in hydraulic system that ran up to 1800 PSI. It work pretty good down to about minus 10 then you had to add a bit of kerosene if you were planning on using it much in colder temps (they even said to do that in original owner manuals) It did not take much.
  20. LINY Rob

    LINY Rob Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    western install manual also suggests some mil-spec fluid, I dont have it in front of me at this time though.