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Old 02-09-2013, 01:48 PM   #1
Greatwhitewing
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Default Most reliable snow blower?

My POS Home Despot blower let me down again finding Nemo. I just had it serviced and wouldn't even sputter when I needed it most.

Looking for the best brand for reliability starting. Ariens seems to be pretty well reviewed.

Nothing better than going to the tool geeks though... I mean that in the best possible way..
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Well honestly the best snow thrower is you. They will all have issues from time to time. Now I realize that was not your intended answer. But let's see if can help you get it going. First thing I would check is does the one you have now have spark when you turn it over? If it doesn't then I would remedy that problem. Could be a shorted shutdown switch or a little critter decided to build a nest up along the coil pickup. If it has spark I will bet the gas either has water in it and has frozen up the carb/fuel line. Some fresh gas as long as the carb is fine should get it going. If the carb is iced your gonna have to get some heat into it to thraw it. That's kinda a dicey deal but if your snowed in your safe and quick options are limited if you can't heat your garage.

If your dead set on a new unit there are plenty of good units out there. The MTD brands are ok. You also have Arines which are good. Mostly what it boils down to though is the electric start models are easier to get going though.

Last edited by kossuth; 02-09-2013 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I have an Ariens that has been reliable with minimal maintenance. Really just use it 3-4 times per winter though. Electric start is sweet.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Toro
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Has spark so the safety switch isn't hindering. I am sure it's the carb, always is.

Yes, I use stabilized fuel. It even started a few days ago. yes I checked for fouled plug.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:11 PM   #6
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I have a 20 yr old Honda hs828 track drive and starts up with one pull every time.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatwhitewing View Post
Has spark so the safety switch isn't hindering. I am sure it's the carb, always is.

Yes, I use stabilized fuel. It even started a few days ago. yes I checked for fouled plug.
Carb is probiably iced up. Probiably no way to to get heat in the garage or safely heat the carb? That issue will happen regardless of brand though. That's more of a product of the shitty gas they sell anymore which pulls water into by its nature.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:14 PM   #8
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Carb is probiably iced up. Probiably no way to to get heat in the garage or safely heat the carb? That issue will happen regardless of brand though. That's more of a product of the shitty gas they sell anymore which pulls water into by its nature.
all the other snow blowers were working today...

Had dry gas from still from the recent service.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

assuming you don't want to spend 2+ grand for a new snowblower you're left with just 2 engine choices. Chinese Honda clones which suck and Briggs and Stratton which suck less.

for a decent 2 stage that really only leaves you with Ariens and Simplicity. Everything else either uses sub par materials and or a Chinese engine. If it doesn't say Briggs on it, its Chinese. I say this as most everyone, including Toro and Ariens (depending on the model) is slapping their name on said Chinese engines as a house brand.

Last edited by Skin; 02-09-2013 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I have had my Ariens ST8-24 for 22 years, and the Ariens before that for 20 years before I gave it to my brother and he used it for another 10 years.

Rock solid reliability for 42 years. Guess what brand I am buying next? An Ariens with a B&S engine.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:01 PM   #11
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Used to be that Tecumseh Sno King engines ruled in the snowblower market with good price / performance ratio. However, I'd look for something OTHER THAN MTD with a Honda GX engine--probably a Honda snowblower with a GX series engine.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

http://gold.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/ariens/
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Is it a 2 cycle or 4 cycle powered blower? What engine is on it?

98% of the time the problem with the 2 cycle engines is that the fuel passages get plugged up. A quick dissemble of the carb and blow out with an air compressor will solve the problem. Careful not to blow out the needle seat. Most of the 2 stroke blowers I have seen use float type carbs, so not many critical gaskets to fail unlike the smaller chainsaws and weedeaters.

I have been very happy with our small Toro 5hp 2stroke Tecumseh powered blower. It works great for the ~5" and under snow we get here in southern Ohio. Granted it is going on 10 years old so not sure what the new quality is.

