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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My rusty trusty peeling dripping ST824 departed today when a new Platinum 24 SHO with carb was delivered to my fast thawing driveway. After reading many helpful entries here on the new Ariens snowblowers with Auto-Turn I wanted to add my first impressions of the new Platinum 24, 921050, after being able to still test it this afternoon before all the snow thaws in the upcoming heat wave in the next few days. Its supposed to get into the 50s!

Although the last snow was Thursday, January 4, I still had some good snow left to test the new machine with today. This is snow I didn't shovel after the "bomb cyclone" that hit New England last week that left 8 to 20 inches of snow on my drive depending on the drifts and overhanging trees. As my old 824 was broken since Christmas I was forced to shovel after that storm while the 824 was comfy in the garage. And since the drive wraps around the house I only shovel half of it to the garage - about 140' - leaving the rest to save my back and heart.

The back piece that I didn't shovel is the 120' extension from the garage that goes behind the house and out to the side road (on a corner here). It had the deepest drifts and it was littered with tree droppings of pine needle clusters, twigs, small and big branches. After warming with today's thaw it was also wet and dense snow. To make it even worse the oil company drove through it yesterday leaving deep ruts and compacted snow with a dual wheel truck. And then the guy who delivered the snow blower today drove through it as well, adding more ruts and compacted snow into the mix. Underneath all that is uneven dirt with there are some roots. In other words a 120 feet of real mess and heavy snow.

The delivery guy started it and showed me the features and then I took a pass up and back in the mess that is my driveway. And it worked. It fought me no more than the 824 did. I encountered the ruts and the twigs. It worked. It didn't twist and turn and dart. It wasn't perfectly straight, but then neither is the drive. It is a long curve with all the uneven surfaces and ruts and all. And it worked. I could use one hand to guide it. It didn't scrape the ground, but I told them to set it up for gravel. So it never will - except for the hump in the drive when it gets between the sliders. It tackled the plowed up end of the driveway. The engine would dig down to move the snow banks of piled up snow - but I went slow. I have to say that in terms of guidance and steering it is no worse than my 824 was when the differential was not locked. The 824 would encounter things and bounce or deflect a bit, and it seemed about the same with the Platinum 24, but not the horrors I might have expected from reading the stories. I can't say after one test that the machine is perfect or that the Auto-Turn works perfectly - but I can say at least in first impressions I wasn't wanting to return it right away or calling it a piece of junk because of the Auto-Turn or inability to handle a mess after the storm.

After 30+ years with the 824 I will have to get used to the controls on the Platinum - especially the chute control. I had heavy gloves so I really didn't notice the heated hand grips - but when I took the gloves off I could feel they were quite warm. Its hard to see how much gas is in it with the new indicator in the throat - which in turn is hard to see when you are adding gas with the style of gas can I have. The tires seem to have a more aggressive tread than those on the 824, but I am not sure they worked any better.

Pros (in comparison to 824)
- Engine power
- Throwing distance
- Remote deflector (hope it keeps working - 824 had a manual one)
- Quieter (not quiet, but quieter)
- 2 reverse speeds

Cons (in comparison to 824)
- Chute rotation - the 824 had a wider range where you could actually direct it behind you on the left side
- Engine throttle - easy to use lever on 824
- I do see a little snow being tossed out on the left side of the bucket

The pros outweigh the cons and I am glad I stuck with the 24" for both the yard and getting it between the cars in the garage.

After the next storm I will try to remember to update the post with 2nd impressions.
 

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Excellent review thanks for sharing your experience. I have one that is 2 years old. I am happy with it have not used it as much as I would like to. The fuel tank is small for the engine size and the filler neck on mine is more complicated than it has to be, they improved the filler neck on your model. Overall it is a well built machine that should serve you well for many years. Best of luck with it.
 
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