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Snow Blower for skid steer... any good?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment' started by bkaczinski, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. bkaczinski

    bkaczinski Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2

    I recently purchased a JD 320 skid steer. Was thinking about putting a snow blower on it for doing residential driveways. I have 25 drives in a community to do. Was thinging that the plow on our trucks would be a bit of a pain in the butt. All the garage doors face the road. Has anyone used a blower on a skid steer?
  2. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    Skidsteer blowers for resi are the cats meow.


    There are a few issues that should be addressed before you pick up the first blower you see.

    1. Is your machine high flow? (not necessary to run a blower, but highly recommended).
    2. Match the blower to the skid (VERY IMPORTANT)
    3. Does your skid have the right switches to control the secondary functions
    4. Look for a blower with thicker end plates (thicker steel all around) as a skid blower can see a bit more abuse than a 3pth tractor blower (down pressure)
    5. What type of surfaces are these driveways (you can do a number in a hurry on interlock or stamped colored crete - down pressure)
    6. Im sure there are more things to consider, but after a 16 hour snow event that came after a 12 hour one the day before with one hour of sleep in between, thats all I can think of right now lol

    We use a Bobcat S250 HF 2 Speed (great feature for doing snow) with a SBX240 Bobcat High Flow blower. We do about 80 driveways with it on a typical snow day. We could do a lot more if it wern't for the fact they are spread out all over town.

    If I could have the ultimate machine for resi's it would be a skid steer, with a blower, with suspension, an air ride seat, cupholders, spinning wheel hub caps, LED underbody lighting, a pair of 12" subs.....

    but since I don't believe they make those, I'll take my S250.

    Even a standard flow blower matched to your skid would be miles better than a plow (assuming your driveways are reasonably close together). Our customers love our blower, and we always seem to gain a few each year simply because we DONT use a plow.
  3. bkaczinski

    bkaczinski Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2

    Thanks for the info. My machine is not high flow and all the drives are blacktop. One other question was how do the blowers perform in smaller storms.... 3" - 5" ?
  4. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    Ive only seen a blower in action with skid steers a few times and I thought wake me up when its over. They all were very slow. In all fairness one was snow blowing 4 foot banks back at Baltimore with us last year and the other two were doing sidewalks with about 4 inches of snow. The skid steer's were older and I don't know if they had high flow. Would high flow make a huge difference in the speed which you can run it?
  5. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    Our trigger is 2" so no problems there, ours works well in all types of snow - even slush. Blacktop shouldn't be a problem, no worse than a plow as long as you don't tilt the blower too far forward.
  6. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    There is a large variance in performance with skid steer blowers. A typical standard flow machine will have 12-18 gals per minute of flow at the couplers. Our S250 has 37 gal per minute flow. Over twice as much flow makes a big difference. Its like taking a 50 hp tractor and blowing snow side by side with a 110hp tractor. I have talked with guys that didn't keep the blower around because they were disappointed with its performance.

    Our blower performance compares very well to a similar powered tractor (75hp on the S250). I can throw snow 50 - 75 ft, and I blow back my piles regularly with it. It will slow down under load and labour down the engine, but it just keeps pouring the snow out the chute.

    A great feature of hydraulic blowers is there are no shear bolts to replace, the flow just bypasses if you get a jam. Great feature for piles.

    They are not perfect, but you would be hard pressed to find a better machine for resis.

    Ok, maybe a toolcat with a blower....
  7. DaySpring Services

    DaySpring Services PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,065

    Skid's are very slow with a blower, that's why I got rid of mine. They do have their place and uses. I loved mine for clean up or blowing parking spots. I had a high flow machine and blower, actually I still have the blower. Keep in mind my skid was 75hp. The problem is everything on a Skid is hydraulically driven. By the time you the power gets to the blower your only getting around 35-40hp at the blower. Now my new kubota has 85 hp at the pto, the difference shows. Wednesday I blew 24 inches of heavy wet lake effect snow without a problem. It would throw the snow 40 feet easily.
  8. fordzilla1155

    fordzilla1155 Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    they are also great for breaking car windows and putting holes in siding.
  9. jvm81

    jvm81 Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 387

    Just bought one. 78 inch bobcat. That is going on the S650 bobcat. dealer told me reduction of about 20-30 hp loss of power to the blower. So no I have not used one. Seen them work. Learning curve I am sure but like I said I bought one so I'll wait see what happens.
  10. maher871

    maher871 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    We have a 95 Bobcat 553 and a 09 Bobcat S100. We have the bobcat snowblower, power angle plow and the 50" bucket that came with them. We do approx. 4000 feet of sidewalks every time it snows. I will take the 50" bucket on the machine any day over the snowblower or plow. The snowblower is way to slow, and yes it has the correct flow rate for the fluid. With the plow, when snow builds up in front of the plow it forces the machine to the opposite of the direction its angled. The only thing with the bucket is you have to dump the bucket off to the side of the lane your clearing.
  11. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    That seems strange given our experiences. I would put our machine against the tractor (similar hp) any day. Any speed loss when blowing in a straight line due to hydraulic efficiency (inefficiency) is more than made up for by the extra maneuverability you get with the skid.

