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Yeah I know what you were thinking when you saw the topic title... just to be clear I'm talking about impeller size here! :D

When I moved to my current house with its 300' driveway, I had the 1980-something ST824 unit shown in my sig. Great machine, super-reliable, but between the driveway and all the other things that need clearing, I could spend 2.5+ hours dealing with an 8" snowfall. There's nothing broken on the machine, it doesn't clog much, it just seems to go through the snow awfully slowly when there's more than a few inches.

So I went out and got myself the other machine in my sig: an older Ariens with a 32" clearing path and 7HP Tecumseh. It didn't really seem to do any better then the other machine: it cleared a wider path, but had to go in a lower gear - if I tried to go faster it would just turn into a snowplow. Basically with any snowfall over 6", I'm stuck in first gear the whole time.

My next bright idea was to repower the machine with an 11HP Tec and a larger pulley to make the spinny bits in the front of the machine go faster. That helped a little but its performance is still pretty underwhelming. Again I don't think anything's broken, it just can't toss away the snow fast enough to make better speed.

I think both of those machines have 12" impellers. And from what I read here, there are some Ariens models with 14" impellers which I suspect would help. But my question (finally!) is... how do I identify the models with 14" impellers? I'm guessing it's some of the newer models that have those?
 

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look at the transition from the chasis (tractor part) to the round impeller, mostly the 14" ones outer dia. just about matches the tractor, rather than being a noticeably smaller dia.

You will be able to pick out the difference, especially if you see a photo with a few units and one is looking larger , then you will be able to pick them out of the croud.
 

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Yeah I know what you were thinking when you saw the topic title... just to be clear I'm talking about impeller size here! :D

.....

So I went out and got myself the other machine in my sig: an older Ariens with a 32" clearing path and 7HP Tecumseh. It didn't really seem to do any better then the other machine: it cleared a wider path, but had to go in a lower gear - if I tried to go faster it would just turn into a snowplow. Basically with any snowfall over 6", I'm stuck in first gear the whole time.

My next bright idea was to repower the machine with an 11HP Tec and a larger pulley to make the spinny bits in the front of the machine go faster. That helped a little but its performance is still pretty underwhelming. Again I don't think anything's broken, it just can't toss away the snow fast enough to make better speed.

I think both of those machines have 12" impellers. And from what I read here, there are some Ariens models with 14" impellers which I suspect would help. But my question (finally!) is... how do I identify the models with 14" impellers? I'm guessing it's some of the newer models that have those?
The 14" impeller models have an impeller opening of 14" while the actual impeller diameter is slightly smaller so it can rotate inside it. Seems that most of the current Ariens line have the 14" impeller opening. The size is given in the specs so you just need an owner manual for the particular model # and the Ariens site has a support area that gives a pdf version. You just need the model # and the serial defaults to 0 anyway.

When you changed the pulley, to get more auger/impeller speed you need a larger pulley on the engine PTO shaft and longer belts. But too much of a pulley diameter increase will overload the engine power and everything just slows down. If you increased the diameter of the auger/impeller shaft pulley then the impeller speed will drop.

Engine displacement and power and rpm are also major factors in the ability to throw snow. A rpm gauge can be quickly attached to the spark plug wire to confirm at least 3600 rpm under no load and the governor increasing throttle opening to maintain 3600 rpm under load. My Craftsman Tecumseh is 318 cc and rated at 11 hp while my Ariens AX414 cc engine is rated at 12.5 hp. My 11 hp Tecumseh is powering a 30" cut and 12" impeller has no trouble throwing any kind of snow a long way and it never gets plugged up.

You may want to do some checking on your current snowblower to see that it is actually performing to its re-powered potential. Good luck.
 

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the AMF Craftsman Drift Breaker Dynamark etc. from the 1970's came with 14" impellers. they eat quick and throw strong, with no need for a paddle kit if what you're throwing is in reality snow.
the big 14" impeller has a wider o.d. on the blades, than any 12" impeller has even with paddles on it. the result is more outer edge impeller blade rotational speed, so it will throw farther by design, simply cuz is has a larger impeller.



Yeah I know what you were thinking when you saw the topic title... just to be clear I'm talking about impeller size here! :D

When I moved to my current house with its 300' driveway, I had the 1980-something ST824 unit shown in my sig. Great machine, super-reliable, but between the driveway and all the other things that need clearing, I could spend 2.5+ hours dealing with an 8" snowfall. There's nothing broken on the machine, it doesn't clog much, it just seems to go through the snow awfully slowly when there's more than a few inches.

So I went out and got myself the other machine in my sig: an older Ariens with a 32" clearing path and 7HP Tecumseh. It didn't really seem to do any better then the other machine: it cleared a wider path, but had to go in a lower gear - if I tried to go faster it would just turn into a snowplow. Basically with any snowfall over 6", I'm stuck in first gear the whole time.

My next bright idea was to repower the machine with an 11HP Tec and a larger pulley to make the spinny bits in the front of the machine go faster. That helped a little but its performance is still pretty underwhelming. Again I don't think anything's broken, it just can't toss away the snow fast enough to make better speed.

I think both of those machines have 12" impellers. And from what I read here, there are some Ariens models with 14" impellers which I suspect would help. But my question (finally!) is... how do I identify the models with 14" impellers? I'm guessing it's some of the newer models that have those?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Town,

Funny you should mention a tach... I just bought one about a week ago!

The 24" was right on the money... it measured about 3615 with no load.

The big Tec on the 32-incher measured about 3200 at max throttle. I tweaked it to 3500... I know everyone says 3600 but people also say the Tecumsehs don't take well to overreving and since the engine's that much larger I thought it might want to turn just a little slower.

And neither of them ever really bogs down. The 32" with its original engine would slow down a little when really pushed, but never actually stalled. And with the 11HP engine it sits at governed RPM through anything.
 

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If, for discussion, your auger belt was slipping, the engine RPM would hold, but the augers would slow, and your throwing performance would be reduced.

It's interesting that the repowered, larger-pulley machine still doesn't throw as well as you'd like. My 1024 Pro has a 12" impeller, I'm pretty sure, but still throws well. I did add an impeller kit.

With that said, I wouldn't mind more snow-processing speed, so I could use a higher gear, without snow spilling over the side (related to what you're describing, I think).

If shopping for 14" impellers, that spec should be listed for new machines. And I think the Ariens SHO machines have large impellers (still 14", I believe).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, I'm pretty sure the belt isn't slipping. Throwing *distance* has never (or at least very rarely) been a problem with either of these machines, it's more about throwing *quantity*.

And unfortunately while I lust after them, a new machine really isn't in the cards due to cost. So I'm left scouring Craigslist, and trying to figure out what to look for.

Oh and greatwhitebuffalo, thanks for the input but I'm pretty well stuck on Ariens. My earliest experiences with snowblowers were pretty disconcerting: a Jacobsen Sno-Jet that while built well, had almost the snow removal capacity of an infant with a shovel, and a Hahn-Eclipse that I think had a usage:repair hours ratio of about 1:1. When I got my first Ariens that not only removed a good amount of snow but did it reliably, I became a fan for life!
 
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