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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Good new and bad news, first the Ariens 30" Platinum arrived today, about a week early. It arrived with the box in excellent condition and R&L the shipping company was wonderful (very cooperative) to do business with.

Then the nit picking starts, the two bolts that hold the chute in place were missing. I called Ariens and tech support told me they were 5/16" x 1.75" NC, they are not, the two bolts are 3/8.

Of course Lowes does not sell 3/8 x 1.75 so the 2" long bolts do work.

It took a while to work out the chute turning control. The direction are abysmal. The directions also tell you to put the snow blower in service position. Then the oil fill stick was not tight so all the oil runs out. If you are not going to tighten that, at least tell me to check it before "assuming the position".

The assembly directions are full of meaningless important warnings like: "Be careful not to damage the cable spring hooks when the rotating the handle bar upward." Ok, what is a "cable spring hook" what does it look like? Where is it located and what would it look like if it is or is not damaged?

Did I mention that I have a large unattractive sticker in 19 languages telling me not to catch any of my vital bit in the auger?

How is it that when I go to the Ariens website and down load a quick set up for my year and model the photos don't match my year and model?

The assembly instructions frequently refer you to one page or another in the manual for details that you must check and when you do the illustrations in the manual are not the same as the model you own. For example I know how to firm up the chute swivel by tightening up the nut under the spring. Fine my model is not like that and my chute flops all over the place and I don't know how to fix it. (Ariens support closes at 4:30 pm)

Then the directions were just flat out wrong for the drift cutters showing the wrong bolt in the slotted hole. I worked it out but how about some accurate, useful directions for anything?

Then I purchased Ariens non abrasive skid shoes for my Ariens snow blower, the new shoes don't come with bolts and the OE bolts will not work because they are too short to work with the thicker non abrasive skid shoes. How hard would it be to ship these with 4 longer bolts?

Would you believe the Briggs & Stratton operators manual does not tell you where the engine SN and model is? (I know it is on the cylinder head, I found it on my own.) Does this motor have an air filter? That and whole lot of useful stuff just is not included in the Briggs & Stratton operators manual. It might be nice to know where the air filter is, the part number and how to clean or replace it?

I have not started on the weight kit or deluxe snow blower cab. I purchased tire chains but pray I will not need them.

Maybe for a retail small engine shop whose mechanic who preps 2 every hour this is easy. But for a do-it-your-selfer it was a lot harder that it needs to be; mostly because of very poor and incomplete instructions.

The engine did start on the second pull and long term this should all work out. But Ariens has a lot of work to do on their out-of-box customer experience.
 

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Sorry to hear about all your problems. Only think I can do to help is tell you that most snow engines do not have air filters. The cold and snowy air in the winter doesn't have all the dust and dirt blowing around like summer does. Also so melting on the air filter can freeze solid and choke your engine out. And that is why you shouldn't use your snowblower to pick up leaves :)
 

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Sounds like you can give yourself a big pat on the back for getting it put together despite problems!

Not that I'm defending Ariens, or any other manufacturer, but given the number of different models and their variants, together with the product liability issues these companies have to deal with, it really is a wonder they are able to put together a usable manual that isn't bigger than the box the machine comes in! As you noted, there are warnings galore, and actually very little to do with the operation and maintenance when you come right down to it.

Like Shryp said, winter engines don't have air filters on them. Being winter, dust is not the consideration it is in summer months, but snow and freezing condensation on the element that would effect the engine's ability to run is.
 

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Ariens out-of-box experience

You need to contact the robots that built and packaged the machine. The real-live-people are too busy counting the "beans" that were made on the sale of this snowblower!! Thank God for good-old-fashioned ingenuity or we would never get anything to work properly. Just my two cents worth, (or, adjusted for inflation:$200.00) These forums are a real savior to those of us who like the way things work and how to keep them that way! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A strange thing happens with putting on the "universal" snow cab. I guess if you have a narrow snow blower the mounting brackets that attach the snow cab frame to the handles will stick out sideways like ears.

