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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone modified the old single belt Sno-Thros for safety?

Specifically, the traction drive clutch is the reverse of modern machines. You press the handle to stop the tractor from moving. If the ball joint breaks, as they tend to do on older machines, it just keeps on going! Or if you slip, it does the same.

I talked to another Ariens owner and he said he slipped and the blower kept going backwards until it nearly ran him over!

I have though of two solutions, but I don't know if anyone has tried either one:

1) Install a handle on the right handlebar connected to a machine clutch via a cable. Like the 1960 Sno-Thros had, here's a picture from Scot's site:



2) Remove the spring from the drive clutch in the tractor and change the left handle so that it pushes instead of pulls the drive clutch. This one might be a bit tougher to pull off.

Anyone done either, or something else?
 

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The Beauty of these Machines is the Simplicity of them Before the Safety Nazis got involved. Careful Operation is Your Best Safety Feature.
 

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its also in what you are use to using. if you are use to having the hand levers its kind of odd using a machine without them. i feel more comfortable using the 521's or the 824 than the 826
 

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I have entertained flipping the left handle if I ever get around to re-powering an old 910962 that I have. I don't think it will be too difficult, just a few retrofits to reverse the movement of the handle and rod. That being said, I have not looked at it at all to really see what may be involved.
 

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Never let go of your machine! Grab the handlebars and go for a ride. You could attach a safety harness form you waist to the throttle lever.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The Beauty of these Machines is the Simplicity of them Before the Safety Nazis got involved. Careful Operation is Your Best Safety Feature.
The biggest problem is when the ball joint comes apart. I had one customer's do it and since his throttle was on the engine he couldn't reach it and try to control the machine. He ran it into a fence to stop it.

I had another pop apart as I was testing functions before I powered it up.

I'm strong enough that's it's not an issue for me, I can just lift the wheels. Not everyone is however, that's why I brought it up.

The new ball joints are stiff, if yours is floppy I'd replace it to be safe. They're around $28 or so locally, less on the web. I bought three and cleaned my dealers stock out. Luckily there are a few part numbers that are the same basic part. I had to list them for the dealer so he could check all his bins. The "parts guy" didn't realize they were the same part.
 

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The Beauty of these Machines is the Simplicity of them Before the Safety Nazis got involved. Careful Operation is Your Best Safety Feature.
Could not have said it better.

Maybe they should have back up beepers, Onstar, GPS, heated mirrors, blue tooth connection to have the wifey poo warm up some hot chocolate, self cancelling turn signals too.

Geez.

Keep it simple, that's all.
 

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You know stanz....I want to thank you for this post. The ball joint on mine is pretty loose and after reading this I'm going to replace mine. It's something I never thought about because like you said too, if something went wrong I'm strong enough to tip it up or reach around to flip the lever, but I've been letting my 14 yr old use it and I'm sure if it broke while he was using it it would be bye bye garage door, or car door, or mailbox, lol. Love this forum!
Just and fyi also on mine...when I drop the engine speed to its lowest it kills the engine. Maybe you could adjust your throttle to do the same?
 

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I've been thinking about this for a while, especially since repowers will become more common in the future and these usually lack means of control from the operator position. I think everyone that repowers should definitely wire in a kill switch up by the handles. I really prefer the motorcycle style clutch of the 10000 series but it does have some serious safety limitations.

Even on some other makes and the newer Ariens the motor kill is on the engine mounted speed control. You can get out of 99% of jams by just releasing the deadman drive lever on the modern machines...BUT...I just looked at a 2005 Murray with Briggs engine and it caught fire while he was blowing. He tried to put it out with snow but that didn't work as there is plastic shrouding all over those engines. Melted a hole right in the fuel tank!

Anyways my other idea is to make reproductions of the 73-74' remote clutch so at least you could keep the handle mounted shifter but still have means to release the drive from the operator position without having to clutch it. Would this be something others may be interested in?

