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I came across a Toro 521 a homeowner had left in a house and the new owner didnt want.
In some respects the machine was in decent shape, clean, very little rust, very good tires, ran good, but the motor was missing some bolts.

What caught my eye though was the auger's, sheesh; the driveway had a rock wall and I think someone might have tried to throw it with this thing. I kid you not, one of the auger blades was at about a 45 degree angle to the drum.
I took pity on the poor machine; the guy wasn't asking crazy money, it just needed a little love and a big hammer. I named it Christine.

I expected the worst once I started pulling the nose apart, one end of the auger blade had been bent so far out it scored the housing, one drum in particular was way out of round and, finding someones idea of a suitable replacement for a sheer bolt, didnt improve my optimism any.

But, much to my surprise, when I cracked open the gear box, everything looked perfect inside.

Bravo Toro, the size of that brass gear is huge, shown below with a blown one from a old Ariens ST 824

All hasn't gone perfect though; one of the bolts holding the gear box together snapped and has resisted all efforts to get it out. PIA is really gonna make me work for it.

I'm glad I brought it home, it's gonna be a keeper.

K
 

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I agree with your assessment. I have only taken one gearbox apart, on a 1980 421, and there was very little wear and no issues found. I can see what these last so long, provided you don't try to actually move a rock wall with it.

Looking forward to your progress on the rebuild.
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It's pretty amazing what some machines will put up with when others break if you look at them. Just luck of the draw I guess. I picked this up cheap for the engine but it's still working and didn't blow out the gearbox. When I looked closer I noticed that both augers had been welded before. Now that's a rough life.

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