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Western tornado: good, bad, and ugly - review with pics

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by all ferris, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. all ferris

    all ferris Senior Member
    Messages: 119

    I just would like to let everyone know about the Western Tornado 1.5 spreader. I decided to buy one because it meet all my criteria from the specs, it matched the western plow I have, and the price was decent.
    I called around to a few places and only found 1 local vendor that had the spreader in stock. I went over and picked the unit up cash and carry. I also had ordered a inverted vee and the vendor handed me the "vee" part but no hardware. I thought "OK, I guess the hardware is in the spreader with the rest of the stuff.

    Got home and proceeded to install the unit on Chevy 2500hd. Installation was pretty straight forward if you really don't care where the wires are routed. I took my time and ran the wire in hidden locations so the install looked neat. I got the install done and turned the unit on and, walla, it worked. So now I just have to wait for a snow/ice event. Well, that event didn't happen till about 4 weeks after I installed the unit.

    The first time out with the unit was x-mas night. I was quite pleased with how it loaded. I can fit 2 full 80" skidsteer buckets in the unit and the doors still close. So then I proceed to salt some large lots. It took me awhile to get all the settings dialed in and it seems like i find myself using every control turned all the way to max (Spinner and conveyer). I left the hopper chute open about half way. Shortly after starting I noticed the unit was spreading heavy in the middle and light on the edges. I mean real heavy in the middle. It wasn't uniform at all. I figured out that the stainless shield was the cause of the bad pattern. I guess the shield is supposed to keep the salt off the bumper but it fails at that. I ended up bending the shied so that it would spread better and now the pattern is much improved.

    I was almost finished that night and all the sudden I noticed that the spinned was not working. OK, I go to check things out. I took everything apart and found that the gear from the spinner motor did not even come close to lining up with the gear on the spinner shaft. By this time the belt was pretty much junk. How it didn't break long before baffles me. So I reasoned, since the spinner shaft gear slid down the shaft, the set screw must be loose and all it needs is to be tightened. I got that done and try out the spreader and it still doesn't work. Damn...Now I'm mad. I take the thing further apart and find the shaft inside the spinner motor was sheered off.....wtf. Now mind you this is the x-mas night so no one is open and I have a large account to finish up. I went home and took the motor apart and welded the shaft as close to center as possible. I put it all back together and it worked so I finished my route.
    Next Monday I call the place I bought the spreader from (Midwest System Truck Equipment, St. Louis) and tell him the situation. He tells me that he couldn't warrantee it because I took the motor apart. This is where I lost it. I called western directly and the guy was real nice and said that it should be covered and that there is a new design motor due to the others failing. So I called the guy back at MSTE and he is still a jerk off to me. Eventuallly he must have talked to western and he did cover the parts.
    I have put about 20 tons of salt through the unit since the new motor and it's been fine.

    OK here is the good stuff: I like how lite the unit is....I can take the speader off the truck with the mini skid. I like how everything is plastic and stainless steel except for a few parts. I also like the cab controls. It really does know when it's running out of salt! The top lids are great too

    Here is the bad stuff: I have found more loose bolts on this thing! If you get one I would check every fastner. It seems like they did a poor job when assembling the unit at the factory. I was unhappy with spreading pattern (I have it better now but it's still not great). The unit also needs the inverted vee and it should come standard. The unit will shut it's self off if it is full of heavy salt due to high current (nobody wants to shovel salt out of a hopper when its freezing out. I was also mad about the thing breaking on me the first time I used it. I guess it happens but it seems like that problem should have been taken care of before I got it since they new about the problem. Also, I hate the dealer I bought it from. Never go there because they have poor "after the sale service". It took them about a month to get me all the parts for the inverted vee.

    Now that the unit is working properly I would consider a new one but I would take a good look at others. There has to be a better spreader out there than this one.

    Sorry for the long post

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    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  2. ColumbiaLand

    ColumbiaLand Senior Member
    Messages: 790

    sad to hear that I thought they did a good job building those spreader
     
  3. stonewellmark

    stonewellmark Member
    Messages: 41

    Great review and unbias, glad to see your able to point blaim where blaim is do. Most DEALERS SUCK, the unit is off their floor plan and they dont care after that. Glad it all worked out.
     
  4. LON

    LON Senior Member
    Messages: 749

    had a customer in yesterday w/ the same shaft shear in his Fisher Poly Caster. Handed him a new motor and told him it was up to me to get the warranty back out of the broken motor.
     
  5. richsoucie

    richsoucie Member
    Messages: 89

    try turning the conveyor down while keeping the spinner all the way up it should spread better
     
  6. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,157

    mines a year older. Belt conveyer instead of chain and I haven't had a problem with it, over 200 yards of salt thru it so far. Love it, With the dump box one person on and off like nothing. Sorry about your dealer problems.. mine is great they have a crew that works until 2:00am and snow emergency # for when they are closed (even holidays). Never had part problems. It's nothing like plowing in the old days without any support
     
  7. Silverado_guy07

    Silverado_guy07 Member
    Messages: 34

    Nice review very thorough! A++
    I have the fisher polycaster same thing as yours.
    I didn't have any issues yet.
    It might have already had the revisions installed from the factory. And my dealer adjusted everything when he installed it.