    You stated you have 75 pto hp on your tractor. Well, that is not a direct comparison to your previous skid. Your 75 pto hp tractor is actually close to engine hp of 100 hp (hence the model number) so you are not comparing apples to apples by any means. Your tractor looses a significant amount of hp before it gets to the business end also. You would need to have about a 40 pto hp tractor to be a fair comparison to your previous skid. I doubt then you would be satisfied that the tractor was the better machine. You don't need skads of hp to blow a residential driveway! You need maneuverability, visibility, and controllability.

    BTW, off topic, how are you finding the Kubota for reliability? We looked at getting one this year (as they were less money than the green or blue machines) but decided to go green. After talking to guys around here, you can hardly give the things away used, even with low hours, as they have been having all kinds of problems with them (front axle, transmission, electronics, oil leaks, fit and finish etc.). The engines are bullet proof, but it seems the rest of the tractor is second rate and falls apart around the engine. We also looked at the operating weights, and the Kubota didn't even compare to the others (to the tune of a few thousand pounds). That means a lot to me (thinner metal? less reinforcing? More ballast required). That few thousand pounds means a lot less spinning of the tires. Not meaning to cut up your tractor, but just wondering what your experience has been with it.

    Back on topic, a standard flow machine that is rated at 75 engine hp is usually around 25 to 30 hydraulic hp, a high flow machine (high flow as in 37 gpm, not 26 like some machines quote) is around 50 hydraulic hp (roughly double). Yes you do have more loss than a PTO no doubt, but you more than make up for it with increased efficiency. Using a tractor, is like that scene in Austin powers where the car is too long for a 3 point turn in that hallway (back and forth, turn wheel, back up, shift, turn wheel, go forward, shift, turn wheel and repeat). We use both so we know. We have a 100hp (PTO) tractor and a 75 hp skid (roughly 50 hydraulic hp). While I can push more snow through my PTO blower going in a straight line, it doesn't blow as far (doesn't matter for resis) as the skid, nor can I maneuver as well with the tractor.

    FYI, we are on the edge of that area in Ontario where they got 1.5m (6 feet) of snow over the last 3 days, we got about 3 feet of lake effect and at no point did we need to slow our bobcat down due to not being enough power to blow the snow. The skid steer blower doesn't plug up as much either. We usually meet up with the two machines (tractor and skid) at the end of both routes at a set of condo type driveways (doubles and singles). The skid does about 5 driveways in the same time it takes the tractor to do 2, and the guy on the tractor is more experienced than the guy on the skid, so I don't think its cause he is a slow operator.

    You can have a high flow blower and machine, but if its still not the right match for pump size vs. flow rate, it won't work well. Mixing manufacturers doesnt' seem to work well either for some reason. Some manufacturers consider 20 gpm or more high flow. My machine in standard flow mode is 26 gpm, so I don't agree with anything under 30 gpm being called "high flow". Some snowblower manufacturers tried to jump into the skidsteer snowblower market without figuring it out, and their units seem to be having a lot of issues with regards to power.

    I actually prefer to blow back our piles in the parking lots with the skid over the tractor also. The tractor tends to spin out before the skid does which is opposite to what you might think but we do it everyday it snows here, I expect our pounds per square inch of tire area is more on the skid. The other advantage is you can raise the blower as high as you want to cut into a pile, tractor you are limited to about 3 feet. I make better time doing my piles with the skid. When you have a solid mass of snow pouring out the chute and its throwing it still a good 30 - 40 feet, I don't think you can really expect much more. I've seen a guy locally that has a truck loading chute on a machine like mine, and he can load trucks faster than a payloader with his blower (some truckers don't like the blower unless they have the heated box).

    I'm also surprised that maher871 would choose a bucket over a blower. It takes far more time to dump and cycle a bucket than you would to slowly and steadily move ahead with the blower. Not to mention the blower does a much cleaner job and doesn't leave piles of snow like the bucket does.

    There is another operator in our mid sized town that uses an S250 (same machine as mine) with a bucket to do driveways. His driveways are ugly (piles on the lawn, gouged sod, very icy) and already have large visibility obscuring piles, AND it takes him about 10 -20 times longer to do a driveway than it does us with our blower. Funny story that comes to mind, we have a driveway right beside one of his and I was blowing it at the same time he was bucketing his one time last winter. He was part way into it when I arrived, and he actually stopped and watched me as I pulled in and blew out our driveway in the matter of about a minute, I'm pretty sure he was drooling, as I caught him sitting there staring at my machine do this. I waved as I pulled out, and he just turned his head and resumed his bucketing lol.....
  12. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    Depends how close to the garage door you can get, clean everything and not drive the auger into the expensive garage door. I've never had a blower on a ss to do resi's like yours.
    In one area of the city I use tractors with inverted blowers for resi. In another older,denser area I use blower toolcats with backblades to pull the snow from the garage doors, on garages usually in the backyard, and then blow the snow onto the front yards.
    I'm sure you'll figure it out.
  13. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    I don't claim to have figured everything out, and am always learning new things. That being said, I have operated tractors for about 20 years doing snow removal, and we have had the skid online now for 3 full winters, this is our 4th. So I do have some experience in this area :cool:

