How Does a Tractor Snowblower Work?

By Natalie Martin , last updated May 3, 2011

Just as traces of winter have almost passed, you may have wondered how your useful tractor snowblower has worked this past season, or have considered purchasing one. If you have used one before, you probably know that these machines are useful, powerful and time-saving. While there are many manufacturers, models and makes of tractor snowblowers, it is still possible to understand how a typical tractor snowblower works.

A tractor snowblower is simply a snowblower that can be attached to a tractor, and thus uses the power of the tractor's engine instead of that of its own engine. There are basically two snowblower configurations: a front mount, and a rear mount.

Rearmount Snowblower

If you live in an area with low to moderate snowfall, and may not use the snowblower extensively, intensely, or frequently, you may choose to use a rear mount tractor snowblower. A common tractor snowblower for non-intensive tractor snowblower users is the rear 3-point mounted snowblower. This 3-point mounted snowblower is actually quite simple to install: back up the tractor to the snowblower, connect the 3-point hitch and the power take off, and you're all set.

The drawback of a rear mount tractor snowblower is that you must drive the tractor in reverse while snowblowing, which necessitates the constant turning of your head In order to see where you’re headed, and also may not be beneficial to the tractor's transmission.

Front-mounting Snowblower

The other option is front-mounting the tractor snowblower, which would be suitable if you live in an area with heavy and/or frequent snowfall, and will be using the snowblower a great deal. Additionally, you can actually drive forward and see where you’re headed! The drawback is, however, that it is much more complicated than the rear mount tractor snowblower. As a front mount tractor snowblower is typically operated by hydraulics, it requires a large and complicated mounting mechanism. Most controls for the snowblower, including the choke, electric keystart, throttle, and hydraulic snowblower lift need to be wired into a tractor’s cab. If your tractor fortuitously has a loader, however, the front mount snowblower can be easily mounted onto the loader.

Thus, both front and rear mount tractor snowblowers have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are living in an area with heavy snowfall, however, the front mount snowblower would certainly be a greater help in clearing the heavy and/or frequent snowfall.

So that you can have a better picture of what a tractor snowblower is capable of doing, it can clear a path of snow seven to nine feet wide and five feet deep, and throw the snow to more that 50 feet away in any directionbut backwards. These powerful tractor snowblowers often require a 2-cylinder, a 4-cycle or27-horsepower gas engine with a minimum force of six distinct full power push units in order to operate with such intensity! As you can imagine, they’re also quite heavy, ranging from 800 to 1,200 pounds.

Mechanics

In terms of mechanics, how does the snowblower work? How is it powered? The following will give an illustration of the workings of the rear mount tractor snowblower.

The tractor’s power take off is the source of the power used to rotate the blower and auger of the snowblower. Power from the take off, located at the tractor’s rear side, is delivered along the sprockets and chain to a drive shaft that is mounted along the side of the tractor. This drive shaft is connected to the system of chains and sprockets mounted on the blower housing. The chain and sprockets transfer power from another connected shaft to that of the auger blade, thus enabling the powerful motion of the snowblower.

As mentioned earlier, the front mount tractor snowblower is more complex, as it is operated by hydraulics, and necessitate a larger and more complicated mounting system to work in conjunction with the tractor.

The Future of Tractor Snowblowers

Recently there have been developments for a rear mount 3-point mount tractor snowblower which you can drive forward, instead of driving through snow in the usual reverse method commonly found with 3-point tractors snowblowers. This would be an opportunity for those who like the simpler mechanics of the 3-point mount tractor snowblowers in addition to the feasibility of front visibility while steering and driving through the snow! Again, there is a drawback however, and that is that it may not be able to drive through a depth of snow greater than five feet.

Powerful pieces of machinery, tractor snowblowers can be extremely useful and simple to use. For the next winter season, you may wish to consider how it can facilitate snow removal around your residence or desired facility.

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