I was at low power gently blowing some powdery snow against the house to help insulate it when a terrible vibration and noise erupted from the snow blower.
I shut it down, got out and looked, found the universal joint that's bolted onto the rear of the snow blower broke. Not at the little swivel part of the universal joint, but the cast metal part broke, and it looks like it had been partially broke for a while.
It's only about the 5th or 6th time I've used it, looks like a manufacturing error.
Being that I was still in the back yard and hadn't even started clearing the 8" to 10"s of snow out of the driveway. I got slightly Panicky as I caught sight of the neglected shovel happily trying to wave me over to it.
The thought of having to shovel the driveway really clears the mind and I remembered that the mower was sitting in the shed out back and it had a driveshaft attached to it. I quickly cleared of the bike, boxes and push mower off it and laid the broken driveshaft next to its driveshaft, every thing looked right except the mower driveshaft was a few inches longer. I took the bolt out but it wouldn't come off, that's when I noticed it had a snap ring holding it on also, the snowblower snap ring was missing. After using the wrong tools to remove the snap ring I bolted it onto the snowblower.
It only had 1 to 3 inches for the driveshaft to slide back and forth, not good, but after tilting the snowblower back a little bit the free play stayed at around 2-3 inches, that looked safe enough. I gave it a try and it worked great, very smooth even at 2000 rpm's. The old one must have been cracked when I got it as it always vibrated.
Time to visit the Bobcat dealer, but I'm glad the mower driveshaft worked as a temp backup.
The snowblower is a very poor design as it pushes a lot of snow out in front even at slow speeds, I have used many types of snow blowers over the years and never seen that before. The engine tends to just loaf along unless you have a couple of feet of very wet compacted snow, then it works a little. Lots of snowblowing power, and the cab is nice and warm.