2014 Craftsman 24-inch 208cc model 88173 - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-05-2014, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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2014 Craftsman 24-inch 208cc model 88173

Hi! New guy here from Indianapolis. Well, my background is that I've been using snow blowers (borrowing from neighbors mainly) for years until about 7 or 8 years ago I bought a used Simplicity (I believe it was built in '81) from a co-worker. It was never maintained very well so I had put a ton of money into it, got it up and running but it was never running really well. It was heavy, it didn't throw the snow very far, backfired quite a bit and finally when I couldn't start it, I removed the carburetor and took it to a small engine repair shop. The shop closed down and I never got the carburetor back so the last time it worked had been 3 or 4 years ago. Honestly, we really hadn't had a snow worthy of getting the thing out so it wasn't really an issue.

This year I gave away the Simplicity and bought this Craftsman 24-inch 208cc model. I bought this unit based on a lot of research I had done on the model, the engine, etc. I read a review on the unit here. And I read a review on the motor here. It's much lighter than my old one, the wheels/tires are smaller too. I wanted to wait to write a review on it until I had a chance to use it a few times. Boy did it get a workout this morning! We had at least 8 inches of snow today.

Over the last few weeks we've gotten hit pretty hard but nothing more than 3-4 inches and to me, not a real test of the machine. So today I did our 3-car driveway, the local contractors did a great job on our subdivision but the aftermath was a foot of snow collected at the bottom of the driveway. No problem for this unit, it took two passes but it worked out great! I ended up doing my neighbors across the street (3 of them) to get a good feel on how well it would do on really deep snow as they all had much higher snow drifts than me. Again, not an issue at all for this unit.

Some things of note. I find that it starts very easily with one pull every time but it does have electric start. I assume that works well, I just don't feel the need to use it. I really like the chute controller, it's perfect and easily the best one I've ever used, it's the wind out kind, I really wasn't interested in the joystick. It's nice but this works just fine for me. The unit comes with poly skid shoes so you're not scuffing up the driveway, nice! It comes with two shear pins built into the handle. I didn't know this and ordered extra pins for it. Now I have extra extras. I read in the review that it had single hand control. I didn't understand at first that you need to engage with both hands but then you can take one hand off and control the unit with just one hand.

As a disclaimer, I don't work for Sears or Craftsman or anything. I'm just a regular guy. Also, I understand this unit is overkill for some people and a peashooter for the guy used to using a gigantic unit for his snow cleaning business. This is just a review from the consumer level point of view, that's all, no games, no tricks, no hidden agendas. I just wanted to give a good honest review for anyone else looking at this snow blower.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have, I'll answer honestly and I'll try to keep my experience with the snow blower updated.

Oh, as a side note, I bought a set of


for $20 or something. Those worked reasonably well although my hands got cold by the end of an hour of using the snow blower. And I bought a microfleece balaclava (from Amazon too) and that worked out pretty well. In fact, I had gotten beaten up from the blow back from the first few times using the snow blower so the balaclava and gloves were kind of a necessity. . . I don't work for Amazon or Atlas either for the record!

Last edited by sullie; 02-05-2014 at 04:48 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-05-2014, 04:34 PM
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Glad it is working well for you and you are happy with it. Did Sears set it up for you or did you get one in a box?

Please direct all snow blower questions to the forums and not to me with PMs.
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-05-2014, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Glad it is working well for you and you are happy with it. Did Sears set it up for you or did you get one in a box?
Hey thanks! It came in a big, wood reinforced, cardboard box. Honestly, I was pretty impressed with how the unit was containerized. It was packed very well with wood and cardboard.

I'm one of those guys that's fussy so I was more than happy to tear up the box and put the snow blower together myself. I think it took all of 20 minutes to put together.

I don't know if anyone will know this or not but I'll try anyway. I'm wondering if there's a connection for a set of hand warmers? If so, I'm wondering if there's a "plug and play" or a preferred set of hand warmers for this unit? I hate to sound like a crybaby but, wow, do your hands get cold.
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-05-2014, 05:23 PM
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For a base unit probably not. Does it have a light on it? If it has a light you have power, but you still might not have enough to run the hand warmers.

