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How about some snow blower experts?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Gooserider, Dec 6, 2007.

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  1. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Relevance to wood burning - I use it to clear the path out to the woodsheds, along with the driveways and such...

    Late last spring I picked up an older, used, big Ariens snowblower for a very good price as a replacement / upgrade for the Toro that I had been using. I'm not sure what model it is, but it's got a 10hp engine, and around a 30-32" swath. It was the "luxury" model in its day, although it's not as fancy as the new machines... The only storm I had used it on last spring was a little one that almost didn't need blowing, I did it mostly to say that I'd used the machine.

    Monday I tried it again, on another storm that was low accumulation, but very wet and heavy - it was like trying to blow cement. I'm running into a few problems, mostly related, and would like some suggestions...

    1. The machine has a differential tranny, which I'm finding a real pain, as it isn't a "limited slip" diff, instead as soon as one wheel looses traction, it starts spinning while the other wheel stops. There is a button on the left wheel to disengage the differential, but I haven't figured out how to make it go back to a solid axle... IMHO the differential is nice when turning, but I'd rather horse it around the corners than have to keep getting stuck on the straights...

    2. For some unknown reason, the machine came with smooth "turf" tread tires, like a lawn tractor, rather than an agressive tractor style tire. I'm sure this is a big part of my spinning problem - what is the best way to deal with it? I've found I can get a set of chains for about $40 / pair, two ply "Snow Hog" knobby style tires for about $25 each, or a deep lug 4-ply "chevron" type tread for about $50 each... Which would probably give me the best traction and / or durability? (The tires that are on the machine are 16 x 6.50 - 8, and not in the best of shape, lots of dry rot on the sidewalls) I'm blowing on a mixed set of of asphalt, hard packed dirt, and lawn surfaces

    3. This year I had a lot of leaves drifted across the driveway. The Toro seemed to chew through them w/o much trouble, would just chop them up and blow them out along with the snow. This machine doesn't want to pick them up, instead it tries to ride up and over them, leaving lumpy drifts of un-blown stuff laying across the driveway. (and / or go into the stuck and spin mode) Any way to help encourage the machine to eat the leaves a little more willingly? My local power equipment guy said it is in the nature of the beast - that snowblowers just don't like eating leaves, but I was wondering if there are any ways to make it do a bit better...

    4. Any other sites that might be a better place to ask?

    Gooserider

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  2. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    -I downloaded my Ariens manuals (owners as well as service) from their website. You have to know the model and/or serial number which are on the machine somewhere (I forget where). If you want a manual, any manual, I could email mine.

    -For the life of my machine my wheels have been locked and I don't know how to unlock it. I'm sure it makes it harder to move around but you have to futz with the wheel lock, unlike some other machines which have a lever on the handlebars. I'd find out how to lock it from the manual.

    -Is your Toro a single stage that has an auger that goes right down to the pavement (or in my case, gravel, lol)? Were the leaves frozen? My Ariens does have a tendency to ride over icey/congealed snow. The Toro can chew through that, but I get the feeling it might be abuse. Of course, I did try it once on my gravel driveway and it didn't take long to find out that was a bad idea.

    -The shear pins are intact? I never had a problem with them until I moved to the current place with the gravel driveway. I put the scraper up to the max height this year by adjusting the skids. In a possibly related thing, my brother in law broke the shear pins when his machine picked up a newspaper that was in the driveway.

    -Your machine could need some adjusting. My machine isn't that old, but I thought it didn't have the ooomph it used to when going up a hill (yes to the woodpile). I followed the owners and service manual and adjusted it. I'm not clear on how the wheels or auger are driven, but belts and I think some kind of shaped friction device (to change speeds) are involved. Tha manual also goes into that.

    -I would say to lock up that wheel and get some new knobby tires.
  3. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    That transmission sounds like a pain in the rear. Here's how I would set your machine up if it came in to our shop:

    Knobby tires with chains if you want to put down the cash, otherwise, just the knobbies.

    With the variety of surfaces you're clearing, I would set up your housing like this: with the auger about 3/4 - 7/8 of an inch above the ground, have the skid shoes touching the ground and the scraper about a quarter inch above the ground.

    To make it stop riding up over things, there's really not a whole lot you can do. Try adding some ballast to the front of the machine, on top of the auger housing. I've seen a few people do that with some success. Other than that, all you really can do is lift up on the handlebars when it starts to do it to encourage it to bite back down.

