Snow plowing problems

Snow plowing problems

Postby Tom/HRS » Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:42 am

I was plowing the 14” of snow we got today, and had some problems I would like to ask you all about.

(1) The rear tires did not have good traction at times. I have lugged tractor tires with an old set of tire chains on and a weight box with 150-200 lbs in it. When the going gets hard, the tires “shudder”-ie. slip an inch or two, then stop and catch, then slip some more. I don’t recall this problem last winter when I used the tractor to plow an 8” snowfall. I used the old turf tires last winter: they were replaced by the lug tires in April, 2015.
I suspect the problem may stem from the chains either being loose on the tires or the cross-links are far enough apart for them not to have good traction at times. I am thinking of getting chains with more cross links. Thoughts?

(2) When I do short runs and lift the blade frequently, the lift often does not work for 45-60 seconds, then works OK. This is annoying at times, and stressful when I sit in the middle of the road, nervously watching for traffic, waiting until I can clean up the snow by the driveway entrance. What would I need to do to avoid this frequent shutdown of the lift? I suspect the SLO-BLO fuse for the lift is tripping and needs to cool off before it resets. Is it normal for this to happen? Could it be the lift is not in good shape and could benefit from a rebuild?

(3) I would have liked to have a greater battery capacity. What ways are there to increase battery capacity? Have any of you considered replacing the lead-acid batteries with Lithium batteries? My understanding is that they would have greater capacity with less weight, and all for a much greater cost. How much more would they cost? How much more life would there be? Have any of you done this?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.
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Re: Snow plowing problems

Postby Tom/HRS » Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:45 am

I forgot to say I plow our 400' driveway with an E15 with a 48" blade on the front, lugged tractor tires (in their first winter) and a weight box on the back.
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Re: Snow plowing problems

Postby EtnaInst » Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:35 pm

Hi, Tom/HRS. Here are a few thoughts about the snow plowing problems you mentioned.

1. It sounds like you have "4-link" chains, which would have about 10 cross-links. A set of "2-link" chains would have about 20 cross-links and would be less likely to slip. I have 2-link on the E15 that plows and 4-link on the I-5 with snowthrower. The 2-link set is much better.

2. The lift's Slo-Blo fuse can't reset -- it would blow and you'd have to replace it. It might help to re-rig the lift strap so that it is connected to the big pivot bolt rather than to the attachment point further back. This will make the blade lift more slowly but would put less stress on the lift motor. Even better, rig it up with a "pulley" at the big pivot bolt, so that there is a 2-to-1 reduction. Here is a photo of a nice job done by Steve Shore: ... 1325301640

I did something similar, along with a lever that causes this "pulley" assembly to pivot along with the blade.

If you have the Homeowner' Service Manual, page 1-27 shows various ways to route the lift strap. I'm suggesting the one labeled "double purchase" rather than the one labeled "snow/dozer blade".

You should also have the helper springs attached and tightened so that they do a lot of the blade-lifting work.

In my experience, 14" of snow is quite a lot to plow, especially if it is wet and heavy. Our driveway is 700' long and goes uphill at about 5-10%. With heavy snow I need to push it diagonally off to the side and may need to give the batteries a recharge; this is a case where the original charger seems well-suited -- it pumps in about as much current as possible. So, plow first thing in the morning, re-charge, and then plow again late afternoon (and hope the snow stops falling!).
Larry Chace, Ithaca, NY I-5 and E15
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Re: Snow plowing problems

Postby Jeff Antonucci » Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:08 pm

The chains slipping then catching is normal in my experience. It may have to do with the transaxle design as it tries to route the torque to the other tire. The lift motor is probably timing out - a bimetal switch inside heats up and break contact until it cools. I agree with what was posted - helper springs and a 2-1 reduction would help. Also if you back off from the snow pile just a bit before you lift it - it greatly reduces the load on the lift.

I'd love to have more battery capacity as well!

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Re: Snow plowing problems

Postby ram1450 » Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:10 pm

I'd like to add my two cents post. 14 inches of snow, especially heavy, wet snow is about all you can really get through with an ET. We had 22 inches here and I was almost ready to throw in the towel . My usual plan is to go out when the snow is 3-4 inches and clear that, and then repeat that as we get 4-6 more inches That's what I did on Friday night. When I woke up on Saturday morning, we had gotten another foot by then. On the driveway that is level the E20 bogged down after about 100 feet. With my trusty shovel I cleared out in front of the plow. Another 100 feet-this time on the down hill part of the driveway, same thing. I was then able to push the rest of the snow down to the street. But it took many more passes to get the driveway clear down to the asphalt, and because the snow was so deep, I couldn't angle the blade to push it to the side---when I tried that, the snow pushed the ET to the side. So then I had to push everything down to the street. Across the street eventually was a huge immovable pile so that I had to push a lot of the snow down the street and back to my side.
I've also had a minor problem with the lift. But I think that snow packs onto the level part of the blade making it heavier and also blocking the lifting of the blade. I will attach a couple of pics for my present set-up. I would not use helper springs because you want the blade to be as close to the pavement as possible. But looking at the lift strap and the attachment to the blade, it would increase the lifting ability if it were attached to the bade as far forward as possible, although that would increase the length of travel of the strap to raise the blade a given height and it would be slower
I would never be able to move any snow without wheel weights and heavy duty chains. My problem this time--there always seems to be something-- was the usual chain springs came off rubbing against the wall of snow. Before I realized what had happened, the chains were all askew, and I had to bring the tractorin, take off the chains, get them back on with as little slack as possible and find other springs to hold them in place.
E20-2.jpg (112.15 KiB) Viewed 1261 times
E20-1.jpg (125.5 KiB) Viewed 1261 times
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Re: Snow plowing problems

Postby Jeff Antonucci » Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:57 pm

I'm surprised you are having that much trouble plowing. I've been plowing with two different E20s and my EGT-150 with only minor issues. I used to have chain issues until I cut the chains to the correct length to fit the tires. I don't even need bungy cords anymore. One thing that really helps is that I plow in D2. The momentum of a 900 lb tractor moving at full speed really helps. On this recent snow storm when I impacted the snow pile the plow would rise up and push the snow up over the top like it was designed to. I was very impressed with this plow design. The GE engineers or whomever did a great job.

I don't try to plow more than 12" and usually much less. I do get some drive belt slippage sometimes, so I back off and have another go. During this storm I did reach a point that it was just too much to plow so we had to break out the Toro electric snow blower and the shovels.
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Re: Snow plowing problems

Postby gus » Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:33 pm

better late than never.....I have never had my lift motor time out, ever.

two thoughts, the connections face straight up and the pocket holds water, you may have a rotten connection

second, as mentioned, the helper springs

third[nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition]check all connections

I have swapped mine out for a winch motor and 2 inch strap, better, but not as strong as you would think
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Re: Snow plowing problems

Postby ChrisW » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:13 am

Another 2 cent reply from Northwest Iowa. I find that early in the Winter season the blade performs well for our first snowfalls which tend to be of the heavy wet variety. After that I switch to the 48" snow blower for the the rest of the Winter and have no problems of any kind. We got 10 inches of heavy wet stuff the other day and the blower handled that as well!

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