for 2013 season, hopper came out again .... corrosion.
Ordered new hopper and welded another piece of steel around the back of the hopper ..
what a pain welding it on .... of course I only have a 90 amp welder so that's part of the problem
But I got it welded on, typical he-man job (looks like crap) but it wraps from on side to the other, wrapping around the top of the rear plate of the hopper.
I assume it voids the warranty on the hopper (lol)...and I don't know how 0.050 inch plate is going to expand and contract ... I noted during welding this expansion and contraction caused weld failures.
I'm sure my 90A welder did not weld as good as a 170 amp welder could but since its wrapped around the top, the worse it can do is move around a little. A little air pocket may actually help.
I could not snip the plate, too thick .... used my angle grinder and hacked it up pretty good and then used my mill for 2nd cuts and ground down to final dimensions.
Total hours on the plate and installation: 7 hrs.
By the middle of next season I'll know its performance. If this does not work .. maybe ceramic plates ,,,
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