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Snow Blower Recommendations

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by jadm, Jun 13, 2009.

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  1. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    it was 2300 here for half the snowblower the rate in canada made it worth the drive .. as i saved a sh!!t load of money for more machine...
    at the time my driveway was over a 100 ft long and snow could only go forward the first 60 ... so i wanted one that throws snow very far and the is no snowblower that throws like hondas.... ( maybe now there is) also the driveway had a decent incline... now i can throw left or right but still have a big driveway... i also cut a path around the side of my house ... to my wood pile and any other place ( over the gravel in the back yard up on the deck and so forth) most people are spending 1000-1400 for the same size outta a big box store... the money i spent was well worth it... the ariens i was looking at the 1332 pro was 2300 as well ..... i am glad you guys were able to spend less but i wasn't however it is a hell of a machine...... it does not bogg down in 14 inches of wet snow.... i could probably make it by trying to move at full speed forward but who knows ...
    by the way 1700 was rounded up and included everything (food, gas tolls so forth)

    where do you find an mtd NEW for 400 around here any decent snowblower starts at 1000 and up ( in a comparable size) even the mtds, troybilt etc are not 400

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  2. dvellone

    dvellone Feeling the Heat

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    Just like most equipment what you spend on your snowthrower is proportional to the type of use you expect to put to. Personally, I went for the honda 1132 because I wanted a "lifetime" machine with great reliability, and a lot of muscle to move a large quantity of snow from a longer than usual driveway.

    If you don't live in a "snowbelt" and have a relatively small amount of area to clear you can get away with spending a lot less. But if you'll demand a lot from the machine and expect to get good use from it for years to come - or just want a machine that you'll rely on for many years with very few problems you might have to spend a little more. Maybe not as much as a honda but not a whole lot less.
  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I paid $800 for my 10hp 2 stage electric start mtd 2 years ago at Mr Seconds. A friend of mine bought the yellow version of the same blower at Home Depot for $750. Both were sales and the display models. They usually seem to be in the $1000 - $1100 range. Again, it is a basic dumb machine not built anything like my decades old JD or Ford tractors, but it blows a lot of snow and goes right through the plow drifts in the limited number of hours that it actually is used each year.
  4. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    ohh okkk .... over here we get snow but i would say a lot times it can be wet ...
    i had a craftsman before and it bogged down bad in a heavy snowstorm (already 10") and it threw snow about 10 ft forward..... in my 100 ft long driveway... needless to say it died it was 8 yrs old and i never wanted to experience that feeling again we got about 20inches in 8 hrs and my snowblower died ......ever since then it has been honda throwing about 40 ft....


    ^^^^^ I didnt pay 2300 .... the rate in canada at the time was $1 us = $1.61 canadian thats why i got it up there to save money so i didnt have to pay $2300 here in the US for a stripped down version
  5. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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  6. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Honda makes great equipment in general and I don't ever seem to mind having better tools in the long run. It's that initial sting that hurts. Anyone who tries to use the smaller blowers around here seems to end up either blowing every hour during the storms or getting a plow contract. I don't have any of those problems with the 10 horse.
  7. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    lol good find with that clarence kit i could make it work.... at my house now.... but only for the driveway not the backyard stuff!!!
  8. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Hey iceman, SolarandWood is from Syracuse!
    He knows of what he speaks when he talks snow.
    (I lived in Oswego for a while.)
  9. Joey Jones

    Joey Jones New Member

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    The older Toro's were nice machines. I bought an 8 HP 24" cut Powershift model in 1987 and the thing never let me down. I did pay close to $1100 but the thing was still running 17 years later. I was able to replace worn cables and belts myself. Tinker with the carburator and I even took apart the gear box when it developed a leak; resealed it and it was fine. I sold it for $350... 3 years ago and bought an Ariens Pro 9 HP with 30" cut.

    The Pro model has larger tires, clutch and a cast iron gearbox, while the new ones have an aluminum gear box. I paid $1475 for this thing and have had many small problems with it, i.e., drive belt slipping off from winter to summer (this happened twice)...requiring the machine to be up ended and the drive belt access plate removed. I finally had to drill a new hole in the drive tension belt pulley rod to keep the belt on the machine. I say minor problems because I'm a bit handy, but these problems always occured when there was 20" of snow in the yard.

