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Buyers Spreader Question?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by The Mowerdude, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Folks on this forum sure have been great to help me with all of my newb questions. But I've still got more.

    Here's a pic of my spreader. This thing has to be the most finicky, tempermental peice of equipment I've ever owned. And I really don't know if it's a peice of junk or if it's because I still don't know what to expect from it or how to take good care of it. Maybe in my ignorance, I've failed to do something.

    The man I'm subbing from, wants calcium chloride spread with it. Unlike the little spreaders that we use for fert and grass seed, this one never came with a screen to sift anything larger than little pellets out. I'm constantly fighting with lumps in the calcium clogging this thing up. This spreader is brand new but didn't come with any instructions. I was flying blind during the entire installation. And the place where I bought it from doesn't know anything about it either. (Hey, this is the South, we don't use these things) Last week was the first time I've ever used this spreader but all night long, it seemed to work in fits and starts. I probably unclogged it a dozen times and several times I would look in my mirrors to find that nothing was happening. When I would go back I'd find the motor not running but I know it has voltage on it, because the control is on but the breaker hasn't tripped yet.

    After our snow was over, I cleaned it out and it ran fine. Now, this afternoon, the weather report is calling for more snow and when I tested this thing out, nothing happens. There is no material in the hopper but turning it by hand is like turning a wheel that has rusted. Have I failed to lube this thing properly? If so, how do I lube it? Have I maybe burned the brushes to the commutator shaft? If so, am I looking at a quick repair or is it toast?

    If you look closely, you'll see that there is a wire hanging loose. It snapped off when I wiggled it for a better connection. I'm fixing it right now.

    Now you start seeing why I'm interested in using liquids next year.

  2. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,141

    A vibrator kit worked wonders on my 2 stage unit,no screen and it spreads sand like a dream,yours is a little different,there are a bunch of guys running that same unit who will help you out shortly i'm sure,do a search on buyers spreaders,the topic comes up alot here.
  3. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    With most single stage units the material must be clean and dry,no clumps,or it will clog up.It is much more noticeable on that model due to the narrow bottom above the spinner.A vibrator may help some.Does it have an internal auger ? If it doesn't it has no way to break up some of the clumped material,maybe there is a retrofit available ?

    I'm not sure if it's the exact same spreader,but I remeber a few posts on here about having to get out and turn the spinner by hand to get it started every once and awhile.
  4. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Ok, I'm back and I've found the problem. Here it is.

    One of the magnets in the motor didn't stay glued in place. I think it's safe to say that the Buyers Company has gotten the last penny they'll ever get from me.

    And yes, now it's snowing again and it looks like Crazygator and I are going to be using our push spreaders tonight. No, I'm not a happy camper. :mad:

  5. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    That was easy.Hopefully buyers will come good on the motor,if the unit is still under warranty.If not,you can always just epoxy it back on.
  6. CPSS

    CPSS Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    Looks just like the Meyers Mini-Spreader that we had on one of our trucks for two years. Bigest piece of junk we ever bought. Went thru three motors, broke the wires off many times backing into snow banks. Always jammed up. Paid $1800 installed from a local truck equipment company. Sold it two years later for $100. Don't think we recouped our investment, do you?
  7. ksimpson

    ksimpson Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    Sorry to hear about your problems M.Dude and CP. Bought a new mini spreader this fall and have had absolutely no problems. We have went through 28 tons and it has been a wonder. Only thing I had to do was reconfigure a different support bracket. The arms that went over the tailgate was putting a lot of strain on the vertical brackets (Bending). I know that the new spreaders this year have a new resey switch on them, and they also give a 1 second blast when first switched on. I have run through some serious chuncks and the auger chewed everything. Just wanted to say "HI GUYS". I have been a member since last fall, just haven't responded to anything. It is a great site!! We are getting some good lake effect today 9-15". So things are busy!! Stay warm---Keith
  8. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Welcome to Plowsite Ksimpson.

    The biggest problem here is that you didn't receive instructions with this unit. Your dealer should be able to get them for you, if they are a real Buyers dealer. If not, let us know & someone here will be able to hunt them down for you & mail. As posted already, a single stage spreader needs to use dry, bagged material. If your supply got wet at sometime, it got clumpy. When you continually jam the auger with clumped material, you will continually bind the motor against its natural working process & it will eventually break from the abuse. Also, once the motor is binding, the electric should be shut off to it ASAP, to help keep it from breaking under the strain of trying to work against the bind. This is not a military tank, its a simple electric motor on a simple piece of equipment. A vibrator may help break up rock salt clumps. Its been a few years since I used calcium chloride, but what I remember about it is when it got wet & clumped, it was more like concrete than rock salt clumps. So I'm not sure a vibrator would help for that situation. You have bought about the cheapest, lowest end piece of equipment to do the job that you are attempting to do. So your expectations should not be the same as owning a V-box or a 2 stage tailgater. It needs to be used in the manner for which it was designed, and it is not designed to take a lot of abuse, or handle clumped or wet material. This is not your fault, as the instructions should have been provided.

