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Snow blower question
Posted by: davemchine
Date: February 04, 2017 02:36PM
I've been using a Toro 1800 Power Curve Snow Blower for several years and I really like it. No gasoline to store and it's so light I can hang it on the wall when I'm done. It does a great job up to around 5" of snow as long as it isn't too slushy. The last two years we have had heavier snow and my little snow blower is struggling. I also moved to a house with a larger driveway and I need more throw. So I'm soliciting advice on what to get.

This is what I have
[www.amazon.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/2017 02:36PM by davemchine.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 04, 2017 03:01PM




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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: billb
Date: February 04, 2017 03:11PM
as in you're ready to upgrade to a two stage gas unit ?



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: rgG
Date: February 04, 2017 04:47PM
I hope to NEVER be able to help you answer that question. grinning smiley grinning smiley grinning smiley





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: modelamac
Date: February 04, 2017 04:48PM
It would be more helpful to see a pic of your driveway - straight or curved, how much slope, barriers on the side, etc.



Mr. Curmudgeon, on Mav/EC/Sierra/blood thinner & some other "old people pills".
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 04, 2017 05:35PM
Well, if I had my druthers, and deep pockets, I'd get one like this



But it would be overkill. My 7 HP Ariens with a Briggs and Stratton engine does a pretty good job. This was the first year I had to use the electric starter; up to now, just one yank on the cord was enough. Can't remember when I bought it; maybe seven years ago? It's probably due for a new sparkplug.

/Mr Lynn



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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: davemchine
Date: February 04, 2017 06:52PM
This is probably the best pic I have of the driveway. It is flat and rather large. I have a three car garage and the driveway is probably 3 cars deep. Plus the curved driveway leading to the road. Plus the side of the house were the boat is kept.

[colquhoun.info]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/05/2017 10:50AM by davemchine.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: max
Date: February 04, 2017 06:56PM
What is this snow you speaketh of?...
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 04, 2017 07:04PM
Dave,

One thing for certain is to buy a model that doesn't require a gas/oil mix for fuel. You want it to use off-the-shelf fuel. That said, at my office for our big honkin' beast of a Toro snow blower, I use special gas that remains stable for multiple years. But, I do that by choice, not because it's necessary. The snow blower was designed for plain ol' gas and runs fine on it. the other stuff is just better. smiling smiley

Robert

P.S. The office snow blower is a very nice two-stage. Our last Toro lasted over 35 years. Hopefully this one has even some of its longevity.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Speedy
Date: February 04, 2017 09:02PM
Looks like a fairly big area. You might want to consider one like mine:

[www.youtube.com]

Uses Diesel; goes and goes.

If you can, avoid any blower that uses belts. Once the belt slips, you're done. Heavy wet snow can stop a belt drive blower dead. When we have heavy (as in: deep) wet snow my neighbors don't even bring out their belt drive blowers, they just wait for me to come around. Or they shovel.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/2017 09:16PM by Speedy.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Racer X
Date: February 04, 2017 10:31PM
I'd get a hair dryer and extension cord. Then use them to keep your hands toasty warn while on your couch. Wait til spring thaw.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 04, 2017 10:55PM
Quote
Speedy
Looks like a fairly big area. You might want to consider one like mine:

[www.youtube.com]

Uses Diesel; goes and goes.

If you can, avoid any blower that uses belts. Once the belt slips, you're done. Heavy wet snow can stop a belt drive blower dead. When we have heavy (as in: deep) wet snow my neighbors don't even bring out their belt drive blowers, they just wait for me to come around. Or they shovel.

That's a tractor with a blower attachment. Might as well go whole hog and get a front-end loader.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: tenders
Date: February 05, 2017 12:05AM
I was in exactly your situation with that wonderful electric Toro snow thrower in 2014, except we didn't move. We just had so much snow that winter that by mid-February it couldn't launch new snow over the previous piles of old snow, and I had given up on digging out the sidewalk that winds behind the house (garbage can route). It was also overwhelmed by the hard icy stuff the plow was leaving at the interface to the street.

Our driveway is two cars wide and two and a half cars long, and the Toro ran great for 11 years with practically no maintenance - maybe one belt in all that time. I gave it to my parents after replacing the belt, plastic blade, and metal scoop edges with parts online that cost maybe $60. They use it for their sidewalk but it doesn't owe anybody anything.

One of the reasons I had resisted a gas snow thrower was that I didn't want the hassle of annual small engine maintenance. But I had acquired a gas power washer so had basically signed up for it anyway. I do both engines' annual oil changes at the same time in the spring.

