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Discussion Starter #1
I have been lurking from time to time but I wanted to register and introduce myself. I live in the suburbs of Pittsburgh PA and until recently had a 7hp 24" MTD that came with the house. It must have been 30 years old and since the prior home owners retired to AZ the negotiations for their old snow blower went well. I may have paid them $100?

That was 6 winters ago and in spite of a lot of TLC the old blower was getting long in the tooth, with low compression and a bungee cord that helped keep the transmission in gear. Still when we had a one day 30"snow two years ago it was much better than using a shovel for 3 days.

This spring I replaced my badly worn asphalt driveway, and the retaining walls on both sides at the same time. Because of the proximity of section 8 housing, I did not want to park my new Tundra outside for weeks, I put in a patio paver driveway with matching walls.

That is a problem snow blower wise because of all the countless joints between bricks and chamfers at every brick edge. I do not want to scratch up my new driveway with metal skids.

I took the old MTD snow blower back to my small engine guy and after tear down we concluded that a rebuild would not satisfy my expectations.

Monday I ordered a Ariens Platinum ST30DLE, add drift cutters, and plastic skid shoes. Wheel skids would catch Cain with all the brick chamfers. I am told to expect delivery before the end of November. ( from Snow Blowers Direct - Your Online Snowblower Superstore – Snow Blower, Snowblowers, Snow Thrower, Snow Throwers, Snowthrower, Snowthrowers )

Last night after shopping around for price I picked up a blower cab and front weight kit. (from Outdoor Power Equipment - Discount Lawn Equipment | Equipatron). For 6 winters I have come in from clearing the driveway personally covered in inch thick snow and after reading the reviews I decided to spring for my own blower cab.

For snow events less than 2" I have been using a 36" rubber squeegee for years. It works well but requires a lot of follow-up clean-up, it can not push much or too far with out loading up.

And I don't want gnaw the snow 100% down to the pavers either, but I do want a perfectly clean driveway. Snow-blower-direct had a wheeled snow pusher, curious I checked Amazon for a better selection and better price. At least Amazon has user reviews which I have almost always found reliable.

I found a Garant APP36KU snow pusher at Amazon, with outstand reviews for about half of what Snow-blower-direct wanted for their snow pusher. I'd use it for clean up behind the snow blower. It should arrive today. I'll keep it in the Tundra so I can also clear my dad's driveway when we get a light snow. Either snow pusher should work better than my old squeegee idea for anything more than a dusting.

RE: motor oil, Ariens has their own small engine 5-30 at $10/qt (made from mink milk???), has anyone tried Mobil 1 5-30 at $4/qt?
 

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Glad you decided to quit lurking, and join in. Let us know how that new equipment works out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I felt like a 3rd world country with the old MTD, I did not want to spoil the party.

;-)

Thank you for the welcome.

The push shovel came today, but we have no snow.
 

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I'd go with Mobil 1 5-30 synthetic or any other major brand 5-30 synthetic for easier starting in the cold.

Don't feel bad about the MTD I actually picked one up today in the form of a 5/24 thats built heavier than two 8hps I've got right now(70's Sears and a Cub cadet 80's). This one might actually find a home in my garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I ran Mobil 1 5-30 in the old MTD, I run Mobil One in everything. When I purchased my MTD it was already badly abused. The last few years were difficult side gnawing on deep snow only a few inches at a time.

Still faster than shoveling, but not by much. I can be particular about my transportation, if a snow blower can be called that. My old asphalt driveway was worn slick, and had grass growing up through the cracks. I had to salt it get any traction.

I put a sealer on my new paver driveway to protect it from salt. That may have been a tactical error, it can be very slick when wet.

Becaue of the grade I salted the old driveway after I cleared it. I'd clear 16" of snow, then we would get a light dusting and with a fresh 1/16" of ice the driveway would difficult even with a 4x4.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I spent a day shopping for replacement plugs, what Ariens calls a Champion QCIZYC for $5.29 each the rest of the world calls a Champion RN9YC. I tried Advanced auto, lowes and Home depot with out luck. Amazon wanted almost $5 per plug plus $7 each shipping.

Then I called summit racing $1.88 each and about $5 shipping for all 8 - 8 new plugs for $19.

The plugs are on their way. Home depot did have a 36x36 antifatigue mat for 19.99, a whole lot less than the 49.99 mat with the Ariens name, or the $29.99 snow blower mat with the Home Depot logo.
 

