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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #1
Getting my snowblower back together. Tried the chain tonight.
Had one pre cut from roll. 32 links, same as old one.

But I had changed the lower sprocket from a 15T tooth to a 17 tooth. So chain a little short now.

Chain on as tight as I could pull it. Picture of lower sprocket with chain on.

206 Chain DSCF6300 (Medium).jpeg

As it sits right now chain deflection is 1/2" to either side of center. Is that about right?

Sprockets and chain have a spring loaded idler sprocket not in place yet.

Do I add a half link? Then a master link.
Or add a full link to new replacement chain.
I have new chain I can cut one from and make it one link longer if that is the way to go.

Adding a full link will leave a lot of slack. I think too much. But not real familiar with chain drive, sprockets.

Picture with half link. Just an example. Will have to go buy a new half link.

208 Chain half link DSCF6306 (Medium).jpeg


Used a heavy wire to tie chain ends together so I could measure chain deflection with out chain falling off the sprocket.
210 Chain wire tie DSCF6308 (Medium).jpeg

Seemed to me the chain would hold together for a little test run. Spun the blower using a cordless drill and socket on the input pulley. SO QUIET now. No chain noise.

So do I go with a half link?
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #2
Decided to go with a half link. One full link was too much. Too much slack.
Half link then a master link. Spins pretty quiet.
Chain on sprocket Dscf6315-W.jpg
 

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I'll never get to 10,000
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Glad you got it sorted out.
I didn't know you can get a half link like that.
As far as slack in chain, the JD owner's manual notes 1/8-1/4" slack in chain for my 37A blower. It has an adjuster on it so you can easily adjust drive gear for proper slack.
 

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Looks good to me. I didn't comment because I don't know what tension is right. My only experience is 30yrs ago I worked at a place that made conveyors, and they shipped out with chains as tight as a piano wire because within a couple of weeks of use they would slacken off and rub on covers if not that tight to begin with. The latest experience was at work the engineering had a problem with a reversing conveyor's chain drive getting loose, we found an auto-tensioner that was just a hollow sprocket made of some polymer that you had to compress to insert between chains going to and returning from sprockets. One year later, it's still working as far as I know.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #5
No way to adjust distance between sprockets on this blower set up.
Not possible to get the chain to wrap around to the next tooth. Made up a tool to help, but best I could do was get the the last chain roller to hit the top of the next tooth.

The half inch deflection seems right. More was too much. Idler sprocket would be running too close to the larger sprocket. Not much info out there on a set up this. Lots of stuff on indoor machines in production shops and such.
Just going on memory as to how the idler sprocket rode before.

Had a hard time getting the idler sprocket to be on the same plane as the other 2 sprockets. Kept wanting to ride higher or lower, or be at a slight angle. Can only really see it well with the blower standing on its nose and look through an opening on the bottom of the frame where it bolts to the blower housing. Think I have now.
Next step is to mount it back on the tractor. Just about ready to do it. Should be up and running on tractor power this afternoon. Then I'll know if it all lines up right for sure. Big snow expected to be here in a couple hours. 8" to 10" or so of cold powder, with strong winds tomorrow.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #6
Snow turned out to be less than expected. Only had 4" out there. Dry stuff with a ice crust on top. Blower ran really well. Was pretty happy. Much quieter than before. But still some chain noise.
Winds really came up. 40 to 45 mph gusts. Decided to leave the exposed driveway until winds died down. Drifting snow was filling up where I blew it out. No reason to fight a losing battle. Looking across open field was white out conditions. End of driveway was white out.
Cleaned up the yard and parking area. Decided to stop and put tractor in garage over night. Half way down the last little run, heard a noise and impeller stopped throwing snow.
Figured I snapped a shear pin. Shut down, got out of cab, and found the chain laying in the snow behind me. The half link came apart.

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Got tractor inside and found the 2 sprockets were out of alignment. I think chain rode up on top sprocket and side pressure broke the little cotter key in the end of the pin. Pin came out and chain separated.
After much trial and error yesterday, found the new shaft was built a little off. Old shaft was also off. When machinist made new shaft he compounded the error. Had to grind off sprocket weld and move the 17T sprocket towards rear of shaft by 0.225" to get the 2 in line.

Weld needed grinding off.
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After moving and tacking. Ended up 0.227" towards rear of shaft.

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Will have it welded up today by a shop down the road.
Tried welding and could not even tack the sprocket right. The one good tack is on the back side. Cataract in left eye has really gotten bad the past week. Depth perception way off. Was spattering and putting the stick every where but where I wanted it to go. So into the eye surgeon this week.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #7
Got everything lined up. Put new chain, master link, and half link on.
All went well . Blew for about an hour and stopped for the day.

