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My wife and I bought a house earlier in the year, my first driveway of my own, so did some research and bought a used Honda HS621. I had a good time cleaning her up, getting replacing the paddles and scraper, and getting her ready for the snow. I always knew I would likely want/need a 2-stage for heavier falls or EOD buildup. Garage space is always at a premium, so I wanted something small. I got a little bit of a bug for older, well built machines. I decided on a Toro 3521/421/521, with the hope to possibly repower if needed. With the help of this thread: http://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/toro-snowblowers/101858-newer-toro-521-vs-older-35-4-5-21-a.html I started watching Craigslist for a decent machine.

One came up a couple weeks ago and I picked it up for $75. Had a recoil starter issue. The previous owner said that it was running well just a day or two before, but we had a super cold day and he pulled the recoil and it broke. He tried fiddling with it a little, but he got too cold and gave up. He said he bought a new blower (said that the newer ~24" model is built much lighter than the 521). The 521 came with a plastic bag that had a few metal brackets, the fuel tank, recoil starter and bolts. I was actually a little worried that I was in over my head if the issue was much more than the recoil starter. I hoped for the best and restrung the recoil, and mounted everything back on (it ended up being pretty easy to see where the brackets and bolts went through the edges of the layers of dirt). Serial number puts her as a 1990 model.

Here she is as I brought her home:



I put on the restrung recoil, pumped the primer, made sure the choke was set and the ignition was on. Started on the second pull. After that, I spent some more time going through the rest of the blower. I was pretty pleasantly surprised that the augers were very loose on their shafts, the friction drive had plenty of rubber and looked clean. Even the wheels were loose on the axles. I was also impressed at the tight clearance between the impeller and the side walls. I'll probably wait until next year to do an impeller kit, but It looked like it it was between 1/8"-3/16" gap. I don't know if that's that good, but from some of the youtube videos I've watched, some blowers have a much larger gap. I got some 85W140 gear oil and filled up the auger gear box. There wasn't much movement when in reverse, so I tightened the left linkage slightly and it seemed to help. I pulled off one skid to trace out for a DIY poly skid.

I plan to put the skids on and run it this season, and maybe do some rust repair over the summer (very minor). Thanks for all the help so far!!

 

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Good job on finding that one for the price and getting it going, I had a 3521 (identical to yours but 3.5hp) bought new In the early 1990's, had it for maybe 15 years or so and never a problem. Got us through 30" snow from the "blizzard of '96"' had to tunnel under, back out, collapse the tunnel with shovel and repeat all on a 100ft driveway 2 cars wide not including the 75 feet from the shed to the driveway. Took a looong time but the Toro powered through it.
 

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i wouldnt even bother doing an impeller kit on a 3521-521. those things throw great without any mods at all, the two i had i didnt even bother doing the impeller mods on because they threw the snow so well
 

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congrats Edward, I knew you would bring one home. my HRT 521 has an impeller kit on it, I wanted a kit on it for wet snow that most snowblowers don't throw far. for most snow the pneumatic wheeled 521 does a great job for me. try yours before doing an impeller kit or buy the kit and put it aside then make the decision
 

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I got some 85W140 gear oil and filled up the auger gear box.



I would keep a very close eye on that auger gearbox.These machines don't use gear oil,they use grease-specifically Lubriplate Mag-1.You may get away with it if your case seals are in excellent condition,but now that you have potentially thinned the grease with oil,it may leak out from around the seals.Those gears are very expensive.The owner's manual is available from Toro for free.

Edit:Also forgot to mention,not all gear oils are " yellow-metal" compatable.One of the gears in that box is bronze,the wrong gear oil will eventually eat it.I know,I'm just full of good news.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I would keep a very close eye on that auger gearbox.These machines don't use gear oil,they use grease-specifically Lubriplate Mag-1.You may get away with it if your case seals are in excellent condition,but now that you have potentially thinned the grease with oil,it may leak out from around the seals.Those gears are very expensive.The owner's manual is available from Toro for free.
Thanks everyone!!

Mike, I had definitely considered that. I did download the manual and saw that it wanted the Lubriplate grease. I did some searching on the forums and saw some users using gear oil or 00 grease (both appear much easier to obtain than Mag-1). I did make sure to get something that was specifically safe for yellow metals. I'll keep an eye on it for now, but I'm already thinking about swapping it out for some Mag-1 or some other NLGI #1 grease.

You're right on those gears though, I did a quick look on ebay, pricey!
 

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I've used a synthetic NLGI 1 ep grease in my 521 after I took the box apart for a look-see a few years ago.The Mag-1 might have been king of the hill back in the day,but the new synthetics can outperform it,I'm sure.

I can't remember the specifics,but I got it at the local auto parts store for 5 or 6 bucks a tube.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I am surprised at how well the salt cleaned off, just a quick wipe. I assume the PO put it away fairly clean, so it's just a thin salt layer from the 2 snowfalls this year.

I'm debating whether I should get a new muffler. It's pretty rusty looking on top and I'm wondering if it's really muffling at all. It's not particularly loud right now, and it runs well enough. Is that something typically needs replacement?

I put together my first rendition of some poly skids. I had a whole sheet of the stuff, but I thought I'd try this out first. It's about 1" thick, which may raise the bucket too much, but worst case, I can cut off some thickness. I have two bolts countersunk about 5/8" into the bottom.



Thanks for looking!
 

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did you used the 521? did it throw snow far enough or do you still think you need an impeller kit? nice mod to the stock skids. I had joe make me some poly skids for my HRT 521 ( didn't have the PT 521 then ), he modeled them after the snowblower skids. I had another slot cut and put them on my 824ps and took the snowblower skids off a craftsman that I sold. I got another set of poly skids that joe made for ps93 that I plan to put on one of my 521's
 

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did you used the 521? did it throw snow far enough or do you still think you need an impeller kit? nice mod to the stock skids. I had joe make me some poly skids for my HRT 521 ( didn't have the PT 521 then ), he modeled them after the snowblower skids. I had another slot cut and put them on my 824ps and took the snowblower skids off a craftsman that I sold. I got another set of poly skids that joe made for ps93 that I plan to put on one of my 521's
Fortunately/unfortunately, there hasn't been any snow since I purchased and got the blower running!

Funny how that works. I put snow tires on my car on Christmas day and the next day, we almost hit record highs. I was actually sitting outside (with an overhead heater) at a bar with friends while it poured rain.
 

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we've had no snow either, just when I got the HRT521E running good
 

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Looks good. I agree no impeller mod needed on these fine machines. I have a 522 and it amazes me how well it throws. I like the small size of these blowers but big performance. You got a great deal.
 

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I too have a 521. Great little blower.
 

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I got a chance to use the 521 with the impeller kit a few weeks ago on some very wet snow slush mix and i was very impressed but I'm not going to add a kit to my other 521 cause i can see that in some situations the kitted 521 throwing snow too far for my needs. i still say try yours without the kit before adding one
 

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This is a nice machine, 5hp is the perfect size for a 21" or 22" width for deep snows, a round chute with no rectangular restriction at the impeller, metal crank gears, not plastic, strong auger.

Check the belts, oil the drive chain underneath with one drop of synthetic motor oil per link, use synthetic motor oil in the engine, and pull the wheels off to ensure they are not rusted to the axles.
 
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