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  1. #1
    Silver Member
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    Sep 2011
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    Location
    NW Vermont
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    None - yet

    Default front blower on garden tractor or compact or get a walk behind ???

    What I have: 1995 Yardman 145W834P401 20 HP Kohler with 50" deck and 190-624_MTD 45" Snow Thrower
    (turf tires with 50# rear wheel weights)

    It was a donation from a guy I used to work with so I'm not complaining with regard to cost.

    Issues with regard to snow removal:
    1) REALLY does not like to start in cold weather (like < 25F) but runs fine after it does start - could be it just needs tuning. Have to take the front firewall off to get to the plug though. My regular spark plug wrench won't fit through the hole and the wrench for my chain saw doesn't seem to be the right size. Not willing to take it apart until it warms up though can't do a lot when your fingers are frozen.
    2) ANY small lump of snow behind the front wheels will keep it from moving backwards and it doesn't take much to get the rear wheels spinning even though it has chains. I have a weight box (removed at the suggestion of TBNers last year) and the extra weight in back doesn't help. It really seems this blower is far too much weight for the tractor on anything but flat land.
    3) Gets stuck if I try to turn toward unblown snow more than a couple of degrees. The front wheels just act as a vertical surface against the snow.
    4) The front wheels act more like door stops than devices to turn the tractor both forwards and backwards and if one front wheel goes down a side slope (NOT steep) the tractor is more likely to slide down than go forward. Try to back out and the front just slides down more. This is true when mowing as well.
    5) Will NOT back up on a slope that is more than a few degrees, probably 10 degrees max so I can't run it down to the barn.

    I spend almost more time trying to get it started, getting it unstuck, clearing the chute if wet snow than I do clearing snow.
    Thus I have decided that screwing with this thing 2 winters is enough. But what to do??

    Physical location -
    - Car travel space (gravel) is probably 150', 2 cars wide, fairly low slope. 100' down to the barns (there is a fairly significant pitch that way plus there is only about 15' between the barns so blowing or shoveling is the only option), the occasional 60' trip (flat) to the far end of the house to the fuel oil fill pipes and 60' (some slope) on the other side of the house to the buried propane tank for the delivery guys.
    - Lawn - about 1/2 acre around the house with some slope and "lumpy" at best
    - Fields - 4 acres, nothing done to them for a couple of years, need to start "mowing" them to keep trees and weeds from taking over while I figure out just how to use the land (crops, hay, animals, orchard, etc)
    - Woods - about 18 acres
    - Wetland - about an acre

    The tractor as a mower isn't ideal but, it works OK for that I guess as long as I don't let a front wheel go low. I will need a real tractor and hog or flail for the fields at some point. So do I:
    - Get a new GT/mower with front blower (and if so, which would work well, handle the slope both forward and in reverse??)
    - Get a real tractor and a FRONT blower because my neck and lack of depth perception are not going to do a rear blower. Big bucks here I know but at some point I expect to be working in the fields and going into the woods to thin and gather firewood so something 35 to 45 HP is likely.
    - Stick with the Yardman for mowing until it dies, pay someone to hog the fields for now and get a large walk behind blower? Would one of these be able to go down (and back up!) the slope to the barn that the current tractor can't even approach (I can go only about 10' before I can't back out)? I know they don't move fast but slapping on the snowshoes to go to the barn when there is too much snow to shovel (hip deep because of the wind blowing between the barns!!) kinda sucks, especially if several trips are needed. On at the house, off at the barn, on at the barn, off at the house (rinse and repeat) .... and it is -10F and you can't do it with gloves on.

    Thanks for and and all thoughts.
    Bruce
    Bruce

  2. #2
    Super Member dave1949's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    9,015
    Location
    Industry, Maine
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40

    Default Re: front blower on garden tractor or compact or get a walk behind ???

    It sounds like you have plenty of uses for a tractor besides snow removal. Actually, I can't believe you don't own one yet.

    I would make a list of all the things you want to do, including snow, and find the machine that does that. I think you could make good use of a 40 +/- hp tractor.

    As to the snow, clearing with just the bucket on the front-end loader is slow but it would be a huge improvement over what you are doing now. So, even a tractor with no snowplow or blower is going to vastly improve your quality of life.
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    1,265
    Location
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    Tractor
    2012 Kioti CK27HST

    Default Re: front blower on garden tractor or compact or get a walk behind ???

    Get a tractor, you wont regret it.

  4. #4
    Gold Member uglyboywith11fingers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    357
    Location
    Georgetown, Ontario
    Tractor
    2007 BX24TLB, 1998 TG1860G

    Default Re: front blower on garden tractor or compact or get a walk behind ???

