Snow Plow(also called snow plough) is an attachment mounted on vehicles for removing snow and ice from outdoor surfaces. This device is suitable for countries that receive heavy snowfall to ease transportation when roads are blocked with snow or ice. Trucks with plow blades, tractors with snowblowers, and earth-moving machinery are different types of snow plow’s commonly used. Hydraulics is integrated with this winter service vehicle for making it functional depending on operator controls.
For clearing the snow or ice from outdoor, a large force needs to be applied. Here, the system will utilize the pressure of any compatible hydraulic fluid having a low freezing point and corrosion resistance features to remove snow/ice. The hydraulic power unit (HPU) of the snow plow will contain different components like prime mover, pump, reservoir and valves. The prime mover will be either an engine or electric motor that deliver the power to start the hydraulic system. Other hydraulic parts of the system are power angling cylinders and lift cylinders. Among these, the power angling cylinder is used for aligning the plow left/right or extend/retract wings on v-plow models, and the lift cylinders to raise, lower, angle, hold and float the moldboard, which is a molded steel or polyethylene sheet.
Snow Plow blades are available in different sizes and they can be connected to larger, mid-size, and compact trucks. The blades are built with impact and corrosion-resistant steel, and these blades are available as straight blade and v-shaped blade. The plow blade can be controlled using a hydraulic or electric cable reel.
SNOW PLOW HYDRAULIC TROUBLESHOOTING
Proper diagnosis of faults and maintenance is required for every hydraulic machinery and it needs to be recorded. Most of the issues associated with snow plow occur because of failure of different components like motor, hydraulic blade, cylinder, etc… One of the major concern of snow plow is its poor performance and it occurs because of different reasons like dirty or clogged filters, insufficient pump pressure, voltage issues, insufficient hydraulic fluid, contamination, seal issues, leakage, and loose hose connection. These issues will make it difficult for the snow plow to raise, lower, or angle the hydraulic blade and plow precisely.
Internal and external leakage of the hydraulic system needs to be identified as early as possible to prevent severe hazards. Piston seal leakage, wear & tear, cylinder creep, etc… will cause internal leakage. External leakage will include oil leaks, rod seal leaks, body seal leaks, air trapped in the circuit, and sealing issues.
The tools required for troubleshooting the snow plow are multimeter, wrenches, 7/8” deep socket, picks, and compatible hydraulic fluid. The listed below are some approaches to fix the commonly occurring snow plow issues.
- If the pump motor is not running properly, check the working status of the motor by detecting the voltage at MOTOR terminals. If voltage is present at the terminal, the issue may be with motor and repair/replace the motor.
- If the plow doesn’t work based on the control signal, the issues can be either low fluid level or air in the fluid. Refilling the fluid and bleeding air from the system are the fixes for these issues respectively.
- Because of loose packing and pitted rods, the oil will leak from the cylinder. Tightening gland until leak stops and polishing rods with fine steel wool are the simplest fixes. But, if the leakage is severe, the better solution will be cylinder replacing.