I have been thinking about this topic and doing some YT research. Seems like most people are happy with the 212cc Predator engine for the 24inch Ariens. However, the only downside I am aware of is the exposed linkages, which I understand can impact performance if snow gets on top of the engine and freezes. I do get windy conditions in my area when I use my machine so I need to take this into account.
Thoughts? It seems the benefits (cost, performance, possibly simpler maintenance) are there for pursuing this option. However, I do not want to go through with the project only to find the above-mentioned issue to render the machine suspect when needed.
For the predator conversion guys. I had a Honda hs55 here for a new auger belt so while I had it I poked around to see what Honda does to make their gx motors "snow" engines. Turns out it is pretty simple. I know a home made shield can be made but an option to that would be to just buy the...
I looked into it before finding a suitable shroud from a parts LCT 208cc snow engine:
I took up jackmels' offer of a free Toro 521 that was missing the engine, pulley, belts, and the chute crank worm gear: As I recently did a Predator 212cc swap on a 1974 Toro 524, I had a spare 5hp Tecumseh H50 with a suitable pulley. I only needed to swap out the extra long oil drain...
In my research the 212 (6.5hp) seemed to be the model of choice, both for the power as well as the installation. Given that my driveway is not large (two car wide, two car deep, with one extra space) the 212 seemed like a good fit. Let me know if anyone thinks the 212 will be underpowered.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. One other question: Do you feel the impeller mod for this unit is a must? We do get heavy wet snow in my area but I typically only take the unit out if over 6 inches of snow. I try and shovel for less than that.
In 20 years of Chondra powering my ST 824 Ariens, I've had linkage freeze exactly once. That said, I've been ordering surplus engines online that are snow ready....primer, heatbox, glove ready handle.......the last ones were 208 cc and $89.
I put a 212 on my 10K last fall and it works pretty good. I did not add a cover over the gov. but you can make one out of an old license plate like I di on the Predator 212 for my Compact 24 and that sucker blew some snow this past winter.
I haven't had the chance to use my machine much yet, maybe 2 hours?
But I didn't see any issues with exposed linkages yet. The main thing I was concentrating on was getting the fuel mixture correct with the cold air and removal of the air filter.
I went 3 sizes larger than stock and I think I'm happy, but still not sure. It doesn't run bad at all, I'm just a perfectionist.
If you're going through the trouble of a repower, I would highly suggest the hot rod version, the 224 cc. It is built more HD. It's only $40 more. Valvetrain is stronger, block is stronger. Check it out.
Also has slightly more hp but 20% more torque.
I went with the 459 cc Max engine on our 1336 dle pro. Totally worth the extra $50. It has pressure lubrication and still has the splash lubrication arm in it. Rocker arms look like they are from a V-8. Looks very HD and long lasting. The bonus for me is I can buy 4 of the new 459cc engines for less than 1 Briggs. Not sure how they even stay in business anymore.