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When do you change your fluid?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by ToyotaPower, Apr 11, 2003.

  1. ToyotaPower

    ToyotaPower Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    I was having a discussion with a couple of fellow snow plow guy in my area, and this question came up...

    Is it better to change the fluid of your snow-plow in the beginning of the season being Nov-Dec or would it be better to change it at the end of the season April-May? That's the question...

    What do you do? and why?
  2. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I change in the fall. Ezpecially on plows stored outside condensation can build up in the pumps. We drain, flush and refill with clean fluid. Never had a problem when doing this.
  3. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    I am no expert or scientist at this, but just to keep it simple, I would change the fluid twice a year. Change it in the spring then again in the fall. My theory is that by changing the fluid in the spring, you remove the old fluid and water (if any) out of pump, so it would not be sitting doing damage to the pump during the summer like rusting or gooking up. By changing the fluid again in the fall, you remove the condensation (water) caused during the summer, plus it is like double flushing the system, which mean more fresh fluid inside the system. Your snowplow is a big investment, so why not spend extra few bucks to extend its life and your investment? Plus less chance of problem or downtime. But once again, this is my opinion.
  4. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    You'll often hear me recommend both, BUT, and I should mention it more often, it is better to change it in the spring, for the reasons Stephen mentioned. Why let the moisture stay in the system? Why let sludge form in the system? Those of you that run a landscape business, do you store your mowers with the dirty oil in them for the winter?

    As far as the moisture getting in, there is a simple cure for that. A pipe plug. Find the vent on your system, and after changing the fluid in the spring, plug it. It is physically impossible for a sealed system, to take in moiture, period. Now, if there are any leaks, then the system is not sealed. :)

    Most plow hydraulic oils have a de-icer in them. Most de-icers in them are alcohol based. Alcohol draws moisture out of the air, oil does not. So if you change it in the spring, and the system remains sealed until the fall, there is no need to change it again.

    Not one person who has posted about moisture accumulating in their system over the warmer months has mentioned that they plugged their system vent. :confused:

    So it does not surprise me that moisture got in.

    Just don't forget to remove the plug and put the vent back in before you plow again!

    Not on the topic of fluid, but on storage, do not cover your plows with a tarp. That causes moisture to build up under the tarp like a mini greenhouse. It is best to cover them in another way, so that air can circulate around them. With the shape of today's plows, it is not easy. I just put a piece of plywood over my plow. I also set the cutting edge on a 2 x 6, and prop up the mounting ears with a block of RR tie. All I am really covering is the angle rams. The pump stays on the truck year round. You guys with the Western and Fisher plows that store them outside have a real challenge if you want to cover them and allow air to circulate around them.

    I might be wrong, but I have seen more and more new plows with no couplers, so you cannot separate the headgear from the blade. At least with the Meyer, you can put the headgear and power unit in a shed, or a garage, and leave the blade outside. Sno Ways have that nice plastic cover over the power unit, so there is no problem with covering them.

    Don't forget to clean your electrical plugs, and coat them with fresh dielectric grease too.


    (Here come the flames, LOL)
  5. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    People cover their plows in the summer??? LOL

    I change the oil now but keep the outside pumps stored inside for the off season. Just didn't know why it was better to do it now than wait ;) The under the hood pump is hopefully not taking on water in the off season, because I leave that one in there, just remove the belt so it's not running all summer..
  6. Jerre Heyer

    Jerre Heyer Senior Member
    Messages: 948

    People service there plows (change oil, grease cyls, do repairs )instead of waiting for the first storm in the fall..............No way you've got to be kidding........LOL

    It's great to see.

    I recommend spring service..Ditto on Stephen+Chuck....Get the fluid out in the spring and let it sit with clean fluid for the summer. Fix anything that need repaired, repaint as necessary, grease coat the cyl rods, dielectric grease the electrical connections, Decide if you need a new cutting edge and replace if necessary, put it inside if you can, if not prop it off the ground and cover it from the sun.

    Chuck great note on covering with the tarp keeping the moisture in. Lots of ways to cover while keeping the air flow going.

    Toyoto......Big ups for being proactive on service:drinkup: :drinkup:

  7. Nozzleman

    Nozzleman Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    I change my oil in the spring. As a matter of fact I did it last week. I never considered pipe plugging the vent or covering my plow but I may try both this year.
  8. Mike 97 SS

    Mike 97 SS Banned
    from U.S.A.
    Messages: 1,106

    Where is this vent everyone is talking about? I have the Western Uni Mount, does it have one of these vents? I never noticed it, but then again, never looked for it either. Mike
  9. ToyotaPower

    ToyotaPower Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Thanks Guys, for your great info on reasons for changing snow plow fluid bi-annually. I will change the fluid twice a year now. :D

    I was always into preventive measures in regards to my equipment running longer and lasting even longer.

    P.S. not sure about "vents" or "pipe plug" which chuck is talking about? :confused: Where is it located on a Meyers...
  10. leprechaun_50

    leprechaun_50 Member
    from SW Minn
    Messages: 33

    I usually change after a six-pack.:drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup:
  11. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    On a Meyer E-47 pump, the vent is what you remove to add fluid to the reservior. Same thing on the E-60. (So you Diamond owners with an E-60H pump, it's the same as the E-60 location).

    In the Meyer manuals, the "fill plug" consists of a 'reducer bushing' and a 'pressure relief valve' (vent). In the parts diagrams (available online) it is Item numbers 14 & 15.

