Snowblower* Busted *Helping neighbor!!? Advice

bertman_gw(5B West Conn)January 28, 2011

So I was snow-throwing my neighbor short uphill driveway with my Ariens 8 hp. They asked me to do it on heavier snow days. Even though they pay me crap. Along with the other two neighbors I do as a favor. Well one of the kids left a shovel buried flat in the driveway and it got stuck in my machine. The shear bolts did not have a chance to break as intended. After I managed to get the shovel out, I was able to do a bit more throwing but it was not staying in gear. (Note the thrower worked fine) I think the gear-auger took the major hit. Before I start taking this apart I would like any advice or suggestions. I made one call and was told that the full auger assembly may cost up towards 200 bucks. I was also told if I am lucky I may have sheared off only the woodruff key and not broke any gears. I have a good mind to ask the neighbor to help pay for this! I should even have them pay for the labor at about 90/hour. (Which is a bit steep for me?) If I had not agreed to do their driveway this would have never occurred. Any thought or suggestion before I start this disassembly endeavor myself? Yes on both subjects should I ask them to help pay for parts? And any advice on the mechanics

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I'd at least go tell them about hitting the shovel their kid had left in the snow on the driveway. Then, if no help was forth-coming, I'd not do anything more for them. And, if they ask--just tell them you can't afford the cost of repairing your machine, and set back and wait! I'd be willing to bet they will buy their own machine to do the snow removal, and they will never do yours, or even offer to do it! It would really surprise me if they gave you any money for repairs, or even offer it!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 3:07PM
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Because the auger works but it doesn't stay in gear, I would partially empty the gas tank, stand it up on its front end and remove the bottom cover under the engine. You'll be able to see the entire transmission assy. and make a judgement call from there.

I have one in my shop right now where something IS broken in the front differential from hitting a cable buried in the snow. I suspect the worm gear. I'm going to photograph the entire repair and post it here. Maybe it will inspire someone else to tackle this moderately difficult job.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Hey Bert,

Ever hear the saying about not getting blood out of a turnip?

I agree with Rusty, go to them and tell them what happened in a matter-of-fact manner. They'll probably say "that sucks" and walk away, but there's always a chance they'll actually feel bad and offer to help pay for repairs. DON'T accept if they offer to make the repairs or take it to the Brother-in-law who lives a town over and does repairs on the side. Odds are you'll never see your blower again or it'll come back in worse shape than it went out.

If they don't end up paying, then document all your parts costs and how long it took you to do the repair, including time to drive to get parts. I'd skip tallying labor at 90 an hour. Keep a copy in your back pocket when you're out blowing snow. If they stop you and ask you to blow out the driveway, hand them the piece of paper. Tell 'em sorry, but you can't afford the risk of another expense like that.

Anyhow, don't get nasty about it. Not much worse than starting a war with the fellow next door. You never know when you may need help from even the most worthless of them. I kept peace with everyone around me while I lived in town. Sure am glad I moved back on the farm. 'Course, now I have a 1/4 mile long driveway - BUT I also have a Deere 317 skid steer with 80 inch bucket and a Deere 4430 tractor with 9 foot Degelman front blade....

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 7:00PM
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Farmer has the best advice.

I took some pictures of this job, but I don't think I'll be putting it back together. There was too much damage to the shafts and gears from this one accident. The sheer pins didn't break. So, if bertman has a broken gear box, it's $200 for the parts.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 7:57PM
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Bert ; Really sucks when you go out of your way to be neighbourly and get bit like there due to their negligence. I think Rusty and Farmer along with Bay have given you excellent advice on the situation which I totally agree. If you can do as Bay has advised and start with the internal inspection . If you are capable forwards pics and we collectively if needed will assist step by step with the repairs should you require further direction . All the Best Bro !

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 9:58AM
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bertman_gw(5B West Conn)

I will tackle the blower project after I shovel some of the roof (and flat roof!) Cautiously! I will however be notifying my neighbor, of the incident which happened on their property.
Thanks for all the support and advice. Bayme: Looking forward to seeing some pictures! I will post as suggested also if I am in question of direction.
Farmer boy. I understand you asking me not to take money so I would not have to do their driveway any more. However if they offer to pay for damages. I don�t see why I shouldn�t take it. If they give me a small token then I may pass on it.
I basically need to see where I stand with damages.
Thanks again!! ALL

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 10:43AM
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My first advice would be don't do it! and if I did I would have walked through the snow dragging my feet feeling for anything buried in the snow. Like tripping over the snow shovel. Most of the time you can tell by how trashy people are. If toys, old rolled up new papers, ect... are left laying you there front yards all the time then that big sign not to be running machinery blindly through there yard.

I been burnt like this before and don't have no desire to get in these situations. If anybody uses their equipment to help me out (not likely, cause I don't want liebility or possible repair costs) and their machine or whatnot breaks or fails I feel responible! so I would pay for replacement or any repair costs. But, If they were charging me, then the repair costs is on them. Thats what history has taught me!! friends that use you are everywhere, good friends are really hard to come by and maybe rarer than two dollar bills. Don't get me wrong I would do about anything for good friends, but little for the rest.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 1:11PM
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bert, i did post some pictures under the recent thread of: Snowblower gearbox damage, one hit

I just got authorization to repair it, so I'll do all the pictures when I rebuild it.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 4:35PM
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Hey Bert,

You misunderstood me. What I was saying was that you shouldn't accept if they offer to fix it themselves or take it to someone else themselves.

If they offer to help pay, take it. If they offer to buy NEW parts, take it, but give them a week to get them or you'll wait forever. Odds are they won't make any offer, though.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 1:29PM
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