    Not sure about the leaves....
  4. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Chains. I lost one last year. I just installed a used chain and then promptly found the old one in a pile of pine needles on my neighbor's driveway.

    They are well worth it. They grip so much better. BTW, I use a 25+yo Ariens.

    Matt and now has an extra chain.
  5. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    Those early 80's Ariens were great machines!
  6. JayY

    JayY New Member

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    My Ariens dates to the 1960's. So far its the best $30 piece of equipment I ever bought.

    There is a yahoo group for Ariens equipment (groups.yahoo.com). The members primarily seem interested in the garden tractors but it is worth a shot. There is also an Ariens snowblower expert over at ytmag.com . I can't remember his handle but if you post something in the general discussion area he will probably respond.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well, Lets see,
    VF - I guess I need to go find the data plate on the machine and grab the manual... Glad to know that they are posted on the Ariens site.
    - I think most Ariens have a solid axle, and I don't have a problem with that. I know my Toro has a "Power Turn" mechanism where there is a knob on each side you can pull to disengage that wheel. I find that this is nice when moving the machine around with the engine off as it lets the wheels spin without having to turn the tranny, but it's not real good while running the machine, as it is a pain to get the wheels to re-engage.
    - My Toro is a 7/26 (7 hp, 26" cut) two stage machine - (I class the single stage jobs as "toy" machines at best.) It worked, but the engine is getting "tired" to the point that it was a "fill the oil and check the gas" routine after every use. However it seems to be willing to chew up and throw anything that the auger encounters, I just try to make sure it doesn't encounter anything it shouldn't eat :red: Otherwise I don't really like it - when we got it, it was the only machine available, but I'm not fond of the controls on it.
    - Far as I can tell the pins are OK. One of the things I hate about the more modern machines is the damn interlocs that won't let you go around and look at the front when the auger is engaged... It wouldn't throw well to the left, and wasn't great to the right, but I feel reasonably certain that the problem was just related to the snow I was trying to deal with - it was really heavy and slushy, like trying to blow wet concrete. The leaves weren't frozen, I think, but they were definitely wet and slushy. If we get enough of a thaw before the next storm, I will probably try to go and scrape them off the driveway.
    - drive on a snowblower is fairly clever, at least on some machines, I'm not sure if mine is the same way or not. Usually there are two belts on the front of the engine, which are accessed by separating the blower part from the engine / tranny part. The front belt hooks up to the auger and fan, with engagement controlled by the tension pulley. The back belt drives the transmission, which consists of a flat flywheel like disk that is spun by the engine. On the wheel driveshaft there is a disk with a rubber "tire" that is driven by contacting the spinning drive disk. This disk is mounted on a splined shaft and the transmission ratio, and forward/reverse are determined by where the tire is positioned in relation to the drive disk. It is a neat design in that it is simple and has few moving parts, however that driven tire does tend to wear out after a while, and can be a real PITA to get into it and change.

    cmonSTART (great handle BTW) Sounds like my best bet will be to go with the knobby tires to start with, see if that works OK for me, and then add the chains if it doesn't... Looks like I want to get my stuff online, I'd give my local guy the business if he was halfway competitive, but he wants $56 for the same tire that Northern sells for $24.99, and IMHO that's just to much of a difference...

    How much of a pain is it to break down and change those little tires? Anything special needed for tools? - I have the tools and plenty of practice doing motorcycle and bicycle tires - are these much different?

    What about Tubes? I'm pretty sure the tires that are currently on the machine are tubeless, but I know that when I got a flat on our lawn tractor earlier this year, the local guy said it could be a real pain making the tires seal up, and his standard routine was to just put a tube in. - Am I better off just getting the tubes and putting them in from the start?

    Thanks for the advice on setting up the auger clearances - I may run things a little tighter than that since most of my surfaces are pretty flat, but the numbers make sense.

    Thanks for the other references as well - looks like this will at least get me started on it.

    Gooserider
  8. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    All I can tell about the tires is they are a hassle to change. I just changed one on my log splitter and what I did was left the wheel on the splitter and once the beads of the tire are pushed into the center slot of the wheel take a pry bar and work the outside bead off first and then the second. Always keep the other side of the bead of the tire in the deepest section of the rim as this will allow you to have the room to pull the tire off the rim.

    Also while doing this spray the bead areas with a soapy solution to help them slide off the rim.

