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Discussion Starter #1
we got 3" of wet snow today and temp was in mid-high 30's
had to be the worst snow to move I ever saw, like wet cement or mud, not snow
but had to get it moved as it's going into the 20's tonight and it would be frozen solid then
with the weather on the warm side the ground was not frozen either, and the Snowbird picked up a lot of gravel constantly.
I had to change over to the Gilson tractor to finish up, and even that was pushing a lot of gravel, had to keep lifting the blade.
way too warm and the snow very wet, yecchhh !
about the worst snow to test an old blower out in ever.
hopefully next snow will be better and colder. this one was a mess, for a blower or plow.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
this one threw the slush fine, actually pretty amazing considering how heavy it was, but it sucked up so much loose gravel it sounded like a brush chipper instead of a snowblower, it was like a machine gun, even with the steel front wheels all the way down.
so I moved the rear shoes all the way down too, because it was the scraper bar that was picking up the gravel, not the augers- and that adjustment had the front steel wheels dangling in midair.
made a pass like that and the rear shoes were creating so much drag in the slush, it would stop the machine like a dredge or drag line, and cause the tires to spin on a hill.
even the tractor had a hard time turning in it.
just really slick, mushy snow. the worst I ever experienced having to move.
I usually let this kind of stuff lay and melt at end of season, but it's going to get cold and freeze, not melt.
guess it was better than shoveling it all...
have to find the sweet spot for the wheel and shoe adjustment on that Snowbird....the shoes have to come up a little, until the front steel wheels hit again.
 

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at all cost, keep the stones out of that machine......they will do damage that very bad for your machine.....lift up the shoes and the scraper blade
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
the scraper blade itself on this is nonadjustable, it's built in permanently to the bottom edge of the chute. but it has a skid shoe on each side behind the blade, that lifts the entire chute and blade up, and a steel wheel on each side in front of the blade. so the rake angle of the chute can be adjusted using the steel wheel and skid pad.

I initially adjusted the steel wheel to max height, and it was getting gravel with the scraper bar. then I adjusted the shoes to max height, and that lifted the front steel wheels completely off the ground into midair, and the cutter bar up pretty high. that looked like it may work, but when I tried to use it, the relatively wide skid shoes had all the weight on them, and they were dragging like a brake and stopping the machine, and slowing it down on the hills.

surprisingly the wet snow in the auger and tines did not stop the machine. that Snowbird throws it right out of there, gravel snow and all....

if the snow wasn't so wet, and if the ground was frozen, I think it would have been just fine in that last setting
 

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Discussion Starter #6
the encrusted ice and snow melted off the Snowbird

yes, she was gettin' a bit of gravel last time....:eek:

just a bit...but this is one of the perks of buying a $30 snowblower....:rolleyes:

no biggie !:D:p

but notice how high I lifted it up for next time...if it gets gravel THEN, we're gonna move on down to another blower....;)





 

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Discussion Starter #8
these are built as good/better than any snowblower made, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
it actually wasn't that noisy....because the stones are very small and the machine was able to digest and throw them.

a big stone, now that would be noisy....and severely damaging !
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
well I fired up the little Snowbird and gave it a spin in the 5"-6" snow we got today. it worked better than first time. with the chute adjusted max height got no gravel until I came DOWN the driveway to put it away.

again the temp was not low enough to freeze up the gravel driveway but still colder that last snow we got.

it has been sitting outside since the day I got it in the exact spot of the gravel picture. I found a piece of an old US Army pup tent with some snaps on it, and only cover the top of the engine. opened choke and throttle, gave it a shot of ether, closed choke and 1/2 throttle, the little Tec. engine started with one pull. it comes right off the choke quickly in about 1 minute and idles perfectly.

this machine likes to run at 1/2 throttle or the first arrow notch on the throttle arm bracket. if I crank 'er up any higher, it spins the tires ! if I reduce throttle it gets traction.

so I went directly up center of driveway between the cars, and right across the snow the plow left at the top of my lot, this is a 90 foot stretch. the Snowbird ate it up no problem and threw it decent distance, considering a big oem factory impeller to housing gap, no impeller kit, and half throttle. I'm impressed with that. I think it's a result of the relatively large impeller diameter, coupled with the smaller exit chute size- builds velocity and shoots it further, without an impeller kit. This Snowbird actually outperformed the Gilson Unitrol 5HP I had tried out last year that belongs to a relative, in both traction and throwing distance- but that Gilson had not been supertuned or tweaked yet.

the downside was, I'm accustomed to quick progress moving snow with the plow, and the smallish chute width on the Snowbird made progress noticeably slower. and with the chute all the way up to avoid picking up stone, it left a layer of about 1" of snow.

so after making 4 passes (back/forth the 90' span twice), I hung it up and drove it back down the driveway and parked it. then fired up the Gilson tractor and cleared the snow quickly. again, the ground not being frozen, the plow also picked up some gravel and I had to keep lifting the plow slightly with the hydraulic lift control, so as to not gouge the driveway.

a few observations- the dirty little secret about snowblowers is, they are primarily designed for use on concrete and paved driveways, or well packed stone/modified driveways- not loose gravel driveways. to work smoothly on a nonpaved driveway, it has to be really cold, and the ground frozen solid.

they can't compete with a 16HP hydrostatic tractor with a plow, wheel weights, and chains. no contest- like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

the 22" width chute is too narrow. it doesn't clear a wide enough path per pass for the space I have to clear. to get good production speed on par to wha I'm accustomed to with the tractor/plow, I'm going to need the Ariens 8/32 or the Craftsman 10/32

and finally, walking behind the machine sort of ....sucks.:D:rolleyes:

regardless, this would be a good little machine for a one lane driveway and sidewalks or small area. it blew through the stuff at the top of driveway like a bear. no clogging or stalling.

looking forward to getting a bigger snow with hard frozen ground next time, to try the bigger machines out.
 

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When you say sucks I guess it is because the handlebars are too low?

I was thinking of adding something so I would not have to bend to use it.
Some kind of custom made ape hangers. :p
 

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You just need a Craftsman blower plow. They were a limited production run just for people with gravel driveways. It plows the snow on top of the gravel and the deeper stuff goes over the top of the plow and into the blower. :rolleyes::rolleyes:

I'd love to know what the guy who built this was trying to solve:confused:
 

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