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I'm a newbie tractor (and 1025r) owner. I've been pouring over this site for a while now, most recently gathering intel to get ready for winter. We live in North NJ suburbia about 30 miles west of Manhattan, and most who actually take care of their own driveways use a walk behind of varying sizes. Some peeps (such as my Pop) continue to say: no need for a plow or blower, just use the FEL - and while appealing from a cost perspective, my asphalt driveway isn't in the best shape, and I'm concerned my limited skills will do more damage than its worth this winter. I'm pretty dead-set against buying a front (either quick hitch or loader mounted) plow - I've never used a plow before and frankly, I think I'd be better off saving that cake and just using the FEL. That leaves me with looking into the blowers (I was actually going to buy one last month with the 1025, but the dealer couldn't get one until September and there was no way I wanted to wait on the entire package until then). My salesman tells me: the wider track of the 54 will cover the 49" wheel width and for the minimal cost difference definitely go with the larger. Frankly, with my size property (half acre), I think I'd prefer the smaller. After searching quite a bit I can't seem to find a lot of differences noted for the two front blowers JD offers. I ask you fine gents a couple of questions:

is there no feature or functional difference between the two blowers other than width?
the only real difference I've found is the 47" seems to be an older model and have a steel impeller where the 54 has a plastic one. Any one verify that with the 2018 models?
I've read the Deere blowers aren't great with lighter accumulations, is it that they aren't great - or they simply won't work without at least 3" of snow?
Will I really *need* a rear blade to tackle those light snows or can i just push it around enough with the front blower until there is enough snow in the box for the auger to pick up?
Anyone have a recommendation on a decent rear blade with a poly or rubber cutting edge?

I need to keep the driveway very clean as my 73yr old MiL walks up and down in the afternoons to get young-ins from the bus stop - can't afford any ice build up where she might get hurt. At the same time I'm *really* looking forward to selling my impeccably clean walk behind craftsman that has served me very well the last 8 winters and getting more seat time on my new big boy toy :)!
 

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To my knowledge, the size is the only difference. I thought both went to plastic impellers, but could be mistaken.
I have a 54 on my 2320, with plastic impeller.
A dusting it won't pick up, easier/faster/better to just shovel. An inch it will work. For light snows I use it kinda like a blade to push a pile at then end, then actually blow the pile into the ditch. YMMV.
I'm a fan of bigger is better, these tractors are hydro, so easy enough to keep it within the power limits of the tractor regardless of snow depth.
Can you bog it down/kill it, yep. But you have to try.
 

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The 54” blower works well with my 1026r. I think the smaller blower would be fine for smaller driveways. I have my blower setup to leave 3/4” as not to pick up stones as most of my driveway isn’t paved. I don’t use the blower for less than 2” of snow. I have a plow for my atv that I use for light snowfalls. The atv works ok up to about 4”.
 

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I ask you fine gents a couple of questions:

is there no feature or functional difference between the two blowers other than width?
Correct. They both pretty much use the same components with the 54" having a longer housing and longer auger.

the only real difference I've found is the 47" seems to be an older model and have a steel impeller where the 54 has a plastic one. Any one verify that with the 2018 models?
At one time that was true. However, both versions now have the plastic err.. umm... poly impeller.

I've read the Deere blowers aren't great with lighter accumulations, is it that they aren't great - or they simply won't work without at least 3" of snow?
Will I really *need* a rear blade to tackle those light snows or can i just push it around enough with the front blower until there is enough snow in the box for the auger to pick up?
No snow blower is great with light accumulations. Although if you have a paved driveway and raise the shoes so the scraper bar touches the ground you can clear even an inch of snow down to bare pavement. The trick to clearing small snow falls is to go a bit faster. I still prefer a blade for the light stuff.

Anyone have a recommendation on a decent rear blade with a poly or rubber cutting edge?
There are a lot of decent blades out there. JD's Frontier brand is good as is Woods, Land Pride, Bush Hog, etc. You won't find many that come with a poly or rubber cutting edge from the factory but it is very easy to bolt-on a rubber or poly strip using the holes that secure the steel cutting edge. Most blades also have an option to add skid feet.

I need to keep the driveway very clean as my 73yr old MiL walks up and down in the afternoons to get young-ins from the bus stop - can't afford any ice build up where she might get hurt. At the same time I'm *really* looking forward to selling my impeccably clean walk behind craftsman that has served me very well the last 8 winters and getting more seat time on my new big boy toy :)!
IMHO the best setup is a snow blower on the front and a rear blade on the back. That gives you the ability to clear anything without swapping implements. Some folks prefer a plow up front and a blower on the back and they works too (and may be a tad less expensive).
 

