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Something that is becoming more and more apparent to me as time goes on is this. The person who operates the machine is more important than the machine.

Obvious you say? or not. I only work on Honda's and have seen terribly abused machines that are only a few years old. Then I see Honda's that are 25-30-35 years old and still perform as new.

I constantly emphasize this to potential buyers that "they" the owner/operator hold the fate of their machines in their hands. This is not only true of Honda's but also of most brands of snowblowers. Most of us know that proper maintenance and proper use is the key to a long life of a machine. Sure some machine brands are built better than others but I have seen evidence over the years that the owner may be more responsible than the quality of the machine.

We see it here all the time. Members say Ariens are the best , Toro is the best , Honda is the best and so on. And it may be all true. Depends on the owner.

I have a small percentage of owners that seem to have so many problems with their Honda's. They are always complaining about their machines. I know the problem. they don't know how to properly use it. They use it hard as if it's bulletproof. then they wonder why it breaks.

On the other hand I know owners that never or rarely have a problem. I'll work/service their machine and won't hear from them for 2-3 years and will start to worry. I contact them and they say their blower is running great and have no issues.

This is a very frustrating thing. trying to educate people on the proper use and maintenance on their machines to get a long life out of it.

So what do you think? Quality of machine is more important? Or the quality of the owner?
 

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Well here is a 1971 Ariens. It has been in our family, brand new since November, 1971. As you can see, it has been modified in a lot of areas to where they have made the machine better. My dad has meticulously maintained this machine since the first season. I have been maintaining it for the last decade plus... or so. I have done all of the modifying. I think in this case, the machine answers for one side of the question and my dad's devotion answers for the other side.
 

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View attachment 168888

Well here is a 1971 Ariens. It has been in our family, brand new since November, 1971. As you can see, it has been modified in a lot of areas to where they have made the machine better. My dad has meticulously maintained this machine since the first season. I have been maintaining it for the last decade plus... or so. I have done all of the modifying. I think in this case, the machine answers for one side of the question and my dad's devotion answers for the other side.
It looks like the only thing left on it from 1971 era is the handlebars, hand controls and the Ariens sticker on the auger housing.
I would say it was heavily modified with newer upgraded modern parts, so hopefully it is still running-working with the new overhead valve "Slant" engine that should give it better fuel mileage.
 

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I agree , the operator is more important, especially if they do their own maintenance, improvements, and modifications, plus know both capabilities and limitations of their particular machine, The machine itself is very important, but it doesn't have a brain or nervous system feedback.....most problems that arise in mechanical systems stem from operator error. abuse, ignorance, or neglect.
 

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Very good question. I think it mostly has to do with the operator as you said and also to an extent the quality of the machine. No machine will last if abused but most will last a lot longer if well cared for and this is especially true for well built machines. I just sold my old Ariens Deluxe 24 to my neighbor and will be teaching him the basics on how to maintain it so it will hopefully last. I really hope he cares for it because it's a great snowblower. I have been very meticulous with it and have given some tips and training sessions to other neighbors on how to maintain them. I just hope they stick!
 

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toro 928 ohxe 38801,
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another vote for operator ,the ones that properly use and maintain a machine rarely have issues.
than the ones who are simply turn the key use it hard and park it while wet so to say. always have major issues

it's something i have personally seen all over from having been a auto brand service manager, auto factory level district manager and small off road machine shop owner.
the owners that failed to take some time and read the owners manual always became the worst to deal with.
i'm sorry to anyone in this site who feel the other way, but it's hard cold fact, people start to complain about nothing or something they self caused, do machines sometimes have flaws? yes that's what recalls are for and about .
 

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It is a symbiotic relationship. You can be a skilled operator, but only work as much as a substandard machine will allow, or be a horrible operator, and cant get it done with a 36" cut and a V8.
 

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Its not what you have, although there are some machines quality like a solid older Ariens as opposed to a new machine, but rather what you do to/with it and operating it properly, that reflect the future longevity.

I have a Craftsman Rider around 30 years old, looks and runs like new .. and I have seen people , one in particular, destroy a JD rider in a matter of a couple years ...

