This is an important safety issue that I forgot to post on here after I posted the pics of the Panzer snowthrower.
After I had gotten done clearing most of the driveway for a couple of hours, I shut the tractor off and got the camera to take a few pics while the snow was still flying. After I got done with that, I put the camera back in the house then came back to the tractor to start it up and move it out of the way until the next time I needed it. I was standing next to the tractor and as soon as I turned the key to start it, I heard a loud bang, like a firecracker exploding. I thought it was just a backfire through the muffler but then the wife yelled that there was something smoking under the seat. I immediately saw smoke coming off one of the battery terminals and saw something leaking from the battery. Looking further, I could see that one of the battery caps was blown off and the battery case was split open in a couple of places. Needless to say the battery had exploded but luckily, there were no injuries.
Due to the nature of the snowblowing operation with these tractors, it is quite common for the operator and the tractor to get covered with snow, especially if it's the dry powdery stuff being blown around by the wind. Since the batteries on these older tractors are completely exposed to the elements, they commonly get covered with snow also. I felt the side of the battery after the explosion and it was slightly warm to the touch but nowhere near being hot. The top had been completely covered with wet snow when it poppped so I'm assuming the wet snow had blocked the caps from venting and helped to create a short across the battery terminals. Some sort of spark must have occured when I turned the key to start the engine, thus exploding the battery.
I've been using this tractor in these condition for years and never had a problem like this but you know what they say -"There's always a first time". I guess I've been lucky so far. I'll be looking into coming up with some kind of cover for the top of the battery to keep the snow off of it.
We removed the bad battery, washed everything down, then intsalled another battery. Luckily everything worked fine and we were back in business.
Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to mention this because I know some of you have been, or are thinking of, playing around with these older electric start Panzers in the snow.
Be careful out there. Big AL