fishhappy

Snowblowers

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104 posts in this topic

9 hours ago, fishhappy said:

We have gone through several snowblowers in the last 15 years, toro, an orange sears one, and an electric ryobi.

The Ryobi dies after a year, the sears ran out of parts, and the Toro was always tough to start and finally was beyond my ability to repair, I put to carburetors into it.

If you still have the Toro, consider re-engining it with a $100 Predator from Harbor Freight. I did this last year to my ancient Toro 524, and it's like a new machine!  Thing starts on 1st pull and has more power than the original.  I'm not a car guy, though I'm very handy.

 

Few of the new ones are made like the old iron. I had previously brought it to a landscaper service place and they were shocked at what it weighed! But they did a crap job of servicing it and charged me $200.  I discovered a discussion site purely for snowblowers, there's guys in northern states who make a living picking up old ones for nothing and re-engining or tuning them up.

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I spoke to a repair guy a few years ago.  He commented that between the new fuel mixes and the water they tend to absorb that the gaskets/ O-rings tend to swell and degrade over time.  His rule to thumb was to drain all gas ( including carb bowl) if you were going to leave an engine sit for more than a month or so. I asked if they had changed the materials (eg use of Viton/Teflon) and he said no changes-  this was maybe 10 years ago.  I know that for cars that meet the flex-fuel requirements, changing out some of the fuel system materials is amongst the differences-  doesn't  really cost the manufacturer that much more at time of manufacturing.  But a lot of yard equipment is built on the cheap these days.  

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I have an old John deere, it is 20 plus years old and it started on the first pull after not running since the last 

Snow. I keep it up with regular maintenance. 

Now my ice fishing augur that's a different story. 

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1 hour ago, R.R. Bridge Fisher said:

I have an old John deere, it is 20 plus years old and it started on the first pull after not running since the last 

Snow. I keep it up with regular maintenance. 

Now my ice fishing augur that's a different story. 

If it's a 2 stroke, that's generally an easy fix. It probably has a Walbro carburetor. The diaphragms harden over time. You can buy the kit and they're very easy to change out. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Strong suit for Honda is the engine-The frame is not overbuilt and the transmission is a "fluid drive " hydrostatic design which is very user friendly but tremendously expensive to fix.

Ariens makes different levels of machines and the ones with the cast heavy duty gear boxes are generally not carried in the big box stores. Most outdoor power equipment shops will carry both the consumer grade machines seen at the box stores  and the "Pro" models.

 

If you are serious about snow removal you want 4hp per foot of auger width in a 2 stage machine. Hence the designation on the machine of "824"-8hp,24"Auger.  Larger machines are available but their width becomes problematic in terms of storing them between cars in a two car garage.

 

I prefer an engine with a cast iron bore as opposed to an aluminum bore. I also prefer American manufactured engines but they have become increasingly more difficult to find.

 

The weak point in any snow blower is the evaporation of fuel in the tank and carburetor during the off season. I am 73 years old and have been using snow blowers since I am 8. My father used to drain the tank dry and loosen the bowl nut on the carb with a rag held underneath it to get ALL the fuel out of the system. Fresh gas and an oil change the next season and you get a two pull start. One pull to get fuel into the carb and one to start. Electric start is really not necessary. If your carburetor float is gummed up and stuck against the the wall of the bowl you can crank with an electric start all day and it isn't going to run.

Ariens and Simplicity are the two brands I would consider and would opt for the cast gear box if available. Husqurvarna is a brand I am not familiar with so I won't comment.

 

One of the most important things you can do when using a snow blower is walk your driveway and sidewalk BEFORE it snows. Make sure there are no newspapers or branches etc to jam the machine. A newspaper once ingested into the auger system of a blower can take HOURS to get out. Also buy a supply of OEM shear pins when you buy your machine. They cost about a buck and prevent damage to the gear box. If you don't know what a shear pin does have the salesman show and explain it to you. Also don't buy a machine that doesn't have grease fittings on the auger shaft. Honda does not which is another reason I don't like them. 

Lastly- Unless you have a very steep grade stay away from tracked machines. They are difficult to turn, complicated to work on and expensive to repair.

