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Discussion Starter #1
I know you guys get asked this a lot. I want something that can handle Michigan winters. I live on a busy street and the snowplow guy always makes sure to shove as much heavy snow at the end of my drive as possible.

The machine HAS to have hydraulic trans -- no gear/clutch set up. I'm okay with wheels because my drive doesn't have much incline and is paved. Track drive is fine, just not essential.

I'm a bit partial to Honda, but I'm not sure the new ones are made as well as they used to make them. Honda is also expensive, which isn't a deal breaker, but a concern.

What machine would you recommend?

Thanks!
 

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Well, I'd argue some of your requirements . . . 50+ years in the Upper Peninsula with Ariens with "normal" drive and up to 400" a year, and zero problems. To me, hydro drive may be nice, but I have never felt any need or desire to have it - seems like just something else to run the price up and possibly have an expensive failure. 55th year, just bought the third blower, changed 1 or 2 drive discs max . . . used by two families, and typically 3 to 4 driveways, many days a week. (Read:They hold up fine!)

Ariens does have hydro models, though, if you are adamant about throwing money down that hole.
 

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If you are 100% set on a hydro, no turning back, then:
HSS1332AT / HSS1332ATD Honda's are nice and will get the job done. The Ariens Pro 28" Hydro MODEL NUMBER 926060 with the Briggs 420cc is also very nice. All are hydro's and all will do a great job. The only way I'd spend that kind of money is with a full line dealer, so there's your dinner.
 

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I once desired a hydro Honda. Turns out I have been super impressed with a decade old disc drive Ariens. Just today I simply bombed it into a pile of snow on a deck that came off the roof 2 days ago and since froze. Went through it like a trooper, throws snow really well. The disc drive holds well enough to run it up and down atv ramps in and out of my truck. Most of all get the highest power for your chosen size. 1332 Honda would be awesome but the price... Not willing to go there since there are tons of old disc drive machines that work flawlessly for decades and can be had for much less.
 

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You need torque and more horsepower gives you that.
The Toro 1428 OXE with the patented no clog system would be more than adequate for what you need for less money or purchase two of them having one as a spare for that kind of money.
Having a set of chains is a good thing too.
 

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It is a good and hard Question

For me I made a list of need to have and nice to have

needs:
handle warmers (I have had so cold hands that I have had issues with unlocking the door when done)
max width below 30" to be able to get through a door to my workshop (yes it should be rebuilt with a bigger door)
high HP/clearing width ratio (to throw snow further away)
lights
reliability and easy to obtain spare parts

wants
variable speed drive
tracks


In the end I got an Ariens Pro 28 - on wheels and disc driven
The need for reliability and spare parts outweighed the desire for variable speed. In worst case i can get an oem disc within 30 km for less than US30$ instead of waiting X days/weeks for parts. And yes $800 in price difference had a part in it too

The classic tracks cant climb the stairs in my garden and the rapidtrack was about US1800$ more expensive so I decided that it was way to much for a nice to have

The stock light - well lets just say that a 12 year old worn out Stiga is better so some "saved" money will be used to fix that issue
 

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It is a good and hard Question

For me I made a list of need to have and nice to have

needs:
handle warmers (I have had so cold hands that I have had issues with unlocking the door when done)
max width below 30" to be able to get through a door to my workshop (yes it should be rebuilt with a bigger door)
high HP/clearing width ratio (to throw snow further away)
lights
reliability and easy to obtain spare parts

wants
variable speed drive
tracks


In the end I got an Ariens Pro 28 - on wheels and disc driven
The need for reliability and spare parts outweighed the desire for variable speed. In worst case i can get an oem disc within 30 km for less than US30$ instead of waiting X days/weeks for parts. And yes $800 in price difference had a part in it too

The classic tracks cant climb the stairs in my garden and the rapidtrack was about US1800$ more expensive so I decided that it was way to much for a nice to have

The stock light - well lets just say that a 12 year old worn out Stiga is better so some "saved" money will be used to fix that issue
Hey nice purchase, that's what I have!! I agree with everything you said. The OP however really wants a hydro and as he said "Honda is also expensive, which isn't a deal breaker, but a concern." So I figure he's got deep pockets which is great!
Enjoy your Ariens Pro 28 you made an excellent choice. Oh, BTW here's a pic of my PRO 28"
 

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You need torque and more horsepower gives you that.
The Toro 1428 OXE with the patented no clog system would be more than adequate for what you need for less money or purchase two of them having one as a spare for that kind of money.
Having a set of chains is a good thing too.
I'd like to shop at your dealer. Power Max® HD 1428 OHXE Commercial (38843) 2 x $2599.99 at my dealer is $5199.98 and I might get a small discount for cash. The Honda's and Ariens come in a couple of thousand less.
I like the Toro but the OP says must have hydro and it's his $$ so lets spend it!
 

