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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is a question I also posted on another tractor forum: I am considering a blower for my 2010 JD X500 and I’m interested in hearing about your experiences, opinions and knowledge related to the JD 44” snow blower attachment or other brands you think I should consider.

Currently I am using a 2002 Arien’s 1024Pro walk behind unit. This unit has been bulletproof and handles our Northern NY winters like a champ. However, the unit is a little narrow and I’d like to upgrade to something bigger and move away from the walk behind.

As far I can tell there are only two choices for the JD X500: either the JD 44” Model 23045 or the Bercomac.

I’ve never seen a Berco and haven’t seen the JD model mounted. So I don’t know even basic details such as:
  • How hard is it to lift with the foot lever?
  • How much clearance does it have?
  • How many turns does it take to fully turn the chute?
  • How sturdy are the mounts? Etc.
My local JD dealer did not have this blower in stock last summer or this fall and the only one’s I’ve seen to date are the blowers for the 100 series in Lowes. It’s hard to tell for sure but these units look somewhat cheap and not nearly as heavy duty as the Ariens it would replace. Accordingly, I’m concerned about quality and I have the usual questions about functionality, suitability, and durability.

Actually, my biggest concern is suitability to our local conditions, which can vary significantly. We definitely get a lot of snow (200-300") but we also seem to get it all: light fluffy snow, wet heavy snow, a few inches at time, many feet of snow at a time, and even fairly big chunks of hardpack/ ice - which are sometimes left at the end of my driveway by the city plow.

Regarding the periodic ice issues, I’m worried the non-serrated blades won't break up the chunks, will jam up and I’ll be replacing pins like crazy, or even worse - blow out the auger gear case which looks relatively light duty compared to the Ariens Pro, which has a HD cast iron gear case that houses a steel helical gear and bronze worm gear (for less heat generation and longevity).

Actually on the JD website I don’t see any high end features advertised such as HD gear case, bearings instead of bushings, quick turn chute controls, heavy duty skids, or anything that elicits a strong sense of quality or functionality. Accordingly, I am wondering just what to expect from the unit…

Also, if I go with (or can even find) the Bercomac, will I have any issues (such as controls in the way, mounting issues) if I decide to add a JD blade, cab, or other accessories later on?

Whichever way I go this is going to be an expensive proposition considering that I will need to (or want to) add chains, weights, cab, HD skid shoes, electric lift, etc. So, I’m trying to learn as much as possible before pulling the trigger.

This post went a bit long so, thanks for taking the time to read this and I appreciate your replies.

Pete
 

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:MTF_wel: and :sorry1: I can't help with your questions as I don't own a JD blower. Someone will be along shortly to help. slkpk
 

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Hi clockit :MTF_wel:,
I have the JD 44" on my X324 with electric lift so raising or lowering is not an issue. Luckily I haven't had to use it yet so I can't tell you how it would work in your conditions. Several MTF members have these so some with blowing experience will post soon.
Todd
 

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IIRC Bercomac makes the JD blowers so they are effectively the same. I don't recall that anyone has posted a direct comparison. You might have issues blowing ice though with the plastic chute. Several people have cracked theirs with rocks - a chunk of ice would do the same. That seems to be the weak point as reported here. I don't have enough blowing hours on mine to comment other than my 2002 Ariens 824 was a PoS for reliability and was poorly suited for my width of driveway. So far the 44 has been fine although I also have a rear blade. When blowing conditions are not ideal I tend to use the blade. It takes more time than the blower but it gets the job done. There are members here who live in Canada and blow huge amounts of snow with the 44 without reporting significant issues other than the occasional stuck newspaper. I think Stladrill blew his gearbox out last season when he hit a concrete stair. He can tell you about the inside of the gearbox. He also recently replaced a pulley bearing too due to water incursion. You can find lots of posts by him and others using the search function. Personally I like the build quality of the 47 blower better but it requires the hydraulic lift mechanism found on the x530/540. I suspect the 44 will be sufficient for my application. I can tell you that riding/steering beats turning a walk-behind any day of the week.
 

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  • How hard is it to lift with the foot lever?
    Easy, of course power lift of some sort is nice...
  • How much clearance does it have?
    Assuming you mean the bottom of the blower when raised, 4-5 inches...
  • How many turns does it take to fully turn the chute?
    8 (easy to add electric rotation and spout tip controls too)
  • How sturdy are the mounts? Etc.
    Very sturdy, assuming non commercial, it will be in use with original mounts 20+ years from now!
If you never used a tractor mounted blower you are in for a pleasent suprise, no more fighting a walk behind-

Depending on your tire type and terrain most likely you will need some rear tire chains and rear weight-

(assuming turfs, and re4letively flat terrain, 2 link chains and 4 suitcase weights will do just fine!)

And if a windy day, a cab of some sort is WELCOMED! :trink39:



.
 