Good luck,

Marc 

Edited by mml4

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I have a 21 year old Toro PowerMax 826. It still runs perfect. And to be perfectly honest, it still has the original spark plug. I remove it every year, clean it up on a brass wire wheel, recheck the gap, and back in it goes. This machine uses the most common Tecumseh Snow King flat head motor that most did of that vintage. I religiously use Stabil in the gas and at the end of the snow season, I shut of the fuel flow and run the machine dry. Some of these carbs have a drain on the bottom of the bowl, but I find that they tend to leak after a bit when you use that, so I never touch that drain. One of the biggest problems people have is hard starts and motor surging or "hunting" at idle. It's a clogged jet. But the low speed jet is hidden under a sealed cap so most people don't even know it's there. You need to remove that jet and clean it out with a very fine piece of wire. It'll run good as new. I've worked on a lot of these motors over the years, so if someone has a specific question, feel free to contact me. Unless the piston and cylinder walls are scored and loss of compression, they can be fixed relatively easy.

I keep up with yearly maintenance like grease and oil changes and replace the shoes and cutting edge before they get too bad. I finally replaced the belts two years ago. They weren't broken or really worn bad, I just felt I might be on borrowed time with those originals. So I kept them as back ups in the event of a failure during a storm. I did notice that I'm starting to get a little surface rust, so I'll sand that and repaint. 

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My Toro before and after new engine. The 212cc Predator, a clone of a Honda, is rated 6.5 hp, 1.5 more than the original, But guys (minicart freaks) have put them on dynamometers right out of the box showing more. With some simple mods they can pass 10hp, they're real popular with that minicart crowd! The only mod I have is a custom adjustable carb needle so you can tweak it if it's hunting.

 

One of my few good habits regarding gas engines is never turning them off when done, always shutting off the gas.

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

My vote is for an older Simplicity. I did a bunch of research a couple years ago.  The new stuff, of course, is not made as well as the old stuff. See if you can find a Simplicity SnoAway 8...24" dual stage with the 8 hp Tecumseh engine. Absolutely killer. Electric start....you plug in a power cord, start it and then unplug the power cord. You can find them used. You will probably have to pay a shop to tune it up if it's not in peak operating condition.  Expect to pay $400-450 on Craigslist...if it needs Any work...pay less.  When I bought mine, it needed a new carb.  Shop changed maybe $200 for the job. The OEM carb is not cheap. But... there are cheap Chinese carbs on eBay...and they work. For like $25 you get a carb, fuel filter, fuel valve, spark plug and some other stuff too! Easy to replace.

Edited by blackdogfish

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On 11/24/2019 at 6:37 PM, dc1874 said:

Look for a  used well taken care of snowblower with the Tecumseh Snow King engine..Indestructible!! 

The 8hp Tecumseh is GOOD!

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On 11/25/2019 at 5:52 AM, R.R. Bridge Fisher said:

 

Now my ice fishing augur that's a different story. 

I went electric. 30-40 holes in 12" ice, no problem, no noise, no smoke, no fluids. First battery lasted about 10-12 years, replaced it for $40.

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I have a Husqvarna that I bought 4 or 5 years ago. I use regular gas and put  sta-bil in it. At the end of every season I drain as much gas as I can and start engine and run it til it stops, never had any issues with it. Always starts right up with electric start or pull start. I would also recommend buying from independent dealer as big box stores get a lower grade product. I do run the TruFuel in my chainsaws and weedwhackers  and no issues with them either. 

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2 hours ago, pd07 said:

I have a Husqvarna that I bought 4 or 5 years ago. I use regular gas and put  sta-bil in it. At the end of every season I drain as much gas as I can and start engine and run it til it stops, never had any issues with it. Always starts right up with electric start or pull start. I would also recommend buying from independent dealer as big box stores get a lower grade product. I do run the TruFuel in my chainsaws and weedwhackers  and no issues with them either. 

That's honestly not true. They get the same machines. The advantage is the personal care and servicing you get from an independent dealer.

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1 hour ago, bospa357 said:

That's honestly not true. They get the same machines. The advantage is the personal care and servicing you get from an independent dealer.

 

4 hours ago, pd07 said:

I would also recommend buying from independent dealer as big box stores get a lower grade product.

Some companies do have different equipment that the big box stores carry compared to the independent authorized dealers. The equipment is basically the same except they might use a plastic piece here or there instead of steel. It's a cost saving measure, but it doesn't necessarily make it an inferior product. The other difference is that the independent dealer will carry the bigger beefier "pro" models. Whereas the big box stores typically only carry the basic ones. And like @bospa357  said, the independent dealer will give you their time, knowledge, and servicing unlike the big box stores.

 

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