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Considering a snowblower


CycleZen's Avatar
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VA

10-27-08, 09:32 AM   #1  
Considering a snowblower

Hi- I'm thinking about buying a snowblower, because we share a long driveway with the neighbors and it gets longer after a snowfall. I'm looking for a used one in the classifieds.

I'm a complete novice- never even operated one. I see one-stage, two-stage, two-stroke, and four-stroke. Two-stage seems to be associated with the size and capability of the machine. Any reasons for or against 2 stroke or 4 stroke, other than mixing the oil and gas?

Right now I'm considering a 2 stroke MTD, 4.5 HP for $150. The woman on the phone couldn't pick the model number off the machine.

Anyone have ideas or advice to share?

Thanks,
Dave O

 
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j HOWARD's Avatar
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10-27-08, 10:37 AM   #2  
The price is right--mix a little gas & 2 stroke oil-good to go....
Don't forget to get your neighbor to pay for 1/2 of the machine & do 1/2 of the sno blowing...................

 
indypower's Avatar
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NH

10-27-08, 02:08 PM   #3  
You say you have a long driveway. Stay away from the 2-strokes. These are small snow throwers that are made for decks as they do not throw snow very far. And you have to push them thru the snow. I recomend a 2-stage, self-propelled, 4 cycle engine snowblower. A 2-stage has the augers in front that pulls in the snow and the second stage is an impeller that throws the snow out of the chute.

 
j HOWARD's Avatar
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10-28-08, 03:07 AM   #4  
I have a Toro two stroke--it pulls itself ( tip handle up) thru
the snow---
Couple drawbacks: Costs about same as cheap 2 stage & you
have to change blades & skid every 2 years.
It's almost 9 years old & starts on first pull---might be the Jap engine...................

 
dgbehrends's Avatar
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MN

11-08-08, 03:01 PM   #5  
Hi,
I'm doing some snowblower research and will share my thoughts. You live in Northern Virginia so you don't get the huge snowfalls like I get here in MN. However, you do have a long driveway. If the driveway is gravel then you should get a 2 stage. But I'm guessing its probably not so you would probably do fine with a 1 stage. I've heard that the 2cycles are being phased out for environmental reasons, so if you don't care about that then you can probably get one of those at a discount. As far as brands go I don't have a much experience but I would think a Toro, MTD, Arends, etc... would be fine. If you know your in for a a lot of snow > 12" then make sure you snow blow during the storm once to keep things under control. You also might have to shovel part of the drift (from snowplow) at the end of your driveway since 1 stage snowblowers don't do well with that stuff.

D in MN

 
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11-08-08, 06:14 PM   #6  
True, you're not likely to see as much snow as we do up here, but you'll get the heavy, wet stuff which a 1 stage doesn't handle well.

 
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11-08-08, 07:15 PM   #7  
Pardon me for jumping on this post;
I know nothing about snowblowers and see references about skids, I was given a Gravely 524 last spring because a local landscape guy couldn't get it to run. It looks a lot like a garden tractor, has 5 or 6 speeds forward and reverse. I am guessing the skids attack to the bottom(skids(DUH)) of the shute, this machine doesn't have anything there and are they necessary. I have looked over this machine and can find no identification other than 524. It has a Tec engine. I am in Missouri and I hate snow, however I would like(one time) to get the chace to see how far this thing will blow snow, it reminds me of an old thrashing machine we had when I was a kid on the farm. Have a good one. Geo

 
CycleZen's Avatar
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11-10-08, 08:26 AM   #8  
Thanks for the info, all

I know I have no right talking about snow with some of you Plains or Minnesota guys. Our drive is paved and long, and there have been a few occasions when we've needed to get out in a hurry. (I shoveled in the middle of the night when we were expecting twins, and my wife was ready to deliver at any moment and I thought we'd have to sprint to the hospital.)

My thinking is to keep an eye on the classifieds and pick up a "project" medium or large frame 2 stage machine with a 4 stroke engine. I've seen these go for cheap when people leave the gas in and it gels, and won't start on the first try next time.

An earlier post talked about plastic versus metal skids, and GeoGrubb asked about skids: could you make your own skids with a section of angle iron (old bed frame)? Cut it to the proper length, drill holes to match the mounting bolts, hacksaw away some of the vertical leg and create an upward bend on the leading and trailing edges? (Sorry if that's a dumb question, remember I'm a newbie at snowblowers.)

DaveO

 
indypower's Avatar
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11-10-08, 08:36 AM   #9  
"An earlier post talked about plastic versus metal skids, and GeoGrubb asked about skids: could you make your own skids with a section of angle iron (old bed frame)? Cut it to the proper length, drill holes to match the mounting bolts, hacksaw away some of the vertical leg and create an upward bend on the leading and trailing edges? (Sorry if that's a dumb question, remember I'm a newbie at snowblowers.)"

Yes you could do that but it sounds like a lot of work. Depening on the make of the snowblower, skids cost $5 -$10 each (2 per snowblower). Do you really want to spend 2 hours making them to save $10-$20?

 
CycleZen's Avatar
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11-10-08, 09:22 AM   #10  
Maybe!

If the store was closed and I need the part right now; if the part was not commercially available, or available at a store that's far off (travel time and gas); if I preferred metal over plastic.

Hacksawing is quick, and creating the bend is two quick minutes with a vise and a hammer. The toughest part of the exercise would be drilling the holes in the right spot. But I have a drill press and I'm used to working with metal.

Remember I'm the newbie here, no antogonism intended. The idea was as much for GeoGrubb (he needs parts and is having a tough time finding them) as anyone else.

 
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11-10-08, 10:45 AM   #11  
Check out Toro's web site, toro.com. They have a nice section on choosing a snow thrower.

 
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11-11-08, 09:35 AM   #12  
Yep, nothing wrong with making your own skids. Lots of guys with gravel or dirt driveways make over size skids so they ride on top of the gravel instead of plowing grooves in it. I've read of a few guys with paved drives that wanted to avoid scratching up the surface and replaced the skids with wheels. What ever makes the machine work better in your application is worth doing in my book. You didn't say how long the long driveway is, but if over 200 feet, have you considered a blower for any riding mower/tractor you have?

 
CycleZen's Avatar
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11-11-08, 12:25 PM   #13  
A good idea

Posted By: bontai Joe have you considered a blower for any riding mower/tractor you have?
I'll have to talk to the neighbor, to see if we might get one for his lawn tractor. Or a plow attachment, maybe.

 
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