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I prefer a snowblower that is 10 to 12 inches wider than the outside width of my tractor's tires as it is easier to make sharper turns while blowing snow without the tires getting into the snow and getting stuck :thumbup1gif::thumbup1gif::thumbup1gif:

I have the 54" snowblower on order :good2: :good2: :good2: which I know is not 12 inches wider than my 1025r but a 60 inch snowblower was too much more money and weight for my budget
 

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A rubber blade on a small front mounted blade works well for the light dusting of snow!
 

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I have a concrete driveway. I set the outboard shoes to be flush with blade. I probably wear a blade and a set of shoes ever other season. The blade is double sided, so you can reverse it if you don't let it go to long. Be sure to purchase a box of the appropriate size carriage bolts and serrated flange nuts as they're chewed up or rusted tight. Just tighten them until they twist off to remove, rather than attempting to loosen.

It keeps it pretty clean setup like this. More often than not, I don't engage the blower, but rather utilize it as a pusher, moving the snow into a windrow and then engaging the blower to clear the windrow.

If I had to do it over again, I would have kept the 46 single stage snow thrower rather than buying the 47 snow blower with the tractor. Your dealer can outfit a 1025R with a 46, if he is on the ball. I liked the 46 as it was a bit lighter, had less moving parts to wear out, and when I stopped moving, it stopped blowing. Whereas with 2-stage 47, I have to wait for it to finish discharging before I back up, or it will through snow where I just cleared.

If you really want to keep your drive super clean, get a rotary broom as well. They also do pretty good and clearing the tire tracks of the morons who drive into your driveway before you have it cleared. A broom is limited as to how much snow you can move with it. If it gets too deep, it'll drop out the back or you'll start breaking sheer bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thank you all

I'm still a little torn between the (probably in my head) more manageability and smaller *easier to store) size of the 47 vs the 54. This machine is already huuuuuuuge for my property and I *get to* build a new shed maybe next year to house it. I do, however think I'm sold on adding a rear blade and building either a poly or rubber edge for it myself. Thank you for that info, I researched a few yesterday and I think I settled on Woods RBS60P: https://www.woodsequipment.com/productDetails.aspx?id=458

I'll certainly keep everyone up to date when I make my purchase(s) in the next couple of months.
 

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I'm still a little torn between the (probably in my head) more manageability and smaller *easier to store) size of the 47 vs the 54. This machine is already huuuuuuuge for my property and I *get to* build a new shed maybe next year to house it. I do, however think I'm sold on adding a rear blade and building either a poly or rubber edge for it myself. Thank you for that info, I researched a few yesterday and I think I settled on Woods RBS60P:https://www.woodsequipment.com/productDetails.aspx?id=458

I'll certainly keep everyone up to date when I make my purchase(s) in the next couple of months.
The RBS60P is a nice blade but at almost 270 lbs there is probably something a bit lighter out there and just as capable - especially for snow. You will be up near 300 lbs by the time you add a parking stand.

Even the standard RBS60 might be more appropriate. There are also a few manufacturers who make "L" versions of their rear blades which are taylored specifically for tractors with a Limited Cat-1 3PH like the 1025R. Land Pride makes the RB05xx series and Frontier makes the RB2060L.
 

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If I had it to do over again, I'd have gone with the 54" blower. I have the 47" one, and it works great, but the 7 additional inches would make a big difference in neatness... I have a driveway with 2 entrances off the street and a couple of long gentle curves. The rear wheels track wide of the path of the 47" blower, especially on the inside curves. This knocks snow down into the path I just cleaned. It's frustrating to an OCD person like myself to have this happen. The extra width of the 54" blower would come in handy. Really, the 7 inch difference between the 47 and 54 shouldn't mean much when it comes to storage or shed space. Go big!!!
 

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Being in Morrisville, NJ, I would think your average snow is 4" or less????? The average snow fall for our part of the country is 27" of snow per year.

I live in south central PA and we get more snows that are 2" - 4" than we get 6" snows. For these 3" snows, you cannot beat a front mount broom on a paved driveway.

When I bought my 1025R, I bought the 54" snow blower and kept my front blade that I had on my x748. I didn't give a front mount broom any consideration for removing snow since most people really do not talk about them. After using the blade and blower for a few years, I remember reading a post on GTT from a member that used a broom to clear snow which got my attention.

I put the feelers out for a 52" broom. They aren't easy to find, but I did locate one by sort of luck. I had talked to my dealer concerning my desire to buy one so he could keep his eyes open. They bought out the inventory of a JD Dealer that had gone out of business and guess what, they had a 52" broom. Since they are not a popular item, they made me a good deal on it and I will tell you, you cannot beat a broom to remove those 3" and maybe 4" snows on a paved driveway.

