Fimco Dry Material Spreader ATV-DMS-12V
Product Review (submitted on July 16, 2012):
I had been looking at getting one of these for adapting it to work on my garden tractor 3 point hitch for a few months. I liked the idea of the electric drive, as I felt it would have worked perfectly for my plan. I also liked that it was made in the USA. I finally pulled the trigger and bought one. Once I got the unit out of the box, I was initially impressed. I did my own fabrication to adapt it to the 3 point, and once it was mounted, I started testing it with nothing in the hopper. The gate took a lot of effort to close, and it wouldn't close completely. When I investigated, I found that the gate rides in between two pieces of 1/8" thick nylon. The nylon pieces were not centered properly, and they were forcing the gate to close at an angle and not straight in like it was intended. I chiseled off the rivets keeping the hopper on the frame (and they were not very well done, either), took the hopper off, disassembled the gate mechanisim, and was able to correct the sloppy gate opening. However, once I had the gate mechanisim adjusted correctly, the lever for opening the gate would not engage the post on the gate. It was about 3/8" too short. I pulled out the trusty angle grinder, cut the lever in half and welded a 3/8" extension in the middle. Now that the gate was working properly, I loaded up 100 lbs of rock salt for the pending blizzard & set the gauge to 4, based on the recommendations of Fimco. I went to the end of my 300 ft drive way, turned on the motor, opened the gate and drove back to my garage. By the time I got there, the hopper was completely empty. So much for the Fimco chart. Once back in the garage, I noticed that there was a lot of material in a tight channel behind the shield plate on the backside of the spreader fan. The reason so much material accumulated back there is because there was a 1/4" inch gap between the base plate and the vertical shield plate. Out came the trusty welder again, and I filled in the gap. Much better now. I also noticed that the spreader fan was wobbling. Took it apart and found that the motor shaft was bent. There was no upper bearing on the spreader fan shaft, just a rubber grommet to keep the material from leaking down the shaft (I'll be putting a bronze bushing in when I put it all back together). Now, to be fair, I may have done this myself, because I didn't realize that my 3 point hitch went so low, and I actually drove with the motor dragging on the ground for a little while. Got out the owner's manual & went to the Fimco website for parts. No link for parts. Did a Google search for the motor part number and ordered one from the supplier.
All in all, I thought $300 was not a bad price for the spreader, given that wheeled versions were around $200 and I would still have had to add the motor & controller. That being said, I don't consider $300 to be chump change, and for the price, I was very disappointed in the overall quality of this unit. It's a good thing for me that I am a better engineer/fabricator than anybody employed by Fimco. It's a real shame that something that had Made in USA all over the box was so poorly designed & built.