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Discussion Starter #1
I have a north facing driveway with plenty of room on west or east side to blow. Driveway is not real long but gets heavily drifted in a bad storm being that I live in a very rural area and so get alot of wind. Up till now, I've been using my old Cub Cadet 129 tractor with blade on the front to plow..but the engine blew out this past summer. I have an old (and I do mean OLD) Bolens Artic 70 that runs and is working order after I did some repairs on it over the summer, but it just never seemed to blow snow all that well. Haven't used it in decades prior to just working on it recently. I actually have another thread on the forum about this machine. Recently bought a new John Deere 590 tractor but elected not to get any snow equipment for it. Rather than continuing to plow snow across the street (about the only place to go with it) into open field area, I thought perhaps a snowblower might be better? I was looking at the deluxe models, but would like suggestions. I don't want to stint on this..would like something that will handle heavy, wet, and drifted snow. Thanks for any input!
 

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Here's a site to give you an average snowfall in your area. Next information needed is how long and how wide is your driveway, and if you're comfortable saying so, what your budget is for a new machine.

But right now you haven't given enough information to offer a valid suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Main driveway is 55' long by 17' wide. Then, there is a turnaround area in front of our 2nd overhead garage door that is 27' long by 20' wide. We're on a hill, so on the west side of the driveway the yard slopes up to the highest point of the property and then gradually tapers down to a grass bank (near the bottom of the driveway) and a 3-4' stone wall closer to the house. Hope that info helps.

Cost is not really an issue...although, being 63 years old and uncertain as to what point in the future it may become necessary to downsize and move to someplace that entails far less maintenance, it's a given that I won't be blowing snow anywhere near as long as I've been plowing it (for 37 years).

Any sort of average snowfall info is highly misleading where we live since after a substantial snowstorm our road can wind up with perhaps 1 foot of snow or less, and yet my driveway can wind up with more like 3-4 feet in places closer to the west side depending on how strong the winds / drifting is.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The Pro 28 is a beast. I do not think you will ever go wrong with that machine.
Thanks...I took at look at that...perhaps a bit of overkill? The Pro is rated for commercial or heavy residential use. Perhaps the Deluxe 28 instead? Same width but rated 65 tons/hour instead of 79 for the pro. Of course, not as large an engine.
 

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At age 68 I understand about not knowing how long you'll be using it but that didn't stop me from buying a Deluxe 24 a year ago. BarryNY may be spot on suggesting the Pro 28. Another issue is storage, how much space you have to store it, and where (hopefully inside and dry). Ariens does have a "selector questionnaire" that may be of value to you. Some people select a smaller machine because they are short on storage and figure another pass or two on the driveway is not an issue to not have to stumble around it when not in use.

And of course how much snow you get matters. A guy in southern VA is not going to need as big a machine as a guy in Buffalo, NY.
 

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you almost need to go to the store and feel out the machines. if your driveway is long enough and wide enough a larger machine like a 28"+ machine is probably pretty good. i had a 30" machine with trigger steering and i always found it pretty heavy/bulky and hard to maneuver and squeeze between/around vehicles. it was free so i couldn't really complain but i bought a 26" machine last winter and have been really happy with how it feels and maneuvers compared to the 30" machine it was replacing. also play with the controls. i hated the controls on the 30" machine and how you would have to press down on each lever any time you wanted to make a change to anything. a lot of the newer machines seem like they have got pretty good controls on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I have adequate storage space inside my garage. More space available depending on what I decide to do with the Cub tractor. Thanks for all the replies...will definitely visit the Ariens dealer tomorrow and see what he has. I printed out all the downloads for the Platinum, Professional, and Deluxe so that I have an overview of the models in each of those 3 categories. I don't think I'd want to go as small as either the Classic or Compact.

I was thinking that a 28" width probably sounds like it'd be suitable for my needs...can't imagine I'd need to go larger. Amount of future snow is a crapshoot. Being a believer in global warming and climate change, I seriously consider that in the future there may be considerably less snow overall than was the case during the decades I've already lived here. Of late, I'm sometimes still mowing grass in early December and then by late February the perennials are starting to grow already.
 

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Nice thing about the Ariens is that quality retains it's value better. Seeing that you can get some pretty good sized drifts and if money isn't that important I'd opt for the Deluxe SHO Mod. 921048 as it has the bigger 306cc engine vs the standard deluxe 28 with a 254cc. When you really need the extra power it's nice to have it IMHO.
Nothing wrong with the PRO, really nice machine but like you say about maybe downsizing in the near future and at your (my) age the Deluxe might be easier to maneuver. The PRO is about 90 lbs heavier and a grand more expensive.

