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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am considering the purchase of a late model Craftsman Snow King. The owner claims that it is a 2003 model. 5 HORSEPOWER
22" DUAL STAGE SNOW THROWER 120V. ELECTRIC START. MODEL NO. 536.886540.

This thing is SUPER CLEAN looking. Used less than 10 times, garage kept under a tarp. Tecumseh engine. Owner is asking $280.00 I'm thinking more like $200.00 or less…?

I live in SW Pennsylvania. Snowfalls over 6" while not uncommon are not average. Sure we get bigger snowfalls on occasion…I'd say 2-4-6" of snowfall is average. But we do get wholloped from time to time.

Questions:
1. Anyone have a review of a similar model? Thoughts?
2. Is 5HP to little? I've read that 8 is the minimum needed.
3. What do I need to be concerned about?

Any input is greatly appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Ariens

I also found a late 90's Ariens 5 HP 2 stage with an asking price of $150.00 and a 2002 model 824 8HP Ariens with asking price of $400.00. Seems like Ariens is the blower of choice on this forum.
 

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the craftsman is way over priced, i wouldn't look at it personally
i would go look at the 5 and 8hp ariens
snowblowers of choice
H-honda
A-ariens
T-toro
 

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It depends on your needs. A small walkway/ driveway property will benefit from a narrow bucket, and 5 hp has never let me down. Yeah, you have to take a smaller bite on some snow, so a few more passes, but it's still a Tecumseh Snow King and at 3600 rpms, they will throw some snow. I love my Ariens blowers, and they are built to last, but the little whippersnappers are still very useable and easy to maneuver. As for price..you can find them nice for $150 around S.E. Mass. MH
 

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It depends on your needs. A small walkway/ driveway property will benefit from a narrow bucket, and 5 hp has never let me down. Yeah, you have to take a smaller bite on some snow, so a few more passes, but it's still a Tecumseh Snow King and at 3600 rpms, they will throw some snow. I love my Ariens blowers, and they are built to last, but the little whippersnappers are still very useable and easy to maneuver. As for price..you can find them nice for $150 around S.E. Mass. MH
thats true so don't over look the 5hp ariens. now that i have them i mostly use one of my 521 toros at home
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the updates everyone!

So I found out that the Ariens 5 HP is was made between 77-78 (It is an Ariens ST504 Model 932006 SN 016633 ). So this thing is quite a bit older that I thought. Is that necessarily bad though? Looks to be in good to very good condition.

My driveway is approx 100' x 20' with a steeper slope too.

So my decision is between a 35 year old 5 HP Ariens with asking price of $150.00.

OR

An 8 HP (932101 - ST824) 14 year old Ariens with $400.00 asking price (seems high to me).
 

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I think that 5 HP is an 87-88 model.
 

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I saw that the manual on the Ariens site was dated 1987, also I don't think they started using ST designations until the 80s. Have you seen a picture? If it has white handlebars it is from the 70s and if they are black the 80s.

I just looked at the Ariens site you linked too and maybe you are right, hmm.
 

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Hi Shryp. - yep black handles for sure. Here are some pictures. What would you say is a good price for this? It would be my first snowblower, and money's tight. I was thinking $100.00Snow Blower Ariens ST504
Thats a early 1980's model, probably 1980 to 1983 timeframe.
(the exact model year could be determined from the Tecumseh engine tag)

On my Ariens page I have:

Sno-Thro Models:

932001 - ST270 - 2.7 HP SNO-THRO 20" bucket.
932004 - ST350 - 3.5 HP SNO-THRO
932006 - ST504 - 5 HP SNO-THRO

Models above known produced 1977 - 1978. (and possibly into the early 80's)
I suspected they might have gone into the early 80's, but didn't have any proof..until now! ;) The posting of that Craigslist ad has discovered a model 932006 that clearly went into the early 80's..so thanks! :) every little bit helps..

That's probably not a bad machine for $100 or $150, assuming everything is in good shape and everything works..just based on the photos, it looks pretty good. My main question however is..Is it perhaps a bit small for Pittsburgh?

I just did some googling:
Climate Information for Pittsburgh - Pennsylvania - Mid-Atlantic - United States - Climate Zone
Only 43" inches annual average? huh, thats not much..I would have suspected more..well in that case, the little 932000 series might serve you well!

If you could get that machine for $100, I would consider that a bargain..even at $150, I dont think its bad.

Scot
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Scot!

Fantastic info man! I've got the engine tag as follows: Engine HS50-67008C SER 9 194B.

Gotta say I'm impressed with the wealth of information available on this site. It's really made this shopping experience a lot of fun!

Thanks everyone…!
 

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With the way is has been snowing in a lot of places and the time of the year it is $150 is probably good if it is in running shape. If you can get it for $100 even better.

I have seen some 5 HP Ariens on youtube throwing great.
 

