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Forecast calling for more snow tonight (2/26/2019). My golf projections are way off now with the cold temps, this is not going to melt off anytime soon.

LOL... I feel yer pain. Only two seasons in these parts and one of em is frequently a heck of lot longer than it should be! :angry:
 

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I'm new to this, I try to figure out problems the best I can by myself, but I am stumped. Today while snowblowing, the lever used to engage the auger lost all tension, and now you can just pick the lever up and down without ease. When this happened I found a piece of metal on the ground that broke from something looks this the hook end of a spring but I cannot figure what broke or where it came from. Any information would be great.

Thank you
Jerome
 

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I'm new to this, I try to figure out problems the best I can by myself, but I am stumped. Today while snowblowing, the lever used to engage the auger lost all tension, and now you can just pick the lever up and down without ease. When this happened I found a piece of metal on the ground that broke from something looks this the hook end of a spring but I cannot figure what broke or where it came from. Any information would be great.
Welcome to SBF. Other than the fact you've posted in a thread related to the Husqvarna ST227P, we don't know anything (other than it's broke) about your snow blower. Is it new? You acquired it 2nd hand? Is it a Husqvarna? You have the manuals for the machine? Plenty of help and advice here but there's not much to go on thus far. And... pictures can be worth a thousand words.
 

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"Today while snowblowing, the lever used to engage the auger lost all tension, and now you can just pick the lever up and down without ease." Do you mean "with ease" as in flopping up or down?


The auger control (right side)handle on my 2017 ST227P has a black spring that connects under the handle. Is yours still connected? I don't see any other spring in this area. The cable provides the tension for the auger to engage but the black spring is activated when the drive handle (left side) is used. Maybe the end of the cable that goes down to auger area (hook in your pic) broke (ugh). Is the auger still engaged? Need a little more information that would help us.
 

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My snowblower is a Husqvarna ST 227 P I bought it brand new from Lowes in 2015. I'm going to add a picture of what broke.
Have a look at page 10 of this document:

https://www.husqvarna.com/ddocdownload/HUSI/HUSI2015_AAaa/HUSI2015_AAaa__588133518.pdf

Key No. 2 shows the auger control cable. The spring at the end of this cable has, I suspect, provided you with the broken part you've depicted. You'll need to pull the belt cover off to verify that the spring is in fact broken. The spring would normally be connected to the idler pulley for the impeller/auger drive belt.
 

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SnowH8ter,

I think you ID'd the broken part correctly. I've bookmarked this info for the future. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Sorry for the lost contact with the group. I replaced a computer in December and am just now getting around to setting up the social stuff on it.

Since we last left our hero... We've enjoyed a rather snow-lean winter in Bend, right up until a week or two ago when all the missed early snow came in all at once. As others here from the area shared, we started with a couple feet of really nice powder, on top of a firm layer underneath. No problems, except that the new snow clearing service here was late and unprepared. Ended up doing a bit more work that usual, let's say. New neighbor added a blade to his Husky tractor, and he's a little unfamiliar with how the two can work together to move more snow. I ended up overstressing the machine, and it rewarded me by breaking an auger belt. Lesson learned: if the engine is working hard throwing dense snow, the auger belt is a weak point. Good news though, as it took less than 15 mins to get it home and swap in the new belt.

In the next storm, I tried to push some of the larger chunks that the new plow boyz decided to leave in my cul-de-sac. We tell them to stay out but they are slow to learn apparently. One of the chunks caused an auger shear bolt to work as designed.


Now for the Most Fun Part:

The drive unit has been making a clicking noise similar to the sound a stretched chain makes on a worn sprocket. I casually looked at it last year but nothing obvious was wrong so I wandered blissfully into the cause last Friday. At that time, the right-side drive wheel started spinning way fast with almost no drive on the left. I pulled and pushed and engaged and disengaged the drive, and finally got it to go at a brisk walking pace on both wheels with engine idling and drive engaged, while the finger steering controls did nothing. Into the workbay for a drive box teardown, which took maybe 20 minutes (it's my first time...).

A needle bearing in the right-side planetary reduction unit had disintegrated. This bearing rides on what Husky calls the power steering shaft, so when it came apart it did a little work on the shaft. The good news is that it's a common INA needle bearing, and the other two in each reduction unit are also common INA bearings but different size. Order two SCE-108 and four SCE-98 to fix both. The power steering shaft rides on a couple common ball bearings, part number in the parts sheet. The needle bearings are not shown separately. I ordered all those bearings on Amazon on Friday, and they were in my mailbox on Sunday.


The biggest revelation is that the planetary boxes had only a few grams of hardened grease left between the gears inside. There's no evidence that grease was ever used when the needle bearings were assembled. So the planetary units were doomed to failure before the snowblower was even shipped new to me. Hmmm. The ball bearings that support the shaft came on Monday, so it all went together Monday morning after cleaning and inspection. The damaged shaft was dressed with a file to smooth the bearing area, then everything went back together with some synthetic CV joint grease I have for such things. Even with the less-than-perfect bearing surface on the shaft, the machine now rolls amazingly smoothly and quietly. Another set of needle bearings plus a replacement shaft ($22) are on the way, along with some other consumable spares. The shaft is back-ordered of course, with delivery expected in about a month. That should coincide nicely with the normal end of snowblowing season in early April.

