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I recently purchased a house and am looking for a snow blower to help clear the driveway and walkways. The driveway isn't very long (3 to 4 car lengths) and one car wide. On craigslist I found a Toro 521 for $200 when I asked about the age the response was:

Yes I still have the snow blower and the age is 20 yrs. It's a garage machine that my mother-in-law owned,it's in really decent condition. I inspected the friction wheel and it has lots of rubber left on it, minor adjustments, oil change, new carburetor, new belts. All around it's a safe machine

The person selling it is a small engine shop, so I assume that it was well maintained. My questions is what is the expected life span for a snow blower / how much life would this machine have left in it? And is $200 a reasonable amount for this machine?

Thanks,
 

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I had a 1985 3521 that was a good machine. I swapped the engine to a 6.5HP engine and sold it for $180. They are nice, but a little on the small side. If you have the room I would suggest looking for something like a 24". I am not sure how much snow you get, but the 521 is only like 17" tall where a bigger 24" would be closer to 20" tall. Taller would be nice for deeper snow. Wider would get you done a bit faster and probably take 1 less pass for sidewalks.

Another nice thing to look for would be one with a differential on the axle to aid in turning.

With the lack of snow everywhere this year you should be able to find one a bit cheaper and maybe even get one closer to $100 if you shop around. Or, wait until summer and get lucky when someone is moving and just wants to get rid of one quickly.
 

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there is a 524 toro on cl not too far from me for $150. that said all my experiance with toro's have ben with single stage snowblowers, ccr2000, powerlite-e, ccr2450 ( r & E ) and ccr3650e
 

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for an old snow blower, if it is fully tuned up and ready to go 200 is fine. for example the last 4 or 5 snow blowers i have sold this year all got belts, friction wheel, plug and points, carb clean out or rebuild. oil change in engine, oil change in gearbox, new shear pins and serviced the auger to ensure the auger isn't rusted to the auger shaft. i sold them for 200 to 250.

i am not sure but i would bet that machine is closer to 30 years old. i have a model 421 now that i got from the original owner. he bought it in 1978 but i dont know when they stopped or if they stopped that model.

i would say if it hasn't been completely gone over it should be closer to $100
 

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I own a 26 year old Toro 521 http://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/toro/776-toro-521-2-stage.html I have seen a few 521's in excellent shape going for $300-$350 on Ebay last November. This winter has been a bust for snow. I would offer him $125-$150 if it is in real nice shape if it does not need anything. Less if it does. Snow blower used prices are waaay down this year do to this snow less winter. Good luck with what you decide :D
 

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I had a 1985 3521 that was a good machine. I swapped the engine to a 6.5HP engine and sold it for $180. They are nice, but a little on the small side. If you have the room I would suggest looking for something like a 24". I am not sure how much snow you get, but the 521 is only like 17" tall where a bigger 24" would be closer to 20" tall. Taller would be nice for deeper snow. Wider would get you done a bit faster and probably take 1 less pass for sidewalks.

Another nice thing to look for would be one with a differential on the axle to aid in turning.

With the lack of snow everywhere this year you should be able to find one a bit cheaper and maybe even get one closer to $100 if you shop around. Or, wait until summer and get lucky when someone is moving and just wants to get rid of one quickly.
I'll assume that 17" doesn't mean that it can handle 17" of snow. How much snow could this machine handle comfortably? I live in Maine (Central area Lewiston/Auburn if you are familiar with the state) so we get a fair amount of snow during the winter ... except this year.
 

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I got rid of my 3521 a couple years ago and we only had 1 snow that was deeper than the height of the blower. It was just barely over the top and did fine. Last year I was using an Ariens 24" and is closer to 20-21" tall and I liked the extra height for the couple of big snows we had.

Some of the older Ariens blowers also have a split axle that you can lock. During normal use and pushing around the garage you can have it function like a car differential and power both wheels, but still allow easy turning. If you have really deep snow and ice you can lock the axle solid and get much better traction, but have to drag it around corners.

I don't have too big of an area, but I also appreciated the extra width of the 24". It doesn't seem like a lot, but it makes a bit of a difference for sidewalks and such. The older Ariens were also built before all the safety devices so you can lock the auger on or off and free up your other hand to move the chute. Mine is a 1977 model.

The bigger full size Ariens is also quite a bit faster. It has 5 speeds vs the Toro 3. The extra speed comes in handy when there isn't a lot of snow, or for just pushing it around or back to the garage.
 

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ok i just finished looking at older postings on cl and found a toro 521 for $175 . if you want that machine and think $200 is too high make them an offer
 

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When in doubt.........Go bigger. The picture is pretty........how much work are you willing to put in if the product needs work? Every used products has risk. If you are mechanically inclined like myself...;)...Do you want a ready run snow blower?
 

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When in doubt.........Go bigger. The picture is pretty........how much work are you willing to put in if the product needs work? Every used products has risk. If you are mechanically inclined like myself...;)...Do you want a ready run snow blower?
I would say I'm fairly mechanically inclined. I do my own oil changes, brake jobs, spark plugs, other small things on my car. Ideally I would like something which is ready to run ... But my budget prevents me from going to a dealer and dropping $500+ on a new machine.
 

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I would say I'm fairly mechanically inclined. I do my own oil changes, brake jobs, spark plugs, other small things on my car. Ideally I would like something which is ready to run ... But my budget prevents me from going to a dealer and dropping $500+ on a new machine.
I agree........if you hang here long enough......you will learn that the older machines (80's and older) are built like tanks
The newer ones have "less" quality in most of them.
 

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That looks like an 80s Ariens and I bet you would like it a lot better than the Toro. It has the bigger engine, taller bucket, wider bucket and locking differential on the axle.
 

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That looks like an 80s Ariens and I bet you would like it a lot better than the Toro. It has the bigger engine, taller bucket, wider bucket and locking differential on the axle.
The owner emailed me saying that he thinks it's 10 to 15 years old and hasn't seen much use the last 5 to 7 years.
 

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The owner emailed me saying that he thinks it's 10 to 15 years old and hasn't seen much use the last 5 to 7 years.
I am thinking 80s, but Scot could probably help you a lot more. The black handlebars and double levers on the handles mean 1980 at the earliest. The taller chute could indicate slightly later.

The actual model number and serial number from the back of the machine would help with age.

The Ariens 1960's and 1970's Sno-Thro info site.
 

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it looks like the ariens 824 i was going to go look at last weekend
 

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I am leaning towards the TORO over the Ariens, just because the TORO is from a small engine shop and has had service done to it (oil change, new carb, belts) where as the Ariens is from a private person and I don't know what shape everything would be in ...
 

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if you trust the shop and feel comfortable with them and the toro is big enough for your needs and your ok with the price. but do find out about other parts that wear on these older machines that might need to be inspected or replaced. i started a small snow removal service years ago ( gone now ) with two snowblowers. both went down a day apart and i needed a snowblower like yesterday. stopping by a shop that sells used machines i spotted a toro ccr2000 and bought it, ran great but when i got my other toros up and running the ccr2000 was in the garage to have the paddles replaced cause the shop i got it from only cleaned the carb and never looked at the scraper bar or paddles. had i looked i would have offered them less for it so know all you can about the machine you want to buy. its one reason i'm on this forum
 
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