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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
well I finally figured out how to set the chute height on my little 4HP 22" Yardman Snowbird 7040-0 machine, specifically for a gravel driveway.
my error prior was setting all feet and steel wheels maximum height UP. this caused the little machine to lack traction, as it was leaving a layer of about 1" of snow, enough that the little solid tires would just hit it and spin.

the trick is MAX HEIGHT UP on front wheels, but let the rear drag skids loose, so the rear of the chute drops down, with the front of the chute slightly angled up. this stopped the gravel from being ingested, and cut a clean path down to the surface like a lawn mower set on low.

HOL-LEE KRAP !! this little machine kicks some serious arse !! I cleared a path from the house to the shed through the frozen snow buildup that must be at least 8" or more deep. it cleaned along the road in a snap.

now I'm VERY PLEASED with this little machine !! and it did this with solid tires and no chains. given it did spin occasionally but nowhere near as badly as before, it was useable this way. can't wait to get some chains on it.
 

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good info for those using snowbirds
 

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There seems to be little love for the smaller blowers. I never see reviews of the Ariens 22" Compact. My 4/20 Craftsman 1994 trac drive has been great in 12" of snow.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I had one of those track drive Craftsmans. I got it for free. it was a 5/22 ? IIRC. I put up a thread here about it. really wanted to keep and try it, but the previous owner ran a lot of gravel through it, to the point it bulged and broke through the impeller housing. I fixed it up and sold it for $150.

learning a lot this year about snowblowers. every blower has its own personality and quirks. The Tec. engines are a little harder to start and like a shot of ether to get them going. the Briggs will start on its own 99% of the time. The Tec. engines are higher revvers. any vintage machine needs chains, period. or new modern tires. the pump gas being sold today is really crap. the alcohol in it absorbs moisture and then the machine runs a little rough. a quick fix is, pull the bowl, drain it. or, remove the main power jet w/needle valve, then replace it. this usually clears a carb that's running crappy from sitting a few weeks outside.

so far my best running machine for pure power in really deep snow, is the Dynamark AMF Luminaire. it's also the hardest one to operate. the easiest one is the Gilson Unitrol.

I can't do snowblower videos actually blowing snow. no way to operate the machine with one hand, and work the camera with the other.

another thing about the 2nd Gen Yardbird Snowbirds, they were made to operate while moving, with one hand on the chute angle crank handle, and the other hand on the forward/reverse lever. otherwise holding the handlebars, you have no control over the machine other than steering. you have to let go of one handlebar to quickly throw the shifter into neutral at the end of a run. I think the handlebars are there only to turn it around. or for really LONG runs of snow. for short back/forth runs, best to keep both hands on the chute angle control, and the shifter lever, and try to also gently steer using those handles.
 

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I can't do snowblower videos actually blowing snow. no way to operate the machine with one hand, and work the camera with the other.
That's where my wife comes in:

...when a little patience is required, my cellphone rubber-banded to a board :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I scored some OEM chains for this machine, specifically made for the flat solid tires. Had to pay a good buck for them, as they were for sale as a package with another existing machine, so I had to up the ante, to convince seller to separate the package. can't wait to get the chains this week in the mail, and cinch them on.

next it needs a reverse drive belt, that is getting pretty frayed but still works for now.
 
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