As for electric start.... If you blower won't pull start within 4 pulls you have an engine problem. I personally think the electric starts are just a pain, add weight and expense to the units. Then again I am a younger guy.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

ARIENS ARIENS ARIENS ARIENS!!!!! They are the best of the best!! We bought the 11528 3 years ago and had a 26" storm after we bought it and it was fantastic! We do the neighbors and everyone else just for fun too. We also have an Ariens 722 single stage that we use on <10" storms. The lifetime warranty paddles are nice but too bad they don't sell that blower anymore. We bought both of ours from a dealer and the dealer is great because he was very helpful. We had a Craftsman and it was good for one year and then we blew the head gasket. Once you buy an Ariens you will not look back. I like that they are pretty much all metal and both of ours are MADE IN USA!!! Below is a video of our Ariens 11528 Deluxe in action with 25" of snow (My dad is the one using it). Sorry the quality is bad. The camera got a little wet. I also have two other videos of us starting them after sitting all summer. Hope this helps!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17WgR23KfLg
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

My dad has a Honda HS55, must be 25 years old. Starts on the first pull every time.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Honda. The best.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:00 PM   #17
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Old Gravely walk behind with a snowthrower... incredibly overbuilt, and overkill.

My uncle has a 10hp Pro IIRC, with a 34" snowthrower that I had rebuilt for him last year. It had been sitting for years, but amazingly fired right up for me. The downside is you'll get almost as much of a workout as you would shoveling, but it's the fun kinda workout. I weigh about 185, and with that snowblower on it, it takes my full weight on the bars to lift the front off the ground.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

My Wife!
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:08 PM   #19
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

My Simplicity blower with the 8 hp Briggs engine has been reliable and easy to start for 11 years. Essentially all the current major players (Simplicity, Ariens and Toro) use Briggs and Stratton engines and Honda snowblowers use, well Honda. I think larger 2 stage snowblowers with easier to service 6+Hp 4 stroke engines are better than the smaller blowers with smaller 2 or 4 stroke motors for long term ease of starting. Living near Buffalo, I never once drained the blower, but did run it once-twice each summer. I think I changed the oil once and still on the original plug.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

My shovel starts every time, needs very little maintenance and keeps running until I am ready to quit.

If you need a blower - the brand really doesn't matter one wit..... you have to maintain it. The most frequent problem is the carb. I would always run some seafoam or similar in the gas to keep the fuel system clean.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:09 PM   #21
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I had a John Derre 10 hp 32" wide it never failed me for a good 10 years. Then in November my neighbor burned my garage to almost the ground. And the big green machine was toast.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:11 PM   #22
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

got the craftsman yearrrrrs back i think in 2001...9 hp 29" with electric start... two stage... its still hanging in there like an ox.

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Old 02-09-2013, 04:21 PM   #23
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

4 cycle


Quote:
Originally Posted by zkling View Post
Is it a 2 cycle or 4 cycle powered blower? What engine is on it?

98% of the time the problem with the 2 cycle engines is that the fuel passages get plugged up. A quick dissemble of the carb and blow out with an air compressor will solve the problem. Careful not to blow out the needle seat. Most of the 2 stroke blowers I have seen use float type carbs, so not many critical gaskets to fail unlike the smaller chainsaws and weedeaters.

I have been very happy with our small Toro 5hp 2stroke Tecumseh powered blower. It works great for the ~5" and under snow we get here in southern Ohio. Granted it is going on 10 years old so not sure what the new quality is.

As for electric start.... If you blower won't pull start within 4 pulls you have an engine problem. I personally think the electric starts are just a pain, add weight and expense to the units. Then again I am a younger guy.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:24 PM   #24
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Quote:
Originally Posted by b1ghwx View Post
My shovel starts every time, needs very little maintenance and keeps running until I am ready to quit.

If you need a blower - the brand really doesn't matter one wit..... you have to maintain it. The most frequent problem is the carb. I would always run some seafoam or similar in the gas to keep the fuel system clean.
This was 25 inches of heavy wet snow for a large driveway. NOW WAY with a shovel..
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:51 PM   #25
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Bought a 1970 Toro SnowHound 20" from the School District in 1986. Replaced the belt and both tires about 10 years ago, starts first or second pull.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:57 PM   #26
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Quote:
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4 cycle
What model or style of engine? Have you cleaned out the carb thoroughly? And replaced the diaphragm?
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:03 PM   #27
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

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What model or style of engine? Have you cleaned out the carb thoroughly? And replaced the diaphragm?
It was recently serviced professionally because it wouldn't start and started when done. Had the POS serviced3 times now..
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:04 PM   #28
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I have found that Hondas to be the absolute best, nothing else ever came close for me. I have bought numerous Honda's kept them got a slightly better and now use on of their HS1132 Tracked model, just worked great for our Mass blizzard.

I have also bought every one of them used, always get them off season and if you get the right person who wants to sell you can save more than 60% and many times find one like new.

I love them but don't think I could pay full retail.

