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Hi all, I am looking to upgrade my snow blower this year and looking for some input. I hope to find a machine that moves and blows snow faster than my current 28 inch Craftsman. I love the Craftsman and I'll use that this year too. I have several driveways to take care of and want to be quicker if possible.
I'd like to keep the blower at 28", would more CC's simply do the job faster?
Should I look into 3 stage blowers, and do these really outperform our 2 stagers?


Or is it a brand to brand thing? (some faster than others?)


Sorry for the multiple questions, but as you can tell I have "the need for speed"...Thanks!
 

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well mark if you speed up the wheels you might overload the bucket on the craftsman. I use to have a craftsman 5.5/24 and if you looked down the chute ( machine turned off ) you could clearly see that the design wasn't good for moving snow, it had a small square opening which was smaller than the round opening on my toro 521. I though the toro would move more snow despite having a smaller bucket and sold the craftsman
 

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you dont mention budget, so lets assume you dont have one. a honda tracked machine would do well, an ariens with hydrostat would do well and a toro would also get the job done. all the above mentioned would also work very well with wheels and conventional trans, but hydrostats rule when you want to find the sweet spot for forward motion. jmo

you could also have some fun with your current machine.......bigger engine, bigger pulley, impeller kit.
 

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What is the budget and what engine do you currently have in the Craftsman?
 

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Assuming your driveways are average and not particularly problematic then to go faster you need a more powerful engine to move more snow through the auger and impeller. You also need less parasitic loss through the transmission.

Some of the biggest and most powerful engines are the 20 ft lbs of torque in the 414cc Ariens AX and the 21 ft lbs of torque in the 420cc Briggs and Stratton. These engines are up around the 15hp mark.

The old style disc drive with wheels has the least parasitic drive loss so there is more engine power to drive the auger and impeller compared to the tracked and hydrostatic drive machines.

With the big engine you need a large diameter impeller, such as a 14" and a larger auger diameter will move more snow to the impeller. Snowblowers do not work well as snow plows so moving the snow from the front of the machine is key to getting the job done quickly.

Using the above criteria, the Ariens Pro 28" with wheel and disc drive would likely be your fastest snowblower to get your job done. The Ariens Platinum would not fit since the big engine only comes in a 30" bucket. Simplicity have a 420cc B&S in a 28" model I believe. Toro do not seem to have a big machine. I am not familiar with Honda.

There may be other machines available to fit your needs and budget.
 

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Honestly, with your Craftsman, it really comes down to what year it was built to determine if it can be made "better"... Ones made by Murray are really throw-away, yet the higher-end offerings from MTD under the Craftsman name are worth the effort.

I redid a 1999 vintage Craftsman 28" last spring. It had a 9hp engine, trigger steering, beefy drive system, was REALLY well taken care of, but was just old and tired (code for worn to **** from working like a mule). I had enough when our first big snowfall was really wet and heavy and it just didn't have the oomph to deal with much (basically would bog down badly and choke on the thick stuff).

So I did my homework and come to find out that in most ways it was identical to bigger and more heavy-duty modern offerings from MTD/Cub Cadet/Craftsman/Columbia... ie, they used all the "good stuff" building it so it would last. The engine seemed to be the problem and I looked into it and found why it had no power, the exhaust valve was stretched because of them using a too-lean fixed jet carb for emissions purposes.

Then I found a 11hp shortblock brand new (was originally designed for a generator), so I went the FULL rebuild route. You can find the rebuild thread here so I won't go into details, but I figured it was more worthwhile to redo what I had than buy any of the current offerings, since any of the new stuff, with the same kind of design, is underpowered (mine is maxed out), built with inferior materials and built as a throw away.

Now, that is not to say that there aren't a lot of nicer, a LOT more expensive machines available, such as high end Ariens, Simplicity commercial, or even the vaulted Honda or Yamaha offerings. The 3-stage setups from MTDs brands seem to work OK, but primarily are for very heavy snowfalls since they kick extra snow to one corner out front, thus not being as "clean" on smaller snowfalls.

