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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #1
I debated whether this thread should go in the Accessories and Attachments forum or the Cub forum. Since the dozer blade pictured below is not all that unique yet there seems to be some dispute whether one should even try plowing snow on the Cub i-Series, I thought this fit better in the Cub forum than the attachments forum.

I have an '07 Cub Cadet i1050 Zero Turn Tractor. It has dual hydros that can counter-rotate allowing it to turn with zero radius, but also has steerable front wheels to help with stability on hills and -- most relevant to this thread -- make it so that common tractor-oriented attachments can be used.

I recently picked up an Arnold (division of MTD) FastAttach 46" Dozer Blade (part OEM-190-833). Had my local Ace Hardware order it for about $330, including shipping. Just put it together and attached it today. Haven't tried plowing with it yet. I thought I'd document the unpack, assembly and fit process first.


First, need to make the garage comfortable to work in. It's 36 deg F outside (and in the garage). So fire up the torpedo heater and get the air tools ready...



Here's the box the dozer blade assembly came in, next to my 50" mower deck for scale (yes, that deck needs a good blast and paint... a thread for another day)



Closeup of the box label:



All the parts laid out:



Blade and lower bracket with tensioner assembled:



Now with tractor mount added to the assembly:



Now with the lift arm attached:



Can't attach to the i1050 tractor yet.. have to remove the bumper first (very simple.. unthread 2 bolts, no nuts):



Blade assembly attached to tractor. Currently shown pivoted 30 deg right. Can be locked into that position, centered, or 30 deg left.



Closeup of where the blade attaches to the tractor. There is sufficient clearance of the exhaust outlet with this model of blade to not require an adapter bracket. (tractor shown with steering gear cover temporarily removed).



The finished product:



I have maybe 2-3" of snow on the driveway right now so I may go out and give this a spin, or I may wait for the bigger stuff. Given that it's above freezing right now it might just melt on it's own.

Two other recent (as of this writing) threads here and here have related questions on plowing with a Cub i Series for your reference.

Paul
 

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Looks good! Great pics. Nice pc of hardware there, nice tilt and lift mechanism. That left side quick release pin might get a tad on the warm side where the exhaust shoots out. Prolly not an issue. I didn't realize the cutting deck on the i-series had a rear roller similar to a Simplicity deck. Love the little twin-tank compressors. I've had cheap China Freight Tools one for years.

Joel
 

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Looks real good, Paul. I like the fact that it bolts right up to the front of the tractor with out any modifications. (except bumper removal) Have fun with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Well, I put it to the test last night. Probably not the toughest test, but probably no walk in the park either.

My drive had about 2" of very heavy slush (totallly water saturated) that was laying on top of some packed slush and ice from where the vehicles had driven over the accumulation the last few days. The driveway is blacktop, 2 cars wide and about 50' long.

Before I even got 2 feet into it I realized the plow blade wasn't riding low enough. It touched the ground, but only just lightly, with the tractor supporting most of the blade's weight. And that was with the lift arm fully down. Basically if you bounced the tractor slightly on it's front end, the blade would come off the ground, so the blade really wasn't putting it's full weight on the ground.

Unfortunately this particular blade design doesn't have any adjustment to angle it any further downward than it already sits when the lift arm is down. It has an adjustable tension spring but that doesn't affect the distance from the ground, only the springiness of the blade when it hangs up on an obstacle.

Being inherently lazy as I am, the first thing I tried was to just let some of the air out of my front tires and to over-inflate the rears slightly. Hey, an angle is an angle... As it turns out, the rears were under inflated to start with so that helped. The owner's manual says to inflate the rear tires to 10 psi and the fronts to 15, not to exceed 25 psi on any. I inflated the rears to 15 and lowered the fronts to 5.

This improved the blade ground engagement somewhat but still not to my satisfaction.

So upon further study it occurred to me that I could just disassemble the tractor mount bracket and insert some spacers around the top bolts to make the top "lean forward" and thus make the blade go lower (a few washers would do). The first problem with this was that the existing bolts were only just long enough to meet the end of their nut. Introducing more space between the bolt head and nut would make for few (if any) threads engaging so that was out.

