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Old 12-05-2011, 01:16 PM   #1
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Buying a snow blower... help!


never had one before, but have a few hundred feet of concrete driveway that is 2 cars wide and its just gotten too much to shovel when it really shows...

I want to buy a two stage snow blower since the driveway can be on a pretty good slope and its so wide and long... what are your opinnions of these two? I do have a budget and these seem like the best in my area that are in my budget..

Troy-Bilt 179cc 24" Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Item #: 189194 | Model #: 31AS62N2711
http://www.lowes.com/pd_189194-270-3...%7C1&facetInfo=

Troy-Bilt 208cc 26" Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Item #: 189206 | Model #: 31BM63P3711
http://www.lowes.com/pd_189206-270-3...%7C1&facetInfo=

anyone have any opinnion on those? is the higher displacement engine worth it?... not sure how power vs snow works out with these having never had one

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Old 12-05-2011, 04:08 PM   #2
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Ayuh,... Troy-built is pretty darn Good stuff, 'n More Power is always Better with snowblowers...

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Old 12-05-2011, 04:36 PM   #3
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Buying a snow blower... help!


I have an Ariens 8526 That's 8.5 HP with a 26" path
Every storm, I clear two double driveways, a part of a dirt road and paths around my yard everywhere to keep access open for the heating fuel guy.

It can throw some snow Baby.

I was at Homeboy yesterday and noticed they carry Ariens. I was just checking to see if they carried shear pins (make sure you have extras of these 'cause you're gonna need 'em at some point throughout it's career.)
Anyway......I looked at the auger shaft on a model similar to the one I run and I noticed it's significantly smaller than the one on mine. Problem? Don't know.
I just know that when that auger gets into wet, slushy, frozen, icy crap, there's a lot of torque on it and busted shear pins or bend auger shafts is not my idea of a good time.

So....I would take a look at the Troy Bilt at Lowes and then just take a quick ride to your nearest small engine dealer and compare shafts and prices so you don't get the shaft.....
Don't forget Service...these things need routine maintenance and Lowes is NOT going to provide you that. Buy Local. That guy will be your best friend when you need him most...Lowes won't....

FYI
I've lived in Maine all my life.
I've run snowblowers since I was a kid.
Toro, Bolens and a Troy Bilt before the Ariens.
Troy Bilt got it's reputation because of roto tillers....not so much with snowblowers.

Ariens is my favorite
Get one with a light on it or get a light kit
Snow doesn't just fall in the daytime

Good Luck
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:42 PM   #4
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Buying a snow blower... help!


any comments on engine size? or what about the shoot control? is a joystick control better?
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:46 PM   #5
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Buying a snow blower... help!


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any comments on engine size? or what about the shoot control? is a joystick control better?
I don't know why they switched it up and no longer tell you the Horsepower of the engines. Dumb!

I've got an older John Deere 826 - from back when they made them from actual steel. 8hp, 26" swath. The 8hp engine makes it a great machine! I used to have a JD 526. Same machine, but with a 5hp engine. It was underpowered.

That's my long way of saying that if you're going to buy a blower, spend the extra $150 and get the more powerful engine. In the long run you'll be glad you did.
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:37 PM   #6
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Don't forget Service...these things need routine maintenance and Lowes is NOT going to provide you that. Buy Local. That guy will be your best friend when you need him most...Lowes won't....
My first throught exactly, I suppose it's just a me thing, but, while the big boxes are certainly handy, and the local guys can't compete with their hours, I honestly feel that pound for pound, when it comes to "capital" purchases, the best deal is still the local stores, if for no other reason than the simple fact that without them we would be in a total throw-away world. Our appliances, lawn mower, snow blower, etc. came from and will to continue to come from the local family owned businesses. Even if you can repair it yourself, where do you get parts?

Okay, enough of that. We have a 25 year old Simplicity, which still looks and runs like new, but you can't buy a new one today. That said though, it is 8 H.P., 28" wide, 2 stage, with 5 forward and 2 reverse speeds, and I have been very satisfied with that configuration. In first or second speed, it has chewed through about 3' of snow, which is a tad slow for my taste, but you obviously aren't going through that much snow at a full gate. On the other end, up to 6 - 8", it varies, depending on how wet it is, but I can usually run it in 4th or 5th speed, and walk along behind it very comfortably. So, I like something in the 8 h.P. range, and definitely with variable sppeds. You also definitely want a two stage, and I wouldn't buy one without electric start, even though mine has always started by the second or third pull. And, depending on your layout, don't forget the headlight.

