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Old 12-18-2013, 09:21 PM   #1
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PTO Shaft

question about the universal joints on the shaft that runs between the PTO and the attachment (snowblower). there don't apprear to be any grease fittings so I'm working under the assumption it is sealed bearings. I have watched the shaft from the side before and at idle speed after engaging it appears to wobble very little, and seems to straigten to a more true angle when under more power. today, I glanced at the shaft running more from the top at idle and there seemed to be more of a wobble. I turned the tractor off and took the time to inspect further, and noticed it seems the actual joint on the end of the shaft that fits the tractor has some play in the actual joints; like it is a little loose. I don't think the joint on the attachment end has as much play, it is under a protective shield so a little hard to check as easily. so, question is - is some play normal, or should the joint be tight? It is a new to me tractor, so for all I know the shaft is 40 years old with who knows how many hours.



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Old 12-19-2013, 10:18 PM   #2
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The bearing cross in the universal joint should be tight with no play. The only movement should be the joint pivoting in the two directions the joint is designed to move. If there is slop in the joint, it needs to be rebuilt. If you don't know how to do it, or don't have the time to do it, any tractor repair place should be able to rebuild it for you. Its not hard to do, but it does vary depending on the design of the joint and how tightly rusted the bearings are in the yokes. I've had a few that I've had to take to the local shop to use their acetylene torch and 30 ton press to get the joint apart. Others slide apart with ease. If you have it rebuilt, see if you can get the greaseable joints installed. It lets you keep fresh grease in the joints and push water out, especially on a snow blower.



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Old 12-19-2013, 10:31 PM   #3
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Is this the PTO shaft on your Ariens tractor? Depending on the shaft you have, parts may or may not be available for it. The older, larger joints are rebuildable, whereas the newer, smaller ones are not. If it has a pin holding it onto the PTO shaft, then theres a chance it can be rebuilt. If it has a black collar that you pull back to take it off, then its sold as a complete unit for something like $300. If you can get a model number on your blower and a pic of the shaft, I can tell you if the parts are still available.

For some reason, I was thinking this was a snowblower on the back of a larger tractor at first.

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Old 12-20-2013, 08:22 PM   #4
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Yes, the PTO on my Ariens S-12. It is the PTO with the pin and appears to me to be original. It does appear to have some slop in the joint. Is this likely an imminent failure or do you think I can get a couple months of snow blowing out of it?

The blower is model 831003, I'll get a pic of it and post that up also.

Went out to take a pic, but my camera was dead. One axis of the universal joint appears to have approx 1/32" play in it, the other axis on the spider is solid. If there's a way to put a new joint or spider in the shaft I might give it a shot. Just curious if I can drizzle some oil in there or chain lube, to get through the season and can take it apart at leasure in off season? If it starts to really fail will it get hot? or make noise? It's not getting hot or making noise at this point.

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Old 12-20-2013, 10:05 PM   #5
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http://autorepair.about.com/od/fixityourself/ss/How-To-Replace-Your-Universal-Joint_5.htm

If I have to do something like this, where would I find the bearing caps? or should I just swap the cross for the ujoint completely? depends on how corroded?
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by film495 View Post
http://autorepair.about.com/od/fixityourself/ss/How-To-Replace-Your-Universal-Joint_5.htm

If I have to do something like this, where would I find the bearing caps? or should I just swap the cross for the ujoint completely? depends on how corroded?
You should replace the whole u-joint, cross & caps. The u-joint kit will come complete. Take care not to lose the needle bearings that are in the caps or you could have a job to get the needle bearings back in the caps, Good Luck
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Old 12-21-2013, 12:51 PM   #7
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http://www.weasler.com/oem_ujoints.aspx?section=oem
http://www.therangerstation.com/Magazine/summer2008/ujoints.htm

couple pics, and a few references I looked up trying to figure out what I would need to order. one thing I don't get is how anyone would ever fit a tool between the yolk and the cross, since it seems to be right against one another, to fit a clip in there?

In one of the pics you can actually see the play, small gap - between the yolk where it would fit against the cross piece, but there seems to have developed approx 1/32" play in there. It makes me wonder if I might be able to just press the caps/bearings back onto the trunnions/pins and see if that removes the slop, probably a bad idea, but it did come to mind. It doesn't seem there is any play in the actual bearing rotation, but that the bearing on one end may have worked its way out over the years and that is why there is the play. I wondered if I might try to just check replace the clip that must have loosened up, but how would anyone ever get into that tiny space to put a clip in the first place?

