Updated review on Ariens snowblower after 4 years of use - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 21 Old 11-20-2018, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Updated review on Ariens snowblower after 4 years of use

Hello everyone! I have not visited this forum in a while. Given how helpful everyone was when I bought my Ariens back in 2014, I thought I would provide some feedback after 4 years of use.

I own the 2014 Ariens Hydro Pro 32 Track with 12 V start, #926514 (now discontinued). The dealer made some lighting and dashboard modifications. The lighting mods have been extremely helpful when blowing snow at night. The flashers and rear lighting has really made a difference in enabling cars to see me blowing snow on the street. For example, as soon as a car turns onto my street and sees flashers and headlights, I can see them slowing down immediately. Although these mods are costly, I recommend everyone install additional lighting on their blowers (if possible) to improve safety.

This machine is a real beast. Although we have a small driveway, I use the snowblower to clear neighbors' driveways, sidewalks, and part of the street we live on (the snowplow is usually very late). I have had no issues whatsoever. I change the oil once a year and use fuel treatment when storing the machine during the off season.

I use 93 octane fuel based on the recommendation from my dealer. 93 octane has less ethanol than 87 octane. Since we do not use snowblowers as often as we use cars, the additional ethanol can cause interior parts to deteriorate more quickly. (The cars we use daily are less likely to have this issue since the gasoline is constantly being burned and replaced...much less time for ethanol to gum-up internal parts.)

What I like the most about the Ariens is the sheer power...420cc can really go thru the 4-foot high snow piles left in front of my driveway from the snowplows. (Yes, after I clear the entrance to the driveway, the snowplows come and block it again. LOL!) I have broken the pins quite a few times. When we have considerable snowfall, I cannot see where the curb is. Consequently, on multiple occasions I have driven the Ariens over the curb at an angle causing the blades to hit the concrete. As soon as that happens the pins break. After all of my mistakes, my blades have not needed any maintenance. The pins break away at the appropriate time to protect them from bending or breaking. Rocks have also caused the pins to break. I also chewed-up a newspaper by accident, but that did not cause the pins to break. I just made a mess of my neighbor's lawn.

I have also used this blower on grass, uneven terrain, and on ice. In all cases I cleared snow without a problem and did not lose traction. The only test I have not done is a steep incline (I do not have one nearby). I have never owned a track machine until now and I will never go back. The traction is exceptional.

My only complaint is turning. I never got the "trick" to enabling the turn feature this model has. Consequently, turning requires moderate effort. I will keep practicing and maybe I can trigger the tracks to go in opposite directions so turning will become much easier. Please note that I have an added weight bar installed, thus the extra weight may make turning the machine a little more difficult.

I live in northern NJ. The greatest snowfall we had over the past 4 years in one storm is 24+ inches. This machine is so powerful that my 9-year-old nephew can run this machine by himself with that much snow. My only instructions to him were maintaining a slow speed and needing my assistance when turning.

I have not done any research on current Ariens models. However, based on my experience I highly recommend this brand!


*** Update ***
One maintenance cost I had this year was to replace the battery. The original battery failed after 4 years of use. The lifespan of the battery is 4 to 5 years. Given how much of a load I am placing on the battery I would say replacing the battery every 4 years is above average performance.
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Ariens Hydro Pro Track 32 (#926514)

Last edited by Vailen; 11-21-2018 at 12:28 PM. Reason: Update on maintenance
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post #2 of 21 Old 11-20-2018, 10:47 PM
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Awesome ! I noticed in the 4th picture that it looks like your tracks have a negative camber issue. Maybe from too much weight from all of the lights ! LOL
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post #3 of 21 Old 11-20-2018, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Question Can you elaborate?

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Originally Posted by RIT333 View Post
Awesome ! I noticed in the 4th picture that it looks like your tracks have a negative camber issue. Maybe from too much weight from all of the lights ! LOL
Negative camber issue? Can you elaborate? I can communicate your observation to my dealer who would be more than happy to look into this more carefully. Thanks!

