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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 · (Edited)
I had the discussion early on the features he should look for, but he had a $600 budget number in mind. He stretched to get the 26" 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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Discussion Starter · #89 ·
Have you thought about or maybe used a ceramic coating instead of wax?
Hadn't considered it really. I've had good results with Meguiars Synthetic Paint Sealant 2.0. I get it in 64oz size for al the toys, and it works great. I just can't see buying a $$$ceramic$$$ sealant just for the inside of the bucket. It takes maybe 5 minutes to do the whole thing, and one application per season is often enough. Sometimes by spring, another application will help with throwing late-season "spring cement". If things start to clog, A few minutes and we are good to go again.

Thanks for the thought though!


dr bob
 
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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Wandered by to visit the neighbor with the new Craftsman. I'd shared the guidance on using car wax on all the snow-contact parts, and was surprised to see all those bits still sitting in a thick coating of wax swirls. Apparently I forgot to include the 'buffing with a towel' step. He confessed that he's never actually cleaned and waxed a car before; he just drive his black Highlander through the wash-and-spray wax tunnel a couple times a year and good to go. I suspect the wax will get finished soon.

We also had a clinic about why the electric starter didn't. He was thing the cord charges the battery, so he could disconnect the extension cord, roll the machine out of the garage, push the button and go.

Between these and couple other adventures, I can see the challenge facing owners who aren't mechanical. Also the manual-writers, who need to include three or four different versions of the instructions in the hope that at least one version is appropriate for any particular buyer/operator. I write reams of project documentation for my little consulting gig, and it's challenge keeping the attention of audience members who may have graduated from Navy nuke school, sitting next to folks who last might have been upselling fries at the drive-thru. I've settled on the "Reader's Digest" strategy, where the author ends up writing for a fifth-grade reading and comprehension level to make sure a minimum of the audience is lost along the way. Dave's Craftsman snow-blower manual needs to be written the same way. It's possible that dr bob's blog contributions deserve the same consideration.

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We've had a few dustings so far this fall, but in spite of forecasts of more, nothing really worth writing home about. I was just giving some though to adding a mounting for a small ATV-sized electric winch-hoist in the work bay, something I could use to lift the snow blower and other heavy stuff from cart to worktable a little more easily. I get to think about and work on stuff like this since it isn't snowing yet. As soon as I start a project like that though, we'll get a blewzerd. neither option sounds particularly bad right now.

Stay safe, stay healthy!

dr bob
 
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Discussion Starter · #91 ·
20210120-1430

There's a threat of clouds and a dusting over the next week or so. As soon as I start complaining about no snow, that might change and more. So this isn't a complaint. I thought that mounting the snow blade on the neighbor's garden tractor might trigger a dump, but it might have had the opposite effect. Snow stakes are out to mark pavement edges, standing tall in the greening grass. Two weeks of above-freezing overnight temps, a dozen miles from a ski area. The last little bit of dust we got, I hand pushed it into a pile in the corner of the driveway, so I could at least look at it and get a reminder of what snow used to look like.

My pre-season test-run was in November, a couple months ago now. Trying to decide if I need to drain the tank and make sure the carburetor bowl is dry. Then put the cover on it and roll the dolly over to the winter-storage side of the work bay, out of the way. I used my polished and waxed aluminum scoop-shovel to pick up yard debris over the weekend. Mid 50's, shirtsleeve work weather outside.

Gotta learn a new snow dance.


Stay safe, stay healthy! More when/if it happens.

dr bob
 
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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
20210128

As luck would have it, mere days after saying something about our lack of snow, we started a series of weather events that have delivered a total of about 8" over the course of a week. Blizzard conditions south of us, a smattering here where we really need it. Oh well. I pulled the machine out to do some larger areas and to clean up piles where I'd been pushing snow with a shovel. Did four driveways and a few hundred feet of our private street, plus a little more nearby. Enough to get me out off my butt, but nothing serious enough to call actual "work".

The machine performed flawlessly. Started on the first manual pull each time. The little brackets I made to hold the muffler shield are doing fine, and the rattles from that cover are completely gone. All good!

Bob
 
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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
20200204

After reading the many folks who have done the "impellor mod", I started checking my inventory of 'stuff'' and found I had everything, -and- could actually find it all at the same time.

So off came the chute, the belt cover, and the plastic ejection section that attaches to the impellor barrel. That last piece is held on by four bolts from inside the barrel, nylock-style nuts on the outside. So catch the bolts inside as you remove those nuts.

