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Discussion Starter #1
Last night I was snowblowing after a big storm which had some rain and sleet . All that slop subsequently froze up once temps dropped after the storm. When snowblowing some of the fresh snow that now had a hard crust layer to it, suddenly there was a severe shake from the machine when the auger was engaged. Upon further inspection, it turns out one of the impeller fins bent slightly and is now flattened out a little compared to the other 3 fins.

The two pics show the bent fin (the one with the piece of blue painters tape on it) and one of the non bent fins for reference. It looks like a replacement impeller is around $120, so I think I might try to bend the fin back before completely replacing it. I was going to add some heat to it with a torch and see if I can bend it back. I'm assuming I want to avoid banging on it with a hammer to avoid damaging the gears, is that right? Does anyone have any tips for trying to bend this fin back into place?

Is there a trick to get the impeller not to move? Like wedge a piece of wood between a fin and the housing? Any suggestions at all would be extremely helpful. Thank you everyone for your time and help. Happy New Year!
 

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You need an oxy-acet torch then I would weld a piece of metal behind it for support, do then all, bring it to a friend or a shop, welding, garage, muffler shop.
 

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I've straightened a couple of them using a Mapp torch along with a anvil and big hammer. I always had the auger assembly apart so it was a lot easier to do. I'm sure some can do it in place but I'm not one of them.
 

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To immobilize the impeller, perhaps you can use a C-clamp on another fin with a piece of 2x4 up into the exit hole...

I've had good luck using a MAPP or acetylene torch to heat the area to be bent and then using a large crescent wrench on the end of the piece with the handle angled back away from the direction the force is being applied.
 

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Pickle fork and a pipe wrench like I mentioned in the other thread.Take off the shute and work down through the hole.I've done it on several blowers.
 

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I also had the impeller apart, with the use of a rail ( retired from Amtrak, my solid anvil .. :) ) and a big hammer to persuade it..... no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What is the difference between the two torches? A welder friend of mine says he has a Map gas torch I can use.
 

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Oxy-acetylene is much, much hotter than MAPP. O-A can heat steel, it can also cut through it, weld it, etc. MAPP will just get it hot, but can't cut or weld steel. But it's also simpler and safer to use, not to mention cheaper.
 

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If one is cheap you can easily convert an oxy acetylene torch to run oxy propane instead. I think the only thing needing switched is just the actual torch tip. Oxy propane will cut steel, well the oxygen oxidizes the steel, just need the flame to initially heat it up and if you're good you can cut the fuel and use pure oxygen to continue the cut, it just takes a little longer to preheat the metal with propane.


Mapp gas is hotter than propane when used in the single cylinder propane torch type setups.


When Crescent wrenches were moving production to china, I picked up a few stragglers that were still USA made so I have a 24" a 18" a 15" and many smaller ones of various origin. The 24" and/or 18" would make short work of that WITHOUT heat.


To keep the impeller from rotating I use an F clamp (a style used more in welding, big box stores and Tractor Supply Company carry them) and clamped the clamp to the impeller drum through the chute hole and it kept it from turning while drilling the blades for my impeller "kit" I made up. The only thing I could see is you might have to take one bucket side off and remove that ribbon to get enough room to maneuver the Crescent wrench from the front.
 

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Lots of good Ideas her, but I'll add another.

Take off the chute
Take off the belt cover
Disable the engine from starting
Clamp the PTO handle down, with the impeller in position you need to work on it
Vise grips on the impeller shaft behind the pulley, resting against the frame
Mapp Gas should work, going in thru the front
Channel Lock piers to bend the fin, working thru the top

GLuck, Jay
 

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Just Dealt with This on a 6 Blade Ariens Impeller. I had to Pull the Auger Assembly out of the Housing to Deal with it. The back of the impeller was Bent as Well, but came back into Shape After I Heated it Up Red Hot and Hit the Impeller Blade a Few Times to get the Blade Back in Line. Installed a New Bearing, and All Worked out Well.
 

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I was going to add some heat to it with a torch and see if I can bend it back. I'm assuming I want to avoid banging on it with a hammer to avoid damaging the gears, is that right? Does anyone have any tips for trying to bend this fin back into place?
To me it doesn't look too bad so I'd take the impeller off and just use brute force and leverage to band it back. Pics of how I did that on my bent impeller are here:
https://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/1331578-post3.html

Or, I wonder if you could close the jaws of a pipe wrench on the front of the impeller fin and straighten the fin while the impeller is still on the snowblower.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks everyone. It turns out I was able to bend the fin back with the a crescent wrench and a little heat from the torch. I was surprised how easy it was to bend back. I'm still scratching my head on what could have caused that bend, but fingers crossed the rest of the winter is nice to my snowblower. Thanks again everyone! there is a wealth of knowledge here.
 

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Anything from frozen newspapers to ice chunks will bend an impeller, as well as anything else … :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well when snowblowing this last weekend, I had an "ah ha!" moment and figured out what caused my bent impeller fin a couple weeks ago... Every time I clear snow, I snowblow two laps around the perimeter of my house to clear around the exterior vents and just to clear some walking space in the event of an emergency. When snowblowing the perimeter of my house this last weekend, I saw the steam coming out of the drier vent due to the laundry being done and it dawned on me. The ice around the drier vent is what I ran into that bent my impeller fin!

I could not, for the life of me, figure out why that one spot in particular had such severe ice that it bent my impeller fin... Now it all makes sense. Live and learn :)
 

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JW Miller:
Glad to hear that your impeller is back in shape. May want to remove in the spring and weld a bracket to the backside to prevent from happening again. Probably got bent from a chunk of ice.

The City really scraped the road down to pavement in Duluth Heights and left me the icy present(s) at the end of the driveway.
This is the first time I have seen this, but on Saturday, the grader came up the road taking a large bite on the side plow (to correct for not doing it since the Thanksgiving storm) and it was jumping up and down as the wheels spun. The side plow actually caused the grader to spin out putting the front wheels in the neighbors driveway. He then backed up to do it again, this time he articulated the grader pointing the front and rear wheels into the curb and hit it again, still jumping but was able to move up the road. Jeesh!
Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #18
bbwb - glad to see another Duluthian here! I had similar gifts of ice chunks at the end of my driveway this weekend too. Luckily I was able to feel them out before hitting them with the snowblower. At least you have the city plows still working for you! I'm up in Gnesen township and St Louis county plows (or is supposed to plow) my gravel road. The township had the road grader out this weekend since the county was on strike and lets just say it was pretty obvious that someone with less experience plowed the road.
 
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