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I've had a Toro 828 LXE for about 8 years and it has never worked well for me. It almost never starts when the temperature goes below around 15 F (which has been fairly often in Central NY where I live) and I've often had problems with either the wheels or the augers not turning (perhaps 4 times over the 8 years). I have it serviced by the dealer I bought it from and I've had no complaints about them, but the bottom line is that at least once per winter I've found myself with lots of snow and no snowblower. So it's time to replace it.

Based on this experience, I was fairly decided to go with an Ariens. I cannot afford a Honda and there don't seem to be any used ones around here. My hesitation with the Ariens is the engines. I see that the Toros still use Briggs & Stratton engines. So, now I'm torn between the two. Should I give Toro another chance?

I'd like to spend around $1200, but could go up to $1500 or so.
 

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hello paul, welcome to SBF!! how handy are you with a wrench? there are service manuals on the forum to help you get your toro in tip top shape, seems like the dealer is missing something. your owners manual could help also and if you don't have an owners manual anymore you can download it free on toro's website. my favorite new ariens is the sho 24
 

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Welcome Paul , this is a great place to help you get your toro running up to par . Lots of good help here :)
Tough time of year to be buying new , so if that is your plan I hope you are just planning ahead for next year.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
While I'm OK with a wrench, I avoid working on my machines mostly because I don't have a garage or other suitable place to work. It's also not where I'd prefer to spend my time.

I really need something that is just going to work basically every time. My wife is a nurse and taking a snow day isn't an option. It's really a problem when I wake up to a driveway full of snow and my blower doesn't start. Is it unreasonable to expect that with maintenance / service done by the dealer each fall (and fuel stabilizer added at the end of each winter) my snowblower would work every time?
 

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I only have about 25-30 hrs on the 306cc engine on my 2014 Ariens Platinum SHO but it hasn't missed a beat.
I have blown snow with the temp around zero 3 times and it has always started on the first pull.

Today it took me four pulls and after it started I realized that
I forgot to hit the primer (3 times) before pulling the cord. :eek:
 

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While I'm OK with a wrench, I avoid working on my machines mostly because I don't have a garage or other suitable place to work. It's also not where I'd prefer to spend my time.

I really need something that is just going to work basically every time. My wife is a nurse and taking a snow day isn't an option. It's really a problem when I wake up to a driveway full of snow and my blower doesn't start. Is it unreasonable to expect that with maintenance / service done by the dealer each fall (and fuel stabilizer added at the end of each winter) my snowblower would work every time?
my garage is very small more like a tall shed and there is too much stuff in there. I try and do as much as I can when time allows in the spring, summer, and fall. while I like the ariens sho 24 I'm not willing to part with the cash to buy one. I've gotten all my snowblowers up and running with minimal help from a shop just by spending an hour or two here and there
 

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I've had a Toro 828 LXE for about 8 years and it has never worked well for me. It almost never starts when the temperature goes below around 15 F (which has been fairly often in Central NY where I live) and I've often had problems with either the wheels or the augers not turning (perhaps 4 times over the 8 years). I have it serviced by the dealer I bought it from and I've had no complaints about them, but the bottom line is that at least once per winter I've found myself with lots of snow and no snowblower. So it's time to replace it.

Based on this experience, I was fairly decided to go with an Ariens. I cannot afford a Honda and there don't seem to be any used ones around here. My hesitation with the Ariens is the engines. I see that the Toros still use Briggs & Stratton engines. So, now I'm torn between the two. Should I give Toro another chance?

I'd like to spend around $1200, but could go up to $1500 or so.


If I had to buy a snowblower, instead of tinkering with machines that are 40 years old, I would buy an Ariens. If it acted up on me, I'd address those issues and straighten it out. To be honest there's rarely a problem with a small machine that can't be fixed, it's a matter of determination. You'd be much better off with an Ariens that needed service in the future, rather than a Toro that needed service, IMHO. The truth is, they ALL need service sooner or later. There's no magic bullet.
 

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I really need something that is just going to work basically every time. Is it unreasonable to expect that with maintenance / service done by the dealer each fall (and fuel stabilizer added at the end of each winter) my snowblower would work every time?
You are definitively right on this one as anyone who looks after his machines like you do should expect reliability and more so because of your wife's occupation and wish you good luck on your next purchase of either Ariens or Toro as both make good snow blowers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So, perhaps I got a lemon and/or perhaps my dealer isn't that good at servicing. Since reliability is rather critical, maybe the best thing is for me to become self-reliant at keeping my Toro or its replacement running. Are there tests I can do or things I should check to indicate if the Toro is in good enough shape that it's worth investing in keeping it running versus buying a new one?

I really appreciate the replies.
 

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I had three snowblowers brake down this past storm. I'm not tossin the towel in
yet. I'm going to fix them. Actually i already have. now waiting for the next storm.
Like others have already said. look for the manuals and give it a go and try to
repair and understand the workings of your Toro.

Welcome to the site.

Lee
 

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Top of line ariens still use the B&S if thats what you're Look for, however if you get into the ariens pro line, they have hefty price tags. People seem to be having luck with the ariens AX (LCT) engines. I would suggest comparing a few at your local independent dealership (Not a big box store!), talk to the sales staff and give a few models a pull! Remember ALL new snow blower engines are made overseas today including B&S.
Good luck!
 

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Paul it's true most of this is simple and can be fixed fairly easily. It's usually a matter of adjustments. The key is understanding how it works, so you can properly adjust/repair it. We can help if you like.
 

