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Snowblower service life

491 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  quackaddict
I've got a 47 inch blower on the front of my 1025R that started its service life 15 years ago on the front of an x485. Gets a fair bit of use here in new england clearing our driveway and a long stretch of sidewalk in the neighborhood each storm (actually thats probably the bigger strain as that snow includes everything the town plow pushes off the street to the roadside)

Blower still working reasonably well but definitely more rust and rattles now than when it was brand new. One of the biggest things I notice is that while I went the first 10 years hardly ever shearing a bolt, I now shear the bolt on the impeller several times a season for reasons unclear to me. I've kept up with regular maintenance including replacing the bearings last year in the drive shaft on the backside of the blower. I was thinking maybe I could get some improvement in the rattles by upgrading the open drive chain and sprocket setup with the newer enclosed version they make, but perhaps it just that my blower is dying a slow death.

Anyway, got me wondering, what's the longest anyone out there has gotten out of one of these front mount blowers? Perhaps there are folks out there using these blowers for more commercial applications that could speak to the life expectancy?
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Mine lasted from 1995 to 2009 when I wore a hole in the fan housing from chucking gravel through the blower. Current blower is getting thin in that area also. I did replace the open chain for the enclosed chain and it helped. You get rid of three bearings, two from the short PTO shaft and the one in front of the large sprocket. I kept my steel fan from the original blower and when I replace this current blower, I will install one of the steel fans in place of that plastic junk the new blowers come with. I kept all the original parts from the original blower and they come in handy for replacement on the 2009 blower. Had to replace the original open drive large sprocket when the teath sheared off just out of warranty and the Auger Gear Box when the internal gear teeth stripped again about a year after the warranty had expired. Original blower it seams had better mechanical parts than the replacement. Haven't had any issues since then other than the Auger Drive Shaft Key wearing out the Auger Drive Shaft Key way. Did the same on my original blower. Had my brother machine two new key ways in the old shaft so I am good for many more years. New Key Ways and Key are now fully the length of the Auger Gear Box sleeve instead of the half length JD made them.
The blower should never wear out beyond repair as literally every component is replaceable. Granted if something expensive like the housing completely rusted out it may not be financially sound to spend the money to replace it. But otherwise, every gear, bearing, spacer, auger, impeller, etc is replaceable. The key to keeping any piece of machinery in good working order is to replace components as they wear out and not wait until the whole thing is one big wreck.
Should last a long long time with regular maintenance.
I'd guess it depends on where and how much it's used and what kind of care and maintenance it gets. Paved VS gravel driveways affects things greatly.

I had a 47 "Quick Hitch" blower used on my 420 L&G tractor for over 20 years. Cleared some heavy snow in MA and NE OH. Just regular maintenance including gearbox oil changes and periodic lubrication all those years. Thinking back I had one shear bolt break in all that time but was clearing paved driveways. It worked and looked great when I sold it along with the 420.
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Operating conditions are a big factor.

A gravel drive with a snowblower is about the same as a sandy yard and a mower deck or salty roads and a vehicle.
Paved VS gravel driveways affects things greatly.
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I bought new, a 47" QT blower and like OP, no problems for many many years (mounted on a '87 332). At about the 20 yr mark +/-, I too started to have issues w/ the drive belt popping off from motor to pull and breaking the chute cables. Replaced the wearbar 1x .Think I replaced the drive chain as well. Otherwise she was a great blower and I at the time, did a few driveways in the hood free of charge, so she saw plenty of use.. Sold the whole kitten-ka-buttle in '19 . So I guess I did okay in the longevity dept. I will say tho, I was NOT aware of the plastic impeller till I read many comments here along with the enclosed chain case. To do list.
The snow and road crud debris on the sidewalk which you (Haemophilus) are kindly clearing for others (your neighbors) is likely taking the greatest toll on the blower. The amount of corrosive material from the road is often surprisingly extensive, even in the large ice chunks which fall off of vehicles behind the tires. Those chunks are usually very concentrated sources of salt and snow melt and the moment the road plow throws them on the sidewalk and then your blower hits the snow and ice from passing vehicles, it can be similar to hitting road salt bombs with the blower, over and over. .

I have bought and rebuilt and resold a number of blowers over the years. Same with the front plows, hitches and PTO's. Number one thing which those using the snow blower can do to extend its life is make sure if you are clearing snow that is either along the public road or even the sidewalk from the municipal plow, make sure to run clean snow through the blower when you are finished before you put the blower away. Take the blower to an area where the snow doesn;t have any road or vehicle snow melt debris in it. Use the clean snow to help to "rinse" the road salt and crud out of the blower and makes sure its put away with less corrosive material on the augers, impeller and shaft, etc.

Be careful where you direct the "clean out snow" you run through the blower as i have seen the salt and snow melt kill grass and even damage some shrubs and other plants due to its toxicity to plants, etc. .

We never really know if we are going to be using the blower in a day, a week, a month or even not until next season, so its best to reduce the dirty and corrosive material which goes through it. Side walks and public roads are the most common source for snow melt and its hard on these parts, even just the tractor foot wells, etc. Its hard to wash down and rinse off equipment if you don't have a heated garage or shop. Its surprising how quickly the corrosion damage happens, it can be just a few days and trouble is starting..........
Thats a really great point, and i must admit clearing out the salty snow is not something i've been very good about doing, and come to think of it, I've always done the driveway first and then the sidewalk, so that snow is always what is sitting in and around the blower when it goes back in the garage.

I think i'll try swapping out for that enclosed drive mechanism after this season to see if that makes a difference and try to address some of the rust.

thanks everyone for the input
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Save some clean snow for after you move the road snow. Use it to clean out your blower. It will do a good job of cleaning out the blower.

I agree with everyone else. On the QH blowers the components are all reasonable enough to just do periodic replacement of things when they become worn. Given the cost of new, the parts are a much better option.

Ive seen guys run those blowers commercially and they use them far more than you can imagine and for the most part they just keep on ticking.
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