    Same method installing the new tire. Start with the bead in the deepest part of the rim and grunt it around with a pry bar and a hole centering type punch.

    Then once the tire is one you will have to try and push the tire onto the inside seating area of the rim as much as you can and gently try to seat the other side with out pulling off the first side. Some people put a rope around the tire and twist it to compress the tire to help seat it and then use a higher powered compressor Min 100 psi tank storage type.

    Good luck. It does give a bit of satisfaction getting those tires on as it is not super easy.
  9. Gibbonboy

    Gibbonboy New Member

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    Can't say much about the tires, other than my Simplicity has knobbies and chains, and I've never had to touch them in 10 years since I bought it (used then). All of my other stuff with small tires (trailers, lawn tractor, wheelbarrow) has tubes in it after the first flat tire. I also have a Sears blower with tracks, which is the one I use most. There's no steering, which makes it quite a workout in smaller areas, but it really does a good job. Had some issues about going through belts, but now I only buy the (expensive) green belts, and they last a long time.

    The second year I had the Sears, I took it out of the garage, and couldn't get it to run without the choke 1/2 closed. Well, after some banging and swearing and a few restarts, I looked around online and found the carb adjustment, which is a knob big enough to turn with gloves on (smart, huh?). Now it purrs like a kitten, once I tweak the carb for the current temp.
  10. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    We usually put a tube in, regardless on whether its "tubeless" or not, especially on smaller tires. Changing smaller tires like on a snowblower are well.. let's just say the last set I did took 3 of us to wrestle the bead over the rim. Very small beads don't stretch well. Now if you have a split rim on that machine, piece of cake! Hey, don't forget, while you have the rim off the machine, smear the axle with some Nev-R-Seize. Snowblower rims have a nasty tendency to rust themselves right to the axles and NEVER come off again.
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I know some of you have already been socked in with the snow, but the weatherman says we're getting a couple of storms tomorrow and then on the weekend.

    Made sure the snowblower worked, and the speeds needed some adjusting again (didn't get it right the first time I guess). Now low is real low, where it used to be faster.
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well, I have ordered two snowhog type tires - They are going to be Kenda's rather than Carlisle, but I don't think that should be a big difference, I'm also getting the tubes for them. I'm hoping the wheels will turn out to be split rims, it looks like they have 4 bolts on each one that must be either holding the wheels on, or holding them together (or both) Will find out when the new tires get here. I figure that I am going to try the tires first, and if that still doesn't work, then I'll get the chains.

    We've had two good storms since I started the thread, both with drier fluffier snow, and I had far fewer problems, though I had to make two repairs on the machine w/ todays storm - There is a U-joint in the crank shaft for the chute direction, and one of the roll pins that holds it on fell out >:-( so I had to find a cotter pin to replace it. Then a little while later I tried to suck up one of the tarps on the wood shed :red: and blew a shear bolt on the auger - Made a quick trip to the local hardware store, and got more, but it really stinks to be paying $2.00 each for the things.

    Otherwise the machine worked real well overall, it was throwing the snow a good distance regardless of the direction, and I was having fewer traction problems, though I still have some spinning with the turf tires. I'm also still trying to figure out how to get the differential turned off, so I can have a solid axle that will drive whichever wheel has traction. I can't figure out how to get the knob that is supposed to control it reset. it just doesn't seem to want to turn, or do whatever it's supposed to do. Even worse, is the muffler is blowing right in my face when I'm trying to do anything with the knob (It's on the end of the left wheel axle) I'm hoping that maybe I can get it figured out when changing the tires, if not I may have to get the local power guy that sold the machine to me to look at it.

    BTW, I'm still trying to ID the machine so I can get a manual for it. The Ariens label on it is not legible, but the Ariens tech support person said that if I could find the data plate off the motor, that might help to ID the machine - Any idea where they put the numbers on a Tecumseh engine? The only obvious thing is the 10HP label on the recoil housing, but I'm sure there needs to be more than that...

