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Discussion Starter #1
I was in a power equipment store, and then in Lowe's in the past 2 weeks, getting small parts for my machines. They had Cub Cadet, Toro, Husqvarna, etc. new machines with the multiple impeller setup. Actually it looks more like 2 propellers, one in front, on in back of the auger tines, then the impeller behind that in the usual location.

so what are these now, 4 stage machines ?? :)

they look like they'll really eat up the snow banks at first glance. but those suckers are expensive. $1100 at Lowes, and the Cadets had power steering, etc. and were $2500

WTH is going to pay that much, for a snowblower that will be worth $500 a year later on a good day ?

the way I look at it, no matter now much the snow is chewed up and processed in the front, it's the impeller that throws it out. over-processing the snow into a very thin slushy mix may actually have a detrimental effect, rather than advantageous. but the engines appear to be on the big side to handle it.

this was a new design last year by what the Cadet dealer told me, but he has not ran one himself yet.

anyone try them here ?
 

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There have been some discussions about them on this forum..
most agree they are simply useless gimmicks..

http://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/general-snowblower-discussion/3449-three-stage-trend-coming.html

Snowblowers are very simple and basic machines..the basic function was perfected half a century ago. Real advances have been made since then in safety, but there is very little left to "advance" in terms of the operation of the machine itself..
So in order to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, (some) manufacturers choose to come up with gimmicks, which usually have no advantage in reality, and are often actually disadvantages! they only "look good" on the sales floor.

Some of the major "gimmicks" that are actually disadvantages.

1. Electric chute controls.
seriously?! turning a manual crank that is *right in front of you* is too much trouble?! ;) we have to push an electric button instead? utterly pointless..and usually*much worse* than the manual crank, because the electric switch can fail, making the machine unusable until its fixed..

2. Wheels instead of skids.
we have discussed these before..no benefit over skids, and several disadvantages over skids.

3. All these various "three stage" designs..
no benefit over traditional designs..So far we dont know if they are *worse* or not..there hasnt been much testing or reviews on them yet..We do know one disadvantage already though! They do seem to have a higher cost..and the higher cost is only for a gimmick that probably gains you absolutely no advantage over a traditional design.

MTD should work on making their machines *better*..not gimmickier..
but market forces are also at work here..most consumers are pretty clueless..if the salesman says "look! this one has THREE stages! obviously three stages is BETTER than two stages!"..lots of people will believe it, because they simply dont know any better..consumer ignorance can be a major sales factor.

Scot
 

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I was also looking at the 3X Cub Cadet before purchasing my Husqvarna this year.The mechanic at the dealer where I bought my snow blower says that the center blades will get bent at the first frozen newspaper that it ingests rendering it out of balance and in need of his attention.He 's been witness to all kinds of strange stuff spun around snow blower insides.His favorite is the unseen dog chain that was wrapped around the impeller.
 

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I have an older Craftsman three stage with the bar above the main auger and it would be better at knocking down drifts if the housing flared up instead of coming over the top.

Always make sure you don't have a battery charger on a vehicle and an extension cord running across the driveway.

The picture isn't mine but I've done it :(
 

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Discussion Starter #7
3x faster processing snow is a gimmick

normal walking speed is 3mph, and no one wants to jog behind a machine at 9mph, it's tiresome, stupid, and the operator looks silly

I've got more than a few old warhorses with very thick auger tines that are bent from previous owners hitting things, even though they are very stiff and hard to bend. IMO those tines, propellers, impeller on these new machines look mighty thin and chintzy to my eyes. I think they'll be bending very easily.
 

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Full speed on my Honda Hydro is plenty fast enough for me. I would be more concerned with distance of snow cleared and the design and durability of the impeller... If its a good stout design with tight tolerances, with a fairly good speed, it will move snow fast, far and with extreme prejudice.
 

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If its a good stout design with tight tolerances, with a fairly good speed, it will move snow fast, far and with extreme prejudice.
Take a look at one of the "3-stage" Cub Cadets or Troy-Bilts in person at Lowes. (I have)..wiggle the augers a bit, then decide if they seem "stout" or not! ;) (hint: I did not.)

Scot
 

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I bought a 3x, I feel it's good construction. Sure the impeller can bend, many can. I look at avoiding obstacles altogether. You ask the homeowner ahead of time and try to check your area. Sure you'll miss things, but do you leave big sticks and branches on the ground with your lawn mower?? Same deal. You don't cut on rocks with a chainsaw either. I like the construction of the cub and can't wait to put it through it's paces on snow. I'm pleased with my purchase so far, however not the shipper that delivered it to me.
 

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Two stages seem to be plenty for most airport runway blowers.

There's also the SnoGo which has three spinning augers at the front with a second stage throwing the snow out the chute. It's exciting to watch, but it tends to toss softball sized ice chunks forward.

Still, big heavy industrial snow removal equipment is mostly two stage.
 

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I'm pleased with my purchase so far, however not the shipper that delivered it to me.
Once you have some time with it let us know how it compares to what you had previously in speed of processing snow and distance tossed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I bought a 3x, I feel it's good construction. Sure the impeller can bend, many can. I look at avoiding obstacles altogether. You ask the homeowner ahead of time and try to check your area. Sure you'll miss things, but do you leave big sticks and branches on the ground with your lawn mower?? Same deal. You don't cut on rocks with a chainsaw either. I like the construction of the cub and can't wait to put it through it's paces on snow. I'm pleased with my purchase so far, however not the shipper that delivered it to me.

hmmm...not a good compare....lawnmower blades hit rocks, but those almost never bend, and are easily re-sharpened. they are replaced once in a while. chain saws, the chain can be sharpened, and is a wearing often replaced part.

snowblower augers and impellers, are a lifetime machine part, and if those bend, that's trouble- a lot worse than hitting something with a chainsaw or lawnmower.

the machine needs major surgery if the auger, impeller, shafts are bent
 

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I think his point wasn't that augers or impellers were a wear part like mower blades or saw chains but that being conscientious in picking up the area you'll be operating in cuts down of the chance of ingesting something and doing damage.
 

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I bought a 3x, I feel it's good construction. Sure the impeller can bend, many can. I look at avoiding obstacles altogether. You ask the homeowner ahead of time and try to check your area. Sure you'll miss things, but do you leave big sticks and branches on the ground with your lawn mower?? Same deal. You don't cut on rocks with a chainsaw either. I like the construction of the cub and can't wait to put it through it's paces on snow. I'm pleased with my purchase so far, however not the shipper that delivered it to me.
hmmm..I dont think you can legitimately say "I feel it's good construction" and "Sure the impeller can bend" in the same sentence! ;) Those are mutually exclusive statements..

and its not really true that "many can" (bend)..a bent impeller should be an exceedingly rare event..most snowblowers, with normal use, should not even be concerned about bent impellers at all..If you can actually notice that the impeller seems bendable, that's not good, or normal.

Scot
 

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I saw a 3-stage Toro at Lowe's yesterday. I imagine the brand names will continue to proliferate.
toro doesn't make a three stage snowblower maybe you saw a troy built three stage snowblower
 

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Don't see any Toros on their site. Troy does make the Vortex. It seems to toss more snow out the front than I would want it to. That and the demo isn't with any deep virgin snow fall. Most looks already plowed or moved for the demo.

Don't have one, haven't operated one but not real sold on the idea that it's able to move more snow than a regular 2 stage. Interested to hear from 3X owners how they like or hate them.

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