When is a weld OK?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by flyingcheesehead, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Background: I have a Simplicity Legacy lawn tractor, the largest one they make, with a 25hp Kohler engine and, among other attachments, a 46" snowblower, which has been getting used a lot this winter.

    Yesterday evening, I was finishing up (and luckily on my very last pass) of a pretty hefty snowfall:

    IMG_3624.jpg

    I got to the end of what I was doing, hit the button to cut off the PTO, raised the blower and backed away... And the auger stayed behind! :eek:

    I took it apart today. The auger is normally supported by a pair of roller bearings, one at each end, and it has about a 1" shaft coming out of each end that goes through there. Here's what it looks like in the parts manual:

    Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 8.23.02 PM.png

    Anyway, it appears that the bearing on the drive end (#18, lower right) lunched itself, and the shaft you see at the near end of the auger in the diagram above broke. It looked like there may have been a pre-existing defect inside the shaft that allowed this to happen, based on what the ends of the break look like. Not much of the break was shiny... And I'm guessing that when I shut off the PTO, that last bit of torque was enough to snap it.

    So, I went to see what an auger would cost. $1200!!! I can get a whole snowblower attachment for less than that. But, it seems like quite a waste.

    So... Is this something that could be welded in such a way that it would be mechanically sound and safe?
     
  2. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I have done many non-stc'd repairs on my yard tractors like you need on this Kent, saving thou$ands; go for it.
     
  3. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Is it possible to remove the stub shaft (maybe drill it out?) and put a new one in there? There is no way a weld is holding a small high strength shaft like that.
     
  4. PaulS

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  5. Lantraxco

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    If the shaft actually snapped, don't try to weld it. The auger has a hollow tube with the stub shafts welded in, you should be able to cut the stub out of the end of the tube (Or have some local shop or friend do it) and either put a new shaft in it or get a new stub assembly made, then stitch it in.
     
  6. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, for clarification, I would not be doing this myself. I'm sure I could weld something up that would break... ;)

    I like @Lantraxco's solution... I wonder how much it'll cost and how long it'll take. And how long it'll take for me to find someone who can and will do it.

    I must admit, the option to spend $1K on either a new-used snowblower attachment and/or a new electric walk-behind snowblower is tempting.
     
  7. Chip Sylverne

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Yep, replace the stub shaft. Bring it to a welding shop if you don't want to do it yourself. The shaft should be less than $20, and maybe an hour of labor. That's if you disassemble the machine and bring them just the auger.
    Google "stub shaft". They are readily available in all sorts of sizes. I've bought them from Baum Iron, but I'm sure there are cheaper sources.
     
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  8. AKBill

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    I think it can be done. Take it to a welding shop and get a quote.
     
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  9. SCCutler

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    I'd say, give it a shot; odds are, a good welding shop will either (1) know exactly what to do, for a reasonable price, or (2) will tell you they advise against it, in which case you still learn something you can use.

    Clarify one thing for me though: are you saying that the manufacturer price is a replacement auger at a higher price than the entire snow blowing attachment, which includes a brand-new auger? If so, who do these guys think they are? Cessna?

    Finally, I understand the urge to repair rather than replace; throwing away perfectly useful hardware for want of a single part offends me on the deepest level.
     
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  10. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    If the shaft is a hollow tube with a solid pilot on the end? It was either pressed in or welded, or both. Repairing it isn't a big obstacle but the repair may not last very long. It depends on what you have and how you fix it.
     
  11. PaulS

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    Do it, a good welding shop with some type of rudimentary machining capability should be able to fix that right up for you for relatively cheap.
     
  12. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Yes, I don't think it's the greatest design, I like a solid shaft through the auger with shear pins to connect it. But that would be more involved and you don't know what the inside of that auger looks like.

    That said, I'm pretty sure that shaft extends into the auger and is welded to hold it in place. It should last quite a while if done correctly.
     
