Double up on what Shyrp said. I advised my BIL to get a new Ariens Compact 24 as he is NOT a wrench turner. He had the same issue with the spring. He bought from an Ariens dealer and not big box so they have been very helpful to him. Still hard to listen to the problems he's had with a new machine that I kinda talked him into
My 1989 blower throws snow all day long without a hitch and was at least $500 less investment. I kinda feel guilty in a weird way when he calls asking questions.
I still would advise friends and family to go Ariens, but little supplier issues can cause any good company problems. Hopefully the new springs will get you back to quality.