Instead of trying to drill holes, I decided to use 1/2"-long #6 TEK-style self-tapping metal screws. These have a hex head that is easily driven by a magnetic nut-driver bit in my way-too-handy Makita 1/4"-hex impact driver. No drilling, just let the self-drilling screws to all the work.

The flaps are made from some 1/4"-thick clear urethane sheet I had left from an industrial application at least 35 years ago. Most of my stash from those projects is still here on the roll, suggesting that I just might be a borderline almost stuff-hoarder. Using some is a small vindication. I cut 2.5" x 4" pieces for the project, and used a handy gasket cutter to make 4 holes in each for the screws to pass through.

Rotate the impellor to horizontal at the opening, place the urethane flap on the paddle with about 1/8" excess, and use a Vise-Grip pliers to hold it in place. The Vise-grips also sit on the edge of the opening, keeping the impellor from rotating as I drilled. Center-punch the paddle to keep the screw-drill from wandering. Then medium speed and lots of pressure on the TEK screw via the impact driver, and in mere seconds it drills through and threads itself into the paddle. I put flat washers under the screw heads to distribute the clamping some, but otherwise it was a snap getting the flaps onto the paddles securely.

Once the flaps were attached on all three paddles, the external pieces went back in reverse of the removal order. This morning, I rolled the machine out into the driveway and fired it up. I'd done a 'test rotate' by hand using the drive handle and the pull starter cord to make sure things would actually turn. With engine running, I let the urethane flaps clearance themselves in the impellor barrel for a couple minutes. The just touch the barrel, and have only a slight interference at a protective bracket on the upper side of the barrel opening. If/when this stuff comes out for any service, I'll do a little shape adjustment on the bracket to let it fit tighter to the barrel with new flaps.

On assembly, I added grease to the joint where the chute sits on the plastic ejection section. Should have done this on initial assembly and saved some wear on the plastic. The chute now flies back and forth (rotates) with almost no effort on the lever. We'll see how it works with snow flying through it in the cold.

Whole project was about half an hour of actual work, including R&R of the chute parts and cutting/punching the urethane flaps. The TEK screws were in my hardware cabinet, just waiting for a project like this. We have no snow in the immediate forecast, so we will all have to wait patiently to see what the effect is on actual performance/throwing distance.

In the meanwhile, stay safe, stay warm, have fun!


dr bob
 

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20200204

After reading the many folks who have done the "impellor mod", I started checking my inventory of 'stuff'' and found I had everything, -and- could actually find it all at the same time.

So off came the chute, the belt cover, and the plastic ejection section that attaches to the impellor barrel. That last piece is held on by four bolts from inside the barrel, nylock-style nuts on the outside. So catch the bolts inside as you remove those nuts.

Instead of trying to drill holes, I decided to use 1/2"-long #6 TEK-style self-tapping metal screws. These have a hex head that is easily driven by a magnetic nut-driver bit in my way-too-handy Makita 1/4"-hex impact driver. No drilling, just let the self-drilling screws to all the work.

The flaps are made from some 1/4"-thick clear urethane sheet I had left from an industrial application at least 35 years ago. Most of my stash from those projects is still here on the roll, suggesting that I just might be a borderline almost stuff-hoarder. Using some is a small vindication. I cut 2.5" x 4" pieces for the project, and used a handy gasket cutter to make 4 holes in each for the screws to pass through.

Rotate the impellor to horizontal at the opening, place the urethane flap on the paddle with about 1/8" excess, and use a Vise-Grip pliers to hold it in place. The Vise-grips also sit on the edge of the opening, keeping the impellor from rotating as I drilled. Center-punch the paddle to keep the screw-drill from wandering. Then medium speed and lots of pressure on the TEK screw via the impact driver, and in mere seconds it drills through and threads itself into the paddle. I put flat washers under the screw heads to distribute the clamping some, but otherwise it was a snap getting the flaps onto the paddles securely.

Once the flaps were attached on all three paddles, the external pieces went back in reverse of the removal order. This morning, I rolled the machine out into the driveway and fired it up. I'd done a 'test rotate' by hand using the drive handle and the pull starter cord to make sure things would actually turn. With engine running, I let the urethane flaps clearance themselves in the impellor barrel for a couple minutes. The just touch the barrel, and have only a slight interference at a protective bracket on the upper side of the barrel opening. If/when this stuff comes out for any service, I'll do a little shape adjustment on the bracket to let it fit tighter to the barrel with new flaps.

