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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    31
    Location
    Hawaii, USA
    Tractor
    3000 Series

    Default GT1554 Snow Blade Install

    Follow up to my post asking for a Cub Cadet dealer in the St. Louis area - apparently there aren't many members here from St. Louis because my request for someone to recommend a good dealer had zero responses - Dad lives in a west county suburb (he just moved here over the summer) and had called the nearest dealer listed in the Yellow Pages which was about 5-miles away, the next closest dealer is like 20+ miles. Anyway, he told them what he wanted and for them to install it, they said they would get back to him and week goes by and he doesn't hear anything, gives them another call and the guy acted like he knew nothing about his previous call - I'm sure dad let a series of expletives fly and the conversation ended with 'eff you. So, dad says he wouldn't use that dealer if he was the last one on Earth.

    I did a bit of searching and saw that the Cub Cadet recommended plow blade model #190-833 was the same model number as the MTD blade and found a post where someone put the MTD on an I-series Cub - apparently they use the exact same mounting.

    The local Sears store (well, local to my dad!) on their webpage showed they had one in stock. So we went to Sears and they couldn't find it - even though their stock system says it's there it wasn't. The salesman said they can order it, this was on Monday and we paid for next day shipping and it shows up 4 days later on Friday - so much for NEXT DAY! Okay, the Thanksgiving holiday was in there, but it still wasn't "next day" service.

    Open up the box and discovered the hardware plastic bag is opened and all the contents are scattered loose in the box - after a quick inventory we find that amazingly it's only missing 3 nuts, a shoulder bolt and 2 spring pins. After a quick glance though the install instructions we see that we're not going to need the shoulder bolts, the one nut we're missing at that point is a common 3/8-16 and for the spring pins we can substitute cotter pins. Luckily dad keeps a pretty good assortment of hardware bolts and nuts on hand.

    The actual snow blade install went pretty smooth for the most part - remove the front bumper and the hitch plate just slips on the existing shoulder bolts and spring-loaded pins hold it in place. The pins are a little hard to get lined up, but using an angle grinder and putting a 1/16" cone on the ends made them slip right in without much fuss. Then the plow blade slides into the hitch plate and is held in place by a single pin. It may not sound like a robust attachment, but it seem to be a lot more serviceable than the description would imply.

    Removal of the mowing deck was a piece of cake - I only hope it goes back on as smoothly as it comes off. This will give an opportunity to give it a good cleaning and grease the deck spindles - first time since he took delivery of it back in 2008. The hour timer shows 11 hours, so it probably doesn't need it, but it never hurts to be sure.

    First problem - the blade raise and lower arm rubs on the front wheel - these are the standard 16x7.5 tires/wheels - there is a little bit of up/down adjustment in the hitch plate which raises the whole plow blade and setting it to the fully top up position barely makes it so that the arm clears the front wheel - but not by much, maybe 1/8 of an inch or so at best, but at lest it's not rubbing all the time now. I should point out that the 4 bolts that allow the adjustment left/right, up/down were loose - had it not needed to be raised I would have never known this. They were more than finger tight, but in no shape or form would they have lasted more than a couple of outings before backing off.

    Second problem area the two rub plates that hold the blade off the ground - Dad's driveway is made of cobble stones, so there is some unevenness that needs to be taken into consideration - moving the rub plates so that the blade clears means that there is a good 1/2" gap between the blade and driveway surface in most/some instances. Dad had a big piece of stiff rubber (some kind of industrial flooring) about 1/8" thick and we cut a strip 3" wide by the width of the blade (46") and mounted that behind the bottom bar - the carriage bolts were a little short to absorb the 1/8" addition, so we replaced them with some that were a little longer. Now there's no gap between the plow blade and the driveway surface and the rubber strip is somewhat flexible (no telling how flexible it'll be when it's old though) to give way when it hits a high spot. Time will tell if this woks well in real world conditions, but it should would work out just fine.

    The instructions suggests that you're going to need tire chains (MTD #190-964) and wheel weights. So another trip back to Sears with the MTD part numbers in hand and much to my surprise Sears doesn't carry either of them! Why they would have the snow blade and not the accessories to go along with it is beyond me. The salesman there said to try an auto parts house for the chains and another hardware store that carries MTD products may have the wheel weights, he said DO-It Best Hardware carries MTD lawn mowers - so off to Autozone, which was just by chance across the street - I hadn't expected the tire chains to cost nearly 2/3 as much as the blade - in the 23x10.5x12 size they had two kinds; $200 or $250 for "Heavy-Duty", the heavy-duty weigh 30lbs per set and were the only ones they had in stock - actually they were "in-stock" at another store across town but they said they would go and get them and have them ready for us to pickup late that afternoon.

    Then down the street to Best Hardware store, we go up the service counter in back and tell them we're looking for wheel weights give them the MTD #190-784 - none in store, but they say they can have them shipped there within 3-days. $170 for the weights and $75 for shipping. They actually called late the next day and said they were in.

    So, to outfit a GT1554:

    46" Plow Blade: $375
    Sears: MTD 46" Plow Blade

    23x10.5 Tire Chains $255
    23x10.5 Tire Chains AutoZone

    50# Wheel Weights $250
    800 Series Wheel Weights by Arnold Corp

    ---
    Grand total: $830

    Overall, not bad - the plow blade looks like it will work fine, the tire chains seem like they will have a lot of grip potential and the wheel weights went on without any trouble.

    Now, we just wait for the snow! And personally I hope it never comes!

    St. Louis doesn't get a lot of snow, but they do seem to get 1 or 2 big storms a year that dump 8"-10" of the frozen wet stuff at a time and the tractor is going to get quite a workout - the back pad in front of the garages is 40'x60' and there's a straight run of 12'x200' drive to the road plus another 10'x150' of circle drive in front of the house - all cobble stone pavers, so it will be interesting to see how well all this works. Hopefully I won't be around here to see it in person, but I know I'll surly get reports back.

    My next trip back home next spring I'm hoping to install electric power steering on the GT1554 - Dad already bought the parts and pieces this past summer, I forgot what they were intended for, but it seems to me they were made for some small foreign car. Actually, from laying out the parts on the bench it appears like it might not be too bad of a jury-rig (I cleaned that up!) arrangement.

  2. #2
    Silver Member Dakota_male's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    218
    Location
    Chance Harbour,Nova Scotia
    Tractor
    Massey Ferguson 1635 Cab/ TBL;Club cadet RTZ S 46

    Default Re: GT1554 Snow Blade Install

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I must say you guys are very patience . Tire chains on my tractor do mark my patio blocks on my walkways, but it is still easier than shoveling, unless you're going allow some snow to pack to protect your driveway paved.

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