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Hi everyone,

As I was preparing my 2 blowers for the season, decided to take a look at the paddles wear on my HS720. Knowing that I will have to replace them sooner or later, I went to the dealer and ordered a new set of OEM paddles and scrapper bar. I read in the user manuel that we should replace the paddles when the mesurement between the top of the metal plate that holds the center rubber pads and the top of those pads reaches 5/8 in. Problem is, even when installed brand new, they are at 5/8 in...I'm a bit confused, needless to say...:unsure:

Am I missing something here? When do you guys replace them and what is the limit of wear that makes you think they need to be replaced?

And on average, how many seasons you put on those pads before needing replacements?

Thanks
 

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Isn't there a "wear hole" in the paddle, kind of like tread wear bars on a tire? Or it might be the top of the R/L imprint?
 

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I'll chime in here as I used to do 26 properties, but now do 14 in my neighbourhood as a snow angel. I've got a few different Honda machines, but 95% of the time I use the HS720. When I was doing 26 properties I replaced them up to 6-7 times per year. With 14 properties, I change them 3-4 times per season now. For a single family residence with an average frontage and double driveway, depending on snowfall, a set should easily get you through a season. Some people with very small frontages have used their paddles for years. Amount of snow is obviously key here.

There are lots of measurement indicators for paddles. A favourite one is the paintstick method: with the machine in its rest position, if you have a gap the width of a paint stick (about 3/8") between the paddles and the ground it's time to change them. Another method is what I call the "Klingon" method: when the amount of scrap rubber "klinging on" to the worn paddle is about 1/2", the paddles need changing.

Having said this and referencing your 5/8" manual measurement, the best advice I can give you after yrs. of doing this is to ignore the measurements. They are just a guideline like a "Best Before" date on milk. You'll know when they are ready to be changed. Firstly, the machine will stop throwing snow as far. You'll notice this. As they get worse, the snow will kind of just get pushed ahead of the machine and you will notice a pile of snow in front when you come to a stop. In wet snow you'll get more clogs because the gap between the augers and the inside of your machine is large enough that the snow cakes on it, which results in clogs in the discharge chute.

But the dead giveaway if the measurement system makes no sense to you is whether or not the machine gets "pulled" by the augers when tilted. You can test for this in the spring or summer even. Fire up the machine, engage the auger, then tilt the machine as if you are going to blow snow. With brand new paddles the machine should almost rip itself from your arms and pull you along at almost a run. The more worn the paddles are the less pull and speed this test will yield. When it doesn't pull at all the paddles are done. BTW, when doing this test in the summer don't do it too long; because of the heat and softness of the rubber you'll wear the paddles out prematurely and actually leave rubber marks on your pavement. Also, the more you tilt it, the faster and harder it will pull.

It's no coincidence that most people struggle with this maintenance issue only once or twice. That's because when you get your machine and use it you are not cognizant of what to expect. After a while it occurs to you that something isn't right and the machine isn't as great as you once thought it was. Then you change the paddles and it's like magic again. Most people don't forget that "Ah Ha" moment and never measure again; they just know when they get the feeling it isn't blowing as well to install new paddles and scrapper bar.

Don't forget the Fluid Film on the chute and paddles. It does help.

Best of luck.
 

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this answer, Calgary , should be a sticky in the honda forum. this question comes up a lot.
 

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Wow, I like that when I get a complete and valuable answer from experienced people, thank you very much, really appreciated. That little 720 is my go to machine because we don't get a lot of snowfalls since I got my 1332 in 2017 so the big red only works when there is a big berm and to make my way to the shed in order to put the 2 reds inside :).

My driveway is about 25' X 65' roughly cause I'm located on the corner of my street, the shape is much more of a V than rectangular. So it is a decent size driveway for a bungalow. I'll take your advice and forget about the mesurments stated in the manual as I find them a bit weird too, like I said, the mesurements of 5/8 to replace the paddles don't make much sense since even when the paddles a brand new, the 5/8 mesurement is the same,

Since the OEM paddles are not that cheap from the dealer, I'm lucky enough to have a brother in law working for a conveyor manufacturing company and asked him if the company has leftovers of conveyor belts with the same thickness and materials used in my rubber paddles and he will take a look at it. I'll try to make my own when I get the material to see if it's possible, with cutting tools available on the market, and copied from OEM ones. I will let you guys know if I succeed. That is going to be my small project to tackle in the near future...

Thanks again guys, appreciated...
 

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Wow, I like that when I get a complete and valuable answer from experienced people, thank you very much, really appreciated. That little 720 is my go to machine because we don't get a lot of snowfalls since I got my 1332 in 2017 so the big red only works when there is a big berm and to make my way to the shed in order to put the 2 reds inside :).

