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Discussion Starter #1
I have a real John Deere, 1983, it's a heavy machine because of the thickness of the steel throughout, the larger 12" impeller rather than a 9" makes it heavier, then add the weight of the impeller because of the thickness of the steel, the auger rakes are thicker than the machines today and they are 16" rather than 12", again more steel, it has a cast iron gear box, steel chute and gears, add the weight of a 10hp Tecumseh, add the chains because the tyres are lawn tires and not the knobby snow tires.

However it has a design fault, it's two fold, the handlebars are way too light metal, thin, rather flimsy because they are not braced well, making this snowblower way too front heavy thus the handling and maneuverability stinks. The other design flaw, the chute is too short and really needs to be extended to get it to throw further.

It's a bear to steer and maneuver thus I have no fun using it. I use it only as a backup (though it's hesitantly maybe for sale).

I have 5 thoughts making it more maneuverable.

1) Extend the skid bottoms with longer ones such as ArmourSkids. Easy for me to do because I have the steel and welder.

2) Make my own poly skids as I have the white poly from a commercial cutting board. I would bolt the poly to the sides of another skid or a piece of steel grooved for adjustment to compensate for wear on the bottom.

3) Using an old skid shoe, or a grooved piece of steel, bolt a roller blade wheel to the bottom, or a skate board wheel.

4) Buy two swivel caster wheels, make an adjustable plate and mount, fasten it to the rear of the snowblower auger housing. I have another snowblower that uses swivel caster wheels and the swivel caster wheels work out well, though it's heavy is an understatement at 500 lbs, a 12hp Kohler cast iron engine on a cast iron Gravely Convertible.

5) My last thought though it would make the snowblower heavier, it may make it more maneuverable sideways, a 5" or 6" steel disk again fastened to the rear of the auger housing. I have several of these from my snowplowing days. These are the skid shoes used on pickup truck snowplows.

Comments? Suggestions? Positives? Negatives?
 

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Here's some thoughts. I'm no JD expert but is that one of the Ariens built units? If so might have some thoughts here. A lot though depends on how much you love the unit as it stands.

Do you really need the 32" auger assembly? The Searsasaurus started off as a 32" 3 stage. I found a 26" 2 stage auger assembly and swapped them out. In addition to taking some width off it so it fit through the garage door better, it took off some weight. Being mine were from the same generation of blowers, it was an easy bolt-on in my case.
Ariens have some wheels that are able to be manually unlocked on one side. If yours doesn't have that and they fit, maybe Ariens units would swap.
If you have some place that builds rock crawlers or race car chassis, find out what it would take to have them bend up some new handlebars that match your out of something like chrome moly tubing. Thicker, probably a little heavier off the back now and definitely a lot stronger.
I think it was Geno that had a mod that added wheels to a Arien's auger assembly. You might be able to do something similar to yours so you could raise and lower them as needed.

Just some random thoughts. Hope it helps.
 

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Here's some thoughts. I'm no JD expert but is that one of the Ariens built units? A lot though depends on how much you love the unit as it stands.

Just some random thoughts. Hope it helps.
Love? I have more affection for my Ariens ST522 and my two Noma machines, mostly for two reasons, the JD is hard to maneuver and I'm concerned about the availability of parts, and the Ariens is small, light. One of the Nomas is a 24" but it is still heavy.

This is a Real made by John Deere snowblower before they started to sub our their manufacturing to Ariens, Murray, Frontier, using those companies machines rebranded with the John Deere decal on them. The real John Deeres are entirely different machines, very heavy duty. Commercial machines. The one I have was the personal snowblower of a John Deere franchisee at his store, very little used as he had a pickup with a snow plow. This blower was only used to clear the snow in front of the garage and front doors.

So parts won't be interchangeable.
 

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Maybe some weight can be installed on the back plate to improve the balance. Ariens moved the wheels forward 2 years ago because people were complaining they were too front heavy (and didn't it mess with the Auto Turn as well?)

Or just sell it and move on. There are Buyers out there that like to own the biggest, widest and heaviest of things.

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Discussion Starter #5
Maybe some weight can be installed on the back plate to improve the balance. Ariens moved the wheels forward 2 years ago because people were complaining they were too front heavy (and didn't it mess with the Auto Turn as well?)

Or just sell it and move on. There are Buyers out there that like to own the biggest, widest and heaviest of things.
I've thought about putting weight on the back. Having weight in the back out a pickup truck, on the rack on the back of my bicycle, makes it feel like power steering, like it's floating. I'm hesitant to do that because I feel it puts excessive wear on the rubber friction disk pulling that extra weight, always a nuisance to change that out, though it's not hard, just a nuisance. I wish I could discover a faster simpler way to change it but there is none.
 

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true, adding more mass would probably make things worse

Perhaps ditching the chains and putting on some winter-specific tires would make it easier to lug around
 

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Sell one of these and put the proceeds towards a gym membership. Will definitely still need performance enhancing drugs for the Gravely though

1986 Ariens ST522, 5hp, 22"
1995 Murray Craftsman 10hp, 29" w. 12" impeller
Noma 9hp, 27" w. 12" impeller
Noma 5hp, 24" w. 12" impeller, 20" high front
Dynamark 8hp, 26", 12" impeller, for sale

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Discussion Starter #10
Some time in the gym makes heavy objects seem lighter.........I know I'm 67.....everything seems light when you really push at the gym...performance enhancing drugs is the next step.....
e

I just turned 66 last week. I do need to join a gym, I'm getting weaker. I joined a gym at age 52 for one year when I was doing cage fighting, I gained 20 lbs., Dropped body fat from 30% to 17%, lost 8" in stomach, 7 1/2" in thighs, walked out one year after I joined being able to bench close to 300 lbs.

Sell one of these and put the proceeds towards a gym membership. Will definitely still need performance enhancing drugs for the Gravely though.
Lol, that was funny. Waiting for Retro Fitness to have a $10/mo sale because it's 1 1/2 miles away, Planet Fitness is 4 miles away.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
JT, I am so glad you told me about wearing out the bearings with the chains. I'll pick up a used set of tires off Craigs List but I'll look at the price of new tires. Your machine does look like mine but smaller!

What is the difference between the Sno Hog and the X-Trac?

Did you notice a shorter throwing distance with the shorter chute?

I was going to MIG weld a piece in the chute making it longer hoping it throws further, the way it's throwing now is pitiful.

Is the differential functioning? Mine was an 826 and heavy (not as much as the 32" bucket) and it was pretty easy to use. Also if you you look on the JD parts site for chute, the higher serial breakdown had the taller "Ariens like" chute. I had it on mine ('89). If you're running chains it's more likely to be wearing the bushings at the axle making it sluggish. I did swap tires to a Sno Hog type (Kenda Polar Trac). If I get another real JD blower I would get the X-tracs I have on my '79 Ariens. Here's some pics of the taller chute and tires.
 

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Remember to ask for the Senior discount at the gym now that you're over 60

I don't think other than getting rid of the chains there is much that will make a 1032 Deere maneuverable. The whole point of owning one is that it's a tank. Good snow tires, working differential and some decent skids or your idea of the swivel wheels would be the best things I can think of.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I did also swap the OEM skids to synthetic ones by Robalon.
I looked up Robalon skids. They make a style that is curved. I'm going to make a pair of poly skids. I'll use a jig saw to make them curved also making them thicker in the middle to account for wear. Thar curve should work well on the sidewalk crack separation bumps. Thanks for the name.
 
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