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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!

As a new member, I’d first like to apologize for asking another “this vs. that” question. I promise I really did spend hours reading posts and reviews on this site and others. For now, I have narrowed down my choices to either the Ariens Platinum 28” SHO Tracked model 921052, or the Honda HSS928ATD.

My intended use is for all gravel driveways with uneven and steep areas, as well as some grassy areas to clear paths for my dog. The machine will also need to be relatively easy to use for my senior citizen stepfather to use. I realize a wheeled blower would be easier to maneuver, but I have to go with a tracked version, so please keep that in mind.

We get some deep snows every few years, and we just had to deal with a 21” fairly wet snowfall. This isn’t the norm, but happens often enough that I want to be prepared for it.

Here are my questions/concern to which any input is greatly appreciated.

Ariens


- --What is the straight scoop on the Auto-Turn (with tracks)? Trying to figure out if the mixed reviews are the result of normal growing pains of a new technology that have now been resolved, or if this continues to be an issue.

I understand there are “adjustments” that can be made, but in the real world how well does this system work assuming properly adjusted?

- -- Is the 396 Ariens engine a good, reliable powerplant? Am I correct that this engine is NOT a Briggs and Stratton, but the 420cc engine is??

- --Anybody know what the HP rating is for the 396? If no one knows for sure, that’s fine. I know about the formula to get a rough estimate.


Honda

--Is the 270cc engine adequate for this size blower? Stats show it’s just shy of 9 HP with peak torque of 14 lbs/ft. Peak HP is at 3500 RPM, but the torque at that point is “only” a little over 12 lb/ft. The torque peak occurs at 2500 RPM but the HP at that point is only about 6.5. (I wish this model would have one of their 340 or 390 cc motors)


--How well does the steering feature work on these new Hondas?


--Is the general consensus that the price premium for a Honda is worth it? In this case, the difference is nearly $1,000 (for the electric start version) I realize this isn't a straight apples to apples comparison due to the features the Honda has. Speaking mostly about performance, quality, and longevity.
 

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The gx270 is very much adequate. I though otherwise at first, but realistically by the time the engine broke in at about 10-15 hours my feelings have changed. Surprisingly fuel efficient, not important but worth noting. Bigger would be better though. :)

The Honda is a much easier machine to control and maneuver in all regards. One huge perk is how maneuverable the machine is without the engine running. The refinement is appricatable. In my honest opinion the Honda is leaps and bounds a better machine. Except....

If you haven't already, thumb through the threads regarding the clogging issues. It's a concern in wet snow conditions. The cause is debatable, but can be circumvented with some basic modifications. You might be one of the guys that never have a problem, or might need to take action. Not sure what your mechanical abilities are but there are options if you have problems. Collar alteration and Impeller seals. (Impeller kit)

This is the real truth in the matter.

The Ariens LCT engine is realiable. I wouldn't put it on par with the Honda, but its of no concern. More people like autoturn then dislike it. But there are a small pool of track Ariens owners that comment on these boards. I recall someone that was in your exact shoes debating between a hss928 and a 28" pro track. He went the Ariens pro track route. This fella was particularly disappointed with the track systems maneuverability. I don't remember all the details, But you might stumble up on his posts.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
.

If you haven't already, thumb through the threads regarding the clogging issues. It's a concern in wet snow conditions. The cause is debatable, but can be circumvented with some basic modifications. You might be one of the guys that never have a problem, or might need to take action. Not sure what your mechanical abilities are but there are options if you have problems. Collar alteration and Impeller seals.

Thanks for the info. I did read about some of the clogging issues with the Honda, but didn't want to throw any more topics and questions into the thread than I already did. I have not, however, read anything about the modifications yet.

I am quite mechanically inclined and can certainly make some modifications...but...the older I get the less willing I am to have to modify a nearly $3,000 machine to make it work right! That's not to say that if they are easy fixes that I'm not willing to do it.
 

