Advice on snowblower

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2tall4economy
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:55 am
Location: Global

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by 2tall4economy »

this:

http://egopowerplus.com/products/power-snow-blower

I love all of their products, and it's clean, not smelly, renewable and fairly inexpensive (I already have the batteries from the other tools so I plan to sell the batteries it comes with on ebay and recoup ~70% of the price I paid).
You can do anything you want in life. The rub is that there are consequences.
gd
Posts: 1638
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:35 am
Location: MA, USA

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by gd »

Gardener wrote:Thanks gd.

Living in the country as I do, I am limited to really just a Sears,Home Depot and Lowes about 15 minutes away. No other power stores near me. HD and Lowes both sell them around 6-800ish. Not really sure on quality from these large box stores?
Huh. My experience is that those sorts of stores are usually located in the exurban areas, at least in the northeast. Around me they disappear as you move closer to the big city. Guess the big-boxes already put them out of business around you. Every time I buy something, my guys give a sales pitch on the specific differences between what they sell and the big-boxes, either brands or specific models in brands-- not so much gadgets and latest features, but durability. Does it matter? Dunno, but my craftsman mower lasted all of 2 years, and my relative's big-box snow throwers seem to have shorter lifespan than my Ariens model that wasn't sold big-box. Big-box definitely have their own product numbers, and I understand it's pretty well established that they make "demands" of historically-reputable brands. I've also noticed that when I buy well-known brands big-box, a few years later I'm likely to not get parts or accessories for it as the big-box now sells only a store brand. Favorite example: wet/dry vacs @ Home Depot. Mostly, you seem to have unusual needs, and I wouldn't rely on the HD clerk of the moment to lock me into my snow removal solution for the next 5 years.
btenny
Posts: 5549
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by btenny »

Gardener. That new blower looks fine for your needs. But I am not sure how you turn this blower when it is plowing? Does it have hand brakes for each tire to turn it? I cannot tell from the pictures and the discussion does not say. Likewise it does not say the tires are driven by the motor. How is it propelled forward?

As far as tires versus treads you can probably buy a set of spiked chains for those tires. Make sure you ask and price the chains and buy them and have them installed. You can leave them on the blower forever and that will make it drive almost as well as a track machine.

Good Luck.
The Wizard
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Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:45 pm
Location: Reading, MA

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by The Wizard »

gd wrote:
Gardener wrote:Thanks gd.

Living in the country as I do, I am limited to really just a Sears,Home Depot and Lowes about 15 minutes away. No other power stores near me. HD and Lowes both sell them around 6-800ish. Not really sure on quality from these large box stores?
Huh. My experience is that those sorts of stores are usually located in the exurban areas, at least in the northeast. Around me they disappear as you move closer to the big city. Guess the big-boxes already put them out of business around you. Every time I buy something, my guys give a sales pitch on the specific differences between what they sell and the big-boxes, either brands or specific models in brands-- not so much gadgets and latest features, but durability. Does it matter? Dunno, but my craftsman mower lasted all of 2 years, and my relative's big-box snow throwers seem to have shorter lifespan than my Ariens model that wasn't sold big-box. Big-box definitely have their own product numbers, and I understand it's pretty well established that they make "demands" of historically-reputable brands. I've also noticed that when I buy well-known brands big-box, a few years later I'm likely to not get parts or accessories for it as the big-box now sells only a store brand...
Specifically with regard to Ariens snowblowers, I disagree that the Home Depot models 920021 (24") or 926038 (28"), to pick two examples, are in any way different from the same models bought at a local non chain store or bought from snowblowersdirect.com.

Now for parts or service, I tend not to use Home Depot. A couple of different issues here...
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TT
Posts: 529
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Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by TT »

Gardener wrote:I'm also going to be picking up some snow spikes (~$11) for my boots this year to make sure the hill does not give me any problems.

Hoping my snow blower does not need the chains as this seems like it'd be a bit of a pain in the ass to take on and off.

You will need chains with the grade you have mentioned
The Wizard
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Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by The Wizard »

Another maintenance item for snowblowers, oddly enough, is keeping the tire pressures close to the same.
Mine are spec'd at 18 psi max and I keep them at that during the season.
If one tire is more than a couple psi lower than the other, the blower will turn slightly toward the low tire instead of going straight, thus annoying the operator.

I have a 115 volt air compressor, so I'm all set. Other methods will work also...
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dratkinson
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Location: Centennial CO

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by dratkinson »

OP's steep driveway. I question the 30-degree guess, as that is very steep for a driveway. You can check it.

