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Bercomac 48-inch Northeast snowblower review/pic

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by seekay, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    I recently bought a 48-inch tractor-mounted blower from Bercomac, following a lot of research online.

    (And managed to do something dumb with it within the first three uses -- see other thread about the bent impeller)

    It was hard to find good and complete information about the Bercomac before we invested the nearly $2,000, but it seemed like it was one of the best machines available. We have to maintain a 1,000 foot laneway plus our driveway, and while people have traditionally plowed the road, it's pretty narrow and the banks get to be a problem. Therefore we said - let's get a big blower with a tractor.

    We ended up attaching it to a 23-horsepower Husqvarna 2348LS from a local dealer who also sells the Bercomac units via special order.

    The Northeast model weighs around 300 lbs. You can supposedly go as low as 17HP with one, but I think 20 and up

    (Now's as good a time as any to put this warning in: It takes a good while for Bercomac to ship its products from Canada. The blower came in a few weeks but the chains for the tractor took nearly six. You could always get chains someplace else though.)

    The blower requires a subframe -- adaptable to many makes of tractor -- that from what I gather can take some time to put on. We ended up having the dealer do it for a fee. They also delivered it as part of the bargain.

    We went with the electric lift option on the Bercomac. It works great. A little pushbutton mounts near the steering wheel and runs the winch. You can adjust the blower height very finely by just nicking the button.

    For rear counterweights -- believe me they are 100 percent necessary -- I mounted some weightlifting plates on a 5/8" threaded steel rod that I fed through one of the holes on the rear hitch and clamped with a washer and lock nut. I have about 100 pounds on there and am looking to modify the design to add a bit more.

    The Bercomac-branded suitcase weight kit is very expensive at $300 or so. I recommend a workaround like I did, even though their kit looks nice.

    Performance: It works just as advertised. Throws powder very far, 50 feet easily. Wetter stuff, haven't had much of a chance yet, but what little I did it worked very well.

    I was marching through a foot of powder last week at 5 mph, with no engine lugging. The Husky started to growl a little, though, when I went at a bank about 18 inches high. You just gotta take it slow.

    Everything about the Bercomac is heavy-duty; they took no shortcuts. Looks like at least 12-gauge steel and maybe more. The gearbox, the augers, the housing are all built like a tank.

    But like any snowblower, it is not immune to rocks.

    I stupidly attacked a bank without checking for major impediments beforehand and paid the price. A huge rock bent one of the impeller fins (but the bolt didn't shear!) and it took a couple days and some serious sweat to figure out how to bend it back.

    The Bercomac warranty for homeowners is one year. But short of a product defect, you're pretty much on your own. For example, the gear box and other parts are technically covered, but aha - there's a clause that says the shear pin system is only a precaution and not a guarantee. So yeah, not much of a warranty.

    That said, this thing shouldn't break down much - if it does you probably did something stupid like me.

  2. larrylaverne

    larrylaverne Member
    from ill.
    Messages: 46

    real nice,how high can you raise the blower? i was gonna get the john deere blower for my jd lawn tractor but the lift was only about 4 inches and didn't want to chance it going on and off the trailer so i settled for a walk behind
  3. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    It goes up about 5-6 inches I think. Maybe a little more, I haven't measured it.

    Supposedly it's easy to unhitch the blower once the subframe is attached.

    I'll find out in the spring I suppose.
  4. Rubicon 327

    Rubicon 327 Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    That is a mean looking set up right there! :nod:

    Good Luck!
  5. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Nice looking unit. Glad you were able to fix it before the next snow.
  6. Two Seasons

    Two Seasons Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Nice setup. Will you be hard-cabbing the tractor? Wind is a factor here as I'm sure it is up in Maine. After all, these old bones need to stay warm, plus the cigar has to stay lit :D
  7. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    I'm gonna make a few more runs before I see about the cab.

    I have a nice ski mask, snowmobiling-style pants and other garb. the road i'm blowing is heavily lined by trees so the wind wasn't too bad the first few times out. I was almost warm, believe it or not.

    If the cab was free I wouldn't hesitate but after dropping a bundle on the unit, and other stuff, don't mind waiting.
  8. Matt400

    Matt400 Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    Do you think you will like it better than a plow? I would have thought 4x4 would be needed for something like this.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  9. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    It has been a mixed bag so far. The machine is really powerful and will cut through 2-foot drifts like crazy. In fact I did that for a while last weekend, they were all over our driveway due to wind.