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Welcome to the forum Relli! She looks pretty good. I think I'd go for the ST504. Even if you can't diker him down to $100, it's got a new carb on it. You aren't going to be out much if you don't fall in love with it and you can turn around and sell it and be confident of getting your money back.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Blue Hill. I'm going to look at the machine in a couple of hours. Being such a newbie to these machines, I'm not really sure what to look for. But I did watch a great 13 minute video on youtube about things to look for.

So I'll start it up, listen for any engine knocking, check the auger, shaft, bushings etc. There is some snow on the ground here, so maybe I can even make sure it throws snow well enough.

I still got my eye on the Ariens 824 though. The guy said he'd come down to $350.00. Looks like a much nicer model. Of course it is 22 years newer too!

Anyway, I like your thought process. If this st504 looks as clean as he says, I'll probably just get it. Easy on the wallet ya know?
 

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I would pass on that ariens with the 5hp Tecumseh. The blower has an alum gear case and that 5hp tecumseh is a troublesome gutless pig.

If your looking for a machine to keep for a lifetime...... purchase a 7 or 8hp 24 inch older white handled Ariens with the cast iron gearcase. These would be made sometime prior to 1979. The key is "Cast Iron Gearcase". Trust me you will not look back. All Tecumseh motors are horrible creatures but once it finally gives you enough problems or spits the connecting rod out the side of the engine block..... you can replace it with a beautiful new Harbor Freight Predator engine for about $120 with a 2 year exchange warranty. The HF motor will run smooth, quiet, use less fuel and create more power than you could ever dream of getting from any comparable rated Tecumseh.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ugh! I appreciate the input woodtick. My apologies, but I trust you speak from experience here? I have read on other threads here that Ariens quality began to suffer after 1980.

Here is another model for sale. Is this what you have in mind Woodtick?ARIENS 2 STAGE SNOWTHROWER
 

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I would pass on that ariens with the 5hp Tecumseh. The blower has an alum gear case and that 5hp tecumseh is a troublesome gutless pig.

If your looking for a machine to keep for a lifetime...... purchase a 7 or 8hp 24 inch older white handled Ariens with the cast iron gearcase. These would be made sometime prior to 1979. The key is "Cast Iron Gearcase". Trust me you will not look back. All Tecumseh motors are horrible creatures but once it finally gives you enough problems or spits the connecting rod out the side of the engine block..... you can replace it with a beautiful new Harbor Freight Predator engine for about $120 with a 2 year exchange warranty. The HF motor will run smooth, quiet, use less fuel and create more power than you could ever dream of getting from any comparable rated Tecumseh.
"All Tecumseh motors are horrible creatures" is absolutely not true.
That's an opinion, not a fact. The thousands of owners of thousands of 30, 40, 50 and 60 year old snowblowers, with their original Tecumseh engines still running fine, would disagree with that opinion.

And I would much rather have a 40 year old Tecumseh engine than a brand-new Harbor Freight engine..you couldnt pay me to use a cheap junky Harbor Freight engine..IMO (note the use of "In My Opinion") Harbor Freight engines are the worst thing you could ever do your classic 100% Americna made snowblower..IMO (note the use of "In My Opinion") its pure blasphemy to put a cheap Chinese knock-off on such a machine.

Although Tick might have a point about the gearbox.
But that is likely also more opinion than fact, because there are still many 30 year old 932000 series machines out there, still working fine.
but the cast-iron gearbox is probably more robust. But I wouldn't use that a reason to automatically reject this particular machine either..

Scot
 

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Scot!

Fantastic info man! I've got the engine tag as follows: Engine HS50-67008C SER 9 194B.

Gotta say I'm impressed with the wealth of information available on this site. It's really made this shopping experience a lot of fun!

Thanks everyone…!
Thanks Relli! glad you have found the Ariens webpage useful!
That would be a 1980 model 932006.

The tecumseh serial number, 9 194B, says the engine was assembled at Tecumseh on "The 194th day of a year ending in 9"..Unfortunately Tecumseh never bothered with 2-digit year codes! so "year ending in 9" could mean 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999..But we can tell from the model number of the machine, and the graphics used, that it clearly means 1979 in this case. (It wouldn't be 1989, because the graphics were different by then, and model 932006 definitely wouldn't have still been around by 1989. Most model numbers have a one to four year run, but no longer than that.)

So the 194th day of 1979 would have been July 13, 1979.
That is the day the engine was assembled at Tecumseh.
The engine was then shipped to Ariens, where it was placed on the snowblower later in the summer of 1979, then the machine went on sale in the Autumn of 1979 as a 1980 model year machine..

Scot
 

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Ugh! I appreciate the input woodtick. My apologies, but I trust you speak from experience here? I have read on other threads here that Ariens quality began to suffer after 1980.

Here is another model for sale. Is this what you have in mind Woodtick?ARIENS 2 STAGE SNOWTHROWER
That is very close to the machine I have and I love it. Those have a locking differential for making turning easier. That one is going to have the aluminum gear box and maybe it wouldn't hurt to open it up and have a look at it and replace the grease. He says it needs axle bushings so probably time to check it over and see if any other bushings are loose.

New tires would probably help as well. $150 might be good and it might be bad. It depends on how much work it is going to need.
 
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