So for those playing along at home, I can seriously recommend that you listen to the sounds the drive unit makes when you roll the machine with the engine off. If you hear or feel anything other than butter-smooth from the drive unit, plan on a casual teardown, clean, inspect the moving bits, properly lubricate all those moving bits, and reassemble. Mine was purchased new as a 2015 model in December 2014 if this helps. I still plan on making this an annual spring ritual after seeing how easy it is to do and how just a little carelessness at factory assembly took the machine completely out of service. Were I depending on a commercial service for the repair, it would be at least a month of downtime and a significantly higher cost.

I used it this morning for the first serious duty, in a few inches of new thick snow. All is well again.

:)
 
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Wow, good info, thanks! Is that the sort of thing that you can check/listen for by putting the machine on its nose (in the service position), and turning the axles by hand? Just wondering if it's easier to hear, or pick up on, when there's no engine noise, treads on the pavement, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
Just roll the machine on its wheels, with the bucket raised a little, and you should have a good idea of the noises it makes.


The two reduction units are "planetary", with a small center drive gear splined to the "steering shaft", then three "planet" gears on a drive plate connected to the output gear, and an outer gear that wraps around the planets, with a support needle bearing on the "steering shaft". To really get a look at the lubrication in the planetary reduction units and all the needle bearings, you'll need to disassemble the pieces from that steering shaft. Of course, you'll need to pull the drive axles and their bull gears, plus the control shaft that holds the "power steering" fingers. Everything is held together with snap rings on all three shafts, except one support bearing on the steering shaft that uses a 5/16" flange nut (1/2" wrench) on one end. Keep track of where all the snap rings fit, as there's a total of about a dozen in three different sizes used in the rear of the drive box.

The follow-up spring maintenance will include installing the new power steering shaft when it gets here, plus a full teardown of the rest of the drive unit including the clutch shafts and mechanism, plus the auger drive since I'll have it most of the way apart anyway. It will be good-as-new or maybe better when that effort is complete.


I used the exploded parts diagram as a guide for reassembly. It shows exactly where the shims and snap rings (really E-clips) go. It doesn't show the little reduction gear units apart, or the details on the needle roller bearings that support the pieces on the steering shaft. You'll find that out when you pull them off and apart. The caged needle bearings have the mfr's name and parts numbers on the ends of the shells, and go in and out pretty easily using a couple sockets as a press in the bench vise. If you catch the bearings and get some grease in them before they self-destruct from lack of lubrication, no need to replace them really.

I'll try and remember to shoot some pics of the service process this spring. There's absolutely nothing that's beyond the ability of someone even slightly familiar with wrenches and a little grease. My tool collection has over eleven wrenches in it now, but I only needed a 3/8" socket to get the cover off, plus a 1/2" socket for the nut on the end of the steering shaft. Out of habit I used a torque wrench on the nut to reinstall (20 lbs/ft on a 5/16" grade-8 nut...) but that's more to avoid over-tightening than to keep something from falling off. It's hardly rocket surgery.


Bob

In parallel, I'm looking hard at my decision to use a residential-class machine to do as much work as I've asked of it. I think that so long as I stick to snow and not plowed ice chunks, I can keep it alive and happy with an annual teardown and lubrication, plus a few cheap ball bearings. If it still suffers even with that treatment, I'll have to adjust my habits (clearing all the neighbors' driveways) or my snowblower budget.
 
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Welcome back dr bob. Thanks for the update on your drive system. I'll look forward to the pics and consider it in my end of season maintenance plan. In fact, I already have the blower on its dolly as I think we may be done for the season. Yes, we were dumped on in late Feb but the ST227P performed without any problems. I rolled it into the garage and no unusual action, just the chain/gear normal noise.

Anyway, spent some time on the north side of the roof today breaking up ice dams. No damage but it is free and clear. Buildup was about 5". I had previously raked about 3' around the perimeter of the entire roof and this was the only accumulation. Golf is about 2 weeks away with the warmer temps on the way. Slow thaw with the cold temps in the forecast.
 

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Discussion Starter #52 (Edited)
Hi Jesdog --

My roof looks like yours did before the extra roof clearing. The dams have gone down with the warmer temps the last few days, but still showing a little above the gutter edges. It's been spitting a little snow here the last hour or so on and off. Temp is just above freezing, so it isn't sticking at all to the dark driveway stones. Peering out of the office it looks like a dark cloud patch is just above us; looking west there's a stripe of blue sky so this is obviously a condition intended just for the immediate area at the SE corner of town.

