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Have a 1996 Toro 824 Powershift. Impeller bearing went out so in the process of repairing that and while the machine is split apart checking everything that I can't normally easily acces. By the idler/tensioner pulleys is a piece of metal and a large spring just hanging there. Checked on the parts diagram and it is identified as a arm brake.

What does this do? The metal piece is somewhat chewed up and the pad is missing. Is it required? Looks like they are still available but would like to get the machine back together before the next snow if not critical for operating the machine.
 

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Not familiar with your blower, but an arm brake by an idler/tension pulley near an impeller bearing to me means something that prevents the auger from spinning. Something to the effect of when you disengage the auger clutch this stops things from spinning.

I'd say it's definitely needed as a safety device.
 

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Been a member for about a year, more of a looker and not a poster.

Have a 1996 Toro 824 Powershift. Impeller bearing went out so in the process of repairing that and while the machine is split apart checking everything that I can't normally easily acces. By the idler/tensioner pulleys is a piece of metal and a large spring just hanging there. Checked on the parts diagram and it is identified as a arm brake.

What does this do? The metal piece is somewhat chewed up and the pad is missing. Is it required? Looks like they are still available but would like to get the machine back together before the next snow if not critical for operating the machine.
It When you let go of the auger lever it clamps down on the pulley and stops it Dead. It also keeps the belt from coming off of the pulley
 

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You can install it later. The pulley assembly pulls out the top after removing the two half inch bolts that hold it in place. No need to disassemble anything other than removal of the belt cover.
 
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