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I’ve got an old walk-behind John Deere Model 526 snow-blower that’s gradually lost more and more ability to throw snow well. Originally I thought this was due to a combination of several things (i.e. an old engine and/or unusually wet snow that stuck easily in the snow exhaust chute).

This winter, however, I noticed by accident that when I applied forward pressure to the Engage/Dis-Engage Lever (after it was placed in the Engage Position), the more pressure I applied, the further the snow was blown. A parts diagram of the snow-blower shows a part called a drive disk that could be something like a clutch in the units snow blower section. Would replacing this drive disk be much of a job and would I need any special tools or adjustment procedures to re-attach any disconnected mechanical linkages?
 

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If I understand correctly it sounds as if your auger belt may be worn and slipping.

This is assuming the “engage” lever you speak of is for the auger and not the drive wheels.

Putting pressure on the lever would cause the idler pulley to increase tension on the belt.
 

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definitely sounds like a belt, after that check clearance between the impeller and housing. even though it is steel moving only snow, decades of use can wear out the metal leaving too much of a gap. and make sure chute is free of rust and is smooth.
 

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some idler pulleys have an adjustment. loosen the bolt in the center and move it closer to the belt while it is in the dis-engaged position. just not too tight or the auger will always be spinning.
 

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The "engage" lever I referred to is for the auger and not the wheels. Although the on-line Deere parts manual I'm looking at is detailed it breaks up assemblies at awkward points making it hard to see how sub-assemblies interconnect. I'm going to start taking covers off and try to find a likely belt tension adjustment point. Thanks for the feedback...
 

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definitely sounds like a belt, after that check clearance between the impeller and housing. even though it is steel moving only snow, decades of use can wear out the metal leaving too much of a gap. and make sure chute is free of rust and is smooth.
Thanks for tips... I'm going to 1st see if I can find where I might be able to tighten the impeller drive belt, then check the impeller and housing for clearance problems. I've already made sure that rust isn't the problem and had actually waxed the chute last fall to help keep snow from sticking.
 

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some idler pulleys have an adjustment. loosen the bolt in the center and move it closer to the belt while it is in the dis-engaged position. just not too tight or the auger will always be spinning.

I suspected some sort of impeller belt tension adjustment was necessary and now all I have to do is find where it is. Last fall when I had some covers off the unit I also noted that whats called the drive disk looked worn so I'll probably replace the disk also. I appreciate your reply...
 

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the throwing snow problem is the belt or impeller gap . belt is under the center belt cover. the drive disc which is under the cover on the bottom of the snowblower is for forward wheel drive only
 

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Throwing snow

In addition to the possibility of a worn belt, There's a couple of other things you can check. Assuming it's got an idler pulley on it, it could be out of adjustment. Another is if the bearing or bushing on the pulley end of the impeller shaft is badly worn, you could have enough slop there to cause it to not get full power without alot of tension on the cable.

Just some thoughts.
 
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