It should be noted that this message is courtesy of me running on a Honda generator since we have had no power for almost 2 days now, the Honda small engines are phenomenal.
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:06 PM   #29
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Honda makes THE BEST snowblowers, but the insane price of them keeps them from being popular

I would go with an older Ariens, theyre pretty bulletproof and hold their value well
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:15 PM   #30
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Quote:
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It was recently serviced professionally because it wouldn't start and started when done. Had the POS serviced3 times now..
Wow I would definitely be talking to those "professional" service shops. Something is not right here. What is the make and model of engine on it?

I just hate to see you give up on a unit that may need a minor adjustment.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:23 PM   #31
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I have to go look, don't remember..
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:39 PM   #32
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

In Oct. 2011 we bought a toro with a B&S engine on it. Its a 26 cut. I was told by the dealer that this was the last year Toro was using B&S engines. They now will have a chinese engine built to Toro specs just like the honda uses.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:59 PM   #33
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I've heard good things about Ariens but I bought what was available with a big storm bearing down on me two years ago. I bought the last one they had, a mid-sized two-stage 27-inch Snapper (with reverse).

Since then I haven't had the chance to find out about all the bells and whistles it has (no snow) but recently had a difficult time getting it started using the pull start.

HOWEVER, I noticed an extension cord in the package. It was an AC plugin for using the electric start. That dude cranked over fast and started right up using the electric cord.

Even though I take good care to maintain it, start it up from time to time, I'll never buy another without an electric start.

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Old 02-09-2013, 07:14 PM   #34
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Honda without a doubt. I have had ariens cub cadet, Jd

And they have all failed me. My Honda bought three years ago starts up every time, throws heavy crap the others would bog down on.

I only wish the one I bought had the joystick for the chute rather than cranking it
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:31 PM   #35
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

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Old 02-09-2013, 07:31 PM   #36
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatwhitewing View Post
My POS Home Despot blower let me down again finding Nemo. I just had it serviced and wouldn't even sputter when I needed it most.

Looking for the best brand for reliability starting. Ariens seems to be pretty well reviewed.

Nothing better than going to the tool geeks though... I mean that in the best possible way..
If it was just serviced call whoever serviced it and get your money back. I work on the side as a mechanic and I would want to know if I failed or could help. Edit: I have a two stroke Toro I got for free because it wouldnt run. Used it the last two years.

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Old 02-09-2013, 07:41 PM   #37
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

My 21 year old MTD with B&S engine is still going strong. It struggled today with 24in of wet snow but it got the job done. When this one dies I would like to get a used Honda. I would not be without my Honda generator, it never let me down yet.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:54 PM   #38
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Whatever one that you use fuel stabilizer in and run it out of gas if it'll be sitting more than a couple days. Seriously. I have an Ariens and would recommend that, a Toro or a higher end Simplicity.

My shovel is 100% reliable but it gets annual tune ups too (sharpen with flap wheel, wax, tighten any loose rivets or replace with stainless steel bolts & nyloc nuts...)
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:12 PM   #39
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Honda's are built like tanks but are WAY overpriced for what they are. Literally double the price of the higher end competition. Electric starts aren't standard across the model ranges like most other brands and infact aren't even offered on 2 stages until you hit $2800.00 price range, and they dont have other newer options like a differential or the ability to unlock an axle to pivot steer. For 1400-1600 you can get a really nice Ariens Platinum, electric start is standard and its got an automatic differential built into the axle so just a little turning pressure disengages one axle allowing turning on the spot. Simplicity is priced higher with the nice units starting around $1800 but they're easily built as well as a Honda with higher end Briggs engines and they pivot steer by a simple trigger system.

Quality wise of the chassis if Honda and Simplicity are a 10, Ariens are a solid 8, still leagues better than the common Craftsman, MTD and Murray units sold today.

I like Toro too but as stated their larger PowerMax models are all equipped with Chinese engines now.

Last edited by Skin; 02-09-2013 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:37 PM   #40
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I have had a Snapper with a Techumse engine for ten years, but every spring it gets full service and fuel drained out them fogged before storage. Only parts have been some shear pins in the augers which is normal to shear on ice blocks.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:44 PM   #41
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Any well maintained one.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:15 AM   #42
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I dont know about todays Snowblowers...But,
I am still using my Father-in-Law's 1967 Toro.
Pulled it in my garage the other day...Filled it with Gas, checked the oil, and 3 pulls later...she was running and throwing Snow.
I cant even imagine that in 2058, someone may be writing...Hey I am using my Dad's old 2013 snowblower.
(because too many parts are being molded out of Plastic)
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:48 AM   #43
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

Mine has electric start except the POS starter pinion closer resembles a pulley. Starter spins real good but motor just sits there and snickers at me..


