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There were a couple of suggestions for coating the chute, my choice is Fluid Film. Available at some auto stores and Lowes. It makes the snow slide and prevents rust. The directions even suggest to use it on snowblowers.
 

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The spare belt(s) are a must!--I never seem to be able to finish my driveway once,without a belt failure on my tractor mounted snowblower--even if it was brand new..
My driveway is long and wide,and takes hours to clear using that machine...which is why I have had a 4x4 plow truck since 1987..but when it fails to start,or you've broken a part ,disabling the plow,I have to have a "plan b" backup unit..

I had to use my Suburban 12 & snowblower to clear my entire driveway and walks last Sunday,when my diesel pickup refused to fire up at 10 degrees..took 5 hours!..and two v-belts ,but it was able to move 12-18" of snow..which was fluffy ,thankfully..otherwise I'd have been boned..

Belts can be costly,often hard to find locally after a storm too--buy some spares early,summer if possible,you may get them cheaper (stores love to jack up prices when they know you NEED things--or they sell out of them,and wont get any in soon !)--and its a good time to inspect the old belts and see if they need to be changed before the first blizzard strikes..(something I failed to do this year,and caused myself some aggravation!)..

I thought I was doing myself a favor,when I bought a big stash of new V-belts at a flea market and some more from a closing up service station--ended up with over 200 v-belts..unfortunately only a half dozen the correct sizes for my equipment were in the hoard,and I have since used them all up...none seem to ever be the right sizes for anyone else's machines I fix either !...glad the whole lot didn't cost me much more than one new kevlar belt at box store prices...

I have found a local mower shop that was willing to "trade" me one of my belts and a few bucks for ones the right size for my machines however,so they were worth buying..

Another thing few think about when using a snowblower--the fact some can fling snow a pretty good distance--like right into your neighbors yard!..though mine wont,I have seen a few people get VERY angry when "your" snow ends up on a neighbors house,on their driveway,etc..its easy to overlook this while your clearing your property..

I had a bit of a rift with my next door neighbor a few years ago,who claimed I plowed "my" snow onto his property...even though none of it went past the property line,or did any damage to his lawn..it's best to talk to them before a storm hits,and make sure your not throwing snow in their yard that will sour future relations with them..
 

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I had problems with burning through PTO belts on a tractor-mount (purchased used). Someone on another forum told me that rusty pulley (belt contact surfaces) will eat through belts.

I was skeptical, but after blowing through over $100 on Kevlar belts, swapped out the big rusty pulley. Never broke another one since.

My guess is that when the blower bogs down, the engine is still trying to turn that belt, and it slips and gets chewed up by the rust.

Mike
 

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i`m not a cat fan either,however that guy city farmer 12-22-08---12:47pm., stating cats are targets snowblowing,is evil.that brain is wired wrong.my thought was why would anyone,ever broadcast such nonsense on the www. for world to see.Prior to that mr. city farmer wrote nice article.intentionally killing animals is never amusing. ,perhaps to a future episode of serial killer on investigation discovery channel.about as funny as shooting elephants to make trinkets from tusks to sell.pitiful,pathetic. see it post #25,for self,last lines. again was nice post until.................that!!never justification for cruel/evil. NOW then primary ( or secondary) depending on `your` point of view,additions to above referenced article, pertaining to performance,safety,comfort,while snowblowing.(will need 2nd post on this) #1.anyone who puts any body part, for ANY reason,EVER doesn`t want that part of their body anymore.or anything attached to that body part.just crazy. it`s over before you even feel it, long before can react. don`t respect machines/equipment,not a toy, will f--- you up bigtime maybe kill. to late for sorry,won`t do any good anyway, but, if live will have rest of life to feel sorry for self.my machine`s don`t plug/clog however,if in event others machines are known to clog/plug up bungee/ clip something, somewhere on machine get creative for when need be it`s conveniently available.(not 100ft., 100yds.,mile away,resulting in stupidity.)another novel suggestion buy those plastic tool and clip on devices that many midsize or larger walk behind newer snoblo`s come with.even when engine off can be lots of force not yet released.
 

