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Hi, I've recently moved to MN and I don't have a snow blower yet! Just moved into a new house and don't feel like dropping the $1k+ on a new snow blower and so I am in the market for a used one.

I'd like to ask some for some feedback and what makes/models have held up the best over time and my current budget limits me a little bit since I'm hoping to spend less than $300. And since we can expect ~ 54" of snow yearly, I was looking to at least get a two-stage that can get through some deep snow and end of drive piles.

I've looked at the local craigslist postings and here is a sampling of what I can find for less than $300.

Craftsman model 22" 247.887791 ($280)
Toro 524 ($200)
MTD Yard Machines 524 5HP 24" ($250)
Craftsman Snow Blower 9 HP, 26" ($200.00)

There are also some Ariens, Murray and Troy-Bilt and I won't bore you with all the details... but all look to be at least 10 years old too.

So thoughts on my options? Should I bite the bullet and spend more? My mechanical skills leave room for improvement but I'm not afraid to watch a youtube video or two for some maintenance but likely can't rebuild an engine...

Thanks for the help
Jason
 

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:welcome: to the forum Jason

Part of the answer is going to depend on if you're handy and if you can do some simple maintenance and repairs.

This guy is only $65 and sitting in Elk River Ariens Snow Blower
I've only seen the ad, I don't know anything else about it.



The Toro 524 might be a good choice too.


 

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Condition of a used machine is also something to consider. If you post pics or links to the ads, folks here can either guide you, or offer advice in things to looks for in the specific models.
 
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$65! wow, that add scares me a bit though, "Will run with carb cleaned and couple miner adjustments. I have belt cover,but no carb cover." :wacko:

Yea, I wouldn't call myself handy with engines, etc. But on my last car I changes brakes, struts, rotors and some belts...so I'm willing to try.

Generally speaking though, is Toro going to be a better option than say craftsman? I see there are a few Toro 824s too, a little above $300...
 

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Jason, welcome aboard!
 

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I've owned two craftsman and two ariens, all old, newest was a 80s craftsman. I feel the only flaw to the older ariens was the tecumpseh engines, and the lacknof safety features but be careful, it's a snowblower. If you could find a old ariens with a new motor that would be my choice for u. The craftsman were ok, then I got the ariens. Might be slim pickings this time of season. Good luck.
Here's an idea, get a old ariens with a bad motor, then repower it yourself, people here wil walk you through it.
 

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How about something like this?

Toro 824 snowblower
That one looks good, muffler is not rusty yet even. You really have to take a look at the machines you are considering and run them, listen to the engine, listen when you engage the auger for scraping grinding sounds, like bearings or bushings going south for the winter, engage the drive wheels and check that all the forward and reverse speeds work and no grinding sounds. You really should check it out during a snow event to make sure it goes through snow, not just goes up and down a clean driveway, but that is a tough test to get done.

Check the bucket and body for rust, especially at welded seems. Rattle the augers and impeller shaft up and down and back to front to see if there's excessive slop in thereSurface rust happens, but bad rust at welds might mean short service life. It's kind of like checking out a used car, see whats wrong, estimate repair cost, and asking price.

You could get a diamond in the rough, or a pig in a poke. Check out that video posted above
 
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i would get that ariens. for 165 bucks plus a few bucks for bolts you will have a great snowblower that will last forever. you can get the predator engines for 100 on sale
 

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The reason I had that link is I'm thinking of making the trip myself. It's just a bit of a drive and I have no place to put it. :facepalm_zpsdj194qh

I'm guessing when you say "for 165 bucks" you're talking the $65 Ariens and a $99 Predator engine mounted on it ??
Just in case that idea wasn't clear to Jason :blush:

I'm being a bit basic as Jason is new.
6.5 HP (212cc) OHV Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine EPA

Or a 20 dollar new carb off Ebay if worried about your rebuilding skills.

The Toro 824 would be a nice choice especially the 8hp on a 24" when you get to the EOD (End of Drive) pile from a snowplow.

How big an area do you have to clear ?? Any slopes ??
 

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I have a typical 3 car suburban driveway with a moderate slope, nothing too bad...

