1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Opinions on snow blowers...

Post in 'The Gear' started by Gooserider, Feb 19, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Messages:
    347
    Loc:
    East Lansing, MI
    I can appreciate your worry. Haven't heard anything much bad about the Ariens, including the HD models. Ariens still sells the good 'ol machines, just not at HD. Some of their higher-end models even have cast iron auger gearcases, too!

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Well I think Ariens has a certain amount of "niche market clout" where there are some brands that a store pretty much has to carry if they want to sell to that market - At least in this area Ariens has that sort of credibility where I don't think that HD could put much pressure on them.

    Another thing that has somewhat mixed blessings, is that Ariens has been making the exact same parts for YEARS - my outdoor power guy says that all the core mechanical bits of the machine are the same as they've been for the last 30-odd years, something like 90% parts interchangeability... This means that all the development costs and tooling have been paid off for years, all they have to do is bang out the parts. The downside is that there is almost no reason to ever buy a new Ariens as there is little in the way of "new model bling factor" to push.

    However Ariens does have the same "price point" problem that it seems outdoor power gear, appliances, and some other things have, that despite inflation in the costs of everything else, the selling price for a snowblower is about the same as it's been for many years. This has to mean that the cost increases for material, labor, etc. have to come from someplace, and I think some of it has come out of the quality of the machine. The 80's vintage Ariens we just bought does feel heftier than the newer machines, but it isn't a big difference. However I notice that at least some of the new features on the Ariens machines do feel a bit more flimsy. My machine has a hand crank on the chute direction, and a handle on the chute for elevation. No problem, nice and solid, though perhaps a bit "primitive" feeling, and it's all metal. The new machines have a "joystick" setup that is made from plastic, and didn't feel real solid sitting in the store. Some of them didn't work right, which the sales droid blamed on "adjustment" that would be fixed when the machine was being setup for delivery. I've also noticed that some of the other controls were now plastic instead of metal, and wonder what that does for durability.

    Even so, I still think Ariens is far better built than some of it's competition.

    Gooserider
  3. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Messages:
    3,654
    Loc:
    Boulder County
    i use my snowblower like you folks use lawn mowers. Heck i dont even own a lawn mower, so i could put my money in something that i knew would work everytime i pull the rip cord. I use more then 20 gallons of gas through my 11 horse snowblower. I tell you what. that sno way snow plow i put on my truck is the cats ass. My drive looks as clean as a well manicured green on the best private golf course in the area.
  4. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    997
    Loc:
    Ashfield, MA
    Have you had any real monster snowstorms to put that puppy through the test yet, MSG?
  5. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Messages:
    3,654
    Loc:
    Boulder County
    my drive was a nightmare before i got the plow. i had about 20" of packed poweder to scrape out. IF it will do that, i think it will do damn near anything LOL.
  6. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    997
    Loc:
    Ashfield, MA
    cool. I think you said that you hadn't plowed snow before, so be careful, and get used to it... although there, I'd imagine the snow is usually a little less wet, it doesn't take long to build up enough weight to stop /kick the truck in the driveway, especially with a smaller/lighter plow truck.

    Most of the time I use the quad to plow, but if we get a real heavy/wet storm, or a lot all at once while I'm at work, I have probably the biggest POS plow vehicle known to man. Its a 88 Isuzu trooper 4 cyl (which runs like a champ), 6' fisher plow. It has more body rot than you can imagine... Every time you open or close a door - it sheds a little weight... have 1 frame cross member behind the transfer case that's already rotted out on 1 side from the frame rail... No brakes - I gave up on chasing leaks and started crimping brake lines at the master cylinder until all 4 were gone. Probably don't have to tell you that there's no exhaust system - that fell off a few years ago, and I can only put in 4 gallons of gas max at a time, since the tank sprung a few leaks. But it gets the job done, and its my daily driver to work (just kidding about that)

    So when using that - I don't mind if it gets dinged up a little bit.... just be careful in your truck - from the pic - looks nice.
  7. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,448
    Loc:
    south central WI
    Simplicity is a Wisconsin company. I've owned a couple of older Simplicity snowblowers, and they were tanks. I acquired them when they were old beasts, but parts were easy to find in Wisconsin. I like the Ahrens, but with a fifty foot driveway at the moment, I use a shovel. We've had a lot of snow during the past week or so, and I've been watching with envy at people moving around snow with Yamaha Grizzlys.
  8. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    5,221
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    I've only heard good things from Simplicity.

    I use an old Ariens that my father bought 20-25 years ago. It's small, and it takes me a good while longer to do the driveway since it is only 3.5hp, but it never quits. On valentines day, it outworked my neighbors brand new 5.5hp single stage. The next week the single stage broke. I went out and blew his snow for him.

    I'd happily buy another Ariens... I'd probably go used though. As long as the previous owner kept enough oil in it, it should work for years. No sense buying new when it won't get you anything big and exciting. I think the new ones have a headlight...

    Matt
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    The new Ariens do have headlights, but that is more a function of the engine than of the snowblower itself. Note also that you can get a new engine for most snowblowers for $2-300 that seems to be a complete package of the engine with all the needed shrouds, gas-tank, etc. that is designed for a snow-blower application (i.e. easy sub-zero starting, cold tolerant carbs, etc.) Most of the ones I saw also had the 110VAC electric starter as well, which to me is a very important feature - I've had times when I couldn't quite get the engine to cold start with the recoil, but you could tell it was really trying, and with the electric starter you can spin it just that little bit longer and faster that makes all the difference...

    The other big things I've noticed on the new Ariens is the "joystick" chute control, which I have mixed feelings about, and yet more gov't mandated "safety chit" to make the operation more of a pain. (Though Ariens does seem to be better than some about making it less painful to deal with)

    I'd consider an Ariens that was in decent shape other than having a clapped out motorand plan on a transplant if the price was right. The only thing that would worry me is if the oil burning or running out of oil might be an indicator that other maintainance hadn't been done properly. OTOH, there isn't a huge amount to do, so it's not as big a deal on a snowblower as it might be on another thing like a car or some such.

    Gooserider
  10. senorFrog

    senorFrog New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    285
    Check out Simplicity. Won't find em at Home Crapo or Lowes.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page