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wantedinct

Snow blower+gravel drive=spring mess

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wantedinct
I was just wondering if anyone has ever mounted a set of caster wheels on a snowblower to hold it up off a gravel drive, so your not throwing little rocks all over the yard. last winter i tryed seting the shoe's all the way down,that didn't really work to well, then i tryed holding it about 2" off the ground with the hydro lift, but when it's hanging there, it's not level, and i could never keep it at a consistent height. And with casters maybe they won't cut in and let the blower get lower and lower as i go.what do you think?

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Ronald Hribar
Should be able to set skid plates so blower does not ride on ground. I think you would have to have a wide wheel with the casters. Even then do not know if they would turn all the time. What you really need is the snow roller that was mentioned in previous posts.

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stevenj
I've seen state highway plow trucks that have used wheels to support the blade instead of skid shoes. You should be able to fabricate a set-up to support the blower, but you'd want to have the wheels behind the blower housing and not on the side like the skid shoes. Otherwise the wheels will be running in fresh snow and might have a tendency to ride up too much. I would think that you could get by with a set of regular wheels and wouldn't need casters. With the blower down you'll be moving mostly straight ahead and even if you turn the wheels wouldn't create any more drag than the blower housing on the ground.

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D-17_Dave
I tried the wheels last year but met with limited success. I have some molded plastic skidgaurd in sheets and thought about mounting it under the blower in a small upturn towards the cutting edge of the blower. that would keep it about an inch off the groud but let it ride on the gravel and thin layer of snow. I figured the sun and trucks would get the rest. I just gotta get time to try it. Too bad I can't get it done and take it to Can. with me next week.lol I could try it out there and then bring it back and wouldn't hae to wait on it to snow here.

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RedbarnRick
I cut two 1" thick x 2" wideX 8" pieces of Maple off of a warped cutting board and belt sanded a taper to the front and back edges drilled two holes in the blower feet and bolted the skis thru them My drive is all gravel and this cut down on the rock throwing considerably the metal feet tend to dig in and roll the gravel toward the auger, the skis ride on the snow pretty well but you will have to replace them each season as the gravel makes them kinda groovy.(not in a hip way either)

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Brent_Baumer
I had this very problem on my drive. I solved it by selling the blower and went back to using a blade. That was 3 or 4 years ago and I have't missed it. When I did have it, I thought about tacking a 42" piece of 1/2" or 3/4" pipe to the bottom of the blower and giving that a try but never did it. Brent

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RayS

How about taking the used rollers from the mower deck and trying them. You could easily remove the skid shoes get some 1/4 inch flat strap steel maybe 4 inches wide and bolt it to where the skid shoe is originally. Drill a 5/8 inch hole in the plate and get some 5/8 cold rolled steel for the roller bar. Then you could have a roller all the way across the back of the snowblower just like that is on the mower deck.:) You could probably to that for less than $20.00 in steel and if you parted out any decks you may have extra rollers laying around. This definatly would not allow the blower to dig in.

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Al
HI, I have seen a blower with swivel castors added. They kind of worked, but would freeze up. Don'have any recommemdations either way. One thing I do know is that we sell a lot of Stihl Power Sweeps in the Spring and they will clean up the rocks and debris as fast as you can walk. I sent Simplicity a video of how well they work and suggested they look at making a sweeper like them, making the rotor in 3 sections that could flex and follow the ground and the drum about 16 inches in diameter. These things are like a drum about 18 insches wide 6" in diameter with a number of flexible paddless about 2" high on a string trimmer unit. These things are unbelieveable in how well they work and all of the job they do. When they first came out I thought who in the _____ would be dumb enough to by that. Then I went to a marketing meeting and HAD to try one sweeping bark chips out of grass. I was amazed. We bought 6. I took the first 6 people that came in the shop in the Spring after the snow melted and the gravel from their drives was in the lawn, out in our grass in front of the shop and demo'd it. All six bought one. My 2 cents worth and it free. Value accordingly. Al Eden

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MPH
Have to agree with Al. Any type of wheel is at best gonna sortta work. In wet snow they'll ball up, in dry snow they won't roll. I know my solution won't work for most of you where you snow melts between storms. Mine stays froozen from Oct til end of March at least, thus my solution of the snow roller or similar means of getting a hard pack over the rocks. I would think using the blower raised about an inch on the tractor lift would work the best.

