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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone! I have not visited this forum in a while. Given how helpful everyone was when I bought my Ariens back in 2014, I thought I would provide some feedback after 4 years of use.

I own the 2014 Ariens Hydro Pro 32 Track with 12 V start, #926514 (now discontinued). The dealer made some lighting and dashboard modifications. The lighting mods have been extremely helpful when blowing snow at night. The flashers and rear lighting has really made a difference in enabling cars to see me blowing snow on the street. For example, as soon as a car turns onto my street and sees flashers and headlights, I can see them slowing down immediately. Although these mods are costly, I recommend everyone install additional lighting on their blowers (if possible) to improve safety.

This machine is a real beast. Although we have a small driveway, I use the snowblower to clear neighbors' driveways, sidewalks, and part of the street we live on (the snowplow is usually very late). I have had no issues whatsoever. I change the oil once a year and use fuel treatment when storing the machine during the off season.

I use 93 octane fuel based on the recommendation from my dealer. 93 octane has less ethanol than 87 octane. Since we do not use snowblowers as often as we use cars, the additional ethanol can cause interior parts to deteriorate more quickly. (The cars we use daily are less likely to have this issue since the gasoline is constantly being burned and replaced...much less time for ethanol to gum-up internal parts.)

What I like the most about the Ariens is the sheer power...420cc can really go thru the 4-foot high snow piles left in front of my driveway from the snowplows. (Yes, after I clear the entrance to the driveway, the snowplows come and block it again. LOL!) I have broken the pins quite a few times. When we have considerable snowfall, I cannot see where the curb is. Consequently, on multiple occasions I have driven the Ariens over the curb at an angle causing the blades to hit the concrete. As soon as that happens the pins break. After all of my mistakes, my blades have not needed any maintenance. The pins break away at the appropriate time to protect them from bending or breaking. Rocks have also caused the pins to break. I also chewed-up a newspaper by accident, but that did not cause the pins to break. I just made a mess of my neighbor's lawn. :)

I have also used this blower on grass, uneven terrain, and on ice. In all cases I cleared snow without a problem and did not lose traction. The only test I have not done is a steep incline (I do not have one nearby). I have never owned a track machine until now and I will never go back. The traction is exceptional.

My only complaint is turning. I never got the "trick" to enabling the turn feature this model has. Consequently, turning requires moderate effort. I will keep practicing and maybe I can trigger the tracks to go in opposite directions so turning will become much easier. Please note that I have an added weight bar installed, thus the extra weight may make turning the machine a little more difficult.

I live in northern NJ. The greatest snowfall we had over the past 4 years in one storm is 24+ inches. This machine is so powerful that my 9-year-old nephew can run this machine by himself with that much snow. My only instructions to him were maintaining a slow speed and needing my assistance when turning.

I have not done any research on current Ariens models. However, based on my experience I highly recommend this brand!


*** Update ***
One maintenance cost I had this year was to replace the battery. The original battery failed after 4 years of use. The lifespan of the battery is 4 to 5 years. Given how much of a load I am placing on the battery I would say replacing the battery every 4 years is above average performance.
 

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Awesome ! I noticed in the 4th picture that it looks like your tracks have a negative camber issue. Maybe from too much weight from all of the lights ! LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Can you elaborate?

Awesome ! I noticed in the 4th picture that it looks like your tracks have a negative camber issue. Maybe from too much weight from all of the lights ! LOL
Negative camber issue? Can you elaborate? I can communicate your observation to my dealer who would be more than happy to look into this more carefully. Thanks!
 

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Nice write up.

For the brushes with the curb, mark your blowing space with orange marker rods they come in varying lengths accommodating your typical snow depths. Cheaper than shear pins and reusable year after year.
 

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Negative camber issue? Can you elaborate? I can communicate your observation to my dealer who would be more than happy to look into this more carefully. Thanks!

It looks like if you were to measure from the top-outside of one track to the top-outside of the other track, and compare it with the measurement from the bottom-outside of the tracks, it would be shorter across the top. i.e. they both are leaning towards the inside of the machine, and the bottom tread is not flat on the ground. Maybe it is designed that way, but it would tend to wear the track-treads on the inside more than the outside.
 

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It looks like if you were to measure from the top-outside of one track to the top-outside of the other track, and compare it with the measurement from the bottom-outside of the tracks, it would be shorter across the top. i.e. they both are leaning towards the inside of the machine, and the bottom tread is not flat on the ground. Maybe it is designed that way, but it would tend to wear the track-treads on the inside more than the outside.

My vote is digital camera visual distortion!


Red
 

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What a dashboard, switches, dash lights, lighting. Impressive.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If anyone is interested in adding switches and a dashboard, I have some advice based on my experience.

The frame supporting the front headlights is made of, surprisingly, steel. The black coating on the steel frame protects the metal from moisture and rust. The frame pieces are welded together and bolted onto the machine. Fortunately, Ariens provided additional holes in various places to attach modifications.

The dashboard plates where the meters are mounted is made out of aluminum - not stainless steel. Aluminum does not rust and resists moisture much better. Two meters are mounted on the aluminum plates and those meters are designed for boats; boats must have instrumentation that are water resistant. The two meters I installed are voltage and RPM. The voltage meter is by far the most important. When running 4 LED headlights, flashers, rear lighting, dashboard light, grip warmers, etc., I wanted to make sure that all of the additional power is not draining the battery power. If I turn everything on, the voltage meter indicates a very small positive charge. When I turn off the hand-grip warmers and leave everything else on, I have a very strong positive charge. Consequently, I use my snowblower without the warmers. That's ok; I have very thick Canada Goose Northern Utility gloves with an inner glove inside. Those gloves really keep my hands dry and act as a greenhouse - on one occasion my hands started sweating on a mildly cold day. Please note that the key to keeping your hands warm is keeping them dry. If any moisture gets inside your fingers will become cold very quickly. Consequently, sweating can cause your fingers to get cold.