After reading this, I wondered about the steepness of my driveway. (Had previously guessed it to be ~15-degrees.) So I measured it by using a small level and adjustable protractor.
--Level held vertically against driveway.
--Adjustable protractor measured angle between vertical level and driveway.

Learned that my steepest-in-the-neighborhood driveway is ~8-degrees. Eight degrees is steep enough that my lawn-tractor-mounted snowblower, with chains, couldn't climb it well until after I built a differential lock. Even with a locked differential, the chains still slipped a little. How do I know? Because in the summer, I could see the marks of the slipping chains where they scratched my driveway. This was when I decided to get a track-driven snowblower.

All 2-wheeled snowblowers have locked differential, but I don't know the point (degree of steepness) at which chains are ineffective. I do know my lawn tractor chains were slipping enough at 8-degrees that I wanted a better solution.

If OP really has a 30-degree driveway, don't believe his candidate Lowes 26" wheel-driven Troy snowblower will climb it, even with chains. So buy it on the condition that it can be returned if it doesn't work well.

Another steep driveway owner: http://www.abbysguide.com/ope/discussio ... 9-1-1.html

Option. Mentioned in above was the ideal to get a four wheel snowblower. See: http://www.mytractorforum.com/19-cub-ca ... -ever.html

Image

Think Cub Cadet use to make them. Haven't seen one recently.


Transporting heavy snowblower. A few years back, local small-engine shop charged me $25 to pickup/return my snowblower when it failed to start. Seemed a reasonable charge for the service. Driver showed up with pickup and loading ramp. Was easy enough for both of us to push snowblower into truck.

Idea. Check with local small engine shops to see if they offer a pickup/return service for his snowblower. Can also get their recommendations on the snowblowers that seem to hold up best. (I used this idea when I bought my self-propelled lawnmower. Wanted one with a cheap/simple-to-repair transmission: Snapper mower with disc transmission.)


Deep snow. Clearing depth depends upon the height of the snowblower auger housing. If the snow is deeper than auger housing and the snow is sticking together, that first pass will be slow and painful. But the subsequent passes will be easier. Why?

Because you run the adjacent passes along the side of the snow bank and only take a small bite. This cuts a channel under the overhanging snow that your body will dislodge as you walk by. Pickup the dislodged snow on your next pass.

Option. Buy drift cutter(s) for your snowblower to handle deep snow. These are vertical metal bars attached to the vertical outside of your snowblower's auger housing. In use, as your snowblower cuts a small channel under a tall drift, the drift cutter cuts the overhanging top free and it falls in front of the auger.

Image

See: http://www.snowblowersdirect.com/Simpli ... p7126.html

Note. If drift cutter mounted vertically, then cut off snow falls on top of and behind your snowblower. If drift cutters are mounted angled forward, cut off snow (is supposed to) falls in front of auger.

A snowblower with drift cutters handles deep snow like this.
--First pass through deep snowdrift. Will be painful.
--Second+ passes through deep snowdrift. Take a small bite out of snowdrift, drift cutter cuts off top that falls in front of auger.
--Repeat until done.


Bottom line.
--Should be able to find a small engine shop that will pickup/return snowblower if it needs servicing OP can't perform.
--Can buy drift cutters to handle deep snow.

I believe OP’s biggest problem will be traction on a steep driveway. I'm confident OP will be satisfied with a track-driven model, new or used. I'm not certain anything less will work as well for him. (Mine was ~$350 on CL in summer of 2002. Have seen them more recently for ~$500; used Hondas are more expensive.) Haven’t seen any 4-wheel snowblowers recently, new or used.

Disclosure. I nickel-and-dimes my way to the track-drive solution for my moderately steep driveway: used corded electric single-stage snowblower + used small single-stage gas-powered snowblower + used lawn tractor mower/snowblower + chains + differential lock + used 5hp/24" Craftsman track-driven snowblower. I recommend OP not go this route as it is a waste of both time and money.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
Gene2001
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:10 pm

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by Gene2001 »

If you have that much of an incline you want a plow instead of blower maybe. Push the snow down the incline.... Either with a truck/plow. Or ATV/plow.

Snowblowers work on inclines - if you have to with lots of snow you blow down the incline, come back up in the cleared path and blow down again. Rubber chains work great compared to metal ones. They grip and don't dig into the pavement.

Always 2 stage! single stage sucks, they hardly blow snow far. While two stages can blow a lot farther. Our current one can blow 50-75 feet away!

