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First time with X540 & 48" Blade - Suggestions??

2037 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Aksarben96
Today was my first time with the x540 and 48" blade. It really worked great on 5+ inches of wet heavy snow. I installed a home made squeegee ($7 strip from Tractor Supply) and that worked wonderfully. I don't have any weight on the back yet but will before the next snowfall. I couldn't believe how light the back end is w/o weight!! I was able to pick up the entire rear end of the tractor while the blade was up!!!

I was tinkering with squeegee length & height between the shoes and black wear bar. Any suggestions? I'm thinking about setting it up so the black metal wear bar is about 1/4" off the ground when the shoes are touching. The squeegee would be compressed. This way I might scrape any hardpack as the squeegee folders down...

I also took an old piece of plastic from work and wrapped it around the skids. The plastic was so stiff that I had to use bolts to tighten it. The width is about 3", which should reduce wear. So far, so good... but time will tell.
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how thick is the material you're using for your squeegee? it should be 3/4". It should hang down approximately 3/4" below the were bar. with the squeegee your skid shoes should be lifted up to the highest position and not even touch the ground. I suspect that the $7 strip that you got from tractor supply is way too flimsy to be used as a squeegee. others have posted on the forum their experience with thinner pieces of rubber or conveyor belt, the consensus seems to be that the horse stall mats are the best way to go. Do a search of the forum for squeegees and you will find pictures of what others have done. The horse stall mat available at tractor supply works very well. one horse stall mat will last you a lifetime.
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... with the squeegee your skid shoes should be lifted up to the highest position and not even touch the ground.
I was wondering about this adjustment, because I have to make it :). Why raise the skid shoes all the way up? I'd have guessed that you'd want to have them positioned so that the squeegee just touches the ground.
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I was able to pick up the entire rear end of the tractor while the blade was up!!!
think about it, the blade and supporting hardware is pretty heavy, hanging way out there makes it a lever and yup, the rear is off the ground, imagine a FEL out there :)

some suitcase case weights or wheel weights (maybe both) will get you the traction you need! When it gets icy I bet chains will be the next addition...

glad it worked so well though, great machines!

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Weight will make a lot of difference. slkpk
Thanks for the comments guys.

Yeah - I knew the weight would of the blade would lever the back end off, but didn't realize by how much!

Regarding the squeegee material, I tried using a 3/4" extremely stiff interlocking floor material, but foud it to be too stiff for my driveway. Unfortuneately, my blacktop driveway isn't exactly smooth (it's old!), so I needed something softer that would comply with the topography.

I then switched to the tractor supply material. My intention when going to the store was to purchase the stall mat, then I found this other option there. The reason it's so cheap is they sell it by 1' by 4' sections (cut from a roll). It's 5/8" thick and is tough to cut. It seems comparable to the stall mats most MTF users purchase.

The plastic didn't come from Tractor Supply. I think its HDPE, but I'm not sure. Other than tinkering for 45 minutes to mount it, I had nothing to lose. It increase the approach angle of the skids so I haven't damaged the unfrozen lawn. If this plastic doesn't hold up, I have a scrap piece of Starboard. Has anyone tried using Starboard for skids?

For weights, I have some large dumbells (80# & 90# each) that I haven't used in years. My thought is to cut a groove in them with a angle grinder, insert some thin rubbrer to protect the tractor finish, then hang them off the back. It's going to be a tight fit, but should hopefully work. If I still need traction, I'll pursue the chains...

Some basic physics sure came apparent... It's always better to keep the wheel from spinning when trying to get unstuck. I was impressed how well I could control the power to the transmission.

In the end, my wife summed it up when she said, "I don't need to ask you if you had fun!"

Thankfully we received more snow for me to play with, I mean plow today!!!
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This is the JD squeegee on the 54 Blade. It is all rubber with no cord making it flex. It is about 1/2 inch thick. JD predrills the holes so about 1 1/2 inches sticks past the wear bar. I raise the skid shoes all the way up, sometimes I use downpressure to scrape the packed snow. Im not sure if X540 has down pressure.


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No, the 540 doesn't have down pressure, it's gravity to lower. I like you idea of keeping the skids up. I'm going to run that way for a while. I was worried there would be too much drag on the rubber, but the 540 doesn't even notice it....
I use 1/2" conveyor belting on custom 6 blade and took the skid shoes off. I have never needed them and it doesn't tear up the yard at all moving snow. Now I have put the same type belting on the 317/54 blade and have the skid shoes raised up all the way. Have not had any Snow to check it out, but am so confident that it will work as good as the Custom's did. No need for skid shoes with a Rubber edge. IMO:howdy:
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I've only got 1/2" of snow to try out the 48" blade and squeegee combo... I know, why sit here when there's snow?
Glad to see others have found the benefits of using a rubber squeegee edge! Check it for wear and you should get a good few years use before it needs replacement .
I installed mine for the 2010-2011 season and with only two storms so far, it looks like it wont get any wear this season:crybaby:
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