In the Fall of 2011 I went shopping for a snowblower for my Husky LTH18538 lawn tractor. I went to my local Hometown Sears store to view a floor display and found that none were out on the floor. The manager advised he had one in stock and that was in a seal carton in the back. Manager did not want to open the carton to view it so I took the 45 mile ride to a REAL Sears store to view the blower on display there. I subsequently purchased it along with the wheel weights and chains. *****
Prior to installation I took the time to sort out all the parts. This was a great time saver during assembly since there are parts included for various models that I wouldn't be using. Quite impressed with that fact. (Make a point of saving the extras just in case you ever wish to re-sell the blower) I assembled and installed the blower over the course of two afternoons. Estimated time was between 8 and 10 hours. I found the instructions were well documented and the project was easy for anyone mechanically inclined with the proper tools. Mounting the unit to the tractor is two man job, but one person can get it done with a little muscle and some maneuvering of the unit. I did touch up the paint where it was worn from shipping and from scratches during my assembly. *****
I waited just about all winter to get a good snow fall in which to use the blower. In my area of Wisconsin, it was getting an unusually light season for snow. What snow came was in the 1 to 3 inch catagory and hardly worth blowing. Finally, on February 29th we got 7 to 9 inches of the heavy wet stuff. As a proud poppa I got on my tractor and engaged the blower. For the first 3 feet I blew snow 30 feet. Then I hit the hard stuff and that was it. The blower stopped and the belt flew off. Re-installed belt, same thing happened when I hit the drift. Re-installed belt and this time it flew off when I engaged the blower. I then parked the unit and inspected it for the problem. I found that 3 of the 4 studs that secure the Idler Bracket (part #24281) had sheered off. Either the bolt studs were stressed due to being over tightened at the factory or they were of poor quality. I contemplated calling Sears for warranty service, but figured they would just replace they with similiar questionable studs. I wound up drilling out the studs and replacing them myself with machine harden bolts. *****
Finally re-assembled, I got on my machine and went back to the task at hand. During the repair it had started raining and the snow was even more wet and dense. Due to the wet heavy snow I had to go at a slow speed, but the blower performed well. I was shooting snow and water 20 feet without the unit ever plugging up. Impressive. Overall, the blower reduced my snow removal time by 2/3's and it will be interesting to see how it performs with a normal snow fall. ******
Other than the incident with the sheered studs, the unit appears solid and of good construction. Time will tell how well the unit holds up with continued usage.
After the first bout of snow this year, I decided to take a chance and purchase a lawnmower mounted snowblower. I didn't want to pay the extra $200.00 so I waited over a month for the delivery, which I also saved $100.00 on by picking up at the local Sears. Even still, the price was around $1300.00. The assembly and installation was straightforward, so I give kudos for that. Once in operation it exceeded my expectations, 'with the caveat being only the auger to the right of the gearbox operated, the left side auger was dead.' For the last 5 or so years I've been severely disappointed in Sears products and services. Sadly, I'm also not interested in jumping the hurdles to make Sears provide what I've paid for. Once again thank you to the current CEO and owner for driving customers away in droves from an American heritage company. I'm pretty sure this is my last major purchase from Sears.
I'm happy with it so far, I have only used it once since buying it because of lack of snow.
this snowblower is a piece of junk, constantly failing me ! I would never recommend anyone buy it, when you really need it in the cold and snow, before you head out to work, it fails you. I bought the protection agreement and no help. no wonder sears is going under
I bought this unit in the fall of 2003 and have used it every winter since then. I live on the shores of Lake Michigan and we get lots of snow. I can't even guess the number of hours it has on it. I recently had to do some repairs and found these reviews while looking for parts. I saw many negatives so I decided to share my personal experience.
Assembly wasn't simple, but taking my time and laying out parts in advance helped a lot. I don't recall how long it took but everything went together properly and the unit functioned correctly. I also purchased wheel weights, tire chains and a cab. In my opinion all of these are necessary.
I use my lawn tractor for mowing as well so this unit gets removed and re-installed every year. I can do it by myself but it really helps to have another set of hands to get the blower hooked to the bracket on the tractor. Total install time is about 1/2 hour. It actually takes me longer to install the wheel weights, chains and cab than the blower assembly.
When I remove the blower in the spring I lube all the moving parts and wire brush & spray paint any areas that are getting bare. also check and adjust/replace the skid shoes and scraper bar as needed. The scraper lasts a while but the shoes only go for a few seasons per pair.
I have only had two breakdowns since I've owned the machine . The first problem occured after about 9 years. The main drive belt was damaged and kept falling off when the PTO was engaged. I replace the belt but the second one, an aftermarket, lasted only a short time and continued to slip off. It turned out that the bearings in the "pulley plate" that routes the power from the PTO to the main drive belt had worn out causing a lot of slop and belt slipping/throwing. After I replaced the bearings the next aftermarket belt worked perfectly. My advice to keep an eye on the pulleys. Replace the bearings if they get wobbly. Throwing belts is a sign that something isn't right and that's the first place to look.
Just this year (winter 16) I had my second breakdown. This time it was the gearbox that drives the auger assembly. I took it apart and found that the gears inside were destroyed. The replacement I bought from Sears Parts Direct was a much beefier unit that should last longer than the original. Installing the replacement required drilling additional holes in the blower housing but only took about 1.5 hours. While I was at it I replaced all the bearings in housing. The old ones weren't bad but I believe in preventative maintence.
As I mentioned above, here in West Michigan we get a lot of snow. I live on a private road without municipal plow service so I regularly clear the entire 1500 foot road along with my own and a neighbor's driveway. All things considered, this unit has given me excellent service and i'm confident it will continue to do so. I don't feel that the repairs I've had to do were unreasonable considering the amount of use it gets. If I had to buy it again I would.
Good snowblower and great delivery drivers! but very difficult to install. You need to search through bags of nuts and bolts to find everything you need for each step. It's not hard to install, but hard to find each nut and bolt you need to install the part. Install 6-8 HRS!