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Discussion Starter #1
I finally get to join the Toro gas single-stage family. I'd been looking for something to supplement my 2-stage, for smaller storms. I was trying to find a 721, or maybe Honda HS621. But those were over $300 (721), or $200 (HS621), and the 721s were the manual-chute-control style. I was looking for a 4-stroke.

But then I saw an ad for a 221QR (with Quick Shoot) for $25, and decided I could live with a 2-stroke :) It has the 141cc R-Tek 2-stroke, apparently like the 2450 and 3650. It seems in good shape, though the paddles need to be replaced, they're past the wear holes.

I got to try it with the little snow we had left, it did pretty well. It did clog once, but I suspect that's partly from the worn paddles, and maybe partly due to the small amount of snow available? It's nice to actually clear down to pavement, it even got the stuff we've driven over.

I started to check it over today, and discovered it has a leaking carb needle valve, and left a puddle of gas on the floor. I took the bowl off, and the needle's rubber tip was tilted to the side. It broke off when I tried to push it flat.

The needle may be tough to get locally. A Briggs rebuild kit (needle + gaskets) is more than a complete Chinese carb on Amazon. So I may order the Chinese carb, and hope for the best. If it didn't work, I could get the Briggs needle, or needle + seat. But it's kind of unfortunate that a few simple Briggs parts are more expensive than a complete Chinese carb. I may add a fuel shutoff in the future, for insurance.

The engine seems in good shape, fortunately, I got 110 psi in a compression test. The service manual says around 115 psi, and to service it at 80 psi. I'll check RPMs, the manual says 4000 +/- 300, if we considered this as a 3650.

Once I get the carb sorted out, I'll replace the paddles. It sounds like you should do the scraper bar at the same time. I may do the belt too, it's pretty inexpensive when bought as a OEM parts bundle on Amazon.

I hope it will be a useful addition. Time for some snow!
 

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I also purchased one of these units to supplement my big machine, (Ariens 10-32) and am using my 221QR for the 10th season now. It has been a great, reliable machine. The paddles have been replaced 4 or 5 times and the scraper bar about 3 times. In my opinion, it is just as important to replace the the scraper when replacing the paddles.

This past off season I replaced the paddles, scraper, and belt. I too was concerned over the high price of the OEM parts and opted to go the cheap route with after market (AM) parts. The machine works fairly well now, but I have noticed that the after market paddles and belt do not perform as well as the OEM parts. The AM paddles do not perform like the OEM in that they don't throw as far, sweep as clean, and the unit now "spits" a fair amount of snow out the front of the machine. I have noticed too that the AM belt will slip easily under load. I will continue to use the machine until the paddles wear out, but will opt for OEM replacement parts to keep the performance of the machine up to par.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I appreciate it, that's great feedback! I called around to a bunch of places today, the carb parts aren't easy to find locally, and are just as expensive as online, if not more.

So I ordered the Chinese carb today, along with the combo of paddles, scraper bar, and belt, all OEM. I figured these should at least give me a good baseline of what the machine is capable of. As well as a point of reference if I tried aftermarket stuff sometime in the future.

I hadn't seen your post yet. But the aftermarket paddles weren't quite cheap enough to make me want to take the risk on them. Though the eBay listing for 2 sets of aftermarket for $37 was kinda tempting, at basically half-price.

The all-OEM combo was $55 on Amazon, which seemed pretty good to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just an update.

I installed the new paddles, scraper bar, and belt yesterday. The old paddles were worn enough that the wear-indicator holes were almost gone. The new paddles are a much closer fit to the housing, maybe around 1/8" gap or so, vs being able to stick a finger in there. The scraper bar was also quite worn.

The Chinese carb arrived, and went on easily. But the engine surges now, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't doing that with the original carb. Even adding choke didn't really smooth out the surging, which seemed odd to me. I sprayed carb cleaner around the carb, and PTO, and nothing changed, so I don't think it's an air leak (I didn't get to check at the flywheel end).

I contacted the Amazon seller, they are sending out a replacement carb. I'm hoping this one will be better.

In the meantime, I contacted Walbro, trying to get some info on the stock carb, as I was trying to find other options for a rebuild kit (including the needle that broke). They said the carb is a Walbro LMJ-28, and their rebuilt kit is K10-LMJ. That's about $8 on eBay, vs $18 for the Briggs rebuild kit (part 801427), so that's good to know.

Their info shows the main jet as 0.74mm. On the Chinese carb, a 0.77mm drill was a snug fit through the hole (I was hoping to find the hole was too small, explaining running lean). I opened the main jet a tiny bit, and it's a little better, at least. It now smooths out if I add about 3/4 choke. I didn't pull out the emulsion tube to check it for a blockage, I should have. I wanted to check the idle jet size as well, but it seems like maybe that's pressed-in, and harder to access. This is my first time trying to mess with jet sizes.