    IMO, a walk behind is a big PITA for anything but flat paved surfaces. When my old Bolens 1050 with front blower died 10 years ago, I got a 13HP 33" walk behind for my 200ft gravel drive. My arms & shoulders got pretty tired from having to steer & push that darn thing. It would catch on any little lump or bump on the driveway surface.
    I now use a BX24 with rear snowblower... not great on the neck, but I find if I sit almost sideways on the seat, it's my knees that ache more than my neck.
    I can't tell you what to get, but I sure would like to steer you away from a walk behind.

    Pete

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    9,469
    Location
    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: front blower on garden tractor or compact or get a walk behind ???

    My neighbor has a similar tractor for clearing snow and in the winter he replaces the front tires with ones off of a wheelbarrow. Very skinny and a little taller. He says that they work much better in the snow. He also has wheelweights AND weights on the back.
    How much weight was in your weight box? IIRC, he has close to 200# on the back of his machine and it does well, but your getting stuck with a little snow behind the front tires sounds like not enough weight on the back...

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  6. #6
    Silver Member
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    Location
    NW Vermont
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    Default Re: front blower on garden tractor or compact or get a walk behind ???

    Quote Originally Posted by uglyboywith11fingers View Post
    IMO, a walk behind is a big PITA for anything but flat paved surfaces. When my old Bolens 1050 with front blower died 10 years ago, I got a 13HP 33" walk behind for my 200ft gravel drive. My arms & shoulders got pretty tired from having to steer & push that darn thing. It would catch on any little lump or bump on the driveway surface.
    I now use a BX24 with rear snowblower... not great on the neck, but I find if I sit almost sideways on the seat, it's my knees that ache more than my neck.
    I can't tell you what to get, but I sure would like to steer you away from a walk behind.

    Pete
    Well that answers the walk behind question. I was kind of assuming that they really aren't great on non paved/concrete surfaces and you confirmed it. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
    My neighbor has a similar tractor for clearing snow and in the winter he replaces the front tires with ones off of a wheelbarrow. Very skinny and a little taller. He says that they work much better in the snow. He also has wheelweights AND weights on the back.
    How much weight was in your weight box? IIRC, he has close to 200# on the back of his machine and it does well, but your getting stuck with a little snow behind the front tires sounds like not enough weight on the back...

    Aaron Z
    I had three 70# sand bags in the weight box last year. The suggestion of some TBNers last year was that there was too much weight for the tractor. One problem with the weight box was it got shoved into the ground when I was backing down a dip then hit a rise and it didn't have to be much of a rise. This summer I modified the weight box to be higher so it wouldn't get shoved into the ground when I was backing up but it still happened some. I also cut back the weight to 70# early this winter and still had traction problems that stayed the same with no weight box at all. The sad thing is that if I get stuck backing up, I can sometimes shove with my foot (good thing I'm tall) and get it to move even though the rear tires are digging a hole and spinning.

    The wheelbarrow tires sound like at least a partial solution. Being taller and narrower, it does seem like they would less likely to act as anchors and might go through the snow. I recall reading that Model T's were good in the snow because they had skinny tires. The tractor isn't great at backing up with the MMM installed either so it isn't just a weight thing. I'm guessing R4s would be better than turf tires for my grounds.

    Will look at the tractor options. I have a sail boat that will hopefully sell this spring, that should give me almost enough for a tractor, sans implements.

    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Bruce
    Bruce

  7. #7
    Silver Member jimpen's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
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    189
    Location
    SW, Ohio
    Tractor
    Mahindra Max 25HST

    Lightbulb Re: front blower on garden tractor or compact or get a walk behind ???

    You have over 30 acres and are using an MTD to try and maintain it? You need to seriously upgrade to a tractor.

    I have six acres and two are farmed as hay and now corn by a neighbor. We made a deal before I had my tractor that he was responsible for clearing my driveway of snow for the use of the land. It was generally an equitable bargain. Some years he didn't have to do a thing and others he had to hit it every other week.

    I would recommend looking at least a SCUT/CUT. I bought a Mahindra Max25 after burning out several MTD pieces of crap over 10 years. They can handle a 60" bush hog, the MMM to get the regular grass, and then if you get the BH you can dig out all the holes you want to.

    The FEL let's you move things a lot easier.

    So I would say take a look at a tractor. And a thing to remember is that you don't have to buy all the implements at once. I would suggest the FEL and MMM or RFM off the bat. The BH is a large cost to buy later on. But a lot of the 3PH implements you can rent for a few days from any dealers.

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