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western plow fluid vs dex III mercon?

Discussion in 'Western Plows Discussion' started by WhitePlowr, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. WhitePlowr

    WhitePlowr Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    this guy I know is using dex III mercon trans fluid in his western unimount plow and the Meyers stuff in is ultramount setups. I use the western fluid. whats the deal on using dex III vs the western fluid . you doing any harm or one is just better at not freexzing up?
  2. Tony350

    Tony350 Senior Member
    Messages: 546

    I have always ran tranny fluid in my older westerns but have heard the new ones need plow fluid because it is thinner when cold.
  3. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,353

    Dex III is transmission fluid designed for transmissions that actually warm up so the fluid thins out. I understand that way back when conventional cable plows were state of the art western recommended ATF. But that was 30 years ago. Now western recommends the blue aircraft hydraulic fluid because it holds stable viscosity at a wide range of temperatures.
  4. Jodan

    Jodan Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    And I would assume all, I know some, have a de-icing agent in them to prevent freeze up if water gets in there. Dex III wouldn't have that.
  5. 94halftonchevy

    94halftonchevy Junior Member
    from se pa
    Messages: 19

    I've had my western unimount for years, it's about 13 years old. I always ran it with dextron 3 until this year when I had a angle cylinder replaced. The dealer flushed it out so any debris from the broken cylinder wouldn't cause future problems. They refilled it with western fluid. About a month later I had my first freeze up. Could be a fluke, but I remember reading on here that dextron 3 tolerates a little bit of moisture in the system better than factory fluid. Personally I would think the western fluid would have better anti-icing performance but what ya' goin' do. It's funny that what works for one guy causes nothing but problems for another.
  6. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,353

    It is true that Dex III is more tolerant of moisture than the blue plow fluid, but Dex gets thick when it's cold. Way back when Western build the cable controlled plows they actually recommended it but back then those valves had much larger orifices than the new model cartridge valves so the thick oil wasn't a problem. When Western switched to the cartridges they continued recommending Dex until they realized they were operating too slow when cold so they switched to the blue aircraft hydraulic fluid. Soon after this switch they realized that the blue fluid was a desiccant (absorbs moisture out of the air) which caused problems with ice collecting on the sump screens. To compensate for this they started including the 5 psi vent cap which only lets air out when it goes over 5 psi. It lets air in with any amount of negative pressure but not out. So what happens is the air trapped in the top of your reservoir is compressed and decompressed, like a little bladder, every time the fluid level goes up and down but no air comes in or out.
    So.. if you are plowing in Florida where it never gets colder than, well, warm... then use Dex because it is resistant to moisture and won't get thick because it never gets cold. But if you operated where it gets cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey then use the blue fluid with the grey plastic 5 psi vent cap.
  7. rjigto4oje

    rjigto4oje PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,379

    I've had 2 different dealers tell me atf mecron with a couple of ounces of denatured alcoholic how do those plow heaters that r on ebay work
  8. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,353

    Plow heaters are a scam, unless you can afford the extension cord long enough to leave it plugged in while you plow your route. Think about it, you unplug your plow to use it, at which time the heater stops heating, your plow gets cold because there is no internal combustion like an engine so after an hour the water in the fluid freezes and the fluid gets thick (if you don't use blue fluid). So all you did was waste electricity, same as keeping your plow in the garage. By the time you get to your first site it's cold already.
    If mecron and alcohol were good for your plow Western would be selling it in gallon jugs labeled Western merc-ahol for twice what it's worth. I bet the same dealers that recommend that won't give you warranty when your plow fails.....
  9. xjoedirt55x

    xjoedirt55x Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    On top of the fact that as soon as your truck starts moving cool air past the resevoir, it is going to also move any heat that the fluid would have taken to.
  10. rjigto4oje

    rjigto4oje PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,379

    The heater I'm talking about is a 12 volt one I don't have one I have a older unimount I put 1.5 ounces of denatured alcohol and never had a problem I've also never had one freeze either
  11. xjoedirt55x

    xjoedirt55x Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    post a link up of the one you are talking about. I am running the blue fluid and never had one freeze (knock on wood)
  12. rjigto4oje

    rjigto4oje PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,379

    I'm on my smartphone search western snow plow parts there on e bay around 50 dollars its In the theory of a glow plug
  13. rjigto4oje

    rjigto4oje PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,379

    NEW ITEM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plow heater fits the older "red" markIII powerpacks both cable and solenoid operated.(see last picture)This is a brand new 100 watt, 12v stainless heater. Draws only 10 amps and measures 4 1/8" long. Installs in the reservoir fill plug with a 1/4" pipe thread. Comes in NON RETAIL packaging, includes easy one wire installation instructions.

    If you have ever had a snowplow freeze up during a snow storm, then you know this will save you alot of money in down time. This improves the viscosity of the oil making it easier for the electric motor to work and warms the oil preventing freeze ups. I guarantee you will love it !!!!!!!!!!

    Fast shipping with USPS Priority mail

    The best way to determine which plow heater will work is to remove the fill plug and stick a pencil or other object down the hole and measure the depth of the hole, up to the bottom of the threads in the housing. I have 2 heaters, one that is 6 1/4 “long and one that is 4 1/8” long. Try to use the longer one if possible, you will have more of the heater in contact with the oil when operating the plow.
  14. rjigto4oje

    rjigto4oje PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,379

    170942102764 this is the ebay item number
  15. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Plow heaters just draw valuable amps, 10 amps draw constantly:eek:, all that power wasted by a poor substitute for proper service.

    ATF will use more amps, work the motor and pump harder, the plow will operate slower and if heated and cooled continually will have paraffin separation issues.
  16. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,353

    Ten amps on a plow that already puts a heavy load on any charging system is asinine! If you have no insulation around your hydraulic unit, reservoir, hoses and rams it will do no good. Maybe, at -10 it would keep your fluid at -8 but water freezes at zero Celsius. Think of a 100 watt bulb outside in a snowstorm laying against a metal fence. The bulb may feel warm but the fence will be just as cold as the wind two inches from the bulb. The heat energy will b dissipated faster than it's produced.
    Spend your money on good service. In my experience the only plows that freeze up are the ones whose owners can't remember the last time the fluid was changed! I agree with Basher "a heater is no substitute for good service!"
  17. road2damascus

    road2damascus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,845

    with western fluid, I have not had a freeze up. Plow was slow after not being used over night,outside in -15f degrees. After working it up, down, left right a couple times, it was back to normal.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  18. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,353

    My wide out runs western fluid. I park outside all year. This winter we have seen frequent -20 C. I can't see any change in speed.
  19. rjigto4oje

    rjigto4oje PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,379

    My fluid gets changed every year along with inspecting the filter hoses and other wearable things a good PM goes a long way what kind of blanket or insulation are you talking about
  20. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,353

    There is no ready fit package for this because it's simply not practical.