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Discussion Starter #1
So the snowplow guy quit, I need a plow with a bucket which is too big for the tight turns and digs up way to much turf. I've hand shoveled it now 3 times, and I need a solution to save my back & my job.:) Looking at a Toro but what model? Here are the stats, the driveway is a loop, noose with rectangular parking at the top. It's about 12 degree grade, 300ft x 10ft on one side, at the top about 20ft x 30ft, and on the exit loop, 150ft x 8ft. Partial cement at the top and the driveway(s) are 1 1/4" minus stone. So, I need to maximize time with efficiency and to get the best model that can easily do the job in a total potpourri of snow (moisture) types and amounts. Thanks in advance for narrowing done my options! :eek:ccasion14:
 

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Hmmm... How bout a google earth picture of the lay of the land.

When you use numbers like 300 feet, and 150 feet, this comes to mind. All those square feet scare me... :D
 

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My head hurts when I do math!! Either way that's a lot of Sq feet and I would get the widest machine you can find in the best quality. Where your at it's worth it's weight in gold. Ariens, Toro's, Yamaha's, and Honda's would top my list. Probably in that order since I don't like the Honda price (but are the best of breed IMHO)


I would consider nice used machines also - in that case look for a Honda!
 

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Considering that you will be using it over both gravel and pavement, I would go with something that has an adjustable auger height. The Honda tracked models offer an infinite adjustment, Ariens is adjustable but I am unsure if it's positional or infinite.

Another to consider, because of your location, you may consider Yamaha.
 

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Here are the stats, the driveway is a loop, noose with rectangular parking at the top. It's about 12 degree grade, 300ft x 10ft on one side...
A 12-deg grade suggests that this portion of your drive rises close to 64 feet over the 300 foot run. That's a pretty steep driveway. For reference an American football field is just over 300 feet long and the goal posts rise to 28 feet at the tips. You're going more than twice that with a 12-degree slope. You're going to want traction, power and lots of fuel for that.

Are you sure that's not a 12 percent grade?

10 feet wide is ~120 inches. Assuming you can use the entire bucket width per pass a 28" blower is going to need at least 4 passes to clear that segment of the drive.

, at the top about 20ft x 30ft, and on the exit loop, 150ft x 8ft. Partial cement at the top and the driveway(s) are 1 1/4" minus stone. So, I need to maximize time with efficiency and to get the best model that can easily do the job in a total potpourri of snow (moisture) types and amounts. Thanks in advance for narrowing done my options! :eek:ccasion14:
Compared to the surface are of the in & out runs (3000 sq ft and 1200 sq ft) the ~600 sq ft of the top seems trivial.

You're in NB and get some crazy quantities (at times) and variety of precip. I think if you're going to go with a walk-behind and want a Toro a Power Max HD 1028 OHXE would be the minimum machine. Their 1128 might be a better choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay, thanks for the responses so far guys - all golden in the learning/selection process. The reason I've leaned Toro is because I have 3 acres of lawn to mow and my Toro hasn't missed a beat in 6 years ... about 5 hours of mowing / week. Anyway, 100yds is about 100 average paces and about the length of a football field in length and for the straight away side. Here is an image of that side, although it doesn't look like a football field long, trust me that is it. Takes me about 1 hour 15 minutes to shovel that side (8 inches & under, over 2 hours if it's heavy snow and upwards of a foot). I have an aerial of the full driveway too in my archives and will post that as well:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
A 12-deg grade suggests that this portion of your drive rises close to 64 feet over the 300 foot run. That's a pretty steep driveway. For reference an American football field is just over 300 feet long and the goal posts rise to 28 feet at the tips. You're going more than twice that with a 12-degree slope. You're going to want traction, power and lots of fuel for that.

Are you sure that's not a 12 percent grade?

10 feet wide is ~120 inches. Assuming you can use the entire bucket width per pass a 28" blower is going to need at least 4 passes to clear that segment of the drive.



Compared to the surface are of the in & out runs (3000 sq ft and 1200 sq ft) the ~600 sq ft of the top seems trivial.

