Let’s get into the nuts and bolts (so to speak) of snow plow blade installation! When you’re tightening and applying pressure to your hardware, it’s formally known as torque.
Torque is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. Just as a force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist to an object. Proper tightness (torque) is what’s most important when installing your cutting edge.
Improper torque can be a serious cause of poor blade performance. Over-tightening your blades can cause them to break prematurely, and under tightening can cause cutting edges and accessories to fall off, which causes the same problems. Additionally, loose blades can also cause shearing and moldboard damage and leave dangerous debris in the roadway.
Here are some tips to ensure proper torque and avoid added road maintenance come spring.
- Use lock nuts because they are always hardened, Grade 8-this means they won’t mushroom during use. The higher the hardness or grade, the higher the strength.
- More isn’t always better. Too much torque will cause the heads of the bolts to pop off.
- The moldboard acts as the support for the cutting edge. If the moldboard has been shortened from wear and tear, the backward blade torque will be increased, resulting in bolt and blade damage and/or breakage.
- Never weld the nut to the bolt. The heat of welding destroys the treated properties and could cause the fasteners to fail during use.
- Lock washers are a no-go. It’s a hardened washer that acts as a cutting tool to the softer steel of the plow moldboard or blades.
- Always make sure everything is clean! No debris before any installation like sand, dust, rust etc. This debris will grind away in plow use, resulting in under torqued bolts which means bolt shear.
- Always calibrate your wrench several times during the winter season.
- The easiest way to put an old blade section in a vise is to tighten the bolt with an impact wrench and determine the torque. Be sure to adjust the impact wrench output up or down as needed.
Improper torque causes poor blade performance which causes increased road maintenance. Using the right torque for your blades when installing them can save time and headache!