The stuff people do to their machines.... - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-18-2019, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy The stuff people do to their machines....

Did you ever see a machine that you just felt sorry for, because it was clearly existing in an "abusive relationship"?

Recently, I came across a Toro PowerMax 826 OXE that fit that description. Looking at the paperwork for the machine, I see the original owner bought it new in late 2010 for $1400.

Although the engine started right up, sounded good, and ran strong, I could see that the blower had seen some hard times. First thing I noticed as I approached the machine, was that the skids were flipped because they had been completely worn through on one side. Why do people let them get that bad, especially when they are reversible? At least he flipped them, before doing any damage to the bucket....

The "quick stick" chute control had been literally busted right off by one of the owner's kids, and the original owner's attempt to repair it, not only failed, but resulted in some additional lost parts.

The paint inside the auger housing was peeling off in spots, and rust was already forming on the bared metal. A shame, I thought, for what by me would be considered a "new" machine, compared to the "vintage" stuff that I already owned.

Apparently, some of the welds on the muffler had also broken, so the engine was dumping hot exhaust gases practically right out of the exhaust port. This was allowed to continue to such a degree that it litteraly melted some of the plastic snow shields in the vicinity of the muffler.

There were numerous other less serious issues with it, not the least of which was the auger belt was adjusted so poorly that it is doubtful this poor thing could have thrown snow more that 5 feet.

With all these problems, the guy had taken it to his "friendly" Toro dealership where they looked at the machine and gave him a written quote to fix it, complete with a list of parts they'd replace.

>>>>>>>>> NINE HUNDRED BUCKS and change!!!!......


Basically, I think they were trying to get him to abandon the machine, or take a trivial amount in trade towards a new one, so they could fix it up and sell it for a hefty profit.

Long story short, I gave him 250 bucks for it, and since he was in the next town, he even delivered it for me. I'll leave it to others who know a lot more about these machines as to whether or not it was a good deal. But I had to do it. I mean, it looks like a pretty nice machine, and I actually felt sorry for this poor thing! I've never owned a Toro 2 stage, only a couple of their handy single stages for small snowfalls, so I don't know what to expect from this one.

The machine has been kind of a "background task" for me, working on it at a very leisurely pace.
I think I have about $80 invested in it for parts, and some number of hours of effort which doesn't bother me, because I really enjoy working on snowblowers. At this point, I have pretty much gone through everything, adjusted, fixed, replaced, where I deemed necessary.

The only other thing I want to do with it, is split the machine and tear down the auger box, so I can repaint it. But that will wait for the warmer weather.

It's ready to go now.....I think....lol. And maybe it will get it's first test this weekend as we are finally supposed to get some measurable snow here in Southern New England.



Keeping my fingers crossed!
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-18-2019, 01:11 PM
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It is mind boggling as to what people do to misuse and abuse and neglect their equipment then say the MFG. builds crap.
I had a guy a couple years ago that for whatever reason has dumped all of his wood stove ashes on the driveway for years and has gone through many snowblowers.
The one he brought to me a big craftsman was literally gone in the front, everything was rusted and in spots completely through. even the aluminum gear box was losing metal. The augers were even flimsy from lack of metal due to rust. The machine was only 4 years old at the time and looked like it was 50. I told him about his use of ashes not being good and he replied B#$--S#@$#! They make junk.
I then told him that I was not interested in working on his machine.

However on Yours you said that you were going to paint it after tearing it down.
I looked at one that a guy tore down and sent the parts to a place that does powder coatings and for $55.00 they dipped and cleaned and coated, and did a very good job of color match. The same place sprayed Rhino truck bed liner in the chute and got it just as flat as any paint that they did for free just to see how well it would hold up.

I have not talked to him since last season to see how his blower was doing with the dress up ! But it looked good. and was very slick to the touch.
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post #3 of 19 Old 01-19-2019, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Lotts'


That's surprising about the "wood ash guy"....lol. First of all I can't imagine why he would dump the ashes there, (they are supposed to be good for your gardens, or so I've heard). I could understand the damage he did if it was ashes from a coal stove, with the sulfur residue, but I wonder what is in wood ash that would be so corrosive.

Obviously though, you hate seeing abused equipment as much as I do......lol.

Anyway, that's a good idea regarding restoring the paint on the auger bucket. You reminded me that the last time I did something like this, was on my old Noma(Murray) 9/27. The machine is a beast, but it still functioned well, and the old TEC 9hp was still strong. So I decided to strip the thing down and repaint it.

I really enjoy working on the mechanical aspects of power equipment. However, I really hate painting....and I hate the "prep" even more. I swore that if I ever did this again, I would have someone sand blast the parts. Sanding and grinding took many hours, the worst being auger rakes. What a PITA !


So if this machine works out well in the next 24 hours in this upcoming storm, I will certainly consider pulling it apart, having someone sand blast it, and paint or powder coat like you suggested. I don't know what part of the country you are in, but I doubt that here in Mass. that I'll get the kind of price that you did.