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Continuing on to #2, some have said about icing issues. For decades,when done park in garage, turn on kerosene heater to heat up garage melt ice/ snow til dry,then move to park area,til next playtime.heater is 70000btu absolutely rocks for tractors garage.believe also operates on diesel fuel though smellier. tractor garage is 2.5 car,heater will make 70 to 95 degrees, depending upon ambient temperature/outside.Actually,had previous heater 12.5 yrs,til fan/pump motor failed/quit.was perfect size plus bit less in operating cost.Use heater when needed for melt/dry, workingon this that etc.,in fact last night replaced burned out headlight bulb on silverado.(other garage)Must remove top cover, grill, brackets,frt, of inner fender to get access to last bolt. then reverse order to assemble. +-hour.the reason mention, start heater 20degrees.,20-30 minites later60degrees.+_ -+,,in garage with old sweats.30minites into remove sweat top t-shirt remains,(plus of course,,,lower sweats) he he haa haa.when all assembled 70 some degrees. when i get done plowing several dozen properties ,melt/dry equip.then pressure wash somewhere else, return than open doors some, lid, gate, hood ,heat til everymillimeterdry top/bottom frt.rr. Can`t clean all iced up.truck/ plow can take6hrs. plus to totally melt in big storm. would you be happy with 70 to 95degrees . 95 highesti ever reached with heater in garage. depends on outside temp.60-70 rise. treat yourself go get some comfort.says on one of labels max operating temp 740degrees.did i mention cold tools held 1ft from heater for 5to 10 second ,now
 

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Also recommend read heater manual,don`t burn garage ,and or house down. i generally sleep ,when adrenaline dissipates enough,while truck/plow melt/dry.Still here to type this decades now.#3ear mufflers.....few years ago, switches from "stihl" w/o radio, to"3M"work tunes.am/fm stereo plus i pod/mp3 compatible, voice assist too,and comfy.personally can`t stand operating stuff without them. latest 2 pair, got on sale, at northern tool, $30-$5coupon mailed to my business=$25 + tx Prior 3 cost $35 to $40 on sale. regular+-60to70.#4rear lights/and/or flashing amber LED safety light/lights better yet lightbar. Depends on mount options, cab or not, cab material,matal or no for magnet mount light bar,such as on my truck when plowing, thing intense bright, plus 13 patterns,to choose,(can buy more)bright results in traffic seeing you from far as possible,when near road with tractor.Good ones will reflect 1/2 mile or more off signs,snow,houses both sides of street, etc. Traffic when they get closer will think you`re brilliant.safety and health 1st. what`s yours worth?Bars won`t fit?then do the round smaller big bulb/ball shaped thingamajigs whatever their called.They come in magnet (stick on too) mount also. possibly 1frt.,1rr. wire ground for this kind of stuff directly to battery.WITH SEPERATE FUSE. told years ago, don`t know science ,grounding to body or frame can cause some arcing or whatnot,resulting in destroyed engine bearings, crankshaft, more.GROUND DIRECT TO BATTERY/Fuse plus u would probably like switch/ es. using model # on engine determine electric output,avoid overload. led use less amps. that`s #4 i believe
 