122113122632.jpg
122113122722.jpg
122113122700.jpg

Oh, is that hole/depression in the joint a grease fitting. I looked it over for a traditional looking grease fitting and didn't find one, but now notice that depression in the pics and wonder if that is a grease fitting of some sort?
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Old 12-21-2013, 09:18 PM   #8
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The hole in the shaft is the hole where the grease fitting should be. The fitting may have unscrewed or broken off. Those shafts are not rebuildable according to Ariens. They sell them as a complete shaft, which retails for $270.75. If you get a new grease fitting in there, you may be able to milk it out for a while, but the shaft will eventually fail. When it does, you'll probably hear a loud bang, followed by a chunk of metal flying off the front of your unit at high speed. Had that happen to a few guys over the years. That shaft spins at 3650 RPM at full engine speed.

That said, the shaft doesn't look just too terrible. I'd probably get a fitting on it and run it as is. Keep an eye on it and see if it suddenly gets worse. If so, replace it with either another used one or a new one.

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Old 12-21-2013, 09:36 PM   #9
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If the universal joint is worn out its too late for grease. Are those cotter pins in the second picture? Are they holding the yoke to the spline? Do you have a manual for your blower? I see Ariens calls that cotter pin a "shaft retention kit" I looked up your blower and it looks like the shaft and the u joints are sold as one unit. You might have to take your shaft off and take it to a repair shop and see if they can rebuild it for you. Or they can make you up one that will work on your unit. Is your blower a 48" model 831003?

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Old 12-22-2013, 09:39 PM   #10
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Yes, it is 831003, I have a manual and parts diagram.

We have some warm weather here, so my first solution was to just put the joint into a vice and squeeze the small gap out of the yolk ears. I squeezed out the gap and the joint seems to still move correctly; not binding. I'll let it sit in the vice for a couple days and see if it takes a set with the gap closed or made smaller. If I'm lucky, 40 years of action just worked a small gap into the yolk ears allowing the trunnion ends approcimately 1/32" of play at the ends (1/64" on each end), but possibly the bearings are still good? Further inspection seems to show the other joint at the end of the shaft has one axis with maybe 1/64" of play in the same way (1/128 each end).

I checked that little hole and it is just a dimple in the metal, not a grease fitting.

122213215313.jpg  
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluid View Post
If the universal joint is worn out its too late for grease. Are those cotter pins in the second picture? Are they holding the yoke to the spline? Do you have a manual for your blower? I see Ariens calls that cotter pin a "shaft retention kit" I looked up your blower and it looks like the shaft and the u joints are sold as one unit. You might have to take your shaft off and take it to a repair shop and see if they can rebuild it for you. Or they can make you up one that will work on your unit. Is your blower a 48" model 831003?
All the "Shaft Retention Kit" has is a socket head capscrew and nut. Basically its a bolt, and you pay a premium for it. The proper clip used to be a large hairpin clip (or R clip), but was superseded into the bolt and nut several years ago. All the pin has to do is keep the PTO shaft from sliding forward or back on the splined shaft. There really isn't that much pressure on it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by film495 View Post
Yes, it is 831003, I have a manual and parts diagram.

We have some warm weather here, so my first solution was to just put the joint into a vice and squeeze the small gap out of the yolk ears. I squeezed out the gap and the joint seems to still move correctly; not binding. I'll let it sit in the vice for a couple days and see if it takes a set with the gap closed or made smaller. If I'm lucky, 40 years of action just worked a small gap into the yolk ears allowing the trunnion ends approcimately 1/32" of play at the ends (1/64" on each end), but possibly the bearings are still good? Further inspection seems to show the other joint at the end of the shaft has one axis with maybe 1/64" of play in the same way (1/128 each end).

I checked that little hole and it is just a dimple in the metal, not a grease fitting.
I was wondering how did you fix your U joint on your snowblower? What was the fix? Could you give us an update?
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:15 PM   #13
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I was wondering how did you fix your U joint on your snowblower? What was the fix? Could you give us an update?
I just left it in the vice for a few days, and figured it has probably been like that with the small wobble for years. So, I'm running it; I don't see it declining or causing a fuss yet, so I'll check it periodically and if it keeps working I'll take it.

That shaft probably gets 30 hours of work annually, so that's really not that much use in the grander scheme of things.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:12 PM   #14
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If it lasted this long it should last many more years. Glad to hear that you got your blower working good for you. Thanks for the update.



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