Gilson 480A - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-23-2014, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Gilson 480A

Quality: 8/10

Price: $175 Used

Reliability: 8/10

Ease of Start: 9/10 Pull Start, Unknown Electric Start

Ease of Control: 7/10

Highlights:

Like the 476A Gilson we also own, which is now parts for the 480A, goes through the snow quite well without complaints. although heavy, it's well designed metal chute, excellent transmission and UniTrol keep it running for decades on end. Coupled with the always reliable 8HP Briggs & Stratton engine, it can consume quite wet snow and throw it a far distance at speed.
The three forward gears are definitely useful, but I find that 2nd speed is the most useful when snowblowing. Speed 1 is essentially useless unless transporting up ramps or for doing extremely tight turns, but when would you on a driveway? 3rd speed is nice for going from driveway to driveway when helping out neighbors but as far as snowblowing it's not too useful; just too fast to have any accuracy on straightness.
Having reverse is definitely a necessity and excellent to find that it works perfectly.
The paint has retained most of its color, even on the inside of the chute after near 40 years of use throwing rocks, twigs, and chunks of ice.
The augers have held up quite nicely.
Carburetor and fuel tank have been cleaned along with the engine oil flushed and all fittings greased which brings the fluid system back to factory. This said, the engine turns over with one pull at full choke and 1/2 throttle. Electric Starter has not been attempted yet.

Downfalls:

The reverse gear, like in the 476A, needs to be held down to keep it moving, which is fine, but given the awkwardness of trying to control the heavy 480A it may be a pain in certain conditions.
Though the chute operates freely and quickly via the crank knob, it tends to wander back and forth, but usually settles on either the left or right extremes. This would not normally be a problem in the country when blowing snow, but in a tighter housing community you don't want to be send snow, and potentially rocks, at your neighbor's home or vehicles. This should be able to be remedied either by tightening the hold down L-Brackets or creating a plastic gasket for the chute to ride upon allowing it to spin easily by hand crank, but retain enough friction to stay in place.
Given this engine is quite old, and apparently has great compression, it was a bit difficult for my fiancee to pull start, but thanks to the soon-to-try electric start, she'll be able to snowblow if need be.
Tires are something to be desired; even though they are skinnier than many out there, the tread is not the best designed nor can they grip in the cold. The wheels tend to spin easily even in the small amount of snow left on the ground. I would highly suggest purchasing tire chains for your tires (and your boots!).
The augers must be constantly spinning to avoid a wretched noise coming from the belt area; apparently a pulley is having some issues with a belt, but will be fixed come summer from the spare parts on the 476A.

Total Review:

Like the previous Gilson we've owned, the 476A, I was happy to see another on CraigsList for a good price, especially since we would be needing one sooner than later. Our old 476A was in disrepair and missing many parts as the previous owner was not that capable of repairing and used bungie cords as tension springs. Even so, with a little replacement parts the 476A was quite impressive as such. This snowblower is even more impressive with it's one-pull start, excellent blowing abilities, and overall ease of use.
I will be a Gilson owner for quite some time and may increase the collection based upon need. I would highly recommend purchasing an old Gilson in the future as they seem to be on par with Ariens, but for a fraction of the price.

An easy 8/10 pre-restored.

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post #2 of 5 Old 11-23-2014, 07:29 AM
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It'd be nice to see some pics of your beast. I used to have a 1978 Gilson 8/26". It was nice but I sold it when we moved to a house with a single car, 35' driveway.

Joe

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post #3 of 5 Old 11-23-2014, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Pictures as requested

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post #4 of 5 Old 11-23-2014, 04:45 PM
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Is that an short bed S10 in the back?


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post #5 of 5 Old 11-23-2014, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coby7 View Post
Is that an short bed S10 in the back?
I believe it is. The guy I bought it from was quite a bowtie guy. He also had an old mint '80s S10 Blazer as well with tasteful mags in a blue color too. No rust on it and in immaculate condition. Good spot!

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