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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

After two years of using a 15 year old, second hand, 33" Craftsman, which started like a charm on the first pull every time, no matter the weather....and required me to repair other parts every time I used it (took the augur housing off a dozen times last winter), I finally gave it away when the wheels fell off....and I'm in the market for a new one.

I'm looking at four snowblowers:
MTD Pro 31AH65FH795 357cc 30"
Craftsman 88396 30" 357cc
Yardworks 357cc 30"
Troy-Bilt 30" 420cc "3 stage"

My driveway is gravel, and is extremely steep - it was always a fair bit of work getting the craftsman up and down it.

Any advice you have would be appreciated.
 

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Is there a reason you are not considering Ariens, Toro, Simplicity?
Most would suggest a track machine for steep driveways. It is a bit slower but it plows through.

Good Luck and welcome to the forum
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I can't get them locally at all. I'm in Northern Ontario - I can get MTD and Craftsman by crossing the border into the US - International Falls, and Troy-Bilt and Yardworks locally. I can also get Husquvarna locally, but the prices are much higher.

The MTD regular priced is $900, and the Craftsman is often on sale around $1200. Canadian prices are higher.
 

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Welcome to the forum pc.
Personally I wouldn't consider any of those. Follow Normex's advice and look for one of those brands.
If I had no other options I'd probably go with the MTD pro
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What is the advantage of Ariens, Toro or Simplicity? Looking at Consumer Reports - all those brands plus the ones I listed, have reccomended snowblowers.
 

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You have to keep in mind the Consumer Reports don't test them rather more on functionality which all snow blowers have.
All the machines you listed are made by MTD and they are considered less quality than the ones I suggested but many members here own some MTD brand and they are happy. If the ones you listed fit your budget then go for it.
Just our opinion and Good Luck
 

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I can't get them locally at all. I'm in Northern Ontario - I can get MTD and Craftsman by crossing the border into the US - International Falls, and Troy-Bilt and Yardworks locally. I can also get Husquvarna locally, but the prices are much higher.

The MTD regular priced is $900, and the Craftsman is often on sale around $1200. Canadian prices are higher.
Take a look at the Husqvarna's. I would start with ST324P. It is heavy duty and still uses levers to control speed and traction. The new adjustable handle
models have gone to cable control so they could make the handle adjustable.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We can get these locally. They are more expensive than the other brands I have been looking at (about 30% more expensive). The model that fits both my needs and budget (at the very upper end of my budget) is the ST 230 (291 cc, 30", $1500). The ST 330 would be great, but at $2200, it's beyond what I want to pay. These are all Canadian prices.

My main concern with the ST 230 is that at 291cc, the engine is smaller than the 357cc engines on the other models. Should I be concerned about the smaller HP?

There's another model I'll post on elsewhere...
 

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Hi Keen,
you managed to pick the names most people would not recommend! ;)
for new machines anyway..
If you are spending in the $1000 or higher range there is absolutely no reason to *not* get a Toro, Ariens, or Simplicity..

A $1,000 MTD is a far inferior machine to a $1,000 Ariens.
Consumer reports is useless..they only rate machines on how they perform when they are *brand new*..overall build quality and reailibity is not part of the equation.

I posted this in your other post, but I will put it here as well, for reference:

Best, highest quality, can last 40 years easily:

Ariens
Toro
Honda
Briggs brands: (Briggs & Stratton, Simplicity, Snapper, Brute)

I would only choose from the above four manufacturers, if buying new.
Although Toro moved their 2-stage production to Mexico, so I personally would no longer buy a new Toro for that reason alone..although the actual impact on quality is unknown.

"Good", probably fine, for 5 to 10 years, but not as good, and wont last as long as the above names:

Any MTD (Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Yard Machines, and some others.)
Any Craftsman.
Husquvarna and Poulan.

Never ever buy..ever.. all the 100% Chinese brand names, these names have documented cases of very poor quality..some of them have been discussed by people in this forum, who bought one before understanding what they were buying..the reviews are not at all good..never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never buy one of these:

Echelon
Huskee
Mansfield
Powerland
powRcraft
Snow Beast
Snow Joe
Stanley
World Lawn

Scot
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for all the feedback. I hadn't even considered Brute - I've seen these machines cheaply at Wal Mart and Menards, and assumed they were a cheap Chinese knock off.

From the repeat comments, I've expanded my search to cover Briggs & Stratton, Toro, Ariens (though I see lots of bad reviews for the newer models) and Simplicity.

What's the story with engine size differences. Is this a good basis for judging the machine/ Eg. 357cc 30" MTD Pro vs. 291 cc Husqvarna vs. 305cc Briggs and Stratton.
 

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When shown in cc's it becomes a game like Hp which has gone away because of a lawsuit, CC is cubic centimeter as the volume of a cylinder if we're talking snow blower for our discussion here. Two different engines of same cc's can have different ft/pound rating since valve sizes and carburation is not taken in account. So the real measure is by ft/pound and you should strive for the higher ones.
So 291cc to 357cc are from 10 to 12 hp and that is a rough guide so the best measurement is ft/pound like 15 to 18 ft/pound but again we hope the manufacturers are honest as I am not sure if they are all verified. A case in point, I have a 11 hp Tecumseh flat head and if you take another of today's 11 hp with OHC it is more powerful in ft/pound. All in all the 291cc could surprise you when compared to some higher cc ones. Anyone can feel free to correct me of my perception on engine strength measurements.
 

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Welcome to the forum Pckeen :D

It would be good since you're in Canada for you to add a location to your profile so it pops when you post under your username. A lot of recommendations we would make aren't practical for our northern brothers.

The other thing you should think about since you are buying new is where would you need to take it or how would you get service under the manufacturers warranty. Hopefully you'll never need to find out but should your brand new blower throw a connecting rod through the case or the augers gear box explodes where and how you get it fixed would be very important. Might not be very helpful if you have to drag it back across the border to get it repaired. Need to figure that into what you might save.
That and can you get parts for it in your area after it's out of warranty ??
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks - Done - North West Ontario, Canada, about 2 hours from International Falls.
 

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If at all possible try to buy the Briggs at a dealer you won't regret it.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
So I began to buy the Briggs and Stratton....:D.....only to find out that the nearest model to me would be a 1600 km round trip....:eek:....back to the search....:mad:

What's the story with Briggs and Stratton? Their european website offers a full line of snowblowers. In North America, their website lists only one 22" snowblower. Any know know if they are shutting down production or if they have problems with their dealer network?
 

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Do you have a Lowes store in the viscinity as they have this on on sale,

Briggs & Stratton 305cc 29-in Dual Stage Snow Blower

by Briggs & Stratton

Price
$1,099.00

You Save
$200.00 until Nov 19, 2014

Was
$1,299.00

http://www.lowes.ca/snow-blowers/briggs-stratton-305cc-29-in-dual-stage-snow-blower_g2257688.html?linkloc=related

There is a small window that appears when you press store availability and you plug in your postal code.Also let Briggs find one for you if you express interest in one they surely would try to locate one you would think
I see they have four in Sudbury which 1,200 km shucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That's exactly what I was about to buy this morning....until I realised it was a 2600 km round trip...
 

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The closest I could find is 550 km from you at Menards
1301 SAND LAKE ROAD
ONALASKA, WI 54650

They have 2 in stock

If interested I would check if they would transfer one to International Falls.
but I don't see their prices though.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks. I checked their site, but the only Briggs and Stratton brand was a brute.
 
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