Then I located some slightly longer bolts of the same threadcount and diameter (but carriage bolts instead of hex-head, although it turns out that worked ok), so it was off to the races.... or maybe not. Turns out I don't (yet) have a full hardware store of bolts and washers in my garage and the only washers I could find had an ID that was too small for the bolt. But I do have a vice and a drill and a drillbit of the right diameter...

So after drilling out 8 washers I went to town. See attached photos.


Here is the area in question where I inserted the washers (see red circle). This is a "before modification" photo to show the area in context:



And here is what it looks like with the washers inserted (again in the red circle). Not a dramatic change in angle, but certainly enough to make a difference given you get about a 6-to-1 multiplication of that gap where the blade meets the ground because it's attaching horizontal frame arm (out of view to the left of the photo) is much longer than the height of this bracket.


I am surprised that this particular part of the blade's geometry isn't more directly adjustable. You'd think that tractor "pitch" would vary from one tractor to another, or that at least with variations in tires (and inflation) that this would need to be an important and likely adjustment for the customer.

Oh well, I suppose if it worked perfectly right out of the box that would be boring, and we'd have less excuse to have tools.:bonk:

Anyway, after this modification it did a fine job pushing all that heavy slush around. Like I said, probably not the toughest job it will see but it was probably just about right for my first plow job so I could get used to it at my own speed.

JMoe and Hoosier, you'll appreciate that sticker in the second photo.. the "adjacent areas" to the muffler did indeed exceed 150 deg, especially the right spring pin just as JMoe mentioned. After about 30 mins of plowing it was too hot to handle. Not that I necessarily plan to remove the blade every time after using, but hoo boy, watch out!

Next issue: how to attach weight to the blade itself so it does a better job scraping the more densely packed snow or slush...
 

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I don't understand why MTD didn't allow for some adjustment in a snow blade designed to fit various tractors. And the side exiting muffler does suck. :Disgus:

Did you have chains on the rear as well? If not, they might increase the angle a little too. I'm glad to see your easy and effective fix!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't understand why MTD didn't allow for some adjustment in a snow blade designed to fit various tractors. And the side exiting muffler does suck. :Disgus:

Did you have chains on the rear as well? If not, they might increase the angle a little too. I'm glad to see your easy and effective fix!
No chains as of yet but I can see how they might raise the back end, although I'm guessing not by a whole lot. I'm guessing the tire will give a bit and the chain will just kind of tuck under the tire, wouldn't it?

Without much experience plowing I wanted to give it a go first without them and see if they were necessary in my case. I was a little worried about scarring the driveway.

I inquired about this over in Gary's "Chains, Yea or Nay?" thread. Someone there suggested rubber "chains" (actually strips). I like that idea, but they were a little pricey for what is, in my mind, just a glorified bungie.

I guess if I could find a set for $30 again like one set I saw on Craigslist once (when I wasn't in the market for chains) then I might just get them just to have handy.
 

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Simple (and better) fix would be to just remove the skids under the blade. That should let the blade lower so the full blade weight is on the ground.:goodl:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Simple (and better) fix would be to just remove the skids under the blade. That should let the blade lower so the full blade weight is on the ground.:goodl:
I already have the skids set back all the way so they don't even touch the ground. The blade edge is right on the ground.

The problem wasn't the blade edge, the problem was just the overall geometry of the mounting and the particular rake angle of my tractor.

But thanks for the suggestion.
 

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Hello, I just purchase an i1042. I've got a snow blade from my old Craftsman that looks like it will work if I can just purchase the fast attach bracket separately. Anyone know where I can get one?
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
:Welcome1: zeroT ! There's a small group of i-Series owners here on MTF (you're #18 by my count) so always good to see the number increase a bit..

You might try the BuyMTDOnline.com website. I browsed around there a little looking for a FastAttach adapter and didn't see one but my search was by no means exhaustive.

You might have better luck picking up some 3/16" or 1/4" steel plate at a hardware store and fabricating what you need.. if you just need to mate up in a straight line without needing to bend or weld you can probably get away with a hacksaw, drill, bench vise and a few bolts and made it work.

Here's another thread about plowing snow with the i-Series. There is a reply by "Hoosier Scott" (another i1042 owner on MTF) with pictures and dimensions of some FastAttach extension brackets he fabricated.