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good luck with the new machine. i havent been up close and personal with the new iron but have a great deal of experience with the old stuff. heres hoping ariens still builds them like they once did. even half of what they once did would be good. i picked up an old (1972) 922999 model ariens, 4 hp and 20 inch bucket today for the bargain basement price of $50, i have had some big models-- 32 inch and up bucket. turns out they use the same massive gearcase on the little baby machines as they do the big ones. no wonder the small ariens machines are still going strong. a 32 inch 8 hp gearcase on a 4 hp 20 inch machine.


either way enjoy the new piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I know a 48" lawn mower gives a better cut than a 60" wide mower because it better follows the contours. In the same way I have a few complex grade contours in my driveway that I suspect my 30" snow blower may not like. I knew that a 36" wide blower would not work for me. I am less clear about HP, I don't know if anyone can have too much with in reason. Using my old junker with low compression I could slice a bit of snow off the side so it would not stall. I am hoping that the replacement might gnaw its way through the EOD berm with a lot more authority.

I also have a problem perhaps unique to hilly Pittsburgh, retaining walls flanking the driveway, one needs to be able to stack the snow on top of a 6' wall, so how far a blower throws is less an issue than how high it will stack the snow. With my wonderful neighbors on both sides I just might be able to fill their driveways with my snow. I'd be OK with that. ;-)
 

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New Arrival

Last week my new snow blower arrived, then new non abrasive shoes, a front weight, snow cab, and drift covers. I took a few photos for my album, that is Christopher guarding his domain. He is also my service dog.

The directions could have been a lot better on all of it, still I think once I get some snow all will go well and I'll be happy with it.
 

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I know a guy here that has a similar driveway.. He has a blower and runs it over with those rubber/plastic skids set to leave about a 1/2" or so of snow, then after thats done he breaks out his big brush. He has a 26 or 28 inch Ariens wheel brush machine, not sure what their proper name is. But he uses it year round to clean off the driveway, in the winter it takes the snow off nice, in the fall it works great for moving leaves. He does all his sidewalks with the blower/brush combo too, he has the cleanest sidewalks in town, no kidding.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Five winters in the same house with the same old driveway I guess my neighbors would say I'm anal about my driveway. Fact is the old asphalt driveway as worn to a polished finish. If I did not have it 100% clean even my 4WD truck had issues.

I'm told a paver driveway gives the best traction, or better than asphalt or concrete. I'll find out. It may or may not, now that I put sealer on top to protect it from salt. In my experience a good sealer makes a driveway non-porus and very slick.

I set my snow blower shoes with 2 paint sticks ~ 1/8". In the past I used a 30" squeegee to clean up what the snow blower could not. Perhaps better than the squeegee I found what is called a snow pusher, it is a 30" wide one man push snow plow. I hope it is just the thing for less than 3". Its blade is only about 6" tall and when I don't use it for a snow dusting I expect to use it to clean up behind the snow blower.

My driveway gets the morning sun, when I finish clean up before 8-9 am and the hits the driveway and it gets "sun cleared" it gives me a gratifying glow. To me nothing says lazy like a snow covered driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I had an elderly couple across the street, they could be very difficult. But we had a 28" snow two years ago and thought "do the right thing". I only cleared one parking space at the end of their driveway so that one of their adult kids could visit, and park off the street.

Half hour later the woman comes out and asks a 3rd neighbor: "Did you do this?" He answers "No."

Then she asks "Then who did?" he says "It was done with a snow blower, it has to be your neighbor across the street."

The she says: "It can't be him, he is an a_ _hole and we don't talk to him."

There is another list member from Bethel Park PA (not far from here) who wrote elegantly about how peacefully and cooperatively his neighbors help each other when it snows; and how I wish I had that!

I am in the unique position in that my neighbors can by their mere presence disprove both evolution and divine creation.

Vermont?

People nice up there?
 

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Vermont?

People nice up there?
Well, I'm sure there are a few who fit that description here and there, but on the most part we all civil to each other....

Irene hit us pretty hard in my area, it was a very pleasant surprise how everyone in town worked together and help one another out. Bucket brigades of neighbors cleaning out ruined homes, food and water shared. Lot's of neighbors hanging around the general store chew'in the fat.... was nice.
 