Quote:
Originally Posted by kc-steve View Post
I've heard good things about Ariens but I bought what was available with a big storm bearing down on me two years ago. I bought the last one they had, a mid-sized two-stage 27-inch Snapper (with reverse).

Since then I haven't had the chance to find out about all the bells and whistles it has (no snow) but recently had a difficult time getting it started using the pull start.

HOWEVER, I noticed an extension cord in the package. It was an AC plugin for using the electric start. That dude cranked over fast and started right up using the electric cord.

Even though I take good care to maintain it, start it up from time to time, I'll never buy another without an electric start.

Steve
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:44 AM   #44
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I bought a Husky 24" 2-stage electric start from TSC a few years ago and have had no trouble with it. Starts right up evey winter...even with me neglecting to drain the gas or add sta-bil each spring. I've only had to run it really hard in just a few storms, however.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:20 AM   #45
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I bought my Ariens 6 years ago in August as Home Depot still had it....and it was marked way down. It has the Tecumseh Snow King engine with the plug in electric start. I run it dry at the end of every season.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:33 AM   #46
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Honda. See other posts.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:26 AM   #47
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Okay, so looked at the 3-4 brands mentioned. I really like Honda stuff but paying roughly 2x the price of the others is a tough pill to swallow. I am 55 now and hope to retire to a place where snow in only on the news. I assume the Honda would also have the highest resale value??
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:31 AM   #48
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The most important thing is make sure it does not have an off shore generic engine.

I sent my father to Home Depot a few years ago with $2000, I told him to get me two of the biggest snow blowers they have for my shop and one for a small apartment complex I bought. He came back with two real nice Yard Machine snow blowers, 179cc machines. Man they really throw some snow, never stalled, and never got clogged up.

Long story short we had a very warm winter last year, almost no snow. So neither machine got used. I went to start the one at the shop this year and it was getting no gas. I took off the carb. bowl & float, the needle valve was corroded to its bore! We soaked it, tried removing, and it broke. MTD could not get me the needle valve for my particular off shore, chinese, no name brand engine model. They had to sell me an upgraded version of the carb. Its running now, but that $850 snow blower needed a $75 carb instead of a $5 needle valve.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:44 AM   #49
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I bought a mint used Honda 624 (track drive) snow blower, 15-20 years ago for $1100.
- it was garage kepy and only used 7 times (Canadian retail was ~$1800 back then)
Last year rebuild the skid plate - bottom steel wear plate worn out from scraping the paved driveways.

Still starts and runs like new and will throw snow 40 feet...strongest 6hp I have seen in a walk behind.
I also prefer the 24" wide models, easier to man handle and fits in tight places (like along sidewalks)
- never a starting issue, in almost 2 decades (I run premium gas with SeaFoam added & synthetic oil)

Option #2 would be an old Ariens 24" wide / they will take a 5.5hp Honda motor (or clone) very nicely.
Option #3 would be an old 8hp Toro.
I would never buy the likes of a new MTD brand...waste of good $$, even if its the gold series.

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Old 02-10-2013, 09:15 AM   #50
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Okay, so looked at the 3-4 brands mentioned. I really like Honda stuff but paying roughly 2x the price of the others is a tough pill to swallow. I am 55 now and hope to retire to a place where snow in only on the news. I assume the Honda would also have the highest resale value??
If I ever sold my Honda 624 snow blower, around here I could still get $800 to $1000 range.
- very low depreciation, isn't bad...but I started out buying excellent used
- has never been taken into a shop, for costly repairs ($$)..never needed
(unit will be handed down to our adult son, one day...no sense in selling top quality)

The true Honda overall design & manufacturing quality reminds me of the mini bikes in the early 1970's.
- there was many crap mini bikes being made & the Honda CT70 was over engineered and build to last
(and I have a mid 1980's Honda 2 wheeler now - and a commercial 13hp liquid cooled Honda generator)
I like to buy, only once.

