Snowblowing rules of thumb
10-13-2014, 09:30 PM (This post was last modified: 10-13-2014 09:38 PM by snow.pusher.)
Snowblowing rules of thumb
As I contemplate the possible need to get the snowblower out tomorrow, I have developed some snow blowing "rules of thumb" over the years that some of you newbies to snow blowing may want to consider. I figure that I have moved about 5,700 inches of snow with my three snow blowing rigs over the last 29 years. Snowblowing is my favorite winter activity, now that IO have a heated cab. Feel free to add to my list, I am always looking for new techniques:
RULE 1. Don't put your hand in the moving augers. This is an obvious one. I have occassionaly stuck a broom handle down the chute in the spring with the blower running, but that is about as dumb as I get. I have develped a fondness for my appendages over the years.
RULE 2. Make sure all of the crap that can break your blower and shear pins are out of the way, before the first snow.. When I have broken shear pins, it was always at the beginning of the season when a stray piece of firewood got in the way.
RULE 3. When you are going to have a major storm, if you can, clean driveway in increments. Why stress the equipment and yourself? Anyway snowblowing with my rig is fun. If the snow I just blew drifts back into the driveway, I just do it again - twice as much fun with the same snow.
RULE 4. Always clean all of the snow off of your equipment when you are done. I learned this the hard way the second time that I snow blowed. The snow blower was making a **** of a racket when I started it, and then I noticed black smoke coming from the drive belts in the back. So I shut it down and called the dealer. "Didn't you clean out the augers and impeller after you finished? When the snow melts it freezes on the bottom of the impeller assembly such that the impeller won't turn." Duh, nobody told me to do that.
Now I clean off everything, but especially anything that if frozen could make it difficult to start the machine. With my current rig, I wipe all of the water off of the cab that I can get to, clean off the wiper blades and pull them away from the wind shield. Of course, it helps if you have a garage. I also put a piece of wood below the blower so it doesn't freeze to the floor.
RULE 5. Make sure nothing critical is frozen when you start blowing. This is a continuation of what I said in 4. If you have a rig like mine (which shuts off the tractor if no one is in the seat when a PTO device is engaged) put a mirror where you can see that the impeller and augers are spinning freely and the chute rotation is working freely before you have at it.
RULE 6. Never put the blower on the ground on a gravel driveway the first time you use it, unless you enjoy changing sheer bolts. This rule is just for those of us who don't have a paved driveway. I have a gravel driveway, so a good first season snowblowing is a key to no problem for the rest of the winter.
Like everyone else we get a few snow falls early where you know it is going to melt, so this next step is the one I take when we get our first real snowfall. First I run my SUV up-and-down the driveway until the snow is packed down into the gravel before I snow blow for the first time. Then I run the blower but keep it off the ground about an inch. This way the ground will freeze better for future efforts. The next time I run the blower on the ground with the skid plates as low as they go. We don't get much thawing once the snow starts in earnest.
RULE 7. When the snow is deep, take smaller cuts of snow. My first run in the snow is very very slow if it deep, usually painfully slow. My next cut might be a half of the width of the blower or less. I would rather make more runs and use a little more fuel, then be replacing belts as I did with my old snowblower, or stressing the drive mechanism on my current tractor.
The guy who wrote the kubota snowblower manual obviously has never used a snow blower before. It says in deep snow take the top layer off and work your way down. To me this is nonsensical. You're going to be driving a tractor in the deep snow and making a general mess. How about just taking a narrower cut of the snowblower potential? Anyway I have been doing this and it has saved many a belt on my old snowblower.
A couple of HD movies on my current rig in action:
Kubota B3030 HSDC snowblowing Jan 2012 (HD) - YouTube
Kubota B3030 Snowblowing on 1/02/2012 - YouTube
Old Kimpex Snowblower on Yamaha Big Bear ATV
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