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We got a little single stage 2-cycle job in the '99-'00 season. It has never handled heavy snow well, and Sharon doesn't like the 2-cycle exhaust. Finally the little thing has bogged down. The engine runs fine, it's bullet proof. But it's clogging up even in light fresh snow. I was going to look at a repair, but Sharon wants a new one.

 

Our tough snow problem is what the plow leaves at the end of our driveway. Heavy, compacted, sometimes with ice chunks. What do we need to deal with that stuff?

 

Thanks,

 

Jan

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On your old one, It sounds like a loose or worn belt.

 

That's exactly what it sounds like, which I was looking up repairs when I found out that Sharon had been waiting for it to die. You can hear the belt squeal.

 

I'm leery of another single stage unit though. Are these new 4-cycle ones substantially better at heavy compacted snow than the older 2-cycle single stage models?

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A money-hungry 12 year old with a snow shovel?

 

 

I'm thinkin....

 

Killer's been working out a lot lately.

 

I think he's your man.

 

I'm sure that broom is feelin awful light by now.

 

:/

 

 

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Are these new 4-cycle ones substantially better at heavy compacted snow than the older 2-cycle single stage models?

 

They're about the same in the packed stuff. I find that a sixpack of beer left at the mailbox works very well at keeping the end of the driveway clear. :)

 

 

Pat

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+1 on the Ariens 2-stage 9 horse - if you take it slow in the heavy crusty stuff it should work, unless it has had some time to freeze into a solid mass - they have shear pins on the augers and if you're too aggressive into heavy stuff they will break the pins. Used a 10-horse MTD in Winnipeg for several years and it worked ver nicely (27" wide, driven wheels, multiple gears to match conditions, very adjustable discharge chute, electric and manual start, serrated main auger to chew up the crusty stuff....)

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+1 on the Ariens 2-stage 9 horse

I bought an 8 hp Ariens because everyone told me they were the best you could buy. It gave me nothing but trouble. It turned out to be a 200 lb. snow shovel, and a bigger POS than the '74 sportster I had. I finally got ride of it, and bought an 8 hp 24" Toro. I couldn't be happier with it. If you get a bigger two stage, the electric start is worth the money. I use electric start the first time I start it each winter. After that the Toro starts first pull every time.

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You definitely want 2-stage. And I'm not sure there is such a thing as too much horsepower, especially if there's any slope involved (or if you wanna make sure your snow ends up in your neighbor's driveway :grin:).

 

We're quite a ways from any hungry 12 year-olds, so I got this "toy" until I decide the situation warrants a heavier duty solution:

 

443085196_tXEmm-M.jpg

 

Deere 318 LGT with a 47" blower. Acquitted itself well in its first real duty (~12" a few weeks ago, when this pic was taken).

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This could be an excellent excuse to buy an ATV and get a blade attachement for the front.

 

When I lived in SE Michigan we got by with a small Toro 2 stroke it was light enough that you could attack it at an upward angle and make 2 or 3 passes in the deep stuff at the end of the driveway. Half the cost of the 8-10HP beasts others are recommending. Keep in mind if it breaks down, you may have to load the monster into the back of your car or truck for service. My dad had a larger unit when I was little. Ultimately it was more trouble than it was worth, and he probably threw out his back more often taking it in for service, than he would have shoveling.

 

Personally, now in Iowa, I just carefully select from 3 different shivels for different types and depths of snow and ice.

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Thanks everyone. Turns out the stores here are sold out, or nearly sold out. We had few choices. Ended up with a Troy Built two-stage. It cut through the ice at the end of the driveway, 18" deep and well consolidated, just fine on it's slowest speed, and did the 8" fresh snow in the driveway well at about half speed. My only complaint is that reverse is too slow and I end up pulling it backwards because of that. If it holds up well, it'll be a fine machine. We may go ahead and fix the 2-cycle for light work and details since it is so much smaller and easier to use.

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You definitely want 2-stage. And I'm not sure there is such a thing as too much horsepower, especially if there's any slope involved (or if you wanna make sure your snow ends up in your neighbor's driveway :grin:).

 

We're quite a ways from any hungry 12 year-olds, so I got this "toy" until I decide the situation warrants a heavier duty solution:

 

443085196_tXEmm-M.jpg

 

 

Deere 318 LGT with a 47" blower. Acquitted itself well in its first real duty (~12" a few weeks ago, when this pic was taken).

 

Wow!

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We may go ahead and fix the 2-cycle for light work and details since it is so much smaller and easier to use.

