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Snow blower recommendations

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  • Snow blower recommendations

    I just had someone in to quote on snowplowing my driveway this coming winter, and his quote was $1200 for the winter. In previous years I have paid as much as $700 for the season, but this is just too damn much. I am considering buying a snowblower. We get about 24" to 30" of snow (average depth on the ground) here every winter. My driveway is two cars wide and 100 foot long. I'm 63 years old with some arthritis in my "good" right shoulder. I am thinking of buying a walk behind snowblower, probably 36" wide. I have plenty of room either side of my driveway to throw the snow. I think I will get electric start, in deference to my shoulder. I see that some have wheels, while others have treads----Any idea as to which is better? It will probably be a two stage as opposed to single stage. Anybody have recommendations?---Brian
    Last edited by brian Rupnow; 11-10-2009, 10:37 AM.
    Brian Rupnow

  • #2
    Hi Brian

    My Friend Up in Kirkland Lake swears by his tracked snowblower. He says it just gets right underneath the snow and chugs along. Myself i have a regular 28 inch blower ,but dont use chains on the tires. It also has a 15 horsepower motor on it.(custom installed by me) and works very well. I feel without the chains when the loading gets too great instead of shear pins or parts breaking in the snowblower it just stops and tires spin. Likewise with fuel, Use gas treatment like cleanflow fuel stabilizer in it (stay away from motomaster fuel stabilizer)and also i would install a fuel filter in the line and thats about it. Electric start and a close enough recepticle will provide you with a easy starting machine. Mine sits outside uncovered all winter and has been quite reliable. The only complaint i had was my one neighbour telling me to quit blowing snow over his 10 foot fence and filling up his backyard and deck, this is nearly 30 feer from my driveway, it sure throws the snow since the big motor upgrade. Go big as, you can 13 horsepower or so (more is always better) and it works earier and I think lasts longerr than a small engined Blower.


    • #3
      Originally posted by brian Rupnow
      Anybody have recommendations?---Brian
      Move to Florida or Phoenix and use the funds designated for snowblower to purchase more tools.


      • #4
        Look at the main auger, ensure it is one made from a thin strip
        around the outer edge. The toro units are a full auger and tend
        to plug. The thin strip units allow the "excess" to swish around
        inside the auger without plugging (not very technical I know)

        Airens (sp) seem to be proportioned (h.p. to auger width to impeller dia.)
        well, I've seen them running good when others plug (wet, heavy snow).


        • #5
          Wheels for you, sir

          Originally posted by brian Rupnow
          I see that some have wheels, while others have treads----Any idea as to which is better?
          I notice from the picture your driveway is approximately flat.

          In my youth I lived at an apartment with underground parking... 20 feet of 45 degree ramp. The onsite manager desperately needed the tracks. Anywhere else, the tracks are a waste of $1K and make it harder to steer.

          When I first moved to a house, money was very tight, bought the smallest cheapest snowblower toro sold. Huge mistake. Took around one hour to snowblow the driveway, and had to shovel out the driveway entrance by hand (oh my aching back). About a decade, and several visits to the Dr for back problems later, I bought the biggest wheeled blower money can buy, "semi-pro" and I now snowblow the driveway in about 5 minutes including the plowed in entrance, no pain, no sweat, no problem.

          Figure every $1 you spend on the blower will save you about a pint of sweat, a beers worth of pain, and at least three swear words over the life of the blower, its well worth it to buy the largest blower you can handle.

          "saving money" by skipping maintenance is an excellent way to lose incredible sums of money on repairs.

          Buy as many shear pins as you think you need, then buy twice as many more. Do not build your own shear pins on your lathe, unless you plan to later build a new transmission...

          You will need a good set of earplugs, no problem for a metalworking dude, but you need to be able to remove and reinsert with insulated gloves on. I have no good solution for that, yet.

          Wire up the electrical starter outlet before it starts snowing, like right now. And put a GFCI on it, nothing more exciting than mixing melting snow, road salt, and electricity. An outlet by the garage door comes in handy for other uses anyway.

          Appropriately mounted switched outdoor floodlights can literally save your life when you plow at night. Illuminate not just your path, but yourself. "Too much" on a clear night, is probably "not enough" during a blizzard.