They no longer sell small engines that require manual or automatic mixing oil and gas (2-cycle). Which is too bad, because the four-cycle engines of today are noticeably heavier than the 2-cycles were. But the four-cycle engines are surprisingly good, even the Chinese ones. More than powerful enough, and amazingly easy to start with electronic ignition.

I ended up buying the most powerful single-stage thrower that Sears/Craftsman offers, with a 208cc Chinese engine, electric start, and a forward-pointed light.
[www.sears.com]

Single-stage throwers work like the Toro electric: one spinning blade both grabs the snow off the ground and flings it through the chute like a fan. Two-stage throwers use a corkscrew-like auger to grab the snow and a separate fan to launch it out. Single-stage are cheaper, lighter, smaller, and less complicated mechanically although they generally lack true self-propulsion. This one suits my needs perfectly and I would be happy to rhapsodize about it, but in my opinion a driveway three cars wide like yours likely requires a two-stage thrower.

You'll need to decide how wide, how powerful, and how fancy you want to get with stuff like number of speeds, powered chute controls, heated handles, protective awnings, cup holders, sunroof GPS navigation system, DVD player, leather covers, remote start.

Robert M is spot-on about fuel problems, and if ethanol-free gas is available in your neck of the woods, but all means use it. If you leave a four-stroke engine sitting in your garage with old gas all summer, the chintzy ethanol in the gas will degrade and gum up the tiny carburetor, and it will not be likely to start in the fall without a lot of disassembly and cleaning (or carb replacement). You MUST use fuel all season long to which a generous dose of Sta-Bil has been added, because you never know when the snow is going to end. You MUST drain the gas in the spring and run the engine dry; I dump a healthy couple of shots of Seafoam into the tank as it gets low to better pickle the engine. I have added about $20 worth of an inline fuel filter (not standard equipment these days), a fuel line tee, and a little drain valve to facilitate the removal of extra fuel in the tank before running it dry. You SHOULD drain and refill the engine oil after you do this, and it is easy to do when the engine is still warm. (I put the thrower up on milk crates when I change the oil so it's easier to drain into a milk jug.)
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: max
Date: February 05, 2017 01:26AM
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
Speedy
Looks like a fairly big area. You might want to consider one like mine:

[www.youtube.com]

Uses Diesel; goes and goes.

If you can, avoid any blower that uses belts. Once the belt slips, you're done. Heavy wet snow can stop a belt drive blower dead. When we have heavy (as in: deep) wet snow my neighbors don't even bring out their belt drive blowers, they just wait for me to come around. Or they shovel.

That's a tractor with a blower attachment. Might as well go whole hog and get a front-end loader.

/Mr Lynn

Why stop there?....

[www.youtube.com]
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Racer X
Date: February 05, 2017 01:31AM
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: davemchine
Date: February 05, 2017 05:55AM
Tenders, thanks for all the useful info. Moving to a gas snow blower sounds like a lot more work than the electric!
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Speedy
Date: February 05, 2017 06:00AM
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
Speedy
Looks like a fairly big area. You might want to consider one like mine:

[www.youtube.com]

Uses Diesel; goes and goes.

If you can, avoid any blower that uses belts. Once the belt slips, you're done. Heavy wet snow can stop a belt drive blower dead. When we have heavy (as in: deep) wet snow my neighbors don't even bring out their belt drive blowers, they just wait for me to come around. Or they shovel.

That's a tractor with a blower attachment. Might as well go whole hog and get a front-end loader.

/Mr Lynn

A front end loader isn't as nice in small areas like my driveway. And a skid steer is too hard on the driveways when they aren't frozen if/when you have to turn. A pickup mounted plow is quick and practical. I have used all of these as well as a road patrol for snow removal. But nothing beats a good blower for driveways and sidewalks.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: testcase
Date: February 05, 2017 09:15AM
I had its' BIG brother, the Toro 1128. Expensive but, very well built. It will last for decades and, does a great job, even in deep snow. old fogey smiley
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: billb
Date: February 05, 2017 09:49AM
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
Speedy
Looks like a fairly big area. You might want to consider one like mine:

[www.youtube.com]

Uses Diesel; goes and goes.

If you can, avoid any blower that uses belts. Once the belt slips, you're done. Heavy wet snow can stop a belt drive blower dead. When we have heavy (as in: deep) wet snow my neighbors don't even bring out their belt drive blowers, they just wait for me to come around. Or they shovel.

That's a tractor with a blower attachment. Might as well go whole hog and get a front-end loader.

/Mr Lynn






You get good with it after a bit.
Nice when the snow depth towers over the front of your snow blower and great for the street plow mess at the curb but for the average typical storm a snow blower with a tall front is great.

A UTV with a quick attach blade and snow blower so you could pick which would be quickest today would be really nice.


