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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since in less than six months winter will be upon us again I thought that it might be prudent to start working on my snow caster now rather than wait until the last minute. Today the warm temperatures we have been experiencing cooled of so today seemed like a good day to devote a few minutes to the task of removing the rotor. Noticed near the end of the snow removal duties last March that the two paddle areas of the rotor were badly deformed and the metal was starting to rip in one spot so today I started the task of removing the rotor.

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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
First thing I did was remove the keeper on the join link so I could remover the drive chain to make removing the rotor easier. Once the join link was apart the chain got removed from the snow caster and inspected.
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Noticed a bit of rust on a couple of areas so I attached a piece of mechanics wire to one end of it, dropped it in a quart can and filled the can with used motor oil so the chain was completely immersed in the oil. It can sit in the oil while I work on the snow caster so that the oil will soak into the rollers. Removed the for bolts from the two bearing housings that hold the rotor in place inside the housing and then slid the rotor out onto the floor.

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Now I can start working on repairing and reinforcing the rotor paddles as time permits and I get the urge - hopefully I will get the unit back together before the snow flakes show up..
 

· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It looks like it might have ingested a bit of gravel during the snow season. That is an issue I fight every winter. Don't dare get too close to the driveway surface or sure as can be I will hear the clatter of gravel going out the chute. Ouch!
I believe you are correct as the powers that be applied fresh gravel shoulders last year in late August / early September so the gravel never really got packed very well near the end of the driveway so quite easy to grab any loose gravel while cleaning out the road end of the laneway. Combine that with the snow plow wing catching any loose gravel on the shoulder just before the driveway and rolling it into the snow as it cleared the road and instant recipe for gravel clatter. The laneway itself usually isn't much of a problem with gravel but with the loose stuff at the end last year it proved very difficult to keep the snow caster at the magic height to not pick up any gravel yet still clean up the snow that the plow pushed in so it didn't create a big hump / bump when exiting the driveway. Hopefully this year the gravel will be better packed and repairing the paddle areas will prevent a repeat during the season coming up. Thinking I might add a layer of metal behind the flat paddle area at the outer end to strengthen the metal so it won't bend as bad.
 

· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Stew, Stew, Stew !!!! Jumpins we just barely got rid of that and now your talking about it again. Hehehe.
Well I know what you mean. I have one of those I’m gunna work on too. Not a Bolens, but a Case model, but I had no intention of working on it until August. At least get a few months of not thinking about that, you know what !!!!!
Hehe. Have a good one Stew.

Noel
Haven't had to use it since the middle of March so for me it has been 3 months since having to look out in the morning to play in something like this. This is from about the middle of February 2021 when the Snow Fairy decided I needed some serious seat time that day - thought I would post it in "Case" you forget hw much fun it is to play with. Hope your "Case" doesn't require much in the way of repairs.
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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got the remains of the rubber flaps that I installed unbolted and removed. Then I used the big ball peen hammer along with the sledge as a backer and got the metal straightened back out as best I could.
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Used a straight edge to see how close I had gotten the paddles and while not perfect it looked respectable so I ceased my hit and straighten mission. In the process I managed to catch the nail on my thumb with the hammer once so said a few choice words I had hoped I had forgotten.
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Then I measured the thickness of the metal with the micrometer and it appears that the rotor fluting and the paddles was 1/8" thick originally.
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There was one piece of metal where things were ripped that appeared to have stretched so I used the die grinder with the cut off blade to cut a couple of slots so that it would fit in ok and allowed room to get some decent weld penetration when I welded it back in place.
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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Used the mig welder to fill in the missing metal and also filled the bolt holes that I had drilled to install the rubber flaps a few years ago. Apparently, I was in a hurry to install them one winter and found out the hole spacings were not the same so figured I would correct that error at the same time.
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Used the sanding disc to clean up the welds when I was done - had to use the cut off blade to get in at the bolt hole area in spots.
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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Decided that a bit of reinforcing on the back side might be a good idea at the outer edges so recycled a couple of pieces of 1/8" x 1-1/2" flat steel from an old project that didn't work out and cut them 2-5/8" long. Drilled two 1/4" holes in each one that matched spacing wise and had two plates ready to weld on the back side of each paddle for strength.
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Clamped each one in position and welded them all the way around after they were tacked in position.
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Then I used the electric drill and a 1/4" drill bit to add new holes in the front side of the paddles so I can install new rubber flaps - the last time I mounted them on the back side but I am thinking that I will try installing them on the top side as that may help to lessen any stones or small objects jammed between the end of the rotor and the housing.
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Next will have to check the gear on the rotor to see how much it is worn compared with a new one I have. If it looks good I will try and set the rotor up on some bearings to see how much I have put things out of balance. Then I can do a cleanup with some sandpaper and a wire brush and give things a splash of paint. Think someone may have painted the rotor silver at some point but I am seeing a little black paint in spots so I may paint is black.
 

· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Do you think those rubber paddles help Stew. I tryed it on my JD thrower and didn’t seem to do much.

Noel
On mine they seem to help but I find that a truck mud flap rubber (what I have been using lately) seems to disintegrate fairly quick once stones or other debris get jammed against the housing so they don't last as long as I had hoped they would. Thought about trying a plastic material like a cutting board but not sure whether that would last any better??
 

· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I followed your posts back a couple-few years ago and added rubber paddles to the impeller and a plastic liner to the chute. I thought it made a big difference in the performance of mine.
I found that since I added the plastic liner in the chute opening on mine the snowcaster is very hard to plug up when dealing with slushy stuff that we sometimes get here. Before putting it in the chute it was difficult to get rid of the slushy stuff without having to stop several times to unplug the opening.
 

· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Got a few minutes to tinker with the rotor so I found the new weld gear I keep on hand and compared it to the one on the rotor. Checked the teeth ends, shape and width and while there is a bit of wear on the original gear I think it is still quite serviceable so it will remain in place. The original gear appears to have a 3/4" inside diameter hole that was slipped over the rotor shaft and then the gear was welded on the one side to the center pipe of the rotor that the fluting is welded to. The weld gear I have would need to have a piece welded to it on the inside and then have the 3/4" hole added for it to work and be easily installed. That may be something I do once I get the snow caster back together so it is ready to install should the need arise in the future. Would still have to cut the old weld where it is attached to get the original gear off. The gear has 32 teeth and is designed to be used with # 40 roller chain.
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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Started sanding and wire brushing the paint on the rotor and after a while that got to be a bit boring so I decided to see if I could set it up on my four ball bearings (two at each end) so I could check it for balance. Clamped the bearings to the top of two saw horses and set the shaft ends on the bearings - had to switch the bolts end for end so the heads were facing inwards. Turned the rotor slowly by hand a few degrees and then stopped it and watched to see if it stayed in the position or tried to roll back. After a few revolutions I determined it was close but one paddle appeared slightly heavier than the other. Wired several flat washers to the lighter paddle and then tried it again and it was getting so I could let go and it would sit where it was stopped so I replaced the weight of the washers with a few beads of weld on the back side of the paddle where I had added the metal support. Checked it again and was happy with the results - not perfect but definitely and improvement so that the rotor shouldn't vibrate too badly as it spins.

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Did a video of the before and after results if anyone is interested -
 

· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One would surmise that the rotors were checked for certain tolerances at the factory, including balance? It just makes sense, right? Do you see any run-out in the middle where the paddles are? The rotor in my caster has about 1/8” wobble in it at the center. I wondered if that’s just how it came out of the jig it was welded together in, or if someone prior to me had hit something with it and tweaked it a bit? I presume it might have been like that from new. Mine doesn’t seem to vibrate, runs reasonably smooth.
I would think that each rotor was checked for tolerances but probably not balance as that would have taken a bit of time to do each one individually. Didn't notice much runout side to side or up and down on the center section - the gear is not perfectly true as it has about 1/8" side to side movement as it is rotated but I am thinking that it has ran all these years and probably about how it was when it left the factory. Noticed that the paddle ends are not perfectly true side to side in line with the shaft but given what I (and previous owners) have put it through over the years not surprised and not going to get real excited about it. I doubt if the repair I did and adding the extra two pieces changed things from the way it was originally but never no so that is why I decided to check.

The amount it was out of balance probably wasn't worth getting excited about since the OD of the rotor paddles measures 12" across (2" OD pipe and the two 5" paddle sections). Probably no worse than if some ice or snow (sorry Noel) got stuck to a section of the fluting to throw things a bit out of balance. Never noticed a vibration with mine either but figured I might as well check it and get it is as close as I could since it is not needed right at the moment and I had the time.
 

· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Did some more sanding on the rotor and then gave it a blow off with the air and washed it off with some paint thinners. Since it was already sitting up on the bearings I left it there which made it easy to turn it as I applied some black rust paint to the surface. Not a perfect job but should keep it from rusting too much until it is needed again. Now it can sit for a couple of days to let the paint dry on it.
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Noticed that there is a number on the inside face of the gear but cannot make out it completely. See a 4 which I assume stands for #40 chain and a 32 which is the number of teeth.
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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Got the housing pretty well stripped down and then brought it over to the shop so I could do some repair work on it as well.
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The bottom edges on the snow caster were not made with a lot of strength as they did not extend the front housing lip bend down to the bottom where the shoes bolt on - for some reason they left about the last 3" missing so it is just ordinary flat steel. Not sure if this was done to provide a built in weaker spot if the snow caster got jammed against something or perhaps they were trying to keep the weight down. The result is that on mine the bottom portion is prone to cracking near the cutting bar bolt holes and easily bent where the shoes bolt on.
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The other side has the same problem that needs attention.
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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
The scraper bar is worn on the front cutting edge on mine from years of use by myself and previous owners. The scraper bad appears to have been half rounded material originally and the back edge still looks like it is original so it could be turned around if required. Will probably try and build it up where the material is worn away.
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The cap edge lip where the rotor spins in the center is also distorted from stones and other debris getting jammed as it was used.
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The bottom edge of the snow caster has a lighter piece of angle iron bent at about 70° and then a regular 90° piece of angle attached as well for strength. The lighter pieces bottom edge has seen better days in spots so may have to try and repair it as well.
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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Once the shoes and the scraper bar were out of the road I used the die grinder and cut off blade to clean out the area where the cracks were to make welding them back in easier and add strength to the welded area since the welds will get ground flat afterwards.
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Used a piece of flat steel clamped in behind the cracks to draw the areas level.
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Then I fired up the mig welder and proceeded to fill in the missing metal with weld a bit at a time to keep the heat down so I didn't burn the metal away around the bolt holes.
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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
When things cooled I used the sander to clean up the welds on the inside and outside and tweaked the bottom edges for straightness with a couple of pairs of vise grips. Will have to use a small file to clean up the bolt holes where the weld may keep the carriage bolt shoulder from seating properly.
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· A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I guess I ought to take a closer look at mine and see if it has the same kind of issues. It wouldn't surprise me any!
Up to you - probably would not hurt to have a peek and see. I have known mine has been needing work at the shoe bolt hole areas for a few years now but just never got to it. Figured since I had the rotor out of the way might as well repair other areas that have been neglected before I start putting things back together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I always thought it would be nice to have a way to grease the bearings of the impeller. Being as they are subjected to all that moisture from the snow/slush. But I suppose the original sealed ones do a good enough job. Maybe that is why there are sealed bearings there? It wouldn’t take long for the bearings to go bad if they weren’t kept full of grease. Probably the reason that sealed ones were put there.
I have thought the same thing as I am the type of person that likes to be able to grease bearings. I assume that the bearings were sealed to cut down on maintenance the same as other manufacturers were doing during the 1970's. I replaced the bearings a couple of seasons ago and checked their condition when I removed the auger - still nice and tight - I used the style with the steel seals. I did notice that there was some rust and crud sitting in the cavity between the bearing flange and the housing when I took the auger out and have been thinking I may drill a hole in the side of the housing where the flange bolts on and tap it for 1/4-28 thread so I can install a grease fitting. That way the cavity could be pumped full of grease to keep any moisture in there to a minimum. The grease might even work its way through the seal into the bearing as things get warm from use and the grease thins out. Will see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Decided that to just leave the sides with the cracks welded in would be tempting fate and they would probably bend again after a bit of use so came up with a reinforcing plan.

Cut four pieces of 1/8" x 2" flat steel to act as a plate for the bottom 2" of the housing side. Cut the two shorter pieces on an angle so they would follow the contour at the rear of the housing and mate with the longer piece at the rear.
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Once I had the angle figured out I welded the two pieces together to form a plate and sanded the welds flat. I also angled the lower front corner edge so the plates matched the housing at that location.
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Clamped the two plates to the outside and used a scribe to mark where the four squared shouldered holes should go and then drew scribe lines from the corners and center punched the center location where they intersected.
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