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As I contemplate the possible need to get the snowblower out tomorrow, I have developed some snow blowing "rules of thumb" over the years that some of you newbies to snow blowing may want to consider. I figure that I have moved about 5,400 inches of snow with my three snow blowing rigs over the last 26 years. Feel free to add to my list, I am always looking for new techniques:

RULE 1. Don't put your hand in the moving augers. This is an obvious one. I have occassionaly stuck a broom handle down the chute in the spring with the blower running, but that is about as dumb as I get. I have develped a fondness for my appendages over the years.

RULE 2. Make sure all of the crap that can break your blower and shear pins are out of the way, before the first snow.. When I have broken shear pins, it was always at the beginning of the season when a stray piece of firewood got in the way. Last week I went out with the rake and cleaned up any potential impediments.

RULE 3. When you are going to have a major storm, if you can clean it in increments. Why stress the equipment and yourself? Anyway snowblowing with my rig is fun. If the snow I just blew drifts back into the driveway, I just do it again - twice as much fun with the same snow.

RULE 4. Always clean all of the snow off of your equipment when you are done. I learned this the hard way the second time that I snow blowed. The snow blower was making a **** of a racket when I started it, and then I noticed black smoke coming from the drive belts in the back. So I shut it down and called the dealer. "Didn't you clean out the augers and impeller after you finished? When the snow melts it freezes on the bottom of the impeller assembly such that the impeller won't turn." Duh, nobody told me to do that.

Now I clean off everything, but especially anything which if frozen could make it difficult to start the machine. With my new rig, I wipe all of the water off of the cab that I can get to, clean off the wiper blades and pull them away from the wind shield. Of course, it helps if you have a garage. I also put a piece of wood below the blower so it doesn't freeze to the floor.

RULE 5. Make sure nothing critical is frozen when you start blowing. This is a continuation of what I said in 4. If you have a rig like mine (which shuts off the tractor if no one is in the seat when a PTO device is engaged) put a mirror where you can see that the impeller and augers are spinning freely and the chute rotation is working freely before you have at it.

RULE 6. Never put the blower on the ground on a gravel driveway the first time you use it, unless you enjoy changing sheer bolts. This rule is just for those of us who don't have a paved driveway. I have a gravel driveway, so a good first snowblowing is a key to no problem for the rest of the winter.

Like everyone else we get a few snow falls early where you know it is going to melt, so this next step is the one I take when we get our first real snowfall. First I run my SUV up-and-down the driveway until the snow is packed down into the gravel before I snow blow for the first time. Then I run the blower but keep it off the ground about an inch. This way the ground will freeze better for future efforts. The next time I run the blower on the ground with the skid plates as low as they go. We don't get much thawing once the snow starts in earnest.


RULE 7. When the snow is deep, take smaller cuts of snow. My first run in the snow is very very slow, usually painfully slow. My next cut might be a half of the width of the blower or less. I would rather make more runs and use a little more fuel, then be replacing belts as I did with my old snowblower.

The guy who wrote the Kubota snowblower manual obviously has never used a snow blower before. It says in deep snow take the top layer off and work your way down. To me this is nonsensical. You're going to be driving a tractor in the deep snow and making a general mess. How about just taking a narrower cut of the snowblower potential? Anyway I have been doing this and it has saved many a belt on my old snowblower.

 

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Good advice. Don't forget the extension cords hiding under the snow. I have a more "short" cords now with new ends.
 

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As a reformed breaker of "RULE #1" I can tell you from experience that if you haven't got your hand mangled yet... you will unless you PAY ATTENTION! (Not just snowblowers either!)

One major family illness problem + a sticky and deep snow X a 4hp tiny Airens with no safety guards = one "Sadder But Wiser HydroHarold"!

Yup, I did it back in '88... I had unlined gloves on which saved all of 2 fingers but I lost 2/3rds of the tip joint on right middle finger and 1/3 of the tip of the ring finger right next to it. In addition some tendons were "loosened" all the way into my wrist... totalling 8 mos. physical therapy and 2 years before I could start RE-learning to fingerpick my Taylor "Leo Kottke Signature Model" 12 string again!

"See Hydro! AND you're the guy yelling against all the safety stickers and interlocking safety clutches/switches/levers/buttons...!" That's right, but sooner or later, one way or the other ALL of us will make a **** stupid mistake and all the safety stuff won't help when you cut yourself on a dog food can lid or break your finger in the washing machine lid... THAT'S why they call 'em ACCIDENTS. In my case it just happened to be a sweet running little snow blower, I could have been doing anything...

"JUST PAY A-$^%#in'-TTENTION!!!!"
 

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good set of rules...


with my dog, i always find hidden 'toys' that violate rule # 2. :sidelaugh


ive still got parts of a rope toy wrapped around the ends of my blades from 2 years back...
 

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Good rules. I managed to survive our 15 inch snowstorm last year with just a 3 hp 16 toro powerlite. Granted, I only have a triple wide residential driveway. Had to do that one three times. D'oh...
 

