What's best for gravel, any new models to consider ? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 46 Old 11-03-2019, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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What's best for gravel, any new models to consider ?

For this season are there any new models that should be considered for gravel driveways? Are tracked units easier to get into the back of a truck bed with a ramp?
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post #2 of 46 Old 11-03-2019, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Disregard putting it in the truck. After tests with ramps I've decided I'll use a trailer.

Is there ever a use case where a wheeled blower is better than a top rated tracked blower like the Hondas?
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post #3 of 46 Old 11-04-2019, 08:57 AM
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I have never needed a tracked blower, wheeled blowers work just fine unless your driveway was incorrectly built with a steep hill in it... I load and unload my wheeled blower from the truck bed several times each snow event. I walk it up backwards in reverse keeping it fairly level and walk it down in a low gear, no problem. Good Luck with your decision.

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post #4 of 46 Old 11-04-2019, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Brent Holm View Post
unless your driveway was incorrectly built with a steep hill in it....

So, you're telling me that my driveway was incorrectly built ? Talk to the person that decided to place steep hills in the Adirondacks !
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post #5 of 46 Old 11-04-2019, 04:00 PM
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Based on your requirements, the Ariens Compact 24 trac would fit your needs perfectly. $1500 at Jack's, but you may be able to find it cheaper elsewhere.

https://youtu.be/lcXxysWdxjA

You can adjust the clearance of the bucket with a hand lever. From 1/8" to an 1" or more for gravel. Just squeeze the lever and lean the handles down to raise the bucket. Release the lever to lock.

You can also raise the back treads off the ground and turns it into a wheeled drive as well.

Has auto drive for easy turns.

Has 5.5" treads to clear steep drives.

Great engine. Easy to service.

(Personally I'd spring for a model with more features. I have the Platinum, 24" with wheels and would never go with any other brand).

https://youtu.be/Xf0WGOS5Fu0

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2010 Yard Machines 600 Series, 24" w/179cc MTD engine
Toro CCR 3650 GTS
Troy Bilt 521OR w/Tecu HSSK50 engine

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post #6 of 46 Old 11-05-2019, 09:53 AM
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I have a gravel driveway and have operated both wheeled and tracked snowblowers on my driveway. During early-winter and late-winter conditions, a wheeled snowblower functions better on my gravel driveway.
It's so much easier to turn/re-direct a wheeled snowblower when there is no ice layer built up on the driveway. It's also much easier for a wheeled snowblower to track straight under these no-ice conditions because the axle-differential allows the respective wheels to turn at different speeds.

Under these same no-ice conditions, it will be difficult to control the direction of a tracked snowblower. There is no track-speed-differential on a tracked snowblower (e.g. Honda HS-1132TAS) and if one track slips (skids) and if the other track still grips then the entire machine will change direction (skid steer) toward the skidding track. Under no-ice conditions, it is very difficult to execute a U-turn with a tracked snowblower.

A tracked snowblower comes into its own during mid-winter; after an ice layer has built up on the gravel driveway. Its tendency to skid-steer is eliminated. It's also so much easier (still not as easy as a wheeled machine) to execute a U-turn.

A tracked snowblower is superb at bulldozing through deep snow due to its superior traction in deep snow having an ice-layer base. It will decimate the street plow's snow windrow without the tendency to raise its auger housing. It will climb stairs! Be careful reversing/backing up (especially in icy conditions) because if you slip/fall then the tracked continues reversing (it does not readily slip) and it will drive right over you! I know this from direct experience and I am thankful the machine stops once the operator has released the hand lever.

Moving a tracked snowblower with the engine shut off is near impossible; regardless of whether its hydraulic drive is disconnected. To store it in a concrete-floored garage, its easier to simply drive it onto a 4-wheeled platform dolly then roll the dolly on the garage floor. A wheeled snowblower doesn't present this same engine-less movement impossibility.

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post #7 of 46 Old 11-05-2019, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIT333 View Post
So, you're telling me that my driveway was incorrectly built ? Talk to the person that decided to place steep hills in the Adirondacks !
The Adirondaks....LOL Come and see me in the mountains. I have built many roads and driveways where there are not just hills but cliffs. Most people have no idea how to properly situate a home and driveway on a given lot, I see it everyday. I very rarely see a fresh site that couldn't accommodate a decent drive and I am pretty confident I am dealing with much more challenging terrain in the Rocky Mountains.

So yes, I would be willing to bet your driveway was incorrectly built, probably 80% are so don't take it too personally...

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post #8 of 46 Old 11-06-2019, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badbmwbrad View Post
Under these same no-ice conditions, it will be difficult to control the direction of a tracked snowblower... It's also so much easier (still not as easy as a wheeled machine) to execute a U-turn... Moving a tracked snowblower with the engine shut off is near impossible;
Please realize that NONE of this is true with a modern tracked blower like the Honda HSS series or Troy-Bilt StormTrackers; they have steering triggers that disconnect the drive to the tracks when pulled and make maneuvering child's play.
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post #9 of 46 Old 11-10-2019, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badbmwbrad View Post
I have a gravel driveway and have operated both wheeled and tracked snowblowers on my driveway. During early-winter and late-winter conditions, a wheeled snowblower functions better on my gravel driveway.
It's so much easier to turn/re-direct a wheeled snowblower when there is no ice layer built up on the driveway. It's also much easier for a wheeled snowblower to track straight under these no-ice conditions because the axle-differential allows the respective wheels to turn at different speeds.

Under these same no-ice conditions, it will be difficult to control the direction of a tracked snowblower. There is no track-speed-differential on a tracked snowblower (e.g. Honda HS-1132TAS) and if one track slips (skids) and if the other track still grips then the entire machine will change direction (skid steer) toward the skidding track. Under no-ice conditions, it is very difficult to execute a U-turn with a tracked snowblower.

A tracked snowblower comes into its own during mid-winter; after an ice layer has built up on the gravel driveway. Its tendency to skid-steer is eliminated. It's also so much easier (still not as easy as a wheeled machine) to execute a U-turn.

A tracked snowblower is superb at bulldozing through deep snow due to its superior traction in deep snow having an ice-layer base. It will decimate the street plow's snow windrow without the tendency to raise its auger housing. It will climb stairs! Be careful reversing/backing up (especially in icy conditions) because if you slip/fall then the tracked continues reversing (it does not readily slip) and it will drive right over you! I know this from direct experience and I am thankful the machine stops once the operator has released the hand lever.

Moving a tracked snowblower with the engine shut off is near impossible; regardless of whether its hydraulic drive is disconnected. To store it in a concrete-floored garage, its easier to simply drive it onto a 4-wheeled platform dolly then roll the dolly on the garage floor. A wheeled snowblower doesn't present this same engine-less movement impossibility.

Thank you for the detailed information. For the wheeled models, do the front skids/shoes leave ruts in the gravel?
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post #10 of 46 Old 11-10-2019, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tabora View Post
Please realize that NONE of this is true with a modern tracked blower like the Honda HSS series or Troy-Bilt StormTrackers; they have steering triggers that disconnect the drive to the tracks when pulled and make maneuvering child's play.
Can you clarify if this relates to turning while running the machine or just when moving the machine when it is not running.
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