You're in NB and get some crazy quantities (at times) and variety of precip. I think if you're going to go with a walk-behind and want a Toro a Power Max HD 1028 OHXE would be the minimum machine. Their 1128 might be a better choice.
Okay thanks. Umm, no I was just guestimating the angle of inclination. It' not 0 degrees and it's not 45 degrees, nowhere near 22.5 degrees, greater than 5 degrees.(if only I could find my darn protractor!) Way too steep for the 3/4 ton plows to do properly when slick. It's not a gradual/linear rise, flatter at the bottom & more steep at the upper end and very easy to fall if/when icy. I would say max 20ft height difference from bottom to top.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I use a push lawnmower for the lawns, and happy with that. Exercise (to a certain extent) is welcomed. A tractor is an option but then the question becomes what is the average 'time per blow' vs cost difference vs maintenance etc bearing in mind that the yearly snowplow/sanding bill is(was) about $750.00. The beauty of actually shoveling is that you do not need any sanding because the human element can scoop the snow right to the gravel level and thus preventing any black ice to form from subsequent tire compression & cold. I'm not certain how low to the gravel I can go with a snowblower without kicking up gravel or if that is a mechanical option that is better on some models than others.
 

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What about a truck or a quad with a blade? I guess you could also consider a tractor with both a blade and snowblower attachment. I think you will find the blade gets more overall use. ...
 

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No, the trucks cannot do the drive and that's with professional snow removal drivers. Why? Their complaints the loop is too tight, driveway a difficult rise, & not enough place to push/deposit the snow/banks when it really starts to accumulate. The last plow guy had a massive truck with a blower that he could never get right. It either was not low enough and leaving ruts that I had to shovel, or too low and spitting way too many stones for which I had to collect & rake in the spring. The physicality of the hand pushed snowblower is not the issue, just something that can physical handling the removal with ease. I can still easily shovel that driveway with ease and probably will still do so, with snowblower, if the snow is fluffy enough and of an insignificant accumulation. Just a matter of finding the 'right' one.
 

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The beauty of actually shoveling is that you do not need any sanding because the human element can scoop the snow right to the gravel level and thus preventing any black ice to form from subsequent tire compression & cold. I'm not certain how low to the gravel I can go with a snowblower without kicking up gravel or if that is a mechanical option that is better on some models than others.
Your thoughts above pretty much sum up mine, which have changed over the last year.

I still shovel our cement area and sometimes the whole open area at the top of our main driveway, which takes me a few hours, even with the light, fluffy, stuff.

Two years ago was when I started using a snow blower, thinking, for over 3 decades, that it was just too much driveway. All in (both driveways & parking areas,) I'm looking at over 300 yds.

For years I tried to get the plow here a.s.a.p. in order to prevent packed snow, which ends up as a skating rink during warm ups. I hated packed snow......

Now, it's what I try to generate, on the driveway itself, not in the parking areas, in order to seal up the gravel.

I start out with the first snow with my scraper bar set at 5/8", which keeps my gravel pick-up to a minimum. Last year, since it stayed cold, I eventually moved down to 3/8", as the gravel "sealed up," ending up being able to go down to 1/8". This year I'm still at 5/8".

With that said, our main driveway is relatively flat so the black ice isn't an issue, like it would be on a hill.

Below you will see the better part of our main drive, which goes down about 175 yds. from where the blower is sitting in this pic. My problem, when trying to do the seal up is wind direction. I can have some decent drifts in certain sections with areas of bare gravel in between.



Just like the blower on your "plow guys" truck, if you go too low you know the results you'll end up with. Gravel tossed where you don't want it.

Good luck in your quest and please keep us posted on what you decide and how it works out, even if the results aren't available until next season.
 

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This may be one of those scenarios for an old gravely walk behind, with a plow. Although, they do not seem to offer that accessory anymore. I am not sure how frequent you may find them in your area, but it might something to look for.

There is a company that is making something similar nowadays, BCS. They seem to be quality built machines, but also quite spendy. And they have a mower option.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Your thoughts above pretty much sum up mine, which have changed over the last year.

I still shovel our cement area and sometimes the whole open area at the top of our main driveway, which takes me a few hours, even with the light, fluffy, stuff.

Two years ago was when I started using a snow blower, thinking, for over 3 decades, that it was just too much driveway. All in (both driveways & parking areas,) I'm looking at over 300 yds.

For years I tried to get the plow here a.s.a.p. in order to prevent packed snow, which ends up as a skating rink during warm ups. I hated packed snow......

Now, it's what I try to generate, on the driveway itself, not in the parking areas, in order to seal up the gravel.

I start out with the first snow with my scraper bar set at 5/8", which keeps my gravel pick-up to a minimum. Last year, since it stayed cold, I eventually moved down to 3/8", as the gravel "sealed up," ending up being able to go down to 1/8". This year I'm still at 5/8".

With that said, our main driveway is relatively flat so the black ice isn't an issue, like it would be on a hill.

Below you will see the better part of our main drive, which goes down about 175 yds. from where the blower is sitting in this pic. My problem, when trying to do the seal up is wind direction. I can have some decent drifts in certain sections with areas of bare gravel in between.



