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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,


I'm new here and am impressed with the wealth of knowledge that I've seen here.


After 4 dealer visits and way too many hours of online research, today we purchased an Ariens Path Pro that should be fine for her.


But, in my research, I am now considering something for me.


My situation:
  • I have a significant slope to my driveway - we do get a great south sun exposure such that if I get the snow down to near the surface, sun will melt it completely away fairly soon - unless it is single digit cold as it has been for several days now.
  • I have a 33 year old Toro 3521 that still works just fine and starts first pull about every time. It has 3 gears and I can generally use top gear for most of the snow removal (especially going up the drive or it takes forever
  • My Toro lawn mower also is many years old and works fine... so I have a very good feeling about Toro equipment
  • But, I am convinced that Ariens makes great products as well
  • And my preferred dealer is an Ariens as my go-to Toro guy has retired and sold the business
So, since the 3521 still works and won't command much on resale - I think I will just keep it and, likely, add another snowblower (didn't know people had more than one 'til I started reading here).


I am intrigued by the Toro Snowmaster with the personal pace feature as I think it would help going up my driveway and appears to be much faster than my 2 stage. Not sure I like the auger material but have not seen bad comments about it. I would likely do the 824 QXE although the 724 would probably be fine. If it lasts as long as the last one, it would be money well spent, I believe. Service at this dealer appears to sometimes be lacking - but there are many good reviews as well. I know, it is the unhappy people who take the time to post and not the happy campers.


Reviews here about the Snowmaster and the better single stage units indicate that for most normal snows I could clean the driveway much faster with one of these than my 2-stage Toro 3521. This is worth considering since my wife's car is not all wheel drive and I try to make sure to get the driveway snow down to the surface as much as possible and before we drive on it.


The Path Pros would probably also work fine but I am slightly skeptical about them going uphill on my driveway. I know there is some help from the paddle/auger but as I am nearing 70 I don't want to do too much pushing.


On the lighter side (I hope), my wife has suggested that I certainly should get electric start so that in case I die, she will be able to start it. This was a sobering recommendation.


So, I would appreciate any thoughts or advice on buying another snowblower.


Thanks,
Dave
 

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Sorry I can't help, never having had a sloped driveway but if I were to buy a single stage it would be a Toro. Hopefully someone will chime in with more info.
And yes, a lot of us have lots of blowers! :smile2::grin:
 

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i think your on the right track. you need something self propelled for a sloped driveway you dont want to push a single stage up the slope.

if you had a flat driveway i would say any new or late model single stage would be good.

the toro snowmaster i think is the only single stage on the market that has a drive? so you are kind of limited there are lots of smaller 2 stage machines you could also get. ariens compact series 2 stages
 

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The Snowmaster is a great snow blower (this is my third season with it). Personal Pace makes even more sense on a snowblower than it does on a lawnmower, IMO. I don't have a sloped driveway, so I'm not sure how it would perform there, but it is awesome on my flat driveway.
 

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I also have a sloping paved driveway facing south. I have a Toro single stage that I picked up in the summer and I've only had a couple of chances to try it and then it was only a couple of inches of powder. It works fine on the top part of my driveway which is flat. Going downhill it just wants to run away from you and it's all you can do to hang on and not fall. I actually preferred running it up hill. Some people here say to go from side to side on the sloping part but that's a LOT of stopping and starting and turning around.

I think you need to find a dealer that has one of the Toro's that you can try out. That machine interests me too but I would hate to drop a lot of money only to find out I hate the Personal Pace system first time out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the comments. You have made me aware that going downhill is as much a concern as going uphill... hadn't thought about that. Today, I used a new single stage snowblower on my daughter's level drive and sidewalk and at times I felt like I had to run to keep up.

Had I been doing that downhill on my driveway I would have had to lift up the front end to slow it down... and that would defeat the purpose of the auger wiping down to the concrete. Or, I would have possibly fallen trying to keep up.

I think that may have eliminated the single stage for me.

Thanks
 

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It depends..... I have a sloped driveway and have no problem with my single stage. It just takes practice to have it not run away from you. On occasion I do my neighbors very sloped drive and while it's more of a challenge it's doable for me. It's all about your comfort level when doing something like that. Having said that I recommended that my neighbor give up any snow removal because of his health issues. His son contacted a snow removal contractor for the season. If he was in better health I feel that the Snowmaster would be an excellent choice. If you decide to go single stage then the Toro 721 is an outstanding choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
With the single stager covered why not freshen up the 3521 with a new engine, impeller kit, belts, bushings and tires?

$105 Predator 6.5hp engine
$35 Impeller kit
$30 (2) belts
$25 (3) bushings
$60 (2) tires/tubes
$15 pulley adapter

~$275

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0-Hks_fUQ8

http://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/re-powering/124313-repowering-toro-3521-w-179cc-engine.html

Do Toro dealers freshen up snow blowers without charging an arm and a leg?


