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Discussion Starter #1
I've had this problem with two snowblowers now. My previous 30 inch ~10 HP MTD unit which I owned since new for 25+ years could throw freshly fallen snow like a firehose. Even heavy, wet stuff. But when I'd run it into piled snow (like the piles that result from snow sliding off a roof) it would just stall in place, eat a hole in the snow in the shape of the augers, and not move forward. I would have to put some serious grunt into pushing it into the snow myself to make any progress at all.

So a couple of years ago I treated myself to a brand new Ariens Pro32. I figured the packed snow problem would be history, but nope! Same problem. I've read reports of people comfortably using these machines to blow away the ice berms caused by snowplows at the ends of their driveways, but there is ZERO chance either of my two machines would make any headway. An ice berm is way denser than the stuff I already can't move, and the only way I get rid of the "roof snow" now is to first break it up with a shovel so the machine can get into it.

It's not a traction problem. Yes, the tires spin but even with that I have to give it literally everything I have to get any forward movement. I generally have to shimmy it side to side, letting one side bite in first, then the other. Eventually it's too much work and I get the shovel, which is actually LESS work than manpowering the machine into these snow piles.

Other people don't seem to have this problem. What am I doing wrong? Is there some "Oh yeah, you're not doing such-and-such properly" trick that I'm missing? Two different machines, from two different manufacturers, spanning decades, makes me think it's ME and not the machines.

Thanks!
 

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I take smaller bites, I don't try to get a bucket full.
But it is hard especially with my 5 horse Craftsman.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, sure, I get that. But there's no way I could take a "big bite" anyway... I can barely get it to engage the packed snow with all the strength I can muster pushing it AND letting the wheels dig into the ground. As I said, sometimes I can make an inch of progress by shoving one side in, then the other, and basically nibble smaller widths that way but it's really slow going.

When I pull the machine back, there's a nice semicircular hole cut into the snow. You can easily see where the augers spin against it, polishing it very nicely.

Yes, I've confirmed that the augers are installed in the correct direction and are rotating in the correct direction. Nothing is bent or damaged.

I'd just chalk it up to "normal" except that I read here about people happily chewing their way through the snowplow ice berms at the end of their driveway. I figured getting a Pro-series Ariens with a nice big 13 HP engine was going to do that for me, but no luck. Same old stall-out as with my 25+ year old MTD machine.

For reference, the Ariens does throw everything else just fine. For some reason roof-fall snow just seems to present an impenetrable barrier to my snowblowers.
 

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The teeth on the Ariens auger look to be plenty aggressive. Maybe it's wheel traction issue? My tracked Honda chews right on through.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As I said, it's true even when I push with everything I've got on the machine. I do have chains but honestly don't think it's a traction problem.

If I break up the snow first with a shovel, both machines grind it into powder and throw it dozens of feet. I just can't get any progress through the naturally fallen piles that form when it slides ~8 feet off of our metal roof.
 

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Is it possible that your ariens has a sheared pin in the impeller housing??

The only other thing it could be is a slipping belt or belts.
 

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I would second what leonz said ..... Or a worn or out of adjustment friction disc, or a sheared hub keyway, or something broke/cracked somewhere ... I have had up to 8 machines at one time, and never had an issue clearing end of driveway with any of them .... Unless of course something was broke, like a shear pin or roll pin ..... I do put XTrac on my machines when I wear out the Snowhogs.
 

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To bad you don't live near me ...... I would fix them for you, as they should walk through that stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The Ariens has done this since its very first day of operation. I'm the very first owner so nobody has abused it. This will be its third season, and in the two years it might have 25 hours on it total since new. I've popped a couple of shear pins but keep a ready stock on hand so I know what it's like when they go and how to replace them. Hard to believe anything is worn out on it.

I service it in detail in the spring before storage and haven't seen anything that looks out of place in the drivetrain.

Hard to believe that two machines, from two manufacturers, 25 years apart in manufacture, would have the exact same problem. That's why I figure I'm the problem and not the machines. I must be handling them wrong.

Remember, the Ariens handles fallen snow of any depth and density like a pitbull. Even going up hills. Throw distance is easily 40+ feet even for wet snow. It's just the stuff that self-packs when it falls off the roof that is the problem. Two out of two machines can't get through it, the augers just polish it up nice and smooth.
 

