I found someone selling this snowblower because he's moving to Florida, so I went to check it out last weekend. It's the 2016 model with the AX369 engine. Super clean, starts right up, and the owner has the original manuals and purchase receipts. He bought it from a local Ariens dealer (not a big box store) and had it serviced by them as well.
The best part? He only wants $500 for it! The catch? He's not moving until March so it won't be available for me to bring home until then (okay with me as I have my 1980 ST824 working well now). I gave him a $100 deposit and we wrote up a bill of sale. He seemed to not know the value/worth when he initially agreed to the price, but did mention that it was over $1,500 new when I asked about dropping the price to $400
Anything I should be wary of with this machine? From my research on here, it seems like it should be more than powerful enough to deal with the snow here in Central NY. The headlight, heated handgrips, tall chute, and remote chute controls will be nice upgrades from my ST824 (though I did recently upgrade the chute and remote control on the ST824).
I've read about the auto-turn issues but it seems to be more of a personal preference thing, taking time to get used to the new system for people coming from fixed axle machines, or in some cases there were actual issues with the parts/assembly. I'm excited to have a nearly new machine at what seems to be a great deal!