  13. weilke

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    That weld is going to be the strongest part on the entire machine.
     
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  14. Kenny Phillips

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    It may be more than an hour of labor. Is the shaft just a shaft, or part of a plug that goes in the end of the augur? Is the shaft keyed (yup, it is.) If I could see a weld either at the shaft or end plug, I'd grind it off, and remove the part, and go from there.
     
  15. Checkout_my_Six

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    It can be done....if you are willing to put some sweat into it. Like others said.....disassemble it and direct the fix with your fav welding shop. You're not going to find a tractor shop to drop off the tractor and do the work....most won't guarantee a fix like that.
     
  16. SoonerAviator

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    Agreed w/ weld it crowd. Any decent machine/weld shop should be able to drill out the end of the shaft and weld in a new shaft. Even if they had to just fab up something that would work in the same dimensions it shouldn't be too outrageous in price. I'd imagine as long as the have the bearing surface and dimensions correct, it would work just fine.
     
  17. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Come on people. This is a tractor. All the tractors and implements I have ever used only need half the bolts and nuts they came with to keep working. Heck, my current tractor is probably all new welds and random bits of steel. Just gob some crappy wire feed weld on it in 10 minutes back in the garage and keep going.

    And I can assure you that you don’t need to submit a 337 for this repair
     
  18. Gerhardt

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    I'm assuming the shaft is one solid piece that runs through the auger and is permanently attached to it? If so, I agree with Weilke on this.

    But what do I know? I've got a small Lincoln wire feed that I use on small things a few times a year, and am the kind of guy who watches youtube videos to improve my skills. You know, the ones that show you a bad weld vs a good one. The bad welds look so much better than my best.
     
  19. CharlieK

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    I always get a kick out of it when people say that the weld is stronger than the metal! Not sure if that's what you meant or not.... Generally speaking, most things that are welded, the weld is stronger than the material... But no matter how strong the weld is, its the welds connection to the parent metal that is important, and often over looked.

    I'd assume that the shaft isn't solid, and that the shaft is set in a hub that only goes in about 3", and is spot-welded/plug-welded to the auger... Should be an easy fix for almost any shop either way.
     
  20. CharlieK

    CharlieK Pre-Flight

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    "When is a weld ok?"

    Any weld is okay, any part is okay to be welded, as long as its done by a competent welder that understands the properties of the metal in question, and understands what changed/how it changed, to allow the part to break... Nothing magical about welding... Nothing magical about metals...
     
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  21. Bell206

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    Find a shop that that builds/repairs driveshafts. The welding part is easy, having it come out spinning true is another.
     
  22. Let'sgoflying!

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    Go to a larger diameter shaft and bearing. It's just going to happen again!
     
  23. weilke

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    My point was that everything on that implement has been rattled to within an inch from a fatigue fracture by now. If you professionally weld a stub shaft into that auger, that joint will probably out-last the rest of the machine. Next time something breaks it will be the opposite end of the auger or some bracket that holds on the chain drive. There is a reason farmers and construction equipment mechanics tend to know how to lay a bead in the field.
     
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  24. Tom-D

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    It's February , winter is over. I'd put it off until next fall.
     
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  25. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    Winter ends 20 March this year. I'm pretty sure WI has more snow coming too.
    upload_2019-2-14_18-1-21.png
     
  26. Sac Arrow

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    That is actually a good suggestion. If we drill the old shaft stub out, and take some stock with it, you can put a beefier one in there and get it done for several more seasons.
     
  27. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No. They don't make this model any more. I can't remember offhand what I paid for the snowblower new, but the cost for a new auger is $1200 and there's a shop with a used snowblower attachment in good shape for $995.

    Yeah... If I get another one, I'm going to have to disassemble this one for parts at least. Y'know, in all my spare time.

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    It's Wisconsin. Winter lasts until you give up hope of spring ever arriving, and only then does it warm up for good.

