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walk behind salt spreader help

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by readysnowplow, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. readysnowplow

    readysnowplow Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    I have been using an earthway commercial spreader for the past few years and it works okay but I'm having issues with it spreading all the time and evenly. In order to get out the bulk rock salt I have to bounce and jump the spreader around because it won't let the salt out all of the time. I am LOOKING FOR A DIFFERENT SPREADER that can handle bulk rock salt. any suggestions from the pros?
  2. tpiper

    tpiper Member
    from kansas
    Messages: 38

    i bought an earthway professional spreader last fall directly from earthway at expo in kentucky. they told me it would spread dry sand with no problem! well i spent big money on a spreader that i just push around and throw sand by hand. if you figure something out or if someone has any sugesstions i would be greatly thankful.
  3. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872


    I am afraid its not the spreader it is the granular salt salt that is the problem due to the salt granuals not being equal in size.

    what is the condition of the agitator of the spreaders?

    Have you sprayed any fluid film or WD 40 or furniture polish in the gate slides and the tube
    that carrys the cable that controls the gate spacing?

    Spraying film or wd 40 of furniture polish or cooking spray in the hopper walls,
    agitator gate sliding channels will keep everything moving.

    If you have mason sand or concrete sand you will have clumping
    and you need to add windshield washer fluid to keep it flowing well
    and keeping the sand warm possibly by keeping some in the truck
    if you have bags of it will help[ a huge amount.

    The rock salt you buy has a large percentage of fines and that is what
    you are also dealing with-even in the bag rock salts salts I am afraid to say.

    The salt mines have no desire to wash their rock salt with salt water to clean it and
    eliminate the fines created by blasting and abrasion while it is transfered and stored.

    Using solar salt for deicing gives you a product almost no salt fines in the bags.
    the solar salt is washed to eliminate the fines and any dirt form the salt pan ponds.

    Buuuut if you wanted to you could screen the fines out of the salt bags you use
    with an 1/8 inch hardware cloth frame and shake the fines out in to a second bucket to spread later

    Any rock salt that is for sale as a bagged product will have a very large percentage of fines as it is a product taken
    from the bulk salt conveyors as a side product for sale with little zero effort and no additonal screening as it is a sesonbal product.

    Making sure the gate slides properly, the gate channels are clean, and the control cabke is lubricated by spraying the lubricant in the tube and eliminating the fines and using windshield washer fluid will help you a long way with the spreaders.

    The problem with gravel sand is it is not screened other than the initial screening cuts,
    for the various sized cobble stones, 1,2,3, 4 stone, then concrete sand and mason sand
    The final screens in a screen deck are what give you the two sizes of gravel sand.

    Anything below pea gravel can be used as gravel bank sand- being concrete sand or mason sand
    which is the final sand when it is washed to the bottom of the screener and the sand auger carries the wet sand away to the stock pile for removal.

    I wish I could provide you with a better option but if you look at the tailgate spreaders they eliminate the plugging problem of fines with a wider bottom opening

    and a spinner that is much bigger than the opening to eliminate the material simply flowing out.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  4. readysnowplow

    readysnowplow Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    I don't see how that's relevant. The spreader has openings that are wider than the salt so it is supposed to do what it "says" it does. The issue w/me is it doesn't come out aT ALL. Not a little or spuratically. Not at all unless I bounce it around like a kangaroo or dig in w/my habd and throw it
  5. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872


    I was simply citing them as an example.

    If you use windsheild washer fluid it will keep sand and salt from clumping the salt is very poor and you may end up opening the gate wider as I mentioned dur to the product quality or lack there of with rock salt.
  6. tpiper

    tpiper Member
    from kansas
    Messages: 38

    thanks for the reply! i undertand what you are saying, i will try the things you mentioned and see what happens, i have been trying to come up with another agitater option other than just a cotter key. if the sand coud get moved around in the middle and the top when it falls to the opening it might work better. again thanks for the info it probably wont be an issue around here again this season but i will work on it for next.
  7. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    spreader etc.

    Your most welcome.

    One thing you would be able to do with few problems is go to a welding shop and ask how much it would cost to make a small 2 tine pitch fork to attach to the agitator shaft with the fork attached to the agitator shaft with another cotter pin.

    The 2 tines would be 3 inches apart-1 1/2 inches from the agitator shaft.

    One tine might even be better simply to protect the gearbox

    If you had more than 2 tines it would create to much drag and possibly ruin the gear box

    The pitch fork sleeve would pass over the agitator shaft and be held in place with a cotter pin with a hole drilled in the sleve to match the one in the agitator shaft.

  8. tpiper

    tpiper Member
    from kansas
    Messages: 38

    thats kind of what i had in mind. when you say to add windshield washer fluid to the sand how much and should it be mixed up or just pour into hopper and go? i do about 2 miles of sidewalks and steps for apartment complex. they have brick/concrete boxes with nice locking lids on them to keep sand in. it is mostly dry but like you said i think it is either concrete or mason sand so even though its dry it does still stick together. i have noted all everything you said and will put it to use next fall before season hits. will definatly get my brother n law to make me a pitch fork addition to the agitater. thanks again for your knowledge
  9. dchr

    dchr Senior Member
    Messages: 159

    Had the same problems years ago. All great advice given from leon. I now have tailgate spreaders but also still use push for the walks. I found that Halite is the most consistently sized bagged rock salt in my area-I use the word consistent loosely. The pitchfork agitator will be your greatest improvement-I remove the cotter pin on all my walk behinds and fab something similiar to what is in a blender and works wonderfully. I also practically immerse the spreaders in fluid film consistently. As far as the sand stored on site (I have two propertys with small storage sheds) I utilize what leon said about the washer fluid and I load the sheds up with dessicant packs that I purchase on line from a company called ULINE. They seem to help also. Good luck.
  10. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872


    The caking problem will not go away and you have a few options:

    first is pricing isoproyl alcohol in volume from sams - versus several cases of wind sheild washer fluid using the price per quart as the deciding factor.

    The second option is buying large bags (40-50 pound bags) of yellow prussiate of soda which is an anti caking agent that is liquified and sprayed on the salt and sand to keep it flowing. it will not go bad etc. as long as its dry.

    The windsheild washer fluid will be something added as you spread sand and salt etc.

    I guess its a case of your SANITY and any available prep time as every bag of sand or salt that is premixed with the (no cake) solution, dryed and kept under cover will flow freely with little effort.

    about mixing:

    a small cement mixer can do this quickly with little effort by the batch or total purchase

    buy using a small pump sprayer to spray the sand and salt while it is turning and then decide if it is wet enough. then dump it in pails or a large bin for loose storage.

    FYI the molder of the plastic tidy cat pails in canada will deliver one pallet of these size pails by truck they will be reuseable year after year and they are very strong and easily stacked full in the off season.

    I do not want to drive you crazy with my suggestions, and I only want to help you

  11. SServices

    SServices Senior Member
    Messages: 163

    i have a buyers salt dogg walk behind spreader, works good, i have to agree about about the halite salt. I've tried many different types of salt, its the best i've found so far.