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There are a bunch of Deere and Berco blower videos on youtube. I know Stladrill has a few good ones with his 44'. Both seem to throw a good distance. The Berco uses a winch to lift it.

My dealer had a x500 set up with the 44" on it when I was deciding what to buy so I was able to try the foot pedal with it. Unless you have some health issues, are getting up there in age, or the Mrs will use it, the foot pedal is relatively easy. The optional electric lift seems like it would make it even better.

I have the 44" Deere on my x530. It has just been sitting in my shed all lonely waiting for snow. :banghead3
 

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I'm not sure about the Berco but if I remember correctly they use (for the X3__ X5__) a belt mechanism similar to the 44 that go on a 100 series.

100 series (Berco model sold for X3__ X5__)


X3__ X5__ John Deere 44"



Also the John Deere auger gearbox is made with brass worm gear



The 44" have sealed bearing at booth end of the auger, one weak point are the idler pulley that I developed a permanent solution for it.



Personally I'll go with the john Deere for parts availability.
My personal experience with that blower is it can handle any kind of snow condition (I have more that 150 hour of blowing snow with it) and it very well built. :fing32:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all for the prompt replies and great information!

Mike - I didn't know that Bercomac made the John Deere blowers... Any idea where I could read more about this?

Haulin, Todd, and all - good looking machines. No real snow for any of us yet but I think over the next few weeks we will have plenty to keep us busy!

MXZRXP - yup, I'm just north of you up in Oswego County. The good news for us is that the lake is still warm so most the snow will come your way first. The bad news is, once the lake cools a bit we get the rest of it!

Stlarill - thanks for the great info, drawings and photos! They were very helpful. Also, I watched a bunch of your videos - you're quite talented and your projects are inspiring, although most are above my skill level... :)
 

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IIRC Bercomac makes the JD blowers so they are effectively the same. I don't recall that anyone has posted a direct comparison. You might have issues blowing ice though with the plastic chute. Several people have cracked theirs with rocks - a chunk of ice would do the same. That seems to be the weak point as reported here. I don't have enough blowing hours on mine to comment other than my 2002 Ariens 824 was a PoS for reliability and was poorly suited for my width of driveway. So far the 44 has been fine although I also have a rear blade. When blowing conditions are not ideal I tend to use the blade. It takes more time than the blower but it gets the job done. There are members here who live in Canada and blow huge amounts of snow with the 44 without reporting significant issues other than the occasional stuck newspaper. I think Stladrill blew his gearbox out last season when he hit a concrete stair. He can tell you about the inside of the gearbox. He also recently replaced a pulley bearing too due to water incursion. You can find lots of posts by him and others using the search function. Personally I like the build quality of the 47 blower better but it requires the hydraulic lift mechanism found on the x530/540. I suspect the 44 will be sufficient for my application. I can tell you that riding/steering beats turning a walk-behind any day of the week.
Bercomac only made the 42inch two stage Blower for the L100 & LT100 series tractors the Current two Stage Blowers meaning the 44, 47inch Belt driven and the 47inch & 54inch Shaft drive are Built In House By Deere Not Bercomac. Bercomac does still make the front Blade for the D100 series though:thThumbsU
 

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From the Berco site. This is the blower available for the x500. Maybe this helps in you decision. :trink39:





NORTHEAST Snowblower / Electric Lift
44" Model - # 700474-1
48" Model - # 700478-1



HOP ON YOUR TRACTOR AND HAVE FUN... BLOWING SNOW!

That's right, now your tractor is your snowblower. Whenever you need to clear some snow, just hop on your tractor and get it done in a flash. Clear your yard the way you want it done, when you want it. Snow removal will now become more of a winter sport and no longer a winter chore.

Product Warranty
(23 Ko)



Warranty ApplicationResidentialPicture of the vehicle is for reference purpose only, vehicle may differ. Product may differ slightly from image.

Requires Designed for tractors from 16 to 27 HP. Requires a subframe and drive kit. Rear counterweights and tire chains are required for safety and traction (see options section for more details
Durability HEAVY DUTY Gear Box
Assures performance in any type of snow removal and requires no maintenance.
Shear Bolts
Equipped with shear bolts which is a preventive measure to reduce the risk of damage when a solid object is picked up but vigilance on the part of the operator is your best assurance against accidents or damage.

Endurance Berco snowblowers were designed and built to be run at the speed of the tractor. Its double layered base along with other reinforcements will help reduce damage when an obstacle is hit.
Performance Berco TWO STAGE Performance
1ST STAGE

Is the powerful saw tooth auger which breaks through any type of snow with ease.
2ND STAGE

Is the impeller that turns at a high RPM which propels the snow to further distances.