    We are able to get reasonably close to the garage doors (as close as you can with any bucket or blade) and not risk any damage. It takes some care on the part of the operator no matter what you are using to get close. As long as you don't rush up to the door pushing too much snow ahead of the blower faster than it can take it, there is a very small amount left behind. Our customers have been made well aware of the fact that we will be leaving a small amount of snow in front of the doors and beside parked vehicles, and they have no problem with that.

    Maybe my experiences with ss blower is unique, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have used just about every combination available for snow removal, with the exception of the toolcat and backblade - which I would like to try someday. I would choose the ss over just about any other machine for its efficiency and ease of use, as well as the quality of job it does.

    Another great thing about the ss blower vs. a 3 pt hitch tractor blower is your cutting angle is fully adjustable on the fly. Nothing is more frustrating going from gravel to a hard packed snow base driveway that someone drove on or hired you later in the season to service and not being able to get it scraped down. I know you can jump out of the cab, clean the snow off your top link and hope its not frozen and try to adjust your angle, only to have to do it again on the next driveway. I like to leave a slight skim behind when I'm doing a driveway so that I don't do any damage to it, but a 2 or 3 inch hard icy crust is too much.
  14. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    Back blade for Toolcat

    So I just checked the Bobcat site and don't find a back blade for the Toolcat can you direct me to any aftermarket manufacteres. This looks like it might be faster what say you Black Irish?tymusic
  15. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    edgeair all my comments were meant positively.
    From what you last posted , you will have no problems. Your customers will like the cleaner job.

    Chineau I use Arctic back blades, made in tymusic, they either slide into the receiver or hang off the 3 pth. Has down pressure also so it scrapes nice. There are pics in my album and in my threads.
  16. blowerman

    blowerman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,275

    I run all standard flow with no problems on driveways. When it comes to blowing back snow banks, I find skiddy's with blowers are a waste of time.
    To cure the problem of snow build up in front of garages, on the last pass up a driveway the operator turns and in a scooping motion blows away anything that builds up within a few inches of the door. This is why you need the control kit build into your machine, as we are always moving the shoot & deflector around to direct the snow to exact spots in the yards.
  17. Maxamillion67

    Maxamillion67 Member
    Messages: 44

    The other night at work I used the skid steer with a blower on it. I never used one before so I thought I would try it out on some piles of snow that were blocking a walk way. It did a better job then I thought it would do. Yes it would have been faster to move them with a bucket, but with the blower the piles were gone. I would think about buying one if snow plowing was my main job, but the five or six grand for one is to expensive for what I do with my machine.
  18. Schuley

    Schuley Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    we just picked one up this year for our 175 New Holland standard flow. I was nervous about how they would work on a standard flow model. Ours is 72hp I think? I was pleasantly surprised as to how well it worked. I don't think we will be using it 100% of the time though. We get a lot of 1-2" snow falls and the blades are faster on most stuff. I've used it to blow some piles back and also blew a path to a building about 80yds off the road. It worked well, and like someone else stated, there were no piles, it tossed the snow 30' away over a large area. We are forcasted to get 6-10" in a couple days and will probably be using it on our resi's and some small lots we have with limited space for piles. Learning curve for sure, and we're trying to figure out how to best implement it into our route to maximize its usefulness.
  19. fyrwood guy

    fyrwood guy Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    howdy all, i have been researchin' skidsteer snowblowers and just ran into this thread.i have a 1845c which i bought brand new in '86 which i use to load tree length firewood logs onto my firewood processor.it has a foot operated valve on the floor to open and shut the jaws on my multi-teck log grapple. my question is....how well will a erskine es2010 snowblower work on my skid?....and will i need to modify my exsisting hyd system?

    the sales rep says i will like it & no mods needed. I WOULD LIKE TO BELEIVE HIM!!!!

    but i'm thinkin' i'd like to read what you guy's have to say....before i buy.

    i'm going to use it here at my house/business only to keep my woodyard(gravel surface) cleaned up .....and my chainsaw shop too.

    aug oak 2008 033 Standard e-mail view.jpg

  20. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    I don't know the particulars of your machine and the blower you are considering, but the main obstacle I ran into until I went with the same make of blower as my machine was that the interface between your machine and blower will likely not match up (ie. the electrical controls). You will need some form of a separate control box that will tell your blower where to divert the hydraulic flow (to turn the chute or deflector).

    You need to know the GPM and pressure of your skid and match it EXACTLY to the blower motor flow requirement. That is very important. Don't trust your dealer knows this automatically, confirm this for yourself before you sign the cheque. Most dealers I run into don't even know what they are selling, I have to read them the brochure before they know anything about it - quite sad really.