Snowblower and drive belts

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Nov 9, 2008
Well, for the auger. I have a Toro 522, I think it's 5hp / 22inch wide. Inherited it, didn't have space for it, so, it's stored outside. Runs great. However, last season I had to stop using it, as it would not move snow. A brand new belt would not make it through an hour's worth of snow. Figured it was just old, as I could not get any more tension on the belt. Yesterday, for the heck of it, I looked at it again. After pulling out the belt, I noticed that there was heavy rust on the pulley. I then spent at least a half-hour filing down the rust, in hopes that this might fix the issue. Note: it's always had the belt cover on it, so the pulley has never been rained on. Might the problem (the slipping belt) be fixed by this? Is polished rust more slippery than bare metal?
Please give me some encouragement. I have been putting this off for a while. I really need to change the belt on mine. I have bought the OEM belt and have all (and then some!) tools too but I need somebody to give me moral support. - Vikas
Rust on the pulley isn't a problem. Oil/grease on the other hand is. Considering how quickly you're going through belts, I'd say you have an alignment problem. Check to ensure the pulleys line up correctly. If not, determine where the problem is. Take a close look at the pulley for possible separation or cracks. Belts should last for years if installed properly and correctly adjusted.
What kind of snowblower? I have but this one. And it's dirt simple. Unless if that's the problem with mine... On mine, a Toro 522, it's two bolts to remove the black plastic housing over the belts. It's between the motor and the chute; use a 3/8's wrench. Once that's out of the way, I'm able to grab the belt, and guide it off the engine pulley. On mine, the tension is so low I don't even have to loosen anything. Once off the engine pulley, I squeeze the auger control, as there is an auger brake that prevents the belt from coming off. Once the brake is out of the way, the belt can be dropped down a bit, snaked off the auger pulley, then pulled out. Really, it takes longer to describe. Installation is reverse procedure. I have read / been told to use only Toro belts on Toro's. Apparently their V belts aren't the same as others. Beats me.
Maybe the belt was just getting wet? I have a tendancy to push back banks that are a bit taller than the snowblower... But the belts are well out of the way, protected quite well. Belts don't look bad, actually, when I've pulled them out. Don't seem any thinner than new ones. Just slip like the dickens. [Who came up with that saying, anyhow?] Did not think to look at the auger pulley though for cracks/separations; will do that next. Does not make any squealing noises, btw. It just starts to not throw very far, and then barely at all. I think something has simply worn out on it. Belt tension is at max, and doesn't seem tight at all. Will give another look-see at the tensioner, maybe something came undone.
How did you size the belt? Did you take the old stretched one to the parts store for measuring? If your belt is an inch too thick you can have issues. I use the green or grey OPE belts from advance auto. One can buy them online if they know their stuff. Also investigate if you were ever repowered with a 3/8" pulley on the engine and a 1/2 on the auger drive, for example.
I ordered whatever the online parts places stated, and/or what the manual stated. Did not take to local place nor NAPA; just used supposedly what is Toro belts, although now that I think about it, perhaps they're just cheapo belts. Someplace at IIRC. The first belt went at least a year if not two. Second belt made about a year, then this past year it went through at least 2. AFAIK the pulleys have never been touched (inherited the beast). Hmm, maybe I'll buy another pair of belts then, from someplace else. Perhaps I've been buying the wrong ones all along...
I always tell people to go to their local shop and buy a drive belt and one for the auger. Hang them on the wall and put them on the blower when the old ones break or wear out. It's funny how a ragged belt can last another 2 or 3 years when it knows it's replacement is hanging on the wall in the garage.
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