Snow Blower Question - AR Plate Steel

I’ve got a little snow blower that I bought new 10 years ago to help out where the Allis - Chalmers can’t plow. I do a long paved driveway and cul-de-sac with it.

It’s an Ariens 13hp / 36" 12v electric start, walk - behind model. Shoots snow far, just great, that’s not the problem.

The Problem

Every four or five years I have to replace the scraper blade underneath because it wears down. It wears down because the “skid shoes” that the front of the blower rides on, wear down, lowering the front of the blower. The shoes have to be replaced, too. The shoes are made to adjust, but I don’t do this regularly because of the cold and parts covered with ice, etcetera, just a big pain. The cold and snow are enough!

A Solution ?

I got another new scraper blade and took the old shoes to a fabrication shop where they made 1/2" AR (Abrasion Resistant) Plate skids and welded them to the old shoes. They look just like new ones except they have AR Plate now.

They told me that this steel is what plow trucks use on their blades.


If you’re familiar with AR Plate then tell me if this is going to help a lot or did I waste my time and money. Also, are there different grades of AR Plate or won’t that matter ?

Thanks, CSA

Assuming they welded the plate properly (pre-heat and proper welding rod) then yes, they will last a lot longer. Yes, there are different hardness levels available in AR plate. You didn’t state how much this cost you so it’s impossible to say whether or not it was a waste. I suspect since you went through with it, it was worthwhile for you.

I gave a friend some of this material without saying what it was. He tried cutting it with a hacksaw and the first push took off all the teeth. He thought it was a junk blade and did the same thing to another one. Then he called and cussed me out :wink:

Thanks, TT.

The shop charged $52.50 (3/4 hours) total labor for both shoes and $3.52 for materials (skids are appx. 1" W x 5" L x 1/2" Thick) + tax. Total for 2 skid shoes = $56.23.

New Ariens shoes go for $17.62 ea. locally x2 + tax. Total for 2 skid shoes = $37.36.

A new scraper blade runs about 35 bucks. If the scraper wears too much then the housing of the snow blower starts to contact the pavement and starts to wear.

I’m in the process of sanding, priming, and painting the fabricated shoes now. The welding looks better than the factory job. There is not a lot of strain on these shoes as the machine is balanced so that the tires carry almost all the weight and the front-end floats pretty easily.

I guess I spent about 20 bucks more going with AR Plate, plus some orange paint, and a little time prepping and painting them.


P. S. They told me they had to use a special cutter (couldn’t cut like regular steel) when I dropped off the old shoes. Maybe you know what it’s called. I can’t remember.

Why don’t you adjust your shoes in the summer when it’s nice out?

Goldwing, I Do That, But Since The Shoes Adjust And The Scraper Blade Does Not, Adjusting The Shoes Leaves The Wearing Scraper Blade Too High (No Longer Close To The Ground).

I just thought slowing all the wear would make life easier and the shoes and scraper last longer.

My old Toro machine used a “spring loaded” scraper blade. I don’t think the newer models have that now. My Ariens gets used almost daily on pavement.

By the way, is it going to get nice out ? We had 3" of snow on the week-end. I didn’t clear it, but it wasn’t nice out. It still isn’t.


Additional: The scraper is actually adjustable, but to such a small degree that it is not a useful feature. I’m considering asking if AR plate can be attached to it or replace it. It’s flat, about 2" x 36" and only about 1/8" thick, bent up on both ends.

CSA, AR steels aren’t just used for snow plows. Many scraping applications use these grades, like earth moving equipment. Welding the AR skid plates to the new shoes could be a problem, though. Part of the wear resistance is through heat treating. It is possible, though not certain, that the alloy’s hardness could have been reduced as the AR alloy cooled after welding. There’s one way to find out…

It’s a small price to pay for the experiment. Don’t worry, be happy!

JT, Thanks. I’ll Find Out, But I’d Rather Wait Until Next Winter. We Just Got A Load Of Snow. Is It Ever Going To Warm Up ? Where’s That Global Warming When You Need It ?

At what altitude do you live?
It is spring here in Central NJ, albeit with some nights of temps in the upper 30s/low 40s.

That’ll teach you to live in MI near the Arctic Circle! So, what do you call the first 2 weeks of August? Bad sledding?

VDC D, I’m Basically A Flat-Lander, But Do Live Above The 45th Parallel and near the “Nation’s Ice-Box”. Great Lakes Cause Much Of Our Snow And I Live On A 3 x 7 Mile Lake That Sets Up Mini-Lake Effect.


JT, I Hear You. I’m Liking It Less All The Time. Call It Bad Sledding ? No, The Folks Around Here Always Wish That The Summer Season Coincides With A WeekEnd So They Can Enjoy It !

Once the kids are done with high school and college I can picture myself in a warmer climate for half the year.


Just an idea of dealing with the hardened edges on buckets of tractors…

Many around here who have tractors and wish to move boats with them, drop a hole in the bucket behind the cutting edge and mount a ball for the hitch. I wanted something more solid for my pontoon boat but with smaller, more secure and less strength sapping holes in the cutting edge.

So, with my wife’s “guidance” we moved my drill press from the work bench onto an accessible table in the garage, and “drove” the bucket into it. With the right bit, substantial amount of cutting oil, and time, I had two much smaller but reinforced 3/4" holes in the plate to mount an entire receiver hitch that could be removed quickly and offered the flexibility of mounting platform for all sorts of stuff, from balls, to hooks, to wood pallets, to front mounted rakes, to dock launching hardware.

The Plate on the bucket mount offers more rigidity and strength than I could have hope for than on any other area on the tractor, short of the three point and tow bar, which are very limited in applications they can be used for with little or no travel. I give up a some in lifting capacity from 2000 lbs in the rear to now just 1200 lbs using the bucket, but oh the ease, range and safety of movement in a variety of tasks thanks to that plate.

They’re likely to last well past the lifetime of the blower IMHO. No comparison to the stamped steel OEM shoes. It seems like a bargain to me compared to the OEM parts prices.

Every driveway I’ve had has not been perfectly flat. Nothing more frustrating than trying to balance the scraper blade height between not grabbing the pavement and leaving the least amount of snow behind. I hate it when it rubs and pulls the blower off track. Wrestling with the blower can work up quite a sweat.

One benefit of the hardened steel will be less iron oxide in the driveway. Some people are really sensitive to that, as I read on the plow sites. The steel wears off and leaves steel bits in the pores of the concrete/asphalt. Come spring, they rust and leave visible marks. Some guys have gone to the lengths of using poly shoes and scrapers to avoid customer hassles but they burn through them pretty quick. The hardened steel may produce more scratching though. Wouldn’t bother me…

Good job,T1 would probaly help also,low carbon steel is relatively soft-Kevin

“Once the kids are done with high school and college I can picture myself in a warmer climate for half the year.”

Cleveland! Pittsburgh! St Louis! Oh, the fun you’ll have! Hey, they’re warmer!