I used to shovel my 255 foot driveway with turn-around by hand.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
[soundcloud.com]




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/05/2017 09:54AM by billb.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Schpark
Date: February 05, 2017 10:19AM
I have an old Toro 8.5 HP with a snow cab kit which is really nice to keep the blowing snow out of your face on the windy days. I think it is from the 80's or early 90's and it just keeps going and going. The extra oomph it has over my mom's 5.5 HP makes a big difference in the heavier snowfalls.



"Without death, life would lose much of its meaning. My goal is to live in such a manner that I alter world in some fundamental way before I'm gone. As I get older and watch my son grow I realize I've already achieved my goal." - Ztirffritz
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 05, 2017 12:09PM
Just got this in my inbox -- 3" wider than your current model...

Snow Joe Ultra SJ625E 21-Inch 15-Amp Electric Snow Thrower - $150

[www.amazon.com]



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 05, 2017 12:34PM
....bring back fond memories.....of your first....snow.........bl0w job.....



____________________________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/05/2017 12:34PM by NewtonMP2100.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: tenders
Date: February 05, 2017 07:03PM
Quote
jdc
Just got this in my inbox -- 3" wider than your current model...

Snow Joe Ultra SJ625E 21-Inch 15-Amp Electric Snow Thrower - $150

[www.amazon.com]

Probably a great machine (I just purchased a Snow Joe garden tiller, and it seems quite adequate) but the issue is not the width. The issue is the power. 15 amps of electricity is about 2 to 2.5 HP (1 HP equals about 750 watts) and you can't pull more than that out of the wall, especially through an extension cord. 208cc of four-cycle engine power by comparison is about 6.5 HP, and I would guess that's close to the minimum you'd find in a two-stage snowthrower.

(By comparison, 208cc of the old-style two-cycle engine power was probably close to 10 HP! Pistons providing power every compression stroke instead of every other compression stroke! Not double the power because the combustion wasn't taking place in a cylinder of clean air.)
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: February 05, 2017 07:27PM
Around the snowy part of the country on the left coast, there's only two brands that people buy: Honda and Ariens. We currently have the Honda 724...not cheap but well worth it. Here's our history:

Sears 4 hp: lasted 2 seasons and self destructed
Sears 11 hp: lasted 2.5 seasons with multiple breakdowns
Honda 828: Lasted 13 years with zero breakdowns and one auger replacement
Honda 724: Going on 15 years with zero breakdowns and minimal maintenance

You always want tracks, not wheels. Two stage is good if you need to really get snow away from the driveway.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Speedy
Date: February 06, 2017 04:33AM
Quote
Markintosh
Around the snowy part of the country on the left coast, there's only two brands that people buy: Honda and Ariens. We currently have the Honda 724...not cheap but well worth it. Here's our history:

Sears 4 hp: lasted 2 seasons and self destructed
Sears 11 hp: lasted 2.5 seasons with multiple breakdowns
Honda 828: Lasted 13 years with zero breakdowns and one auger replacement
Honda 724: Going on 15 years with zero breakdowns and minimal maintenance

You always want tracks, not wheels. Two stage is good if you need to really get snow away from the driveway.

Before I bought my John Deere rider, I was looking hard at a Honda. They are the best of the best and tracks are definitely the way to go. But it was 40 miles to the nearest dealer. We have two Deere dealers, one on each end of town.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2017 04:34AM by Speedy.
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 06, 2017 05:11AM
Mark,

The 2 stage models i've used had wheels and were self-propelled. Never an issue using them. So, i'd say tracks or wheels depends very much on the circumstances and location. Self-propelled is more important. Not an issue for a light blower like a Toro Powercurve electric model but critical for big honkin' 2-stage machines.

Robert
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 06, 2017 06:20AM
Quote
Robert M
Mark,

The 2 stage models i've used had wheels and were self-propelled. Never an issue using them. So, i'd say tracks or wheels depends very much on the circumstances and location. Self-propelled is more important. Not an issue for a light blower like a Toro Powercurve electric model but critical for big honkin' 2-stage machines.

Robert

My Ariens has wheels, and that can be a problem getting through drifts and piles left by truck plows. I meant to get chains for them in 2014, but never got around to it, and last winter and this one (so far) have been mild. I have had the blower out only once this season.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Snow blower question
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 06, 2017 06:27AM
MrLynn,

Manual or self-propelled? With any snowblower, huge drifts and piles left by plows are a problem. Always have been, always will. Best thing way to deal with them is to break them up with a shovel and then let the snow blower move it out of the way. Makes problems with wheels and the general headache of dealing with huge drifts and piles a non-issue.

Robert
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