I had a potentially very bad and annoying morning. I say “potentially” because I fixed a small issue that was causing me to want to throw my beautiful new snowblower off a cliff. Either that or run it over with a truck or drag it around the town by a rope. Boy was I annoyed and I don’t really ever get like that. Well, I do get annoyed, but not to the level of annoyance I was getting to this morning.
Please allow me to explain. Yesterday was very cold. I think we were in the sub-zero range again. It snowed all day and because of this, I didn’t bother to clear the snow from much of anything. Today’s forecast told me that the warmth would return and we were looking at the low 30s. Snow blowing a driveway and shoveling a sidewalk is a much simpler task when it’s warmer versus when it’s colder. Trust me on this.
There is one dangerous aspect of waiting too long to clear away snow when the temperature rises though. When you do this, you run the risk of having the snow become very heavy and wet. If you add rain to the mix, like we experienced today, things can quickly turn into a nightmare.
If I were to give advice to someone right now about whether to clear snow during the moment or to wait until the next day, I’d probably say that the sooner it’s done, the better. Just do it and it’ll be out of the way. It’ll be fluffier and lighter too. That’s always good.
Anyway, I pulled the snowblower out this morning and started it up. So far, that’s been great. The thing runs like a champ. I backed it from its parking spot and engaged the blades. I then turned it and engaged the wheels. As I began to move forward, I noticed that the snow wasn’t really coming out of the chute very well. I also noticed that I was having a very difficult time moving forward. It seemed as though the snowblower was acting more like a plow than a snow “thrower.”
After about a half hour or pushing, shoving and wrestling the snowblower, I was able to make about three runs up and down the driveway. By this point, I was at the annoyance level I described earlier. I was thinking that I was on video somewhere and someone was playing a practical joke on me. All I needed was that funny Benny Hill music to go along with things.
The end of the driveway is always the toughest. That’s where the plows leave all the really heavy and packed snow that they remove from the roads. Today, trying to get the snowblower through that mess was nearly impossible. I pushed and struggled until I couldn’t anymore. That’s when I stopped, leaned on the handle of the snowblower and blamed everything on the weight and density of the snow. I couldn’t believe I had waited so long to do my chores. I was extremely disappointed in myself.
I decided to take a look inside the front of the snow blower. I’m not sure what this thing is called. It’s the big scoop part where the blades and the axle live.
As I started to look around, I noticed that there was some snow stuck in one of the auger blades. I pulled the snow out with my hand (the snowblower was off by this point). As I was doing this, I noticed that the blade spun freely. I have never inspected this area of the blower before and I noticed that the auger was constructed with four distinct blades. Three of these blades had gold pins that went through their centers and through the drive shaft. It was these gold pins that turned the blades as the shaft turned.
One of the center blades didn’t have this pin. This is the one that spun freely. A light bulb went off in my head and I deemed the pins as “shear pins.” Lawnmowers have similar pins near their blades that shear, or cut, when an object is struck. I must have struck a rock or something the last time I used the snow thrower and broke one of the pins. Either that, or the machine never even came with one of these things installed because the more I looked at the hole, the less wear I could see. Actually, there was no wear at all, where there should have been.
I ran into the garage where I had the owner’s manual and a few other odds and ends that came with the snow blower hanging in a bag from a nail. I noticed that Cub Cadet was kind enough to include two additional shear pins with my purchase. I pulled one from the bag, attached it to the auger and started the blower once again.
Boy did that make a difference. The reason I said that the machine may have not come with one pin is because with this new one installed, the blower was tearing ass through that snow like it was no body’s business. I was going through the deepest and heaviest snow we had with no problem at all. Actually, it was the best it ever ran.
It was quite the adventure, but it was also a learning experience. I learned the snow blowers are meant to move snow. If they don’t, something is wrong and things need to have a looking at. Don’t push it and don’t get mad at the world. Just fix it.