First time snowblower buyer/operator - need advice - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-27-2016, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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First time snowblower buyer/operator - need advice

Hi - i am glad that I found this forum as it is filled with lots of useful information. I have finally decided to buy a snowblower. I'm 58 and I don't want to go through another winter of shoveling. I live on Long Island and while we don't get huge amounts of snow we usually get at least 3 heavy storms each winter.
I have pretty much narrowed my choice down to Ariens Deluxe 24 or Platinum 24.
My concern is that I have never used a snowblower before. I'm a bit nervous about operating these things. Are these machines too much to handle? Should I be doing any "practice" runs with it on dry pavement before the winter arrives?
Any advice for a brand new user is appreciated.
Thank you
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-27-2016, 01:19 PM
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-27-2016, 11:32 PM
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Welcome IslandGuy -
I live in CT on the coast so my weather is much like yours. Some years almost nothing, some years we get a half dozen or more major accumulations.

It may be intimidating to watch that auger at work, but remember you'll be on the back end of that beast and they're designed to be operated by average people like you and me. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the controls, and use it in an open space before you gain the confidence to operate close to other objects. However I wouldn't advise you to put a whole lot of use on the machine without snow, because they're designed to operate with the load and lubrication the snow adds.

Then just go out and blow snow. It's fun and you'll be a master of it by the time you finish your first driveway.

Because your machine might go long periods without use, I strongly recommend TruFuel instead of ethanol. It will keep your fuel system from gumming up in storage and it remains stable at least 2 years, compared with treated ethanol (which is only good for 30-60 days). I have no financial interest in that company -- I just like my stuff to work when I need it.

The following images are ethanol that was stored in a properly closed gas tank in an open boat for 60 days, and had been treated with Stabil360 ethanol fuel stabilizer at the time of purchase. The first picture shows it looked cloudy when siphoning it.



The second picture shows what it looked like after settling for a few hours. I think they call this "phase separation" and I assume the stuff on the top is gasoline and the stuff on the bottom is a mix of water and alcohol and perhaps other chemicals. Not suitable for use, regardless of what it is.


Last edited by SnowG; 09-27-2016 at 11:38 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-28-2016, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by SnowG View Post
Welcome IslandGuy -
I live in CT on the coast so my weather is much like yours. Some years almost nothing, some years we get a half dozen or more major accumulations.

It may be intimidating to watch that auger at work, but remember you'll be on the back end of that beast and they're designed to be operated by average people like you and me. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the controls, and use it in an open space before you gain the confidence to operate close to other objects. However I wouldn't advise you to put a whole lot of use on the machine without snow, because they're designed to operate with the load and lubrication the snow adds.

Then just go out and blow snow. It's fun and you'll be a master of it by the time you finish your first driveway.

Because your machine might go long periods without use, I strongly recommend TruFuel instead of ethanol. It will keep your fuel system from gumming up in storage and it remains stable at least 2 years, compared with treated ethanol (which is only good for 30-60 days). I have no financial interest in that company -- I just like my stuff to work when I need it.
Same boat as you SnowG being a CT resident. When I use my stihl chainsaw I always use the stihl premixed fuel in a can that's good for 2-3 years. I see that the TruFuel is similar but for 4 stroke engines. At the rate these snowblowers consume fuel the fuel tab would be pretty ugly by the end of a bad season. Do you order online or in HD typically?
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-28-2016, 10:08 AM
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Garage
I agree that ethanol fuel is bad and using a fuel stabilizer does not help much if at all, I have experienced the separation of the waterlogged alcohol from the fuel and settling to the bottom of the fuel system. It will not burn so starting is not possible until fuel drained from carb and possibly low part of tank. Ethanol has much lower energy content than gas so power is significantly reduced.

The proposed solution of a truefuel type product is very expensive. An option is to buy premium fuel that does not have ethanol, which in the US is only slightly more expensive than the regular gas with 10% ethanol. Premium gas has more cleaners so the fuel system will not get gunk in it and the fuel will last years without problem.

The snowblowers you are thinking about are easy to handle, the Platinum has the better/easier to use controls. Steel skid plates mar fine surfaces like pavers so plastic skids are better and work well with Autoturn. Adjust scraper bar height using skid shoe adjusting nuts to clear the pavement by 1/8" to 1/4" or so. Before starting the engine go through the controls to see how they work. Chute direction and height are very important since thrown snow can go 55 ft and farther if hard chunks of snow/ice are involved. Check where you are going to throw the snow to ensure windows, etc are out of reach. The wind will play a role so you will need to adjust the chute deflector down so you don't get covered in snow; know the wind directions for your driveway. You will want to drive the machine at a slow speed at first to get used to turning (very easy with Autoturn) while adjusting chute direction and deflection and doing 180 degree turns while adjusting chute and deflector - hence the quick controls of the Platinum. Then you can increase speed as you get more proficient.

There is an interlock between the drive and auger clutch controls. See how they work, it will be important later in use. Look carefully at the area to be cleared to check for obstacles that may be hidden by snow later. Newspapers thrown onto driveways are a potential hazzard so make arrangements to avoid that. When starting engine use full throttle since the manual may not be that specific.

Good luck

2015 Ariens Platinum 30 SHO - model 921040
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-28-2016, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the replies and information. i went out this morning and bought the Platinum. It is probably overkill for my current needs, but we will likely be moving in the next year or two and I will have more area to clear. I kept to 24" machine because storage space is tight. I know a larger machine will clear faster, but by the time I am at the new place with more area to clear - I will be happily retired so I won't be in a hurry anyway

The local dealer will set up and deliver the blower and also spend some time with me going over the operation and use of the machine, so I guess I'll be fine.

As for fuel - I always run my small engines dry at the end of the season, and I always use fuel stabilizer. I also get rid of any fuel left in the can at the end of the season and start with fresh. I will do that with the snowblower as well.

Now with the new snowblower I will be torn - I'd like for lots of snow so I get to use it, but lots of snow means I won't get to ride the motorcycle much over the winter months (I'm fine with cold weather riding, but any snow or ice on the ground is a definite deal breaker on the bike).

Thanks again for the advice - I will check back later in the winter and let you know how we are doing with the new machine.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-28-2016, 06:11 PM
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Eh.. You guys must have real crappy gas where you live. Sure there is a little bit of stuff in the sample/test jars that i've done in the past but as long as I've added the Stabil-360 or just regular Stabil- I've never had any issues. It's when I don't add it that the things gum up or are hard to start. But hey if you have extra money for that Tru Fuel whatever it is, go for it!
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-28-2016, 06:12 PM
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Then again, you guys probably do have real crappy gas. I get our gas and diesel here pretty fresh. We have 2 refineries about 30 miles north, and a few more up in Wyoming.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-28-2016, 07:14 PM
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PREMIUM fuel that has ethanol is no more "clean" than REGULAR 87 octane. It only resists compression/heat induced ignition longer than standard octane (87) fuel. It's designed use is for high compression engines......to avoid pre-ignition (ignition caused simply by the heat of compression and surrounding area temp) before spark is applied. It doesn't do anything better for the carb or fuel lines. Some areas only offer non ethanol in Premium fuel or higher octane. It's not the octane that makes it better, it's the lack of ethanol (and future water absorption).
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-28-2016, 07:37 PM
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Only thing around me for no octane is VP race fuel at the sunoco and shell stations. 94, 102, 110 VP no 87.
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