re: replacing belts on an Ariens--a few tips

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  #1  
Old 12-22-03, 05:07 PM
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re: replacing belts on an Ariens--a few tips

Hello:

I'm not asking a question here. I seem to recall someone asking how to replace the drive belts on an Ariens last week but can't find the post.

That said, it had been so long since I'd done it that I could not be specific in a reply. Now I can, as we have some rare warm December weather here in Upstate NY and I felt it was time to tear down the drive mechanism of an Ariens ST 504 I bought recently at auction for $45.

Engine is strong but it did not throw even dry snow more than 6 ft.--but it should throw it 25 to 30 ft.

A quick look at the belts showed why..they are old, stretched and could break, something that was not visible until I actually had the belts off. The real issue was with the belt that drives the auger and the shaft bearing on the front end pulley.

Anyway, while my instructions are for an older 5HP model I am told they are all basically the same--and much easier than one might expect.

This is a job that is accomplished quite easily with a basic set of sockets and an extension or two. EASY!!!!

First, remove the plastic shroud around the pulleys and belts (usually two 7/16" bolts.)

Next, look at the area directly behind the "front end" and auger housing. Depending on the model, there will be 4 to 6 bolts.

If only replacing the belts just remove the uppermost 2 (on the ST 504 it's only 2 bolts) or 4 bolts on some other models--and don't worry about a nut as they are welded to the housing.

Next, carefully loosen the lowest two bolts but do not remove. Only loosen them enough so that you can "scissor up" the front unit from the back, rather like gently opening a clamshell.

That said, if you pull on the pulley attached to the front end and see excessive play you may as well do what I did and pull it completely apart.

I've determined what I suspected was true IS true. The bearing is bad and would move up and thus result in poor belt tension. Easier to do it now while the weather is in the 30's than in February at 20 below.

Anyway, even if it's scissored open the belts are very accessible and easy to remove and replace, although one might need a shoehorn screwdriver or other tool to slip on the front-end belt.

It's also a great idea to clean everything with solvent while the belts are off and check all springs, linkages and lubrication points.

Assmemble in reverse and look forward to some real distance throwing! I watched today as a model the same as mine in good shape threw some wet and heavy snow from a few days ago a good 18 to 20 feet.

About belts--they are not cheap and while you "might" find something cheaper and similar at a place like NAPA you'll probably end up buying an OEM replacement from a deal in snowblower parts a week later as it won't be right. This I am told by a friend of mine who is an engineer but has been working on snowblowers as a hobby for over 30 years.

They are not cheap, about $20 per belt in my area but a bit of net research for the exact same belts put them at $17 or $18 and I'd have to wait--and pay shipping.

Price on the bearing was within cents, no real difference.

MY brother borrowed my digital cam today so I can't provide pics tonight, but will put the blower back together after I pick up the parts tomorrow and do a step-by-step pictorial guide to disassembly, belt replacement and reassembly, which I'll post Thursday or Friday at the latest.

Meanwhile, I hope my written instructions have helped.

All I can say is I was expecting it to be a tough job as I spoke to one of my clinets and he had just paid $125 labor for belt replacement on the same model blower. I guessed from that it might be a 2 hour job, and NEVER expected it to be a simple as it is.

I remain impressed with the engineering and design of the older Ariens models--but can't address how they are made now.

Jury seems out on that and customers seem unhappy.

Happy Holidays to All,

Snowman53
 
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Old 12-23-03, 12:19 AM
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Thank you for posting the tips snowman53!
 
  #3  
Old 12-24-03, 11:23 PM
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re: Ariens belt replacement update

Hello Cheese and other fans of snow:

I hope all of you are having a fine holiday and that family and friends are healthy and well.

I'm Irish but in my family we celebrate it all on Christmas Eve as a result of a divorce and visitation issue (not mine as I am single) a few years back.

Anyway, when I removed the belts and inspected them in good light it was clear they were a bit worn and can go without replacement for the season--and that's good as the dealer thought he had replacements but did not.

A word to the wise..the numbers looked OK but when I brought in the actual belts from my Ariens it became clear after a few minutes of very close inspection that the replacement belts in stock looked the same but were not--and might have been a problem down the road.

Always bring the original part that needs replacement to the supplier if possible. If they are as honest and experienced as the one I deal with they may tell you they like your business but that you will not need it--even if they do have it in stock.

I would have preferred to install new belts and they have ordered them for me but were honest and I saved $40 plus.

Now to the bad news:

Belt replacement is easy and so is removal of the pulley on the impeller shaft.

Removing the pulley hub so that I can replace the bearing is a bit more problematic to say the least.

I'm assuming this machine is at least 20 yrs old and had never been properly cared for and bearings lubed. The engine definitely had regular oil changes as compression is great, but I suspect even many small engine service facilities do not take care of the little and most important stuff.

The pulley hub is pressed onto the impeller shaft and does have a keyway but seems frozen. I've used many apps of Liquid Wrench and heat from a Mapp Gas torch to no avail.

Looks as if I'll have to haul it down to a friend's sculpture studio today and use his oxy acentylene torch to get enough heat to free it.

Why don't I have a torch like that? Actually, I do but now find that I need a license to get tanks refilled, even though I have welded for years and am certified for MIG, TIG etc and will be doing a large project for an artist who does not know how to weld 1/2" aluminum next month.

Ahhh, sorry for that rant but it's life in NY. I am going to have to take an expensive course at a state votech school where they will teach the basics of not blowing oneself up with gasses in tanks. As if I did not undedrstand that after 30 years.

Will keep you posted and will still do the step-by-step pictorial on belt replacement next week even if I don't have time to do it at present. The bearing comes first and belt replacement is so easy It will not be a problem for me to take it part again and do the pics.

Best part is that as I am single I can bring the thing into the house if it's too cold outside or in the garage.

Cheerio and Happy Holidays,

Snowman
 
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