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Discussion Starter #10
I was thinking also that some extra money for the SHO might be worth it. All along...since I started looking at the Ariens website, I've sort of been leaning towards the Deluxe line. There are several variables to this whole thing...one being not knowing what's going to happen with my Cub Cadet engine. If the mechanic who currently has it is still willing to repair it, I already have a 42" blade that I've used since '81. So, until I hear back from him one way or the other, I'm wondering if an option might be to at least try the old Bolens Artic 70 that I have here and see how it performs before investing in a new blower. If the Cub engine overhaul is a no-go, then I think I'm definitely leaning towards buying a new snowblower and trying to sell both the Cub and the Bolens.
 

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hahahaha what snow. definitely not getting hit like we use to here. ya a 28" machine is probably more than good enough to take of your driveway.

could maybe see about getting the engine on your cub cadet replaced with a used one. i don't think anyone really rebuilds engines for stuff like that any more. most of the time it costs more rebuild an engine than it does to replace the engine. you can usually get a used engine pretty cheap and swap it out. most of the time a engine swap on a lawn tractor is very simple since they work about the same as a snowblower.
 

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I'm guessing from your age that the Cub you have is an older quality machine. That would be worth getting the engine rebuilt or replaced IMHO.
If you needed to you might find a votech that would do it.

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Our main driveway is 275 yds long with about 200 yds going through wide open, cultivated, farm field that is "drift prone." This doesn't factor in our pole barn driveway, the drive that connects the two, or the large parking areas.


My recommendation is to get the biggest engine you can with something like a 28" bucket width.


My first year of using a blower I was using a small engine 24" bucket Craftsman and knew I was in way over my head, although the Craftsman did better than I expected.


The 2nd year I bought a new Ariens Platinum 24 SHO and thought I had it made. I almost did after I added chains & a 10 lb weight kit.


The second year with the Ariens my friction disc & belt needed replacing so I had to re-think things...….


Last year I bit the bullet, which I should have done the "2nd time" and got an Ariens 28 Pro Hydro and quickly added chains & 10 lbs of weight, adding 10 more pounds after using it for awhile.


Last year I went through 12 gallons of gas so I think I have a good handle on the fact that I finally picked the right machine for my particular needs, which aren't the average.


For years (decades) we had the driveway plowed and the berms & piles generated by this method created what I used to call, "drift generators." By blowing, the drifts that I have to deal with are not as deep as they used to be but I do have my moments...…


Good luck with your "hunt."
 

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I just bought the Deluxe 28 for my new place. i researched all brands for a good 2 weeks before settling on the Ariens brand. Then i took another week to figure out how much machine i needed and man am i glad i went with this with model.

I have 1600 sq ft of drive and walks to clear. driveway is on decent grade too.

The first week we moved in we had a blizzard drop 13" on us. I had 3ft drifts right up to the garage.

i was doing about 6 ft at time and backing off to let the augers clear out with that much thick, wet, heavy snow and it was my first run with the unit.

The deluxe 28 took care of it no problem and no issues on the graded driveway going up or down.

I just had it out this past weekend when we got 7" and they are calling 3-5" more overnight Friday.

No issues so far with starting via pull start. 3 pumps to prime and 1 pull and it has starts right up.
 

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I'm guessing from your age that the Cub you have is an older quality machine. That would be worth getting the engine rebuilt or replaced IMHO.
If you needed to you might find a votech that would do it.

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cub made that machine from 1971 to 1974 it's a beast well worth doing a rebuild of that 12 hp cast iron kohler k301 engine, parts are plentiful and not costly , i have 4 of them 7 hp to 12 hp, can't kill them
here's the specs of that beast
TractorData.com Cub Cadet 129 tractor information
 

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Sorry, didn't pay attention and see now that the OP did mention the model. That K301 would definitely be worth rebuilding if the rest of the machine is in just average shape IMHO. The gloomy fact is you rebuild something substantial like the K301 or anything built to last at our age it likely will be the last time you need to as it will be running long after we aren't. :crying:

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm guessing from your age that the Cub you have is an older quality machine. That would be worth getting the engine rebuilt or replaced IMHO.
If you needed to you might find a votech that would do it.