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#4 continued,check current draw to ANY additions. remember already got headlights elec pto guages,tailights maybe,so forth plus charge battery.big difference if u got 5or 10 alternator. 15/20 hopefully. belt driven car style,usually way more than 20 amps. #5rear spotlights. again direct battery ground/seperate fuse(5-10 amp)mine are 55wt. halogen (H-3,bulb)fog light/driving light style. cost$20+-from walmart. various shapes/styles.further check mount brackets for side handbar/grips/handles if applicable. maybe weight box, rear weight carrier,existing holes in frame or elsewhere for mounting,before drilling hole.mine onback part of grad handle with ,clamp type bracket,no drill.snug tight can rotate and lift/lower for variety tasks.see exactly whats in dark,don`t guess.additionally more safety being seen by traffic.#5 can`tprevent others hidden objects in snow. #6 personally have grease fittings on auger shafts.fill those with grease regularly for lube plus preventing corrosion /seizure of auger to shaft,usually 2stage only. like anti-seize better on shear pins. grease though better than dry.#7some will have factory power port/s for accessories, some don`t.#8 following threading accessory power wires correctly, not rubbing or interfering with anything, use bright zip ties to fasten,actually, some wiring would be smart to wrap in protector(flexible,corrogated,plastic,....)"flex tubing"got my various sizes at -"save big money at menards"......home depot, ace true value,etc.,works too. flexwrap looks like stuff wires under hood ,and more, of ur vehicle are wrapped in.maybe prevents even 1 run over.....
 

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More #8. reason bright zipties is easy to id in future, if nessasary,clip off with side cutter type snip tool.than replace again when done doing this/that.do not overlook proper grounding and separate fuses,in line fuses, seal up connections to prevent shorting stuff.disconnect negative battery cable 1st ,during install. connect last to test. don`t follow 1st remove neg cable, connect it last you risk wreaking expensive electric stuff!!!! check,,,recheck,,,check again got it correct BEFORE reattaching neg. cable,or you`ll be sorry...#9 never discharge snowblower at people or property. rotate chute or/and lower/raise deflector. also can apply to snow blown back on operator or machine with cab. #10---snow markers/guides.,diagram edge of pavement/grass etc. personally prefer flexable fiberglass markers 42"/48" for my region. ground froze? no problem, drill pilot holes cordless drill.easy enough,right.also not metal do not scrape up vehicles. #11 get some safety lights vs run over by mack,kenworth,peterbuilt truck.(whatever...brand)#12rear spotlight/s less $$ than crash into object couldn`t see. saves even 1 person getting messed up all this typing is worth time. before plowing with trucks, traffic could see me with a variety lights on tractors from blocks away.they still see truck for blocks away, far far away.why municipal trucks/ tractors/skid steer blowers /zero turn blowers -Vplows etc. doing public sidewalks, have lightbars and more.shouldn`t you too?............best regards......-------------------------(flexible)above correction;;;;;;;;;;6 lines above./1stline fix (necessary) don`t let traffic get to close to see you,can`t react, crash you.
 

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#13 Think there is some shopping to be taken care of soon. some heaters to acquire ,plus various lights to make your rigs shine like the sun. light that machine up ,bright as possible. know when you did it right;when done smartly? when your neighbors, friends ,......others are impressed?When you receive the most sincere form of flattery.IMITATION !!! they want what you have, cause it`s brilliant. told you so.
 

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With a surprise 7" last Friday we are overdue for bumping this terrific thread up for the season again. The only tip I had time to implement was policing the driveway for debris Thursday night. It was too dark to do a good job. My unavoidable lack of preparation for the storm cost me the gear box on my walk behind Ariens.

Fortunately I just came into a little unexpected windfall, so I'm going snow blower shopping tomorrow!
 

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Nice! What did you hit?

Mike
 

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Lots of gearboxes and free Ariens blowers on craigslist,I'd not junk the Ariens too hastily..

I regret selling a few I got for free ,didn't get much for them,and they were well worth having around,they were one of few snowblowers I had that would throw wet stuff decent..
 

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Even after checking the driveway, the still-soft ground was giving up stones. I’ve been thrilled with my Cub Cadet’s abilities on gravel, but the rocks it pushes up occasionally are just scary.

Sorry to hear about the Ariens! This snow arrived sooner and in larger quantities than predicted. I couldn’t do the dog’s paths out back because they were still covered in leaf litter and branch pieces beneath that pretty blanket.
 

