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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,

I received a free Ariens ST724 (924075) Snowblower last year from my elderly neighbor (in return to clear his driveway). The engine still runs strong, started first pull today when I went out to take pictures of the problem. Late winter, the snowblower stopped moving occasionally when in gear (forward or reverse). The wheels would lock up, and began getting worse.

The problem looks like the entire axle has play, able to move back and forth, and the gears attached to the axle get misaligned, causing the bind. I imagine the problem came about from making to sharp of turns when lining up to take the next pass of snow, and caused too much strain and wear on the parts.

Below are images/video of the problem, as well as a link to the manual. I'm not a mechanic, but love DIY activities. I would appreciate any insight into the problem, and help locating the parts to be able to fix this

Thanks!

Repair Manual - http://apache.ariens.com/manuals/000123A.pdf

Video Link :





 

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That doesn't look like a terrible amount of play, but new bushings on the axle should be the first step. You might need new bushings on the sprocket/gear where the chain is too. My old 78 Ariens had the bushings on that sprocket causing problems like that. There might also be a nut on each side of that chain sprocket gear that will allow you to slide it back and forth. I think it is mainly for tightening the chain, but it might also let you move it closer to the axle. If you were using it like that you might have also worn down both gears too far for new bushings to work, though the gears still look to be in good shape.
 

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I agree... New axle bushings and some adjustments should fix it up. Wash it out, clean it up also, get everything clean so you can see whats going on with the gears. Once you get it all fixed up grease it and run the heck out of her! LOL

I fixed one just like that for a guy last year, he said it wouldn't move and sometimes made a clicking noise, caught it in time before the gears were thrashed. Pulled it all apart, put in new axle bushings which tightened up the play in the axle, then adjusted it so the gears meshed like they should. After a test run i greased the gears and put it back together. He used it the rest of the season no problems and last i checked it was still fine.

Anyone know of a bearing substitute for the bushings on these? Not a big deal though, the bushings last years but just thinking out loud.
 

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Anyone know of a bearing substitute for the bushings on these? Not a big deal though, the bushings last years but just thinking out loud.
Depends on the model, but if you download the Ariens parts lists they show bearings and bushings in the parts diagrams. Just get the numbers and measurements.
 

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Maybe you could use the older style bearings instead of the bushings. On my 1962 they use sealed bearings, 3/4 inside diameter, 1 3/4 outside diameter with retainer plates on each side. I can upload some pictures and part numbers for you later. Parts are available on eBay, may be a little more expensive than the bushings, but the are pretty heavy duty and you would never have to change them again.
 

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...you might have also worn down both gears too far for new bushings to work, though the gears still look to be in good shape.
The large spur gear looks good enough but the pinion seems to be in pretty bad shape. The top land is completely worn off, reducing the pinion's outer diameter. Combined with the play in the bushings of layshaft and axle the gear mesh is way out of specs and the gears will bind under heavy load.
 

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Well, there's two ways of doing this.
Priority is getting the two gears to fully mesh, vs kiss each other by a hair.
Gear teeth have to be deeply into each other.

Take some solvent and clean off the small gear where it's never been in contact to compare how worn the main travel of it is.
It should still work if you can get them as close as possible.

Option one, zero cost:
Undo the 3 axle bearing/bushing holder bolts, on the left side where the gears are,
if there is gap enough, between axle and pass through hole in the chassis, jack the axle up as far as it allows into the small spur gear, and if any of (ONE BOLT) that holds the bearing/bushing holes are still there, lock it down.
The holes that are off, Drill and make at least one other bolt able to work.
Two is better than what it is now.
Easier access with wheel off.

Also explore any option to move the shaft the chain is on with spur gear.
So that it can mesh fully if gap wasn't enough.
Go to the other side of axle, and jack him up also.

Flop the machine on its nose (auger down) so you have less back pain in this venture.
Warm it up, and Drain the Fuel & Oil.

Second Option: Maybe $30-$50.
Go to local industrial supply,
they have every type of bushing hardware known to man.

There is also RULON compound bushings that are self lubricating, but the axle would have to be fairly smooth by sanding it smooth in the direction it turns, vs sanding along the shaft.
These type will outlast bronze bushings.

So get out your dial caliper, and start measuring the shafts so you have the data for Industrial Supply.

Also that chain, as cheap as they are, might as well replace it, as clicking / chucking sounds can be from the chain stretched too far to fit the sprockets correctly, so it tries to climb over the teeth out of sync.

Or haul it down there and have desk tech have a look, and he'll be able to get ya fixed up.

That was a good idea with the video.
Good Luck, you'll have fun yet before it snows.
 
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