Went out today to finish up. Almost finished and chain broke.
Only ran snow blower about 15 minutes.


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Half link came apart again.

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What am I missing? Sprockets are aligned now. Idler sprocket aligned and running OK.

Cheap China half link?

Cotter key broke and pin came out again.
Checked for damage to link sides and can not see any where that the chain rode up on the sprocket.

Can see the half link is pushed apart. Pressure must be forcing the 2 sides apart and breaking the cotter pin off. In 2nd picture of half link, chain travel would be right to left.

Had half link reversed the 1st time the half link broke. Decided to have narrow end running first this time.

Using spray on White Lithium grease as a lube.

Any idea what is going on?
 

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The cotter pin seems to be the weak link (pun intended). can you use a pin with an indent like the master link uses and then use a circlip to keep the pin for that half link in place? It seems like it would be stronger and less likely to break.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #9
Seems to me to be the problem also. Or at least one of the problems. Cotter pin is weak.
This last one I went through my stash of cotter pins and found a thicker one that fit through the hole. Thought I had solved it.

But something is putting pressure on the side links to expand them apart and break the pin.
Headed out now to take a fresh look at it.

May take another look at putting in a full link and 2 master links instead. See if there is a way to take up the slack with the idler sprocket.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Looking over everything today I found the 45T sprocket on the impeller shaft is wobbling. Never thought to look close. Trusted the guy that did it. Was a new back road machine shop I found. Thought I was going to like this place. But since he messed up the shaft too, I do not think I will be going back to him.

Looks like the sprocket was not clamped to the hub when it was welded. Welder probably set the hub on the sprocket and welded with out clamping it down flush.
Heat or bumping it got it off just a little.

I set up a solid bar to measure off of. Attached to a strong magnet.


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DSCF6401.JPG



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Set the rod to touch sprocket when closest to rod.
Then turned sprocket until it was at farthest point from rod. Which was half way around.

When sprocket is farthest from rod the gap is 0.112"

Did not want to make a run today for new parts. Will hold off until tomorrow to go get them. New 45T sprocket and a weld on hub.

Did use same method to measure if impeller shaft is bent. It is not. Impeller shaft does not waver at all when turning.

Also found the idler sprocket was too far towards rear. I thought I had that set right before.
Need to move a little more forward. But there is no forward adjustment left.
Found the idler bracket will not move any more forward. Carriage bolts are at end of the slots in the bracket.

Took idler bracket off and cut slots for bolts a little longer towards rear with a saber saw and metal blade. Filed off the rough with a square file. Square part of carriage bolt slides all the way back now.

Was tired of the carriage bolts not holding in the slots of the idler bracket when loosening or tightening the nuts. Or trying to adjust the position of the bracket. Or the position of the bearing that hangs underneath it.
Was using a dowel rod to hold them in place from up above, blind.

So I drilled and tapped 2 holes for 8-32 machine screws. Then screwed a piece of metal over the top of each bolt to hold the bolt heads down in place. Wish I had 2 of those snappers, but could only find one. (It occurs to me now as I write this I think I know where some may be stashed. Probably in the little plastic trays from Grandad.)
Cut and filed the screws off on the bottom. Now both carriage bolts hold in place as I work with them.



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There is a bolt that holds the idler sprocket to a swing arm. Took out the bolt. Replaced with a longer bolt. Placed a 0.150" spacer between the arm and the sprocket to make the sprocket move more forward. Place another spacer on other side of the arm to use up some of the bolt length.
After putting bracket back on to see how things fit I had to remove bracket and cut the end of the new longer sprocket bolt off flush with the nut. Other wise it hit the rear of the blower housing.



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With that spacer in place and the bracket now being able to slide forward the sprocket is well in line with both upper and lower sprockets. Terribly hard to see it. Tucked in between the 2 sprockets. Behind the blower housing and in front of the idler bracket.

Decided to forgo the half link and see how a full link fit in.
Cut out a inner full link from the new left over chain. Put 2 master links on to hold the full link in the chain.
Longer chain seemed to fit better. Which makes sense. I had replaced the lower 15T sprocket with a 17T sprocket. It has 2 more teeth and 2 more valleys.
Idler sprocket fit in very well.
Before I thought the idler sprocket was too close to the large sprocket when I had a whole link in.

Was able to have more of the adjuster rod sticking out. Chain wraps around the lower sprocket more than before. I think that will be better in the long run.

Got close to dark so I did not take time to take pictures. Will try to get a picture of the new links tomorrow. Wanted to get it outside and see how it ran.
Took it out side and ran it for a bit. Did not move any snow. Seems quiet. But I have thought I had it fixed before.
Will take it out and hit the snow banks again tomorrow. Then get a new upper sprocket and see what happens then.

