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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, after having a few snowblowers and an ATV mounted plow, I'm done messing around. I need a real snowblower. A snowblower that will blow 12-14 inches of whatever Allah sends my way, loves it, and begs me for more. problems I've had with previous snowblowers: craftsman 24 inch was cheap, and needed belts and friction disk after only a few years, otherwise actually worked pretty good for only a small/cheap blower; cub cadet 3x 28 inch would climb up in most snows, refused to bite no matter what, and the low speed wasn't low enough for heavy snow; the plow just piled the snow, which isn't ideal given the limited space between houses here; and the third snowblower was just junk.

I have two driveways, one in town that's 50 feet long by 14 feet wide, one out of town 300 feet long plus a road I occasionally have to clear enough room to drive through. Both gravel.

My requirements: The belts cannot overheat and fail, I need to be able to just keep moving, even if it's at the lowest speed the first pass (though ideally I wouldn't need the lowest speed at this price range), not stopping periodically to let them cool down. I need it to take 14 inches in one go, I can't usually snowblow more than once per snowfall. I should NEVER have to replace a shear pin unless I try to blow a house through it, my craftsman tried blowing trees and never broke one, and it only cost $600 (the third snowblower broke a shear pin every time out, sometimes two, just on snow). I get they are there to protect the mechanics, but if the gearbox can't handle a piece of firewood or a board, it shouldn't be in a blower of this price. Has to be able to blow plowed snow up to 20 inches deep (this would obviously be partial passes).

Now, I know this is a lot to ask from non tractor mounted snowblowers at times, but should not be unreasonable given what I'm willing to spend and I'm willing to not blow snow at a running pace, I just want to keep moving in what I consider pretty low depths of snow and not have the thing breaking.

What I'm considering: Arien's 36 inch pro hydro efi $3600, cub cadet 3X 30" PRO H Snow Blower $2600, or cub cadet tractor mounted snow blower behind an XT2 tractor with a 24 HP kohler $unk (dependant on options)

Things I'm leery about; the Arien's name used to be synonymous with quality, auto turn problems seem abundant and its ability to track straight seems questionable, durability seem model dependant, also EFI is new and the headlight is useless. The cub seems quality, but not sure if I'll have the same climbing issue. The tractor mounted unit I'm worried about the approach angle getting it onto a trailer or into my garage, unsure the impeller size.

So, some things I want my next snowblower to have: decent headlights, some sort of steering assist, ideally a 14 inch impeller so it can really move high volumes of snow, and gobs of power available (ideally while not guzzling fuel, thus the EFI consideration). I would appreciate thoughts from anyone who has experience with any of these machines, hopefully my post isn't too long.
 

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I have an Ariens Deluxe 28 SHO and am very happy with it's performance. The Auto turn works flawlessly on my very long gravel driveway. Auto Turn issues were corrected around 2014. We had a snow storm in March that dropped 24+ inches and the Ariens had no problem blowing the snow (my driveway and several neighbours) with full bucket passes.
I would think the Ariens 36" pro would meet all your needs.

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Discussion Starter #4
I am very familiar with yamaha snowblowers, my dad had an 80s model growing up. Unfortunately I'm 4, 4, or 10 hours away from various canadian borders, and can't imagine how expensive it would be just to go get one, lol. I could just get a toro, then I wouldn't need shear pins, lol.

Ziggy65, I appreciate your input. I'm not so much worried about the ariens being able to move the snow (it has the 420 engine), I'm mostly seeing friction disk issues (thus I'd be getting a hydro), the headlights sucking, and the autosteer. So the general experience is autosteer keeps the wheels locked together until you go to turn, even on uneven surfaces or differently packed snow?
 

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I have heard the headlight shines up in the operators face, and adding a strip of tape across the top of the light helps (poor design and Mickey mouse fix). I have only blown snow in daylight with this machine.
The autosteer is similar to steering a bicycle, you steer it in the direction you want to go. I find it works as advertised and I don't notice any difference on uneven surfaces or differently packed snow. It may take a little more effort if you are dealing with pot holes or going sideways on a steep incline? Auto steer works great when turning around at the end of your pass and when moving the blower around with the engine not running.
I had another blower with trigger steering and it worked fine, but I much prefer the auto steer feature on the Ariens.
These are my experiences and opinions, others may chime in with different opinions.

