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Discussion Starter #1
Let's see how this turns out. It's a 6.5HP 24". They had these at Ollie's Bargain Outlets and I had a coupon so it was under $300 out the door. They claimed these were refurbs but it clearly was never used, just looks more like cosmetic seconds, paint color isn't 100% uniform where it would be noticeable.

I have other snowblowers but this is the size is manageable by my wife, I can't have her shoveling due to her back.

I figured there were enough parts I could reuse off it if it was total junk. Oddly the engine of choice is a direct copy of the Briggs 950 series (shameless enough to have the Briggs logo cast into the OHV). It starts and runs smoothly. I can always reuse it to repower something else if needed.

Otherwise construction seems OK. I've worked on snowblowers, we will see how this turns out...
 

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:postpics:
Show us a few detailed pics?
 
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nah thats definitely a gx200 clone, looks like the chute is a clone of an ariens chute, as far as i know those whole machines are mtd clones which are already bad enough
 

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Discussion Starter #5
nah thats definitely a gx200 clone, looks like the chute is a clone of an ariens chute, as far as i know those whole machines are mtd clones which are already bad enough
Yeah, you're right, I assembled it pretty much in the dark last night. Here are the rest of the pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I mean for $283 out the door I guess it's worth a gamble. I'm no stranger to maintaining machines I'm still using an old Roper 8/26. You make it work where you can. Generally I rub the body down with a nice coat of oil to keep them from rusting when it comes to cheaper machines. I may try and fabricate drift cutters for it for the heck of it.
 

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That engine looks an awful a lot like Harbor Freight's. The rest of the machine looks like a mix of a little bit Ariens and MTD.
 

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I checked out a couple of dozen reviews of that blower.99% of them include either "piece of junk" of "POS'-not very encouraging.

Problems include belts that self-destruct in less than an hour,tires that have to be re-filled just about every day and inner tubes eventually installed just to keep air in them at all.

Cables break easily and most say these won't blow snow(dry or wet) any further than ten feet.

On the plus-side:the engines seem to run fairly well.

A nice used Toro 521 would have been a great choice-tough,light 2-stage blower that's easy to find cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I usually replace the belts with Kevlar reinforced ones if they go bad on any blower I have. I didn't see anything much different in design than any other MTD type off the shelf snowblower that would cause them to be more problematic,

The cables are no worse designed than anything on MTD. I can't understand this one.

The tires are stiff when new so they probably didn't seal the beads well, I heated them with a heater to round them out. Part of the problem is they're not inflated for packing the average consumer isn't going to know any better.

To be fair I didn't really need it to begin with, the price was cheap and I figured I'd give it a go round as if the engine holds out I can always use it on something else.

I'll see how it does.
 

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Use it, see how it goes and keep us posted. If it is for light to moderate use it may be ok.
Unfortunately for reviews most people tend to do it when they are complaining about it more then when they are happy with a product.
$283 is half the price of a Honda engine alone.
When you want a high quality NEW machine, you have to be ready to spend more.
JMHO
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Use it, see how it goes and keep us posted. If it is for light to moderate use it may be ok.
Unfortunately for reviews most people tend to do it when they are complaining about it more then when they are happy with a product.
$283 is half the price of a Honda engine alone.
When you want a high quality NEW machine, you have to be ready to spend more.
JMHO
My other snowblowers are a Roper 8/26, early 90s 5HP Troy Bilt, Craftsman Quiet ZTR, and an early 70s 4HP Ariens.

The Troy Bilt was the only one my wife could really handle the others are heavier. This seemed like an adequate weight and control setup for her. Price was hard to argue with.

I mean a good once over it is very similar to an MTD, there shouldn't be much different other than perhaps fit and finish, stuff like cable adjustments and such.

The auger gearbox is identical to the Craftsman quiet ZTR, in fact I think the whole auger assembly could be interchanged, possibly even the whole front of the unit could be swapped to certain models.

