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#3211044 - 12/09/13 08:51 AM Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower
TWG1572 Offline


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 342
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
I've got a Deere 338 snowblower for the front of my lawn tractor. Pretty simple belt driven setup. When I put it away this spring it was running fine, but when I hooked it up this fall I have a rattle in the snowblower I can't chase down. The best description Iíve got for it is that itís really similar to the noise you get when you are snowblowing and hit the plow berm at the end of the driveway. The berm usually has smaller chunks of ice mixed in to the snow, and you can hear those chunks ping around in the snowblower before they get shot out. Itís that sort of rattle/knock/pinging noise that Iím hearing. Load has no impact on the noise Ė it will do it both when Iím sitting still with the blower running and when Iím actually blowing snow.

This is a pretty simple arrangement. There is a belt pulley at the center of the blower, with a drive shaft that runs to the side of the snowblower. The shaftís in a sleeve, with bushings on both ends. Thereís a gear on the other end of this driveshaft with a chain on it that drives another gear on the shaft of the snow blower auger. The noise is coming from the area where the chain is on the side of the blower.

So far Iíve tried this to try and chase the noise down. Pulled the driveshaft. I cleaned it and re-greased it. The bushings didnít feel sloppy so I didnít do anything with them. The gears on the chain drive part were not parallel, so adjusted them to where they were parallel. Iíve adjusted the chain tension Ė the book calls for 1/8 to 1/4 inch sag. Iíve cleaned the chain and re-lubed it with chain lube.

Iím at a loss here and would appreciate any ideas. It sounds like something is popping around in there that could fly apart at any second. Is this chain noise, or what else could it be? Iíve not heard anything quite like it before that I couldnít pin down to something loose.

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#3211052 - 12/09/13 09:02 AM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: TWG1572]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 7230
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Does the unit have a belt tensioner on the snowthrower frame? I'm wondering if that's bouncing/rattling. How about the bearings on either side of the auger?

FWIW, We've had two of these single-stage JD beasts in our family. One on our old JD 110 and one on the JD GT262. Other than having to adjust chain tension and alignment, I don't recall having to do much else to them but add grease.
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#3211080 - 12/09/13 09:50 AM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: TWG1572]
TWG1572 Offline


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 342
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
No belt tensioner on the snowblower frame. It's hooked up underneath the tractor and connects to one of the mule drive pulleys.

I'm not sure how to get to the auger bearings. I thought that could be an issue, but for the life of me I can't even figure out how to get the auger out without some serious effort. Maybe I'll have to do some google searching. I'm not hearing noise when I rotate by hand, FWIW. I do have some evident slop/wear in the auger keyway because the auger will move back and fourth on it's driveshaft slightly. If I could ever get it apart, I could take a look at that too.

I really do like this snowblower. It's a single stage that has done all I've asked and then some.

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#3211136 - 12/09/13 10:53 AM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: TWG1572]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 23777
Loc: ME
What does it have for shear pins? One of those half broken can raise cain.

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#3211196 - 12/09/13 12:19 PM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: TWG1572]
SrDriver Offline


Registered: 12/09/06
Posts: 2415
Loc: Southeast Alabama
Hope you can figure it out as from looking at the extended weather forecast for the Midwest it looks as if it will get much use this Winter season!

May be a good idea too laying in a couple extra cords of firewood and a few extra sets of Long Johns.

I am from Elkhorn about 40 miles from Madison Wisconsin and remember those Winter seasons well.

Here today short sleeve weather Sunny right now and in the mid 70s outside.

Don't miss the Winters there at all + the cost of living & taxes are much lower here.

Good luck on the repairs!

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#3211268 - 12/09/13 01:10 PM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: eljefino]
TWG1572 Offline


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 342
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: eljefino
What does it have for shear pins? One of those half broken can raise cain.


Shear pins look solid.

The shear pin on these is different than what I've traditionally associated with snowblowers. Or at least every other snowblower I've had always had a pin that vertically went through the auger and the drive shaft.

On this one the shear pin is horozontal. The auger is shear pinned to a plate that is keyed to the driveshaft. I've never had it shear, but if it did the plate should keep spinning and the auger stop and rotate around the shaft.


Edited by TWG1572 (12/09/13 01:10 PM)

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#3211272 - 12/09/13 01:13 PM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: SrDriver]
TWG1572 Offline


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 342
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: SrDriver
I am from Elkhorn about 40 miles from Madison Wisconsin and remember those Winter seasons well.


My wife's from Burlington, so I know the area. We go to the Walworth County Fair every year.

And I don't want to hear any talk of 70's. 4 inches of light fluffy snow here, wind's picking up and I'm sure it's starting to drift out where I live. Negative 30 degree windchills forecast later this week. Fun times!

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#3211324 - 12/09/13 01:57 PM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: TWG1572]
TWG1572 Offline


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 342
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
Well I just finished up reading about how to pull the bearings on the auger shaft. Aargh. A 15 pound sledge and lots of penetrating oil seem to be the weapon of choice. Not sure it's them yet, but there's a limited amount of stuff on this that can make that type of noise in that area.

Now's when I wish I knew a competent OPE mechanic in my area. This sort of stuff never goes well in a cold garage.

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#3213800 - 12/11/13 07:37 PM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: TWG1572]
cronk Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 700
Loc: Watertown, New York
I have blown snow with a JD single stage on my 112 for years.
It seems like chain noise is the likely culprit, but could be auger bearings.
Did you check all the chain links to see if they were moving freely? Mine had a cheap chain on it when I got it and some of the links were actually stress cracking. I went to the local farm equipment dealer that has chain in bulk and bought the length I needed for under $20. That has been on there 4 years with no issues. Every fall I pull the chain cover off and oil the chain with chainsaw bar and chain lube.
Also look at the chain cover for signs the chain was contacting it. My cover was a little bent and I had to hammer it out a little for proper clearance.

If you have to do the auger bearings it isn't a terrible job if you have decent mechanic skills. My local John Deere dealer had a set in stock when I did mine.
If you take the sprocket off and remove the shaft collars, the shaft will slide right out and the bearings can be changed by unbolting the collars. Just remember the shaft collars have an eccentric so you have to loosen the allen screw and rotate them(smack them with a hammer and punch in the larger hole) a little on the shaft before they come off.
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1999 Saturn SL2
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#3214495 - 12/12/13 01:03 PM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: TWG1572]
TWG1572 Offline


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 342
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
Cronk - I appreciate the insight on pulling the bearings. That actually makes it seem manageable, vs. the tales I'd found online.

When I greased the chain I did check to make sure all the links moved, but didn't do a thorough inspection for fractures. It's been too stinking cold in the garage the last couple nights to do any work on it, but I'm hoping we get some warmer days this weekend.

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#3216226 - 12/14/13 06:54 AM Re: Rattle/Popping Noise Deere Snowblower [Re: TWG1572]
cronk Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 700
Loc: Watertown, New York
The only thing that could make it a very difficult job is if the bearings or sprocket are rusted and seized to the shaft.
Mine came right off with some light hammer taps.
_________________________
1993 Chevy C1500
1999 Saturn SL2
2000 Nissan Quest
1986 Pontiac Trans Am
1940 Ford 9N Tractor

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