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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello;

I realize this is my first post, and I apologize for the length. I have been lurking here for a while, and have gotten some good info -- thanks.

I just bought a second blower for my camp in north-central Maine. I have a newer Toro Powermaster 724 at home that I am generally happy with. However, my camp averages about 100 inches of snow per year vs 70 or so at home, the camp is 50 miles from home, and I want to clear about 200 feet + parking at the camp. Having a larger, second machine at camp has become important. I have hauled the Toro up there for the last two years to keep it clear, and it was up to the task (if a bit outmatched by one memorable 30 inch snowfall last year). However, it is a pain to load/unload, set the skid shoes every time I use it, etc.

The second machine I just purchased is a 2002 MTD (Yard Machine) 10 hp, 26 inch with a Tecumseh HMSK105. i like the combination of big engine, relatively narrow yet tall bucket, and 16 inch tires. Machine is in very good condition, fully functional except for the headlight (which I really don't need), no appreciable rust, no leaks, good tires, lots of life left in the skid shoes and scraper blade. It started on one pull with no smoke, no surging, etc. Based on the condition of the tires and plastic, it has clearly been stored inside its entire life. Original manuals, extension cord for e-start and spare shear pins were included in the original clear plastic hang bag, which gives me a good feeling about prior maintenance.

I have since pulled the belly pan and lubed the driveshaft, checked the friction disc and belts, changed the oil, stabilized the fuel, and lubed what I can get at. All looks good, and I plan to haul it to camp this weekend to store there (in a garage) for winter.

So my question to all of you: why does MTD get absolutely no respect? I appreciate well-built tools and equipment, and I fully agree that it is not as rigid or maybe as well put-together as my Toro, but... the drive mechanism is simple with stout gears, the chassis is not as rigid as the Toro yet the steel is not what I would call it flimsy, and the bucket seems stiffer than what is found on current MTD machines. Further, a 10 hp Snow King is a 10 hp Snow King, regardless of whether it sits on an Ariens or a Yard Man. Even the auger and drive control cables have heat-shrink tubing on them for corrosion-protection, and look great. I don't like the plastic chute, but I can live with it, and I am sure it is not expensive to replace if the time comes.

It seems like the only significant weak point would be the auger gear box. I do realize this is not cheap to replace.

Am I missing something here? Are the auger gear boxes really that bad if maintained and used reasonably in these 15+ year old MTDs? Is there anything I can do to prolong its life other than the obvious (keep grease in it, use shear pins, keep augers lubed so they spin freely on the auger shaft)? Are the machines otherwise reasonably sturdy and dirt-simple, which is my impression?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice. I don't have much money in this, and it is not mission-critical so to speak, I am just curious what your thoughts are.
 

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Well, all forums have their brand groupies and this is no exception. Some will only swear by the higher price brands like Toro, Honda and Ariens while others like me go for a more general approach of getting something that reasonably well made, mid-tier, and maintain it well. One of my two blowers is a MTD and after 10 years I've just given it a fresh rebuild (paint, bearings, belts) and expect to get at least another 10 years out of it. I like to joke that MTD stands for Middle of The roaD. Parts are easily available (contrary to some of the newer made in China imports) and they give a good value for the money. If it's in good shape and you maintain it well, I don't see why you should be concerned just by the fact that it's MTD. Ignore brand snobbery and welcome to the place where above all we like to talk about and use our machines!
 

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This is how it is. When it comes to MTD older is better. I have owned them and the older machines, while being pretty basic, were fine machines. Many newer machines across the spectrum of manufacturers have suffered quality wise. I could name names and not just in snowblowers. I'm referring to garden tractors, riding mowers, lawn mowers, weedwackers... all OPE. .. The quality has taken a nosedive. Lots of factors come into play. Why make a tractor that will last a lifetime when you can build one that will last 10 years and you can charge the same price for both? Planned obselescence. Cheaper materials, thinner metal, poorer grade of metal, weight. Customer demand... and customer lack of knowlege... all these factors come into play. MTD, and most names, older is better. Honestly there are a couple very popular brand names out there tha at one time I highly respected but now I doubt I'd own one if it were given to me.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the feedback. I am not a brand snob, just curious as to what people think. I suspect that with some luck and maintenance, I can get 5-10 more good years out of this machine, which is all I really expected when I bought it.
 

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ALOHA from the Paradise City.:smiley-rpg027::smiley-rpg027::smiley-rpg027::smiley-rpg027::smiley-rpg027::smiley-rpg027:
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I am not a brand snob, just curious as to what people think. I suspect that with some luck and maintenance, I can get 5-10 more good years out of this machine, which is all I really expected when I bought it.
I bought a new MTD in 1994. I used it for 17 years and some winters I worked that thing like a rented mule. Never failed me once. Always started and always did what I asked of it. As I said, they're a basic machine but I don't need all the bells and whistles on my equipment.
Hoping the for your machine!:plain:
 
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Welcome aboard from another Mainer. I have a 1995 8/26 which I bought in 2005 for next to nothing after it had been abused by a fly-by-night property management company. As mentioned above, parts are readily available and they are simple to work on, repair and upgrade. I've had mine for 12 years and adding up the money I've spent, it doesn't come close to the replacement cost. It does the job and if you look around this forum, you'll see a couple of threads where I upgraded the chute control and crank using parts from other MTD brands. Would I like to own an Ariens? Sure, but do I want to lay out the cash to do so? Not right now.

IMHO, MTD gets no respect because they are "price point" machines that can be purchased at Wal-Mart and the big box stores. Do I care? Not really. In the interest of being intellectually honest, I would also say that the really new ones look quite flimsy.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. Maine is a good place to test a snowblower, and I am looking forward to doing so this winter. I do agree that the newer MTD machines look flimsier than the older ones. If I get 10 yrs out of it with annual oil changes, the occasional plug, a belt or two, and maybe a friction wheel I will be satisfied. My only real concern is the auger gearbox given the rocky, gravel drive I will be clearing. A friend lost his when a rock got jammed in the impeller, which bypassed the auger shear pins as a failure mechanism.
 
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