The original switches I used were made of plastic and broke almost immediately. My large, heavy winter gloves were too much for plastic switches to handle. I had to replace all of the plastic switches with metal toggle switches that have protective carbon fiber covers. This upgrade has worked out very well. The only change I may make in the future is to move the switches further to the right. My large winter gloves oftentimes hits the two left switches by accident (which were also the plastic switches that broke off). The switches are too close to the clutch control and my glove hits them often. Fortunately, the carbon fiber covers protecting the metal switch underneath is an excellent solution.

All of the wiring is water resistant and encased in plastic, flexible tubing. I know the front headlights are completely waterproof. The rear red lights are water resistant and I think are designed for trucks. That is, the brake lights you see on 18-wheelers.
 

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I have not done any research on current Ariens models. However, based on my experience I highly recommend this brand!


*** Update ***
One maintenance cost I had this year was to replace the battery. The original battery failed after 4 years of use. The lifespan of the battery is 4 to 5 years. Given how much of a load I am placing on the battery I would say replacing the battery every 4 years is above average performance.
I wish I had seen your cab photos before I ordered one online this morning! Yes, I had seen pictures of it but not on a machine. Great lights!!!
 

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What the heck are you doing snow blowing out in the middle of the street? You can get killed. Do you think all those lights will make you invincible?
 

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What the heck are you doing snow blowing out in the middle of the street? You can get killed. Do you think all those lights will make you invincible?

There were times I cleaned out around the bottom of my driveway and mail box and did not see approaching cars. The blown snow my blower produced really limited visibility. Lights are nice although I plan to just stick with the front light
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
What the heck are you doing snow blowing out in the middle of the street? You can get killed. Do you think all those lights will make you invincible?
Happy Thanksgiving!

Actually, snow blowing on the street is much safer in our area than you think. Please allow me to explain.

When I first moved here and experienced my first snow storm in this neighborhood, I saw something that I had never seen in my entire life: people shoveling and snow blowing the street. At first, this made no sense. Why would anyone want to clear snow from the street when the town has plows and, as you correctly indicated, street clearing presents a much higher level of danger? I then asked my neighbors why and their answer surprised me.

In my town as well as the adjacent towns, the snowplows do not get to our area until much later in the day. Other than the main roads which are plowed very quickly, our neighborhood roads are much further down the queue. Most people have to go to work and cannot wait for the plows. Also, many homes here have only 1-car garages. Hence, every home has two or more cars parked in their driveways year round. We cannot clear the driveway very well with cars in the way. Although the car blocks the snow from hitting the ground, the areas between the cars must be cleared and shoveling in such small areas is very cumbersome and time consuming. Furthermore, we cannot get the cars out of the driveway due to the EOD having too much snow. If we get stuck, we cannot rock our cars back and forth to get unstuck since we are parked too closely to other cars in the driveway. (FYI...if you hit your own car some insurance companies do not cover the damage.) Once we get on the street, we can drive on the unplowed roads for a short time until we reach the main road, which is cleared before most people wake up the morning. Another important point: we do not live a mountainous area and all of the terrain is relatively flat.

Consequently, the people (many decades ago) began to compensate by first clearing areas on the street in front of the house and the end of driveway *first*. Next, we take all of the snow off our our cars and allow that snow to land on the driveway. Once done, we move our cars and temporarily park them on the street in the areas we just cleared. (If you look at my avatar photo, you can see me snow blowing my driveway. In the background on the center-right side, you can see my car temporarily parked on the street.) Now we are able clear the driveway. Once the driveway is cleared, we move the cars back into the driveway, then begin blowing the sidewalks, walkways, etc. Throughout this process we have local police patrolling our streets monitoring our progress. If the plows will be coming sooner than expected, the police will let us know and we all immediately remove the cars from the streets and stop all shoveling and snow blowing on the streets. (That's only happened once in the 6 years I have lived here.)

One day I should take a video of our block working on the snow. Collectively we look like a highly trained snow removal crew doing a job for the town. :smile2: Over the years, the number of people owning snowblowers has increased. Back in 2014 when I first bought my Ariens, only 4 people in a block of about 30 houses had blowers. Today I see 8 blowers. My neighbors blame me for this trend; all the kids in the neighborhood saw my Ariens and began pressuring their parents to buy one. :grin: What I also enjoy about our neighborhood is we all work as a team to get small segments of the street cleared, as well as the sidewalks and our driveways. When we experienced that storm a year or two ago that dumped 24+ inches of snow, the entire neighborhood had our entire block cleared in a few hours - many hours before the plows arrived. Of course, the plows blocked everyone's EOD again and we had to clear that area one more time.

So, your implied comment regarding the danger of snow blowing the street being highly dangerous is valid. However, now that I have provided some important context regarding how our neighborhoods work together to clear the snow, you can understand how the danger is significantly minimized. I have lived in 7 states during my lifetime including states with much heavier snowfall: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Connecticut. I have never seen people clearing public streets in any of those locations except here in northern NJ.
 

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That's a nice cab! I have never seen that cab before. After you install please post some pics from multiple angles.
Sure thing. Nice except for the cost. My old Bolen had a similar enclosure and it really helped keep the bulk of blown snow off me
 
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