    Gooserider
  13. sedanman

    sedanman New Member

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    If the diff lock is not siezed solid the it's east to use. The small knob, offset of the center of the hub is spring loades and turns. Turn it so the raised pointer lines up with the word "IN" on the center hub. When the parts are in proper alignment the small knob will be pulled in by the spring, locking the center hub to the axle and thereby lock the diff. Liberal application of WD-40 will hgelp here. Go to the Ariens web site, click on "parts radar" Then click on the heading "parts" then type in part number 51000400 this will bring up a listing of search results, click on one of these whick will open a link on the right of the page, click the link and see a picute of the diff lock.
  14. 'bert

    'bert Minister of Fire

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  15. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Hmmm.... Mixed results. The parts link sort of worked, except that the Parts Radar thing kept saying "No parents were found for the specified entity." instead of showing any sort of picture of the assembly, or what machine it was used on.

    The link to the Gilson site had a lot of useful info, but not directly applicable since I have an Ariens machine - However I did find a couple of links to other sites that may be helpful.

    The instructions on the differential may be a big help the next time I mess with the machine, although there are no labels on the hub - they seem to be worn off. I got the knob to pull out and turn at one point, but it only seemed to have one place where it wants to go in at all, and that felt like the detent to keep the differential working in that mode. - however I at least now have a little better idea of what I should be looking for on it.

    Gooserider
  16. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    The numbers for a Tecumseh engine are in one of two places. Either on a sticker on the lower part of the flywheel cover housing, or more likely for the era of machine you have, it will be stamped into the top of the flywheel cover housing on top of the engine. If you have an electric start hooked up with the plug and button on top, you may have to remove the plug/button assembly to see it. It's not a big deal, just a couple screws.
  17. sedanman

    sedanman New Member

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    Goose, I just followed my own directions and got there, once on parts radar you have to click the tab on the upper left corner of tha page called "parts" then type in 51000400 and you WILL see search results (2 to be exact) . Click on either of the 2 results and you'll see a box on the lower right called "where used" click any link and the part will be highlighted on the picture. You can make the picture bigger to get a real good look.
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I go to the Parts Radar, click on the parts tab, and type in the number, and get two results just as you said... If I click on either part, the entire line turns green, and I get the "No parents were found for the specified entity." error in the "Where Used" window. If I click on the little notepad looking icon, I get a Javascript window saying the part was added to my pick list. If I click on the curved arrow next to it, I get a window listing 52405900, and if I click on the arrow in that window, I get 51000400 and 62405400 - I've tried pasting those numbers into the parts window as well, and get the same "no parents" errror....

    I have no idea why it's working for you and not for me...

    CmonStart - thanks for the notes on pulling the starter button - I'd looked on the flywheel housing but not seen anything, hadn't thought to pull the button - this machine does have the electric starter so that might just be where it's at. (Nice comment on the machine though, I haven't actually had to try the electric starter yet, as the rope has gotten it going every time in one or two pulls)

    Gooserider
  19. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    For what it's worth - I just went out and pulled the electric starter button off the snowblower motor, and there were numbers under it...

    If I'm reading them right - They are "HM100 159024C SER 0193D"

    Does that help?

    Gooserider
  20. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    Those are your model, spec, and serial numbers. That's what you need to ID your engine.
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well I have progressed... Not sure where to go next. I found the engine numbers, and sent them off to Ariens, got back a response saying they needed a "date code" on the engine tag - not sure where that would be, but with what I had given them, they said it was one of three models.

    924034 - Parts Radar shows it as a 10 hp 32" blower, made in 1977
    924035 - Parts Radar shows it as a 10 hp "tractor", also made in '77, but the picture looks like the 924034 drive train, just no snowblower part on the front end.
    924044 - Parts Radar shows it as a 10 hp 32" blower, made in 1978

    I can't see any obvious differences in the parts radar diagrams that would tell me which model I have - How much difference is there likely to be?

    I have gotten the differential part working, seemed like a matter of getting the knob to actually line up with the little holes that it has to go into, plus figuring out how to work it with no decal on the hub saying how it should work. I also ordered a pair of Kenda "Polar-Trak" tires, same thing as a Snow-hog, plus tubes and gotten them installed - it was a wrestling match, but not really any worse than a stiff motorcycle tire. The wheels were bolted onto hubs like a car tire, so it was no problem getting them off. Ended up getting them online from Jack's Small Engine - $84.00 w/ shipping for two tires and tubes, my usual guy wanted $100 EACH just for the tires... I'd rather give him the business, but it has to be at least competitive...

    Bad news was it appeared that there was a lot of slop in the bearings where the axles come out of the drive box, however I found some grease fittings and gave all of them a good hit.

