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Front-Mount, PTO-Powered Snow Blower

Leaving snow at the edge of the area it’s cleared from isn’t always an option. It wouldn’t work for Joseph Oesterling and neither would twisting around in his tractor seat to back up a rear-mounted unit. So he built his own front-mounted snowblower. 

It has three hydraulic cylinders. One raises and lowers the entire unit. Another rotates chute direction 180° left to right. The third cylinder controls the deflecting shield at the end of the chute for even more precise placement of snow.  

The tricky part was transferring power from the PTO, says Oesterling. “The first gearboxes blew apart. Two 10-inch-diameter augers and a 30-inch-diameter fan with 6-inch paddles take a lot of power,” he says.

Oesterling runs his blower with a John Deere 4440, which has front-wheel assist. “That helps because the blower is quite heavy,” he says. 

“Earl Urbanke did most of the actual fabrication. I go to him with lots of crazy ideas,” laughs Oesterling.

Powered From the Back  
A 16-foot-long driveshaft  and a shaft with two U-joints transfer the power 180° from the rear PTO.

Heavy-Duty Gearboxes  
It took two tries to make the gearboxes strong enough to handle the power being transferred.


Farm boy turned urologist: Oesterling’s brother, Mark (another Idea of the Month winner), now operates the family farm in Indiana. Oesterling has purchased his own corn, soybean, and wheat farm near Saginaw, Michigan, where he lives and practices medicine.   

Collector: He has one of every piece of John Deere equipment ever used by his dad. He also has five Volkswagen Beetles. “Since they all have diesel engines, some have over 400,000 miles,” he says.  

DIY guy: “My patients get a kick out of seeing me clear the snow or mow the grass at the clinic,” he says.    


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