Ariens Snowblowers: Think Carefully Prior To Buying One

Hi,
This is just letting off a bit of steam, I guess.
I bought a new Ariens snowblower a few weeks ago.
Their middle of the line series, called "Deluxe" Series. About $ 900.
Had one before which gave up on me finally. Was about 30 years of age. A real quality item.
Boy, have they cheapened them incredibly.
My biggest complaint is that my old one had a wheel differential.
These new ones, unless you go up to about $ 1,300 to their "Professional" series don't.
You can either pin, with a clevis pin, both wheels, which makes it just about impossible to turn as you have to skid one wheel. Or, you can only pin one wheel to make it easy to turn, but the unit always pulls, very heavily, to one side during normal operation. Just about unusable for a guy of my age, either way.
Seems to me for a thousand bucks they could put a differential in there like All their old units had, irrespective of the price.
How much can it possibly cost them ?
After trying to plow my driveway, it is obvious that this shouldn't be something only for their top of the line series; that it is an ABSOLUTE necessity for all their units.
The bean-counters must have had their way at Ariens; no reasonably competent engineer would ever, ever design something like this and market it.
BTW: is there any way to modify it, easily, perhaps ?
Bob
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I suspect they're under pressure to keep the prices low for at least part of their product line, because they're competing against some really cheap crap at the big discount stores. Certain price points generate negative reactions from customers (although mostly the dumb ones). I'll bet $1000 is one of those points. Call it $949.00 and it'll sell. $1001.00 and it won't.
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wrote:

Ariens hasn't cheapened them incredibly. You just selected a model that wasn't what you wanted. They offer the features you want, but you didn't want to pay for them. Whose fault is that?
Commodore Joe Redcloud
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/Robert11 wrote:

How much did you pay for the one you bought 30 years ago? Now adjust that for inflation. I suspect you will find it was more than $1,300.

They build what sells and makes money. If more people wanted top quality, that is what they would be selling. On the other hand if they found that people bought the cheaper line and only a few paid for the better quality, what would you produce?

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Joseph Meehan

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Yeah, my 30+ year old Ariens just had to be put down. I bought a TroyBilt. It's made with a lot of plastic and thin metal. With tax and delivery it was $1,000. I bought from a local lawnmower service shop that does repairs.
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Until 2 years ago I was using a 1974 John Deer that finally gave up the ghost. I paid $100 for it in the early 80's. I had to spend $1800 to get a similar quality machine.

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Pasar wrote: ...

MTD bought TroyBilt and most of their products are just re-badged MTD junk.
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Joseph Meehan

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While we're on the re-badging subject, who really makes the husqvarna snowblowers?
Dave
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

They appear to be a Swedish company and still in existence producing at least most of their own products. Hard to tell sometimes however.
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Joseph Meehan

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On Tue, 06 Dec 2005 21:39:50 +0000, Joseph Meehan wrote:

I really don't know who makes them. But I do know my 11 HP Husqvarna snowblower has a Tecumseh engine. And I do know my buddy's Husqvarna garden tractor is Briggs & Stratton powered. I'm not saying these are bad engines, I'm saying they power their chainsaws differently than some of their other outdoor equipment.
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Joseph Meehan wrote:

They'll have to put me down before I'll give up on my 1965 Airens. I'll keep it going even if I have to make parts for it. I bought it used for a song around 1975 from the family of a deceased guy who'd stripped the spark plug hole and left it sitting unused in his garage for about five years.
A new head for the Tecumseh 120 volt electric start "Snow King" engine was cheaper than getting a Heli-Coiled stuck in the stripped one and was all it needed to restore it to like new condition.
Since then all I've needed to do to keep it going has been to replace the belt and rubber drive wheel a couple of times and weld some 1/2" thick steel strips onto the bottom of the front skids when they "got holey". Oh yeah, I had to make some new friction bands for those clever overunning clutches in the wheel hubs which make like the differential the OP wishes he had.
I've got a 90 foot long sloping driveway here in Red Sox Nation and the Airens has never let me down through all the years.
I playfully call it "The Widow Maker" 'cause it comes from an time before those effen' white shoed lawyers forced the manufacturers of home power equipment to gussy them up with all sorts of safety gadgets to prevent stupid damn fools from getting themselves into trouble and then blaming the makers. My Airens was built to be operated by someone who thinks about what he's doing before he does it.
If we ever live long enough to make it down to Florida I swear I'm shipping the Airens down there with us, spraying it with gold paint and bolting it down on a concrete pad right in front of our home. <G>
Jeff
I bought a

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Jeffry Wisnia

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......

Heh, blizzard of 78 made a ton o cash withmy dad's early 60's craftsman, 18 inch ~3 horse 'widow maker'
It had a full speed spinning pair or bars right out front with at least 1 inch long 1/4 inch bolts sticking straight out every 2 inches or so. Single speed, no dead man. You could chip brush with the SOB. It left 18 inch diamter bulls eyes in the snowbank.
Reason I made so much money is all the Ariens or Toros snapped their shear pins in a second. The craftsman would just tunnel through .
Dragged that poor beast to the dump just a few years ago, probably ran fine....

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yourname wrote:

I still remember waiting 'till the end of that week and getting on the first flight to the west coast leaving Logan airport. Happy to get out I wuz. The place I was working for at the time made things like delivery nozzles for the heating fuel oil industry and the boss decided that we were an "essential industry" so we had to drag our asses into work all week anyway. <G>

IIRC I had one like that before I got the Airens (and a new SWMBO). I left that Craftsman with the first wife and kids. I seem to remember it having no rubber tires on the wheels, they were just sheet steel disks about 1/8" thick with little toes bent off them, alternating in and out. It had a grey paint finish.
Jeff
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I guess it is a sign of the times. I have been buying myself some new power tools lately and was surprised to see Bosch, Milwaukee, Dewalt and others made in Mexico, Malaysia, etc for certain tools. I suppose there is no technical reason that the tools can be just as good built in other places and these manufactures claim they are but I guess just time will tell. I first noticed this when I got a new Milwaukee circular saw for my birthday and was surprised and very sad to see made in Mexico on the name plate and especially ironic with the Milwaukee name. I have a Bosch jigsaw on my Christmas wish list and it shows made in Switzerland on the nameplate at Lowes so I hope that is what I get. I have an old 3.5 HP Ariens snow blower in the garage that needs some carburetor work. It is probably thirty years old and built like a tank. --- Steve

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You paid 900 for a mid line and got what you paid for, a 900$ machine. What did your 30 yr old machine cost 3 -500? in todays dollars that might be 1500-2500. Pay an equivalent, then see if you are unhappy with quality.
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