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I set my snow blower shoes with 2 paint sticks ~ 1/8". In the past I used a 30" squeegee to clean up what the snow blower could not. Perhaps better than the squeegee I found what is called a snow pusher, it is a 30" wide one man push snow plow. I hope it is just the thing for less than 3". Its blade is only about 6" tall and when I don't use it for a snow dusting I expect to use it to clean up behind the snow blower.
Why not just have the snowblower scraper bar right on the surface of the driveway? thats how I do mine..I dont see the point of leaving a gap..

Scot
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Why not?

Theory on snow blowers is that you do not want the augers gnawing down to pavement because it is neither good for the augers nor the pavement. One leaves a trace of snow just to protect both.

RE: Few fit description.

Few nice or few not nice in Vermont? :D (joke alert)

I'd like to send a few of my neighbors somewhere but not if nice people live their now.
 

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Theory on snow blowers is that you do not want the augers gnawing down to pavement because it is neither good for the augers nor the pavement. One leaves a trace of snow just to protect both.
Generally, the augers are up a bit higher than the scraper blade, so you can safely lower it all the way down without worrying about contact. On the other hand, if your driveway is rough and has high spots then you can run into problems.
 

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Helping Neighbors

I had an elderly couple across the street, they could be very difficult. But we had a 28" snow two years ago and thought "do the right thing". I only cleared one parking space at the end of their driveway so that one of their adult kids could visit, and park off the street.

Half hour later the woman comes out and asks a 3rd neighbor: "Did you do this?" He answers "No."

Then she asks "Then who did?" he says "It was done with a snow blower, it has to be your neighbor across the street."

The she says: "It can't be him, he is an a_ _hole and we don't talk to him."

There is another list member from Bethel Park PA (not far from here) who wrote elegantly about how peacefully and cooperatively his neighbors help each other when it snows; and how I wish I had that!

I am in the unique position in that my neighbors can by their mere presence disprove both evolution and divine creation.

Vermont?

People nice up there?
I had the opposite experience last winter. Last winter was the first time I had a 2 stage snowblower. I had a running 4 & 5 HP (one at the kids place) and I was finishing off a 7 HP I'd picked up that had a number of issues with it. I got it physically running just before that last big snow we had, but still not fully done. I wanted to see how well it would work, I'd used the 5 hp on the alley and a couple of neighbors drives before but this was the first and only time I'd use that one last winter. This time I was trying the 7 HP out in front of the house, we have a retired single woman across the street from us, in fact 3 women in a row across the street. Renee was out trying to dig out and had gotten about 3' of snow off her sidewalk but was going very slow and she didn't look like she was doing that well at shoveling. I took the 7 HP blower across and blew all their sidewalks, mine, 3 more neighbors on my side plus some drives in the alley and it took no time at all to do it. Renee came over a few days later and couldn't thank me enough. Turns out she was down with the Flu and didn't want to get cited again by the city for not shoveling her sidewalk immediately after another big snow.
I figure it cost me another 1/8-1/4 pint of gas to do everyones sidewalks and the drives I did, so it was 'really' expensive :D. Felt pretty good doing it too.
Sometimes it only takes something like blowing a sidewalk or driveway to help change someones opinion. Don't give up, next time might be the time.
 

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Why not?

Theory on snow blowers is that you do not want the augers gnawing down to pavement because it is neither good for the augers nor the pavement. One leaves a trace of snow just to protect both.
Im not talking about the augers being on the ground..only the scraper bar being on the ground..it sounded to me when you said:

I set my snow blower shoes with 2 paint sticks ~ 1/8".


that you meant you were leaving a 1/8" gap between the scraper blade and the pavement..is that correct? if so, that is what I was questioning..I dont see any need for a "scraper bar gap"...with no gap, scraper bar right on the surface, the machine cleans right down to the pavement as it works..no need for extra cleanup..

(of course with a gravel or dirt driveway you have to have a gap! often a quite large gap, with a gravel driveway..but thats different..im only referring to a paved driveway)

Scot
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I lived in PhillipsburgNJ, everyone living near me was retired. Nobody had driveways. Everyone has just sidewalks and parked on the street. I'd come home from work at a machine shop after midnight and my two dogs needed fresh air. In the time it took for the dogs to finish their business I could clear 6 sidewalks. Why not? The dogs were not ready to go in yet? Six sidewalks in twelve minutes. It is not the end of the world.

I never admitted to the deed but my neighbors had their suspicions. My neighbors kept me in homemade soup and stuffed pork chops all winter.

How I wish I had neighbors like that again.
 
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