I'm going to go through and lubricate though so if there are iffy areas I'll note them. Moreover it just looks like an MTD clone without the quality control when it comes to final fit and finish. Not something that's going to fly well with someone who just wants something off the shelf with no setup or anything.
 

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Can't argue the price for a new machine - time will tell if it was worth it.
 

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What matters most to me isn't so much the out the door price unless it's truly so cheap it is a "throw away" but if parts are available when something breaks.

If I was buying new I'd put a lot of stock into the companies that are still supporting their machines 20-30 and some even over 40 years old.
 
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looking at that machine Stanley comes to mind, hope it works for ya
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What matters most to me isn't so much the out the door price unless it's truly so cheap it is a "throw away" but if parts are available when something breaks.

If I was buying new I'd put a lot of stock into the companies that are still supporting their machines 20-30 and some even over 40 years old.
To me $283 is like those $100 throwaway lawnmower. I actually tracked down the MTD it appears to be based off of and parts should be available, everything appears pretty much identical aside from the discharge chute.

The thing is I've worked on plenty of power equipment like this, there is nothing fundamentally bad about its design overall it's just like some adjustments need tidying up, things most people would never do out of the box.

If it works it's a good backup, I mainly bought it so my wife could use it anyway, she simply can't handle the weroght of some of them.
 

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........

To be fair I didn't really need it to begin with, the price was cheap and I figured I'd give it a go round as if the engine holds out I can always use it on something else.

I'll see how it does.
Could be an interesting study.Maybe you being an owner who has knowledge of how to maintain a snowblower and what to watch out for,this machine might be ok for you.Myself,I've been pleasantly surprised in the past by equipment I believed to be cheap junk that actually stood up fairly well.Case in point-the Chinese Greyhound(Harbor Freight) engine that's been on my Toro 521 for five winters.I really didn't expect it to last through one winter.Other than having to disassemble the carb to clean out some casting sand left behind and causing issues,it's been a great engine.You never know.
 

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I really hope it works out for you. I think you're a little ahead of the game by being knowlegeable. Preventative maintenance and upkeep are the keys to a long life for any OPE. Keep us posted how it performs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Stopped at another Ollie's and they had a 13hp version of this thing for $599. It didn't seem anywhere near as sturdy but if I had a 10% coupon you could almost make an argument to buy it because the engine, or at least a similar one is $350 or so on its own. I'd actually buy one for my grandfather to experiment with on his larger driveway but it's unlikely the 10% off coupon I earned from the first one will be here before they sell due to snow in the forecast.

I was adjusting my Craftsman's skids this afternoon and these are straight up MTD clones (makes you wonder if they'd be better if they cloned Ariens), so I suppose if I can find a similar Craftsman equivalent I can just order any necessary parts from Sears.

I've done some research which suggests a lot of the problems are with the belts, the pulley setup is identical so I'm guessing the factory belts are just garbage. I'll get the Kevlar reinforced ones from tractor supply if I run into issues, they've held up for ages in my Roper 8/26.
 

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First use was a no go. We got snow late last night but I fell asleep because I got up at 6AM. I told my 16 year old son to clear the driveway with it before he went to bed. My wife was still up. So apparently he checked the gas but couldn't get the cap on easily (there is a screen inside the cap that has to line up to put the cap on), apparently made two passes and thought it smelled like gas or it was burning. There was nothing wrong as I checked it this morning, he either smelled the gas from my wife's car which sprung a leak in the gas line and I can't get to until early next week, his glove from messing with the cap, or mistook the smell of the paint burning off the muffler so he only made two passes. He said it threw snow well. I checked it this morning and it was fine, guess he wasn't familiar with it. I was actually more concerned the Craftsman quiet was surging when he used it to finish because the blower has been problematic at the start of each season.

Update: my wife tried it. Worked fine except really wet heavy snow. It's supposed to replace a 5hp Troy Bilt so some more data is needed.
 
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