Good luck with your search
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you. I just don't want to buy the unit just to have it work less well than the commonly available trigger steering. It sounds like they have sorted it out, though, which is good. Any idea if they've figured out any efi issues?
 

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I read your long post because I belong to snowblowers anonymous? Did you mention where you live? How much snow you get all winter? What kind of snow , wet,dry , mixed? Flat surface to clean or sloped? If so ,I apologize since dementia is setting in.

I agree with Coby about Yamahas and Ziggy with that Arien model.They seem to be very well made. However I do not have any experience with either one or Cubs which are non existent in the Lake Tahoe area. Just know about Yamis and Ariens from my bathroom reading.

I'm a Honda guy since 9 out of 10 blowers in our snow heavy area are Honda's. This is practically the Honda capital of the world. However I am NOT a fan of the new HSS models. Too many issues. First they had clogging issues, low power issues, joy stick sensor issues , power assist issues. Not so much on the last 2 but when you spend between $3000-4000 for a New Honda , the last thing you want are warranty problems. ( IMO ). I am at dealers a couple times a month and know most of the mechanics. They ALL say they would NOT own a HSS model. That says something to me.

Anyways , my favorite Honda's are the later model HS 928's and 1332's. K models. I have serviced many of these and have used the 928 quite a bit and am quite impressed. The tracked models are what I have had. Around here you can pickup a good used one for around $2k.

How mechanical are you? or if you don't wanna mess with a used machine mechanically I would buy new to get the warranty. I have recommended Ariens to some of my neighbors that did not like the high price tag for the new Honda and they have all have been happy with them.

good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I live in the northern part of the grat lakes region, we get all snow types, sometimes 12-14 inches in a snowfall. I was curious about the hondas, but they seem "too much" for a snowblower, and never really caught my interest beyond that. I would be buying new, because honestly, I don't want to work on the thing every time I use it, and the HSS is the one i would be buying at that point. That said, I might look into the 1332 if they can be had for around $2k. How reliable are these 1332K models? if I'm adjusting it once a year and fixing it occasionally, that would be ok, but I should be able to fix it myself and get the parts myself at that point, as good luck getting a snowblower in to get it fixed ever.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
also of note, I've only ever seen 2 honda snowblowers around here (one for sale, and one I had to take to get fixed for somebody, this is definitely ariens country, and I only live 2.5 hours from the plant.
 

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Stay away from a lawn tractor with a snow blower mounted up front of any brand, THE BELT DRIVE SUCKS and the chutes break up from ice.

I would invest in 2 Toro 1428's with the extras and chains and a cab and be sitting pretty as long as you put in the larger fuel jets to gain more power. for the money you would have 2 of them where a Yamaha 1332 would be close to
7K USD.

ANOTHER forever option would be a BCS 853 2 wheel tractor and a 32 inch Resciano Guliano single stage snow blower.

1. lots of weight for traction and no riding up on piles or the END OF DRIVEWAY MONSTER.
2. steering brakes
3. electric start honda engine(needs bigger jets to get rid of the bad exhaust fumes.)
4. all gear drive with no V belts.
5. you can purchase rubber or steel tracks if you want to eliminate the wheels
6. you can use a riding sulky
7. The handle bars are reversed and the engine balances against the weight of the snow blower.

The negative is no hand warmers and I am not sure if the toro cab can fit on the BCS handlebars; The Ariens cab has not had good reviews.
 

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If I understand correctly, you want to own just a single blower to do both driveways. But maybe you want to get a smaller machine for the town driveway and just leave it there?

Either case, I'll toss another vote for the AutoTurn as being good technology. But, be sure to get the newer design which has the wheels closer to center of the machine. It's pretty easy to see the axle location difference.

Don't be too afraid of Ariens' friction disk drive. Ariens does a much much better job of preventing moisture from hitting the friction disk. They do this by means of a plate which serves as a rain gutter to route the melted snow away from the belts and friction wheel. I've owned an MTD and a Craftsman, and both were horrible with the slipping drive system. I've owned my Ariens one season and never once experienced a slipping drive system.