I first started with a small snowblower. This was fine until one winter we started getting 12 inches a pop. And sometimes back to back. 12 inches, 3 days later 12 inches, 4 days later 12 inches.

Image

After working all day I got tired of going out late at night or early in the morning to blow the snow. And a foot at a time is a lot of work even with a blower. My driveways are long enough I broke down and got a used tractor and cab setup. Best thing ever to blow snow inside a cab. Wind blowing and all but you are sitting down and just enjoying it so much more.

Image

Rubber chains

Image


Then we needed a smaller tractor for other things at work, so I looked into upgrading (company write off :) ) and we upgraded to

Image

Diesel powered, 55 inch hydrolic blower, hard cab with heat! Now I'm in a tee shirt blowing snow even if its -10 out, the heat works that well. We have an atv with plow on days that its only an inch or so. Anything past that the blower handles.

Image
ImaBeginner
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:21 pm

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by ImaBeginner »

I have lived in your area, and now in the midwest. I have had plows, single stage, and 2 stage snowblowers. Here is my advice:
1: A 1 stage snowblower is basically worthless for anything >3 or 4 inches, but will do a great job for that little bit of snow.
2: A plow would work for you, but likely be overkill. Always plow downhill. Exception would be if you already have an ATV and want to make sweet jumps for when you are pulling your friends behind the 4 wheeler on snowboards...(May want to avoid that)
3: 2 stage snowblowers would be acceptable for you, as someone else posted, make sure you go downhill if the snow is really deep, if it is really bad you can go back up in already done area. Likely you will not need to do this every time.
For size, remember that for every few inches that you gain in width, you also gain in height. You would want a minimum of 24 inches. I would recommend going up a size from whatever you think you need, it is faster and nicer.
I use an Ariens, it is great.
Maintenance: ALWAYS use ethanol free gas, high octane. Drain the tank every spring. Most other stuff will be fine without much work based on your likely use.

NEVER EVER STICK YOUR HAND IN ANY PART OF THE MACHINE, EVEN IF TURNED OFF. The auger can remain locked up under tension, and when you clear the obstruction it will move FAST. Every year I fix >20 hands/fingers from people who did not follow that advice. There is a black stick attached to the top of most blowers that is built to prevent injury. Many of these people are permanently disabled by their snowblowers.
sixtyforty
Posts: 534
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Location: USA

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by sixtyforty »

2tall4economy wrote:this:

http://egopowerplus.com/products/power-snow-blower

I love all of their products, and it's clean, not smelly, renewable and fairly inexpensive (I already have the batteries from the other tools so I plan to sell the batteries it comes with on ebay and recoup ~70% of the price I paid).
I might have to look at this one for where we live. I have a 2 cycle right now where mixing oil and gas is a real mess...and smelly. BTW, I think they are going to offer the "naked version" without batteries.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo Da Vinci
c078342
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by c078342 »

Driveway: Very long, STEEP, often icy shared driveway
Sounds much like my old driveway in central Conn where an average snowfall was in the 45" range. My driveway was about 400ft long with a 50ft elevation change. One thing gong for it was it had a southern exposure. I had a Honda 24" (or so) tracked 2-stage blower and was most happy with. Pull starter but it usually on took 1 tug. Took about an hour for an average snow -- say 6" or so. One learns to live with a drive like that. You are not in charge. If a snowfall is forecast, park at the end so ou can get out. Clean it up immediately so ice doesn't form. Have plenty of salt to wage chemical warfare on ice. Good luck.
blgaarder
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:33 pm

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by blgaarder »

In Saint Paul, bought a 24 inch Sno-Tek with electric start from Home Depot. Was set up and delivered by an Ariens dealer.

The electric start comes in handy on the first start of the year, when the tank has been dry.

I think that it is made by Ariens.
nordsteve
Posts: 823
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:23 am

Re: Advice on snowblower

Post by nordsteve »

I also live in Minnesota, and have a 75' long driveway with a 40x40' pad at the house. The interwebs say that we get 43" of snow a year. That sounds about right.

Used to have the gigantic Ariens mower, but it was nearly always way way too much. Switched to a Toro 721 and it works great. If the snow gets too deep, I run narrower passes.

For smaller snowfalls, I have a manual snow pusher that I use to clear off snow. With very light snow I use the leaf blower.

With the OP's slope, you'll likely want to follow up after blowing with a shovel and salt to keep it completely clear, particularly if your slope is north facing.
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