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Best way to fix bent impeller fin?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by seekay, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    Hello

    So I have a 1,000 foot driveway/laneway to clear here at my house in Maine, decided on a tractor/blower combination because with a plow the banks have gotten out of control in past years.

    Have used the rig -- 23 horse Husqvarna LS with a 48-inch Bercomac Northeast blower mounted on the front -- three times, and today I did something dumb and temporarily, I hope, knocked it out of commission.

    Stupidly tried to clear a bank I hadn't checked for stones and hit a doozy. It was like a cannon going off. The blower stopped almost immediately.

    Checked all the shear pins - nope, they were all intact. This was confusing for a while until I tried to restart the thing a couple times, only to hear a really scary metallic screeching noise.

    Went around and looked inside and saw one of the impeller fan blades had been bent straight, and was catching on a part of the housing, making it unable to turn and gouging up the housing good too.

    What a mess. I am glad I only tried to start it a couple times before figuring it out, as this can't be good for the gear box.

    Well I tried to hammer it back but it's 12-gauge steel - Got nowhere. I considered snipping off the end where it's catching on the housing but hell, this is a brand-new unit, I don't want to disfigure it. Second, I did a little searching around and found that the performance will take a partial hit if the impeller blade isn't bent the right way to cup the snow.

    Long story short - any suggestions on the best way to bend this thing back? It only needs to be bent like an inch, (making this even more frustrating.)

    But there's a silver lining to everything -- I won't blow unknown banks again.

    Thanks for any help you can think of!
     
  2. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    I would first try a long pry bar[5-6'er] and if that doesn't tweak it back,put a little heat on it,not too much though as it will weaken the steel,and then try bending.Don't use a hammer again on it.
     
  3. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    Hey thanks for the reply... when you say heat you mean a torch I take it. How much is too much?

    Here's a pic of the damage.

    I just realized that the fin needs to be bent back up, not down, in order to be like the rest of them...

    That could be tough with that angled-off housing in the way. I can only turn the impeller by hand about an inch or so. Hopefully won't be too much of a nightmare (yeah right)

    blower 002.jpg
     
  4. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    NO---That will not be as easy as I thought-sorry. You have to make 2 different bends there if I'm looking at that right.A good welder/fabricator can most likely cut out the damaged fin and build you a new one,but you might have a permanent wobble/imbalance there.New might be wiser--check with a good welder first would be my best advice.
     
  5. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    There's only one part that needs to be bent back - the pic isn't too good. I will try your suggestion about heating the metal. Any more specifics on how I should go about that, i.e. type of torch, temperature?
     
  6. Two Seasons

    Two Seasons Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Take the bolt and nut off the shaft, move the impeller forward for better clearance.

    Now bring the impeller all the way forward to the gearbox and cut a piece of angle iron to fit for length between the hole in the impeller and the bolt at the gearbox that is seen in the picture.

    Use the gearbox bolt and then run the auger bolt with nut back through the impeller. The angle iron will not allow the impeller to turn as you re-bend the impeller.

    With a cresent wrench, adjust the wrench for just enough clearance to fit over the impeller fin. Get the re-bend going and you'll be able to get it pretty close to the original angle. If you can get away with NOT heating it up, that would be even better.

    Good luck.
     
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Looks to me that you have two problems. First is the shroud is bent, which is what is prevent the impeller from spinning. Once you get that fixed, you can fix the tab on the impeller blade. That's going to be the easy part. You are going to need to heat this. Don't worry about it. Non of this is tempered steel.

    I'm going to post a pic in a few minutes....
     
  8. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Here you go. Notice the straight red line on the edge of the shroud? It should be nice and curved like the other red line. They yellow area is your problem. I would heat the whole yellow area and use an adjustable wrench as someone else mentioned to straighten it. Probably use a hammer for the finishing touches.

    Then heat the green line, and bend the tab up. The hotter you get it, the easier it will bend. I don't think propane will do it, Mapp should. Oxy-acetylene would be best. Hotter, so you can heat just the area you want nice and quick. Spray can of black when you're done. blower 002.jpg

    blower 002.jpg
     
  9. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    That part of the shroud is only bent a little because the impeller blade was digging into it as it tried to turn. It is notched out a little that way, right by the chute.
     
  10. RichG53

    RichG53 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,135

    Get your self a couple of adjustable wrenches (crescent)... Crank them down to fit tight and pry it as straight as you can... May take a couple of times ... DO NOT use heat it will be WEAK for the rest of it's life... And cause you problems for ever....
    Trust Me !!!!!
     
  11. Cansnowblower

    Cansnowblower Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Hi,
    I did the same thing to my Bercomac last year. Unfortunately, I think you need to pull it apart and then you can straighten it on the bench with a hammer. Its not that difficult and took me about an hour to get it our, straighten the fan and then reassemble. Mine actually made a hole in the shroud too, so I welded that up while the second stage fan was out.
    I priced out a replacement fan and it was $600 which is ridicules.
     
  12. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    $600!! You just gave me a small heart attack.

    How did you get the fan out?

    I was going to have a welder come tomorrow and try to remedy it, but maybe I'll hold off.
     
  13. Cansnowblower

    Cansnowblower Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    I'm not sure how your model comes apart as mine is powered by a 20hp Honda motor mounted on the blower and it was necessary to remove the drive belt pulley, disconnect the the main auger bearings on each side of the box, disconnect the gearbox and then pull the whole assembly out of the box. Then remove the 2nd stage fan from the shaft and repair. It is a lot easier to have an extra set of hands when you reassemble.
    I used the exploded diagram in my parts list as a guide.
     
  14. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    OK I see. I don't know if I'm capable of pulling that off without botching something up.

    So you did basically the same thing to yours, gouging up the housing and all. I am really worried about that part, i.e. did I ruin the gearbox?

    Really annoying how the shear pins held, but I managed to bend back an impeller fin and cut into the housing.

    I take it your gearbox was fine though?
     
  15. Cansnowblower

    Cansnowblower Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    My gearbox was fine, I did make the mistake of draining the oil out of it thinking this was part of the maintenance, however after talking with the manufacture I find out it's a sealed unit and the oil is good for life! I'm not sure I believe it!
    Its not that hard to pull the fan out, just take your time and lay all the parts on the ground as you dissemble.
    Like others have said, I would not use a lot of heat as you will soften the metal and will continue to have problems in the future.
    This is my third season with the blower and I have to admit I'm pretty rough with it but it has stood up well and does a great job. Check out my other posts with photo of my setup.
     
  16. Cansnowblower

    Cansnowblower Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Thinking about your situation, If the rock jammed the second stage then the gearbox will be fine. Its only when you get a big rock or tree branch jamming the front augers that the gearbox could be damaged.
    On mine the belt drive just slips or even breaks when the 2nd stage gets blocked.
     
  17. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Let me ask you this......If it needed to be welded, would that be OK to do?
     
  18. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    OK I have my manual with the exploded view. I bet it's pretty similar to yours.

    Seems like if I take off the main bolts holding on the auger assembly, and then detach the bracket support for the gear box, it will basically all lift out at once?
     
  19. Cansnowblower

    Cansnowblower Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    You got it! You may have to unbolt the main shaft bearing and then the whole unit should pull out.
     
  20. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    Nice... so what's the best method for hammering this back in shape? What'd you end up doing? Unfortunately I don't have a proper workbench set up yet, with a mounted vise and such.