The FastAttach configuration is not very complicated to simulate.. it's basically just two holes with spring pins through them (you can use just a plain bolt to approximate this but then it wouldn't be so "fast" anymore) and two cutout slots on the attachment side that rest up against the two existing shoulder bolts on your i1042 front end frame rails.

I have both a plow blade (FastAttach compatible) and snowblower attachment (wasn't compatible, needed modification) that fit up to my i1050 FastAttach mount points and could take some pictures if you need.

Also I'm not ruling out that there may be some commercially-available FastAttach adapter brackets out there.. maybe someone else who has seen one will post here for you. But after a little googling I wasn't able to turn anything up myself.

Congrats on the i-Series purchase. It's a very nimble mowing and snow moving machine. I think you'll enjoy it. Just don't expect to be pulling stumps or plowing a field with it... it's not a Garden Tractor (GT). Also keep everything greased up (lots of Zerks) and be careful not to ram the front wheels into anything tall and solid (landscape rocks, fence posts, the house, etc) as you can misalign or even break the steering gears and linkage.
 

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Thanks for the quick response toolin. I've read some of your other posts and you did a great job. I managed to find the parts list for the snow blade on the cub cadet websight. You can order each piece individually. When I total up all of the parts I think I'll need it comes to over $180!! and I'm not even sure I picked every last screw. One thing I did notice on the parts list is that there appears to be two frame braces that attach to the sides of the main tractor frame that look like they add extra support to the point where the fast attach brackets hook on. [URL="http://cubcadetparts.arinet.com/scripts/EmpartISAPI.dll?MF&app=MTD&session=67077568-429a-4d85-8538-cc7d22de2506&cat=34&TF=epcFrame&assem=2747&serialGroup=0&modelAssemID=2278&ignoreHist=Yes&level=undefined"]

I guess I'll keep looking to see it I can find a complete kit somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Another idea, if you're prepared to spend almost $200 just on adapting this blade to fit, is instead to buy another entire blade assembly that is already compatible and then sell the Craftsman to offset some of the cost. New, this blade runs about $300, but off season you might be able to find a good deal.

For example, here's a posting where a member found an Arnold FastAttach blade new on clearance from Home Depot for $50.

Not sure how close this Craiglist posting is to you but he may be willing to sell the blade separately...

Here's another one, more recent, but maybe farther.

By the way, I'm finding these by searching multiple Craigslist towns using SearchTempest.com with a Baltimore zip and 250 mi search radius, on search terms "fast attach blade".

I tried to insert a link to the parts list but it doesn't look like it works.http://cubcadetparts.arinet.com/scripts/EmpartISAPI.dll?MF
Yeah, that "PartSmart" web app that the Cub site uses is a bunch of JavaScript and it doesn't use persistent URLs. You have to come at it interactively from the front door, can't just link to the result.
 

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I bought my MTD plow for $50.00 at HD about 15 miles up the road. When I purchased my 1045, the boy at HD here in town did a search, and found the plow for me. The box was a mess looked like someone had spilled a coke on the box. However I told the women that waited on me at the store that I was not buying the box, I wanted what was inside. Had to modify the mounts to fit my frame with my air cut off tool, and drill all but 1 hole in the mounts. I put the 1 screw in, on both brackets then put a level on the mounts. I hit one mount at a time with a soft hammer until they were level then drilled the rest of the holes to mount the plow with. I then modified the plow so I could change the angle from the seat. Check out this thread..... http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=75732
I built a weight box for the rear using 3 solid half blocks then gives me a bit over 100 lbs. I don't see this as being a problem as it will only be used for moving snow so it should not see a lot of service.......
 

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What do you think about attaching this plow to the cub? Saw on Craigslist, it looks like the frame goes all the way to the rear of the cub. It is a Murray brand.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #18
What do you think about attaching this plow to the cub? Saw on Craigslist, it looks like the frame goes all the way to the rear of the cub. It is a Murray brand.
I haven't tried retrofitting an underframe mounting but I would imagine it's a lot trickier. Way more area to have to worry about dimensions and clearances compared to a front mount. If you're handy with a welder I'd say go for it. For me, it's a bit over my head.

On the plus side, if you can make it work you'd have a stronger setup. Much less chance of bending the frame vs a front mount if you end up using the blade for something more demanding than snow like earth moving, gravel, etc.
 
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