There is a spring manufacturer down the road and I can contract to have some stainless rods bent up. One expensive part would be the pin mounted u-joints, those are $25 a pop on their own, and that clutch spring is still available from Ariens for like $12, but I could probably have some stainless wire springs made for cheaper...Then its just brackets, a rear frame bracket that bolts to the side of the frame, like the Ariens 73 prototype style, would have to be fabricated and you'd need a late's 60's style front clutch bracket, as I don't think the 10M style is in the right position. That bracket is NLA as is most everything else aside from the spring.
 

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what he said...you can retrofit the later model 10000 series clutch idler engagement lever, that is handlebar mounted, and throw it out of drive that way in case of emergency

or, connect a throttle cable to the LEFT SIDE handlebar, going down the carb, and just shut the throttle off completely, close the butterfly and it will stall. those are relatively cheap on Ebay brand new, around $6

having said all that...I like the bare simplicity of my 10M machine c. 1962 so will just use it carefully with caution. if the clutch rod breaks, my current "safety" plan is throw the shifter into neutral, or reach around and shut the carb off.

but this is a subject of concern, and one must have their mind "in the game", concentrating, and not be distracted, when running these early machines.

that means, keep the wife, kids, neighbors away when you're using it.:rolleyes:
non-mechanical minded types will walk up to a surgeon and start a mundane conversation about the weather, in the middle of critical brain surgery, not realizing the level of concentration and inherent risks/dangers involved, and how badly they are distracting someone who's trying to work and concentrate...and cause a lot of havoc and accidents....not to sound condescending, but that's how they are.

the best operator of these types of machines, are the guys that can put everything else out of their mind, and concentrate on just running the machine- nothing else. then no one gets hurt.
 

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I reversed the belt tension arm on my sears/murray, and from a suicide clutch, it became a dead man clutch. I guess ether way you're dead. It was a fairly easy job.
Sid
 

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Keep it simple, that's all.
If simplicity is the primary goal, ditch the snowblower with its hundreds of parts and grab a shovel.
 

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The Beauty of these Machines is the Simplicity of them Before the Safety Nazis got involved. Careful Operation is Your Best Safety Feature.
I couldn't agree more. Don't change the machine, educate the driver. My 1960 has no safety anything and has been actively plowing snow for the last 55 years. Simple is better, get it back to factory spec at the time of manufacture and stay with that. No need to reinvent the wheel.
Just my 2 cents.
 

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If simplicity is the primary goal, ditch the snowblower with its hundreds of parts and grab a shovel.
Simple machine.. no bells no whistles a little common sense is all that's needed.

Shovels work too, maybe they should have some sort of safety device when your back is about to go out.
 

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The Beauty of these Machines is the Simplicity of them Before the Safety Nazis got involved. Careful Operation is Your Best Safety Feature.
The Way I see it is this. Once upon a time....
Somebody does something incredibly stupid, like sticking their finger where anyone with a lick of sense would know enough not to.
Along comes Mr. Lawyer and says to Mr. Incredibly Stupid, I can make us both a pail full of money from your misfortune and the best part of all is, once the Judge rules in your favor, it must mean that you aren't incredibly stupid after all. IT WASN'T YOUR FAULT! It must be the fault of the poor manufacturer who was relying on folks having a lick of common sense.
So the poor manufacturer, who is now out a pail full of money has to hire Mr. Safety Nazi to make his machines idiot proof, or the next time this happens, he'll be out of business or worse, in jail, thanks to Mr. Lawyer and the 10,000 people that work for him will be unemployed.
The end.
So you see, the Safety Nazis aren't the ones that started this story. It all starts with Mr. Incredibly Stupid and his good friend Mr. Lawyer and folks giving other folks credit for having a little common sense.
 

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Interesting Take on Your Theory of the Evolution of Safety Features. I can (and will) do without Them, Thank You.
 

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Interesting Take on Your Theory of the Evolution of Safety Features. I can (and will) do without Them, Thank You.
And I have absolutely no problem with that. :) I just wanted to put things in perspective.
 
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