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KSever
I have never had a problem with my gravel driveways I've had. In the beginning of winter I use the blade until the ground is completely froze along with the driveway, then switch over to the blower with the skids raised as Marty says about an inch or so. I get a snow pack of about 1 inch doing it this way but it's better than digging into the gravel with the blower in the beginning of winter.

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D-17_Dave
I like Ray's idea of rollers. I'll have to look into that. The rollers are noisy on the gravel when I drag the deck over them but I dought they'd be that bad if there were a little snow mixed in. As for hard pack. There isn't enough constant cold here to keep any hard pack.lol

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dratkinson
I put casters on my snowthrower 2 years ago...works great...but I only use it on concrete driveways and sidewalks...no gravel. The casters are the 2.5"-tall iron ones sold by Ace Hardware. They are mounted behind the blower housing so they don't run through deep snow...only the depth that is the height of the auger housing...about 1/2". The casters are mounted to a metal plate attached to the bottom of a 3/4" all-thread rod. The rod runs through a piece of 3"-4" black pipe. The pipe is welded to a bracket I made...the bracket is bolted to existing bolts on the metal carriage behind the auger housing. The all-thread rod is used to adjust the height of the snowthrower. I put an o-ring around the swivel portion of the caster to keep snow and water out of the bearing. I selected the o-ring size that was 1/8" smaller than the size that was visibly loose. I seem to remember that the o-ring material was 3/16" diameter material. I used a needle injector to fill the inside of the bearing with grease. I have had no problem with the casters freezing up. I had also thought about the roller idea and was going to try it next if the caster idea did not work. But for use on gravel, I would think the roller would work better as there would seem to be almost no way it could dig into the gravel...as a caster could. I put these on my snowthrower because this idea worked great on my Sears Craftsman Track-drive snowblower. I put the casters on the Craftsman because I got tired of having to buy new skids every year...the Sears parts cost more than the Ace iron casters. And the casters don't wear out...they wear like iron. :D /r David P.S. Okay...I bought a cheap $20 Vivitar camera to show how the casters are attached. This is the way the caster is mounted to the frame and behind the auger housing. The caster is running throught about 1/2" of snow at most.

The O-ring is just tight enough that with the bearing full of grease, snow and water does not get in.

Hope this helps.

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Guest
Last year I laid down 20yards of new trap rock and spread it on my driveway/parking areas right before snow season. This year I had a winter, spring, summer and now fall where I thought the gravel would be set. Most of the gravel/trap rock has been distributed or I cleaned up last winters mess. Though when trying to get my leaves up just today, I made a big mess of the gravel and I bet I am going to be into another year I can't use a blower on the gravel driveway. I can use the blower on one section of my driveway, but I didn't have a second pair of chains and weights like I do this year. It will be interesting to see what this winter is like.

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comet66
quote:
Originally posted by dratkinson
I put casters on my snowthrower 2 years ago...works great...but I only use it on concrete driveways and sidewalks...no gravel. The casters are the 2.5"-tall iron ones sold by Ace Hardware. They are mounted behind the blower housing so they don't run through deep snow...only the depth that is the height of the auger housing...about 1/2". The casters are mounted to a metal plate attached to the bottom of a 3/4" all-thread rod. The rod runs through a piece of 3"-4" black pipe. The pipe is welded to a bracket I made...the bracket is bolted to existing bolts on the metal carriage behind the auger housing. The all-thread rod is used to adjust the height of the snowthrower. I put an o-ring around the swivel portion of the caster to keep snow and water out of the bearing. I selected the o-ring size that was 1/8" smaller than the size that was visibly loose. I seem to remember that the o-ring material was 3/16" diameter material. I used a needle injector to fill the inside of the bearing with grease. I have had no problem with the casters freezing up. I had also thought about the roller idea and was going to try it next if the caster idea did not work. But for use on gravel, I would think the roller would work better as there would seem to be almost no way it could dig into the gravel...as a caster could. I put these on my snowthrower because this idea worked great on my Sears Craftsman Track-drive snowblower. I put the casters on the Craftsman because I got tired of having to buy new skids every year...the Sears parts cost more than the Ace iron casters. And the casters don't wear out...they wear like iron. :D /r David
David can you post some pictures of your set up? Thanks