    I had a lot of traction issues at first, but after some trial and error, practice at planning turns and cuts, and some fine-tuning of the tire chains, I think those problems are pretty much done with. I did the road in about 15 minutes last week, just went up and back once.

    We are thinking about getting a blade for the truck next year though as an adjunct or backup. It may be quicker to take care of the shorter snowfalls.

    The main reason for the blower is to ensure the road remains open. With a plow the banks just keep creeping in.
  10. MtnCowboy

    MtnCowboy Member
    Messages: 96

    I hope you keep us posted on the Berco and tractor. I mostly use my ATV/plow to keep open a mile long mountain road, but right about this time of year I need to start following the plow with the blower because there's nowhere to pile snow along the road. I can kick snow off the road to a point with the ATV, but with 8' of snow/year there is no way to keep the snowbank from growing to 3-4 feet. I've used a 1996 Craftsman GT/blower with Kohler 18.5 twin and it really annihilates the snow -- but slow. Over the years rock has beaten the blower up pretty badly and I'm looking at either a new GT/blower or a blower for the ATV. A neighbot once had a big JD 4x4 tractor with a Wood's 3-pt. blower, but driving backwards on a steep, icy road had drawbacks of its own.

    You know: wheel weights, liquid in the tires, sandbags and chains will give you plenty of traction. My road is up to a 10% grade and I don't have many problems. In the photo, what looks like old wet asphalt is a couple inches of ice on black crushed basalt. Anyway, I'm interested to hear how your rig works for you.


  11. MtnCowboy

    MtnCowboy Member
    Messages: 96

    As for your impeller pin not sheering, I regularly get a rock in the impeller that stops the entire unit without sheering a pin. Auger is a different story; I go through 2-3 auger pins in two miles. I'll take a blade anytime, but sometimes a blower is needed. Mine has saved my bacon a few times.
  12. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    I will definitely keep you posted. There hasn't been that much snow here in Maine this year. Nothing for more than two weeks since a sizable one over New Year's, and nothing much in the 10-day.

    Re: traction. I think once I put Rim Guard or washer fluid in the tires, my traction issues are done. Last time out was fine except for one small spot on the road where it's a 7-8 percent grade, and there was ice. My goal is no slippage at all if possible though.

    Winter has been pretty smooth so far. My neighbor has a blade so he does some pushes and I do cleanup and cut the banks back, in terms of the road. As far as our long driveway goes, not bad at all. We got 2-3 foot drifts due to some blizzard conditions in the New Year's storm but the Bercomac was able to take them down - of course I mostly did half-mouth cuts.
  13. ford6.9

    ford6.9 Senior Member
    Messages: 452

    This may sound silly but ill ask. I have a 36" snowblower which feels as if it needs more weight, How would I go about filling the tires with washer fluid or something along those lines?
  14. Badgerland WI

    Badgerland WI Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    You should be happy with the performance of the Berco. We just completed a custom build (first of its kind) using a 54" Berco Blower with 24hp pony motor.

    Here a link to video footage: Mini Blower Truck

    Keep everyone posted on your progress this season.
  15. crawford_d

    crawford_d Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    more weight

    If you need to weight to increase traction I would suggest filling tires with foam long before washer fluid. Doesn't takeavery large tire sizeat all to gain so much wt. that you will not be able to lift the wheel when filled. Good luck!
  16. Matt400

    Matt400 Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    Foam? what kind of foam has that much weight to it and do you still use air?
  17. lawnproslawncar

    lawnproslawncar Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    Can you get some side view pics and maybe some of the subframe.
  18. crawford_d

    crawford_d Junior Member
    Messages: 9


    I don't know how to answer your question as to what kind of foam. Foam the lawn mower guys use to prevent having flats. No you never have to add air to a foam tire again, that's the advantage. But in your case you might check with a big tire shop that can foam fill ties and get a cost estimate and wt. estimate. It's expensive but isn't't corrosive like fluid filling and is quit heavy as what you are looking for.
  19. seekay

    seekay Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 40

    Sure no problem, but if what you want is lots of detail on the subframe assembly (or any of the other parts) I would be happy to scan in the relevant pages in the manuals and either e-mail or post them.
  20. lawnproslawncar

    lawnproslawncar Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    I was thinking of one for our ingersolls but they need to be up to abuse. Can't have chinsy subframes that are gonna crumble in the worst conditions