Location: Maynard MA
Joined: Feb 20, 2009
Friction wheel replacement. Original Message Apr 18, 2013 11:22 am
How often does a friction wheel require replacement? My brother has an Ariens he is the second owner. He got the machine with about 6 years of age and the wheel had all the rubber removed and chewed the flywheel. I replaced the friction wheel and fly wheel 3 years ago and now the rubber on the friction wheel is needing replacement.
This message was modified Apr 18, 2013 by jimbedro
I had the same rubber wheel on my MTD for 10 years. I bought an Ariens last year that looked like it may have been used commercially; there was quite a bit of wear on the drivetrain, but the rubber wheel was OK. It's possible the previous owner had replaced it not too long ago, of course. But I get the impression they should go a lot more than 3 years.
If something wasn't adjusted properly, and the rubber wheel was slipping a lot, against the aluminum disk, that could increase wear. There's no oil or grease on the rubber disk, I assume?
Generally Ariens friction disks last many years easily, 10-15. Getting three years out of a replacement disk with a new drive plate would indicate a problem provided they were Ariens OEM parts (otherwise pot luck).
The few instances I've seen with friction disk wearing and chewing drive plates were due to user abuse or disk adjustment. In a couple of cases the friction disk was not worn smooth. They were very rough like chunks had been gouged out of the rubber eventually wearing to have the metal of the friction disk scrape the drive plate. When I looked around the net to see if this was a common Ariens problem or happened a lot with certain year machines or models I did not see anything to indicate an Ariens problem. There were years when they made smaller diameter friction disks though. They later changed back to larger diameter disks.
Possibilities: It might be that the friction disk is set too close to the center of the drive plate. In that case first gear would be very slow, slower than specified. The machine would be at a nice slow speed for clearing big snow but would take a toll on the friction disk because of the angle of the friction rubber to the drive plate. Most correctly set Ariens machines are a bit too fast to clear huge snow. You can easily measure the speed in feet in first gear and compare it to the spec in the manual. The manuals are online at the Ariens site. Give the site his factory model number and serial number. Adjusting the speed involves changing where the friction disk sits on the hex shaft. The adjustment is very easy and done at the clutch rods outside under the handlebars (not in the friction disk area).
If your brother is overdriving the machine into piles and slipping the wheels a lot then that could cause a problem also. The friction disk can take the forces to make the tires slip but if it's done continually and especially if the friction disk pressure from the clutch is light then the friction disk rubber will slip on the drive plate and heat up. If done a lot it could make the friction disk wear early or heat and cause a chunk to come off the rubber.
That model was built in 2001. They used a "standard duty" R2 932 series drive. Starting in 2003 similar units used a high performance drive (models 932104 and 932105). These were easier on friction disks. There is a kit to upgrade older models, 53212100. List price is $155.10. Jack's small engines sells it for under list price. Also make sure to check and lube the axle bushings with oil, both hex shafts for the friction disk carrier and drive plate (NLGI 2 grease), and check the bushing for the drive plate (05512000). This bushing can be damaged by lack of lubrication or over-tightening of the drive cable. Also, be sure to buy Ariens OEM friction disks. Aftermarket parts of this type are poor. I hope this helps.