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Woodydel
If the blower isn't hanging level, how about a solution to level the snow blower? Maybe a relocation of the mounting hole on one side or both could compensate for the one sided sag. I've leveled a blade this way. About the height changes. Install a stop at the point you want the blower to hang. My Farmall hydraulics might occasionally sag, especially since it was born the same year as myself 1948, but it's not much effort to tap it back into position. If your hydraulics are leaking down quickly allowing the blower to drop, that should be fixed. Just an idea about the sag. How about installing a short length of chain between the chassis and blower frame attached to the side hanging low. Set the low side at the operation height and fix the chain length to stop the blower from dropping. Then you drop the lifted side to level the blower. The chain could also compensate for the occasional sagging of the blower due to the hydraulic leakdown. You could even use two chains, one on each side, to automatically fix the blower height. Wire rope may be even better than a chain since you can locate the blower exactly. Chain would dictate larger increments of adjustment.

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MikeES
For 20 years I had a gravel driveway with NO problems. Sounds like your blower is TOO heavy. You need to counterweight it! With my HB212 with the shoes up about 1" and the blower counterweighted with a weight (about 20#) in the rear lift the shoes never dug in. After a hard pack was established I lowered the shoes and took off the counterweight.

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mowerman1193
I like Ray's idea...Then you could have snow stripes,LOL send them to Simplicity for the contest... No really have a worse problem with the snow blade than the blower...And the road grader that goes by throws it about 15-20ft. into my front yard anyway... What I do is set my snow blade shoes low and plow the stones back into the road and driveway...it will push all the ones that the mower would hit anyway...most of the time it looks as good as using a rake...

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MPH
Kevin, if you have a grader blade it works better for getting the gravel outta the grass, esp if you mow it shorter then normal late in the fall. Didn't get mine mowed short this year but so far I've only bladed once.

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jrichason
I'm planning on mounting the blower on my 7116 for the first time this year(yes I know it's almost December). It doesn't have shoes on it and I have a gravel driveway. I think I'm going to fabricate some shoes/skis using an exaust pipe cut in half for each side. I was going to do it today, but caught up in the honey-do list. I'll let you know how it turns out. later, John

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Guest
I believe climate and areas can make a difference... here's my reasoning. Between a friend and I, we have three gravel driveways where I believe climate and area does make a difference. In Vermont, the driveway up there freezes and turns into almost pavement. In my CT driveway, it really seems that the fall/winter months actually change how the gravel sticks together. All summer the dry driveway was solid, now it's really loose rock. Now I have a friend in a different area of CT and he used stone dust in his gravel mix. He runs two broadmoor snow blowers ALL the time. We'll need to see how my CT driveway fairs this winter.

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country
Someone referenced the idea of mounting a 3/4" piece of black pipe to the leading edge of the snowblower. I never thought of that, but have heard of mounting a pipe to the cutting edge of a blade to help prevent moving rock on gravel driveways.

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Deazman
Moisture content has an effect on gravel. Commercial gravel is a product blended from course to very fine aggregate. In order for gravel to set up like pavement the blend must be about 50% course aggregate (1" - #4) and 50% fine aggregate (smaller that #4). The number 4 refers to openings per inch. For the gravel to pack well it also needs somewhere around 5% passing the #200 (200 openings per inch)and the correct amount of water. If the aggregate blend is exposed to excessive or inadequate moisture the material may become unstable. I have a very long gravel driveway, the portion of the driveway covered in quality aggregate(700 feet) holds up very well to most weather conditions, and was plowed Sunday(the first snow of the season, 6" heavy and wet) without any shoes on the plow (Boss Power V plow about 600 pounds) and had little or no stone movement. The remaining 700 feet has very course poor quality gravel and does not stay put as well. With gravel you get what you pay for.

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