The wider the unit the mounting brackets must rotate forward to be narrow enough to fit the descending snow cab frame. I don't know if the cab can be made to fit a 36" or wider unit?

When I called the manufacture and said "It doesn't look like the photo in the assembly manual" I was told: "It is an official Ariens accessory but it is a universal product to fit all makes, models and sizes and some field adjustments may be necessary." Ya think?

I took a few photos, put them in my album. It may be helpful for others considering a Ariens snow cab, with the caveat: "some field adjustments may be necessary."
 

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I looked at your pictures and see what you mean about "ears" ........ I think your machine looks great. Maybe Ariens was figuring on aerodynamics when they designed the cab :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As a new guy and I can be dumb about some things. This is the first time I ever setup a new snow blower. I guess it stands to reason, some reason, any reason that if no snow blowers have air filters. It must be because someone knows something I don't.

I am very active in a car club. One day we all gathered for a dyno day and my car was the only new model year with very significant engine changes. We futz around to see if modifying the intake would make any HP. For a short time on the inside of a clean, I made one or WOT dyno runs sans air filter. I only use Mobil one oil and every oil change has its own oil analysis. My next three ail changes indicated high % Si. My wear metals shot up for the next 15k miles because I ran with out an air filter for 5 minutes, after that I learned a valuable lesson.

I may not want air filter problems but airplanes at 35,000 feet, tanks in Siberia, trucks in the Baja all use air filter systems. It should not be all that difficult to devise a reliable air filter for a snow blower, and if the filter lasts 15 years because it is not necessary that is even better. Just run the air through an air centrifuge, some bull dozers, agricultural equipment use them as a pre air filter to at least keep out the big stuff.

I did want to thank each and every one who answered my initial post with new information, that is very helpful and I am very grateful.
 

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I have used clone engines on snowblowers and so far the air filters haven't caused any problems. I always tell myself I'll remove it if I have problems and so far I haven't. In Ohio we don't get the super wet stuff they get on the east coast nor do we get the super cold and wind they get north and west of here.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for the helpful report of your personal experience.

Airplanes and autos can have problems with carburetor icing at low temps. As the gasoline evaporates it chills the air and can potentially freeze the carburetor/choke controls in place.

That has never happened to me in 58 years even when I have physically isolated the carburetor/ MAF from warm air and/or warm coolant for a performance increase. It could be dangerous when it happens when one is trying to land an airplane. I am guessing I could still operate a snow blower safely if the throttle plate froze in place.

I could still "land" my snow blower. :)
 

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Snowblowers generally have a "heater box" in place of the air filter. It covers the carb and part of the muffler. This is suppose to prevent freezing.

If your throttle ever does stick wide open turn the engine off immediately :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Again Mr. Shryp, all new and useful info for me, thank you.

Cleveland? Get snow there? (eye roll)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
As I mentioned when I started the thread, Ariens shorted me two bolts for the chute when my show blower arrived on 10/5/11. I have not been able to get the replacement platinum sparkplugs which I am told last several years each. I was able to get 8 non-platinum for $1.80 each from summit racing.

That night I called Ariens Tech Support for the 2 missing bolts and since I went to Lowes for those I asked for 2 replacement platinum sparkplugs. From 10/5/11 to 12/5/11 is two months so I just assumed after that long of a wait that Ariens Tech Support stuck it to me.

Today via UPS the two Briggs and Stratton sparkplugs arrived. Part Number 793541 or PZ694 cross reference.

Thank you Ariens Tech Support.
 

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2 months for a spark plug? Ariens tech support must of been watching the weather report in your area and saw that you are snow less so they took their time sending it out to you Buford
........Hahahaha
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Mr Talon 1189,

I believe you are 100% correct in this matter. But now that I am ready to go expect the worst of weather!

(smile)
 

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Sounds like it was a handfull huh. I guess we get a idea why so many of these are so badly setup at the box stores!!