I have no experience with the larger Ariens you are considering. I have the Deluxe 28 and I can say that it does a very good job of pulling all the snow into the bucket. Very much a contrast to the MTD & Craftsman's typical overflow out the side of the bucket, which required a second pass for a final clean up.

Good luck with the decision!
 

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In my thinking for your needs the ideal machine for this would be the Toro 1428 HD OHXE or the Toro 1432 HD OXHE both of which are commercial grade snow blowers.
If you purchase the snow blower service kit you are given the extended warranty as of last year anyway.
They have a very heavy serpentine V belt for the impeller drive sheave pulley and cross auger and a single standard V belt for the drive pulley system.

They come with drift cutters as standard equipment. The front weight option is a must for your needs and you will need it for digging into THE END OF DRIVEWAY MONSTER to get rid of it and feed the moat monsters with its remains.
Investing in tire chains will only help you with all situations and especially in deep snows.

The new operators cab is a real help simply because it will block the wind and any snow from blowing back on you while clearing it. The cab is adjustable for height and has shatter resistant window material and the vinyl is mold and tear resistant. The cab wraps around on three sides and it also has roof.
both units have hand warmers and a headlight as standard equipment.

The Toro patented anti clog system helps prevent the chute from and impeller housing from clogging.

The impeller has a large cupped design to aid in casting the snow and ice quickly out of the chute and spout.

The spout is set up with a two hinge system that lets you throw the snow an ice more effectively and precisely.

Having a supply of fluid film spray in a warm can will help keep the snow blower from having material build up in the chute and the impeller housing as well as the cross auger housing

In my case in using my TORO 620 single stage snow pup and the TORO CCR 3000 GTS power curve single stage it doubles the throwing distance. It also worked well on the Junk john deere 44 inch snow blower I have.

KEEP IN MIND that the more power you have provides you with more useable torque to cast the snow and ice further and faster when you are clearing snow.

The large 14 horsepower engine will only be a huge plus for the job of snow removal which will take you less time to do.

The only aftermarket extra I would add is a pair of armorskids as they will help with dealing with uneven surfaces and the large skids have upturned ski ends to help prevent the snow blower from catching edges of uneven pavement

www.armorskids.com

My thoughts on a nice day with a breeze on my mountain.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for the info. I'm not currently considering a toro for three simple reasons. A single belt isn't going to handle the snow as well as the two in the ariens. It doesn't offer tracks, which if I have the money for, I can get in the Ariens or cub, and frankly, the lack of information on capability of the impeller to move snow automatically disqualifies it. The cub and ariens give you impeller size, ariens give you tons per hour, and toro gives you nothing. All the snowblowers I'm considering have the same size engine, which means the toro IMO seems to have no advantage over the ariens or even the cub. At this point I'm most likely going with the ariens efi retrofitted with tracks if that's possible. If I don't end up with that kind of money, the cub
 

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There must be somewhere you can read actual owners reviews on these machines. I would never make a decision based solely on money. Most members here are gone for the summer.

You can use the search function in the respective brand forums to get more info.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Money might be the limiting factor, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to be an issue. Just saying, if it ends up being a problem, because I'm not going to buy a snowblower right now unless it's on really good sale because then the warranty runs half through the summer.
 

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You need to go to youtube and type in Toro 1428 and Toro 1432 to see a bunch of user videos. One is from the enthusiasts garage and the other is from Kristopher Loebertman.

The impeller diameter for both units is 14 inches in diameter and the intake height is 21.5 inches

Toro has been using serpentine belts on its snowblowers for many years(50 plus) and has had great luck with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
thank you for the info. where are you finding the impellers are 14"? I'm finding the augers are 14", but a lot of blowers out there have a 14" auger and a 12" impeller, which would not meet my needs. The ariens, for example, has a 14" impeller, but a 16" auger. They usually aren't the same size in this category of blower by the looks of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The thing I'm worried about is, the cub cadet I had had a 12 inch impeller, and I felt like that really inhibited it's ability to move snow. It had a 357cc engine, and on a 26 inch machine it didn't move significantly more snow than my craftsman did with a 203cc engine on a 26 inch machine
 
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