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Snow blower advice


kevin1's Avatar
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09-26-14, 04:56 AM   #1  
Snow blower advice

Looking to get a snow blower for this winter (supposed to be a bad one again?). We live in central Indiana so not talking tons of snow. Quick search on google shows we average eight 1", two 3" and one 5" snow days per year. The past couple years have been more than average; I know we had a couple 10+" snow day last year.

Our concrete drive is 3 car wide down to one in a short sloping curve, but we also about >300' of sidewalk to keep clear.

Looking for fairly small so it doesn't take up much space in garage. Something reliable, preferably Briggs engine as that is most of my other engines are. Thinking a 1-stage or small 2-stage; I don't want it to be under-powered and have to shovel.

A fairly nice easy to move chute would probably be nice so I don't spray it all on my neighbor's nearby drive or onto the house/sidewalk.

What brands and models are recommended for my situation?

Thanks in advance!!!

 
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09-26-14, 05:48 AM   #2  
My 2 is to go for a two stage. It doesn't sound like you'll need it often but I would rather have more blower than I needed than less.

 
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09-26-14, 08:09 AM   #3  
You have too much and too far to go to consider an electric. I agree that a 2-stage gas powered would be the best and as big as you can afford. You talk alot about how little snow you think you'll get but even 3" over the area you mention is a lot of area to cover. You'll want something that takes a wider swath so you're not out clearing for an hour+ after each snow and because of the 3 car wide you'll need a 2 stage to throw the snow far enough.

 
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09-27-14, 05:38 AM   #4  
Those guys are correct. As far as what to buy in terms of brand? For your purposes you can go with any of the popular brands the big box stores sell (Arien's, Troy, Torro, etc...) These are not high quality and are not meant to last any more that 7 years at best. But you don't need anything better than that. Go the cheapest route and expect to get a brand new unit 5 years from now. Sound stupid? Divide the cost of a cheap unit by 5 or 6. That is your cost per year. It's not much. Then you'll have a new, warranted machine every 5 years or so. No repair worries or hassle.

 
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09-27-14, 07:03 AM   #5  
I am going to muddy the waters a bit. Based on your snow amounts I would think a good single stage would work well for you. Two stages tend to be heavy and clumsy to maneuver and store.

Don't get me wrong, a two stage will do everything you need and more, it just might be a little overkill. If you are Ok with that, I have an cheap, no frills two stage MTD with a Tecumseh engine that has always been very good for me in our MN winters. It is about 15 years old and always starts on the first or 2nd pull.


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09-27-14, 08:22 AM   #6  
For your area I would have to agree with Tolyn - I live in the Cleveland area, (not the snow belt)and I have been happy with my Toro. There have been times I would have liked a 2 stage... but when that happened it was a major event.

I would go to the Home Depot and Lowes web sites and read the reviews. You can look at dealers too.

 
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09-27-14, 08:38 AM   #7  
From the southwest end of Ohio, my single stage is a bit of a pain. We get a lot of wet snows which clog the chute and require carrying a long stick to continually clear the chute. Also, 300' of sidewalk is a lot of pushing vs a 2 stage that is self propelled.


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09-28-14, 05:25 AM   #8  
I have to agree with Goldstar. Single stage units are only good for an entrance stoop or for clearing out a small entry section in front of the mailbox or door.

 
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09-28-14, 10:50 AM   #9  
I think many single stage blowers kind of pull their way along. While not self propelled, it helps.

I would, however, follow the advice of people in your area. They will have better experience with your weather then I would.


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kevin1's Avatar
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09-29-14, 07:05 AM   #10  
Thanks for all the advice. I was thinking about picking up a used single stage maybe for this year to see how it did. If it didn't cut it, then we could get a nicer one next year. Thanks again!

