So I opened up the machine a couple of days ago and found quite a bit of wear
to the friction wheel, most likely from having tried to lower the first forward speed
to something more appropriate, and maybe also from some slipping as there
were some black bands on the drive plate.
I set everything back to specs in the user's manual and (perhaps also because the
machine was now thoroughly dried out) traction appeared to be ok. But : I'll say it
again, this machine is too fast in first gear, even for light snow, and can even be
dangerous if you're maneuvering in tight quarters like I have to do on a wheelchair
ramp. Or on uneven ground. Going over hardpacked snow the machine will dig
in and lurch because it goes too fast to be able to guide it over the uneven parts.
The speeds seem more suited to a perfectly flat parking lot.
I used my 1999 1024 earlier today and its first speed is much more comfortable.
Its second speed is about equivalent to first on the new 9526. I wonder if this has
anything to do with the fact that the wheels on the new machine are larger than on
the old. I can't think of any good reason why Ariens would have purposefully increased
the lowest speed, but I can see the change happening from wanting to keep internal
parts the same while switching to a larger wheel. I ended up giving the shift rod pivot
a couple of turns slower and left it at that.
To me blowing snow is something I enjoy doing and enjoy doing in a relaxed fashion.
Having a machine that goes too fast is not relaxing and hence not enjoyable. I got
this machine with the intention of teaching my wife to operate it for the times when
I'm not around but I don't think I will now. Even used to snowblowers as I am I have
to be on high alert to keep the machine under control.
I looked at the engine pulley and it doesn't look to me like there is enough metal to
permit a sufficient amount of reduction by turning down the pulley. It also looks like
there isn't enough room for a larger sprocket which would have been fairly easy for
Ariens to produce and would have been a cheap fix.
Sure, the tracks option is interesting (40% reduction) but I wonder how come the
regular wheeled version is not set up to go at a comfortable speed in the first place.
Yesterday I used the new machine to blow about 6" of really light fluffy stuff and it
blew much less far than with heavy snow. I also experienced the bit about snow
blowing forward out of the intake from the fan effect of the impeller on the light
snow but I didn't find this to be a problem of any sort.
One odd thing I noticed, my 1999 1024 is 15 lbs heavier than the 9526 but feels
a lot lighter in use. The overall feeling is that the weight of the 1024 is down low
and the frame somewhat flexible whereas the 9526 the weight is higher and the
frame seems stiffer.
This message was modified Jan 3, 2009 by pvrp