A wintry-mix storm is coming Tuesday, I'm hoping to have it running better by then, ideally with the replacement carb. If the new carb is no better, I'll buy the rebuild kit. At least this gives me some experience with Chinese carbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The replacement carb arrived yesterday. Installed it, it started on the first pull. And immediately began surging, even if I add significant choke. Sigh.

They behave the same, so either both carbs have the same problem, or I'm missing something else. The fuel filter seems OK, I get a good stream of gas from the line if I pull it off the carb. Spraying carb cleaner while running doesn't indicate air leaks around the PTO, where the carb mounts to the engine, or at the throttle shaft.

I ordered the Walbro rebuild kit, and will install that in the original carb (I'll probably run it through the ultrasonic cleaner as well, to be safe). Then hope that the engine smooths out again. For tonight's storm, I'll use the drilled-out jet (I opened it a bit more last night, no real change), and hope for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got a chance to use it in snow last night, albeit just 4", and fairly fluffy. With the drilled-out jet, it did great!

Lots of power, it seemed to me, even when I deliberately blew the snow right down, directly in front of the machine, and kept clearing, to build up an increasingly large pile. It handled quite a bit more than the original 4" before the engine wanted to stall.

I suspect that with the drilled-out jet in the Chinese carb, the mixture is at least fairly close to correct, under a load. With no load, it still surges, but it runs well with no choke, in the snow. With half-choke, it does what would be called "4-stroking", if you were tuning a chainsaw in the cut, indicating it's running too-rich.

I put the stock Chinese jet in, and it ran too-lean under a load, even with half-choke.

I cleared the driveway in half the time, vs our last storm (similar depth & type of snow) with my 2-stage. And it was all down to the pavement. That was great. And it was easy to handle.

Discoveries:
- With the chute aiming full-left or full-right, the snow stream was actually pushing the blower in the other direction. With the chute aiming right, the blower would be pulling to the left, and vice-versa. Aiming somewhat forward helped with this.
- While actually blowing snow out the chute, the Quick Shoot mechanism would bind up some, and be difficult to rotate. When I'd let off the handle, or stop moving forward, and the stream would reduce, I could easily turn the chute. I may try to clean & lube the ring around the chute, that controls the angle. Maybe something is sticking, while the snow is trying to tilt the chute "back".

Once the Walbro rebuild kit arrives, I'll know whether the original carb's mixture is actually correct, or if I have some other issue going on, making it run lean.

Now I really want to see how it will handle a larger storm. But this seems like an encouraging start, I was impressed by how it performed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Walbro rebuild kit arrived, and I cleaned the carb in the ultrasonic cleaner, to ensure I was starting in the best condition possible.

Reassembled and installed it. Couldn't get it to start, until I realized the tank was empty :eek: After filling, it started right up. It surged some at "idle" (no load on the engine), but that smoothed out after a minute or so, which was a relief.

Today we got 2" of fluffy snow. It's not much, but it's what's available. No surging when it's actually clearing snow. A little surging when on a minimal load, like only partly in the snow, but maybe that's the governor just being indecisive, transitioning between jets? Adding half-choke seemed like it helped with that. But it's smooth when doing a full cut. I wish I'd thought to blow a bunch of snow in front of it, to pile up a bigger load.

It's super-fast, it would go as fast as I could walk, and cleared to pavement the whole time. I'll have to slow down in meaningful snow, of course, but it's still impressive to see how quickly a minimal storm can be cleared. Much faster and less cumbersome than the 2-stage, plus it got down to pavement.

I'm going to install a fuel shutoff, and see if I can lube the chute-rotation ring. Toro told me that chute-binding while blowing is normal, and you're supposed to stop blowing before re-aiming the chute.

I'm going to try and get some Amsoil Saber 2-stroke oil, so I can have synthetic oil I can use in this, as well as my other 2-strokes, including the chainsaw (which apparently can't use the Toro's suggested TCW3 oil).
 

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Glad it is working well for you. I never thought I would like a single stage (memories of the poor performing ones from my youth), but I kinda like the Toro CCR 2500 that I have. I need to replace the paddles, and I have a bit of surge too, but it really shines at lighter snows, and clearing down to the pavement. I'll have to look at the jetting like you did.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks. I'm hoping for a bigger storm, to see what it can handle. But I'm liking it so far.

Very nimble and easy to use, and no film of snow left behind. The 2-stroke is kinda loud, but hopefully it'll be powerful enough to handle 8-12". I like the idea of being able to use this for most storms, and keep the 2-stage as the big guns, when needed. We'll see if that's reasonable.

It's quick enough to go over the driveway that this could even be used to clean up after the 2-stage, if the snow layer left by the 2-stage was going to be a problem. Or it could be used to clear packed-down snow that's been driven over, as long as it hasn't turned into ice.

It would be interesting to see a comparison of the 221, 421/621, and 721, in fairly-heavy snow.
 
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