As for the air filter... I hear you on the engine wear... but I gotta tell you, I have a old MTD that Ive beat the tar out of for about 20 years now. No filter, and frankly wile the carbs are JUNK on those snowking engines... the engine its self is solid, good compression, runs well, with no smoke, or oil usege at all.

Wel sounds like you get it together and just waiting for snow.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I stand corrected Snow blower arrived 11/22/11 and spark plugs arrived 12/5/11. It just seems like 2 months with everything else going on at the same time.

But it was in fact 2 weeks.

Mea Culpa
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Both Home Depot and a local lawn mower shop carry Ariens. Neither is what I would call close. I saved a few hundred dollars not buying from Home Depot and several hundred dollars not buying from my local lawn mower shop. And that would be if they had what I wanted in stock, neither did. In both cases the nicest, most expensive Ariens they had in stock retailed for about half of what I invested. I did not want an engine from China. The lawn mower shop did have a $4,500 Honda snow blower. It was very nice. He also had $50 honda 2 gallon gas cans if that is a clue.

The local lawn mower store would have done a great job of prepping and even delivered it to my door. But by prepping it myself I can "pay myself" about $100 per hour labor and get it shipped free from IL as opposed to paying $100 shipping for across town. And 7% PA sales tax which I legally evaded on $2000 is $140 which will at least buy dinner for two.

Now I like the folks in Home Depot, they treat me well, but I'd rather prep it myself with the utmost care than have some kid one-third of my age who doesn't know a torque wrench from a tire chain make a mess out of it. Home Depot has earned a reputation for shoddy shop work, and I have always been particular who does any kind of work for me.

And I guess the last reason is while I haven't worked professionally as a mechanic for 40 years I do still have my Snap-On tools. I have avoided doing any "small engine" work most of my whole life and I do have a good small engine guy near me. Last fall when I wanted my Tecumseh engine over hauled he told me to see him in the spring. In Spring he told me to come back in September because that is his slowest time of the year. September he told me he was busy but if he worked on it in October we should be 100% before the first snow. First snow he hadn't yet touched my snow blower, he had it outside in the rain which I have never done in my life.

Then he found me a "good" used, 12 HP Tecumseh for $400. Which thought a lot of money for a used engine, and it works out that this good engine had no compression. It would need rebuilt. I had hoped that I could rebuild what I had or re-engine and save some money. Instead all I accomplished is a wasted whole calendar year. I gave up on the guy, I don't know if or when I'll give him another chance.

Two months ago I had never worked on a snow blower, never felt the need. But I can do a little research, generally work things out. I'm still not an expert, but then again the local experts have not done me much good. Sometimes one does best by doing it themselves.

I learned a little before my snow blower arrived, learned a little here reading, learned a little prepping it myself. I haven't messed up anything and I got what I wanted at a fair price with out wasting another year of my time.

I pray that I am reasonable and patient man. I try to be. But this world is by its nature competitive. In these hard economic times I learned to always get at least 3 bids from very reputable businesses. So I shopped hard for new snow blower (a lot more than 3 places), for both service and price. And that is how it came out. I am only mildly annoyed that I have $2200 invested in a new snow blower and no snow. But I prefer that to all snow and no snow blower which is where I was going fast.
 

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Both Home Depot and a local lawn mower shop carry Ariens. Neither is what I would call close. I saved a few hundred dollars not buying from Home Depot and several hundred dollars not buying from my local lawn mower shop. And that would be if they had what I wanted in stock, neither did. In both cases the nicest, most expensive Ariens they had in stock retailed for about half of what I invested. I did not want an engine from China. The lawn mower shop did have a $4,500 Honda snow blower. It was very nice. He also had $50 honda 2 gallon gas cans if that is a clue.

The local lawn mower store would have done a great job of prepping and even delivered it to my door. But by prepping it myself I can "pay myself" about $100 per hour labor and get it shipped free from IL as opposed to paying $100 shipping for across town. And 7% PA sales tax which I legally evaded on $2000 is $140 which will at least buy dinner for two.

