It’s almost impossible to discuss snowplows without mentioning Fisher Engineering, one of the star brands on Douglas Dynamics’ impressive roster. Fisher plows are pacesetters for private, commercial, and municipal snow clearance.
A Fisher snowplow motor can be affected by improper storage, lack of routine maintenance, or general wear and tear. Some of the most common culprits for problems are the pump, hydraulics, and electrical systems. Repair and pre-season maintenance can prolong Fisher motors effectiveness greatly.
Unfortunately, these awesome tools are not infallible and, with time, some parts may start underperforming, which makes snow removal difficult or even impossible. One of these critical parts is the pump, which is the focus of today’s article. What’s the low-down on plow pump maintenance?
A Bad Fisher Plow Pump
As winter rolls around again, you bring out the old snowplow for a little pre-season warm-up. You mount the plow without a hitch and try to get her started…
The solenoid makes its characteristic clicking sounds, but there is no response to your controller inputs.
You have a problem on your hands.
Now, a number of problems could cause a plow to stop responding to controls. Perhaps there is a loose connection limiting the delivery of power to the controller. Maybe the plow itself isn’t receiving power.
However, if the aforementioned clicking sounds are present, that is a sign that all your wiring is in good shape and the motor is receiving power. If that’s the case, then you could be facing a more serious issue. You could be having problems with the plow pump itself.
If your diagnosis deems the motor has run its course, or you simply want to replace it for a more reliable new one, Amazon has a very popular choice that I would recommend: DB Electrical Snow Plow Motor Compatible With/Replacement For Fisher Snow Plows
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In cases where the plow’s motor is running, the issue may lie with the hydraulics.
Over time, the hydraulic tubing may lose lubrication due to use and exposure to the elements. Dirt and grime may work their way into the hydraulic workings during use or even in storage. The build-up of this debris, combined with the loss of lubrication, may result in sticking and non-responsiveness when an operator attempts to move the plow.
The easiest way to solve or prevent this problem is to change your hydraulic fluid regularly. In fact, you should include a hydraulic fluid change in your pre-plow season maintenance.
Long-term storage is surprisingly harmful, especially if the plow is stored in less-than-ideal conditions. Try to ensure your plow is tucked away in a cool dry place when not in use. You might also want to use a tarp to protect the plow from dust.
The best way to combat problems with your pump and hydraulics is proper maintenance, preferably before you discover issues while on the job.
Pre-season Fisher Snowplow Maintenance
Pre-season snowplow maintenance is pretty straightforward and can be done within 15-20 minutes. Always ensure the plow pump is off before carrying out this task.
- Fisher Pump Motor Inspection
The first thing you need to do is inspect the pump motor. To do this, you will have to remove the cap on the motor (which is usually screwed in place). You should take care not to strip out the screws if they haven’t been removed in a long time. You may also need to use a flat screwdriver to work the cap from its position if it’s stuck.
Once the cap is off, you should inspect the bushing on its underside for lubrication. Clean off all the old grease before applying a fresh batch. Simple wheel-bearing grease should do the trick. Use a very small amount (about half a thumb) to prevent the grease from trickling down the motor.
You should also clean grease and dirt off of the motor’s main armature and brushes. Any residual dirt and dust may be removed with an electronic contact cleaner. Hosa Technology’s DeoxIT Spray Contact Cleaner (available on Amazon) is an ideal choice for maintaining conductivity levels, minimizing abrasions, and providing lubrication.
Once the armature and brushes are clean, replace the motor pump cap. Ensure that all washers are replaced in their correct position. Screws should not be overtightened because this process must be carried out annually at least.
- Annual Fluid Replacement
Another part of maintaining a Fisher plow is the annual fluid replacement, which helps keep your hydraulics in tip-top shape.
- The first step is to ensure that the plow is hooked up to your vehicle and set to the float position. You must also manually lower the lift ramp.
- The next step is to identify your fill plug and drain plug on your hydraulic unit. Start by uncapping the fill plug to relieve internal pressure in the unit before removing the drain plug cap. Place a funnel leading to a collection canister next to the drain plug to prevent floor spillages.
- Next, use a floor jack to raise the plow. You should also use a stand to keep the plow up.
- At this point, you can disconnect the angle hose attached to the hydraulic unit. Once the hose has been unscrewed, place it in your collection container while manually angling the plow in all possible directions. This will force any residual hydraulic fluid out.
- Once all the old fluid has been removed, you can re-attach the angle hose, close the drain plug, and pour new hydraulic fluid into the fill plug. Try to use the same fluid at all times to avoid problems.
- Once the new fluid is in, you will have to run a quick test. With the fill plug still open, angle the plow (with the controller this time) in all directions for about a second each way. This will force out any air bubbles in your hydraulic system.
If everything is working satisfactorily, you can close the fill plug and get to plowing!
Now, let’s talk about situations where you don’t hear a clicking sound when you input controller commands.
Such scenarios typically represent an electrical problem rather than a mechanical one.
With electrical issues, you need to trace the circuitry. You’d be surprised how the most minute change to the wiring could cause major concerns.
We recommend that you start by looking at the controller. The controller links with the plow via your vehicle’s under-dash connection interface. The under-dash connector features six sockets that facilitate certain plow commands.
Using 12V jumper wires, test the sockets and check for any responses. These sockets are often labeled 1 through 6. The number 4 socket is usually linked to the solenoid trigger.
You start by placing the positive lead in the 4 socket and the negative lead in the 1 socket. Once you’ve placed the leads, you will need to listen for a clicking noise coming from the solenoid. If everything is working well, the solenoid will click and the plow pump will run.
You can also move the negative lead to other sockets (while keeping the positive one in 4) to test other plow functions like angling. If there is any activity, then the wiring in the plow itself is fine. The problem could be in the wire leading up to the plow.
If the 1+4 connection doesn’t produce a click and pump activity, you can be sure that you have a faulty controller on your hands. You will have to reach out to your plow’s manufacturer or dealer to have a new one installed.
The Final Touches On Fisher Plow Motor Repair…
To be sure, Fisher snowplows and their dependable motors are popular in many types of settings. Yet, even these hardly pieces of equipment are no match for neglect and the elements.
Hopefully I have given you some tips on how to keep your snowplow’s motor usable for years to come or make the decision to invest in this widely used tool.
Even when a Fisher plow motor goes bad and needs to be replaced, the plow’s total lifespan should be measured in decades not simply years.
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