Newer Toro 521 vs older 35/4/5-21 - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-12-2016, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Newer Toro 521 vs older 35/4/5-21

I think I'd like to get a small 2-stage (to go with my HS621) for EOD and larger snow falls. I've seen a lot of good things about older 3521/421/521 blowers, but also seen newer 521s with pneumatic tires (that's the identifier I've noticed). Is there any significant reason to go for a newer 521? The older blowers seem to have a great following, and I'm not afraid of older models that might need some work. I wouldn't mind getting getting an older one (maybe a 3521) in worse shape and try repowering, but I don't know if the newer has some essential features I might want (is the pneumatic tire better?).

Also, if anyone has a rough timeline of the models, I'm curious what year range the newer 521s were made.

Thanks!!

<edit>

I did some parts searching, saw that it looks like the 521 was last made around 1996, and the 3521 was made back to 1989-1983, and the 421 was made in 83 and before.

Last edited by EdwardC; 12-12-2016 at 10:45 PM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-12-2016, 10:58 PM
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Hi Edward,

We had a Toro 3521 (3.5 HP version of the 521) bought new somewhere around 1994 or so and we liked it worked well and had it for about 12 years or so until my mother's boyfriend at the time thought it was too small and traded or sold it.

Anyway that series of machines had a drum auger where the auger spiral was welded to a drum like shaft, the newer ones have a standard auger shaft like most others.

The only info I have is this past fall I stopped at a Toro dealer and they said the newer ones will throw better than the old drum auger types, I don't know but the old 3521 threw clear across the width of the driveway (about 2 car widths) if the snow wasn't very wet and very seldom clogged (my current Snapper clogs in slushy type snow fairly frequently).

Also the Toros advertise no shear pins needed due to the hardened auger gears, the old ones didn't have any shear pins either. Once I ran into a small hand garden tool and it got caught in the impeller and stopped the engine dead, removed tool and started right up and finished the job.

As the 3521 got older I found that the idle air bypass port in the bowl nut (not sure if it's a balance tube or main jet) would always clog during storage even if the gas was run out (likely there was some gas left in the bowl
and I never used stabilizer back then) so I'd have to remove it and clean out the little hole in the side of the bowl nut every season.

That said when I was shopping for a new blower for my mother's place this fall I settled on the new Snowmaster, was impressed by the videos online and so easy to move due to the ratcheting axle clutches, and seems slightly more compact than my Snapper 5.5 22" though the Snowmaster has a 2" wider path, however I do like the new Power Max 724 or 828.

Cheers.

2003 Snapper I55224 - 5.5HP Tecumseh OHV OHSK55 (195cc)
2016 Toro Snowmaster 724QXE - Loncin 212cc, 2017/18 Toro PowerMax 724OE - Loncin 212cc
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-12-2016, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Blosumsno! That's interesting that they don't have shear pins, I didn't know that - good to know before I start looking for one.

I guess, in addition to any thoughts comparing the newer 521 to the older 3521/421/521, I would love to hear any tips for buying a used one, or just any stories about these blowers you may have used in the past. I had noticed that the auger design changed from the drum, I wonder if the newer style just had less mass, so it was easier to spin. It's good to hear that the 3.5hp models weren't too underpowered as well.

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-13-2016, 06:07 AM
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if i were you I wouldn't bother with a 3521 other than to repower it and price wise it better be cheap. my electric start hard rubber tire 521 is an '86 and came with the short chute. at the time it was my only 521 and I found it didn't throw snow as far as my 2450E. the talk on the board for the ariens guys was installing a taller chute, I installed the taller chute from a newer 521 ( it bolts right on with no mods ) and that fixed it, the 521 was throwing just as far or farther than the 2450E. the only difference I feel in the '86 521 and the pneumatic wheeled 521 electric start I picked up is the new one rolls smoother, all 521's with pneumatic wheels have a tall chute. as for eod work I can't say because my street isn't plowed normally. I did put an impeller kit on the '86 but haven't used it since the kit was installed

current machines
1-toro2450E-38419. 1-toro3000E-38435. 1-toro 3650E-38445
2-toro 521E-38052. 1-toro xl824pt 38086
1-.............,TORO XL 624ps..............
1-............, TORO XL 824ps..............
william