    Yeah, but then I'd have to find new bearings and gears. That sounds like work. ;)
     
  28. RJM62

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  29. Jim_CAK

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    I stumbled into that forum when I was looking for help replacing a carburetor. There is a forum for everything.
     
  30. PaulS

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    I'm not a big fan of single stage blowers like you have. They eventually thrash themselves to death. In order to launch the snow any distance they need to be spinning really fast. They are unsupported over a long distance which puts more stress on bearings as you found out. Generally my limited experience with them is they aren't that reliable.

    Were I you, I would consider buying a 2 stage blower if you want to stick with using the tractor, if one is available for you. Even though there are more moving parts they are under less stress and should last longer and be more reliable.

    Otherwise just fix what you have by welding it, it should work fine until it breaks again, which could be a few weeks or a few years.
     
  31. Omalley1537

    Omalley1537 Line Up and Wait

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    Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen that. When I was racing MX in the early 90’s, two occasions come to mind:

    1-Honda wanted about 8.00 for a replacement throttle tube with a grip installed, but over double that for the bare tube so you could install your own preferred grip.

    2-on one of my bikes, buying a head gasket alone was more expensive than an entire top-end gasket kit. Both were OEM parts.
     
  32. weilke

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    Three possibilities:
    - volume in sales of the kit vs the gasket alone
    - contracting issue with their supplier (the kits are ordered together with the kits for their production)
    - no logical reason at all
     
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  33. FORANE

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    I'm pretty sure breaking a snowblower is a clear sign it is time to move South.
     
  34. weilke

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    Throw a snow shovel in your car, drive due south until you get low on fuel. While you fill up, show the snow shovel to others at the gas station and ask them what it is. Once you get to a point that people don't know, go to a real estate office and buy a house.
     
  35. flyingcheesehead

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    True, true... This one does spin pretty fast, can easily throw snow 50 feet at a high rate, and it also starts and stops very fast. It's shaft drive from the tractor to the blower, then a gearbox to another shaft to a chain to the auger. The only "slip" in the system on startup is on the PTO clutch, which is electromechanical and thus very binary - It's on or it's off, no "easing it in".

    I've never had a problem before this one. This is the second problem on this particular one... Must have been built on a Friday or something.

    Unfortunately, the two-stage blowers for this model appear to be relatively rare... And it's pretty hard to find even a single-stage. That said, this did happen at the right time, as there are two options that are relatively local to me - each is less than a 45 minute drive from my house. To get a two-stage, I'd have to buy another tractor that has it attached and make a 1662-mile round trip to pick it up. :(
     
  36. SoonerAviator

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    That's one of the problems with that class of tractor where it doesn't use traditional implements. It's a lot easier to find PTO-driven snow blowers when they are designed for universal CATI-III hitches and PTO shafts. The lawn-tractor versions tend to be much more model/brand-specific when makes sourcing parts and repair facilities a bit tougher. Either way, I'm sure the weld shop should be able to stitch it up for another couple of years of service before another component fails.
     
  37. lancie00

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    I have a 4-wheeler that had the gas diaphragm in the carburetor tear. A new diaphragm was $600 but I could buy a whole new carb for $65.
     
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  38. flyingcheesehead

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    Welp... Nobody I talked to wanted the job. :( Just getting the shaft to be nice and straight and true is complicated, I guess.

    I managed to talk the guy who had the used blower down about twice as far as I expected, plus he offered me some cash for a trade-in of my blower. So, rather than keep searching for someone who might do it, I took him up on that offer. It's gonna snow tomorrow...
     
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  39. Shepherd

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    Might as well try to fix it yourself.
    It's not like you can make it worse.
     
  40. PaulS

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    That's a good solution for you. I don't think the job would have been that difficult, but you needed to find the right shop. The guy you traded in to will probably fix it easily and re-sell it. In the long run that's the best solution, least aggravation and probably didn't cost much more than the time finding the right place would have taken.
     
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