Installation Bolt on the subframe ONCE & FOR ALL
Clip on the drive mechanism

Benefits Controls at your fingertips
Engage the snowblower by activating the same system as the mower deck of the tractor.
Turn the chute to the left or right by using the handle located to the left of the driver.
Electric Lift
Simply push a button at your fingertips to lift and lower the snowblower
This lift system is activated by a winch which is included with the mounting brackets, so it stays on the tractor permanently as well.
Quick Installation
Once the bolt-on-brackets are mounted to the tractor, they may remain on permanently with no interference with the mower deck.
Kits are pre-assembled for quick and easy installation.
One Mounting For All
Use the same mounting to install the other Berco accessories such as the Rotary Broom and the Blade.
 

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I bought the berco 44" northeast for my deere. The winch lift is nice as it gives you the ability to adjust your blower height on the fly. We have no snow so I cant comment on the performance but the build quality is second to none. Thick gauge steel throughout, steel chute, and the manual was very easy to follow. Easy to install. They even send extra sheer pins. Here are a few pics. I may look into getting a X500 like yours as it is a bit much for my LA150. just my 2cents
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thanks Haulin, Boles, and All for the additional information and the awesome pictures!

I put a call into Jim's Repair and Bercomac and both provided additional information and documents. I also found a John Deere dealer that had a JD unit mounted on an X500 so I got to see it in person. I never did find a close Bercomac dealer with one in stock so the pictures you guy's provided were extremely helpful!

Cost wise the JD is less expensive but the exact price difference is hard to quantify because all of the Bercomac dealers I called each quoted a different price which ranged from ~$1800 to $2300 for the Electric Lift Northeast Model (with both the 44" and 48" being very close in price).

This $500 swing is a really big price variance so I called Berco who hedged a bit by saying suggested retail "depends on setup"... In the end they did reveal that suggested retail is $2000 for the 48" Northeast Electric Lift. However, they emphasized that dealers are allowed to set their own prices.

Accordingly, I will definitely have to shop around if I go that route and unfortunately the highest price I received so far was quoted from a dealer close to me, which stinks because I prefer to buy local...

Price variances aside and pending additional information, I'm currently leaning towards the Bercomac as it seems more well suited for our conditions (serrated auger blades to cut into and chop up the icy snow, metal chute, etc). However, Bercomac says they are closing up for the holiday and will take about 3 weeks to produce and ship a unit once they reopen. So, I'm going to take some more time to consider the options and I'll post pics here if I decide to pull the trigger.

Pete
 

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Pete, I'm over here in Herkimer County and for what it's worth, I've had the 44" blower on my LA165 since 2008 and have been very happy with it. I have never had any issues with the plastic chute (and I don't expect to - even the plastic chute on my old MTD walk-behind is in excellent condition). I have also never broken any shear pins. I did shred a belt the 1st year I had it - I can only figure a chunk of ice got caught in just the right place - it has been fine since then. The one thing I would change is the smooth auger blades. They are fine 95% of the time but when the snow is heavy and wet, my set up seems to do more plowing than blowing. With serrated blades, I would imagine the snow would break up easier.

My neighbor just went through his first year with the 44" on his X320 and is also happy.

Like you, all we need is some snow now...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Pete, I'm over here in Herkimer County and for what it's worth, I've had the 44" blower on my LA165 since 2008 and have been very happy with it. I have never had any issues with the plastic chute (and I don't expect to - even the plastic chute on my old MTD walk-behind is in excellent condition). I have also never broken any shear pins. I did shred a belt the 1st year I had it - I can only figure a chunk of ice got caught in just the right place - it has been fine since then. The one thing I would change is the smooth auger blades. They are fine 95% of the time but when the snow is heavy and wet, my set up seems to do more plowing than blowing. With serrated blades, I would imagine the snow would break up easier.

My neighbor just went through his first year with the 44" on his X320 and is also happy.

Like you, all we need is some snow now...

Thanks, Joe.

The 1024 Ariens Pro I've been using is actually quite awesome at moving snow and because it is an older unit with an automotive style differential it is quite easy to maneuver.

However, a few years ago I increased the size of my driveway and added some sidewalks. So, the Ariens is now a bit small for the task and since I now have the X500 I thought I'd upgrade and move away from the walk behind unit.

However, icy hard pack is a sometimes problem at the end of my driveway and I was concerned the non-serrated blades would not be able to chop it up enough and may damage the chute so, it's good to hear that you've had good luck with the JD 44" blower.


Pete
 

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I've had the 44" and now the 47" belt driven Deere blowers. I too was wondeirng how well the plastic chutes and belts would hold up. This is my third year using one or the other and have not had single problem with either one other than the belt jumping off the pulley on the 47" when it was new and I broke one shear pin last year but I could have prevented it if I was not in a hurry jamming the blower shell full of heavy wet slush. The end of my driveway ends up like a sandbox with a load of frozen chunks of snow, ice, and sand dumped into it. The paint has started to wear off the edges of the auger and i repainted the inside and touched up the outside edges but other than that the blower looks and works like new. I figure if JD warrantys it for 4 years, its got to be well designed and hold up.
 
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