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  1. #1
    Banned qwerty's Avatar
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    Need a good snowblower.

    The past couple years of global warming have convinced me I need a good snowblower for my son. He shovels three homes, his, his grandparents, and his elderly neighbor. This global warming is wearing him out. He also sees the opportunity to make some extra income with such a machine. I'd prefer function over fancy, just a plain old hardworking TW-like machine that gets the job done. Drives are about 20x50 feet, but sloped, so getting back up the hills is important. I'd like a 120 volt electric start and tracks. I also wouldn't mind a good used machine so someone else eats the depreciation. Suggestions from those with experience?




  2. #2
    Senior Member Dryden-Tdub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty View Post
    The past couple years of global warming have convinced me I need a good snowblower for my son. He shovels three homes, his, his grandparents, and his elderly neighbor. This global warming is wearing him out. He also sees the opportunity to make some extra income with such a machine. I'd prefer function over fancy, just a plain old hardworking TW-like machine that gets the job done. Drives are about 20x50 feet, but sloped, so getting back up the hills is important. I'd like a 120 volt electric start and tracks. I also wouldn't mind a good used machine so someone else eats the depreciation. Suggestions from those with experience?
    Skip the tracks. They are no better on ice than rubber tires with chains. Tracks limit mobility to a gym style workout unless the engine is running. Also I suspect that even though you are getting more snow than normal any of the tracked models would be real overkill. Your needs would be very well served with a Sno-Tek 24" 2 stage machine like I have. This machine is built by Ariens and can be had new for roughly $600 at Home Depot. This has been my third heavy winter with mine and my drive and parking would be larger than all three of the ones you listed combined.


    Tom
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    Senior Member Padilen's Avatar
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    Ariens or Toro- at least 8 horse. Not sure about track models. I sold a craftsman 5 horse with tracks, I only used it at my friend's that bought it. Worked good for size, but ran out of gas, combination of small gas tank - long driveway.
    I had a Toro with solid drum blades awesome thrower but 1 lever design was hard to use. I kept the Ariens 828 in ruff condition because handle / control lay out was easier to operate. Mine were 80's models. I have an old Ariens from late 60, early 70's that Id like to sell. Got a different motor to bolt on. I think the old motor is good just can't get carb right.

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    Banned qwerty's Avatar
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    Thoughtful argument for a wheeled machine, D-TW, thanks. Chains would not be a problem. Ice is as common as snow down here. Freezing rain and sleet do a lot of damage and come several inches at a time on a regular basis. I can see where chains on tires would be a good choice. Cheaper, too!

    Studies of changing climate do indicate increasing winter precip for this area, though. The past few years have shown the predicted trends to be pretty close. We will maintain this engine the same way we do all our other seasonal machines. Some are 30+ years old and still start first pull every season, even after 5-6 years of no use. No-snow years are a valid concern but won't be a big deal because of our established storage routines.




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    Banned qwerty's Avatar
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    Betcha we could get the carb right, Padi. Pre-emission small engine carbs are all about good sealing and cleanliness because the fuel and vacuum passages are very small. Almost always a bad gasket or o-ring and/or partially clogged fuel and vacuum passages is the problem.




  7. #6
    Senior Member plumbstraight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty View Post
    The past couple years of global warming have convinced me I need a good snowblower for my son. He shovels three homes, his, his grandparents, and his elderly neighbor. This global warming is wearing him out. He also sees the opportunity to make some extra income with such a machine. I'd prefer function over fancy, just a plain old hardworking TW-like machine that gets the job done. Drives are about 20x50 feet, but sloped, so getting back up the hills is important. I'd like a 120 volt electric start and tracks. I also wouldn't mind a good used machine so someone else eats the depreciation. Suggestions from those with experience?
    Qwerty, if you ar not just giving us a bad time I have one that has about 20 minutes on it. Electric start, but has wheels. I bought it in ND when we had a snow and used it once and then no snow. I live on the west coast and it hardly snows here ever. I will bring it with me if you are serious.

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    Senior Member Dryden-Tdub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty View Post
    Thoughtful argument for a wheeled machine, D-TW, thanks. Chains would not be a problem. Ice is as common as snow down here. Freezing rain and sleet do a lot of damage and come several inches at a time on a regular basis. I can see where chains on tires would be a good choice. Cheaper, too!

