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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
An interesting comment was made in another thread in regard to the use of plastic for parts. It got me to thinking; I myself am not one for the use of plastic in the products I buy. I must admit there are things that when designed properly plastic is a satisfactory cost savings. And we as a society demand lower cost for our products are certainly going to get what we ask for. Case in point, the internet is full of the complainers on the cost of a front snow blower. They have an alternative, a 3pt hitch blower. But, then they complain about looking backwards all the time. First let's clear the air on cost of a front vs rear blower, basically the blower itself is the same cost, front or rear. The added cost of a front blower comes into account for the additional mounting and drive parts required. Most of which can be used for other attachments. And I love this attachment!

Now back to topic. Upon evaluating my Deere front blower, there are basically 3 parts made of plastic on it. The cover over the cable mechanism that turns the chute, the impeller that throws the snow, and the hinge on the deflector of the chute. Let's evaluate each case. First the cover, I would prefer powder coated steel here but for this application the plastic will work. Second the impeller, Deere is leading the way on this as others to my knowledge have not gone this route. Now I say leading.....I only mean the first. This item I would prefer stainless steel but currently there is nothing to indicate that the part is poorly designed to not do the job. As for longevity, time will tell. However, we all know that plastic definitely does not last as long as painted steel. It would seem that somehow this is to say a "deal breaker" to buy this blower for some, even though I have not heard of any failures or problems. There seems to be quite the hubbub about this plastic impeller on other sites with nothing to back it up. I am just not sure what the purpose this kind of talk is about. Well, no matter, I just want you to be knowledgeable of such.

OK, now the chute deflector hinge. This was not a good engineering decision to make this item out of plastic the way they did. The design calls for a single piece of plastic to do the flexing instead of a pivot pin. This item will fail the more I use it. So, I am trying to be a little pro-active and decide how I am going to fix it before it breaks. The current design has the hinge riveted to the chute and deflector. First let me ask this; has anyone already experienced this problem and if so how did you fix it?

Here is what I am thinking, a simple stainless steel hinge bolted to both items. I am not sure if the slight geometry change will give me problems. Of course I may be over thinking this a bit. Attached are photos of the current design. You will notice the plastic turning white with each deflector adjustment. Not sure how long I have. The blower is into its second season.
 

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Yep, I think a stainless hinge would be PERFECT There...I wouldnt be worried about geometry, its just a deflector, I Think a person could use sheetrock screws and screw on a piece of plywood and get satisfactory "Deflecting"...if you saw the factory deflector on an old Lucknow blower we owned, you wouldnt be worried about your stainless hinge :lol:
 

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Given your skill level, I'd replace the plastic with a stainless hinge. Agree with Dave that alignment is not critical at all.

I've got the 47" Deere blower for my 318. Now down here in NC it gets used about once every 5 to 8 years, but when I lived "up nawth" in Mass. I did a lot of snowblowing when I was between the ages of 10 and 18. In all that time, I don't every recall adjusting the top of the deflector chute. There's a sweet spot where the snow is getting blow away (vs. up) but the angle is not so great that the cute bogs and clogs down.

That said, I completely understand wanting something to just be right.

Agree that plastic cover on chute cylinder is OK even if it is plastic. My impeller is metal since I got the blower back in 2000. I did have the gravel eat up the impeller chamber, and had to have someone weld in new metal to beef that up. It still gets beat up fairly badly, so it's just a matter of time before that needs re-working. But at usage every 5-8 years, maybee that will be a problem for someone else.

Here's a picture 'cause pictures are fun. Have yet to try out my adjustable skid shoes. The hope is they will keep me off the gravel. Have the blower on a low height dolly for easy installation.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't every recall adjusting the top of the deflector chute. There's a sweet spot where the snow is getting blow away (vs. up) but the angle is not so great that the cute bogs and clogs down.

That said, I completely understand wanting something to just be right.

Pete
Pete, it really isn't a sweet spot thing. Not having a cab and when the wind is a blowing you can actually blow against the wind and not get white. And I do not like getting white. And I can put the snow right where I want it. Now I admit I probably wouldn't adjust it as much if I didn't have the remote control. But now that I have it there is no way I would get another blower without it.

Agree with Dave that alignment is not critical at all.
Well Guys, my minor concern are the radial slots on either side of the chute. They have a definite radius and it needs to match the pivot point (hinge pivot). Now my instinct tells me that it is, as you say "not critical", just a consideration in the design change. I don't think the pivot location will change enough to cause binding. I only want to up grade and be done with it. I will just have to try it and see.
 

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Well Guys, my minor concern are the radial slots on either side of the chute. They have a definite radius and it needs to match the pivot point (hinge pivot). Now my instinct tells me that it is, as you say "not critical", just a consideration in the design change. I don't think the pivot location will change enough to cause binding. I only want to up grade and be done with it. I will just have to try it and see.
Hmmm...I see what your saying.
Without reinventing the wheel, wouldnt a Stainless Piano Hinge offer the same alignment as the flat piece of plastic?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's a picture 'cause pictures are fun. Have yet to try out my adjustable skid shoes. The hope is they will keep me off the gravel. Have the blower on a low height dolly for easy installation.

