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"snow shoes" for my 318 plow and blower

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My little 1990 JD 318 (28 HP, gasser) has a 54" snow plow and a 47" snow blower on it. The both have shoes to help support them, but those shoes are for a hard surface not gravel. So when we get snow (not too often here in North Carolina) it's always fun to try to plow or (if we're really lucky) blow some snow.

Typically, there is no layer of frozen gravel since any snow is the only snow on the gravel. So to plow, I have to leave the blade up and let the shoes occasionally hit the gravel if there's a bump. I can't float the blade. Same story on the snow blower. It's _very_ front heavy so trying to suspend it 3" above the gravel is hard. The front tires add a lot of bounce. For the blower, the shoes are sort of a "crash stop" if things get bouncy too much.

If I use the blower, I assume there will be a 2nd pass with the blade. That way, I can have the blower high enough that I don't have to worry about eating gravel.

I have an untried answer for the blower (see pix), the weak link being how well the hard wheel without a bearing to the axle will hold up. If it works well, I could always change out the hard wheels for a 7 or 8 inch air tire caster with real bearings. The blower is on a "low boy" dolly I made.

In the picture of my "baby's new shoes", on the right you can see the add on skid plates for the snow blower. The one on the far right shows the size of the existing blower shoe. The plate is 12" long by 6" wide. The big question is "will this let me float the blower?"

For the plow, you can see the original JD shoes on the far left. I took an old set and had a metal shop weld on a holder for some "grown man" shoes. Like the blower, the goal is to increase the surface area. The blade should be about 1.5" above the top of a flat surface, which is about where you want it. It can be adjusted higher. I'll have to test it to see if the blade can now float. If not, I can use it the same "suspend the blade" way and we'll see if it does better. The small shoes just dig into the gravel. The cost of the Big Shoes was about $18, which is about the same cost as the JD shoes from JD ! Shipping about the same as cost of time to go to JD dealer.

I tried the plastic pipe on the blade, it shattered in the 1st 100 feet.

Last pix is of rear of 318 with chains and weights.

Suggestions on good spray on primer paint? Subsequent black paint?

I'll fire this thread back up when I put the shoes on for a test, and then some day/some year if we get snow.



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Dave, you are just about guaranteed that the ground will not freeze. The one massive snow we had back in 2000 the ground was frozen, so the blower was pretty good- the supplied shoes worked OK for most of the time. But the blower still ate too much gravel. I had to have the impeller chamber re-lined. Deere should have made that out of 1/4" metal, not 1/8".
On the plow, these shoes should be somewhat under the cutting edge. When I mount the plow to check it all out I'll post a pix. Having plowed and blown a lot in Massachusetts on a paved driveway, I can tell you this southern gravel is a whole different beast.

Tnx for the primmer lead. Can I get an "Amen" from Kennyd?

Runner, what were the dimensions of your shoes? From the pix, it looks like they are smaller that what I'm trying. If the wheels look like the right solution, but have problems, then it's time for bigger area wheels with good bearings. While it will dig into the gravel a bit, I can adjust the height to compensate and the "roll" will still be better than a "push".

I have both solutions for the blower at the ready since there are so few times we have snow and I can test out solutions.

Randy, this is a thread in progress waiting for some weather. I don't know what year I'll have an answer though... :laugh:

Runner, if we can get some snow I'll know. I can try the 6 x 12 "short ski" plates, and try my "on the side" wheels. If I get a spare afternoon :)mocking:) I'd like to put the blower on and push it in dry gravel. There would be no benefit of lubrication by the snow. That would give me a feel for what works.

It's a little harder to do that with the plow. My gut feel is it will need snow. But hey if I put them on, I'll go out and push some gravel to see how close it is.

If we solve the "blowing snow on gravel" problem, next we can take on "R1 vs. R4" dilemma :lol:.

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