    Studies of changing climate do indicate increasing winter precip for this area, though. The past few years have shown the predicted trends to be pretty close. We will maintain this engine the same way we do all our other seasonal machines. Some are 30+ years old and still start first pull every season, even after 5-6 years of no use. No-snow years are a valid concern but won't be a big deal because of our established storage routines.

    I do routine maintenance on mine twice a year. In the spring I clean and lube the entire machine. I run the gas tank and carb dry then refill with a full tank of ethanol free gas plus one ounce of Seafoam for good measure. In the fall it comes out with both of my generators and I change the oil and check tire pressure. Clean the air filter, check/replace spark plugs as necessary. My Sno-Teck will start on the second pull every time at temperatures above 10 degrees. Below 10 degrees it depends on how long it has been idle. If it has been brutally cold and idle for a week or so I usually just plug it in and use the electric starter. After it starts it will re-fire with one pull every time. This machine has exceeded every possible expectation and then some. Oh yeah and it will launch even heavy wet snow a solid 45 feet. The light fluffy stuff an honest 65 feet.


    Tom
    It won't be greed which destroys America. It will be envy.

    Man who runs in front of motorcycle gets tired. Man who runs behind motorcycle gets exhausted.

  9. #8
    rbm
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    I have an old Craftsman tracked machine, 9HP, 28". When it's time I will replace it with another tracked model, IMO, the tracks make maneuvering much easier. I also use it to make paths around the house and out to my shed. I think a wheeled model would have a hard time running on grass. My next one will be a Honda or Husky, the Honda has true hydro-static drive, no more slipping belts.

  10. #9
    Member TrailWhale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbm View Post
    I have an old Craftsman tracked machine, 9HP, 28". When it's time I will replace it with another tracked model, IMO, the tracks make maneuvering much easier. I also use it to make paths around the house and out to my shed. I think a wheeled model would have a hard time running on grass. My next one will be a Honda or Husky, the Honda has true hydro-static drive, no more slipping belts.
    +1 on the tracked snowblower. I have a 1995 Craftsman 5 hp 28" snowblower with tracks. It was made by Murray for Sears, and repair parts are still reasonably available. Here in PA we sometimes get large/deep snows. When you have a tracked machine, you can clear a 24" deep snow in two "layers". Just let the machine ride high to take off the first 12" of snow depth, then turn around and remove the second 12" layer of snow. At the very least, this almost always happens where the snow plow pushes the road open past the end of our driveway. Yesterday that wall of packed snow was waist high - took me just two passes to clear a path thorough the wall of snow! (Did do some rocking back and forth, but it's a great workout for an elderly retiree.) Without tracks, I couldn't make paths through the yard to the deck and to the back door, much less grind my way through a wall of snow at the end of the driveway. Earlier this week I cleared about a 6" snow that had a hard crust of ice on the top, and made the snow blower vibrate fiercely as it chewed up the ice. Unfortunately, this does require the replacement of the drive belt and auger belts fairly regularly. My replacement set of belts (from Amazon) should arrive today!
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  11. #10
    Senior Member GaryL's Avatar
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    I am a believer in Utility! Equipment with small engines such as snow blowers, chaain saws, weed wackers, Ice augers and other tools spend most of their lives sitting around waiting for the need to be used comes around. It never fails, the day you have to get it out of storage the dam thing won't start or run right. Old fuel and gummed up carbs is usually the problem.

    Go big or go home. You do have grass down there and I suspect your son who keeps the driveways cleared of snow probably also mows the grass. A riding mower with a snow blower and chains might be just the ticket for him. This way the tractor never has down time sitting around for months at a time while the fuel goes stale. 4 Wheel drive is a nice option but usually not necessary unless you get a lot of snow or have steeply sloped driveways. If you already have a riding mower you might check around to see if there is a blower attachment for it.

    When I lived in Rochester NY I had a Craftsman rider mower with the blower. It was rather poor quality but I must admit it did the job very well all year long for mowing and blowing and we got hammered not just with heavy snows but my driveway could get drifted in even if we didn't get a fresh snow, all it took was a change in wind direction.

    GaryL
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