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Discussion Starter #81
20201005

Weather here has maintained at around 15ºF above normal since late August. Wildfires fouled the air for a few weeks, with smoke coming over the mountains to us from the west as well as some up from California. Happiness is sharing, except for smoke, fire, and maybe Covid. I helped myself to a nasty neck strain, a recurrence of a relatively ancient (45+ years ago) sports injury. Was doing some charity work in the neighborhood last spring, and ended up with nerve damage that had my hands and arms numb. No touch-typing, so pretty much a career death-sentence for an automation engineering consultant. This will be retirement-3.5, maybe for the best especially with travel too dangerous. All my power plant projects are delayed a year at least, and hopefully will just disappear. Meanwhile, injections into three disk junctions in my neck have improved things back to maybe 75%. Surgery avoided at least in the immediate term. I'm going to blame my keyboard for typing mistakes, since I now have to watch my fingers to find the right keys instead of looking at the screen. Work with me on this...

In parallel, one of my more-aged neighbors (he's early 80's) has decided that I look like I'm having too much fun clearing his small (maybe 400 sqft) driveway, so he's getting ready to go snowblower shopping. Dave has trouble standing for more than a few minutes, and drives the two houses space between us when we host cul de sac cocktail parties a couple times a week. Trying to keep the neighbors socially engaged. Anyway, he thinks he wants a machine to use on his own driveway plus the 800 or so square feet of his across-the-street neighbor (she's in her late 80's...) when it snows. He's looking in the 24"-class two-stage range, specifically at a Craftsman at a local big-box store where he can use his 10% veterans discount. I may go hunt down a Husky in that range for him so at least we have a few common spares. And I know how they fit together some. I explained the dilemma of buying at the big box store and what happens when the machine decides not to work. Will he go to the local outdoor machine s store where they will take good care of him? Probably not. :( So stay tuned here for more on the decision process and the results of his/our selection process.

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Mine is still sitting on the dolly with the cover on it. By this time last year it had already been out for pre-flight and test-start. Instead, it will be low 80's this afternoon, with a cold snap due this weekend to get those temps back around 70 or so. Crazy warm so far. I'll probably eat these words in a few months. I'll report back when there's more to report than just the shorter days.
 
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Discussion Starter #82
20201016

Neighbor decided on the 26" Craftsman in the $800 class. Came in a box (good) so we got to do the final assembly. Lowes sold him a couple bottle of ethanol-free fuel too. Meanwhile, the Craftsman is missing power steering (good for 350# 80+ operator), so he'll be wrestling the turnarounds in his driveway patch, maybe less so in the driveway across the street from him with 3x the area. We'll do a first-start when we get closer to snow. He grew up in Green Bay area, but has never owned a snowblower before.
 

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Lowes does have a 30 day return period on power equipment. Maybe an early trial within that time frame will prompt him to opt for a power steering system machine.
 

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Discussion Starter #84
I had the discussion early on the features he should look for, but he had a $600 budget number in mind. He stretched to the 26" EFI model from the original budget-stretching 24" model. I think there isn't room for more shopping. A also don't know personally if the effort to turn will be way different on a snow-covered driveway vs. on 75º dry surface. I hope it's a lot less. I've been clearing his driveway since we moved here, when his wife was in final stages and he didn't have time or energy left to do it. I'll be the first to admit that I was deer-in-the-headlights when I bought the Husqy, and didn't appreciate the power steering until I was out driving it. Never had it before, didn't know I needed it until I had it. Not a showstopper in the giant scheme of things these days. I think his Craftsman arrived within less than $50 of whet we paid for the Husqy six seasons ago.

Snow will be the big test.
 
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Phew, good thing I didn't suggest the husqvarna ST 424
 

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I just sold my 2017 ST22P. Hated it. Weak on the wet slop, felt like belt slipping under heavy wet snow, bogged down with the wet stuff, belt screech everytime you engage, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #87
I just sold my 2017 ST22P. Hated it. Weak on the wet slop, felt like belt slipping under heavy wet snow, bogged down with the wet stuff, belt screech everytime you engage, etc.
I understand when folks get fed up with things that don't seem to work as they "should". Unfortunate that your needs exceeded the performance you got. Also read some of your discussion about the replacement options.


Some ST227P things I've learned in some years of use now, might help others reading your post.

-- Keep the bucket and impellers waxed. I do it at the end of the season as part of the summer storage prep, and again sometime mid-winter especially with less than perfect show. Same applies to any machine though. They work a lot better when the snow doesn't hang up on the front bits.

-- Don't park it outside with snow still in the barrel. It will freeze hard, and the belt will complain as you try and clear frozen boulders. I'm on my second impellor belt, only after learning that hard lesson.

-- Add the impellor mod with the rubber flaps to help with the less-than-perfect dense snow. As delivered, wet slop will clog the chute after a while. Keep it all waxed inside, add the impeller kit.


I'll be the first to tell that I bought the ST227P relatively blind, and did my research only after placing the order. The deal on it was too good to pass up at the time, and it's done a lot more than I originally planned/intended. We get no more than maybe 100" of snow annually, and at 4000' it tends to be pretty dry. We live in a private community and I've been "managing" the snow clearing contractor since last year. Result: I clear our cul-de-sac and our street, working along with a neighbor with a blade on his yard tractor. So no EOD piles to contend with. The few times I've wanted more power were when I was asking the machine to chew through the equivalent of frozen EOD boulders. Won't do that again.

I have a couple neighbors who moved from heavier-snow territory and they brought some pretty impressive stuff with them. So far, the one I have is enough. I attack the snow before it turns to mush or ice, and before it gets too deep. That makes a big difference in total throughput.


Good luck with your new machine!
 
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