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Both machines sound like they would be more than adequate for your situation. These comparisons always come down to one thing for me. How much work do you feel comfortable doing yourself and when you go to the dealer does he give you that warm and fuzzy feeling or the cold shoulder. Service after the sale stops at the parts counter for me because I do all my own work. For some people that's not an option.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

Thanks for making things easy on me by posting these links. Big help! Oh, and your modifications looks great, and the pictures made it easy to see what everyone was talking about in terms of the clogging issue.
 

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The only true way would be to get behind each one and try them out. I believe both engines are very similar in design and construction and will give you years of service with proper maintenance. I would go with the larger engine.
 

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Hello everyone!

As a new member, I’d first like to apologize for asking another “this vs. that” question. I promise I really did spend hours reading posts and reviews on this site and others. For now, I have narrowed down my choices to either the Ariens Platinum 28” SHO Tracked model 921052, or the Honda HSS928ATD.

My intended use is for all gravel driveways with uneven and steep areas, as well as some grassy areas to clear paths for my dog. The machine will also need to be relatively easy to use for my senior citizen stepfather to use. I realize a wheeled blower would be easier to maneuver, but I have to go with a tracked version, so please keep that in mind.

We get some deep snows every few years, and we just had to deal with a 21” fairly wet snowfall. This isn’t the norm, but happens often enough that I want to be prepared for it.

Here are my questions/concern to which any input is greatly appreciated.

Ariens


- --What is the straight scoop on the Auto-Turn (with tracks)? Trying to figure out if the mixed reviews are the result of normal growing pains of a new technology that have now been resolved, or if this continues to be an issue.

I understand there are “adjustments” that can be made, but in the real world how well does this system work assuming properly adjusted?

- -- Is the 396 Ariens engine a good, reliable powerplant? Am I correct that this engine is NOT a Briggs and Stratton, but the 420cc engine is??

- --Anybody know what the HP rating is for the 396? If no one knows for sure, that’s fine. I know about the formula to get a rough estimate.


Honda

--Is the 270cc engine adequate for this size blower? Stats show it’s just shy of 9 HP with peak torque of 14 lbs/ft. Peak HP is at 3500 RPM, but the torque at that point is “only” a little over 12 lb/ft. The torque peak occurs at 2500 RPM but the HP at that point is only about 6.5. (I wish this model would have one of their 340 or 390 cc motors)


--How well does the steering feature work on these new Hondas?


--Is the general consensus that the price premium for a Honda is worth it? In this case, the difference is nearly $1,000 (for the electric start version) I realize this isn't a straight apples to apples comparison due to the features the Honda has. Speaking mostly about performance, quality, and longevity.
HI Ron,

While I don't own the Ariens Platinum 28 track, I do own an Ariens 926 26" track model from 2008. I also just bought an HSS928ATD to replace it.

I can address some of your questions. The Ariens with tracks (by the way, I bought the machine with wheels and converted it to tracks 3 years ago with the factory track conversion [both wheel and track versions of my machine were available when I bought it]) can be moved without power but it is difficult. Lots of friction in the system. It is *MUCH* harder to push than pull with no power. The Honda (with tracks) by comparison, is as easy to move without power as the Ariens was on wheels. Much much easier to move without power.

I am still getting used to 'steering' the honda with the levers on both handles but it is locked straight when I want it to be and turns when I ask it. I looked at the auto-turn Ariens (was considering the 28 Hydro-pro track) and it seems to work OK, but anything 'automatic' is going to do the wrong thing sometimes under the right conditions. With the steering levers, if the machine steers wrong it is my fault and I like it that way.

As for power, the GX270 seems to be very good. At first, it seemed to not have much 'guts' as in really digging in and powering through. Felt like it might die easily. Now that it's broken in (probably 10 hours or so) it digs in and really fights and I am content with its power. More displacement could only help but I don't feel the machine is underpowered. I live in southeastern NH and we get a lot of wet/heavy snow. Yesterday I was cleaning along the curb in the street (all plowed snow) which was about 8-10" of wet sleet mixed in with wet snow (aka lead). My house is 70' from the street and the sleet/snow/water mixture was tickling my bushes in front of the house. That is over 60' from the street, and I had the chute turned left (we all know machines throw further to the right).

