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Time to freshen up those snowblowers...

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  • Time to freshen up those snowblowers...

    Customer has an older snowblower- I don't know the brand- that has a pair of tracks instead of tires. It's apparently old enough that parts are no longer available for it- assuming they ever were in the first place.

    He apparently likes this model, and wants to keep it running. I know the feeling- my lawnmower is older than I am, and still runs great. And surprisingly enough, has yet to kill, maim or disfigure a single operator despite having no blade brake, blade guard, clutch, rock deflector or even any warning labels.

    Anyway, one of the track drive cogs broke- not just the shear pin, the hub broke out of the wheel.

    Despite looking pretty much identical to every other track-drive snowblower wheel out there, apparently this fellow couldn't find a replacement. he first tried to "weld" the wheel back together- How, I don't know, possibly with a soldering iron, or maybe just a propane torch and an old screwdriver as a "spreading knife".

    The heat badly warped the wheel, and the weld didn't hold anyway. So he wanted an aluminum copy. Five hours later:

    We still need to "fit" it, as I suspect the axle is an oddball metric size, and it still needs to be drilled for the shear pin once I have the spacing and specs. But if the guy can break this one, I'm gonna have to suggest he buy a real plow.

    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    Nice job Doc. I am starting to get calls for snow blower fixes and tuneups. They come just after the leaf blower calls slow down.

    I have never had to fix a drive wheel like that before. Now I can refer back if I ever have the "pleasure". Looks as though it is off a blower that has tracks instead of tires.

    Then again, if this global warming thing keeps up, I'll go hungry waiting for another snow blower fix.

    Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.


    • #3
      just curious what you would charge for a job like that.
      "Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment" R.M.Brown

      My shop tour


      • #4
        Doc, it might be a "Noma," the christmas tree light people. They produced a track drive unit years back. I have a Honda track drive 6hp x 24" and like it . It starts in one or two pulls and does a great job. That is a "reel neet" and VERY permanent fix! the Honda has one TINY drawback-the current 7x24 model is nearly $3000.00 Cdn! Costco sells some Chinese model called a PoulOn, (not PoulAn,) for about $800.00 and it is 10hp and electric start! Duffy
        Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


        • #5

          Kind of surprised that he broke the drive for the track and not the drive for the auger. He must really be trying to push that into banks of thawed and refrozen junk or something.

          I remember the "lessons" my Dad taught me about using machinery, the back of my head is still sore from dope slaps and he has been gone for 7 years now.

          Very nice work.



          • #6
            SNOW is a four letter word!

            Nice lookin' part. I wish I had the tools and talent to do the same


            • #7
              How Much??

              You charge a Guy to make a 20 dollar replacement part that takes you 5 hours?? I just have to Laugh because I do jiobs like that also. Usually if they bring enough Beer and we drink it together I try to forget about my Folly.


              • #8
                I'm disappointed you didn't hog it out of one solid piece...........

                Because I'm a cheap bastid, my latest project is mounting a snowblower attachment to a mower that it's not supposed to be on. So far so good, the trick is gonna be the 2 idler pullies to do the 90* corner with the drive belt.


                • #9

                  Where in Alaska are you?

                  For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
                  Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.


                  • #10
                    What's snow?
                    Greetings from Texas.....


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doc Nickel
                      The heat badly warped the wheel, and the weld didn't hold anyway. So he wanted an aluminum copy.
                      Nice job Doc! I was going to ask what that was on the aluminum cleaning thread...

                      By the way, my daughter is 6 and has never seen snow
                      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


                      • #12
                        Turns out it's an old Atlas. At least that's the name on the machine, I don't know who was the actual manufacturer. Has a Tecumseh engine, and the owner says it's strong & reliable.

                        Apparently the original wheel only broke when his... son-in-law, I think? Borrowed it, and tried to clear some ice out of the track with a screwdriver or a prybar or something. That cracked it, and once cracked, it wasn't long 'til it tore all the way out.

                        I'm disappointed you didn't hog it out of one solid piece.
                        -I considered it. But the wheel is 6-1/4" nominal OD, so I couldn't slice a coin off a 6" round bar. The local metals supplier could have ordered me some 8" (if I'd bought at least a foot) or, if I wanted plate, some three-inch, since the center hub is a little over 2-1/2".

                        Glad I didn't, though. I don't have a big enough lathe to seriously hog off that much material, so this method was quite a bit faster.

                        I used a jigsaw to cut the disc from a hunk of 3/8" 5250, roughly centerpunched the center, drilled it in two steps to 1-1/4" (my biggest conventional drill bit) then bored it the rest of the way by plunging in a 1-1/2" indexible-carbide endmill.

                        The chunk of 1-1/2" round ended up being a fair press fit with the as-bored hole, so I mashed it in, and welded it. While it was cooling, I set up my rotary table, and spent a good hour just adapting a spare 4-jaw chuck to it. That's one of those "I've been meaning to do that..." type projects, so I finally took the time to do it.

                        I didn't use a 3-jaw because I didn't have a spare.

                        Once that was set up, I just ran a 5/8" endmill through to make a 1/2" deep slot every 45 degrees. Then I lopped up an old shear-scrap bar of 5250 that was kind of twisted, and made the lugs. Quick repeat job with some parallels.

                        Tap 'em in place, weld again, let cool.

                        Turn the OD to size (or at least my best guess of size- the original was both taco and egg shaped ) and face off the outer edge of the lugs. Drill and ream to 5/8", which was kind of a guess as well.

                        A little file work to clean up the welds, call the customer.

                        He brought the blower over this morning, turns out the axle shaft was, in fact, right at 5/8" (though rusty) so all I had to do was final face the center hub for depth (spacing away from the blower body, to align the track) and drill for the drive pin/bolt.

                        All pretty straightforward, though had I known how the track was made, I'd probably have made the drive lugs wider.

                        Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)