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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello JD crew! It’s been months since I last posted, as 2022 was a summer and fall of busy-ness, putting a pile of hours on my 318 with the 54” four-way blade - landscaping and seeding a new yard, among a zillion other things related to moving a household. I’d planned to have the 49 snow thrower mounted before winter started, but was delayed by a surgery and needing four new tires on the 318, which I just finished this past week after repainting the rims inside and out.

I‘ll attach a few pics of the 318/49… the 318 has been a project itself, having found it 18 months ago and making only the repairs necessary to put it to work. It has proven itself worthy of every dollar spent and hour of time needed. I’ll work on a few leaks and some new seals, plus cosmetics, in the coming year. My 54” blade was in decent shape and required only a new cutting edge to begin work. I’ll be redoing a leaky angle cylinder on it later.

I located the 49 online and drove 3.5 hours one-way to get it in Kansas, and then the same distance back home in Iowa. The blower appeared to have seen very little use and looks to be in great, original condition. It is a 1985 model year, same as my 318 (not planned).

After gleaning loads of advice from all of you sharing your wisdom and experience on this site, I’ve got the 49 prepped and mounted on the 318. I had to straighten the tensioner idler bracket to get clearance with the steel hydraulic lines and align the idler with the PTO and thrower drive pulleys. I also straightened the shield over the blower driveshaft coupler, and wiped the blower down with some windex and paper shop towels. I diligently cleaned the old grease out of the 49’s driveshaft gearbox without using any solvents, and went back in with fresh corn head grease and a new cover gasket. The gears were pristine and there is hardly any gear lash, and no sign of leaky seals. The auger spins freely, no noise or indication of bearing problems in the auger or driveshafts. All is quiet when the drive chain is removed and the auger spun by hand. All five original spare shear bolts are still in the storage bracket. The 318 bracket for the chute control handle came with the blower. I lubed the chute base and control cable spool, they work smooth enough to get me going this season and have time later to mod the base with thin plastics. It has the short chute, which may or may it change later, but will probably get better controls at some point. I’ll also be adding rubber flaps to the auger when I can locate the material and have the time.

The first time mounting the 49 to the 318 was educational, especially when figuring out the bent tensioner bracket problem and maintaining clearance for the idler. I had the blower on a furniture dolly, and that made it so easy to position. Raising the 49 a half inch to get the lower pins in the 318 front brackets was easy. A few pumps with a floor jack centered under the front axle raised the 318 just enough to engage the front locking pins. The hydraulics work perfectly and there are no oil leaks. In the future I might use the hydraulics to engage the front locking pins.

Even though the auger and driveshafts spin freely and are nearly noise-free, when the drive chain is reinstalled and set with 3/8-1/2 inch flex in the lower chain segment, it makes what I think is an unusual amount of noise with the engine running, PTO engaged and auger spinning. It’s not a grinding bearing or clunking noise, just louder than I expected. Is it just chain and sprocket noise? (I have no experience with big snow throwers like this) The sprockets and chain are not contacting the chain cover, and all set screws on pulleys and sprockets are verified tight. The chain had no rust or corrosion whenI took the cover off, but had a sticky lube applied to it. The chain was relatively clean, and I replaced the master link locking clip as it was bent a smidgen. I applied some light spray lube to the chain to try and loosen it up a bit, and it helped some. None of the chain links were stuck or seized, but it seemed tight and the original lube kind of tacky. I plan to pick up a can of no-drip chain lube tomorrow and redo the chain to see if it quiets down any or loosens up a bit more. Or, is it just me needing to get used to the sound the 49 makes when under power? Is there another procedure anyone would recommend on this chain? Based on the position of the tensioner sprocket (and the overall condition of the blower), I believe the chain has very little wear and might be a bit gummed up. The chain tensioner bearing itself sounded fine and had no side-play in it.

So, that’s it… until it snows again and I get to test this beast in real life. Thanks again to all of you for sharing and caring. Your willingness to steer the rest of us in the direction we need to go saves us untold amounts of time and money, and makes rescuing old green machines a lot of fun!

Any thoughts on chain noise reduction or lubing it differently?

Anyone else running front tire chains to help with steering on ice? My experience with a previous 318 pushing snow with a 54” four-way blade prompted me to want to try them this time around.


Tony


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Tony,
You did indeed find a model 49 in exceptionally good condition, and the maintenance you performed will guarantee the blower remains that way. Chain flexing around the tensioner sprocket necessarily produces some noise. The model 50 snowthrower has no tensioner sprocket, and is whisper quiet, whereas, the model 37A with two idler sprockets is more noisy than the model 49. I agree that condition of he chain probably tracks with condition of the blower, so a good lube should be fine, at least for this season. The #50 chain has a 5/8" pitch, so measuring 10 or 20 links and comparing with the expected 6.25 or 12.50" will give an idea of wear/stretch, that should be no more than a couple percent. Front tire chains do help with sideways skidding when blading at an angle. I have never tried them with a blower.
Harold
 
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Tony,
All looks good. Practice, use that 318/49 combo, you'll like it.
Chain noise: yeah, can make you wonder. Although it may be stated in the OM that the chain does not require any lubrication, I used Liquid Wrench Chain & Cable Lube spray.
Think a couple of WFM members posted that they removed the chain idler sprocket and the noise was reduced. Don't know how that panned out. I just considered the noise as
a " nature of the beast" thing. Below is a pic of what we had, January 2010.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the advice and input! I haven’t had a chance to re-do the chain but did pick up some chain lube, so am ready to go. I’ll circle back with an update in a few days. I appreciate the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi all, I revisited the chain issue on the model 49 yesterday. Twenty links on the chain measured exactly 12.5 inches, which indicates little to no stretch. (I learned something there on chain pitch!) I re-lubed the chain with some Lucas spray chain lube and it seemed to loosen up the stiffness of the chain. Reinstalled, tension checked and back together. Runs fine, still a bit noisy but I’m satisfied it’s ready to test out with the next snow (tomorrow?).

Thanks again for the info! I’m sure I’ll run into more stuff in the coming months when I get pull the 318 apart for seals, bushings, bearings, and refinishing!

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi all… just a quick report on how the 318/49 snow thrower did in my first outing. In my area we got between 4 and 5 inches of heavy, wet snow… preceded by rain and ice. The 318/49 was amazing and any issues encountered were chalked up as operator error and a learning opportunity. Once I figured out I needed to slow down to a crawl when I hit the thickest and wettest stuff, and was able to take half width cuts, the blower chute didn’t plug up. Go figure! Overall, this thing is a beast at moving snow. I expect that throw distance will be farther when I’m not dealing with this kind of snow, so I was happy to get 10-15 feet on some of it. We had no mechanical problems and are ready for the next session whenever it comes! Thanks again for the input and advice 😁. Tony
 
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