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post #5 of 15 Old 12-14-2016, 06:45 AM
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something else I found out was that the wheels on the pneumatic wheeled 521's have a larger diameter axle than the 521's with hard rubber tires

current machines
1-toro2450E-38419. 1-toro3000E-38435. 1-toro 3650E-38445
2-toro 521E-38052. 1-toro xl824pt 38086
1-.............,TORO XL 624ps..............
1-............, TORO XL 824ps..............
william
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-14-2016, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks detdrbuzzard! Is it safe to say that other than exterior differences like the chute height, auger style and pneumatic tires, the older and newer models have the same build quality (as in the chassis/frame and gearbox)?

I'm leaning towards a newer 521 (running around $200 on craigslist for a "good running" machine) over an older one that seems to be running around $125-$100.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-14-2016, 06:05 PM
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with the tall chute on the old 521 throws snow just as far as the new 521 and one runs just as good as the other so I'm not sure if new or old would make a difference to me. maybe you like the looks of the new better than the old

current machines
1-toro2450E-38419. 1-toro3000E-38435. 1-toro 3650E-38445
2-toro 521E-38052. 1-toro xl824pt 38086
1-.............,TORO XL 624ps..............
1-............, TORO XL 824ps..............
william
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-14-2016, 08:38 PM
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I agree with detdrbuzzard- the 3521 is the least desirable mainly due to its low power IMO , while it was good to us, never needed repair (other than the picky carb) and got us through the blizzard of '96 (30 inches of snow here in SE Pa.) power was adequate only if I went real slow and it sure was slow going, clearing a 100 foot driveway about 2 cars wide plus maybe 30 feet of sidewalk and digging out my car parked off to the side it worked hard and never stalled but you had to take it easy, the whole time the machine strained as the governor seemed like it had it wide open, the blower shook under the load. Subsequent passes went quicker but with half-width cuts. I remember going a few feet then stopping the drive for a moment just to keep the engine rpm up. I think I paid around $550 new at the time.

But it was my fault as I should have gone out to clear it at least once during the storm but the sight of a raging Nor'easter blizzard made me want to stay inside until the storm passed.

Even My current 2003 5.5Hp OHV Snapper had a hard time with winter storm Jonas this past February. with 2 feet of snow I felt I could use a more powerful machine, but my current property only has about 100 feet of sidewalk and a barely 2 car long 1 car wide driveway therefore I can't justify it so I just take my time.

Good luck in the hunt.

2003 Snapper I55224 - 5.5HP Tecumseh OHV OHSK55 (195cc)
2016 Toro Snowmaster 724QXE - Loncin 212cc, 2017/18 Toro PowerMax 724OE - Loncin 212cc
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-14-2016, 09:28 PM
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I just recently picked up a new (a 89 I think) the ad had a pic of a 3521 in tough shape and no takers up to that point but I had good need for a smaller one, Girlfriend is 5' nothing and was using a single stage 2 stroke I wanted something a little better because she has a injured shoulder so a small 2-stage was in order, the blower was about 1 1/2 hours away so we made a trip and when we pulled up the guy had a 521 in much better shape than the pic and it did start but died quickly so I said I can fix this so gave him $50 and took it home and went right through it. It now starts first pull and runs strong and with a little touch up paint and cleaning it looks pretty good too. And she LOVES it and is easy for her to handle. So even if you find one in a little tough shape they are easy to work on and tons of parts on ebay if you should need any thing.

when I got it home
[IMG][/IMG]
after I was done
[IMG][/IMG]
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-16-2016, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Very nice!!! She cleaned up very well. Great work with the paint. I hope I can find something like that!
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