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Nice! What did you hit?

Mike
That's the surprising thing. I didn't really hit anything large or solid, but my theory is after an hour of throwing a heavy mixture of snow and many, many oak leaves the gear box just had it. It was kind of like throwing a wet news paper. The shear bolts on the augers are still intact. The impeller and shaft are spinning independent of the gearbox.

PS - I looked at the Ariens Platinum 24 today. It seems to be built like a tank and the controls are a joy to use. My local dealer wouldn't budge off list price and at that he's $200 less than another dealer I checked (wrong time of year to be looking). I'm trying another dealer tomorrow.
 

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I'm much too familiar with the frozen newspaper and ice chunk problem. I've also hit some pretty solid chunks of wet/frozen oak leaves, usually with a shovel (up close to walls). Totally believable that those could affect the blower like a newspaper. Although, that usually bends the augers.

Anyway, I'd agree with Robert. Buy a new one, but fix this one as a backup.

Mike
 

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There were a couple of suggestions for coating the chute, my choice is Fluid Film. Available at some auto stores and Lowes. It makes the snow slide and prevents rust. The directions even suggest to use it on snowblowers.
Ski wax also works pretty well.
 

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That's the surprising thing. I didn't really hit anything large or solid, but my theory is after an hour of throwing a heavy mixture of snow and many, many oak leaves the gear box just had it. It was kind of like throwing a wet news paper. The shear bolts on the augers are still intact. The impeller and shaft are spinning independent of the gearbox.

PS - I looked at the Ariens Platinum 24 today. It seems to be built like a tank and the controls are a joy to use. My local dealer wouldn't budge off list price and at that he's $200 less than another dealer I checked (wrong time of year to be looking). I'm trying another dealer tomorrow.
Note, the chute control is a bit gimmicky, in that they have a single control that does 2 things:
1) release/lock the chute from rotating
2) rotate the chute

If you want the mechanism to last, and work well, you want to do it in 3 stages, namely to first move the handle to release the lock (how to do this can vary with the age of the machine, mine will do it by pulling the handle up), then move the handle left/right to rotate the chute, then stop the handle, then move the handle to apply the lock.

If you just push the handle left/right to rotate the chute, it does work nice for awhile, but then the part that locks it in place wears away and/or bends, and the spring making it lock weakens, and then the chute starts flopping around instead of staying where you want it.
 

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Note, the chute control is a bit gimmicky, in that they have a single control that does 2 things:
1) release/lock the chute from rotating
2) rotate the chute

If you want the mechanism to last, and work well, you want to do it in 3 stages, namely to first move the handle to release the lock (how to do this can vary with the age of the machine, mine will do it by pulling the handle up), then move the handle left/right to rotate the chute, then stop the handle, then move the handle to apply the lock.

If you just push the handle left/right to rotate the chute, it does work nice for awhile, but then the part that locks it in place wears away and/or bends, and the spring making it lock weakens, and then the chute starts flopping around instead of staying where you want it.
Thanks for the tips. I asked about the chute control because I remember a few years ago I couldn't get it to work on a brand new blower in the dealership. He said they have changed it and the one I tested yesterday was smooth as silk. I hope it stays that way.
 
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I dusted this thing off today. Thinking I'll never use it but I started it up and ran it for a while. I use my wife's Pan spray, it's a non stick cooking oil spray that I spray the inside of the chute and on the blades prior to blowing snow. It works real well.
 

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My one complaint against my Cub is the four-way chute control. It was fine year one, but last winter it got harder and harder to operate. I tried silicone spray on the plastic chute’s plastic base to help rotation, but it still hung up. This Fall I took the assembly off and greased the mating surfaces with some Valvoline SynPower Synthetic Grease I had, and it moves a lot easier. We’ll see how long this lasts!

Otherwise I’ve found great advice for running and using snowblowers in general here in the forum, and from movingsnow.com
 
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