Township snowplow back in business

PAT FRIDGEN

The Antrim Township snow plow that was disabled in a field Feb. 14 has been repaired and is back in service. The blades have been removed so the maintenance department can use the vehicle for road projects during the warmer seasons.

Antrim administrator Brad Graham and a Hagerstown, Md. repair shop spokesman said the 2007 International dump truck is good to go again, and is not a safety concern for operators. The truck reportedly took off with a stuck throttle while former roadmaster Paul Minnich was in the cab. He had taken the plow home to Waynesboro after clearing roads in Antrim Township, and that Sunday morning experienced a loss of control on Orchard Road. The truck was towed back to the municipal garage, and later to Central Maryland International on Salem Avenue. It underwent $7,764 worth of repairs, none related to the throttle.

Butch Warren from CMI said the work order indicated the front differential made a noise and the throttle had stuck. His employees found the ring gear and pinion torn off. That was fixed and the truck went through a thorough exam.

"I couldn't find anything to duplicate what they told me," said Warren. The truck was road-tested twice for throttle issues and also subjected to diagnostic tests of its electronics, alignment and transmission. Everything came up clear.

Staff also checked Web sites for any federal government recalls for that model of truck, and to see if International had initiated any Authorized Field Changes. The manufacturer is known for taking proactive measures to improve equipment to prevent later repairs, he said. There were no recommended changes. Warren was not aware of any history of problems with the electronic throttles, and never heard of one sticking.

"I'm not saying it didn't happen," he said. "We just couldn't get it to repeat."

Graham said the front transaxle failed and that was the second time such a thing occurred with a township vehicle. The axle on another truck was also replaced two years ago.

He is satisfied township employees can drive the 2007 truck without fear of uncontrolled travel.