Snowblower Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I think I'd like to get a small 2-stage (to go with my HS621) for EOD and larger snow falls. I've seen a lot of good things about older 3521/421/521 blowers, but also seen newer 521s with pneumatic tires (that's the identifier I've noticed). Is there any significant reason to go for a newer 521? The older blowers seem to have a great following, and I'm not afraid of older models that might need some work. I wouldn't mind getting getting an older one (maybe a 3521) in worse shape and try repowering, but I don't know if the newer has some essential features I might want (is the pneumatic tire better?).

Also, if anyone has a rough timeline of the models, I'm curious what year range the newer 521s were made.

Thanks!!

<edit>

I did some parts searching, saw that it looks like the 521 was last made around 1996, and the 3521 was made back to 1989-1983, and the 421 was made in 83 and before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
Hi Edward,

We had a Toro 3521 (3.5 HP version of the 521) bought new somewhere around 1994 or so and we liked it worked well and had it for about 12 years or so until my mother's boyfriend at the time thought it was too small and traded or sold it.

Anyway that series of machines had a drum auger where the auger spiral was welded to a drum like shaft, the newer ones have a standard auger shaft like most others.

The only info I have is this past fall I stopped at a Toro dealer and they said the newer ones will throw better than the old drum auger types, I don't know but the old 3521 threw clear across the width of the driveway (about 2 car widths) if the snow wasn't very wet and very seldom clogged (my current Snapper clogs in slushy type snow fairly frequently).

Also the Toros advertise no shear pins needed due to the hardened auger gears, the old ones didn't have any shear pins either. Once I ran into a small hand garden tool and it got caught in the impeller and stopped the engine dead, removed tool and started right up and finished the job.

As the 3521 got older I found that the idle air bypass port in the bowl nut (not sure if it's a balance tube or main jet) would always clog during storage even if the gas was run out (likely there was some gas left in the bowl
and I never used stabilizer back then) so I'd have to remove it and clean out the little hole in the side of the bowl nut every season.

That said when I was shopping for a new blower for my mother's place this fall I settled on the new Snowmaster, was impressed by the videos online and so easy to move due to the ratcheting axle clutches, and seems slightly more compact than my Snapper 5.5 22" though the Snowmaster has a 2" wider path, however I do like the new Power Max 724 or 828.

Cheers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Blosumsno! That's interesting that they don't have shear pins, I didn't know that - good to know before I start looking for one.

I guess, in addition to any thoughts comparing the newer 521 to the older 3521/421/521, I would love to hear any tips for buying a used one, or just any stories about these blowers you may have used in the past. I had noticed that the auger design changed from the drum, I wonder if the newer style just had less mass, so it was easier to spin. It's good to hear that the 3.5hp models weren't too underpowered as well.

Thanks again!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,669 Posts
if i were you I wouldn't bother with a 3521 other than to repower it and price wise it better be cheap. my electric start hard rubber tire 521 is an '86 and came with the short chute. at the time it was my only 521 and I found it didn't throw snow as far as my 2450E. the talk on the board for the ariens guys was installing a taller chute, I installed the taller chute from a newer 521 ( it bolts right on with no mods ) and that fixed it, the 521 was throwing just as far or farther than the 2450E. the only difference I feel in the '86 521 and the pneumatic wheeled 521 electric start I picked up is the new one rolls smoother, all 521's with pneumatic wheels have a tall chute. as for eod work I can't say because my street isn't plowed normally. I did put an impeller kit on the '86 but haven't used it since the kit was installed
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,669 Posts
something else I found out was that the wheels on the pneumatic wheeled 521's have a larger diameter axle than the 521's with hard rubber tires
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks detdrbuzzard! Is it safe to say that other than exterior differences like the chute height, auger style and pneumatic tires, the older and newer models have the same build quality (as in the chassis/frame and gearbox)?