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Good rules. As far as number two goes, it isn't pretty what my old Toro 624 can do the my daughter's baton when it accidentally falls out of the car!

As for number 7, don't completely dismiss the technique of taking the top layer off and making a second pass. The Berco manual recommends this method. Not surprising since your great looking Kubota thrower looks suspiciously like a Berco. I have used this method with my old Toro single stage blower on my 212-5. The snow was about 14" deep and I was bogging down with the blower all the way down. I lifted the blower up and the going was much better.
 

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Regarding rule number one- tie / keep a broom handle or minature shovel on your machine to use for cleaning out the shute AFTER shutting off the rotor. That way there is no temptation to use your hand.
 

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Regarding rule number one- tie / keep a broom handle or minature shovel on your machine to use for cleaning out the shute AFTER shutting off the rotor. That way there is no temptation to use your hand.
My tool of choice since "That Day" has been a (shudder:D) toilet brush. A nice round one with stiff bristles hangs from my chute rotation handle bracket by a chrome pelican clip. Of course these days I have 17 different electrical circuits also looking out for my well being and the ever present "SAFETY DECALS" which I recite like a blizzard mantra...:D
 

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I like the toilet brush idea, that is really smart. Especially the ones that have that little bend in them. I am not new to snowblowing, but am new to snowblowing in a tractor. This single stage screams, it really moves. My big concern will be anyone nearby, making sure that no kids run in front of me while operating it. Can't wait to try it out... just waiting for a good storm.
 

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Great tips. I made sure my kids plastic tools were out of the lower driveway by the barn. They don't sweat the small stuff, all they know is that watching Dad from the kitchen window snowblowing is, cool! Mrwiggles, you need to come south one county, we got plenty of the white stuff in the last two days to give that new cab a proper try out.
 

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Lets not forget our faithful "helpers",,,, keep Rover in the house! I run a Gravely with the infamous "dog eater",,the dachsuns wouldn't stand a chance,, oh and reminder to self,,, stay away from the vehicles! Last year I caught a bumper with the reel,, it tried to eat that little Festiva!!
 

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I figure that I have moved about 5,400 inches of snow with my three snow blowing rigs over the last 26 years.
smfcpacfp,

Thanks for the informative post, however, you must be a masochist -- 5,400" of snow and you still live where you live? :( I'd be on the phone with my realtor and travel agent! :Stop:
 

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These are all good tips on safely operating your snow blower.

The whole process of operating a snow blower is dangerous and in my experience the end of the driveway (EOD) is where you really have to be on your toes. There can be a lot of rocks and ice chunks packed in that snow. You really need to keep your eyes opened looking for vehicles passing by. I always disengage the blower when a vehicle passes by and the discharge just happens to be directed towards the road. I also never direct the discharge towards the house or garage.

Every year there are accidents where someone gets clipped by a passing car while clearing their EOD.

I just got back from spending 2 months in sunny Guam recovering parts of a B-52 that made a very rapid water landing and I am not really ready for this snow. At least I had time to pick up all of the door mats but I wish I had the time to trim back some of the shrubs!
 

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Good thoughts ll around. My driveway is 100' X 18' with a turn around that's 20' X 20'. It's begining to chip and crack. It has many, many coats of sealer on it. The driveway hasn't been kept up in a few years. The driveway is asphalt (about 2" deep) on top of concrete (4" deep) With all the little pieces of asphalt working themselves loose, I really don't thing a blower is the best thing for us. Still looking for a plow setup for my ST160. Till then, it's shovel and push brrom work. The plow blade new from Sonny's is almost $400.00 and a 200 mile round trip. Still too deep for my pockets.
 

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A nice list there, smfcpacfp !
With our son grown up and married, and no more pets; I thought I didn't have to check too carefully anymore. BUT, since the school system decided that the end of our driveway was a suitable stop for kids further down the road I've chewed up a few " power " drinks and one loose leaf folder. Now even though I'm retired, I still get up and out early, to clear the driveway for the kids to have a place to stand without being in the deep snow. I also find that it's necessary to clear the shoulder of the road on each side of the driveway since sometimes the parents will park there to either drop them off or wait until the bus shows up when it's really cold. THEN I have problems with rocks that they somehow bring across the drive when they pull out. I don't mind since it gives me more seat time; but it can get a tad aggravating when mommy will sit right there and not get out of the way for two minutes. Seems like every winter there's another one to explain to that I'm doing them a favor. :fing20:
 

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Also watch the direction of the chute when on gravel,came close to putting out a few windows.
 

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A nice list there, smfcpacfp !
:ditto: i think this should be a permanent sticky in this section :trink40:

Also watch the direction of the chute when on gravel,came close to putting out a few windows.
good addition, we used to have a gravel and stone covered driveway... when we'd hit a high spot, it would sound like a machine gun shooting rocks everywhere.... im amazed i never lost a window..
 

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Good sticky.

My main problem early season is sending sod into the woods in large quantities. When the stream of white turns too green brown & white, I know I didn't let the area freeze up enough.
 
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