 

Hi, Jan. Sounds like you've solved your problem. I would also get the older 2-cycle ( ? single stage ) blower fixed for lighter snows and for Bullet to use. I suspect the bigger blower is a handful for her. I have a humongous snow blower that Judy can't handle and have thought about getting a smaller one for her when I'm not home. BTW: Even when I had a 12 y/o money hungry boy in the house, I couldn't seem to get him to snow blow. Guess I spoiled him.

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Glad you could even find a two stage this time of the year. Back in '79, I bought a Toro two stage, paid about $400 if my memory is right. Just recently, I had to replace the ignition coil but that is the only item other than spark plugs and oil changes that I've had to do to it. Mine doen't have electric start which I would recommend. I use synthetic oil which helps it turn over easier in the cold temps. I think I have received my money's worth from this thing.

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Well, I'll just say this: OK, my father (and his father) spent his whole adult career working for General Motors/Chevrolet. So, to say he was VERY pro-American product is an understatement.

 

Suffice to say, we got sick (living in SE Idaho) of the cheap single stage Toro snow blowers that really didn't work well (ironically, they've got another dead one in the garage now). Well, somehow I talked him into a Honda snowthrower because they were the only ones (at the time) that had track drive. Suffice it to say, that thing was bullet proof. It started rather easily (rather unlike their B&S snow thrower that's in the shop AGAIN just when they need it) and cut through the huge piles of snow that the snow plows would nicely deposit in front of our driveway after every snow.

 

Well, they sold it when they moved from Idaho 20 years ago as it just wasn't needed any more. However, it would have been nice to have today (or yesterday, or the day before...) instead of the piece of junk they bought a few years ago. Who knows, maybe this time it'll really start in the cold. (It does start in temps above 50*F or so...)

 

The only problem is: They ain't cheap.

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Aluminum_Butt

Sorry for the hijack, but somebody brought up replacing belts and it got me to wondering...

 

I have a 5'ish HP single stage. It does fine in dry snow, but the heavy stuff will cause the auger to bog down and the belt to squeal - but the engine doesn't seem to bog down, it seems to have plenty of capacity. I'm not the original owner, but it seems to be getting worse in the past three years I've had it. I have neighbors with similar size units that seem to do better, so I've been wondering if there was some way to tune it up.

 

Is it possible a new belt would make it work better?

Is there any other sort of tune up items I can do to the auger to make it cut through heavy snow better? Do augers need to be sharpened?

 

 

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I agree that the early Toro single stage models didn't work all that well. I think this was due to 1) They used plastic deflector vanes which broke easily from use, and 2) the deflector vanes didn't direct the snow that far from the path being cleared. That is probably why they went to the single chute that is similar to the two stage models. The Honda track drive looked like a good idea when it came out but I already had the Toro and have used chains on the wheels since new. I have no problem with Honda, had a mower for about 15 years without a hiccup.

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jOHN dEERE 1984 model 836 (8hp 36" "cut" 5 forward speeds and 1 reverse)

 

It is the nuts...electric start even (via AC extension cord)

 

Never failed me - never broken down.

 

Serious artillery for the snow bound needy.!

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Timely and interesting thread. While my driveway is plowed by a contractor I've been considering a blower for walkways and clean up after the plow not to mention the ongoing snowbanks left by the county trucks each time they pass.

 

Do to the depth of snow I'm only considering a two stage. Checked with CR and recommendations in order are: Toro 28"/8HP; Craftsman 28/9; Honda 28/9; Simplicity 24/9.5

 

I'm disappointed in the CR data as that's all they include in recommendations. It's not clear whether or not they tested other models as I've heard a lot of good things about several other brands from owners. Also, it was interesting to note that the Honda was downgraded (probably from first) with a worse than average for handling yet my Bro' in Law swears by his and doesn't understand the CR faulting handling.

 

In talking up blowers with other owners and small engine mechanics I've learned that most have Techumseh engines, specifically the Snow King model. The regular T. engine isn't winter compatible. They all (that I talked to) spoke highly to the T/SK engine.

 

I think I'll hold out for the Kubota L3430 (just dreaming).

 

Paul

Haliburton, ON

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Here's MY personal favorite snow thrower! :wave:

 

 

97170397_36AD9-L.jpg

 

 

Starts easily every time . . . even in cold weather. Only drawback is it seems to consume an inordinate amount of Scotch! :rofl:

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The only problem is: They ain't cheap.

 

You get what you pay for. I've had Honda lawn mowers that just won't die.

Yup. To continue that story, convincing my father to buy a Honda mower two years later was really no big deal. 10 years later I asked him how often he changed the oil in the mower. He mentioned that he was going to get around to doing that one of these years... Considering that the Craftsman mowers he'd had up to that point had lasted around 5 years each when he changed the oil annually, that was saying something.
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