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Given that the Cub is a '72 or '73, is the only tractor I've ever owned (until a few months ago), has mowed the lawn and plowed all the snow I've ever had here since '81, yeah...I think it's a fair assessment to say it is one of the old-time well-built Cubs. Many people have told me that it's worth repairing, which is fully what I planned to do - took everything off of it that needed to come off - pulled out the engine - even took it apart just to see what damage actually occurred (the connecting rod was in pieces). The rest of the block, oil pan, etc. actually look fine. The guy who has the engine (long-time mechanic and also lawn tractor dealer) knows these machines inside and out, and had told me that he has a block for mine that is already bored and ready to go. It's just a matter of putting in the new piston, rod, etc. Probably replace the head..I have a new gasket for it as well as several other parts I bought a few months ago. BUT...then the guy developed some health issues that have prevented him from doing most of his mechanical work. So, my most recent conversation seems to indicate that he still plans to get to it but no idea when. In the meantime, I haven't had any snow equipment, so today I did buy a new Ariens - decided to go with a Platinum 24 SHO...looks like it should be more than adequate for my needs. So now I've got a '68 Bolens Artic blower that I'm looking to sell since I won't be needing it. More on that in the other thread I have going....
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Sorry, didn't pay attention and see now that the OP did mention the model. That K301 would definitely be worth rebuilding if the rest of the machine is in just average shape IMHO. The gloomy fact is you rebuild something substantial like the K301 or anything built to last at our age it likely will be the last time you need to as it will be running long after we aren't. :crying:

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Kiss4aFrog....since you refer to the engine, I assume you're familiar with this old equipment! Yeah..those old Kohlers were pretty much bullet-proof. The rest of the tractor actually is in pretty decent shape. I mean, it has over 45 years of wear on it, and it has eaten through front wheel bearings like an animal with an insatiable appetite, and the hydro has had a slow leak for the past 20 years or so (I have a new cork gasket for it and the tractor is ready to separate to repair that problem...but figured there's not much pointing proceeding with that if this guy isn't going to get to the engine overhaul). I'm way too sentimentally attached to the Cub..sort of has become like an old friend over the decades...but it's time to let it go if I'm not going to get the engine going again. I think you're right about it lasting once fixed. Many guys have told me that if it's properly rebuilt...that engine could indeed run for way longer than I'm still going to be around! I'm sure I wouldn't have any trouble selling it even in its present condition - all stripped down with a bunch of parts that would go with it (those that I took off plus about a hundred bucks worth of new stuff I bought for it). If I keep it...was also planning on getting 2 new front wheels. Guys on places like the onlycubcadets.com forum go crazy with this stuff. Some of the renovations they do are amazing. The tractors come out looking like something that's clean enough to eat off of.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
cub made that machine from 1971 to 1974 it's a beast well worth doing a rebuild of that 12 hp cast iron kohler k301 engine, parts are plentiful and not costly , i have 4 of them 7 hp to 12 hp, can't kill them
here's the specs of that beast
TractorData.com Cub Cadet 129 tractor information
:) I know...it has been as dependable as a machine can be...not to say there have not been repair issues over the years, but it sure doesn't owe me anything. I bought it with our house...guy wanted $500 for it (in '81). At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about tractors, and so relied on my Dad's advice - who was a mechanic his whole life. When asked if it was worth buying...I can still hear him say, "Heck yeah!" Was the right decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
hahahaha what snow. definitely not getting hit like we use to here. ya a 28" machine is probably more than good enough to take of your driveway.

could maybe see about getting the engine on your cub cadet replaced with a used one. i don't think anyone really rebuilds engines for stuff like that any more. most of the time it costs more rebuild an engine than it does to replace the engine. you can usually get a used engine pretty cheap and swap it out. most of the time a engine swap on a lawn tractor is very simple since they work about the same as a snowblower.
No...people rebuild these old Kohlers all the time. Parts are out there for them...though getting original IH parts is not cheap. And, of course, certain things are no longer made (like the K-301 blocks). Have to be careful with doing any sort of engine swap...since whatever goes in there has to fit properly. I don't think I'd want to put anything in other than a rebuilt 301. There are probably used 301s out there, but then you take the chance of putting another engine in where the rod is ready to go. Your point and suggestion is well taken though. Given that I found a guy who really knows what he's doing with these things, I was optimistic about repair efforts in the hopes of getting it running again. If he gives me the sign that he is still willing and ready to go at it, I'll then proceed with separating the tractor, pulling the hydro..and seeing if I can get the cork gasket replaced. I'm fairly certain that's where the leak is.
 
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