Auger/bucket height control - The Ariens has a 5 position adjuster, neutral, with 2 positions up (auger housing 1" above grade for lawns/gravel and auger housing 3" above grade for transport) and 2 positions down (I want to scrape and I *really* want to scrape). The Honda uses a gas strut with infinite adjustability. They both have their pros, but I can say that the Ariens is more deterministic. With the Ariens, I can pick the 1" above grade position and go on the lawn. With the Honda, I have to 'feel' my way and scalp or float before I get it right. I am starting to know the 'look' of the position I want but it is a learning curve. The Honda will go higher, which is nice for getting on ramps for loading into my pickup.

Thumper
 

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I am still getting used to 'steering' the honda with the levers on both handles but it is locked straight when I want it to be and turns when I ask it. I looked at the auto-turn Ariens (was considering the 28 Hydro-pro track) and it seems to work OK, but anything 'automatic' is going to do the wrong thing sometimes under the right conditions. With the steering levers, if the machine steers wrong it is my fault and I like it that way.
This seems like a good point to me. I've never tried Auto Turn.

My Ariens has an open differential, which is great for turning and ease of handling. But it can lose traction more easily than a machine with a solid axle. And triggers seem like they give you the ability to turn easily when you need it, while simply going straight when that's what you want.

Auto Turn *should* do the same thing. But it sounds a bit finicky sometimes, and as you said, automatic things can't completely read your mind. If I was buying a new machine, and deciding between those systems, I think I'd prefer the simplicity of triggers.
 

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This seems like a good point to me. I've never tried Auto Turn.

My Ariens has an open differential, which is great for turning and ease of handling. But it can lose traction more easily than a machine with a solid axle. And triggers seem like they give you the ability to turn easily when you need it, while simply going straight when that's what you want.

Auto Turn *should* do the same thing. But it sounds a bit finicky sometimes, and as you said, automatic things can't completely read your mind. If I was buying a new machine, and deciding between those systems, I think I'd prefer the simplicity of triggers.
Can you lock your open differential? I had an Ariens 1028 pro with an open differential, but it had a button on the right wheel hub which would lock the differential if needed. I had to bend down and reach it, which was inconvenient at times, but it was simple and effective.

That machine was amazing, with its 6-paddle impeller you could not clog it. I used to clog it for fun and then pick a faster gear and watch it blow the solid plug of snow/ice/slush out and keep on blowin'. :icon_smile_big::icon_smile_big:
 

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Can you lock your open differential? I had an Ariens 1028 pro with an open differential, but it had a button on the right wheel hub which would lock the differential if needed. I had to bend down and reach it, which was inconvenient at times, but it was simple and effective.
Yes, I can lock mine. Same setup as you describe, you stop and rotate a pin on one wheel to change from locked to unlocked.

I've owned Ariens with differentials for about 5 years, and have only had to lock the diff about 4-5 times. Usually it's not needed, but it's great to have the option when the going gets tough.

If I could rig up a system to lock/unlock it on-the-fly, using something on the handlebars, that would make it just about perfect IMO. But that doesn't sound worth it, and with chains, I rarely need to change modes.

Mine has the standard 3-bladed impeller. But I have no complaints with the throwing/clogging performance, especially with the impeller kit.
 

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I have a 2017 28" platinum sho with track, and got no probleme with the track. Never clogged once even with 2 foot of really wet stuff. Got through any storm with it, it a real tank. it got throught snow over the handle ,and the auto turn make it really easy to turn, even on hot and dry pavement.

It always steer when I want to.

Never miss power , never clogged and got through any type of snow. I don't know for the honda, but I guess it won't do any better for a lot higher price.

 
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