That "chain/gear normal use noise" is exactly what I had been listening to for the last year or so prior to the needle bearing failure. At the end of last season I shared in the maintenance forum and looked for others with similar noises but nobody responded. The stretched-chain noises are interesting, mostly because there are no chains used in the machine. It was all noise from the little planetary reduction units running dry. As soon as convenient, get the machine up off the floor enough to pull the drive box cover (four screws and a 3/8" socket), so you can have your trusty assistant roll a wheel while you listen for where the noise is coming from. The drive box needs to be off the dolly so the bottom cover can come off. For those playing along at home, we discovered that the smaller Harbor Freight mover's dolly is perfect for supporting the machine in the garage so it can be moved easily; we aren't squishing Barbie under the drive box.... Meanwhile, supporting everything is a bit of a challenge, solved by removing the four cover bolts, dropping the rear of the cover, lifting the rear of the machine by the handles to let the cover come off, then supporting the drive box by the bottom flanges where the cover fits. That way the wheels are off the floor and can roll, while you can see/listen for the critical noises. FWIW, getting the drive box open and supporting it was half the battle really. The bits inside come out handily after removing the E-clips on the three shafts in question, plus the nut on the end of the "power steering shaft". Some Redline CV joint grease from the "lubricants" storage bin did the critical duty nicely. It's all amazingly quiet now when rolling on the wheels. Probably quieter than it's ever been.

I'll PM when I get the hard pieces and get ready to go back in. You are welcome to come by and watch, or bring yours if you can and we'll do both at the same time here.
 

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Thanks, dr bob. Looks like at least lube job. This will be new for me but at least I can take the bottom cover off and have a look.I'll report what I find . Good luck to you and us.
 

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dr bob,

I removed the drive box cover and looked inside. There is no metal residue on the bottom of the cover and everything looks deceivingly clean. With the wheels rotating I hear the "whirring noise" but could not isolate what planetary gear reduction unit was the culprit. Interestingly, this has been the sound when I first purchased it new in February 2017. I did notice that there was not a hint of grease anywhere on any "gears/cogs" in the drive unit(?).

Without getting into it at this time, is there a way of lubricating the area of the planetary gear units just to see if the sound is diminished? I downloaded the Parts Manual from SnowH8ter previously so it helps me understand what I am looking at. Anyway, a project for another day. Thanks for the encouragement on disassembling what you did on your initial repair. It may take me more than 20 minutes lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
With the cover off. as you look into the back of the drive box you'll see three shafts lateral. The axle with wheels on each end is obvious, as are the two "bull" gears just inside the walls of the drive box. Those bull gears are driven by smaller gears on what Husqvarna calls a power steering shaft. Those smaller gears are on one end of a planetary reduction gear set, and have the cogged outside housing on them The third shaft upper rear holds two arms with little dog blocks on them to engage the cogs on the planetary units. As luck would have it, the axle shaft between the wheels and the shaft right above it both need to come out before the power steering shaft with the two planetary reduction gears and the drive tire pieces in the middle can be removed intact. Once removed, a couple E-clips on the ends allow the little planetary reduction units to come ff the power steering shaft. Once they are removed, you can remove the outer part with the pinion (DRIVE) gear from the cogged outside housing, and find the three little planet gears inside. Scrape out the red wax that once was grease. Install new grease to lubricate the little pins that hold the planets, then the gear teeth of all inside the assembly, plus the pinion on the outside and the bull gears they mesh with. The needle roller bearings that ride on the power steering shaft are dry, so they need some of the same grease worked in before they are assembled on the shaft again.

Once done and reassembled, the "whirring noise" will pretty much disappear when the wheels are turned by hand. Mine had a little noise when new, but that noise level increased over the next few years to the point it worried me. I didn't see the issue beyond just the noises, and the increase was slow and gradual enough that I didn't get mad enough at it until it screwed me up at the far extreme of the block.
 
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Thank you again. The tear down was clear and concise (just like an engineer, lol). I'll print out your reply and follow step by step. I already identified the drive shafts, etc. I'll pick up some synthetic grease before the project, having everything organized, and hope for the best. I think your identifying similar sounds may now be a preventative maintenance for all of us with these machines.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
My tool pile has some of those magnetic parts trays to keep the E-clips separated and close by. I also use a plastic coffee can with a screw-on lid as a small-parts cleaner/degreaser. A few ounces of deodorized mineral spirits/paint thinner, add parts, close lid, shake well, remove lid. Magnetic pick-up tool and some plastic gloves round out the cleaning package.

Ping/PM me if you get stuck on something. I can't be more than twenty minutes or so from you. If my seeing-eye dog can find your address on a map we're golden.
 
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Discussion Starter #59
After a couple stutter-steps from the online parts place (in Florida...), I finally received an e-mail today with shipping info and some tracking numbers. So the hard parts should be here in less than a week, and hopefully I'll get to do a combined "more permanent fix" and "get it ready for summer hibernation" sometime in early April. I'll get the camera crew lined up for a feature documentary production.
 
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That's good news on your parts and likewise my hibernation maintenance will start soon. Our weather has turned the corner and looks like spring has finally arrived. Finally snow/ice has finally come off the roof and I see some spots of turf as the snow melts.

Anyway, look forward to your epic production and will have my popcorn ready. Enjoy the weather. I'll wait till a little warmer then get into the drive train "whirring" issue. Thanks for the update.
 
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