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post #5 of 17 Old 02-06-2014, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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For a base unit probably not. Does it have a light on it? If it has a light you have power, but you still might not have enough to run the hand warmers.
It didn't come with a light but I thought I noticed one of the models up that had the same 208cc configuration had a light on it. I did notice at one point that I thought I read somewhere that someone asked about about an extra power connector that they noticed that wasn't being utilized on this unit is why I was wondering.

Last edited by sullie; 02-06-2014 at 09:47 AM.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-30-2014, 08:15 PM
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It came in a big, wood reinforced, cardboard box. Honestly, I was pretty impressed with how the unit was containerized. It was packed very well with wood and cardboard.
Thanks of your review.
How big is the box? Will it fit into a RAV4/Forester ?
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-14-2014, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks of your review.
How big is the box? Will it fit into a RAV4/Forester ?
You're welcome! Sorry for the late reply, I don't get on here much.

So I had it delivered but there's no way it would fit in something that small. They delivered it in a straight truck (think something like the size of a Ryder rental truck) with a lift on the back.

If I didn't get mine delivered, I would borrow a truck but I would make sure I had a set of ramps to get it up and down, it's too heavy to lift, you need to roll it.

So as an update, it still runs great, haven't had to use it yet (fortunately I guess???) but I fired it up, let it warm up a bit last month, changed the oil and sprayed it down with synthetic lube (the snow chute), checked the tire pressure and wiped off the dust. I'm ready for winter!
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-25-2015, 08:02 PM
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I got this a few weeks ago and have a few questions for you all.

1) the pin that connects the chute to the chute control knob is relaly crappy. The way it shows to set it up scrapes the plastic. When i tried to mess with it - it actually came out on the first start up. Am I missing something? I ended up wrapping some nice heavy wire through the hole for now since we're expecting a killing this week.

2) What kind of oil does it take? Can I u se 2 engine cycle oil that used to go in my old snowblower (smaller toro that you had to mix oi/gas together).

3) how often do you break shear pins?

4) wish there was an easier how to than the craftsman manual.

Any other tips/tricks/sites to check out.

Thanks in advance.

Snowkatz
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-26-2015, 11:20 AM
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I got this a few weeks ago and have a few questions for you all.


2) What kind of oil does it take? Can I u se 2 engine cycle oil that used to go in my old snowblower (smaller toro that you had to mix oi/gas together).

Snowkatz
This is a 4 cycle engine, so it needs proper 4 cycle oil in the engine crankcase. No oil goes into the gasoline tank. I'd use a 5W-30 oil in it.

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post #10 of 17 Old 02-20-2015, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by snowkatz View Post
I got this a few weeks ago and have a few questions for you all.
Sorry to answer later, I don't get on here very often.

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Originally Posted by snowkatz View Post
1) the pin that connects the chute to the chute control knob is relaly crappy. The way it shows to set it up scrapes the plastic. When i tried to mess with it - it actually came out on the first start up. Am I missing something? I ended up wrapping some nice heavy wire through the hole for now since we're expecting a killing this week.
This isn't going to be a helpful response at all but I'm not sure what you mean. I'll go back and look at mine and see if I can figure out what you are talking about - sorry.

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2) What kind of oil does it take? Can I u se 2 engine cycle oil that used to go in my old snowblower (smaller toro that you had to mix oi/gas together).
No, you want to use standard 5w30 (think engine motor oil). And you are supposed to change it (I think) after like your first 5-10 hours of use? Going from memory but the manual tells you what to do there. I changed mine to full synthetic over the fall. I also recommend using a fuel additive to keep the oil and fuel fresh. I swear by Seafoam. I use it in all of my vehicles (awd Subaru, Corvette and Honda Accord.) I put it in the crankcase of the motors as well as the fuel tanks. I use it on my lawn mower, weedeater, snow blower, etc. as well.

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3) how often do you break shear pins?
It comes with like 5 extras, I bought some more on amazon but honestly, I've yet to break one yet but I use mine on a flat driveway and I intentionally don't run over rocks or big sticks.

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4) wish there was an easier how to than the craftsman manual.
You can scan youtube videos for recommendations on use and best practices.

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Any other tips/tricks/sites to check out.
Just keep up on maintenance, change the oil and either run out the fuel at the end of the season or keep an additive in there to prevent the carburetor from gunking up. I like to spray down the chute with silicon spray to prevent the snow from sticking and I make sure the tires are properly inflated. There's not much to it really.

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Thanks in advance.

Snowkatz
Cheers!
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