3-stage Vortex... any opinions? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 36 Old 09-03-2017, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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3-stage Vortex... any opinions?

Anyone have any experience or comment on the 3-stage Troy-Bilt Vortex snowblowers?
I need to have a back-up plan to my current one which is being held together with bailing wire and lok-tite (LOL.)

I can get a 357CC TB Vortex for just under 1K but am not too familiar with the 3 stage models.

thanks.
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post #2 of 36 Old 09-03-2017, 10:44 PM
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i haven't seen one stand up yet, the 3 stage is a MTD thing they use across the all the lines as a grab fetcher. put a screw in the middle of the auger call it a 3 stage
IMMO
spend that coin for a NON box store machine, for a grand a real dealer can put you into a nice reliable long running 2 stage machine
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post #3 of 36 Old 09-03-2017, 11:00 PM
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I did some research on that just this last week as part of a Craftsman thread.
I believe it is probably the same machine as the Craftsman in the link below ( sears just re-label machines )
You may want to compare and confirm that they are basically the same.

Check out this bad review from Labguy1 saying the front accelerator is "worthless" and that the whole machine is "almost worthless". He wanted to return it.
Scroll down near the bottom to see the review from Labguy1
Also see the review from Looncamp who agrees with Labguy1 and adds other complaints

Craftsman 28" 357cc https://www.searsoutlet.com/28-357cc...26&mode=seeAll

This is probably the machine you are talking about...

Troy Bilt 26" 357 cc http://www.troybilt.com/equipment/troybilt/vortex%E2%84%A2-2890-snow-thrower-vortex-2890

If you find a Troy Bilt and a Craftsman 3-stage with the SAME engine size and Auger width... they will probably look the same or very similar
Maybe different colors and subtle machine-stamping difference on the auger bucket... but basically the same.
The reason is they are ALL made by MTD

That can give you a handy way to find reviews for the "same" machine across all the different brand labels.
I would certainly check the reviews from nearly-identical models over the past few years to see what people really think after trying them for a season or two.
Too many happy reviews show up long before the owners have really had a chance to use them properly and to see how they last over time.

Trouble is, the manufacturer is able to dodge the bad reviews by simply switching model numbers (without substantially changing the machine). It's all a game IMO.
This makes it easy for them to take the bad reviews off-line by claiming the machine is "no longer available". In fact it may just have a new model number and not changed in any meaningful way.

I could send you over to the stuff I posted on Craftsman thread... instead.. just notice that any positive review from Houston or Florida must be bogus or useless... they get no snow!!

Last edited by unknown1; 09-04-2017 at 10:24 AM.
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post #4 of 36 Old 09-03-2017, 11:52 PM
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Garage
I'd be looking at a new Toro or Ariens or a used Honda. There is nothing wrong with the 3 stage units that I've seen in any of the posts but it seems more hype than actual performance. I tend to believe that my 70's vintage Ariens, Craftsman or JD will do just as well as that new 3 stage.


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Make sure the windows are up before the snow plow goes by !!

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post #5 of 36 Old 09-04-2017, 09:30 AM
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if it's a box store brand it's a more likely a re branded MTD, even if it's not a mtd, likely it's a lower quality model of a name brand made to sell in the box store at a lower price,less features
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTD_Products
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post #6 of 36 Old 09-04-2017, 07:34 PM
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Here's one for sale locally on Craigslist.. you have to wonder why
https://denver.craigslist.org/tls/d/...292565703.html
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post #7 of 36 Old 09-04-2017, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by stuart80112 View Post
Here's one for sale locally on Craigslist.. you have to wonder why
https://denver.craigslist.org/tls/d/...292565703.html
maybe because they don't work as stated, forget about digging though a wet slushy snow plow bank

i'm in jersey's snow belt, sussex county on top of one of the two ski area's,1420 feet elevation,nothing like in CO, but we see snow from early oct to early may some years, my toro keeps going though what ever i throw at it with out having to carry a pocket full of tools and shear bolts
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post #8 of 36 Old 09-04-2017, 08:11 PM
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maybe because they don't work as stated.... with out having to carry a pocket full of tools and shear bolts
Yes the shear bolt issue got me wondering a couple of weeks ago. They tell us something about the parts they are trying to protect. In this case it's the accelerator (aka front propeller) , augers & auger gearbox and impeller. Depending on which ones keep breaking (as stated in the reviews) it makes me conclude... if they need such a sensitive fail-fast shear bolt... the protected part must be weak. I guess it's possible that the people talking about the shear bolts are constantly trapping obstacles.. but I doubt if they'd complain in that case... they'd be grateful not complaining.
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post #9 of 36 Old 09-04-2017, 08:23 PM
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how correct, MTD and others fail to use better hardened gears in the auger gear case,to over come the weakness they use shear bolts or shear pins with push pins to hold them in.
it's a good thing one way but surely a rpit? when out in a bad snow storm trying to replace them only to remember one forgot to garb more spares and resorts to a 5/16 or 3/8th bolt laying around then tears up the auger gear box
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post #10 of 36 Old 09-04-2017, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 87 powershift View Post
how correct, MTD and others fail to use better hardened gears in the auger gear case,to over come the weakness they use shear bolts or shear pins with push pins to hold them in.
it's a good thing one way but surely a rpit? when out in a bad snow storm trying to replace them only to remember one forgot to garb more spares and resorts to a 5/16 or 3/8th bolt laying around then tears up the auger gear box
Well yes...but... auger gearboxes have had a weak brass gear for decades on many (not all) machines. However, they have never broken at a rate of 14 shear pins per season in the past like some of the reviewers are saying. There's something about these machines that is much weaker than ever before in the past. Just by looking at the photos of these machines, the whole bucket area looks like a glorified tin soup can. I wish the reviewers would say WHICH shear pins are failing by the dozen....that way we could tell which parts are the weakest link. There's nothing wrong per-se with a brass auger gear (at least not the ones for the past 3 or 4 decades). One other possibility is that they are simply putting in the wrong shear pins/bolts... who really knows unless you are the person switching 14 shear bolts per season. In any case.. there seems to be something amiss with these machines.

Last edited by unknown1; 09-04-2017 at 10:07 PM.
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