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I've been refurbishing and selling Ariens 2-stage snow blowers for a few years as a hobby. As a general rule, I really like Ariens snow blowers and think they offer excellent quality and value. They aren't quite up to Honda's quality but are significantly better than most of their competitors (MTD, Briggs' Simplicity, etc.). However, all companies make a lemon from time to time. Here are few Ariens models I'd avoid buying on the used market unless you can verify these issues have been corrected.

Ariens 939 Series
Sno-Tek 22R and 20R (939400 and 939401 series).
This was the absolute low-end of Ariens' line: fixed RPM engine throttle, no electric starter and a single forward speed. There is no reverse capability. Worse yet, there is no friction disc and the entire traction system is a non-serviceable plastic encasement. In other words, if the traction belt is good and the drive system fails there is no practical or economical repair. I am not aware of a retrofit or upgrade kit. You'll find these models for less than $300 on the used market but you'd be MUCH better off with a good Toro or Honda single stage machine.

Ariens 932 Series
Ariens 932040 (ST 5520E), 932041 (ST 7524E), 932042 (ST 624E), 932140 (HD ST 5520), 932141 (HD ST7524E), 932509 (ST7524) and 932510 (ST5520).
I believe all of these models had plastic wheel rims (Ariens part numbers 007100036 and 007100037). MTD had also produced snow blowers with plastic rims which were recalled. In that case, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stated, "If the snow thrower's tires are over-inflated, the plastic wheel rims can burst, posing a risk of lacerations and fractures". I've never seen a recall for Ariens' rims but I would not buy one of these machines without factoring in the cost of replacing the plastic rims with metal rims. In addition to the safety risk, tires often have slow leaks because they can't form a good bead on the rim. Otherwise, these are decent machines.

Ariens 926 Series
Ariens 926001 (926LE), 926002 (11528LE), 926003 (1332LE), 926004 (926DLE), 926005 (11526DLE), 926006 (1328DLE), 926101 (926LE), 926102 (11528LE), 926103 (1332LE).
These machines had four design flaws. Ariens recognized this and offers retrofit kits for three of the issues. First, there is a single auger belt which dramatically limited snow throwing distances and performance. There is a dual belt retro kit available which corrects this problem. Secondly, melted snow can leak into the belly between the front of the engine and the belt guard. This can cause the friction disc to slip and greatly reduces traction. Ariens offers a metal baffle plate to prevent this. Next, the chute may not stay locked in the desired position so there's a gear and cable replacement kit available. Finally, the traction drive belt may frequently slip off the engine pulley as the machine ages. This is because the drive plate (which comes in contact with the friction disc) is at too much of an angle from the engine sheave. Fortunately, this can easily be addressed with a nylock nut (and/or a short length of fuel line) installed on the stud in front of the drive pulley.

I understand Ariens corrected these issues at the factory as they were identified so check the machine you are buying to see if the upgrade has been done by Ariens or a prior owner. The 926 is a fantastic machine once you overcome these four issues.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional small engine mechanic- just a hobbyist who has encountered issues with some machines in the 939, 932 and 926 series. I can not say if all machines in those series are problematic.
 

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I'm not a 939 hater, It helps once you understand what the machine is and isn't. the 939 does reverse(manual pull back)if the cone clutch is freed and functioning properly. (unfortunately the clutch is in the plastic gear case. the befefit of the 939 over earlier 932 compacts is a larger, faster, 12" impeller that throws with more distance and authority. Plus the simplified forward drive. the drawback is the slow forward speed which led to the 939 demise IMO. the 920000 compact frame series is dimensionally the same as the 939 (I believe 039 buckets are hot swaappable to 920's)but the 920 compacts have the disk drive and modernized linkage. the 939 having only 1 drive gear has a reduction designed drive a small light machine with large impeller through frozen berms (the narrower sized bucket the better)














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Your post borders on the altruistic. I don’t have an Ariens and am unlikely to buy one, but still found it very interesting. Thanks.
I do wonder about the design flaws though. Engineers can make mistakes but I’m surprised those flaws weren’t noticed during the test and validation phase. It doesn’t fill me with confidence, even though lots of people seem very happy with their Ariens blowers.
 

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Your post borders on the altruistic. I don’t have an Ariens and am unlikely to buy one, but still found it very interesting. Thanks.
I do wonder about the design flaws though. Engineers can make mistakes but I’m surprised those flaws weren’t noticed during the test and validation phase. It doesn’t fill me with confidence, even though lots of people seem very happy with their Ariens blowers.
same can be said when the first Honda HSS models came out. same maybe in the motorcycle and car industries. They rarely get the first editions of a model right and usually tweek and fix flaws in later editions of that model.
 

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I'll second those sno-tek's :sick: Neighbor, with a 250' plus driveway bought one when they built his house. He was beat up hard moving anything more than a foot of snow. I watched him in blizzard for literally 3 hours one day. I could have driven by him with my pro in 2-3rd gear and dusted him.
 
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I have 921001 (ST24E) with some of those design flaws that you mentioned in the Ariens 926 series. I fixed them all. Plus, I installed a remote chute deflector control and other mods on it. My next mod would probably be the wheel weight for more traction.

You can always make things better. They are nice machines, if you have times and money to put on them. Otherwise, stay away from them. I kinda got mad when I fixed those design flaws. I didn't know about those design flaws when I bought it.
 

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I have 921001 (ST24E) with some of those design flaws that you mentioned in the Ariens 926 series. I fixed them all. Plus, I installed a remote chute deflector control and other mods on it. My next mod would probably be the wheel weight for more traction.

You can always make things better. They are nice machines, if you have times and money to put on them. Otherwise, stay away from them. I kinda got mad when I fixed those design flaws. I didn't know about those design flaws when I bought it.
Unless you bought new, I would of sold and buy a heavier machine. I know I enjoy tinkering on machines, but if it needs so much work to bring up its reliability and adequate performance, it's not for me. Unfortunately a ,lot of manufacturers have value lines, and their name and reputation temporarily hide the flaws.
 

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Unless you bought new, I would of sold and buy a heavier machine. I know I enjoy tinkering on machines, but if it needs so much work to bring up its reliability and adequate performance, it's not for me. Unfortunately a ,lot of manufacturers have value lines, and their name and reputation temporarily hide the flaws.
I'm different. I like to have fun messing around with my machines and save money at the same time. They are easy to fix and maintenance. The Ariens ST24E, or Deluxe 24 is a heavy duty snowblower. It has the same performance with your Ariens 1128 Pro (maybe more with the impeller mod and rpm increased). Okay, I lied a little. It has a smaller outdated engine, but that is not going to be a problem for me, since we only get 12" snow max. New snowblowers just last you a little bit longer, since everything is new. Maintenance is more important to make your snowblower reliable. Not all people are handy, so they can buy new snowblowers and sell their used snowblower to me for less than half the price.
 

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Unless you bought new, I would of sold and buy a heavier machine. I know I enjoy tinkering on machines, but if it needs so much work to bring up its reliability and adequate performance, it's not for me. Unfortunately a ,lot of manufacturers have value lines, and their name and reputation temporarily hide the flaws.
Whats the point in buying new if this is what you get. Might as well buy used and save the money if you're going to have to take it home and fix everything the engineers did wrong lol.. I get something out of taking a machine meant for scrap and breathing new life into it. I did it with my Jeep, my Harley, my snowblower.. Plus I'm pretty sure it's better for the environment to refurbish an old machine than build a totally new one.
 
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