Now, I'm even considering the Snowmaster to compliment the 3521 for as long as it lasts.


Too many choices - but the good news is there seems to be a lot of good choices - the trick is finding the right one for our use.
 

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They'll probably charge between $80-100 an hour and would only do it with an engine they procured and they will charge full msrp for it. You could end up dropping five hundred bucks on a blower that's worth less than half that UNLESS you could do the work yourself. I think you're better off putting your money towards a new machine. If you have to go out of your way an hour or so to test the personal pace I would pursue it.
 

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My situation:
  • I have a significant slope to my driveway - we do get a great south sun exposure such that if I get the snow down to near the surface, sun will melt it completely away fairly soon - unless it is single digit cold as it has been for several days now.

Dave, welcome aboard! Yes, there is a ton of knowledge across the various product lines here. I think most are capable of rendering a really solid recommendation assuming you can accurately describe your personal situation and what you're responsible for cleaning up.


I have no experience with the TORO Snowmaster, though its design intrigues me.


I bought the cheapest ($400) single stage Ariens four (??) years ago. I've had a couple of the old 2 cycle, single-stage TOROs known as CCR2000 series. The Ariens is 4 cycle, as you know, and has been a great machine for us: we also have a dangerously steep drive.


My situation is similar. If I can get the Ariens single stage to clean the drive down to bare pavement by noon, the sun and evaporational melting will give me a completely dry (safe) drive by the evening. I often run the two stage machine and then follow up for a clean up with the Path Pro. That yields a perfectly clean drive with not too much effort. I have to do this or have a dangerous scenario where people can't get up/down the drive.


Good luck with it all, and be safe out there !!
 

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I've used a Personal Pace mower on a steep hill. As others have mentioned, I found it a really poor combination. The mower wanted to just freewheel, and drag me down the hill. Whereas the other, AWD, mower with a 1-speed setup (squeeze the handle to drive) did fine. I kept the handle squeezed while going downhill, and it controlled its speed on the way down, it didn't try to pull me along with it.

To be honest, I even preferred the 1-speed for going up the steep hill. I just squeezed, and it drove. With the Personal Pace, to make it go, I had to constantly shove it some, to slide the handle, engaging the transmission.

My driveway has a slope, and I've used a single-stage on it. As was said, I kind of preferred clearing up the hill, rather than down. It had plenty of pull, so I could use that to do a thorough cleaning job, as it pulled itself up the hill. For going down, if I let the paddles really hit the ground, it wanted to go down fairly quickly. But by raising or lowering the handles (raising the handle drives the paddles into the driveway harder), I could change how hard it pulled.

But you could just roll downhill while not clearing at all and not having the paddles hit the ground (through a section you already did, pushing down a bit on the handles if needed). Or deliberately do a "poor" cleaning job on the downhill, by again not letting the paddles hit the ground. That way it would simply be rolling, rather than pulling. And you could then turn around, and clear uphill on that same strip, finishing off whatever was left the first time.

Or you could look at a small 2-stage machine, maybe with trigger-steering, or a differential, etc, to let it turn more easily. My Ariens weighs 275, but with the differential, it pivots easily at the end of a run. I don't have to drag the tires when I turn it. tdipaul's point is valid, that you could "spruce up" the 3521, but honestly, for the cost and effort of doing that, I would consider just buying a suitable used machine instead. It depends on how interested you are in doing that sort of conversion work to your 3521.
 

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With the single stager covered why not freshen up the 3521 with a new engine, impeller kit, belts, bushings and tires?
IMHO, the 521/3521, especially a refurbished one would be great for what you're describing. My neighbor just bought a Snowmaster, and from a material quality standpoint, I wasn't impressed.
 

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Yup, I have a set of those, they're great. They used to be called Stabilicers Lite, but it looks like they've been renamed to Stabilicers Walk. I like them better than Yaktrax if you're on ice. These have metal points that will bite into ice. Yaktrax use coiled springs, which are less effective on smooth ice, they can't really bite in the same way.

But don't forget to take these off before walking back into the house, or you may make dents in your floor!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well, I made the decision to go with the Ariens Path Pro, bigger engine, and appreciate all the advice on dealing with the slope. In the final analysis, I think the ability to clear the snow down to the concrete with this machine will save me time and get the snow removed better than my 2-stage (which I will still have).

The Snowmaster still intrigues me and I think it would have done a good job.

The Path Pro will save me around $350 and should work fine.

This is one great forum for help and advice.

I really want to thank all who made comments and suggestions... not only on this thread but so many of the others that I read many times as well.

Dave
 
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