Track vs Wheel - Only certain times it's better? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-31-2017, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Track vs Wheel - Only certain times it's better?

the disclosure - I've never used a track blower

I have used different machines, 5 hp Ariens 22", Noma 24", MTD 22", Murray 24", YardMachine 22", 8 hp Dynamax 26", Murray 26", 10 hp a real John Deere with chains 32", Craftsman - a rebranded Murray 29", and a 12 hp cast iron Kohler powered Gravely convertible 28"?

My favorite snowblower is always the one for different conditions, light, wet, heavy, deep, distance, width for throwing distance.

But for this post, what I discovered, weight. The heavier the machine, the less slippage of the wheels, the lesser chance of the front rising up, and the less need for a track blower.

If you are concerned about slippage, buy chains before you buy a track blower.
A track blower is "neat" but seems to have more regular maintenance and more expensive repairs over a wheeled blower. For what benefit?

With weight and optional chains, I don't see the benefit to having a tracked blower over a wheeled blower except under two situations, weight and slippage, slippery hills or gravel.

1) weight

having a light weight machine that does not have the weight on the wheels and the wheels slip when doing heavy snow such as where the town plows you in especially a 5 hp machine that does not have any weight to it, even a light weight 8 hp or 10 hp may not have any weight.

2) for steep hills in heavy snow where you don't have a heavy machine and especially if the hilly driveway is gravel. I do think the track blower is the best for a gravel driveway, whether on a hill or not, seems no chance of slippage.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-31-2017, 06:19 PM
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First and most important, I agree with 95% of what you say. I won’t comment where we agree. But I have a few other comments as well.
-Weight alone is not everything, weight on the front is what specifically prevents front rise. Thus the amazing “powershift” from Toro and add-on front end weight kits from others.
-Tracks do sometimes need more maintenance, but the ones form Honda and Yamaha don’t.
-Tracks are much more difficult to turn on dry surfaces.
-Tracks, when the front height is locked, can be used as a crutch by anyone who trips on a slippery surface.
-Tracks aren’t of much added use on gravel except that one can lock the cut height, thus avoiding sucking up gravel without needing to stop to adjust the shoes
- and lastly, if you have VERY steep slopes, nothing but tracks will do.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-31-2017, 08:34 PM
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My old ii year old Honda HS928 needed zero track maintenance and I found it great on my sloped driveway or for blowing very solid roadside snowbanks. During some severe storms my sloped driveway has 3-4 foot drifts..the tracks were a godsend. I bought a 2017 honda model last week and that model has power steering...very useful for track models. The maneuverability of the track drive was the main drawback for me. Hopefully the power steering will be way better. For a lot of people/situations though track drive can be considered overkill.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-01-2017, 12:00 PM
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I have a track blower due to having a very steep driveway, most of it is concrete with a very rough brush finish and some gravel driveway and parking area. The track drive is the only way I can get up the drive so it is a "must have" for me. I really like being able to lock the cut height for moving from the concrete to gravel. It is just a "lowly" Troy-Bilt Storm Tracker 2890 but it works great for me.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-01-2017, 07:29 PM
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Watch 12:22 and onward and you'll appreciate everything a track blower is capable of:



To touch on a few things you pointed out, from a maintenance aspect there essentially is none. My machine is at least 25 years old, aside from a complete rebuilt and replacement of all the bearings last year and new grease in the sprocket gear housing, nothing else has been done with it. You don't need fiddle with tire pressure, replace flat tires, paint rusted wheels, deal with installing or removing chains.

Tracks +1

Slippage + Weight. Well, my little YS-624 isn't a slouch weighing in at around 225lbs thanks to thicker gauge steel and construction that was built to last nor is it anywhere near the heft of a 13+ HP beast. That said, it's still pretty nimble. Will it rise up? You BETCHA! This thing WANTS to climb because of the huge surface area vs a small contact patch. The tracks will dig in and if you don't have the front height adjust locked while keeping the nose down chewing up the snow ahead it's going over your fence if you let it. I'm still getting used to its character, only having used it twice so far but one thing I understand about it, mostly in tackling hard pack, is that you have to have a little upward pull on the handles while giving it the occasional shot of forward drive otherwise it will ride up on the surface. If I hold down on the drive lever, with the auger bucket face full into a heavy bank I'm going nowhere slowly and the tracks will indeed be slipping doing burnouts. There's a reason they put tracks on a snowmobile and not tires.

Tracks +2

Appearance, tracks just look AWESOME! All your neighbours know you mean serious business and have no desire to let winter get you down, that or you have too much money to spend on toys.

Tracks +∞

I won't disagree that weight can play a role in the performance or characteristics of a machine, a 1028 or 1332 Yamaha is proof of that destroying anything in front of it as if riding on rails, same goes the large municipal street widening snowblowers. That being said, part of it is in how the machine is used. I can't expect mine to cut the first track through the dense and heavy pile left by the plow in one go, it would prefer to go over it than through it. As I mentioned earlier, a little upward force on the handles will keep the nose down and chewing.

One key feature I think would benefit many blowers is having the auger partially exposed for maximum chopping, especially in hard pack. Essentially the auger bucket is preventing the snowblower from moving forward creating a lot more work from the user and time spent.

The only downsides to tracks I've experience so far, on an older machine without trigger turning, is that it likes to "track" straight. Turning on a dime isn't going to happen, especially when maneuvering around vehicles or walkways. Secondly, attempting to move the machine while off. It will fight with you and you will get angry. You can't just spin it or push it out of the way due to the extra grip from the rubber contact on the floor/ground.

Perhaps I got spoiled with my first snowblower being track equipped and a 5 degree sloped driveway but I don't regret it and can't see using anything but, it's like a tank and I love it!.

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post #6 of 8 Old 02-05-2017, 11:49 PM
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I only discovered this 2 days ago while transporting an Ariens 926LE in the Honda Element and that is if you neglect to ratchet strap down a wheeled snowblower it will indeed roll around from every stop and go rather abruptly, lol. A track blower, I'm guessing, is certainly more vehicle friendly. I'll find out tomorrow as I make my rounds digging friends/family out.

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post #7 of 8 Old 02-06-2017, 07:12 PM
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tracks stay in place on the truck well. I have a butt up front for them to rest against, but never strap them. Never have had any problems. Worst problem is if one is dead in the drive, getting it up the ramp into the truck bed. Ya dont just drag them up like a wheeled blower. With a tow strap and a come along you can get them up alone tho. Be prepared, but hope it doesnt happen too often. Love tracks thou!!
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-06-2017, 11:46 PM
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Well, after loading and unloading the Yammie several times today it was very well behaved and didn't move around at all. Thanks to the included flip out hooks in the back of the Element I secured it in place with a single strap for added security from shifting.

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