Now I like the folks in Home Depot, they treat me well, but I'd rather prep it myself with the utmost care than have some kid one-third of my age who doesn't know a torque wrench from a tire chain make a mess out of it. Home Depot has earned a reputation for shoddy shop work, and I have always been particular who does any kind of work for me.

And I guess the last reason is while I haven't worked professionally as a mechanic for 40 years I do still have my Snap-On tools. I have avoided doing any "small engine" work most of my whole life and I do have a good small engine guy near me. Last fall when I wanted my Tecumseh engine over hauled he told me to see him in the spring. In Spring he told me to come back in September because that is his slowest time of the year. September he told me he was busy but if he worked on it in October we should be 100% before the first snow. First snow he hadn't yet touched my snow blower, he had it outside in the rain which I have never done in my life.

Then he found me a "good" used, 12 HP Tecumseh for $400. Which thought a lot of money for a used engine, and it works out that this good engine had no compression. It would need rebuilt. I had hoped that I could rebuild what I had or re-engine and save some money. Instead all I accomplished is a wasted whole calendar year. I gave up on the guy, I don't know if or when I'll give him another chance.

Two months ago I had never worked on a snow blower, never felt the need. But I can do a little research, generally work things out. I'm still not an expert, but then again the local experts have not done me much good. Sometimes one does best by doing it themselves.

I learned a little before my snow blower arrived, learned a little here reading, learned a little prepping it myself. I haven't messed up anything and I got what I wanted at a fair price with out wasting another year of my time.

I pray that I am reasonable and patient man. I try to be. But this world is by its nature competitive. In these hard economic times I learned to always get at least 3 bids from very reputable businesses. So I shopped hard for new snow blower (a lot more than 3 places), for both service and price. And that is how it came out. I am only mildly annoyed that I have $2200 invested in a new snow blower and no snow. But I prefer that to all snow and no snow blower which is where I was going fast.

Buford.......I am a semi retired mechanic (not snow blowers) and understand your point. I am 52 years old and feel that I have been around for both "good and bad" ........:D:D:D Choosing and maintaining a modern day snow blower is a small challenge would be interesting. You went with an Ariens and I am interested in your happiness on your product :):) When are you gonna get some Daaayyumm snow here to tell us??? :D
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Junk does not deserve to live forever.

Mr Talon 1189;

I am, or was a mining engineer (Penn State '79) and been around heavy equipment many of those years since. For a short time in between mining jobs I taught automotive tech at a 2 year university (UNM Gallup). That does not put me on equal footing with anyone who does that sort of work everyday for decades but I know a crowfoot wrench from fuel line wrench.

My the local lawn mower shop charges more for an hour of mechanical work than the automobile dealerships around here. ($60-80/hr?) So if you can not sharpen your own blade and change your own oil it soon becomes less expensive to just replace a $300 lawn mower than have them change the spark plug.

They have a right to charge what ever they want to. But independent shops have filled the economic niche. Those are busy, even backed up, while I was in the "authorized Ariens service center" for more than a half hour I was the only customer.

I have come to understand that at this forum folks do take pride in maintaining and even restoring old, old snow blowers, with good results. But as someone who has been responsible for fleets of heavy equipment I would question putting a new $500 motor on the chassis of a 30-years-old inexpensive-when-new snow blower. In my case it was is good money after bad.

Now if I wanted to invest my time in doing the work myself, and maybe I should have; perhaps I could have made the old MTD run for a few more years but I would not expect one of my equipment operators to run something that needed a bungee cord to hold the transmission selector in place (OSHA would have my asp) so I will not do that to myself. Junk does not deserve to live forever.

Snow flurries today, it is 37F and nothing will stick. The snow storm west of here that nailed the area between Fort Wayne to Detroit on Sunday passed over here by as a rain event. Other winters have been mild between Oct-Dec then tough going between Jan-April. This winter is not over, it hasn't started yet. (Lawd willin')
 
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