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While it is an OBVIOUS TRUTH that rubber wheels will grip more than metal. One must take into consider the conditions when wheel sliding is required. Generally it is under snow covered conditions. The treadless rubber skate wheels tends to harden when exposed to extreme cold temperatures and will lose much of most of its tackiness. Thus offering very little grip resistance. It will tract like bald tires on snow.

However, the rubber wheels do grip much more in warmer temperatures or on a bare garage floor. But I generally don't need to make tight sliding maneuvers with my snowblower on warmer bare surfaces.
 

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Anyone add wheels to their Toro?
If so what material did you use?
 

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Discussion Starter #43
In my experience with wheels, I want something that can slide made of a hard material (I use sealed bearings as wheels) as when you turn, you want the wheels to slide. IMHO a rubber wheel wouldn't slide well as you change direction.

In addition to changing direction, I do press down on the machine handles slightly so the bucket floats to knit the dragging of my wheels. But, it will slide on the pavement if you were unable to float the front.
Thanks Ariens Hydro Pro, that was one of my considerations, either the bearings or white plastic seem to be the best alternatives, with the white plastic maybe being the best, doesn't rust, slips, moves, inexpensive, easily cut with a hole saw, very replaceable; the bearings cost money and I'm afraid they will rust; then the downside to roller blade wheels, rubber, may stick and not slide sideways.

Now I have to remember the type of plastic being used???
 

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My signature blower came with "pizza cutter" wheels.The worked pretty good on sidewalks, but I moved to a house with an unpaved driveway, so I put on skids, they work fine.
Sid
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Housing wheels - fixed or swivel? Leaning towards swivel

Since in NJ the weather is warming, we are done with snow, I think? I am motivated because of this forum to make improvements, not me, no of course not, to my snowblowers. I'm going to line the housing and chute, grease the bearings, install impeller rubber, and I am so very tired of skid plates, hitting the lifting edges of the sidewalks in my old and tired development. So wheels are the answer! Isn't it? I hope.

I'm going to attach the wheels to a plate of steel and install them where the skid plates are.

I may put ball bearings on one machine, and roller blade wheels on the other two, and swivel on a fourth.

Please comment on my following concerns and thoughts.

Ball Bearings - I'm concerned that the ball bearings will rust then they won't roll but because the outside surface is smooth they will slide anyway. And because of the slick surface, when moving the snowblower to the side, they will easily slide with the machine.

Roller Blade Wheels - My concern because of the material, the height, and the narrowness, they may not slide sideways easily, and because of the narrowness they may break when going sideways.

Swivel Wheels - Thinking seeing what Harbor Freight has in the way of swivel wheels, using the smallest diameter they have. I'm thinking I'm going to have to install these on the two back corners of the auger housing. Still will be adjustable though I'm not exactly sure how. They have to be maintained and well greased to prevent locking. The advantage the blower will turn on a dime so easily. I'm concerned that when going into especially deep or hard snow the front of the blower will be pushed sideways especially after the first pass where there is no resistance of snow next to it since you've cleared that first pass.
 

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Bearing in picture are 12 years old. Bearing rust is not really an issue if you maintain them with WD40. The nut holding the bearing incurred a little rust over the years.
 

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I like the rollerblade wheel idea.

I put plastic caster wheels on my Toro 521 in place of the skids. After a couple of seasons with them, they seem fine.

My Toro PowerShift, when in the 'shifted' mode puts about 90 lbs. on the bucket. You can do pull-ups on the handle bars and the bucket will not raise. With the standard skids, the amount of friction, even with snow, puts up a fair amount of resistance to forward movement. So, my thoughts are to put some small wheels in place of the skids.

In order to minimize the amount of fabrication needed, my plan is to use one of the existing bolt holes that attached the existing skids, for the axle bolt of the wheel. In measuring the height of the bolt off of the ground currently with the skids, it is about 1:05" on center. So a 2.25" wheel/caster would do the trick. Since 2.25" is an odd size, and looking at some of the ideas posted in this tread, I came up with this design using sealed bearings.

snowblowerskidwheel1.jpg

In order to get the I.D. down to a decent size for the mounting hardware, I decided to use a bearing within a bearing, getting the I.D. down to 0.5" where a spacer can be used along with a 3/8" bolt to form an axle that is tight to the side of the bucket. Just got to order the parts & hardware and see how it goes.

EDIT: Looks like I messed up on the bearing sizes, so the bearings #'s will be a bit different than the drawing shows.
 

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snowblowerskidwheel1C.jpg

I think I have the bearings correct now . . . had to go to metric sizes to get the proper fit of the 2 bearings. :plain:
 

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Still going good on my ST1027 with auto turn kit installed, May source some stainless bearings for it though, Look in rough shape on the outer race with surface rust but turn just fine.
 

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I have height adjustable mower wheels on mine. it's the adjustable height that I like, not necessarily the wheels even though the wheels work fine. Going from sidewalk to gravel the height requirements are different and the adjustment is quick. If there was an skid option with a quick height adjustment I would probably give that a try ... I can already hear people running to the patent office :)
 

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I got all the parts and hardware needed to do the 'wheels' on the Toro Powershift

IMG_1124.JPG

I was originally going to use 3/8" bolts and related hardware, but opted for 5/16" because the spacer for 5/16" would fit inside the small bearing inner race.

IMG_1134.JPG

I need a bit more 'meat' to secure the bolts as axles than what the sheet metal of the bucket could provide. so, I flipped the old skids upside down and installed the 5/16" bolt through both bucket side and the skid.

Here is a picture of the bearing wheel installed

IMG_1135.JPG

With the rear wheel/axle 'shifted' back, there is about 90 lbs of weight on the bucket, so the new wheels allow the machine to roll nicely in this mode. With the skids alone, it is a bit of a push to get the machine to move forward.

IMG_1136.JPG
 

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Wow, I didn't realize how much weight the PowerShifts put on the bucket, in that mode! That sure ought to help hold the nose down :) Glad the bearings/wheels can help out!
 

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In my opinion, when buying skateboard wheels, it’s essential to look for relatively softer or within the 78a-88a durometer range as they are known to be better at resisting impact. Softer wheels also provide you better grip and can dramatically reduce vibration from the board. They’re extra bouncy for a more energized ride too.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
RobertHan, your first post and you have educated and made an interesting and valued contribution. Thank you.

I didn't know that. I know rubber has a hardness factor. I have roller skate wheels, is there a variety of hardnesses for them? Since I have them, I'm going to use them regardless how long they last.

No more skids for my machines. I am TIRED of uneven sidewalks. I'm going wheels.
 

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RobertHan, your first post and you have educated and made an interesting and valued contribution. Thank you.

I didn't know that. I know rubber has a hardness factor. I have roller skate wheels, is there a variety of hardnesses for them? Since I have them, I'm going to use them regardless how long they last.

No more skids for my machines. I am TIRED of uneven sidewalks. I'm going wheels.
A durometer is the measurement of the hardness of the wheel. Same with the diameter, the bigger the size, the harder the wheel will be. The best durometer by professionals is the 99a. They use a 100-point scale to measure it. Some manufacturers measure by using a B Scale, so the measurements are 20 points lower.

To make everything clear for you, here’s a durometer scale comparison:

78a – 87a: Soft wheels for rough terrain. Perfect for longboard riders.
88a – 95a: Harder and faster when used, but has less grip
96a – 99a: Good grip and speed while riding, despite it being hard.
101a – Up: The hardest ones and fastest with the least grip among these durometers.
83b – 84b: High speed and super hard wheels with very minimal grip.
If you love skateboarding, I suggest the softer ones.
 
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