Personally, I loved all the features my machine had and decided to add-in everything else (such as electric chute control, high-output DC stator to charge an on-board battery and 12v start system as well as extra lighting) with the benefit of having built it myself to ensure that I properly lubricated things (the single-most contributing factor to MTD products having major failures) as well as making sure everything is powdercoated/painted/protected as good as possible to make it last as long as most commercial units. And, if I want to get more output, it is a simple pulley change on the output shaft and I can up the auger/impeller RPMs. I bought, but never installed an impeller kit because I don't like the fact that it basically wears into place, thus wearing off the powdercoat in the housing, inviting rust. I have a concrete drive and sidewalks, thus I don't expect too much wear in my situation.
 

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I went with upgrades on a older Ariens 32".. 3years or so ago and with 20hp honda/ impellor mod/ extra's like electric chute, pillow block bearings, ect. Full gallery of pics in archives. It has been flawless and blows 50-60 ft range (maybe more?) without a hiccup. It is overkill for sure but was a fun project and is a blast to use. I think it depends some on your desire to improvise too or just want it capable without the hassle. Any in depth mods you always run into issues it seems not expected and thus more mods too compromise the issue. At least for me it seems anyway. My mod had a good base to start (quality engine- time proven robust blower frame) so I knew it would pan out if I took the time too set it up right with least amount of issues once done. So far so good.
 

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What about toros snow master line? I know there only 24" but they claim to move snow faster..If i didn't buy my Ariens 24" deluxe I was considering buying one..
 

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My vote would be a Honda HS or HSS928 (preferably HSS due to its larger impeller) or a Commercial Ariens 28 SHO model.
If it were available in US I'd suggest a Yamaha YT1028 as the #1 choice.
 

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I created this chart based on my ownership experiences with a few machines and a few different driveways (some long, some short)

Which might be best for you largely depends on the size of the driveway(s), typical snowfall amounts/type and the budget

 

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A) how much snow? Would you be happy if you were faster for all the storms under 10 inches, but you had to use the craftsman for the bigger storms?

B) what are the driveway surfaces?
 

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If I was to buy a commercial grade blower.. and could afford it I would go with the biggest Yamaha to fit my budget, or Honda. I had a 6hp Yamaha once and it worked really well and smooth to run. Not having a Yamaha dealer is a big draw back.. but I might not be aware if they do now? Back then they were not sold here yet and I assume still not, but I don't know as I've never shopped for a new blower.
 

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If I was to buy a commercial grade blower.. and could afford it I would go with the biggest Yamaha to fit my budget, or Honda. I had a 6hp Yamaha once and it worked really well and smooth to run. Not having a Yamaha dealer is a big draw back.. but I might not be aware if they do now? Back then they were not sold here yet and I assume still not, but I don't know as I've never shopped for a new blower.
Newer Yamahas still sold in Canada Only.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks to all! I really do appreciate all the feedback I am getting. As of now I'm leaning towards an Ariens, something with a BS engine or simply a much higher cc.

To answer a few questions on this post...all my driveways are concrete. I'm in northern Ohio but not in the snow belt, typical snows are 3"-9" with the occasional holy smokes kinda snow. Budget is not a huge issue but getting a great machine for the price is what I want...

Matto-I'd be very happy to be quicker in the under 10" snows!

My current blower is a craftsman quiet 26", only 208 cc's. I also have an MTD 21" spinner type snow blower(needs work).
 

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Budget is a non-issue? I was going to say buy a Snowmaster 824 for small storms and an Ariens with a giant engine for big ones.

But does the concrete have frequent gaps / ridges that a scraper would catch on? I wonder if the spring loaded plastic scraper on the Snowmaster would be happy with them.
 

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The Simplicity 1728e looks like an interesting choice. Check out the "power boost" feature. Works like the drive on a Polaris atv. Pretty cool stuff.
 
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