My driveway is about 25' X 65' roughly cause I'm located on the corner of my street, the shape is much more of a V than rectangular. So it is a decent size driveway for a bungalow. I'll take your advice and forget about the mesurments stated in the manual as I find them a bit weird too, like I said, the mesurements of 5/8 to replace the paddles don't make much sense since even when the paddles a brand new, the 5/8 mesurement is the same,

Since the OEM paddles are not that cheap from the dealer, I'm lucky enough to have a brother in law working for a conveyor manufacturing company and asked him if the company has leftovers of conveyor belts with the same thickness and materials used in my rubber paddles and he will take a look at it. I'll try to make my own when I get the material to see if it's possible, with cutting tools available on the market, and copied from OEM ones. I will let you guys know if I succeed. That is going to be my small project to tackle in the near future...

Thanks again guys, appreciated...
You are very welcome.

I know others have tried the conveyer belt DIY—sadly with little success. If you look carefully at many conveyer belts you'll see two reasons why. One is that the threaded reinforcement inside most conveyer belts runs in the opposite direction to what you want in auger paddles. So when the threads wear in a conveyer belt, the entire DIY paddle gets compromised and frays almost immediately. Some belts are wire reinforced—you don't want that of course. Also, the rubber used in these belts is much softer as it is designed to grip packages and materials as they progress up or down an incline. The coefficient of friction would be very different as the conveyer rubber is much softer than your auger rubber designed for cold temps. That means it will likely self destruct quickly when used as auger paddles. Or you'll end up just spanking the snow instead of throwing it. I'm not saying it isn't possible—just that all rubber isn't the same, notwithstanding the threaded reinforcement inside it (whose pattern is crucial to your success).

While on this topic, be careful of non-OEM versions. I don't work for Honda, nor do I benefit from any plug, but I can say I've wasted my fair share of $ trying cheaper options. Be careful on eBay and Amazon as some people market as "For/Designed For/Fits Honda HS520, HS720 etc." That's just as misleading as when hamburger joints say "Made with 100% Beef." Sure the beef that goes into the patty is 100% Beef, but that doesn't mean there aren't fillers as well. The paddles may be for Honda, but they aren't made by Honda. Big difference. Devil, details...you know the saying.

For example, some of the non-OEM ones are thinner, are reinforced with thinner thread (I've measured them), and can be installed either orientation (unlike OEMs). This tells you that there is no buffer zone on the backside of the paddle. If you look closely on OEM paddles you will see one zone from the edge to the first reinforcement layer is thicker than the other side. Without this, the paddles lose their shape faster as they thin out and you get less bang for your buck. Also, take a pic of your paddles before you remove them and go one paddle at a time. The markings for Left (L) and Right (R) sometimes rub off in transit in the plastic bags. If installed backwards, their lifecycle is shortened due to this thread issue.

I know they are expensive. I'm not saying there isn't a great aftermarket substitute. I'm just saying I've tried 4 or 5 non-OEMs and been disappointed. If you fine one, or come up with a way to manufacture them yourself, please share here. I know many of us will be grateful.

- Pete
 

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Thanks CalgaryPT,

I'll keep that in mind when time to get another set of new paddles comes. I also know that non OEM ones are not built to last as the OEM ones, I saw that in the comments on Amazon and eBay, users were not that impressed with them. I paid $90 tx incl. for the OEM ones from the dealer along with the scrapper bar but not including the bolts as they are good for a long time anyways.

I'll see what my brother in law comes with as for the conveyor belts. He did mentionned they have a lot of different compound for the belts and told me they have some with the same reinforcements in them too. Well, I guess I will do some experiments and see how it goes. If it is successful, i'll get back to you guys for sure.

Thanks again.:)
 

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Thanks CalgaryPT,

I'll keep that in mind when time to get another set of new paddles comes. I also know that non OEM ones are not built to last as the OEM ones, I saw that in the comments on Amazon and eBay, users were not that impressed with them. I paid $90 tx incl. for the OEM ones from the dealer along with the scrapper bar but not including the bolts as they are good for a long time anyways.

I'll see what my brother in law comes with as for the conveyor belts. He did mentionned they have a lot of different compound for the belts and told me they have some with the same reinforcements in them too. Well, I guess I will do some experiments and see how it goes. If it is successful, i'll get back to you guys for sure.

Thanks again.:)
Best of luck.
 

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Excellent write-up Calgary! Honda OEM replacement paddles are the way to go. Would also recommend coating all the threads on the paddle attachment bolts with anti-seize. Makes future paddle replacement a breeze.
 
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