Let's find out what it can do first. Like I said: This is my first Toro 2 stage. So far, my total cash outlay to buy and fix up this machine is about 330 bucks. Not too bad I guess for a machine that cost $1400 or so a little over 8 years ago.
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post #4 of 19 Old 01-19-2019, 12:44 PM
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Wood ash when mixed with water becomes a corrosive lye if you will, and loves to eat metal. I believe it is a lot stronger when boiled, such as they do with lye soap made from hardwood ash and fat.
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-19-2019, 02:28 PM
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Yeah, it's the calcium/calcium carbonate in ashes that push the pH to somewhere between 9 and 13 . . . it's basically the same as lime . . . very corrosive!
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post #6 of 19 Old 01-20-2019, 11:31 AM
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It's pretty common for people to use ashes from a wood stove or furnace as a traction aid on icy driveways.
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tadawson View Post
Yeah, it's the calcium/calcium carbonate in ashes that push the pH to somewhere between 9 and 13 . . . it's basically the same as lime . . . very corrosive!

I never knew that. It's pretty common around here to have acidic soil, and I have always heard people say how good wood ash is for gardens and even lawns. I could never get anyone to explain why, but it's something I've seen since I was a kid. Apparently, what they're trying to do there, is bring the ph level to something more neutral using the ash.


That said, based on this information, I would never put it on my driveway, as I think causing problems for my snowblower of the type that Lotts' described might be the least of my worries.


Doesn't make much sense for the floor pans and exhaust systems of your vehicles to be continually parking them in a potentially corrosive environment!

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post #8 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 08:31 AM
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Yep, the Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), and Calcium (Ca) in the ash are all metals with a higher reactivity level than Iron (Fe), or Aluminum (Al). (Keep in mind that steel is an alloy of mostly Iron and 0.7 to around 2% Carbon (C)). Metals higher in reactivity will actively displace metals lower in reactivity.
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SayItAintSnow View Post
I never knew that. It's pretty common around here to have acidic soil, and I have always heard people say how good wood ash is for gardens and even lawns. I could never get anyone to explain why, but it's something I've seen since I was a kid. Apparently, what they're trying to do there, is bring the ph level to something more neutral using the ash.
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That's exactly when wood ash is useful in the garden. It raises the soil ph, which can be a good thing if you have acidic soil. Some of the minerals left in wood ash are good too. Mine's slightly on the alkaline side, so no wood ash for me. Also, don't use ash from wood "products" or charcoal briquettes, just natural wood and natural lump charcoal. They tend to have extra gunk in them which can be bad for your plants and potentially end up in your food if you use the ashes in a vegetable garden.

Strong bases don't eat metal like acid, but they are pretty effective at damaging organic materials, polymers, etc. so I wouldn't be a bit surprised if wood ash ate the paint off a snowblower. I'm sure wood ash is also full of various salts. So yeah, peel the paint off and cover the snow blower in salt.

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post #10 of 19 Old 01-23-2019, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thought I'd momentarily veer back on topic and report on how the restored Toro 826 OXE, (described in the initial post of this thread), did with this most recent snow event...

Although this wasn't the kind of test I was looking for, the machine performed pretty well.
Most of the snow occured over the period of 11 pm Sat. night until about 4am Sun, which is not optimum snowblowing time, unless you want to keep your neighbors awake.

Around 3-4am it began to rain, and rained hard for about 10 hours afterward.

My daughter was part of the opening crew Sunday for a local coffee shop, so I went out around 5:30 to clear the driveway, so I could drive her to work.

The Toro did a respectable job throwing the 5 inches of slush. I'd say about 10 feet on average. This stuff was really heavy. Occasionally, when I would hit a patch of snow that appeared to be just a little drier, the throwing distance nearly doubled.



O.K. So far so good!
The EOD mess was at least 20 inches high, extremely slushy, and extremely heavy. I had to take my time with this as I could occasionally hear the engine start to bog down if I took too big a bite. The machine was able to toss the EOD stuff a useful distance. My old Murray/Noma 927 is still pretty powerful, but it would have been lucky to toss this stuff beyond the top of the auger bucket, and with it's "clog free" rectangular impeller exit, likely would have clogged or started crapping out "bricks" of ice, which it is apparently fond of doing, in slushy conditions. (Whoever came up with the engineering wizardry, that suggested a squared off impeller port would eliminate clogging, is today, probably reduced to designing the little bumpers that attached to the underside of toilet seats).

At the base of my driveway which runs downhill to the street, was a very deep puddle. Maybe about 8 inches deep. O.K.....it was kind of childish I know, but I decided to run the machine into the puddle. I was shocked, that this thing actually threw the water about 10-12 feet into the street! My old Noma would have just sat there, like a 9hp blender, homogenizing the liquid...

So it appears that this snowblower's story has a happy ending. All in all, I'm pretty pleased so far, and although I'm not one that wishes for snow, I'm eager to see how this machine handles a foot or more of the drier stuff. Thus far at least, it appears to have earned its way into my snow blowing arsenal, as of now, consisting of 4 blowers. I feel like it was well worth the time and money, to rescue this machine from its former neglected life!

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If you're looking for guarantees in life, buy yourself a toaster.
--- Clint Eastwood

Last edited by SayItAintSnow; 01-23-2019 at 09:33 AM.
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