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Prevent Tornado Trouble

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by SamH, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. SamH

    SamH Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I just thought I'd save somebody a lot of problems and let you all know what we just went through with our new Tornado Spreader. I still think it's a good piece of equipment but I made a big mistake in not making sure that the belt was running in the center of the track.
    We also made the mistake of overtightening the idler roller in an effort to get the belt to move after the unit sat for a few days with a load of salt in the hopper. To make a long story short, it bound up Friday night while we were using it. The belt had been riding hard against the stainless steel rail on one side and it reached a point where it got pinched between the idler roller and the side rail. It had a full load in it and we thought it just having trouble getting moving with all that weight on it so we tried hitting the starting/stopping it several times. That procedure thoroughly trashed the front roller. We had five inches of snow on the ground, more on the way and it was 16 degrees out... Christmas weekend. That's not a good time to realize you've just completely disabled your salt spreader. Well, we got through it with hand spreaders and the emergency purchase of a tow behind fertilizer spreader from Home Depot, and we proved again the fallacy of the old policy of "if it don't work... force it!'
    We ordered the part this morning. It'll be here tomorrow and that should be in time for our next round of weather comming in Wednesday night. Just thought this might save somebody from a similar fate.
  2. firelwn82

    firelwn82 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,866

    I'm glad to see you letting people know about this issue. Very nice. On the other hand how about keeping your snow accumulation to yourself. lol:p I'm glad to see some people are making money.
  3. 2moresleeps

    2moresleeps Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 131

    This post would have been so much more meaningful if the post read like this:

    Prevent Tornado Trouble

    Don't buy one.

    There are too many problems with this unit.
  4. SamH

    SamH Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Right after I posted that little piece of advice, I noticed all the activity on the other thread about Tornados and read it with a growing knot in my stomach. I'm getting the distinct impression that we made a big mistake. I am definitely interested in rigging up an inverted V in the hopper. That is without a doubt a serious engineering oversight on the part of Western. A fresh load of dry salt usually feeds out fine but when it doesn't there is nothing to be done but shovel it out, and it's a little hard to keep the salt perfectly dry when there's a half inch gap between the lids on top of the spreader! I know we can probably stick some kind of flap on it but that seems like something that should have obviously been included. This spreader does not tolerate damp, clumpy material.
    We have shoveld ours out three times so far. And it's only had maybe ten loads through it. We get our salt in 2,000 # totes and there really isn't any way to only load a partial tote. One tote in the hopper certainly doesn't look overloaded but it is simply too much weight resting on too much belt. Hopefully an inverted V will solve that problem.
    I noticed someone pointed out the problem with the conveyor being wider than the spinner. That's another dumb feature. It leaves two heavy strings of material directly behind the truck and wastes a lot of salt. Another thing we found after taking the machine apart is that the area under the conveyor belt and under the poly floor of the spreader was getting a lot of salt in it. The rollers where packed full and and there was quite a pile in there. That's a big problem because there is no way to get that stuff out except to unload the machine, split the belt and vaccum or wash it out. We have being using some finer than usual salt, Medium grain rather than course, but even so, that stuff should either be sealed out completely or the unit designed so that the salt that gets under that belt can either spill out of ports or be washed out. I can see a huge problem for anyone who uses sand in this unit. The salt we cleaned out had been ground into powder from being worked around through those rollers but sand ... How's that going to break down? And if it just keeps accumulating in there won't it eventually make it just too hard for the motor to turn? It seems like it would tear things up pretty quickly.
    Pehaps I was a little too quick to blame myself for not checking the tracking on the belt soon enough. I know we should have done that but it seemed to be working all right at first. We did tighten it once to try and get the belt moving when it was stuck. We marked the postion of the roller bearings and counted our turns with the wrench but I discovered after taking it apart that the rails on each side are not perfectly even. One bearing would have to be moved quite a bit further forward than the other in order for the belt to ride straight.
    Other than these little things, I really do like the machine... don't love it, but I do like it.
  5. StratfordPusher

    StratfordPusher Senior Member
    Messages: 960

    Glad I passed on the Tornado

    Looked at one of these unit back in October, almost bought it as I thought it looked like a great idea and a well built unit.
    That was until I saw the belt set-up and heard the words, This is a NEW Product for this season....... Alarms went off..... so I took a pass... reading all the real negative feedback on this product I am really glad I did..... I can't afford to throw away 4 grand....

    Western Should PULL this from the market unit the bugs are fixed and recall all units out there and fix them for free or refund customers who got a lemon instead of a spreader....

    I was considering a Western Pro Plow for one of my trucks next season, this has me re-thinking buying anything from Western

    Hows everyone else feel ?

    Seasons Greetings

  6. SamH

    SamH Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Well, we just got the Tornado back up and running. Just in time for the weather coming in tonight. I spent quite a bit of time running it to make sure the belt was staying in the center and it looks good. We hooked it up and ran it while it was standing on end, that way I could stand on a step ladder and watch the belt ride over the front roller. If it drifted one way I could make adjustments. Right now it's running true, cross our fingers. I let it run for a good five minutes to make sure it wasn't going to gradually creep off to one side.
    We should know soon if it's going to work. I wrote my dealer today with a thorough explanation of all the problems we have had and asked him to pass that along to Western. I'm in agreement with other subscibers who feel that Western should do something to get these units performing better. Installing an inverted V to take some pressure off the belt would be at the top of my list, then I'd like to see some kind of deflector shields to direct the material directly onto the spinner, and a flap or seal for the lids. I don't know what can be done about salt getting under the floor of the machine and into the rollers. Is anyone else having a problem because of that?