I have many snowblowers, none of which were paid for, all came to me at zero cost. I have repaired/restored the abuse put on them by there previous owners, all of which could have been avoided. It is not the machine you have, but what you do and how you take care of it .... sure, there are some inherent flaws, like the shitty gear case drive in some units, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Very good question. I think it mostly has to do with the operator as you said and also to an extent the quality of the machine. No machine will last if abused but most will last a lot longer if well cared for and this is especially true for well built machines. I just sold my old Ariens Deluxe 24 to my neighbor and will be teaching him the basics on how to maintain it so it will hopefully last. I really hope he cares for it because it's a great snowblower. I have been very meticulous with it and have given some tips and training sessions to other neighbors on how to maintain them. I just hope they stick!
Thats what I worry about when I sell one of my machines. I'd rather sell to a newbie than an old hand with bad habits on operation. I'll spend an hour or more showing the new owners how to operate correctly and some basic maintenance points and just like you say.......hope it sticks. When they make a mistake I just hope they don't blame me or say the machine I sold them was sub par.
 

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It is a symbiotic relationship. You can be a skilled operator, but only work as much as a substandard machine will allow, or be a horrible operator, and cant get it done with a 36" cut and a V8.
i agree . some machine brands ( won't name them ) will break even if owned by the best owner.
 

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What are things that you go over with customers after servicing or selling a snowblower?

I am thinking the following are a good starting point:
How to start the machine (fuel shutoff, choke throttle etc...)
Operation (General points on how to properly run the machine and some tips.
Replacing shear bolts and not to use hardware store bolts.
Fuel, storage and use of fuel stabilizer.
Basic maintenance such as oil changes, auger, belts, internal drive etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What are things that you go over with customers after servicing or selling a snowblower?

I am thinking the following are a good starting point:
How to start the machine (fuel shutoff, choke throttle etc...)
Operation (General points on how to properly run the machine and some tips.
Replacing shear bolts and not to use hardware store bolts.
Fuel, storage and use of fuel stabilizer.
Basic maintenance such as oil changes, auger, belts, internal drive etc...
pretty much all of the above. I go over the typical mistakes people make like not making sure their decks and driveways are not cleared of obstacles like firewood, boots, tools, tarps , etc which can cause a lot of damage.

i try to find owners manuals on ebay to give them and tell how important it is to read or download it.
Emphasize the limitations of the machine. Not to pound into berms etc.

Safety points about cleaning chute and augers . Addressing small issues before they become bigger.

This has all helped in avoiding problems down the road. Time well spent IMO. You take their money , tell them nothing and then they'll blame you for all THEIR mistakes. Head it off at the pass.
 

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pretty much all of the above. I go over the typical mistakes people make like not making sure their decks and driveways are not cleared of obstacles like firewood, boots, tools, tarps , etc which can cause a lot of damage.
Doormats and newspapers have been my biggest obstacles. Lol. Thanks for the spare sheer pins.
 

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So what do you think? Quality of machine is more important? Or the quality of the owner?
I'd say for myself, it is the quality of the owner. My snow equipment won't last or look as new if I wasn't careful properly running and maintaining the equipment. I usually replace wearable items before they start destroying other parts. I frequently check bearings, belts, scraper bar, skids shoes. When running my snowblower, I don't let the engine strain too much. I listen to the engine RPM and slow the down the ground speed if the snow is wet and heavy.

Also, I tend to avoid buying junk. I put good money into my equipment so I am motivated to take good care of them.
 

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Doormats and newspapers have been my biggest obstacles. Lol. Thanks for the spare sheer pins.
I have hit some newspapers with my blower. They scared the crap out of me. They were buried under the snow then thud and the machine dies. Never broke a sheer pin but I did throw newspaper confetti all over. I found it all over that spring even in my neighbors yard.
 

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I just sold my old Ariens Deluxe 24 to my neighbor and will be teaching him the basics on how to maintain it so it will hopefully last. I really hope he cares for it because it's a great snowblower. I have been very meticulous with it and have given some tips and training sessions to other neighbors on how to maintain them. I just hope they stick!
You're a good neighbor to have and the new owner is lucky to have bought the snowblower from you. Some people just don't realize that they have to take care of the machine so that it will continue working well. Buying a meticulously maintained machined and getting training lessons is priceless.
 

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I would say the operator. Personally, I don't let anybody to operate, but me. No one in the house knows how to do it properly, and no matter how good your machine is, an inexperienced user can damage it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I would say the operator. Personally, I don't let anybody to operate, but me. No one in the house knows how to do it properly, and no matter how good your machine is, an inexperienced user can damage it.
strongly agree. learned the hardway about lending a neighbor a tool. Had a neighbor ask to use blower to do berm and I said no but went over there and did it myself.
 

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Pressure washers and snowblowers are the two things I never lend out, unless the borrower leave me a full deposit.

It's not that I don't trust the borrower, I just don't trust my self go ape mad if they mess up my equipment.
 
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