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Old 02-10-2013, 09:17 AM   #51
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Honda, track drive makes it a snow eating machine. Have had mine for over twenty years. Starts on first or second pull. Cost is high at first but over the years it's ended up only pennies per day and you the best every time you use it. I live in a lake effect area on Lake Huron. Threw out toro's. Honda as other have stated.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:26 AM   #52
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... However, I'd look for something OTHER THAN MTD...
I'll second this. I have a MTD. It was free and I still can't wait to replace it. Cheap junk that doesn't handle much beyond what is easily done with a shovel.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:36 AM   #53
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Ariens, hands down.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:39 AM   #54
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Honda makes THE BEST snowblowers, but the insane price of them keeps them from being popular

I would go with an older Ariens, theyre pretty bulletproof and hold their value well
screw Honduh, older Ariens (they still make a model comparable but not thru big box stores and not cheap) or older Toro are the way to go
On the JD blowers; the "TRS" series are made by either Murray or MTD; the heavier ones are Ariens machines painted green instead of orange. Watch for cast iron gear cases on the impellers and axle locks where you can lock both drive wheels together; if your Deere has these it is definitely an Ariens.
There are Ariens, Toro and older Sears machines still throwing snow, 30-40 years old!

Tecumseh engimes have taken a bad rap among the most recent ones but the Snow king engines never seemed to get the "bad engine" message;
IF you but a newer 9within last 3 years or so) at least get one with a Briggs, many of the newest don't even have a brand ID on them; some are "powermore" who the He11 makes them? They all need maint now and then you want something you can get parts for and even though tecumseh is gone, parts are still pleintiful especially "common parts" and now that the aftermarket is picking up on small engines like it did 40+ years ago on cars
parts wont be an issue on tehse.
The best 2 things you can do for them; 1) put Stabil in the gas for the off season I start mine up and warm up the engine 3-4 times over spring summer and Fall just to keep things lubed up
and 2) check under the shroud for a "mouse house" built while the machine was stored.

MOST box store brands sold today are made by MTD with different colors of paint, being the only differentiation. Troy bilt Cub Cadet Sears Bolens MTD 'themselves" are all built by the same company now a days but again beware of the engines currently being installed on them!
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:40 AM   #55
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I'll second this. I have a MTD. It was free and I still can't wait to replace it. Cheap junk that doesn't handle much beyond what is easily done with a shovel.
depends on how old it is. older=better if they have had any semblance of maintenance.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:54 AM   #56
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I have an electric start Ariens. I've had no problems, and starts so easily I don't even use the starter. Always starts on the first pull.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:01 PM   #57
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I can't really comment on the long-term durability of my 1978 Simplicity with the 8hp Briggs & Stratton, but so far, so good.

jack vines
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:07 PM   #58
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There is no "best" snowblower. The best one would be one that lasts forever, but forever is too long for a snowblower to last.

That being said, the older snowblowers had better engines than the new ones today. (we all know why).
I'd look into getting someone's old used one in good condition.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:37 PM   #59
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You cant just buy an old machine and call it good. Generally speaking 20-40 years is very hard on a snow blower so expect many of the bushings and bearings to be shot and the gear case could probably use a rebuild. Frankly speaking just from what I've seen, be prepared to pay someone who knows what they're doing another $400-$500 in parts and labor to restore an old machine to perfect working order.

The only older machine I would buy would be Ariens branded. They're the only company who still fully supports their machines with replaceable parts dating all the way back to the 60s. MTD and Murray have gone through numerous revisions/ownership changes so generally speaking parts for something 20-30 years ago can be non-existent beyond the common things like belts. Toro is a bit better but still, go back to the 70s-80s and you'll see a lot of components discontinued.

Quote:
Long story short we had a very warm winter last year, almost no snow. So neither machine got used. I went to start the one at the shop this year and it was getting no gas. I took off the carb. bowl & float, the needle valve was corroded to its bore! We soaked it, tried removing, and it broke. MTD could not get me the needle valve for my particular off shore, chinese, no name brand engine model. They had to sell me an upgraded version of the carb. Its running now, but that $850 snow blower needed a $75 carb instead of a $5 needle valve.
Not everyone sells only carb assemblies, Toro is pushing those Chinese engines hard and does offer individual parts for them. That said they still suck. One huge problem with them was the Chinese fuel line they were installing that deteriorated and gummed up the carb or froze the needle like you experienced so make sure its a good fuel line like Greenbar. That still wont save you from the crap metal they use on the carb bowls which will rust after a few years no matter what, never mind the rest of the fuel tank which is likewise powder coated mild steel and also likes to rust.

I was joking with someone the other day that I like working on those machines because the fuel system becomes trashed so quickly while the rest of the machine is basically new. Makes for few other issues and quick turn around .

