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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a Platinum SHO last fall. Really liked its performance, and it was a relatively light winter here in New Hampshire. I did the recommended maintenance this last weekend and noticed cracks in the friction disk. One seemed a lot deeper/bigger than the others.
Is this of any concern, or normal and nothing to worry about? I seems to run fine. On the other hand, if it is an issue, I'd rather take care of it in the off-season.
Thanks,
Jon
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I bought a Platinum SHO last fall. Really liked its performance, and it was a relatively light winter here in New Hampshire. I did the recommended maintenance this last weekend and noticed cracks in the friction disk. One seemed a lot deeper/bigger than the others.
Is this of any concern, or normal and nothing to worry about? I seems to run fine. On the other hand, if it is an issue, I'd rather take care of it in the off-season.
Thanks,
Jon View attachment 167389
I would keep using it, until it deteriorated some more. They appear to be on the surface only. Will not cause major issues. I think it happened when they heat wrapped it. Yes, I saw how they made car tires. They wrapped them like duck tape and used heat to make the layers bond together. You can order a new friction wheel and use it as back up instead. The rubber can get hard if you keep it for too long. I don't like the new friction wheel design. The hub (sliding part) is plastic. It is expensive to replace the whole unit. On my older Deluxe 24, you can just replace the rubber part for $10.
 

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That is a very common problem with friction wheel design, along with poor quality product used in manufacturing of the rubber "Tire" that is Bonded to the steel wheel it rides on.
I would replace it now, instead of waiting until next winter and having it slip or just totally fail the next time you have to use it in a snow storm.
At least they are very inexpensive to replace and the most common thing that goes bad on every friction drive piece of power equipment, mowers, snowblowers, tractors and everything else that uses friction drive.
Think of it as a Tire on a car, they wear out from normal use, some much faster than others.
If your machine is still under warranty, I would have it replaced as soon as possible before the warranty runs out. Some times warranty does not cover a friction disc because it is considered a "Normal Wear" item/part.
If that was a good quality part, you should get a few years of use out of it according to a lot of people on this site that have friction drive units, I have the older Hydrostatic driven machines, so I never have to worry about friction discs wearing out all the time and never had a problem in over 27 years of severe/commercial use with the older Hydrostatic drive Honda's we have. Of coarse they are much more expensive to buy that machine in the first place, but they never let us down yet in as many years as they have been in use.
 

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I would keep using it, until it deteriorated some more. They appear to be on the surface only. Will not cause major issues. I think it happened when they heat wrapped it. Yes, I saw how they made car tires. They wrapped them like duck tape and used heat to make the layers bond together. You can order a new friction wheel and use it as back up instead. The rubber can get hard if you keep it for too long. I don't like the new friction wheel design. The hub (sliding part) is plastic. It is expensive to replace the whole unit. On my older Deluxe 24, you can just replace the rubber part for $10.
DMan2, I have been through tire Re-Capping places, and that is how they "Re-Cap" tires.
It is pretty interesting to see how much work is involved in doing that to a tire. There is a lot more work involved than most people could think of when doing that, and by the time they are done with them, they look like a brand new tire again.
 

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The friction wheel on my Deluxe 28 SHO is already showing signs of wear (but no cracking) in less than 2 full winters of use.
My 53 year old Ariens still has the original friction wheel. It has some deterioration and the rubber has hardened, but has not worsened any in the last 20 years and functions fine. The machine spent much of it's life in the snowbelt back when we had real winters so it has seen a lot of use.
The older wheel design has much thicker and probably a better quality of rubber than the new wheels. I have a spare for the older machine which I ordered last winter and will probably never need. I will order a spare friction wheel assembly for the new Ariens before next winter just to be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, thanks for the opinions. I think I'll stock one, and wait. But...that leads me to another question about this. Would this be replaced under warranty, or is this like brakes on a new car?
It just seems crazy that I should need to replace the friction wheel after one mild winter. I ran my Toro PowerShift for 20 years and never had this happen (no friction disk :^)
 

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Can't see how much rubber is remaining on the wheel, but if it has not wore away much of the rubber you may get many more years of use. A spare is peace of mind, incase you do need to replace it unexpectedly.
You could call your dealer and explain your issue and ask if you can e mail them a photo of the friction wheel issue. I suspect they will say it is a wear item and not covered under warranty, but you won't know unless you try.
 

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I would keep using it, until it deteriorated some more. They appear to be on the surface only. Will not cause major issues. I think it happened when they heat wrapped it. Yes, I saw how they made car tires. They wrapped them like duck tape and used heat to make the layers bond together. You can order a new friction wheel and use it as back up instead. The rubber can get hard if you keep it for too long. I don't like the new friction wheel design. The hub (sliding part) is plastic. It is expensive to replace the whole unit. On my older Deluxe 24, you can just replace the rubber part for $10.
That is a very common problem with friction wheel design, along with poor quality product used in manufacturing of the rubber "Tire" that is Bonded to the steel wheel it rides on.
I would replace it now, instead of waiting until next winter and having it slip or just totally fail the next time you have to use it in a snow storm.
At least they are very inexpensive to replace and the most common thing that goes bad on every friction drive piece of power equipment, mowers, snowblowers, tractors and everything else that uses friction drive.
Think of it as a Tire on a car, they wear out from normal use, some much faster than others.
If your machine is still under warranty, I would have it replaced as soon as possible before the warranty runs out. Some times warranty does not cover a friction disc because it is considered a "Normal Wear" item/part.
If that was a good quality part, you should get a few years of use out of it according to a lot of people on this site that have friction drive units, I have the older Hydrostatic driven machines, so I never have to worry about friction discs wearing out all the time and never had a problem in over 27 years of severe/commercial use with the older Hydrostatic drive Honda's we have. Of coarse they are much more expensive to buy that machine in the first place, but they never let us down yet in as many years as they have been in use.
My friction disc rubber fell off the first 20 feet I used my new Platinum 24....I was not happy....the dealer threw a new one on under warranty and gave my a spare. It’s been okay since but definitely cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'll give my dealer a buzz and see what he says. Couldn't hurt. I'll certainly get a wheel to have on hand, whether warranty or not.
 

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My machine had a few of those cuts in the rubber in the first year. They did not affect the drive. I replaced it when worn out and the replacements lasted just as long but no cuts. I am probably replacing the discs earlier than necessary to avoid mid-winter damage to the drive plate.

I remember the older machines (70's) having friction discs that lasted much longer but the drive was not strong enough in difficult conditions. They were fairly easy to hold stationary under power. Newer machines have excellent traction from the tires that is matched by the rubber in the friction discs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks. They are not very expensive, and easy enough to get at. Although I used a snowblower for 20 years, it was a Toro PowerShift with a geared transmission box. A friction disk is common, but not to me.
 

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Everything can be made better, but the manufacturers don't want to. It is because they want you to replace them. For an example, the friction wheel can be made out of silicon with fabric cords reinforcement. That would last a very long time. Instead, they made the rubber soft so that you will get more traction, but have to replace them every few seasons. Everything is cheap and crap these days, as they are following each other's footsteps. I had a washing machine with two broken spring suspensions. They made the two springs in the rear different so that the tub would tilt to that side (out of balance) after a while. Not only they were different, but they costed 3 times more than the springs at the front. I couldn't find a reason for them to be different, so I gambled and bought two front springs instead. It turned out that I made the right choice. My washing machine has been working fine since then. Just to tell you, how shady they are.
 
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