    I love mine so much that I even grease it up after I use it. Lol
    I did also have the 2007 model - now that was a bad salter used it one year and I had to sell it. Best thing it could have done.
    I love the 2009 with the dual control for the spinner and conveyor.

    Hey all ferris you should try closing your feed gate to the second or third opening, setting your conveyor between 2-5 and crank the spinner to close to max.
    I don't use it at full max because the spinner starts to wobble preety good at max.
     
  8. Pennings Garden

    Pennings Garden Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 242

    Since you are from the Hudson valley, you should check out Truck & Trailer Depot in New Windsor. I have been going to them for a couple of years for small stuff (Inspection, cutting edges, etc) and just bought our first "big" think from them this fall; a 8' Hiniker Vbox with a gas engine. It ran great the first few times I started it in the fall when empty. The first storm comes around and it does great for the first load but doesn't want to rev up to full throttle on the second load, it's still running at half throttle so I can still spread but I want to let them know I want to come in first thing in the morning to have them look at it. I call the place and get the awsnering machine (it's 11.30pm) and it says to leave a message or call a different number, I call the different number and get a voice mail. I leave my message and get a call back 10 Min later (11.40pm) he talks me thru a "quick fix" and tells me to come in first thing in the morning or call him back if more problems. I come in in the morning, he fixes it, no charge, and tells me the control unit got stuck but i fixed it, it should not happen again.
    2 days later I get a call from the dealer and he tells me he wants to change the controls on the spreader because the should not have gotten stuck to begin with and he already ordered the parts and if I could come in in 2 days, it should take no more then a half hour...

    How many dealers still have a "emergency" number and charge nothing extra for those services?
     
  9. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    Thanks for the review. I am looking to add an electric v-box in a year or two, and have been debating between the Tornado and the SnowEx models. I'm a die hard Western fan, but I have had nothing but bad luck with my 2000 tailgate spreader. Thanks again for the review and pics.

    BTW, thats a differant place to mount the controller, never seen that done before.
     
  10. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

  11. sns250

    sns250 Member
    Messages: 87

    Great review cause I have been considering one.

    I think the loose parts from the factory is just a western thing. I have made a few posts about a new 2500 I bought. Every set screw and bolt was loose on it, I didn't even think to look at them and the second time out I couldn't keep the belt on it. For other reason I am picking up a new 1000 tomorrow and trading in the 2500. I will be checking every bolt before it goes on the truck! Why don't they tighten them down with a little lock-tight. Must be to expensive.

    Hope now that you got it figured out it is working better for you!
     
  12. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Somehow I missed this thread. Good write up. Facts, not opinion. Unfortunately, DD quality control seems to be fading fast. REAL fast. Your nuts and bolts type issues seem quite common on Fisher & Western equipment in particular. Dealer support seems to be getting worse all the time. Sounds like they look for any reason to deny warranty coverage. The "Abuse" cop out is very common.

    The spinner motor problem seems common, glad you got it out of the way. A friend has one, mentioned the same problem with the spread pattern. He is getting two heavy lines a couple feet apart.

    I have the first gen Polycaster. Overall pleased with it. My motor died about two weeks old, the new stainless motor is fine. I've put well over a hundred ton through mine.

    FWIW, my next spreader will be stainless, two electric motors.
     
  13. timberseal

    timberseal Senior Member
    from 46385
    Messages: 247

    I looked at the Tornado before we bought a Vbox this year but ended up buying a Salt Dogg 1500. The Salt Dogg has been outstanding so far and it's simple design WORKS without issues. The controller is probably the only thing for any concern. Mine was dead from the factory but the new ones worked great. The belt setup and price on the Tornado was the deal breaker for me.
     
  14. creativedesigns

    creativedesigns PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,929

    Hey 2COR, what setting do you keep the chute at? I just got the first gen polycaster today & figured that the spinner speed runs good at #8 notch.

    What do u put ur settings at?

    Also, my next spreader will be Epoke Igloo Hydraulic salter, with pre-wetting system. :bluebounc


    EpokeIgloo2400.jpg
     
  15. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I run the gate at 1.5. Going to drill a hole, or at least a dimple there. I put it there this morning for sanding. Had the same coverage, used less material. I set the variable speed control to match the conditions. Down low for one lane drives/walks. Wide open in parking areas.

    Spreading going forward I get rings every few feet. Spreading going backwards I get a nice even coverage, like you used a spray can.
     
  16. Showmestaterida

    Showmestaterida Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Whats the max amount of salt you can fit in a 1.5 with the doors shutting? Is it exactly 1.5 or what? same true for the 1.8 ?