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Old 03-01-2007, 10:46 PM   #1
ovilla
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Default What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

Hey, this is garage related right? Anyway, I live in Chicago and I'm selling my old TORO 421 (30 year old) blower to a friend so that I can upgrade to a new toy. I just want something that has a wide path (22-30"), 6-7 horsepower, electric start, and that can clean clear down to the pavement (as in leaving no sign of snow - like you shoveled it). My 421 has three forward gears, a reverse gear, and BIG metal "sausage" blades, along with auger and wheel controls but with 4 horsepower the engine does get bogged down. So, what did you Midwest and East coast guys/gals buy/use this winter that you're happy with? Let me know what you like/dislike about your unit. All of you West coasters can sit back and learn something here about how the other half lives. Thanks

P.S. I do have a friend that can get TORO's from ACE Hardware at cost but I'm really most interested in getting the best unit right now (at clearance prices hopefully).
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Old 03-02-2007, 12:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

Nothing Runs Like A Deer
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Old 03-02-2007, 02:28 AM   #3
4x4Dan
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

I have a Ariens 12 hp 36" cut. I use it on a 250' driveway with a healthy area in front of a 2 1/2 car garage. Get the biggest/widest snowblower you can afford. I make 4 trips (2 down,2 up) for a 12' wide swath which takes about 20 min depending on the amount of snow. I live in Syracuse NY and we regularly get dumped on by lake effect from lake Ontario. The ariens blows the white stuff a good distance which is nice when keeping the banks back. Helps from keeping the drifting down to a mim. The unit has 6 foward speeds but I only use 1 or 2 as the rest make the unit move too fast to handle the amount of snow with out spill over. Just to note this machine is a snow eating monster so its not like it cant handle it. Also note that the units sold by Lowes and Home depot are a cheaper version of said unit sold by lawn and garden shops. Also note that many of the units sold by lowes etc are MTD brand Cub Cadet/Deere......not the best. You get what you pay for. Ariens rules!

"Nothing runs like a deere?" What does that really mean?

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Old 03-02-2007, 04:29 AM   #4
RonBou
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

All I can say is....MORE POWER! I have an 8.5 HP and it is good 95% of the time BUT when you get that rain/snow mix with 6 inches plus on the ground it chokes. I wish I had gotten the 12 HP model.
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Old 03-02-2007, 04:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

I have a Honda 2 stage 6.5 hp, 26" wide with track drive and the hydrostatic transmission. I added the headlight kit.

No need for chains with the track drive. Hydrostatic drive gives me an infinite range in forward or reverse.

No electric start- it is a Honda. I think the next model up offers it as an option.

Yes, I have to throttle it back with wet snow... but I bet it will eat anything else out there for lunch. Most of the stuff sold at a big box is junk. Mine will throw slush.

The only way you will get all of the snow off your driveway with a metal auger is a *perfectly* flat driveway.

A smaller unit with a rubber auger would be nice for lighter snow or cleanup.

The bigger the unit, the more difficult it is to handle.
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Old 03-02-2007, 05:21 AM   #6
tez929rr
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

http://www.gizmag.com/go/4889/
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Old 03-02-2007, 06:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

The absolute best snow removable machine???
Well here in Nebraska I have found that a 14 year old neighbor kid and a couple of twenty dollar bills work best for me!

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Old 03-02-2007, 09:21 AM   #8
davidcalhoun
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

Do you have any other toys that you could add a snowblower or blade to? A blade on a ATV can be fun.

Otherwise, I vote for any namebrand other than MTD brands.