Ariens Hydro Pro Track 32 (#926514)
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post #4 of 21 Old 11-21-2018, 06:54 AM
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Nice write up.

For the brushes with the curb, mark your blowing space with orange marker rods they come in varying lengths accommodating your typical snow depths. Cheaper than shear pins and reusable year after year.

1998 Toro 8/24
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post #5 of 21 Old 11-21-2018, 08:34 AM
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Negative camber issue? Can you elaborate? I can communicate your observation to my dealer who would be more than happy to look into this more carefully. Thanks!

It looks like if you were to measure from the top-outside of one track to the top-outside of the other track, and compare it with the measurement from the bottom-outside of the tracks, it would be shorter across the top. i.e. they both are leaning towards the inside of the machine, and the bottom tread is not flat on the ground. Maybe it is designed that way, but it would tend to wear the track-treads on the inside more than the outside.
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post #6 of 21 Old 11-21-2018, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by RIT333 View Post
It looks like if you were to measure from the top-outside of one track to the top-outside of the other track, and compare it with the measurement from the bottom-outside of the tracks, it would be shorter across the top. i.e. they both are leaning towards the inside of the machine, and the bottom tread is not flat on the ground. Maybe it is designed that way, but it would tend to wear the track-treads on the inside more than the outside.

My vote is digital camera visual distortion!


Red
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post #7 of 21 Old 11-21-2018, 08:47 AM
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What a dashboard, switches, dash lights, lighting. Impressive.

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post #8 of 21 Old 11-21-2018, 09:05 AM
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My vote is digital camera visual distortion!


Red

Hope so - easy fix...nothing needed !
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post #9 of 21 Old 11-21-2018, 09:13 AM
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Looks good! And that control panel makes the setup on my Pro 28 after the battery start conversion look simple as dirt.
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post #10 of 21 Old 11-21-2018, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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If anyone is interested in adding switches and a dashboard, I have some advice based on my experience.

The frame supporting the front headlights is made of, surprisingly, steel. The black coating on the steel frame protects the metal from moisture and rust. The frame pieces are welded together and bolted onto the machine. Fortunately, Ariens provided additional holes in various places to attach modifications.

The dashboard plates where the meters are mounted is made out of aluminum - not stainless steel. Aluminum does not rust and resists moisture much better. Two meters are mounted on the aluminum plates and those meters are designed for boats; boats must have instrumentation that are water resistant. The two meters I installed are voltage and RPM. The voltage meter is by far the most important. When running 4 LED headlights, flashers, rear lighting, dashboard light, grip warmers, etc., I wanted to make sure that all of the additional power is not draining the battery power. If I turn everything on, the voltage meter indicates a very small positive charge. When I turn off the hand-grip warmers and leave everything else on, I have a very strong positive charge. Consequently, I use my snowblower without the warmers. That's ok; I have very thick Canada Goose Northern Utility gloves with an inner glove inside. Those gloves really keep my hands dry and act as a greenhouse - on one occasion my hands started sweating on a mildly cold day. Please note that the key to keeping your hands warm is keeping them dry. If any moisture gets inside your fingers will become cold very quickly. Consequently, sweating can cause your fingers to get cold.

The original switches I used were made of plastic and broke almost immediately. My large, heavy winter gloves were too much for plastic switches to handle. I had to replace all of the plastic switches with metal toggle switches that have protective carbon fiber covers. This upgrade has worked out very well. The only change I may make in the future is to move the switches further to the right. My large winter gloves oftentimes hits the two left switches by accident (which were also the plastic switches that broke off). The switches are too close to the clutch control and my glove hits them often. Fortunately, the carbon fiber covers protecting the metal switch underneath is an excellent solution.

All of the wiring is water resistant and encased in plastic, flexible tubing. I know the front headlights are completely waterproof. The rear red lights are water resistant and I think are designed for trucks. That is, the brake lights you see on 18-wheelers.

Ariens Hydro Pro Track 32 (#926514)
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