On assembly, I added grease to the joint where the chute sits on the plastic ejection section. Should have done this on initial assembly and saved some wear on the plastic. The chute now flies back and forth (rotates) with almost no effort on the lever. We'll see how it works with snow flying through it in the cold.

Whole project was about half an hour of actual work, including R&R of the chute parts and cutting/punching the urethane flaps. The TEK screws were in my hardware cabinet, just waiting for a project like this. We have no snow in the immediate forecast, so we will all have to wait patiently to see what the effect is on actual performance/throwing distance.

In the meanwhile, stay safe, stay warm, have fun!


dr bob
Hey Dr. Bob,

Just thought I'd mention my favorite lubrication product "Tri-flow". I've used it on everything from door locks to bicycles, snowblowers and all my printing presses before I retired. Tri-flow has been the best all around product that I have used. I use it on all cables, springs and anything metal on metal ~ just a simple little spray does the trick. The original introduction to Tri-flow came from a custom bicycle builder that I was have some repair work done by many years ago. His instruction was "use a little at a time and use it often".

What made me think about it at this time was how well it has been working on the chute rotation on my Husky ST324P and, as you mentioned, how well you said your chute now rotates.

Unfortunately, I've only had to rotated the chute a couple of times this year due to lack of snow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
Amen, without stating how long this product has been in my cabinet, the first cans of this were labelled "Tri-Flon" when they first appeared here. Great stuff. The perfect leaves no metal residue in locks, cables, and other precision mechanisms the needed something that flows like silicone but is even slipperier like Teflon. They got into a pissing contest over the "...Flon" in the product name with duPont who holds the "teflon" trademark. Pay no attention to the fact that it includes the TFE as a primary ingredient, such ingredient purchased from duPont...

Again, Great Stuff. Lawyers find themselves in a position to counter marketing.

Grey spray cans. Great Stuff. For everything that doesn't expect viscosity/film thickness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
20200213

A few recent doses of snow let me evaluate the benefits of the impellor modification described in 93, above. First was a warmer snow, high 20's and a great mid-range snow. The next, over the last 24 hours, has been a drier powder with temps from mid single digits up to high 20's. Results: positive. The modification adds an estimated 5-10' of throwing distance. Further evidence is that the engine is seeing noticeably more load. Overall, I'm very pleased with the ease of installation and the performance results. There's about 6 hours of run time on the plastic extensions. After the machine thaws out some, I'll take a look and see how the new parts are holding up. I cut and punched a few extra sets of the little flaps, should they be needed.
 
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Could you take pictures of your impeller mod? I'm always curious of other people's work. I like seeing a different way of doing things, especially if it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #99 ·
My impeller mod is no different than those discussed in the forums. My comments/method improvement is for using TEK screws to do the drilling and fastening in one step. In the general forum, several discussions have covered buying good drill bits, discussions of the access issues for drilling, etc. I used Vise-Grips to both hold the paddle in place, and hold the impellor from turning while I used the cordless impact gun to drill and install the TEK screws. TEK screws have a split drill-point end, with the 'thread' running from a bit behind that tip. With a hex head on the screws, a magnetic nut holder/driver in the little impact takes care of holding the screw, so pretty painless to push on the driver, pull on the trigger, and let the tools do all the work. Less than 10 secs per screw once the paddles are in place and a center punch makes a locating ding for the TEK screw to work in. It was so easy I put four TEK screws with washers holding each new pad in place.

Home Depot shows a similar screw here: Teks #10 x 3/4 in. External Hex Flange Hex-Head Self-Drilling Screws (150-Pack)-21320 - The Home Depot The ones I have in the hardware cabinet are #6 so smaller, but the ones at HD in #6 size are Phillips rather than hex head. Find a size that works for you. This isn't rocket surgery or nuclear medicine. I used what I had handy. The nut drivers are at the local Harbor Freight store: 1-3/4 in. Impact Rated Magnetic Nut Setters SAE, 5 Piece

It's been drizzling, then snowing and melting for an hour or two. Forecast sez four to six more hours this evening. Temps just now dropping below freezing, a couple hours to go until sunset. Should be a soggy layer of fused snow on top of an ice rink in the street in the morning. Good test, throwing something just north of slush. I can hardly wait...
 

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Last year I posted a reply (#52) on a impeller mod thread, with four pics of my ST227P mod. Here's the link: Space around impeller Honda snow blower
Thanks for your post. Your pictures are pretty much the same as all the others I have seen.

I was curious about using self-tapping screws instead of bolts and nuts. I like pictures. Just paints a better picture than my brain can.
 
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