Honda and Ariens are very good. I would also look at the larger Toros since you can get one at cost.
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Old 03-02-2007, 09:38 AM   #9
CraigFL
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

When I lived in Wisconsin, I had a 17HP Deere Tractor with the snowblower attachment. It cleared my 200 ft long driveway easy....
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Old 03-02-2007, 11:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

Don't have a snowblower for it, but my Bobcat works for me!
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Old 03-02-2007, 12:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

Having previously worked in the power equipment business I would say:
#1 - Honda w/tracks. Expensive, but high quality & easy to start
#2 - Ariens. Also high quality with a long history
#3 - Toro

I recommend purchasing form an authorized dealer who will perform your warranty work, if needed as opposed to buying from a big box store. The person prepping at the big box may not be as familiar/trained as the local dealer.
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Old 03-02-2007, 12:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

Ariens is the best, hands down! I have used mine regularly for over 25 years without complaint. When the engine gives it up , if ever, I do not intend to buy a new machine, I will just strap on a new engine and keep on a chuggin!
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Old 03-02-2007, 01:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

These guys like OPE like we like garages!

http://www.opeonthenet.com/phpBB2/index.php
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Old 03-02-2007, 05:05 PM   #14
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

Get the Honda. With tracks they are a snow eating machine. I can throw snow darn near 100 feet with mine and I have 300 feet of drive here in Michigan.
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Old 03-02-2007, 05:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

I gotta agree about the Honda with tracks...those things dig and dig, and they don't have the tendency to ride up over the snow if it get's packed because the wife just had to go shop for shoes before you can get the driveway cleared (big pet peeve of mine)

I bought a big Deere (it's made by ariens) so I have to also agree that Ariens is a top brand, and Toro is definately as good.

By all means, if you can afford the Honda, get it. I see that Cub Cadet now has a tracked model, and it seems to be built well...you could try that as well.

Did I mention get the Honda? Who cares about electric start...you don't need it with a honda. Even my Deere with the obligatory Tecumseh starts on the first pull every single time.

The nice thing about the newer wheel drive versions is that they almost all have the little steer levers on the handles so you are always fully locked in when blowing...my unit was bought just before they started doing this, so I have to reach down and lock in the axle to get full locked axle. Also make sure you get one with remote controls for both the chute rotation AND elevation...makes life so much easier.
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Old 03-02-2007, 05:26 PM   #16
toms73novass
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

I have an ariens 8 hp (now 22 years old) and have never had a snow fall here in buffalo that it couldn't handle. I have seen the difference in the ariens that the big box stores carry and those at garden equip stores. Go to the garden equip stores.
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Old 03-02-2007, 06:14 PM   #17
SteveU
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

I got the 10 hp 24" 2 stage model at Sams club & like it. Wider would be nice but any wider & I would have to open the 12x12 overhead door to get it out where this goes thru the walkin door. Get a 2 stage, when I was a kid the neighbor had a toro rubber paddle model that did allright until the blizzard of 78 then it was about useless. The rubber paddles also blow slush all over you pretty good and aren't very good on wet heavy snow. If you set the skids all the way up you can get down to maybe 1/4-1/2" of snow left on pavement which is fine with me.
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Old 03-02-2007, 06:57 PM   #18
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

It never snows here.
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Old 03-02-2007, 07:50 PM   #19
V-10 Killer
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

Too bad your driveway is already poured. You coulda put PEX tubing in the approach and done radiant heating. Just turn it on long enough to melt it and turn it off the rest of the time LOL.
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Old 03-02-2007, 08:40 PM   #20
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Default Re: What's the best snow blower for a 3-car wide driveway?

I've got a Honda 928 blower Hydrostatic drive without the tracks. I went with the wheels because I did not like the fact that you must start the snowblower to move it with the tracks. Since 95% of the time the things sits, I like to be able to tuck it out of the way. I thought the tracks made it more difficult than they were worth.

I'm in the subs of Phila, PA and have not yet had the need for tracks. The headlight kit is def worth it. Mine even has the electric start and the wife is not intimidated to work the machine when I'm not home- a real plus!

I was able to purchase the Honda with a little bit of a break from list price but finding one for under 2k is a good deal. Most of the other units around the neighborhood are either new $500-$800 Craftsman/Depot type units or old Ariens. My point is that the Ariens seem to last as they tend to be the most popular of the older vintage units. I've used several of them. My biggest hang up is the lack of hydrostatic drive. It really makes it easier.
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