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Discussion Starter #1
I bought my model 38 snow blower off Craigslist. It was mostly complete with the exception of the mule drive tension spring and hook, the chute directional handle, and the frame support bars.

I bought the spring off Amazon and made the hook from a piece of round stock I purchased at Lowe's. I made the chute directional handle from a piece of all-thread rod...maybe not the best material to use but the handle doesn't really experience any stress or strain so it should be fine.

The last thing missing...and by far the hardest part(s) to find are the frame braces. I have been looking for quite some time and have decided to make a pair while I continue to look for the OEM parts. Using 1/4" flat stock I drilled and bent the right one. It fits well. It's not as heavy gauge as the OEM part but will have to do for now. The left will be a bit more challenging as you have to accommodate for steering linkage and you cannot use the pedal pivot rod on the left like you can on the right. I'll let you know how that goes.

Please keep in mind that I'm not a professional fabricator and only have standard mechanics tools.

Homemade%u00252BChute%u00252BHandle%u00252B-%u00252BResized.jpg Homemade%u00252BFrame%u00252BBracket%u00252BIII.jpg
 

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This is GREAT! After you get it all done you may find you'll just stop looking for the OE parts. Oh, and standard mechanics tools can do a heck of a job with the proper hand attached to them. Excellent post, keep it coming.
 

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I love posts like this! I have no imagination or fabricating skills at all - have always had to depend on factory replacement parts. I've never worked with metal or even touched a welder.

I do have a couple small projects in mind, and feel fairly confident that I can get the help I need from our great members here. I'm sure they can walk me through just about anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I love taking on tasks like this but am limited by the lack of fabrication knowledge and typical machinery for working heavier gauge metals.

I'm flirting with the idea of asking for an inexpensive wire-feed welder for Christmas but made the "mistake" of talking to my neighbor who is an iron worker. He has strongly advised me against getting an El Cheapo (Harbor Freight) welder and insists that Lincoln or Miller welders are the only real options. While I'm sure his advice is great advice, I know from my years as a mechanic that professionals would never recommend any hand tool brands other than MAC, Snap-On, MATCO, etc yet I've repaired hundreds of cars, boats, lawn tractors, you name it, with my cheapie Craftsman tools.

The best advice I could give to anyone with an interest in automotive repair is to do two things, A) Try to cozy up to a friend or neighbor who has mechanical experience...most gear-heads are more than happy to share their knowledge, and B) Buy a lawn tractor in need of repair and tear it down one system, one assembly, one part at a time. The Deere 160 that I have hooked to my snow blower only cost me $145 in running condition, so not really expensive as far as training tools go.

Here's a pic of the beast as she sits in my garage at this moment. Just finished installing a new hydro transaxle fan and need to install the new drive belt next. The hood is off because it doesn't open well with the blower attached.

Deere%u00252B165%u00252BVI.jpg
 

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I'm not a mechanic or a professional welder but I completely agree with just getting a good MIG and be done with it. The inexpensive ones are not built well at all. Miller, Lincoln or Hobart. You really do get what you pay for. Size it for what you're gonna stick together. If never over 1/4" plate you can get by with a 120V machine with preheat and flux wire. If over that you really should step up to the big ones.

Also go for an auto darkening helmet. $.02.

Jim
 

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I agree with Jim. And some of what you say is very true as well, CNC. Many hand tools you can get away with the buying the less expensive. But, there are things that are a world of difference when you buy the more pricey units. Welders are definitely one of those tools. I would highly recommend the Lincoln and Miller welders. Again, you will be able to weld with the HF units but you'll NEVER the premium welds, unless you are OK with that. Just saying there is a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Great advice, guys. Thanks! The logical side of my brain says that the better welders are the way to go but the part of my brain that gets excited about a new tractor or new tool says "Just get a cheapie to get started." The cost for a good welder puts them out of reach for now given the relatively small amount of welding I'd do...although everyone tells me that I'll be searching for things to weld. lol

I've always been a gear-head. Started off building bicycles and then helping a next door neighbor swap the engine in his '55 Chevy Bel Air. Did my first solo engine swap at 17 in my Plymouth. Was a diesel mechanic in the Army and then a fleet mechanic when I got out. I sit at a desk for a living now so lawn tractors and maintaining our vehicles is my only real outlet for wrenching. As a matter of fact I'm off work today, burning vacation days befroe the end of the year, and plan to work on one or more project in the garage.
 

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Now, with all that being said, there is nothing wrong with you go inexpensive to get you started. You can always upgrade later. I have done this myself many times. Just be aware that there is some extra cost involved to do that. Sounds like you have thought this through. Good luck on your final decision.
 

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Now, with all that being said, there is nothing wrong with you go inexpensive to get you started. You can always upgrade later. I have done this myself many times. Just be aware that there is some extra cost involved to do that. Sounds like you have thought this through. Good luck on your final decision.
I agree with Randy. I too have gone the way of buying cheap up front only to regret the purchase down the road. My usual train of thought is if I need/want something, get a good quality tool/unit/device, whatever and be happy. The downside to this is you can end up spending money on stuff you won't use so much. So one must choose wisely.

Let us know what you end up doing.:good2:
 

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Miller makes a nice compact "suitcase" welder that can stick weld AND tig weld.
It'll weld 6" schedule 40 pipe with little to no problems.
I like the "Tig" capability, as you can weld stainless with it, if needed to. Of course, then you have extra costs incurred, Argon, tig-torch, etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
So, here's the left side brace. As mentioned earlier, it required a lot more work due to drag link clearance through the full range of motion and because the available mounting points on the tractor are different right to left. I'm not 100% confident in the left brace's overall strength due to the cutout I had to make to accommodate the deck lift lever pivot. I may ask my iron worker neighbor to weld on a short piece of the scrap to bridge the gap.

Without further ado...

Homemade%u00252BFrame%u00252BBracket%u00252B-%u00252BLeft%u00252BCropped%u00252BI.jpg

Homemade%u00252BFrame%u00252BBracket%u00252B-%u00252BLeft%u00252BCropped%u00252BII.jpg
 
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