Also fixed governor problem. Was not keeping engine speed up when under snow load. Moved spring one hole closer to pivot point and that seemed to fix that.




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Edit: Noticed this morning I had somehow gotten a thumb nail of a possum feeding under my bird feeder after sunset into this post. I deleted it.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #11
Took some pictures of the full link and 2 master links.

First picture just to give you an idea of the close quarters when working on this.


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Image of new full link and 2 master links.


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Image shows how idler sprocket sits in there.

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Looking at above picture this morning I can see the idler arm is resting against the bracket. With a lot of space at the rear of the bracket and the end of the shaft that holds the idler arm.
I think the bracket needs to come back towards rear just a little so there is a little space up front for the arm to move back and forth better. Should let it run in center of chain then.

Decided I did not want to run it again with the wobbly sprocket. Need to fix that.
Hub is only welded to sprocket in 3 places. Going to get the sprocket and hub off first and see if I can grind the welds and remove the hub. May be able to just fix this one if I am careful not to damage the face of the hub and face of the sprocket where the 2 meet.
Big grinder, little grinder, Dremel tool w/ cut off wheel, and hack saw. Chisel?
If I can not separate them, then head in to get new parts before I run it again.

Got time. No snow in the forecast.

Wrote this in the morning. Looks like I did not post it. So will post it now
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #12
Not much free time today.
But I did walk out where I lost the chain to see if I could spot the pin that fell out.
Long shot, but gave it a try.
I found it laying on top of the snow.

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Took the sprocket off. Spun it by hand on a 7/8" shaft with no bearing. Set up one of my indicators and found no wobble. Or at least very little. Only varied 0.010" as it was turned.



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Clamped a straight bar across the front of the hub in the vise. Measured 2 sides. Turned sprocket a quarter turn clamped and measured again. Sprocket is straight.


So tried to set up an indicator on the end of the impeller shaft. Don't really have the tools and hardware I need. As far as I could tell the shaft is not bent.


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Going to put it all back together tomorrow. Line the idler up better, and run it as is.
Will try to measure any wobble after I have it back together. Just have to see how it goes.
 

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Edit: Noticed this morning I had somehow gotten a thumb nail of a possum feeding under my bird feeder after sunset into this post. I deleted it.
I thought it looked like a picture of the Loch Ness Monster.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #14
Threw me off when I first noticed it this morning. No idea how it got dropped in here. Not even in same folder as tractor and snow blower repair.
 

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Getting a possum hung up in the drive will surly cause the chain to jump the sprockets!😁😁😁
If the sprockets run true as do the shafts, only a few reasons in my mind you will throw the chain and or lose the half link. 1 the sprockets are not in line with each other. 2 there is too much slop in the chain and or no idler sprocket or tensioning system. 3 the half link has something wrong with it, like if that pin is using a cotter pin to secure it, it is a poor quality cotter pin or it is catching on something.
 

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The pressure should be on the link and link pin. Not on the cotter pin. Was wondering if the half link was making contact with the bottom of the sprocket tooth. If not it would stress the half link otherwise there is never just one link making gear contact
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #17
Getting a possum hung up in the drive will surly cause the chain to jump the sprockets!😁😁😁

Got all the possum guts cleaned out. Found that does not work for a chain lube. Will go back to White Lithium grease.

Have it all back together.
Hard to see that idler sprocket. Took some pictures to try and see what it looks like when I enlarged them. Notice in one picture the top of the teeth of large sprocket looked chipped up. Chain might have rode up on teeth. And I think the pressure of that pushed out on the sides of the half link, breaking the cotter pin. Both the half links that broke looked like they had been spread apart.
I'll include that picture. Not sure if it will enlarge enough to see the chips or not.

Chain half link DSCF6392.JPG

DSCF6441.JPG

In that same picture the idler looks a little crooked. Going to fool with it more tomorrow.

Have to find a way to measure it since I can not eye ball it. Really a pain to move that idler bracket w/o allowing the shaft bearing hanging under it to move.

Found a way to hold the shaft in place left to right. Made an eye bolt into a hook.
Drilled hole in the left side of the frame. Put the hook over the shaft, run the bolt out the hole and tighten the nut. Will hold it in place while I loosen bolts and adjust the idler bracket. Then check distance of shaft from left side of frame with a metal spacer I made for that purpose. Tighten or loosen the nut on hook bolt to move the shaft to fit spacer. Saves a lot of time.