Great thoughts...I'm definitely intrigued with the rebuild it yourself option...where to get started though...:)
 

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hello Jason, welcome to SBF and congrats of the purchase of your new house. I like old toro's and ariens best because it seems easier to find parts for them even when they are 20+ years old
 

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I have a typical 3 car suburban driveway with a moderate slope, nothing too bad...

Great thoughts...I'm definitely intrigued with the rebuild it yourself option...where to get started though...:)
Hi Jason... Congrats on the new home !

Do you mean 3 cars deep or 3 cars wide ?

Mine is approx 65' long and 20' wide and also slightly sloped.
Annual snowfall here is 130-140".
Are you sure you need a 2 stage ?
If I lived 30 minutes west of here where 320" annually is the norm, then I'd have both a single and 2 stage for sure.

I picked up a 10hp 28" Toro about 6 weeks ago and used it after a 10" snowfall in early Dec.
Sold it the following day for what I paid. Just too cumbersome to use.
Picked up a used Honda HS621 soon after and it threw the snow farther, it weighs 80-90 lbs instead of 280 and I can clear my drive twice as fast. Also takes less space to store it. Light enough to hang from the ceiling or wall is space is really tight.

Most of the storms where I live are 10" or under, but just more often then where you live.

An HS621...


==================================================
Even the current production HS520 does a great job...



Not trying to talk you out of a 2 stage, but you should really consider a single stage first. 54" annually is not very much snow.

Oh... I forgot to mention that a single stage blower is just dirt single to maintain/repair.
No auger gearbox and no drive system, just a single belt to drive the paddles.
The HS621 came with the commercial GX series engines and are VERY easy to start.
One lazy pull and it roars to life, every time. Even if sitting for weeks. Love it !


Good Luck with your decision.
 

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something like my 521 toro makes for a great small two stage snowblower, I think ariens has a 5hp 20" model also. while I love my 2450 toro single stage and it has seen all kinds of snowfall because I've had it the longest but there are times when I just want to put the 521 in second gear and let it eat. the 521 has gotten me through a few blizzards the 521 is less tiring to work through a blizzard
 

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Jason, welcome to the board.

The link on the Toro 824 looks like a nice machine. Exactly what my father had and I first learned on.....made plenty of money with that machine blowing driveways and I believe my father said the person he sold it to still has it and it's going strong with the original motor (I believe a tecumseh) About the only thing I noticed up near the control handles....the shut off key is missing...but not an issue.

I think if I ever do pull the trigger on an older machine to rebuild/have around.....the first one will be a Toro 824.

Can't go wrong with an ariens machine either. Never owned one myself. Brother has an old one that just won't quit.

I will give some love though for the older simplicity machines (probably one of the few on this board :wavetowel2:)....especially their pro series. (handle bars are built out of C channel steel) I have one probably early/mid 2000's with an 8 hp tecumseh/24" and a 3 car garage and it's a heck of a machine. No real frill's with it...but it's solid and does what it is suppose to do.

The older John Deere models aren't bad either.....as long as they don't have the letters "TRS" on it.

Good luck in your search.

Steve
 

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I have a typical 3 car suburban driveway with a moderate slope, nothing too bad...

Great thoughts...I'm definitely intrigued with the rebuild it yourself option...where to get started though...:)
To get started, pick a machine in as good shape as you can find, at the price you are willing to pay, then you have something to get started on. :wavetowel2:
 
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russkat
your making me dizzy watching you pull the snowblower backwards in that video. how come you don't make a u turn and plow the opposite direction:blush:
 

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russkat
your making me dizzy watching you pull the snowblower backwards in that video. how come you don't make a u turn and plow the opposite direction:blush:
Not me in the videos, but still easier/quicker than using a 2 stage blower.
Sometimes it's just simpler to pull it back rather than turn around and turn the chute 180 degrees.
 

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If you do decide on a 2 stage I would recommend something with a differential. I found my old Ariens on accident and fell in love with the simple 1 handed turning. You can still lock the axle if the wheels start spinning on ice, but having it unlocked is great.
 
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