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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm not sure if this issue has been posted or covered in any length, so I figured I would touch base on this issue. I know on the Scott Lawrence page, he mentions that in 1981 the process in which the machines were painted changed was mentioned. Aside from going from an Orange and white in 1979 to an Orange and black or dark color in 1980, the process the orange got painted changed, that change caused problems, where the paint doesn't hold up and begins peeling off in sheets over time, no matter how its stored etc. From 1979 and back the Orange had lead in it. It was also baked on really well, if you notice any orange and white machine, the paint holds on strong and is never missing except in areas like the bucket and chute where it wore down some from friction from snow and ice, but its only worn down not peeled right off, it is also a slightly different shade compared to the orange in 1981, maybe it just faded in ways the 70's lead paint doesn't over time. Beginning in 1980 for the machines sold in 1981 which was the second year of orange and black machines, later orange and brown like my 87, the paint no longer had lead added, if you have an orange and black machine built in 1979 for the 1980 model year, your lucky, your unit was painted the way all the old machines were with the lead in it and holds up well. It was removed due to federal regulations, as part of safety to get toxic lead that is harmful to children and unborn babies off the machines. They also changed the process in how they painted the machines. I'm not exactly sure how they changed the process, weather they didn't use a primer or did not use electrolysis to charge the ions of the paint as it was dipped, however where it peels off to bare metal I see no evidence of primer. What I do know is from 1981 to ????, I'm not sure when it was finally corrected (maybe someone else with a little more knowledge can chime in and let us know what year they fixed the problem), but from what I've seen from up to about the mid 90's. The paint peels right off the machine straight down to the bare metal in sheets, (see photos of mine as an example). It literally peels off in sheets like paper separating from the metal, their are plenty of photos of other machines from that period showing it as well. Under it, their is clearly no sign of any primer used. I'm not sure why this happened, if it was a cost saving measure, or if they just weren't prepared for the removal of the lead, however it was not corrected for a lengthy period of time, about 10-15 years, suprised their was no recall, i guess by the time the issue showed, too much time had passed. If you look at all of the machines Ariens made throughout the 1980's and into the 90's their all suffering this same problem, the paint, bubbling, coming off in sheets and large areas of the chassis showing bare metal. The paint peeling off in sheets, weather it was stored in a garage or outside, it doesn't matter, they all do it. Only the orange is effected, the black and dark paint on the handle's, engine, augers etc stays on well. So, in conclusion, if your thinking of buying an Ariens from that era, be aware of the problem and know you will have to repaint your machine or have it repainted to fix it, or you can leave it, which will result in damage from rust, if you see one of these units with the peeling paint, it doesn't mean the owner neglected the machine or stored it outside, its just the problem with the orange paint these units from that time suffer from. Other brands of this time period such as Toros did not suffer this issue. The paint holds on strong like the older Ariens machines from the 70's and back. The issue was finally rectified at some point. Todays machines do not suffer the issue, however in some areas, I do see it flake off a little bit. Thats common on most brands now. The paint process used by Ariens in the 60's and 70's as well as other brands was far superior and the lead made it so the paint stayed on for life, in 1981 that changed. Here are photos of my unit from 1981. Its a super low hour unit with its original scraper bar and skids, even the scraper bars paint peeled off, because it was painted at the same time as the machine. Aside from the orange paint issue on the machine, these are still great machines. Also included is a photo of my 1971 Ariens to show the difference in the quality and shade of the orange paint. On the plus side, because of this issue, you can probably get a used Ariens blower of that era cheap at a bargain, since it looks bad and most people wont buy it and than repaint it yourself at a great savings. Chevy engine block orange is a near direct match and a can is about $5.85, a can of primer 3-4 bucks and a can of clear coat enamel, 4-5 bucks. Two cans of the orange should be enought to cover all the areas where it peeled off, so for under 20 bucks, you can make it look good as new again.
 

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Poor to no metal prep, lack of primer coat, that paint job never had a chance.

Issues with early environment friendly paint?