 
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09-29-14, 04:36 PM   #11  
If you are especially looking for used;
I bought, in Oct 2001 (just looked at receipt) a Toro CCR3650 GTS. This thing just rocks, I live in S. Wisconsin and get some pretty decent snows. This just hurls it. Don't listen to these 2 stage guys about how far they will throw. Under some conditions, I have had to blow snow straight out into the street and will nearly throw snow to the other side of the street!
I just recently brought it in for a tune up, they say they want to put on a new scraper blade and the rubber paddles, and other than a fuel tank recall, that has been "it" for service.
Yes there have been severe events, maybe in the 13 years I have owned it 3-4 times, where I needed to get some assistance from a neighbor who has a 2 stage unit mounted to an ATV, but that was just the end of the driveway sort of stuff. In a similar event the city plow driver, in his infinite wisdom, decided the end of my sidewalk was a dandy place for a pile of snow, so my sidewalk was unofficially "closed" until about March. Hell if I was going to move that, it was about 10' tall.
The Toro I own has a crank to move the chute left/right, a new one might be different (bend over and manually move it) so hope you can find an older one like mine. I don't know if you have 2 stroke equipment now, if not remember you will need a new gas tank for pre-mixed fuel, that is a minor drawback. It does take a bit of experience to learn how to start a 2 stroke in cold weather (primer button is your friend).
Only other comment in regards to a plugged chute; mine has been getting worse, the repair shop says worn rubber paddles cause this. My experience has been that if I just release the handle that engages the paddle a couple times it will clear itself. On this type of machine, when you release that handle it is also very safe to clear by hand if you are standing away from the handle and verify 100% that the paddle is disengaged.
Check out the CCR 3650, it is a real bad boy 1 stage.

 
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09-29-14, 05:47 PM   #12  
I think my boss has that same blower. He says it is a single stage that thinks its a two stage. He really like it and it works well even through the pile the snow plow leaves. Only "bad" side is it is 2 stroke.


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09-29-14, 07:25 PM   #13  
Was looking further at the manual from when I bought this, the "GTS" means "Guaranteed To Start", so not really part of the model name.
There are different versions of this, mine is a 38517. I bought Oct 2001, online they say it was out in 2002, so mine might be a really early one.

 
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09-30-14, 01:43 AM   #14  
I will say that the heavy wet snow can be a problem - I spray WD 40 in the chute liberally that helps a lot. Watching the weather so you can time the event and make two smaller runs also helps.

A can of starting fluid helps to start for the first time in a season.

 
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09-30-14, 04:37 AM   #15  
I use a spray silicone on the White Outdoor (MTD) chute to keep heavy wet snow from sticking.

And because my blower is stored in a cold garage, I have to plan for the next start when I park it, always positioning the impeller blades at 12, 4, and 8 o'clock so that nothing is down at the bottom (6 o'clock) getting frozen in that position. Without that forethought, I might be able to start the engine (but not be able to do any work until I chip away the ice at the bottom of the impeller).

And because it's so cold here (sometimes down to -48F), I also spray silicone down inside the cables to my joystick chute controls.Spray De-Icer can help if things are already frozen . . . . the Silicone helps to prevent them from ever getting frozen).

My property fronts on a numbered highway (no sidewalks, thank God), but I do get a dose of road salt if I have to clean up any of the slush created by the State, and I've discovered that the salt can quickly corrode the cheap aluminum connectors that are typically used in the wiring harness . . . . especially those at the bottom of a "drip loop". (I've written about this elsewhere on this Forum).

We also have a Toro Electric (1800 Power Curve) for removing snow from 848 SF of uncovered decking, as well as the roofs of a few low pitched sheds where the plastic paddles don't scar the wood deck or the asphalt shingles. The electric Toro is light enough to be carried quickly up a ladder to perform its magic; but it's not much good if you allow the snow to get deeper than 10".

That's my story.

 
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10-03-14, 09:22 AM   #16  
Thanks again for all the great advice! I'm planning to stop by store and look at the Single Stage Toros. Probably go towards the low end (for cost reasons) unless something steers me to more expensive models. Looks like there is a new 518 model for about $360 (guessing it replaces 418 based on number of reviews). Add $40 for electric start. Add $170 to go from 18" up to the bigger 21" with starter. :-(

 
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10-03-14, 09:50 AM   #17  
Put a Snowblower wanted on Craigslist you will probably get some great offers cheap. Have a good one. Geo

 
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