    So on to the solution to the problem:
    1. First, take a deep breath & relax, being upset about the situation won't help solve it, trust me. No matter how far, or how hard you toss that wrench, it doesn't help ;) (got one to go about 80 yards one time, but still didn't fix the problem LOL)
    2. As posted, you should see if buyers will warranty the repair or replacement of that motor. Don't tell them you were putting concrete in there though ;)
    3. Insist that your dealer provide the instructions that should come with the unit. (if they can't, post here & we'll find them for you)
    4. Inquire from the dealer about whether a screen can be purchased for that unit. If not, fabricate one. Do a search here for ideas, as people have posted about making them for their spreaders.
    5. Inquire from the dealer about purchasing a vibrator for that unit. Or, do a search here to find threads on getting them cheaper from alternate suppliers, or about how to make one your self.
    6. Once its running correctly again, take care of it & follow the instructions for years of trouble free use. I know people that have used those units for years without problems. I also know of other's who have had problems, but the majority of those problems were a result of operator abuse ;)
    7. Oh yea, all electric connections should be very clean before doing them, should have dielectric grease used, and if possible should be soldered. After you get this thing running correctly, your biggest battle will be against the corrosion of the metal components & electrical connections that are inherent with using deicing chemicals.
    Good luck!

    PS: You mentioned wanting to get into liquids. You also mentioned being a newbie to this industry. IMO you should gain some more experience before attempting to get into liquid apps. The equipment alone for that is a lot more expensive than this single stage spreader we're talking about, so its a serious consideration. There is also a much higher learning curve to successfully use liquiuds for ice control. I've got a decent amount of experience with snow & ice & I don't really feel I'm ready for liquids quite yet, and certainly wouldn't consider it a good option for me 8 or so years ago when I first started plowing on my own. Maybe those using the liquids would give a different opinion though.
  9. ksimpson

    ksimpson Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks BRL,

    Mowerdude--The supplier that I go to on-line is: angelos-supplies.com
    They are VERY helpful and should be able to send you a manual. As for the calcium, when my sidewalk crew has to use it, they put a pallet in the bed of the truck, put the calcium on it and cover everything with a tarp. BRL is right----hard as concrete when wet.
    I only use #1 rock salt in my Buyers. There is a sticker on the side of mine that says what to use. I would think that calcium would flow through like an open salt shaker. A small screen will make the particles flow through a little slower for no waste, and to also sift out the hardened stuff. Good luck---------STILL SNOWING!!!!!!
  10. paul soccodato

    paul soccodato Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    brl is correct,

    those spreaders can only handle dry (non clumped) products.

    most any spreader will like dry material better than clumpy, the dry stuff will give you better performance anyways.

    the other day, i went to unload my v-box. it was loaded with salt from last friday (1/17).

    its been so cold out, that the 3 days that salt was in the machine it hardened into a concrete block.

    i started the engine, flipped on the conveyor,and , SNAP!. it kept on breaking a 5/16" bolt, that bolts the drives together, (probably a good thing, than a broken conveyor chain or so).

    i had to pour about 10 gallons of hot water on the salt to get the conveyor to turn, and still break up the chunks for 15 minutes.

    pain in the a??!
  11. EJK2352

    EJK2352 Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    I would highly suggest a vibrator to you or anyone else running a single stage unit. I put one on my Buyers SUV spreader and it made a world of difference!!! I can now spread bulk salt with no problems at all. Before I added the vibrator I was having problems getting bagged salt to flow through it. I got a great deal on the vibrator, $ 200 from J. Thomas Distributors. Their web site is www.j-thomas.com If you can't get the motor fixed I found the best price for a motor $178.50 at www.discountsnowplowparts.com You also need to make up some type of screen to keep large clumps out of the hopper or it will jam up on you.:) ;) :) ED
  12. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Well, we went and spread all our chemical last night with our Lesco push spreaders. We had 3 of them going and it did a SUPER job, but MAN it was lot of work. :eek:

    I got in about 7:30 and went to bed. Now that I'm up I see that lots of folks have posted to this thread and I thank you all.