          • #6
            Get a Honda. Let me repeat, get a Honda. Do not waste your time on lesser models. You can pick the size.


            • #7
              Use synthetic oil like Castrol Syntec 0W30. My snowblower sleep outside and start at the second crank. I never use the electric start.

              Have fun


              • #8
                Toro or Ariens. Either are fine. I'd buy based primarily on which one has the best dealership nearby.

                I had a Toro for 28 years and it was still going when I sold it with my house. Unlike a previous poster, I had no particular clogging problems with the Toro design of auger.

                I have heard that Toros are easier to work on than Ariens, but I have no personal experience with Ariens. The one time I did wade into the Toro, disassembly was very straightforward.

                I believe Ariens has a plug-in electric start, so there is no need for a battery, which seems like a great idea. Toro may have that too, I'm not sure.

                Get one bigger than you think you need -- it won't be.

                Oh--yes, synthetic oil helps.
                Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Waterlogged
                  Get a Honda. Let me repeat, get a Honda. Do not waste your time on lesser models. You can pick the size.
                  i'd agree with that, maybe the only piece of modern iron (machines, appliances cars etc) that hasn't disappointed. after 20 years still going strong (hopefully they are still made as well!)


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bob_s
                    Move to Florida or Phoenix and use the funds designated for snowblower to purchase more tools.
                    I realy like your solution!!! Unfortunately, a move to the sunny south is not in the cards for me. I have been out to Sears and Costco this morning getting educated on snowblowers. As someone pointed out, my driveway is perfectly flat, so tank treads are not needed. All of the 27" wide blowers are 2 stage with electric start. There is a version with a "Made in China" air cooled engine, which is about $200 cheaper, but the ones with an American made Briggs and Stratton is the one I will buy. Sears and Costco are both selling Poulan snowblowers but I have had bad experiences with Poulan in both weed eaters and chainsaws. I am about to call Honda and see what they have. Sears is selling the Craftsman 27" with13.5 ft. pounds torque for $1299 and Costco is sellimg the 27" x 11.5 ft. pounds torque Poulan for $997.00.
                    Brian Rupnow


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by brian Rupnow
                      Sears is selling the Craftsman 27" with13.5 ft. pounds torque for $1299 and Costco is sellimg the 27" x 11.5 ft. pounds torque Poulan for $997.00.

                      I fear your going down that "price war" path.

                      Why not the local dealer ? Why not the recomended toro or airens ?


                      • #12
                        Look for a used Honda in good shape. They aren't cheap new, and for a reason. A used Honda in good shape will still outlast the Toro or anything from Poulan. Been there, done that. You'll pay more now for the Honda but fewer headaches and repairs in the long run.


                        • #13
                          I just called Honda---They have a 28" model with no electric start and no ability to disengage one of the wheels for sharp turns, and it starts at $3000---Guess I know which snowblower I WON'T be buying!!!
                          Brian Rupnow


                          • #14
                            Just called Toro dealer---Their Powermax 8280E is a 28" x 11.5 ft. pounds torque machine with electric start, and freewheel steering (which is what I want) and the price before taxes is $1800.00.---And yes---Of course I'm going down the "price war path". Jeez man---I've worked 3 months out of this last year!!! If money wasn't an object I'd just have a friggin contractor clear my driveway. I have no burning desire to drag my arthritic old arse outside at 25 below zero to play with a damn snowblower!!!
                            Last edited by brian Rupnow; 11-10-2009, 01:08 PM.
                            Brian Rupnow


                            • #15
                              Brian:- Unfortunately, Mcgyver is correct-Hondas are hard to beat. Unfortunately, unless you are lucky enough to get one in a summer garage sale, ($450.00 for a 624 in perfect shape!) they are expensive. The honda add yesterday in the local paper showed about 42900.00 for a 724 track model and THEN add 13% for tax. OTOH, Costco has a Poulan for about $900.00 that will do everything you need. I know, it is not North American iron, or Honda, but it is $300.00 less than your snow removal quote, they are in stock, and the warranty is hard to beat. Oh, and I am speaking from experience-25 years in the Ottawa area! Duffy
                              Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec