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Discussion Starter #1
I live just south of Minneapolis, MN and I'm going to buy either a new, or new to me, snow blower this year and I would like some advice.

I do want it to be two stage. I do want electric start. I do want a Briggs & Stratton engine. Any suggestions within these parameters?

I am also curious as to how you store your snow blower between uses in the winter. Do you park it on a rubber pad, or with the back of the snow blower higher than the front so the snow will melt running forward, etc. I one that I have now has started to rust on the bottom and I would like to avoid that with my next one. Thank you very much for your help.
 

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I agree that a little more detail on the job would be helpful. But you are in Minnesota so we know you get real snow and you put a stake in the ground for 2 stage and B&S. Knowing that much we can say that we're talking about a real machine making the choices Toro, Ariens, Simplicity or Honda if you like features and spending money.

My first criteria is that you buy from the top line of any manufacturer, usually called Pro or Commercial. You can buy the smallest machine in that line as long as it is 8HP or more. If you have a bigger driveway or budget you can look at wider higher HP machines but in any case buy from the top shelf.

Simplicity and Toro meet your must haves. Ariens may too but their site was acting up and I couldn't verify B&S. They may have gone all clone if I recall some reports from last year.

Links

Pete
 

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I don't know if you're aware but all Briggs and Stratton engines are made in China now. If you are that's fine, just didn't know if you specifically wanted one thinking it was USA.

I had to go with Honda to find the build quality in a new machine I was looking for but Toro, Simplicity, and Ariens were all neck and neck in second place for me each manufacturer with a different pro/con.

I gotta agree with Spectrum to go for the top line of any manufacturer you do choose...It's exactly what I would of done. If I bought one of the usual 3.

Good luck on your search!
 

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hello camaron, welcome to SBF!! you say your two stage isstarting to rust on the bucket, what brand and how big is it
 

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These kind folk have already touched upon the brand of snowblower, cant really say too much more without knowing the budget, sizes of driveway, preference, etc...

As for what I do about storage, after I use the blower I always clean it off best I can. If it's the wet and heavy snow the I use a broom to wipe it off, if it's the light powdery snow then I start up my backpack blower and blow all the snow off with much ease. I use my garage as storage, which is also my workshop area, so I have the fortune of using a propane heater. I tend to spend a great deal of time out there, so I keep the temperature quite comfortable to be in...any residual snow on the blower melts off, but then I move it so it's not sitting in the puddle of water.
The best thing I can recommend is to clean off the augers, impeller, and and any linkages so they don't freeze and then possibly break next time you go to use it.
 

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look for a old TORO 2 stage. they have the BRIGGS motors on them. you can PM me with questions. ALOHA to the forms..:cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My driveway is approximately 30x60 feet. I would like to spend under $500, but that amount is flexible depending on the machine. What I have now is an old school 1970 Gilson (I forget the model) but after fighting with it for two seasons I want something new. It's hard to start, hard to steer and its lacking the power to really throw the snow. I could bring it in to a shop and have it repaired, but I would rather use that amount of money for a new machine. The reason why I said a Briggs and Stratton engine is because of the ease of getting parts and they seem to be a durable engine. Mostly I want to get as much quality for the money as I can, but I'm not very mechanical so I'd rather not get a fix-er-upper.
 

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If you go new, you can get a Toro PowerMax 24" with a Briggs from Home Depot for around $800. Look to be well designed, features-wise.
 

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If you decide to part with the Gilson, let me know. I may be interested.

I think you will have to spend $800 or more for a good quality new machine. You should be able to get a used one for $500 or less. There are usually some on Craigslist. There are a few shops in the metro that sell used ones too.
You could get a new Briggs engine for that Gilson too. But that wouldn't fix the steering.
 

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I'm going to upgrade this year after running a 24 or 26" cut MTD for the last 20 years. Not a top quality machine but has served me well enough, my primary driveway is about the size of yours but I also have a second driveway to the shop that's a good 125'. Needless to say I have run the snot out of the MTD and the only thing I have done is change the oil, keep it greased up and replaced the drive wheel one time.

I'm going to update this year to something a tad bigger with wise with the biggest motor I can get on it within reason. I just want to move the snow at a faster rate and farther, plus I'm getting older and want to treat myself a little.

If you can add more to the pot I would shoot for the 24" Ariens Compact for $800
+tx from what I have seen.

btw, I'm in MN as well, north side of the cities, rural/city area, we get lots of wind/drifting!

You won't win any snow blowing time trials with 24" 8hp ish machine but it will get the job done and should last you 20 years if you take care of it.

I do find it funny when I look at my 20 year old MTD and how the drive system works it's about the same tech as the new Ariens with the friction drive wheel.
 

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A buddy of mine purchased an Ariens Compact 24 about 2 or 3 years ago. He feels that its 'under sized'. My new next door neighbor showed me his snowblower yesterday. He said it stalled in some heavy snow last year (banner year for snow). It too was an Ariens Compact 24.

I'm going for at least the Ariens Deluxe 24 and more likely the Ariens Platinum 24 SHO.

If you haven't heard yet, if you purchase (AND register) your new Ariens by 10/31, they'll add 2 years to your warranty. See the dealer or Ariens website for details. Anyway, a bit of a perk and incentive to pull the trigger this month.

By the way, I'm in Rochester, MN & I'm going to buy from one of two small dealers to (hopefully) avoid any poor set-up by Home Depot.
 

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q95 brought up a good point about the warranty. I did look at the dealer this past week and for the difference in price maybe $50 on the Home Depot models I would just pickup one up at a dealer if you have one close by.

I was planning on setting up my machine myself because I just enjoy that type of thing but my dealer sets them all up and runs them before they leave the door. For the extra whatever it is $50 or so I'm not going through you did not buy it here so its goes to the way back if the line to be fixed if needed.
 

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Ariens had the same warranty promo last year at this time when I took the plunge on my blower. 5 years on everything, not a bad deal.

Something about going into the dealership and having them know you, made the extra money worth while to me. Course I have spent some time and cash with this guy over the years with lawn/garden division tools as well as snow removal division tools. I even go in there for oil, just to keep them from forgetting me. That way if I'm in a pinch, I can use that as leverage to get to the front of the repair line quicker. Have not needed to work that angle yet, and hope I never need to, so I may be kidding myself also.
 
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