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I was in the same place as you recently, though my nemesis was a 2005 Husqvarna that needed an hour of fixing for every two hours of run time. Or vice-versa. I simply got tired of throwing time and money at it, so like my cars I wanted new with warranty and NO fixing., just turn it on and it works...every time.

I did a lot of research, wanting to buy ONCE and have a long life, relatively low maintenance machine. I arrived at Ariens with the 414cc LCT 20tq motor. My parameters were simple build, rugged construction, 28 to 30 inch cut, maximum throw. I specifically wanted that motor because of the longevity factor.

No regrets. NONE.

BTW, I feel the 291cc LCT motor is of the same quality, with about 75% of the power of the bigger one. Deluxe 28+ for you at $1199 sounds about perfect. A wee bit more power than your current machine but far more efficient delivery of it.
 

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Again, go to the local dealership and check them out.. There is NO proof the AX(LCT) engine will out last, or is 'better' than a B&S. As I've stated before, both the AX and the B&S owners are a bit biased toward what 'they' own.
Check startability, throttle and choke controls of any contenders that you're considering.
Then you decide.
I've owned just 2 ariens over the years. Tecumseh, then B&S. Both were dependable strong running machines with NO engine issues whatsoever. The only reason I sold the Tecumseh was because I was looking for a machine with a bigger cut. I went from 24>27"
 

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Hi Paul, In my humble opinion, if reliability is critical, you should get away from pump gas, start with a clean tank and carb, and find an airfield with some 91 non-ethanol gas and lightly dose it with stabilizer in the jerry can right after you buy it, shake it good and there is your fuel. :cool: If your carb is clean and adjusted properly, you have the proper (usually 5w30) oil , and that non-ethanol gas your starting issues should be gone so long as you follow th proper start up sequence from the manual.

Augers not turning sometimes can be frozen from previous use, and snowblower can freeze up, need to make sure all the snow melts off especially if it's dense it will turn to ice and sieze :eek: the machine. Wheels has me (I'm sure someone else here would have insight) mystified.. never saw that myself.

I hope some of what I did cover will lend a little towards what is ailing your machine.
 

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I never said a bad word about a Briggs & Stratton. My comment about the LCT is for me based upon the fact that LCT bought Tecumseh's technology and the Tecumseh motor on my Husqvarna was the one thing about it that ALWAYS worked. The machine had a LOT of hours on it between it's previous owner and me, the rest of the machie was just beat.
 

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The following is copied and pasted from movingsnow.com. The LCT engine is talked about during his review of a Husqvarna snowblower. I found it interesting and worth a post here.



Husqvarna Brand Engine -

These new engine features a new Quiet Muffler that is 20% quieter than last years motors. They are quiet enough that you don’t HAVE to wear hearing protection when cleaning your driveway.

ST 227 Husqvarna Engine These engine also have a throttle. You can idle the engine if you have to walk away from it or to let it relax before you turn it off.

These engines are the most reliable engines in the industry! In fact all of the new Husqvarna Snow Blowers now come with a 5 Year Starting Guarantee!

The new (read enhanced) Husqvarna engines are manufactured by LCT. LCT is also a leading manufacturer of engines for tillers, generators, water pumps, pressure washers and log splitters. The best thing about them is if anything goes wrong with the engine your local Husqvarna dealer can service them and all the warranty paperwork is done right through Husqvarna. The dealer does not have to go directly to the engine manufacture and try to convince them the problem is with the engine, and not the engine owner. If there is a defect it just gets fixed.

The second best thing about these engines is the defect rate. Defective engine are irritating and the Husqvarna/LCT engines have the lowest rate in the industry (though MTD has not published their rates) LCT Warranty rate is only .17%. As a comparison Honda snow engines is .33% and Briggs & Stratton Snow Engines 1.0 %. That means about 1 out of 1000 Husqvarna/LCT engines have an issue from the start whereas about 1 out of 100 Briggs have problems.

Finally, the Husqvarna/LCT has about 4 times the average useful life of comparable B&S Snow engines, 1000 vs. 250 hours

LCT is not a “Chinese” engine. It is an American company. The engines are engineered here in the U.S. and manufactured in their own factories overseas (China). Unlike some of the other brands LCT has complete control over the manufacturing process of their engines. Yes – they make the current Ariens AX engines also. It’s time to stop calling all these engines “Chinese Junk” All the snow blower engines are currently made in China but each manufacture has different specs and controls on how the engines are made. LCT is very proud of the strict quality control and engineering specs on these engines. They are making better engines today than we ever thought could be made 30 years ago. They are dependable and built to last.
 

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BTW, I've been running regular 87 octane pump gas in both my machines in accordance with the owner's manual and both start on the first pull every time.
 

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BTW, I've been running regular 87 octane pump gas in both my machines in accordance with the owner's manual and both start on the first pull every time.
That's fine and you can get away with that especially if you run it dry (bowl)during storage of anything over a couple weeks, and talk empty and dry over the summer but many people don't do that and eventually the ugly side effects of ethanol will rear their ugly head on your fuel line and carb parts. The non ethanol is simply better because it has none of the corrosion effects or phase separation.

I am typing from first hand experience with phase separation of stabilized fuel having gummed up the works for me before I switched over. I had not run things dry as I should have. The water that the ethanol had attracted from humidity had caused corrosion in the carb bowl after the separation ocured, and the carb need a thorough cleaning. bowl and gasket were easily replaced but that's my point. Non-ethanol won't cause this.
 
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