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Discussion Starter #1
I've got an Ariens Deluxe 30 and really enjoy running the machine. Except when the control cable for the chute tilt mechanism freezes up and prevents the tilt function from working. This obviously results in a less than optimal single tilt position for the duration of a session, or longer, depending on whether we are fortunate enough to have a thaw before the next storm.

My question is if anyone has tried experimenting with charging the cable sleeve with lubricant (probably lithium grease) to prevent the cable from freezing up? Or are there alternative approaches anyone has used for this issue?

Thanks,
Ed
 

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Grease is never a Bad Idea on control cables. Figure a way to keep water from getting in if you can. Bicycle brakes use a cable gaiter to keep dirt out of brake and shift cables, for instance. Fit one on the top end where water might be getting in, and you'll likely solve the symptom.

Spend a few minutes adjusting the pressure on the chute pivot too. On mine, there's a bracket that holds the upper pivot point for the chute. There should be a -slight- amount of vertical movement available at the chute before it is constrained by that bracket. I added a couple spacer washers to unload that pivot and unload the joint between the chute and the bucket nozzle some. I also added some of that grease to the sliding "bearing" the chute sits on. Now it moves almost too freely.
 

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Edleit:


A few years back, before I became a member here, I ran across a post that discussed this very problem you describe. Some wise poster mentioned the product "Fluid Film" which, even though I had been a shade tree mechanic for nearly 50 years I had never heard of. :wink2:

Long story short, each year before the snow flies, I take my chute control cable off and let it hang straight, while I blow compressed air through it. I also leave it in a warm environment for a few days to make sure that most of the residual moisture that might be captive inside is gone. Then, I load that sucker up with FF until it runs out the bottom. (also be sure to move the cable back and forth in its sheath so you spread the lubricant around). Hopefully, any water left in the cable is displaced at that point.



I haven't had a freeze up ever since, and I used to get lots of them. Which as I'm sure you know is a colossal PITA when you're out trying to clean up after a big storm. :icon_cussing_black:


One trick I used to use (and I don't know if this is a typical solution), when I used to get a cable freeze up, was to take a dish towel, thoroughly wet it, wring it out, and place it folded up in the microwave for a minute or two on "high". I would get it hot enough that you'd need your gloves to pick it up, and could see plenty of water vapor coming off of it. Then I quickly took the towel out to the blower and wrapped it around the lowest portion of the cable where the water would logically collect, then worked the control handle. Usually, it worked on the first try, and I would periodically keep moving the cable as I went back to clearing, and usually it didn't re-freeze. Mind you, this wasn't under conditions where it was 10 below like some of the good folks here routinely experience.


Give the Fluid Film a shot. It'll probably work for you too! :thumbsup:

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Fluid film is also a good lubricant to spray in the bucket and chute. I give my machine a liberal spray with it before storing in the spring, and then again when I get it ready for service.

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the interesting suggestions and solutions. With our first snow due tomorrow, I may have waited too long to ask.

With a bit of luck, I'll be able to implement one of these approaches before the hard freeze and flakes really make their presence felt! :icon-cold:
@SayItAintSnow: That microwave towel trick is something I'll surely try if I end up with a frozen cable.:wavetowel2:
 

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Well seeing how your looking for a quick fix before a snow/ice event, try WD-40, using the straw to shoot inside the cable sheath. I load it up from both ends of the cable. It is by design, a Water Displacement agent and light lubricant. Give it a quick shot after the storm too..... That should keep the cables from freezing up, quickly and easily.

GLuck, Jay
 

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This is the same problem I have with my Craftsman Model 247.88790 9HP machine. I tried to lube the cables, however, I cannot seem to get the access needed to get the lube between the cable and its sheath. Any thoughts on how to access the area to insert the lube tip?
 

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Fluid Film is what I use. Haven't had a freeze up in years.
 

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I would never use grease on control cables, grease attracts dirt, the volatile ingredients evaporate leaving a hardened crud, grease thickens in cold weather, not slippery enough, not thin enough to slide down the cable. I use silicon spray or a synthetic oil spray, fogging oil would be good, the suggestion of fluid film would probably be the best, something I've never thought of.
 

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The antifreeze may be my favorite idea so far. The others can help with lubrication.

But the antifreeze is the only one that may still help you avoid freezing up once some water inevitably makes its way in.

And freezing seems like the biggest risk. Even an unlubricated cable will probably still slide (not as easily, of course). But freeze some water in there, and you've got trouble.

Maybe antifreeze, followed by a bit of something else?

I think the silicone spray would probably be a pretty decent lubricant for it, it should still work well when cold. I just really dislike silicone spray, it never seems to want to go away, and you end up with slippery fingers.
 
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