I'm leaning towards a newer 521 (running around $200 on craigslist for a "good running" machine) over an older one that seems to be running around $125-$100.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,669 Posts
with the tall chute on the old 521 throws snow just as far as the new 521 and one runs just as good as the other so I'm not sure if new or old would make a difference to me. maybe you like the looks of the new better than the old
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
I agree with detdrbuzzard- the 3521 is the least desirable mainly due to its low power IMO , while it was good to us, never needed repair (other than the picky carb) and got us through the blizzard of '96 (30 inches of snow here in SE Pa.) power was adequate only if I went real slow and it sure was slow going, clearing a 100 foot driveway about 2 cars wide plus maybe 30 feet of sidewalk and digging out my car parked off to the side it worked hard and never stalled but you had to take it easy, the whole time the machine strained as the governor seemed like it had it wide open, the blower shook under the load. Subsequent passes went quicker but with half-width cuts. I remember going a few feet then stopping the drive for a moment just to keep the engine rpm up. I think I paid around $550 new at the time.

But it was my fault as I should have gone out to clear it at least once during the storm but the sight of a raging Nor'easter blizzard made me want to stay inside until the storm passed.

Even My current 2003 5.5Hp OHV Snapper had a hard time with winter storm Jonas this past February. with 2 feet of snow I felt I could use a more powerful machine, but my current property only has about 100 feet of sidewalk and a barely 2 car long 1 car wide driveway therefore I can't justify it so I just take my time.

Good luck in the hunt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,812 Posts
I just recently picked up a new (a 89 I think) the ad had a pic of a 3521 in tough shape and no takers up to that point but I had good need for a smaller one, Girlfriend is 5' nothing and was using a single stage 2 stroke I wanted something a little better because she has a injured shoulder so a small 2-stage was in order, the blower was about 1 1/2 hours away so we made a trip and when we pulled up the guy had a 521 in much better shape than the pic and it did start but died quickly so I said I can fix this so gave him $50 and took it home and went right through it. It now starts first pull and runs strong and with a little touch up paint and cleaning it looks pretty good too. And she LOVES it and is easy for her to handle. So even if you find one in a little tough shape they are easy to work on and tons of parts on ebay if you should need any thing.

when I got it home

after I was done
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,812 Posts
Actually most of the paint is the original, a good cleaning then just wire wheeled the rusty spots with my angle grinder and found rustolium was almost a perfect match for the color, I made some new skids for it and plan to do a impeller mod so got lucky finding it for that price but they are super easy to work on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Welp. I found one. This happened a little faster than I expected, but I had an itch that needed to be scratched. This model was listed at $75 with a broken recoil started. It was about an hour and a half away, but I went for it. The owner said that it had been working just a few days prior, but the recoil broke and he didn't want to deal with it. He seemed fairly handy, so I'm a little concerned I just bought his problem project... but I figure I can probably part out the blower and make most of my money back. I probably won't have a chance to really work on it until next week. She looks like she'll clean up really well though.

Here she is fresh out of the car:
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,312 Posts
I Had a old 3521 given to me a few years back. I adjusted the points and carb and the thing worked well, but had me itching for more. Ended up adding pneumatic tires, impeller kit, and predator 212. I had some fun with that machine and sold it for way to cheap to pick up an 826 mtd gold.

The predator bolted right up with the only issue being the chute crank needing a universal joint welded in with a support bracket added. If anyone seeing this uses a predator remember to upsize the main jet atleast one size.

Fun fact: the drum style auger design is meant to limit the amount of snow being consumed to keep the machine from over ingesting and bogging down.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,669 Posts
right after getting the '86 521E my GF used it ( no impeller kit at the time ) and decided she wanted one. I found her one that looked better with electric start for $125. now she hardly uses her 2450E


that's a nice looking 521 you got Edward, let me know how it works on your EOD pile
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,812 Posts
Nice find, hopefully it's just a $5 pull cord change and your good to go. I think you may have a newer version also, Not sure when they started using the black engine but the older ones have red engines on them. Also I see yours also has the electric start, at least you can see if it runs but a good carb clean would be in order I'm sure.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top