Shaft Tool Dscf6438.jpg


Use a small square to make sure idler bracket is square to frame.
Square DSCF6443.JPG

Hope I get it finished tomorrow.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Got'er done.
Took a lot of messing around to get the idler sprocket aligned. Have to jack up the front.
Hang the snowblower on jack stands so I can crawl under. Under the blower is the only place you can see the idler and see if it is lined up. After several attempts I finally had it right.
I thought I had it right last night, but looked at the picture I took of it this morning and knew I had to go at it again. It was rubbing too much on front side of chain.
DSCF6482.JPG


I had to remove the spacer I put on the idler sprocket.
Took a few more times of loosening the bracket, tap it ahead, tighten the bolts and check it.
Re do, again and again. This set up is not a good deal. When you tighten bolts, the bracket moves. Finally had to snug it up and make a adjustments with a ball peen hammer and a crow bar.
Got it aligned.

DSCF6491.JPG


I thought the idler arm and sprocket still bounced back and forth too much. Changed out the tension spring with a stiffer one. Ran smooth. No bouncing at all.
There is still some chain noise but no chatter.

DSCF6494.JPG

Headed out and blew some drifts. Right side of drive was drifted in. Drove into the ditch and blew it back into field.
That stake (lath) is the edge of the plowed field. I had thought it would be easy to see the paths I blew out in this picture. Hard to see white on white.


DSCF6495.JPG

Hit the old frozen snow banks also to work it hard. Worked well and engine rpm stayed up.

So all is well and I am once again up and running.
Only been working on it since Dec 10. Everything takes time it seems.
Took me a week to figure out the frame was cracked under the idler arm bracket. Top of frame was covered in grease and hid the cracks. Did not see those until I removed the snow blower and stood it on it's nose.

Cracks Bottom IMG_0223.JPG

Take it all apart, pound, weld, saw, reinforce, grind, straighten. New parts, Fix and re do new parts. Fool with sprockets and chain for 2 weeks. Sure happy I did not get any major snow storms during the ordeal.

Changing from a 15T lower drive sprocket to a 17T sprocket seems to make the snow fly better. Now I will have the time to replace the worn out baler belt flappers.

I would have checked rpm of engine and impeller today, but when I tried, the laser tach was not working.

On edit, laser tach is probably working. Seems it was operator error. Did not remember how to work it. Duh! Slap the forehead. :rolleyes:
Will give it another try today.

Tach DSCF6437.JPG
 

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This is just a thought, mind you, but many of your problems may be due to the spray lithium grease you are using as a lubricant. You do need a penetrating oil lube with molybdenum to get inside the rollers and pins that is heavy enough not to be flung off at the high speed the chain is traveling. Using a chain specific lube is much better than a lube that is used for many other things.

 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #20
I thought I had it finished and could go park it back in the barn. Nope.

Had 4" of wet stuff yesterday. Took it out to blow snow about 4:00PM.
Made it about 20 feet. Broke the impeller shear pin. Blower housing was packed with snow. Got snow cleared out and chain was making odd noise.
Brought it back in garage. Took the chain cover off. Found the drive chain was off the idler sprocket. Set up the fan to melt snow and dry up the water.

Sat and thought about it last night. Looked at the pictures I took of the unit. Checked all my notes. And the only thing I could think of was the spring that puts tension on the idler sprocket was too light duty or too loose. That was the only thing that made sense.
The original one broke years back and I just guessed at the size. Put a longer one on the other day. But may not have had it compressed enough.

Dscf6498.jpg


Dscf6501-W.jpg

I knew the shear pin was not in good shape and I was waiting for it to break so I was not surprised by that. But the sprocket coming off the chain was not a good thing. I was sure I had something wrong, or forgot something.

I think what happened was when the shear pin broke, the force of it tightened the chain and bumped the sprocket back. Spring too loose so when it came back to the chain, it slipped along side it.
This morning I went out took the spring off.
Put the sprocket back on the chain. And put a different heavier thicker spring on. Tightened up the nut so it really compressed the spring and pulled hard on that arm that holds the sprocket against the chain. But left a little spring so it could still pull a little if it needed to. Left 7/8" between the 2 washers.

Idler spring New HD 7-8 inch DSCF6504.JPG


That seemed to solve the problem. Went out and finished moving all the snow while it was still cold. Below freezing. I knew once the snow got warm in the sun it would get wet again.

It ran great. Just like it use to. Was out for 2 hours. Quiet and I did not run into any snow I could not move. When I thought I was done I went out and moved the frozen snow banks. Did that last just in case I broke something else. It all held up well.
Let it sit outside in the warm sunshine this afternoon so all the snow would melt off before I put it back into the garage. Do not have to mop up any melted snow that way.
I finally think I am done with it.

Pulled the tractor into the garage and let it dry it off over night, then go put it away in the barn tomorrow.
 
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