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Old 02-10-2013, 01:52 PM   #60
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We have tons of older used snowblowers around here.
http://www.bismanonline.com/content/...e&q=snowblower

Anybody who wants one can easily find one in good condition.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:30 PM   #61
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Best solution is to relocate. You'll save in the long run.

Moved in '77 and left all this behind for the next guy:

Snow blower, snow board, snow boots, snow bunnies, snow chains, snow drifts, snow plow, snow men, snow mobile, snow sleds, snow tires, snow shovel and the overall cost of snow removal with all its other associated costs/disadvantages like salt, rust, frost lines, etc.

You couldn't get my ass back up there even if you aimed me in that direction and put a lit stick of dynamite up my butt.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:31 PM   #62
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I'll echo the Honda vote. I'm on my third blower. First was a single stage HS520A. unbelievably efficient and easy to start. I still have this one. Second was a track drive HS724. A child could start it on first pull every December. It had a lot of torque, but the engine was a bit small for what I put it through and I wanted a wider bucket. I convinced myself I could get something newer and better for the price of a used Honda. Last year I got an Ariens Pro 28", but it sat for the unseasonable mild winter. Last Dec I pulled it out of the shed, changed to oil, burned off the old gas and put in some fresh stabilized fuel. Yesterday, about 15 mins into the job, the motor sputtered out. The job was completed by the single stage Honda! I found some mild corrosion in the bowl! To say I'm pissed is an understatement. With proper maintenance, neither of my Honda's have given me any grief over the years. The ariens has already begun on its first pass in the snow.

Do look for a nice condition used Honda. The new prices are hard to justify. Used you can get them for 50% give to take. If you sell it in a few years, you'll get your money back. I made $100 on my HS724, without trying. Bought it within a week of looking and sold it within a week of placing the ad.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:57 PM   #63
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I've heard good things about Ariens but I bought what was available with a big storm bearing down on me two years ago. I bought the last one they had, a mid-sized two-stage 27-inch Snapper (with reverse).

Since then I haven't had the chance to find out about all the bells and whistles it has (no snow) but recently had a difficult time getting it started using the pull start.

HOWEVER, I noticed an extension cord in the package. It was an AC plugin for using the electric start. That dude cranked over fast and started right up using the electric cord.

Even though I take good care to maintain it, start it up from time to time, I'll never buy another without an electric start.

Steve
This thread got my curiosity up about starting my Snapper. Back when I had trouble it was 10-degrees outside after a snow. Today, it is 55-degrees outside. It started with one pull, no electrics.

And that makes sense because in very cold weather there can be many things besides the engine (B&S 250 cc) that would prevent an easy start. My guess is that I may have purchased a 5-gallon container of gas when the local blend was still a summer blend. I use a gas stabilizer, but the EPA has forced many communities to change the "blend" every 6 months, hence, gas shortages, high prices, and snowblowers that won't start with one pull of a pull cord.

I'm getting up in years, So like I said, I will never buy another without an electric start.

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Old 02-10-2013, 08:46 PM   #64
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I paid extra for electric start when I got my Honda HS 828 track drive and only use it once to try it out, that was 20 years ago. It's a awesome feature but I haven't needed it yet.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:46 AM   #65
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We have tons of older used snowblowers around here.
http://www.bismanonline.com/content/...e&q=snowblower

Anybody who wants one can easily find one in good condition.
Absolutley nothing within 50 miles, not even another POS like mine...
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:26 AM   #66
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I have wondered quite a bit lately, why aren't there any diesel engine snow blowers available? My two tractors and generator are diesel powered and they always start without the issues gasoline can present.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:28 AM   #67
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Carb is probiably iced up. Probiably no way to to get heat in the garage or safely heat the carb? That issue will happen regardless of brand though. That's more of a product of the shitty gas they sell anymore which pulls water into by its nature.
Exactly.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:12 AM   #68
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1970's Yardman 7040-1 SnowBird. Purchased for $50 at a yardsale. Carb is messed up but still runs! Fires on first pull.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:25 AM   #69
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We have a 1953 Simplicity that starts everytime we need it. 3 pulls and it purrs like a kitten. Not sure if Simplicity's are still built that way or not. But they were certainly good units 60 years ago.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:26 PM   #70
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Simplicity is the way to go. My small 22" 5 hp simplicity kicks the crap out of my neighbors 36" 10 hp warehouse store model. Had it for 10 years and never even hiccuped once! The neightbor is amazed how my "little" blower can just hammer through 12"+ without even slowing down. It's the small details that make the simplicity outlast and out perform the competition. Stronger gearboxes, better materials, HD component's as well as just thoughtful design makes them the best. I wouldn't get anything but a Simplicity. Pricey but like I said 10 years without a single failure is worth $$$ when you need it to start.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:25 PM   #71
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

While it's fun to try to pull out the superman card and say "I've got a good shovel for any amount of snow", I finally figured being hunched over in pain for the next week is less fun.