When did Ariens start powder coating their finishes, is this an early attempt at powder coating?

Was this paint peeling issue a case of bad batches once in a while, or did all Ariens machines of this era exhibit this problem?

Definitely an embarrassment to Ariens, Dusty's video above says it all.
 
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Yes, I had a 88 Ford pick up that had the paint on the hood peeling, which was repainted under warranty. I seem to recall it was most common with grey, silver and light blues.
Also many issues with clear coats failing in the 80's and 90's on the big 3 vehicles.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Poor to no metal prep, lack of primer coat, that paint job never had a chance.

Issues with early environment friendly paint?

When did Ariens start powder coating their finishes, is this an early attempt at powder coating?

Was this paint peeling issue a case of bad batches once in a while, or did all Ariens machines of this era exhibit this problem?

Definitely an embarrassment to Ariens, Dusty's video above says it all.
All machines of this era. Throughout the 1980's, if you got lucky and got the first year Orange and black machine produced which was sold for 1980 but built and painted in 1979, you got the old style paint, after that, everyone has this problem. Not sure exactly what year they rectified it, from what I have gathered, somewhere around the mid 1990's. If anyone know's what year exactly they corrected it, please let us know. The trim holds up fine, like the handles, augers, etc, that all holds up fine. Interesting thing to note, its not black, its a very dark brown on these units, outleast this 87 is. Its Orange and dark brown, with white rims. It looks like black from a distance, its not, its dark brown. Common misconception.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I remember back years ago, Ford, Dodge and General Motors all had experienced paint peeling issues.
They still have that issue with one specific color, blue. For whatever reason, blue never holds up. My moms old 1990 Buick park ave, dark blue, paint completely stripped off the top, her 2003 Mercury Sable, gone, down to bare metal. My Uncles Blue For Windstar van, fading away up top, blue cant handle the sun. Every other color does fine, but blue has inherent issues on all makes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bonus points for the longest thread title ever... lasts longer than some of those paintjobs did. (y) 🍻
I've been told I'm very thorough lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I myself came across one of these peeling units .... I repaired it, and sold it......
Its a shame too, because as far as the overall design and build quality of the machine, it was some of their best. I plan to repaint it and keep this one. It will retire my 1971 Ariens 24" my 32 will stay in action.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I myself came across one of these peeling units .... I repaired it, and sold it......
I am having issues with adjusting the larger chain in the gearbox. At the moment it has a bit too much slack and runs againt that bottom orange bar that goes across, down where the belly pan bends and goes on. Going to make a separate thread covering and asking about it.
 

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The problem really had nothing to do with the removal of lead from paint. The machines you are referencing that have the finish peeling off in sheets were powdercoated not painted. The incentive to switch to powdercoat was driven by VOC regulations and fees charged by the government. The bare metal look under the coat is the clue.
 

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I also have had Gravely tractors with the same paint problem. By the time I got them they were "parts". I have a 1981 that I bought new and it has survived with no peeling, just lucky? Even with today's technology, water born coatings and clean rooms there are occasional problems.
 

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The problem really had nothing to do with the removal of lead from paint. The machines you are referencing that have the finish peeling off in sheets were powdercoated not painted. The incentive to switch to powdercoat was driven by VOC regulations and fees charged by the government. The bare metal look under the coat is the clue.
I heard from a long time Ariens repair tech was that the metal was not treated properly before the paint/powercoat application.
Something like the initial cleaning agent was not correctly rinsed off.
 

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I heard from a long time Ariens repair tech was that the metal was not treated properly before the paint/powercoat application. Something like the initial cleaning agent was not correctly rinsed off.
Yes, I believe that is the source of the problem. The other complication is that once moisture gets under the powdercoat, it is held in and accelerates the issue. Before powdercoating, you never heard of an automotive engine oil pan rusting through but once they gave up paint it became commonplace.

Lawnboy had a bad run with their steel mower decks when they started powdercoating. I had one that was so bad that the coating peeled off in one giant sheet like a snake shedding its skin.
 
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