    Today we had a good blizzard, and I tried the machine with the new tires and with the differential locked. Much better traction, although it was a lot harder to turn - next storm I may try with the diff unlocked to see if the new tires will give enough extra traction to go that way, will be great if it does.

    Downside to todays action though was I had an intermittent problem with the drive stopping, and the snow throwing being a bit less enthusiastic than before, along with an intermittent burning rubber smell - I'm hoping that this is just a matter of changing a belt or adjustment, not the drive disk starting to go...

    Gooserider
  22. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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  23. RobertO

    RobertO New Member

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    If you guys want a good snowblower, check out Badger Power Equipment --it's high end/ commercial equipment and may be too much for some residential users, but I'd rather buy one piece of equipment and use it forever.

    I was more expensive than any other blower I could find, but you get exactly what you pay for.

    I got mine 4 years ago and haven't had a bit of problems. This things turn on a dime with no effort, plows through deep ice and slush with no problems (anybody in WI knows how bad it was last year)----and NO SHEAR BOLTS (some sort of ratcheting device)--I know this thing works because I ran over a 2x4 and heard this loud clicking---all i did was stop, take it out, and keep then start going again. I have an OLD Snapper, and as heavy duty as that beast it, if I'd have tried that, it would done major damage....
  24. pdhowell

    pdhowell Member

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    I have two of those machines. If my experience is at all helpful....... By replacing a fan bearing, and two belts, you can "rebuild" these blowers for a very long time. Find all the grease zerks, and make sure they take grease. The carburetor has a spring loaded valve that easily drains the gas out of it to make "summeriziing" easy. A little "Sea Foam" is very helpful for storing. Stabil, for me, makes for hard starting. Chains are the solution to traction problems, although my blowers have lug tires. However on ice, tread is not that helpful and chains do the job.

    On my machines on the left side from the operator position, the center hub has a large button that is pulled out and rotated about thirty degrees to lock the two drive wheels and the axle. It is rotated back to allow each wheel to turn individually for easy maneuvering. However, when traction is needed, the wheels should be locked together, but be prepared to really push the blower around to make it turn. My memory is that on one of my machines, this mechanism stuck once, and I did have to go to the dealer.

    When you have heavy wet snow, the the fan belt stretches and can come off. My blowers have a black plastic "hump" on the top, between the engine and pickup box. It is secured with two bolts that allow the idler pulley to be tightened up. On some machines the idler is a slot, on others, you change the hole for the bolt, but it is an easy fix. You may have to take the bottom plate off, to put the belts back on the pulleys. Two bolts on the bottom of the chassis allow the pickup and fan front half of the blower to drop away from the engine portion and allow the belt changing. I believe that Ariens call this the "Service Position".

    These machines will plug on wet heavy leaves mixed with snow. However they will throw slush, although the operator may get wet.

    Last I checked, you could order service manuals from the Ariens website. However, I got my Tecumseh motor manuals at a outdoor equipment dealer that had a good service department.

    Let me know, and I can probably copy or scan the necessary pages for you.

    Dave Howell, Maryland
  25. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    You've got me wondering why your Ariens works differently from your Toro. I've worked on those things since the middle 60s - and back then Ariens was our top seller and Gilson our second. Toro came years later. From what I've seen, just about all the 6,7,8 or 10 horse, two-stage single-auger blowers work the same. Late 60s, we did carry a 12 and 14 horse HD model, made in Maine, that had headlights, twin-snow augers plus the 2nd stage blower - but that was an odd-ball made for 4' and deeper snow. Most standard 2-stage blowers use the same gear-ratio in the auger-to-blower gearbox, same engine RPM, same Toric-drive "infinite ratio" transmission, and a differential with some means of locking solid. Only meaningful differences I've seen are those of quality of construction which is more of a reliability issue than anything else. Toro uses a pretty flimsly wheel-lockup system that does not hold up well.

    Can't comment much on the newest stuff. Not sure if Toric-drive is still the standard or not (rubber-wheel infinite ratio). I know I worked on my father-in-laws 12 horse John Deere that is only a few years old - that is little different than stuff built in the 60s.

    In regard to tires and/or chains? I don't think the tires make a bit of difference - it's the chains that matter. We used to sell blowers with wheel-weights and chains - but I don't see many with the weights anymore. Big wheels gives an advantage, though.

    I use a 6 foot three-point hitch blower on my farm tractor and don't bother with the little ones anymore - but I'm at a rural setting with a farm.
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