I searched for a snowblower two years ago and ended up buying a used 2003 simplicity with a 305cc B+S motor (off ebay, from Agawam, MA). It's nice, channel type arms and a solid feel, and good features like a lever to unlock one wheel so you can turn it around very easily. And the electric start is a big plus if the briggs feels lazy.
Cyclonegrey is right, there's a number of small details that make Simplicity a good machine. Also like the 2 reverse gears.

The front is only about 20 inches high so I was having to make two passes on most of the driveway. I suppose I could have attached a board over the drift bars, but my driveway isn't THAT big. It never did bog down and I had to make sure I wasn't throwing the snow too high and filling in my neighbors driveway. It says 10hp on it, but the same 305cc displacement was also used on the 11 and 12 hp models.....hmmm.

Of course now I need to start up the chainsaw after the rain stops because of a few downed trees.

BTW If you need aviation fuel, AirNav.com will get you a listing of places by zip code (even in Massachusetts).

And always have a few extra shear pins for your machine, that end of driveway slop from the town plow is always full of ice and debris.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:32 PM   #72
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My Wife!
+ 1 + shovel.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:10 PM   #73
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I stopped by a dealer and he loves the Toro even over the Ariens. Said the 2013 models are Toro motors made by Toro in the USA. I am going to try to check on that info. I sure liked the features and layout of the powermax?


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Honda's are built like tanks but are WAY overpriced for what they are. Literally double the price of the higher end competition. Electric starts aren't standard across the model ranges like most other brands and infact aren't even offered on 2 stages until you hit $2800.00 price range, and they dont have other newer options like a differential or the ability to unlock an axle to pivot steer. For 1400-1600 you can get a really nice Ariens Platinum, electric start is standard and its got an automatic differential built into the axle so just a little turning pressure disengages one axle allowing turning on the spot. Simplicity is priced higher with the nice units starting around $1800 but they're easily built as well as a Honda with higher end Briggs engines and they pivot steer by a simple trigger system.

Quality wise of the chassis if Honda and Simplicity are a 10, Ariens are a solid 8, still leagues better than the common Craftsman, MTD and Murray units sold today.

I like Toro too but as stated their larger PowerMax models are all equipped with Chinese engines now.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:58 PM   #74
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Gas goes stale real quick, more of an issue on small engines. The rule of thumb I have is: never use gas more than 30 days old and buy it from a station that has high turnover. I learned this again the hard way in the fall. I always store my blower with no gas in it. When I went to check the blower I put gas in that was left from the last cut of the fall grass about two months old. the blower would not start. Checked everything: spark good, compression good, opened the carb everything spotless no debris. Put it back together put fresh gas in it and started straight away.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:38 PM   #75
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Garden tractor (old heavy one) with a plow is cheaper than a snowblower if you have a place to store it. My cub cadet with a plow was $215. Needs a rebuild cause it smokes a lot but it runs and I used it all winter. Gonna put about $400 into it this spring rebuilding and repainting and it will be good for another 40 years. Starts every time i turn the key.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:30 PM   #76
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If you don't want your carb/needle/bowl corroded, quit buying the cheapest octane gas with ethanol in it. The 91 octane around here is still real gas. Buy 2 gallons fresh in December and it'll make it to March, no problem.

Dad's: 1986 Simplicity w/B&S 8 hp
Mine: 1995 Murray Estate with 7 hp Snow King

Dad's cost twice as much and is almost twice as nice. The Snow King was/is a great motor though, no issues with it at all.

I pity the fools who buy the HD/Lowes crap with china motors.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:54 PM   #77
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I stopped by a dealer and he loves the Toro even over the Ariens. Said the 2013 models are Toro motors made by Toro in the USA. I am going to try to check on that info. I sure liked the features and layout of the powermax?
If that was the knowledgeable people at a true small dealership that told you that inform them they need to update their information. They're Chinese engines 100%. You can call Toro's customer service and ask them for yourself (Toro has really great customer service). All Toro branded engines, without exception, are 100% made in China.