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whats the gap like between the impeller and housing? it might be worth trying the impeller mod on the mtd if you still have it and see if that makes any difference. mtd's usually have about 1/2" gap between the impeller and housing so it usually helps them greatly if it works for the mtd then may also be worth doing to the ariens.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The MTD is gone now, I mentioned it to indicate the problem isn't specific to one machine

The problem isn't getting the snow out of the impeller area, which is what the impeller mod improves. The problem is the machines seem unable to cut through the fallen, compressed snow.
 

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i would say as long as it isn't frozen into a pile of ice the machine should throw it. also the performance improvement of the impeller mod is noticed everywhere including less of a working load being put on the engine when dealing with stuff like that since since it is cleaning the impeller housings better. that little bit of snow/slush that builds up in the impeller housing can cause enough load to make the engine stall if the belt is adjust right and the engine is not powerful enough to burn up the belt.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't disagree, but my point was that the compacted snow isn't making it into the impeller area in the first place. If it's not in there, it cannot load the engine.
 

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i can't say i have every had that issue. my snowblower has no problem moving anything other than ice
 

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the stuff that falls off/shoveled off a roof is compacted more than regular eod stuff. i really wouldnt expect any walk behind blower to be good at moving it.
 

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the stuff that falls off/shoveled off a roof is compacted more than regular eod stuff. i really wouldnt expect any walk behind blower to be good at moving it.
I tend to agree. Wouldn't expect them to go thru a concrete wall either..
Maybe a little sarcasm but you get the picture..
 

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As I mentioned, I have never had an issue snow blowing a cleared roof pack or end of driveway .,... If your machine is in good running order, then yes, it is certainly the operator.
 

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I don't disagree, but my point was that the compacted snow isn't making it into the impeller area in the first place. If it's not in there, it cannot load the engine.
I certainly agree that "avalanche snow" that falls off a roof or was thrown by a snow plow at the EOD is aggravating and tough stuff.
One thing I've leaned is to get at those kind of berm like piles as soon after that they are formed. Indeed, like avalanche snow the crystal structure of the snow is changed from light, flake like material to compacted denser structure. The longer it sits the more it takes a set and even can freeze into a concrete like mass.

When or if I can't get at a berm ASAP, I've found it works to take partial side ways swipes along the length of the berm rather than dive into it head on. At least to start with, shave maybe 1/4 to 1/2 the width of the bucket portions of berm and ease into it. At first, you won't get as much removed as you may like, but as the berm is shaved down it's length a few times, I usually find that I can take larger bites into it. Sometimes, its just best to stay with half or 3/4 of the bucket width even after underway.

Once the berm has been eaten into on it's length a few swipes, sometimes you can then go into it at a perpendicular and slowly get a path or notch cut into it and progress accordingly.
 

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I don't disagree, but my point was that the compacted snow isn't making it into the impeller area in the first place. If it's not in there, it cannot load the engine.
Exactly.

I have had your experience when clearing hard-packed plow berms that are wider than the auger, and often-times higher as well.

My 28-inch MTD's 11.5 inch augers are smooth outer edge, but your Ariens has the serrated edge and should be able to cut through; indeed, the concave surface that they leave in the pile attests to that. It could probably slowly shave a block of ice if it could advance into it!

What I think is happening is it's the auger housing that's holding it back.

On my MTD, the outer limit of the auger itself is 1.5 to 2 inches in from the sides of the auger housing, and at the top it's a long way from the housing. When dealing with a hard, tightly-packed pile, the auger can chew into it, but it doesn't necessarily break up the pile beyond itself. In other words, it leaves the solid pile on both sides that the auger housing then is pressing against. There's nothing to break up that part of the pile because the auger doesn't extend wide enough or ahead of the sides. My MTD has vertical edges on the sides of the housing, so the whole edge is even with, if not ahead of, the auger.

Shimmying side to side, in effect, allows the housing edges to break into the hard pile, allowing the housing to advance and the auger to chew into the pile directly ahead of it.

I found that in those instances, when I use a shovel, I don't have to break up the whole pile; only the areas that are beyond the width of the auger, so that the housing sides are pushing through even slightly-loosened material. The MTD then has no problem advancing.
 

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My hard piles are what gets thrown by city snowplows. Even if recent, I can't just drive through it. I may have to take a bite out of it, then hit it again and keep doing that till I get through or dig it out parallel to the direction it was dumped. When it's really bad I may have to get out the shovel or ice chipper to help loosen up the pile. So far I've always gotten through the piles but at times it can be difficult. Sounds like the piles the OP mentions may be similar. Now with the fall off the roof happening, I don't see where he indicates how soon it has happened.
 
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