Last edited by DexterII; 12-05-2011 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:47 PM   #7
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Buying a snow blower... help!


The only Husqvarna product i have ever owned is a snow blower (Stihl doesn't make 'em as far as I can tell..) Mine is a 24" 2 stage, about 200 cc (8hp.) Runs like a champ. Only issue I have ever had is busting sheer pins because of my dirt driveway. For engine power, figure about 1 hp for every 25cc.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:51 PM   #8
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Buying a snow blower... help!


As far as your question about the joystick for control of the chute, they're just a gimmick you have more problems than the crank type. However that's a relatively low priority compared to other parts of the unit. You're certainly starting out on the right track going for a two stage and as others have said a bigger motor is better. Before committing to any machine I would deftly take a look at Ariens and Honda they are normally more expensive but you might find a deal and they are definitely better machines.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:05 PM   #9
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Buying a snow blower... help!


With a driveway that big, I'd be more inclined to get something a lot bigger then a 2 foot wide blower.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:09 AM   #10
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Buying a snow blower... help!


Wider is better, and plenty of ponies. Keep controls simple, as suggested. I will never own a wheeled snow blower. I have a Honda tracked machine, hydrostatic drive, and have been spoiled. I used a wheeled machine several times before I bought my own, and hated it. Get plenty of sheer pins, too, and get familiar w/ replacing them w/ a head lamp. Frozen dog turds will shear a pin in a heart beat.
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Old 12-06-2011, 05:17 AM   #11
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Buying a snow blower... help!


K I'm chiming in. Of the two troy models you are looking at another reason to get the bigger one, (besides the bigger motor is better able to handle that heavy wet slushy snow) is because the bigger model comes with clutch lock easy turn. You will be able to turn that guy on a dime and maveuver into hard to reach corners without effort, as apposed to those big clunkers without that feature.

Last winter I purchased a toro and I love it. This beast throws the snow really really far...has the fancy joystick for great aim AND instead of shear pins it has shear bolts. I haven't replaced one yet...gravel driveway, frozen dog poop and all
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:12 AM   #12
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Buying a snow blower... help!


Lots of good advice here. I have a driveway much like yours. I couldn't shovel a deep snow easily. Gotta have as much power as you can afford. I went cheap on mine and got a 5 hp 24" wide. It is underpowered in wet slushy stuff or even deep wet snow. Throws the light fluffy stuff just fine. Has saved me many hours of shoveling though,
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:13 AM   #13
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Buying a snow blower... help!


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With a driveway that big, I'd be more inclined to get something a lot bigger then a 2 foot wide blower.
not really........IMHO

The smaller the width and the bigger the HP, the better that thing will get through the big, wet heavy stuff.
....and those bigger machines are a B!tch to muscle around ....
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:11 AM   #14
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Buying a snow blower... help!


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not really........IMHO

The smaller the width and the bigger the HP, the better that thing will get through the big, wet heavy stuff.
....and those bigger machines are a B!tch to muscle around ....
For a driveway that's, "a few hundred feet of concrete driveway that is 2 cars wide", I was thinking more of a plow type device. An attachment to a ride on mower or one of those dune buggy type of vehicles.
To clear that size driveway, you'd need to make 6-8 passes.
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:16 AM   #15
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Buying a snow blower... help!


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For a driveway that's, "a few hundred feet of concrete driveway that is 2 cars wide", I was thinking more of a plow type device. An attachment to a ride on mower or one of those dune buggy type of vehicles.
To clear that size driveway, you'd need to make 6-8 passes.
I've got a triple-wide driveway, about 150' long, that I clear. The concrete is only 12' wide, but I clear beside it because there always seem to be people coming over and parking there.

I also clear about 300' of sidewalk.

My JD 826 handles it fine. Extremely well, in fact.

One reason I don't want to go with anything bigger is because it'd take up more space in my already too-small garage.

On the other hand, if I lived where we got a lot more snow every winter, I'd probably reconsider...

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