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Old 02-13-2013, 08:08 PM   #78
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I have wondered quite a bit lately, why aren't there any diesel engine snow blowers available? My two tractors and generator are diesel powered and they always start without the issues gasoline can present.
My case 85xt snow shovel is diesel!
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:47 AM   #79
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If that was the knowledgeable people at a true small dealership that told you that inform them they need to update their information. They're Chinese engines 100%. You can call Toro's customer service and ask them for yourself (Toro has really great customer service). All Toro branded engines, without exception, are 100% made in China.
Very interesting. He told me the NEW engines were made in USA with a straight face. Either he is woefully uninformed, a shiester, or there is new information you don't know or were told wrong by Toro? Someone is mistaken

I'll perhaps do as you suggested and call Toro.

The good news is my old POS blower did start yesterday so my primary issue is likely ethynal related and fixable with the right fuel and additive choices. A good carb rebuild might be in order as well.

Now to start working on the elctric start issue. Spinning starter motor. Hopefully that issue is only the starter pinion????
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:48 AM   #80
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Honda - GX engine - track drive...
Say no more.



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Old 02-14-2013, 03:30 PM   #81
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In my humble opinion most sales people do not know their products very well. I have seen this so many times it scares me. Check the facts yourself or toss a post up here and someone will be able to help with the reality, just like in this case.

Do you know what the difference is between a product Made in USA vs. one made in China? ..... A job for an American worker.


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If that was the knowledgeable people at a true small dealership that told you that inform them they need to update their information. They're Chinese engines 100%. You can call Toro's customer service and ask them for yourself (Toro has really great customer service). All Toro branded engines, without exception, are 100% made in China.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:04 PM   #82
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I have quite a few snow accounts and i run Ariens 2 stage machines(with the tec snow king) and toro single stage machines.

I would buy a toro powermax if it had the briggs or tecumseh on it. Those are nice machines as well.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:13 PM   #83
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I have an Ariens 824,works fine for me.
If I had the money and more snowfall during the winter I would buy a Honda Track model.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:59 PM   #84
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Well for my money you can't go wrong with these
Either one eats it no matter what is in front of it
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:12 PM   #85
1320stang
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

So, my dad is 72 and mom is 68, they live in Enid, OK which got 10+ inches of snow last night. Just got off the phone with them and they're just finishing up an hour and a half of shoveling snow in their driveway. I'm guessing maybe 2400 sq/ft of driveway. Problem is, my sister & I live 1.5 hours away. We don't often get a lot of snow, usually sleet or ice, but I've been kicking around getting them a snow blower for a couple years. Not sure what to get, looking for suggestions, electric or gas?. They still get around great (they just shoveled 2000 cu/ft of wet snow, duh!!) but I'd like to make it easier on them. We would really like for them to move down to Edmond near us, but they're friends and such are all up there, as is my father's work.

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Old 02-26-2013, 12:34 PM   #86
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

It'll probably melt in Enid OK before ya get a chance to buy one. Here. that's another story, but my Snapper is doing the job. Starting easily now that I have fresh gasoline.

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Old 02-26-2013, 01:11 PM   #87
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

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Originally Posted by 1320stang View Post
So, my dad is 72 and mom is 68, they live in Enid, OK which got 10+ inches of snow last night. Just got off the phone with them and they're just finishing up an hour and a half of shoveling snow in their driveway. I'm guessing maybe 2400 sq/ft of driveway.
Something no bigger than a 24. The bigger machines eat more snow faster, but unless you spend a ton of money they are more difficult to hustle around. A good 24 (a GOOD one) will do the job in no time and be a pleasure to use.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:55 PM   #88
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Default Re: Most reliable snow blower?

I'm guessing that's 24" wide? I'm a little uninformed about snowblowers as they don't really sell them down here......... or basements.

I'm likely going to have to order one or bring one from down north. When is the best time to buy? late spring?

What would be cool would be a convertible machine, snow blower in winter, rototiller in the summer. I need to call DR or get on that invention show with those two goofballs.
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Larry Hampton

1963 Fairlane 2 door post
1965 Mustang Coupe
1973 F-100 longbed
1991 Festiva "Thing 1", red
1991 Festiva "Thing 2", blue
1992 Festiva "Blackie", black (duh)
1993 Festiva "Feisty", white
2000 Explorer 4 door, "Kevin"
2002 Pontiac Grand Prix
2003 Explorer SportTrac
2005 Honda Accord
2008 Mercury Mountaineer
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PS: I'm a girl..
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