    On the underhood pumps, the cap on the pump is vented,and with the engine heat, moisture from the air is not really a problem.

    Maybe Jerre can help with the vent location on other brands. Without a vent, a vacuum would be created in the reservior anytime the fluid level dropped, and by the same principal, pressure would be created when the fluid level increased.

  12. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Chuck - If plows are stored in doors do you recommend plugging the vent? Or is this only for outdoors?

    Learned my lesson a while back about covering equipment with a tarp. I rented a garage from a lady, thought I'd cover my trailer for the winter season. What a mistake. I came back in the spring and had heavy rust on every piece of equipment that had scrathes, etc. where paint was missing. Moisture evaporated off the floor and up into the tarp - and just hovered on my equipment all winter long. Not a good thing. As Chuck said - Greenhouse!
  13. Jerre Heyer

    Jerre Heyer Senior Member
    Messages: 948

    Location of vent caps or plugs for plows.

    Meyer old style T-8 electrolifts ( up down with cable control ) NONE

    Meyer E46,E47,E47H, E57, E60, E60H and Diamonds with the same style pump. Top of cap. This unit lets pressure / fluid out only. It is not designed to let air/water in. Most meyers get H2O in because of connnectors/ pits in the cyls or the top dust/dirt seal goes bad ( contrary to popular opinion this is to keep stuff out not keep the oil in hence the fact it is installed upside down. They also get H2O in them due to condensation.

    Western and Fisher old style ( cable controled red and black cables ) and the Early Unimount units......NONE

    There is a plug for fill and a plug for oil level. Filling to this point leaves air space for fluid movement in the case. Above this point can cause pressure build up. ( lot's of western users can attest to the fact that removing the fill plug can cause air and oil to shoot out = pressure )

    These get water in them from cyl pitting and condensation. The ATF makes a great looking Strawberry milkshake when it get's water in it. The consistancy get's to be the same too just before it freezes up. ( so much for the pipe plug thought keeping the condensation out .....Sorry Chuck )

    The newer Western and Fishers with the tin can style fluid container ( upright and flat ) both have a black plastic breather cap. The one's stamped V1 on the cap should be changed out to V2. This can be on the can in the case of most of the Westerns or can be on the side of the unit as in the case of most of the Fishers. These freeze up but less than the old style because the thermal mass is smaller.

    Snoway, Curtis, Hiniker, Blizzard and Boss with the plastic reservoir use a plastic cap that will allow pressure/ oil out but resists letting the air/moisture in. Also reduces condensation because of the plastics thermal transfer.

    Boss plow's with the tin can style have a cap like the Western and Fishers. Unit is under cover so it keeps the snow and slush spray off and helps with the freeze up problem.

    Fisher can style under hood has a venting fill cap.

    Other under hood style units use a vented fill cap but usually plastic.

    It should be noted the West/Fisher/Boss caps vent in both directions but this newer design has less problems than the older units.
    Meyers------Same great product for 50+yrs.....Nuff said..Cough,Cough

    Biggest culprits for H2O in the system is pitting on the cyls. Followed by condensation. At the first sign of system slowdown check the electrical connections then the fluid level and condition.

    Change it mid season if necessary.

  14. PDQ Pete

    PDQ Pete Senior Member
    Messages: 139

    Jerry I just spray wd-40 or silicone spray on my angle cyls.
    Is greasing them a better way to go my plow sits outside after winter. Pete :drinkup:
  15. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I change it twice a year.In the spring and in the fall.Flush it at the same time.Fluid is cheap,and it only takes a few mins to do.Doing it twice makes sure I get any crap out of the system.Probably overkill,but I do it anyways.

    Westerns don't have vents,so they can sometimes pickup some moisture over the hot and humid summer.
  16. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173

    Just confirming what the meyer manual says, but are you guys storing your rams up and exposed or down in the pump? Just did a double check with my meyers manual and it indeed recommends draining of the fluid at the end of the season then storing the pumps with the rams fully up, and coated with grease or oil to prevent rust. My only suggestion is not to fullyyyyy extend them, leaving about an inch in so when you mount it next season you can push the rod up before trying to force it back down.

    Why cant all winters be like this last one in NJ???

  17. Jerre Heyer

    Jerre Heyer Senior Member
    Messages: 948

    PDQ, I prefer the grease because the WD-40 can be washed off by heavy rains and the grease retains better. Lots of discussion can occur on this but my experience-plow's coming in and sitting in the yard confirm the point. I hate replacing what were once good cyls. Example check car dealer lots and you will probably see pitting on rams.

    As for the lift rams. I store down after flushing the pump. Protected from outside and little to no H2O exposure on the inside. Just a thought. Forget to flush in the spring....let it sit all summer.......Rust and pitting on the ram inside and you get to replace it in the fall or worse in a storm.

  18. ktmsnowman

    ktmsnowman Junior Member
    from ne pa
    Messages: 1

    new subject, new member

    Are there any adjustments I can make to make my meyer e27 hydraulics faster? I'm wasting too much time waiting. Thanx for any help.
  19. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    Why not change the fluid at the start of the season then again midway through the season and then leave it alone for the summer? Wouldnt it be ok to leave the fluid till the next season? I dont know but it seems to me but i want freash fluid in my pump while im tring to use it...Rob
  20. 84deisel

    84deisel Senior Member
    Messages: 697

    Heres another question for you all . How many of you change the filter on the westerns and the filters on the meyers? At our shop we change both fluid and filters in the fall.Also on westerns there is a magnet inside next to the filter that needs to be cleaned.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2004