Just like the blower on your "plow guys" truck, if you go too low you know the results you'll end up with. Gravel tossed where you don't want it.

Good luck in your quest and please keep us posted on what you decide and how it works out, even if the results aren't available until next season.
Yes, will do Knu! Indeed, the freeze/thaw cycle plays a big part in this equation. Once upon a time and when Ol' Man Winter set in - that was it, ground frozen, driveway frozen til spring. Not nearly the case anymore. Freeze a few days, thaw a few days, repeat. A tightly packed gravel that has been glued together mosaic style with frozen water is pretty solid stuff and not much of an issue. If/when. Glad to hear that somebody else enjoys a good shovel session, the refreshments taste so much better after you've earned as such!

This may be one of those scenarios for an old gravely walk behind, with a plow. Although, they do not seem to offer that accessory anymore. I am not sure how frequent you may find them in your area, but it might something to look for.

There is a company that is making something similar nowadays, BCS. They seem to be quality built machines, but also quite spendy. And they have a mower option.
db, thank you for your thoughts and suggestion. I looked at them on youtube and I think they would be great until the banks started to build ... and then I would begin to face the same frustrations that the smaller plows faced - where the heck to put/push that next snowfall without jeopardizing the road width and keeping mind that the oil truck and (possibly, hopefully not) a fire truck may need to get very easy access to the drive.
 

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Valid considerations and concerns. I would then consider a larger unit, and maybe a scrapper blade for the tractor, to ensure that you have a level as possible drive in the fall, possibly even a roller. This will help you from picking up the gravel with the blower.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I grabbed an Ariens 28" Deluxe at Home Depot today. All the Toros that I was interested in were out of stock and they were looking at a month for delivery from the States plus $200.00 for the ship(my nickel). So the Ariens was 10% off, I asked to speak to the manager and got an extra 3% off plus free delivery, and with assembly. So .... my theory is that I can use this for a test and to get a feel for them, get half a dozen jobs in (maybe more, March can break your heart as they say around here), and if I need something better, then I can move it next October and then buy 'thee one' soon thereafter and based on my acid test / experience. What say snow gurus?
 

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PeakXV: Honda 1332 TRACKED is my suggestion. I have a sloped dirt driveway and a Honda HS1132TA which is underpowered but works.

In contrast, the Ariens ST1032 with Snowhog tires and chains couldn't really go up the incline without slipping.

I also will be eventually getting the 48" ATV snow blower working on the 6x6 Polaris Ranger. [It really should be a UTV snow blower which is wider and more powerful, but I bought the Kimpex 48" ATV snow blower before I bought the Ranger, so it is what I have, so I will likely eventually upgrade the engine cc's and then widen the auger housing by adding wings or by actually widening the housing with additional augers.]

I also have a couple garden tractors one with wheel weights which I could add AG tires to and chains and hook up the ATV blower to, but reading over at the

http://www.mytractorforum.com/

I have been warned that garden tractors - even bigger all hydraulic "estate" tractors - have a high center of gravity so that they easily tip over on an incline and I will be making u-turns on the incline.

ATV's with ATV snow blowers, even with chains apparently don't have enough weight to work that effectively according to what I have read.

The Ranger will take 1000 lbs in the dump bed, so I am hoping with 6 powered ATV 489 lugged tires AND chains, it will push the self powered ATV blower.

So, long story short, start with a Honda 1332 tracked walk behind. You will always use it. And when you get tired of that, a vehicle powered/pushed snowblower, IMHO.
 

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You have a few unique situation with your property. Incline, gravel, tight turns and large area. Good luck with your new machine. If you are good with a wrench a used blower with tracks would have been a good option. Used because of the gravel that is going to beat and chew up the auger, impeller and chute. Older used Toros, Ariens and commercial Simplicity's use a heavier gauge metal that could withstand the extra beating from the gravel. I would have also chosen min 10 HP with a 30 inch cut.

Our driveway is 1000' long, black top and flat. We also have to do another 1000' over grass to get to the dog kennel out back. Our driveway is narrow and a plow is not an option. I tried the tractor 22 stage blower set up but could never get it work as well as the walk behind blower. The chute would clog with heavy snow. Requiring you to get off the tractor, PITA.

We just got 3inches of snow and was getting heavy with frozen rain. I used a Toro 1132, one son used the Troybilt 1030 and the other son used the Brute 5/24. In and out in 90 min. including 150 feet of cement walkway. The youngest machine is the Troy bilt at 12yrs.

Once again good luck with the new machine and keep us posted.
 
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