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sritzau 02-17-2013 11:33 PM

Ariens 824 Drive Problem
I have had a lingering problem with the drive on my Ariens 824.

It started with the behavior that the machine would move forward but would stop when it met any resistance. I adjusted the drive cable, which improved the situation, but eventually it would go back to doing the same thing.

Another symptom of this condition was that - particularly in the higher gears - it would sometimes take a second or two for the drive to disengage after I had released the lever. This seemed a little counter-intuitive for a simple drive-cable tension problem.

After degrading performance, I replaced the friction disk (which was from 2001) and that seemed to make everything OK.

A very short time after the friction disk replacement, I was back to the same condition of very little forward torque and occasional failure to disengage after releasing the drive lever.

In tipping the machine up and looking at the mechanism, it seems like there is excessive play in the shaft that links the engine drive belt and the friction plate. Maybe that is normal, but it seems to me like it is letting the friction plate move too much and that the friction plate can be pushed away from the friction disk such that the two are not sufficiently perpendicular. (see first attached picture) Is that normal?

I am also not sure if the whole problem is related to excessive play in the bracket mechanism that puts the friction disk in contact with the friction plate. In my 824 it looks like it has been fatigued out of shape trying to get good contact between the two (second attached picture)

Another possibility is that the drive belt itself is marginal, and that the whole mechanism only works when the components are pushed out of their normal position sufficiently as to improve the tension on the drive belt.

At this point I don't know exactly what to do to fix it.

Any advice on what to check would be appreciated.



sritzau 02-17-2013 11:48 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I had to resize these photos and didn't get it done in the allotted ten minutes

Shryp 02-18-2013 06:05 AM

Looking at your second picture it looks like your attachment point for the drive cable is bent. I think that cable is suppose to be straight when it goes in there. Any chance that could be the cause of some of your problems?

sritzau 02-20-2013 07:49 PM

It certainly could be the case that the cause of my troubles is the extra play in the cable assembly because everything is off-kilter.

My concern was that I kept adjusting the cable mechanism to get it to work, and that may be because there is either a) too much play in the friction plate bearing or b) some slackness in the drive belt. I just don't know if that much play in the friction plate bearing is typical and I don't know how to measure the appropriate tension in the wheel drive belt.

It seems like I have made a mess of the cable linkage trying to get the thing to work, and I worry that that is symptomatic of another problem

tomkatohio 02-26-2013 08:17 PM

I'm not sure if it related, but check out my posts about the "Creeping Ariens". I found that my problem was the sleeve assembly that moves the all metal drive disk towards and away from the rubber-edged friction disk was frozen and not permitting any movement. I had to replace the drive disk and slider assembly. Not compled yet, but I think this will solve my problem.

Jackmels 02-26-2013 09:52 PM

Your Drive plate sounds stuck. The friction wheel moves in, and the drive plate moves toward the friction wheel when you engage the drive. Spray PB Blaster in the sleeve behind the drive plate, and work it back and forth with a big screwdriver till it frees up, should move back and forth at least 1/2".

sritzau 03-03-2013 06:14 AM

Thanks to all for the input and advice.

I was finally able to work on it yesterday and eventually took everything apart to find out why there was so much play in the mechanism. What I discovered (after a very long session of man versus pulley) was that the friction plate bushing that the hex shaft spins in was worn so that the hole through it was oval. That explains the slop.

While I was in there I discovered something really bizarre.

My manual and every web site I have checked list the replacement part number for the drive belt as 07231000. But the belt that was in there was a 07228600, which is much shorter. After a while poking around on the internet I figured out that the parts list calls out a 8" pulley whereas the actual pulley that was on there was 6.5" in diameter.

So - even though my snowblower clearly has the 932101 part number on the back and came with the 932101 manual that calls out the 0723100 belt as the replacement part, it is not put together like that and seems to be have the parts of a 932104. How does that happen?

I have had to fix a fair number of things, but I haven't come across something like this until now.

HCBPH 03-03-2013 08:54 AM

Congrats on both finding your issues and taking care of them. Gives you a pretty good feeling and a sense of accomplishment.

Snowmann 03-03-2013 11:56 AM

Your unit has what's called an R3 High Performance Drive accessory. This became standard equipment is subsequent model years (on 932104,105). Your unit was apparently not equipped as such from the factory and was likely updated by a former owner. It involves a high performance friction disk compound, a different gear ratio from the friction disk shaft to the axle, a smaller pulley (hence different belt) on the front side of the drive plate, and a different shift arm at the back of the frame.

A few things about this: Never use an aftermarket friction disk. If you have, replace it. If it came from an Ariens dealer, that doesn't necessarily mean they used OEM. Many machines are sensitive to non-OEM friction disk rubber compounds. Aftermarket parts are poor for this type of part. The tweaked parts at the back of the frame and the worn out drive plate hex bushing are typically a result of cable over-tensioning. Replace those. Be sure to lubricate the bushing per the service schedule after you get it replaced. Also, the OEM lubricant that is applied between the drive plate and the shaft it attaches to and also the one that lubricates the friction disk hex shaft tends to gum up over time. Clean those up and re-lubricate with a NLGI 1 or 2 grease, preferably synthetic. Also have a look at the drive plate shaft (that rides in the hex bushing) for marks to make sure it isn't damaged or it will toast the next bushing. Shouldn't be, it's heat treated. Also, check the drive axle bushings and lubricate or replace as necessary.

I hope this helps.

sritzau 03-17-2013 07:22 AM

Thanks for the list of things to check/do during the replacement. Those are all very helpful while I have the whole thing apart.

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