    Another problem with the Ariens is that the auger blades are notched instead of smooth like on the Toro. Being notched they are very prone to catching the edge of low walkways or other obstacles and breaking the shear-pins. This has happened twice in 3 years. I always keep a bunch of shear pins on hand. My Toro never broke a shear-pin in 17 years.

    I do like the heated handles and the upper chute control feature and have never had to use the electric start feature. The cable and belts are all accessable so they can be replaced with a little bit of skill, but I am disapppointed in this machine...for all the money I paid for it.

    My dealer sold both Toro and Ariens and he and his mechanics both reccomended the Ariens as the better machine.

    Unless you need the machine on a hill I think chains are overkill. Also there are just some really wet storms where the machine just won't cut it. I have only experienced this situation maybe 3 or 4 times in 20 years of snowblowing. Probably the MTD would serve you just as well for a whole lot less money and most of these new machines come with electric start and heated grips. Unless you have a very small area to clear I woulldn't buy anything under an 8 HP machine
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I had a VERY old Toro 7/24 with the pull out disconnects to the drive wheels. The engine on it was getting "tired" when I sold it, but the machine was otherwise pretty good, however I found that I did NOT like the control setup
    I felt having the gear shift in the middle of the control panel where I had to take my hands off the bars to back up was a poor design...

    My $500 30 year old Arien's 10/32 that I replaced the Toro with has IMHO a better control setup, though I liked the old machines with the live clutch much better than the newer (gov't mandated) deadman clutch... I will admit that I normally keep the auger interlock lever tied down just so I don't have to worry about the engine crapping out because I need to work the controls... I haven't had any issues with the belts coming off.

    I agree, the Arien's loves to eat shear pins, even though my augers are smooth not notched. I think the difference is that Toro has those solid center drum style augers while the Ariens is open centered - this lets the Ariens take a bigger bite in deep snow, but it also allows more crud to get in where it can jam stuff up... (I seem to be good at finding branches, and splits that escaped from my wood pile...) OTOH, a lot of people seem to like the notched augers - allegedly they are a big help in chewing through crusty snow or the frozen lumps one sometimes gets in the EOD snow. OTOH my OPE guy tells me that while Toro's almost never blow shear pins, if they do it's a major pain to change them because of the limited access through those drums - at least the Ariens pins are easy enough to change.

    The downside of the Toro drum augers was that if you tried to go faster than the machine could nibble at the snow, it would climb up on top of the snow in a hurry (another downside of that badly positioned gearshift) - I had more than a few times that I had to drag the machine back after it ended up with the augers pointing straight up, and the handle bars ends resting on the drive... The Ariens will climb, but not anywhere near as much, and it's easier to stop... However it has more of a tendency just to power through, or just bog out and stall depending on just how excessive the load is...

    No heated handles, and all manual chute stuff, no head light either, even though my machine is supposedly a "pro" model - I guess they thought the pro's were built tougher 30 years ago and didn't need those wimpy accessories... %-P I do have electric start on the engine, but I've only ever used it when diagnosing "no start" problems (it works better when you turn the ignition key and the gas on :red: )

    My neighbor has an MTD machine, it has a few nice features (a big glove friendly sized starter rope handle) but he has had chronic problems with it - ditto his MTD lawn tractor... We have a sort of mutual support agreement in regards to doing each others drives in case of machine problems, vacations, etc... I find that I do his drive much more often than he does mine...

    I agree that chains are probably not needed for most situations, but I would insist on the "Sno-Hog" type agressive tire treads - my Ariens had turf type tires on it when I purchased it and they were terrible. I put a pair of Sno-hogs on it, and the machine was MUCH better. My drive is flat, but if I end up doing my neighbor's he has a very steep up and down section in his drive, and the Sno-Hogs handle it without a huge problem, though they do spin a little bit.

    For wet snow, see my earlier post in this thread where I talked about the "Clarence Kit" - it helps a lot in the dry stuff, but it REALLY makes the difference between whether it works or not when the snow gets wet and sloppy... If slush is solid enough that the auger can get the stuff into the second stage, the Clarence kit machine will blow it nearly as good as dry... With the kit I have successfully blown snow that was so wet it was like THIN cement... Pre-kit I would have been lucky not to clog the machine every 5 feet or so...

    Gooserider
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