Paul Felgate

Assembly and Review of the Agri-Fab 45-0527 Tow Spreader

Before I make any purchase, I read buyer comments for potential problems and quality issues. The issues with this particular tow spreader is missing parts, confusing instructions, and hard-to-turn/grinding gears and wheel lockups. There were many positive, problem free comments, so many compared to negative comments, I wrote off the negative comments. I made my purchase through Walmart (they are very good with returns, easy to do, just in case), and the product arrived in three days.

Parts

Saturday morning, I started the task of assembling the tow spreader. To my surprise, I was missing parts, just like some of the buyer comments. I was missing both part number 28322, hopper support. I called Agri-Fab first thing Monday morning, and Agri-Fab promptly sent the missing part, arrived in two days. I then proceeded with assembly. The assembly took one hour.

Problems with Wheel Assembly

I performed Step 14 except did notspread the cotter pin, keeping the customer problems in mind. When I got to Step 15, I put the inner 1/2 inch washer, then the wheel. The hole for the cotter pin was not visible. I removed the wheel and inner washer(washer between wheel and spacer), and put the wheel back on. The cotter pin hole was barely visible. With a little bit of force, without the outer washer, I was able to get the cotter pin in, but did not spread the cotter pin. I rolled the tow spreader, and it was not smooth, and the gears were very noisy. I did see a slight bowing of the gear rod from axle to hopper.

Both wheels at assembly finish

So, I started my troubleshooting process. The drive wheel has an extra bracket which locks the wheel to the axle. This will take place of the washer. So, I removed both washers from the drive wheel side. Then on the non-locking wheel, there was only enough space for one washer, so I omitted the inner washer and installed the outer washer. All the space was eliminated from the hopper support bars to the axle ends. The gear bar from axle to hopper appeared straight, and measurements confirmed this. With both cotter pins in, I rolled the tow spreader on the floor, the wheels were easy to roll, and the spreader gears were not noisy.

Drive wheel, locks wheel to axle
Non-drive wheel

Recommended Solution

Right now, the axle is three washer widths too short, further complicated by the extra metal width from the drive wheel that locks the wheel to the axle. Without changing the parts, the solution is to omit both inner washers and the washer for the drive wheel, as the locking hardware takes the washer's place.

Instructions for steps 14 and 15. Washer is item 35.

The recommended solution is to omit the washer from the drive wheel, as the locking bar serves the purpose of the washer. The two inner washers can be placed if both spacers (item 27, part number 28324) length was reduced by the thickness of the washer. This will allow placement of the inner washers and the outer washer for the non-locked wheel. The drive wheel does not need a washer.

This modification should end customer complaints with noisy, hard to turn gears, broken/melted Axle shaft bushing (item 18, part number 44672), and locked wheel. As far as the missing parts, that is a quality control issue with Agri-Fab

First Run

After filling the tires to 26 psi, it was time for the first task - twelve bags of lime, each bag is 40 lds each. Each load was two bags.

Eighty pounds of lime ready to go

The performance of the Agri-fab tow spreader was outstanding. Stable with eighty pound payload. The hopper opening setting was set to 5, and release of hopper opening to spread lime was flawless. The hopper was completely emptied at the end of each run, which is a first for me, other hoppers there was always a small amount left behind.

Cleanup

Cleanup was easy and simple, open the hopper and rinse. Couldn't be easier.

Easy cleanup

Summary

After going through the initial missing parts(Which Agri-Fab delivered within 2 days) and design flaw (easy fix), the tow spreader worked very well. The open gears for the hopper spreader were quiet and smooth, and easy to maintain with a little grease. If a gear problem were to occur, it is an easy matter of replacing the gear(s) without having to buy a new tow spreader. The second feature that was spot on is the hopper opening control, spring loaded to keep lever arm in place, and a latch for Off. No more hanging on to the lever while driving the tractor mower.

In summary, the Agri-Fab 45-0527 Tow Spreader is a winner, best tow spreader used to date.