    CPSS Yup, I can now relate. I don't think this magnet coming loose is an "abuse" issue, either.

    KSIMPSON Mine doesn't have the 1-second blast feature, but I don't know why I couldn't get in the habit of doing manually. Good idea. BTW, I already had Angelo's website bookmarked a year ago. They're like Tony the Tiger. They're GREAT!!

    BRL I don't think my dealer was an official Buyers dealer. It's a trucking company that most likely bought a truckload of these things just to have something to offer "if and when." That's also probably one of the reasons that it didn't come with any instructions. I'm sure that any warranty I would've had is long expired.

    Also, I now know that I bought the cheapest around, but hey! WHO KNEW? I got this thing 3 years ago but have only used it this year for the first time because we haven't had enough snow to amount to anything. :p Oh, well, live and learn.

    I am going to cut a peice of expanded metal I have out back, to screen out the lumps, and I'll certainly watch for the clumps much more closely. I had already soldered my permanent connections and have been using a Dremel tool to clean the plugs. Dremels work great.

    Four things have had me thinking about liquids.

    1. We can eliminate having a "barrel" man. To my mind, it seems that this is an inefficient area which may need trimming back when the competition around here gets crazier in the future.

    2. Our area has little or no snow per winter, but when it comes, a man can literally name his price. This market area has not been raped by scrubs and lowballers.....yet. However, everyone here is "monkey see, monkey do." Only a micro percentage of these guys ever bother to learn about anything. I figured that if I learn all I can about liquids, salt, calcium or whatever, I'll be ahead of the game when the time finally does come when every redneck crack head that can keep his britches zipped has a plow and a truck. As it is now, when I'm running down the road with bags of chemical and a spreader, Bubba's looking at my rig and thinking: "Hell, I can do that." But liquids will remain a huge mystery no matter how far in traffic these boys follow me.

    3. I could be wrong, but I believe that once a man is set up for liquids, material handling will be considerable easier. But, like I said, I could be wrong.

    4. After reading John A. Allin's book, it also appears to me that liquids really represent the future. Even after the competition has all bought spreaders, I'll be able to hang on to my higher price because of having a "higher tech" system. And I'm not fooling myself. The situation that many of you have farther north, WILL happen here eventually. Since I'm in the height of my learning curve already, hey, what the heck?!!:cool: Why not learn more?

    EJK2352 While I was preparing this post, you came in and posted as well. Thanx for those websites. I think the vibrator combined with a screen combined with a much more vigilant attitude might be the ticket.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2003
  13. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

  14. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,141

    Chuck,i just walked in from the shop and had laid a piece of expanded steel on top of the spreader and decided to do it tomorrow and think on it but you just did the thinkin for me,Thanks:D
  15. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    When I was a newbie I also was sold one of those Great Pumpkins. I was told it would spread anything, including mix. Well imagine my surprise when it wouldnt. I spent 1000.00 on it during the winter of 92-93 and sold it for 100.00 in 95 when I bought a v box. We would have 1 guy drive and the other feed the material 1 shovel at a time to the spinner. Clumped up all the time, but the motor never gave me any trouble aside from tripping the breaker. But all in all, I regret ever seeing the thing.
  16. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

  17. pjslawncare

    pjslawncare Member
    Messages: 32

  18. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude Junior Member
    Messages: 22


    That's a very cool idea. And in fact, I've got everything I need right on my bone pile to complete this job. I'll have it done by this evening.

    I ordered a new motor from Angelo's yesterday (Friday) and it got here this morning. I had looked and looked all over Nashville for an electric motor shop that would help me fix the old one, but I guess it isn't enough money. I know these folks can do it, they just don't want to fool with it.

    Problem is, I don't remember which pole on the old motor, the red wire went to and which one the black wire went to. I don't suppose it really matters but I'd hate to find out I got them wrong if I burn up a brand new motor. Here's a pic of the inside of the old one. It looks to me like the motor should turn either direction without any problems, but I just want to be sure.

  19. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Here's a pic of the new motor. The poles are only labeled #1 and #2. There's no indicator of which one is positive or negative.

    I'm kind of embarrassed. :eek: I feel I should know this stuff.

  20. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Test it off of the spreader & keep track of which way it turns with each combo. The only difference between mixing the 2 wires is one combo will turn the shaft clock wise & the other conbo will turn it counter clockwise. Then you just need to determine which way the shaft should turn to make the auger work in the correct direction, then install it to the spreader. Actually you can install it & do that test right on the spreader since its empty probably. Won't hurt the spreader to have the auger turning turning the wrong way for a couple of seconds. Good luck.