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If you are 100% set on a hydro, no turning back, then:
HSS1332AT / HSS1332ATD Honda's are nice and will get the job done. The Ariens Pro 28" Hydro MODEL NUMBER 926060 with the Briggs 420cc is also very nice. All are hydro's and all will do a great job. The only way I'd spend that kind of money is with a full line dealer, so there's your dinner.
dealer!! the magic word,
 

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You need torque and more horsepower gives you that.
The Toro 1428 OXE with the patented no clog system would be more than adequate for what you need for less money or purchase two of them having one as a spare for that kind of money.
Having a set of chains is a good thing too.
sorry leon!! from first hand use, they still clog, toro can say what they want,wet snow will clog anything
 

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There is much to read in this forum. All is good. both for learning and also for sharing


Bucket for bucket inch the Ariens will chuck more snow than a Honda per hour. For example: A 28" Ariens will blow as much per hour as a 32" Honda. A 32 Ariens as much as a 36 Honda. I looked into both brands carefully before buying a 28 Ariens Rapid Trak Pro a year ago. I'm quite happy with it. As I compared the two in person I found the Ariens to offer more bang for the buck and I thought it also a little sturdier built. Also a factor was I thought the 28 Honda was underpowered compared to the Ariens and I really didn't need to go bigger given we're gone a good chunk of the winter now. The OEM hand warmers are a little light on the power, but work well enough. Some of the new Hondas have also had a clogging problem which there is absolutely no excuse for.

I've started blowing snow in the center of the Upper Peninsula around 1963-64(11-12 years old) with my dad's old Sno Bird. We don't get as much snow as the Copper Country, but we get a lot. Since the late 60s / early 70s we've always had Ariens and been quite happy with them. My 1990 1236 Ariens was chucking snow just fine last year when I decided to treat myself to one more new toy. Having had some back issues over the years, it was getting to be a bit of a beast to push around with both wheels tied together. I sold it for good money and it continues to move big snow. I replaced one friction disc the entire time as I remember. This time around I decided to go with the hydro tranny and tracks and am very happy I did. Did I need either? Probably not. I'm not anticipating breakage given my Ariens experience to date, but at this stage of life, I'm also not concerned about cost down the road

The 3 positions of the Rapid Trak covers all the bases as it can be used as a wheeled machine in addition to the 2 track positions. I understand the hydro tranny is one more thing that could go wrong, but I've run lawn tractors with hydro trannys for over 25 years and never had an issue. I've come to really like the speed control of the set up. You can literally inch it forward in the track dig mode to scrape up car tracks.

To recap. I inherited my dad's late 60s 24" 8HP Ariens in the late 70s. I ran it until through 1989. This one was wore out and not worth maintaining any longer. It had moved many 1000 inches of snow faithfully in it's day. I bought the 1236 in the fall of 89. It probably would have seen me through my snowblowing time, but I sprung for a new one last year. This my 3rd Ariens machine in my lifetime and probably could of made do with only 2.
 

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Hey nice purchase, that's what I have!! I agree with everything you said. The OP however really wants a hydro and as he said "Honda is also expensive, which isn't a deal breaker, but a concern." So I figure he's got deep pockets which is great!
Enjoy your Ariens Pro 28 you made an excellent choice. Oh, BTW here's a pic of my PRO 28"
I know ;)
I just wanted to share my way of making the selection easier.
For me I will not spend money if not all the needs are filled. If the are I'm almost every time willing to spend whatever it costs.

I may spend money on the wants but here I will weight the price against what I get

For the OP - hydro should be on the needs list


Nice machine by the way
 

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It's like having a beer one day and the next day there's shot's of Jack Daniels or Jim Beam, (or any of the good stuff). Nothing wrong with a little variety. :wink2:
And that is why variety is the "spiced rum" of life..:eek:ccasion14: LOL
 

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I just got a 2003 or 4 Ariens 1128 Pro with onboard E start and hand warmers and I’m thrilled.
Moving up to Rapid trak and a hydro trans would be great.I watched a video of the rapid trak going up deck stairs and love the idea of a hydro trans.
My only reservation is the hydro servicable and proven to perform like the disc drive system .

But if you get lots of snow and don’t worry about fixing your own unit, buy the best snowblower you can and enjoy yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for all of the replies, guys. Zavie wants hand warmers -- I always use the exhaust from the muffler. Take off your gloves and have the exhaust blow inside the gloves (and hands) and good for another 15 minutes before you have to do it again...

David
 
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