Pete
Pete,
Fill us in on the interesting design you have going on there. Do the standard skids not have enough adjustment? Or large enough to float over the gravel?:unknown:

As far as testing, you really shouldn't need any snow to try it all out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hmmm...I see what your saying.
Without reinventing the wheel, wouldnt a Stainless Piano Hinge offer the same alignment as the flat piece of plastic?
Well, that is what I am thinking, except there will still be a slight geometry change in the pivot point. I am probably over thinking the whole thing, I do that sometimes.
 

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Randy, on the blowing in your face it's possible that since I did all my blowing as a young pup, I just put up with it 'cause I didn't know better :laugh:. I understand exactly what you're saying, and having the angle be remotely settable would be nice. I know I wore a rubber suit, goggles, scarf and big mittens but I know I still got a snoot full on occasion. Guess this was a "you can't miss what you never had" moment for me.

When I was saying the alignment on the hinge was not critical, I guess I was thinking about the change in alignment from the plastic hinge to the stainless steel one. Seems like everything would line up to within .125" of where it was before. Perhaps a better way to say this is I think your tolerance is 1/4" or tighter on the chute.

As for the adjustable wheel shoes, the shoes provided are OK for hard surfaces, but don't have the surface area for gravel. I had to go up to the welding shop and grab both my plow shoes and blower shoes last week, they were in there to get some more surface area. If the wheels work, then I can adjust the height if I run into gravel, and can swing the "wheel shoes" out of the way when I get on a hard surface without having to pull out tools and re-adjust the shoes. My welding shop is back up now, sad 'cause I'm ready. Oh great- now we're back on the "do I need a welder" problem :unknown:.

The adjustable particularly comes into play if I'm helping others clear their driveway. If I can keep the scrape blade on the blower 2" above level (which can be set in the garage) I'm good for my "land plane groomed" gravel driveway. But some neighbors will require a 5" clearance since they have a big rut at the beginning of their driveway where they turn in. Since they rely primarily on solar snow removal techniques, they see no need to keep it flatter than that.

I did a test on some packed gravel, it all seemed to work. In real use, the shoes would be set at 2", and the wheels would supplement them if the shoes sunk into the gravel too much. Well, someday I'll have my modified shoes for both blade and blower, and some snow to work with and I'll see if I can master this "clearing a gravel driveway" problem.

Pete
 

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Well, that is what I am thinking, except there will still be a slight geometry change in the pivot point. I am probably over thinking the whole thing, I do that sometimes.
I'm still following you... I guess to keep the pivot point close enough (its not like those slides are +/-.005" :laugh: You could mount the hinge plates UNDER the chute and have just the hinge pin/pivot point essentially exactly where the plastic is now.. See attached pic....
Green = The Existing Chute & Deflector
Red = New Piano Hinge
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm still following you... I guess to keep the pivot point close enough (its not like those slides are +/-.005" :laugh: You could mount the hinge plates UNDER the chute and have just the hinge pin/pivot point essentially exactly where the plastic is now.. See attached pic....
Green = The Existing Chute & Deflector
Red = New Piano Hinge
Thanks Dave, this is one of the options I was already pondering. I would proabably mount the hinge on the outside of the chute with the pivot down. I will try it with the pivot up first. Yeah, I think you are correct the tolerances on this shouldn't be that tight. Just over thinking before I actually do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Why not replace the plastic with a nice looking sturdy piece of silicon rubber? You could retain the factory look and gain flexibility.
HHHmmmmmm, interesting thought. I will have to ponder that idea. Thanks.
 

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"OK, now the chute deflector hinge. This was not a good engineering decision to make this item out of plastic the way they did. The design calls for a single piece of plastic to do the flexing instead of a pivot pin. This item will fail the more I use it."

Agreed, I think this part will fail quickly. I don't have the remote adjuster on mine and don't plan on moving it much. I'm going to try to find the "sweet spot" and leave it there.

It will be interesting to see what JD comes up with to replace this part when they start having problems. On the "other forums" there was a mention that JD dealers were replacing the plastic impellers with steel when they broke, so maybe that will be a solution here too.

I was surprised to find this type of construction on a $4000 tractor attachment...
 

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Welcome to the site Runner.

One would think it would be cheaper for the company to install the correct strength part when assembled rather than replacing items under warranty.

IMHO, the Deere back in the 70's would never do what they are doing now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On the "other forums" there was a mention that JD dealers were replacing the plastic impellers with steel when they broke, so maybe that will be a solution here too.
I hadn't heard this, is it really true?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't have the remote adjuster on mine and don't plan on moving it much. I'm going to try to find the "sweet spot" and leave it there.
Runner, you don't know what you are missing. This is the first tractor mounted remote chute adjustment I've had. And there is no way I could live without one now. :dance: Along with the hydraulic rotation it is the cats meow.:yahoo:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, here is the update on my hinge. I thought I would start with the flexible rubber idea as previously mentioned. If this does not last I will move on to the stainless steel hinge idea. But, for right now, I think since I already had some 1/4 inch thick rubber I went for it and it seems to work great. :thumbup1gif: I made some 1/4 x 1 x 4 aluminum plates that I tapped and powder coated. I fastened it all with M5 x 20 stainless steel screws with acorn nuts as lock nuts and a finishing touch.

I included a photo of the original plastic hinge that definetly would not last munch longer. And a shot of some pry bars I coated in JD green as long as I was already set up.
 

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Looks nice Randy, that should hold up well...
 
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