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General Information

Year
2015
Make
Ariens
Model
Platinum 30 SHO
Color
Orange
Packages
Canadian model, which is probably identical to US models
History
Purchased at the beginning of January 2015 as a new 2015 model. Snow throwing performance was disappointing since engine rpm was 3,450 instead of 3,600 +/- 100 rpm. Increasing engine rpm to stock spec made a world of difference. The LCT engine is spec'd to run at up to 3,900 rpm in stock condition.

Used plastic skids from new so AutoTurn performed perfectly. The originals are still on my machine, but new ones are ready to install. Tried steel skid shoes and performance of AutoTurn degraded noticeably. Tried long plastic skid shoes and liked performance for short time until they wore out quickly.

Heavy bucket weight suited me better than the Pro which I found too light. Pro had 28 or 32 bucket which did not suit me as well as 30" bucket.

Machine controls are very quick and precise.

I use the machine to clear 8 driveways of about 50 ft each with 1 to 3 car widths for neighbours, some of whom are infirm, so shovel all walkways and ramps too. EOD are paired for better visibility and space to get into the driveway. About 240 ft of EOD and all the sidewalks connecting houses to community mail box down the street and the bus stop. The Ariens has enough throughput to handle the workload but more throughput is better.
2015 Ariens Platinum 30 SHO (Orange)

Modifications

Drivetrain
LCT 414cc engine spec'd by Ariens as AX engine. High oil fill with 120 Volt electric starter and manual recoil starter. Engine is stock. Governor adjusted from 3,450rpm when new to 3,700 rpm in first year, then 3,925 later in 5th year. It is a very strong and smooth engine.

Engine rpm increases resulted in substantial performance improvement.
Interior
Replaced the 3 liter AX fuel tank with the B&S 6 liter fuel tank and cap.

Loosened the wheel drive clutch tension to see if this will reduce friction wheel rubber wear. In 5 years I have used 2 friction discs. My 3rd is new for 2019/20 season. Slackened the cable to allow handle to reach half way to handle before clutch applies. The drive works perfectly and no slip even through EOD. The clutch action is much lighter and a little slower to engage which is nice for me.
Exterior
Impeller upgraded to 6 blade Ariens (926501) model for use at start of 5th season (2018/19).

The impeller pulley on engine crank was increased from a dual pulley 2.75" stock to a 3.25" Browning that was Shore machine shop modified to fit the AX 414cc crank for 6th season (2019/20). Actual impeller speed increased from 1,181 rpm to 1,447 rpm at engine 3,925 rpm.

To allow stock belts to operate with 3.25 pulley I lengthened the tension pulley slot on the impeller clutch arm toward the slack side. Gives more clearance for belt so it does not drive the impeller pulley when engine idles or full throttle. The brake release roller was increased from 3/4" diameter to just over 1" so brake is released when clutch arm movement is reduced.

Tried the new setup in early November 2019 with 7" snowfall and 18" at EOD with combined road plow and sidewalk plow dumps. The new setup worked well and no engine power issues. Throw distance seems about same but throughput seems to have increased a bit. Snow is ejected from chute very quickly and the noise of the flow is nice and overshadows engine noise. Very pleased with the changes so far.
Audio
Listening to the new high speed blower setup is very entertaining. The engine is nice and quiet at 3,900 rpm. When the impeller and augers are engaged the air noise is quite a bit noisier than the engine. So when removing drive from the blower the machine is a lot quieter so it seems that the engine has slowed down, but it hasn't.
Suspension
No suspension; steering is through AutoTurn with plastic Ariens skid shoes
Wheel and Tire
Stock wheels and tires (XTrac type); 15x4.8 with directional snow tread tires. No chains since relatively flat area.

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