NorTrac 3-Pt. Snow Thrower - 72in.W Intake, Fits Tractors with 35 to 50 HP, Model# BE-SBS72G
I love this snow blower
This is a great value. Half price when compared to an implement dealer and equal quality. Had some huge snow last year, over waist high drifts and it walked right through them. Throws snow over 25 feet. Excellent Quality!
January 16, 2012
First Impression from normally snowy MI
Well, I ordered this thing in early fall to be sure I had it in time for snow. So far, only 1 measurable snowfall has occurred, and that melted off in a couple of days, so the unit has never been run. However, Northern asked me for a review, so here it is:
- The unit seems well made. No skimping on the steel. Like others said, the main body is 1/4" plate. I really like the fact that the main gearbox is safely packaged behind the auger instead of in the middle of the auger like many other 2- stage units. I like the heavy #60 drive chain. I like the shearbolt protection for the auger. There is also a shearbolt in the driveline, but that looks like it could be a pain to access if it sheared. I appreciate that it arrived fully greased up with the blue waterproof grease. I like the fact that it appears to use all standard bearing inserts in standard sized flange blocks. You could repair this thing with parts right from TSC or McMaster. I like the fact the lift arms are bolt-on and have several inches of telescoping adjustment. It does run smooth, nearly silent, and seems well balanced. The include driveline is very nice quality. I really like the price, given what comparable equipment costs locally.
I did not like the extremely sloppy fit of the chute to the body. I ended up having to make another 1/8" plastic ring to take up the slack in the fit. This was after the wholesaler sent me the plastic ring, which was lost in shipment due to some rough handling along the way.
I did not like that the top link attachment has a bolted splice joint right in the middle of it. I'm very tempted to weld this solid as it's a tad flimsy. I guess it's made this way for compact shipping.
The welding overall is fair. Not gorgeous by any means, but it appears functionally decent. Could be better and is on most domestically made stuff I see.
Mine arrived with a defective auger drive chain. I found this during a close inspection while getting the chain all lubed up and ready to go. There was actually a side link missing, which made the chain VERY weak. Lucky for me I found it or it would have made an ugly mess when it inevitably failed. The wholesaler ( Braber) was very good about sending a replacement, but not so lucky for me that process took about 10 days from WA to MI, so the unit was not operable during the one big snow we actually did have.
I also discovered that the bolt retaining the fan was not tight and allowed the fan to move endwise on the shaft. I caught this in inspecting it and corrected it. The factory had applied some loctite, but it was not in the right spot, nor had they cleaned the bolt of oil, so it did not hold. I ran a tap thru to clean-up the threads and installed a quality bolt with a hi-collar lock washer. This would have been a mess too if not caught.
I guess my experience so far is that you should expect a good basic design, but you had better check it over carefully before 1st use and expect to possibly have some interaction with the folks at Braber to get it right after you rec'v it. For me, it still seems like a major bargain, but for some who can afford more or who are not able to handle basic repair and adjustment, you might be more satisfied with something that comes with local support and a more recognized brand. This is made in China, and I'm none too thrilled about that, but for me it was the only affordable choice.
The included manual is pretty worthless. You do get an exploded picture, but it is not necessarily 100% correct and there have been changes made over time. Beyond that, it really lacks for any useful info. For example, it does not even tell you how to determine the correct oil level in the gearbox, which you really need to check before use.
I would really like to see Northern do a better job supporting their customers by offering parts for stuff like this. I may end up calling Braber and trying to buy a spare gearbox to have on hand in case I need it a few years from now when the unit is no longer supported. Like I said, most other parts are off-the shelf, but Northern should catalog the gearboxes, plastic chute rings, and maybe some sprockets right on their site so serious buyers could purchase spares up front.
If it ever snows here again ( we are probably a few feet behind normal now), I'll post an update after actual use. For now, I guess it has worked perfectly, as my drive has been 100% snow free and it's already mid January!
January 9, 2012
Great snow thrower at a reasonable price
It became my responsibility this winter to clear the 1/8th mile lane I share with my neighbors. I decided to get this 72in thrower after much research. It's been great being able to clear snow once instead of having to keep pushing it into piles. I use it on a 30hp tractor and have had no problems with power, you just have to slow down for the really deep snow. I would say it cuts my snow removal time in half over just using a blade.
I ended up taking off the replaceable skid shoes since they raised the blower off the ground too much and caused too much snow to be left behind. If I figure out how to attach a rubber scraper the length of the blower then I'll probably put the shoes back on. Otherwise it's been working great without the shoes.
I have no complaints about the blower but kinda wish it had a hydraulic chute rotator. It has the brackets for mounting one so it is possible.
February 2, 2011
A great value backed by incredible support
I normally do not have the time, or inclination, to write product reviews. I am so impressed, on so many levels, with this product, the manufacturer and Northern Tool, that I felt I should let others know about my buying experience.
I must admit, I was very skeptical of a 72" snow blower that sells for about half of comparable units. I did research on Braber Equipment and had some questions for them before buying the Agriease blower. The customer support folks at Northern Tool were great about putting me in touch with the right person at Braber. He was able to answer my questions about quality, pricing and parts availability. I felt so comfortable with his replies that I immediately got one on order.
Mine arrived considerably sooner than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. As with any 700lb item that is shipped, there is always the chance of freight damage and my new snow blower did have some minor damage. The Northern Tool customer service reps were very responsive and gave me instructions on how to handle it. The folks at Braber had a part ready to ship immediately, so I could not have asked for it to be resolved any faster.
Upon arrival, I honestly expected to see a snow blower that resembled a high-school metal shop project. What I received was a well-constructed piece of equipment that will still be working long after I am gone :) The fit and finish is the same as what I see on other brands sitting on implement dealer lots.
Bottom line, if you are looking for a solid snow blower at an incredible price, do not hesitate to buy the Agriease.
November 7, 2010