No, I mean it. I’m ready for the snow. Why do I say that, you ask? Because (take a deep breath) I installed a snow thrower on the front of my garden tractor AND IT WORKS!!! Unfortunately, I inherited Dad’s brag gene, and since this is my blog, I shall now regale you with the tale of my mechanical prowess.
Before I start, a little background. I bought the snow thrower back in September, and I bought manuals for the thrower, the mower deck and the roto-tiller in October (I bought the tiller in October, too). I just love eBay, don’t you? Anyway, so yesterday I started the task by removing the mower deck and storing it under the camper. Then I went through the snow thrower manual, figuring out what parts I still needed, and called Five Seasons in Keystone to see what they had. They had everything I needed, so this morning I went and picked up my stuff. Then I set in to work.
First, I had to get the chute to turn, so I pulled it off, greased it, and put it back. Then I replaced the old drive belt. No problem. Just look at the manual and do what it says. Next I had to install the lift arm system, and this is where I ran in to my first problem. I’d forgotten to buy the hardware to attach the pivot, but I managed to find a suitable bolt in Carl’s bins of stuff. I had to call Carl to get advice on what kind of nut/washer set to use, but after that I was good to go. Then I had to attach the main lift arm to both the lift lever and the pivot, and I hit problem #2. The yoke on the end of my lift rod was missing. So it was back to Keystone to get that part, then back home. Once the lift arm was attached (both ends) it was time to attach the thrower unit itself on the front of the tractor. It was heavy, but I used a concrete block to help hold the unit up, and I got it to attach. One of the spring-loaded pins didn’t want to fall back all the way into place, but I convinced it to stay put with a hammer and a piece of re-rod. WHACK!! After I got the thrower on the tractor I had to attach the short lift arm from the tractor to the thrower, no problem. However, attaching the belt to the tractor was another story. First, the insides of my tractor didn’t look at all like the picture, so I called Keystone for help. Apparently, since I have an electric PTO switch, my tractor won’t look like the picture, and the guy I was talking to told me how to get the belt on the PTO drive. This was not easy: I had to pull the belt tensioner up to get the belt over the PTO pulley, and the tensioner was stuck fast. I had to remove the belt cover (again) and lube up the tensioner’s moving parts, then whack the tensioner with a hammer until it came loose. It did, and I got the belt on, then I replaced the PTO cover and the belt cover. Whew! I had to take a break right about then to get the girls at the bus stop. Usually I don’t make a big deal of it, but by this time (3:20 PM) it was snowing cats, dogs and elephants and I don’t like to make the girls walk home in such weather, so I drove my truck down to get them. Once I got home I worked on attaching the chute control rod to the tractor. This had its own little hitch: I didn’t have a screw to attach the rod to the tractor, so I started digging around in Carl’s stuff looking for one. I was having trouble, so I mooched a screw from the PTO cover and used it to hold the chute rod to the tractor. Then I managed to find a screw that fit where the old PTO cover screw was. For some reason, the screw I found would only fit the hole on the PTO cover and not in the hole to attach the chute rod. Weird. So now everything is attached, and the last thing to do is make adjustments. The thrower goes up and down OK, no adjustments there. But then I took the cover off the chain drive only to find that the chain was too slack. So I had to loosen the bolts on the countershaft, realign it, and tighten everything back up.
Now for the big test. I didn’t want to start the tractor in the garage, so I had to turn it around and get it outside. I put Hannah in the driver’s seat and had her steer while I pushed. Once we were outside I started up the tractor, and with Hannah standing in the driveway I flipped the PTO switch. And viola!! The auger turned, and the thrower started tossing leaves and trash out through the chute. TA-DA! Carl will have to do a couple things: adjust the cables on the chute so it will turn, and attach the tire chains, but the worst of the work is done.
I must admit, I had help. This may sound weird, but I really believe God helped me out. He made the directions clear in my mind; He showed me where to find needed parts; He gave me the strength to lift and push and tug and force parts into place; and He gave me the ideas I needed to fix the problems I encountered that weren’t covered by the manual. So I can’t really say that I did this project on my own. I had the best kind of help possible. And now I’m ready for the snow. Bring it on! And God knew that I needed an ego boost because my fantasy football team is in last place.