I have a 54" front blade, 54" front mount snow blower and 52" front mount broom. During the winter, my front mount broom and 3 point box blade (with the tines turned up of course) is on the tractor all the time. If we get one of the 4 - 6" snows that are wet snow, then I put the blade on. When we get one of those rare 8" snows that are dry/fluffy snow, then I put the snow blower on and still have to put the front mount broom on to do final clean up. I use the box blade to pull snow away from the front of the garage doors and then broom it away. The broom is once and done. No need for more clean up.

You mentioned you need to clean the drive way clean. The broom will do this. The blade or blower will do OK if you lower them so the mouldboard (scraping edge) scrapes the driveway but even then, you will possible need to do some final clean up if you need it clean.

Truthfully, my 54" snow blower is an expensive monument that sets in the garage. Not saying it isn't nice when you need it (I've used it twice in 4 years), but for the number of snows we get that you need it, I'm not sure it is worth it. I could have cleared these deep snows with the FEL and then cleaned up with the broom. Yes, it would have taken longer, but two times in 4 years, this wouldn't have been a big deal.

For your part of the country, IMO, having a front mount snow blower is going to be overkill most of the time. They just do not work that well in shallow snow. A 52" front mount broom and 54" front blade (blades aren't that expensive), for the slightly deeper snows, along with a 3 point blade, or I use my box blade since I have it, to pull the snow away from the front of garage doors, I think will work pretty well for you. For those deep snows, you have the FEL.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you Ray for your input, I truly value the opinion of all you here at GTT. I would point out one small point, We're in Morristown, about 90 miles north of Mooresville and a little less than 30 miles dead west of Manhattan. While a lot of our snow is heavy and wet, I think we do get a little more up here than even an hour further south. It sound like my best option would really be a blower and a rotary broom. I'll probably wind up with a blower and blade to begin with, and see how the budget goes from there. Sounds like you really lucked out with your broom deal!
 

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Being in Morrisville, NJ, I would think your average snow is 4" or less????? The average snow fall for our part of the country is 27" of snow per year.

I live in south central PA and we get more snows that are 2" - 4" than we get 6" snows. For these 3" snows, you cannot beat a front mount broom on a paved driveway.

When I bought my 1025R, I bought the 54" snow blower and kept my front blade that I had on my x748. I didn't give a front mount broom any consideration for removing snow since most people really do not talk about them. After using the blade and blower for a few years, I remember reading a post on GTT from a member that used a broom to clear snow which got my attention.

I put the feelers out for a 52" broom. They aren't easy to find, but I did locate one by sort of luck. I had talked to my dealer concerning my desire to buy one so he could keep his eyes open. They bought out the inventory of a JD Dealer that had gone out of business and guess what, they had a 52" broom. Since they are not a popular item, they made me a good deal on it and I will tell you, you cannot beat a broom to remove those 3" and maybe 4" snows on a paved driveway.

I have a 54" front blade, 54" front mount snow blower and 52" front mount broom. During the winter, my front mount broom and 3 point box blade (with the tines turned up of course) is on the tractor all the time. If we get one of the 4 - 6" snows that are wet snow, then I put the blade on. When we get one of those rare 8" snows that are dry/fluffy snow, then I put the snow blower on and still have to put the front mount broom on to do final clean up. I use the box blade to pull snow away from the front of the garage doors and then broom it away. The broom is once and done. No need for more clean up.

You mentioned you need to clean the drive way clean. The broom will do this. The blade or blower will do OK if you lower them so the mouldboard (scraping edge) scrapes the driveway but even then, you will possible need to do some final clean up if you need it clean.

Truthfully, my 54" snow blower is an expensive monument that sets in the garage. Not saying it isn't nice when you need it (I've used it twice in 4 years), but for the number of snows we get that you need it, I'm not sure it is worth it. I could have cleared these deep snows with the FEL and then cleaned up with the broom. Yes, it would have taken longer, but two times in 4 years, this wouldn't have been a big deal.

For your part of the country, IMO, having a front mount snow blower is going to be overkill most of the time. They just do not work that well in shallow snow. A 52" front mount broom and 54" front blade (blades aren't that expensive), for the slightly deeper snows, along with a 3 point blade, or I use my box blade since I have it, to pull the snow away from the front of garage doors, I think will work pretty well for you. For those deep snows, you have the FEL.
I'm impressed you can angle the front broom and it doesn't have issues with the front PTO. My understanding was any front driven PTO implement needed to be locked straight to prevent damaging the PTO. Haven't owned one of these attachments yet.

Aside from that I will be looking at adding a 54" snowblower to the front of my x758 instead of a 47". The 47" are much easier to find however after working with a 54" plow I've realized that the extra width is necessary in order to be able to make turns and not drive up on the snow. I live in southern Connecticut so my snow is usually fairly wet. Presently I have a 28" walk behind Ariens that I use and do find that even sub 2" of snow, and sloshy snow, gives me trouble getting rid of it.
 
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