Snow Blower Advice

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I'm shopping for a snow blower for a small driveway. I won't need anything bigger than a 24".
I looked at 3 today. All appear to have the exact same features, for the exact same price - $600
179cc OHV 4 Cycle engine 6 forward speeds/2 reverse 13" tires Electric Start 2 yr warranty
A Troy Bilt at Lowes (Model 31AS62N2711) A Craftsman (Model 88975) An MTD Yard Machine at BJ's (Model unknown)
This site seems to indicate that they all use the POWERMORE engine.
http://movingsnow.com/2010/09/powermore-craftsman-troy-bilt-yardman-cub-cadet-ohv-winterized-engines /
I know I have some more homework to do, such as comparing the features (not the machines) suggested at the following site, but I'm just curious if anyone knows any reason to chose one of three machines mentioned above over the others.
http://movingsnow.com/2010/10/2444 /
Thanks!
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On 10/27/2010 11:09 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

http://movingsnow.com/2010/09/powermore-craftsman-troy-bilt-yardman-cub-cadet-ohv-winterized-engines /
Look closely at the sheetmetal stampings. Odds are they are all MTDs, under the decals. I've been pretty happy with my Troybilt 24" for the last 3 years or so. No, it isn't commercial quality, but I'm only doing one driveway. I bought it essentially new, for 100 bucks off retail, from a smaller guy who was obviously terrified of it. My back is a lot happier, and I don't cringe when watching the weather forecast in winter any more.
--
aem sends...

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On Wed, 27 Oct 2010 20:09:18 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

i BELIEVE all are the same machine, built by MTD
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On Oct 27, 8:42 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Hard to find any yard equipment any more that is not MTD under the hood.
Harry K
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http://movingsnow.com/2010/09/powermore-craftsman-troy-bilt-yardman-cub-cadet-ohv-winterized-engines /
MTD makes many of the other brands that are re-badged MTDs including Sears Craftsman. I'm not familiar with the Craftsman 88975 but I bought a Craftsman 88970 equipped with a 208CC Chinese engine and I'm very happy with it. It started on the first pull the first time I started it, and continues to start on the first pull. It also has electric start but I've never bothered with it. One thing I would definitely recommend is not to even consider one of the 20-inch or 22-inch single forward speed units that are sold about $100 cheaper than the 6 forward-speed blowers. A single forward speed unit is worthless since you can't compensate for the depth of the snow.
Re-badged blowers made by MTD (there may be others not listed in addition to Sears Craftsman) http://mtdsnowblowers.net/
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I think the most critical thing to consider is how are YOU going to maintain it? If you don't maintain it correctly, it doesn't matter which brand you buy because it will faulter.
I have worked on quite a few Chinese scooters and ATV's. I find that getting the parts are time consuming at best. Also, just because they have a part listed doesn't mean they have it in stock or they could even get it before the snow melts.
Usually the engines (Briggs/ Techcumseh/etc.) on MTD's, Craftsman and such are ordered thru the engine manufacturer rather than MTD or Craftsman themselves.
Since most snow blower problems are because they sit all summer and the carb gets clogged, I would suggest you check to see if carb rebuild kits are available for those engines.
If you can't find a Briggs/Honda, I guess you are stuck with the Chinese brand.
Hank <~~~would pay a liltte extra for a Briggs/Honda
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"DerbyDad03" wrote A Troy Bilt at Lowes (Model 31AS62N2711) A Craftsman (Model 88975) An MTD Yard Machine at BJ's (Model unknown)
I'm just curious if anyone knows any reason to chose one of three machines mentioned above over the others.
http://movingsnow.com/2010/10/2444 /
*****************************************************
I don't like Sears. Otherwise, I'd buy the one closest to home.
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I'm with the others off the top of my head. I suspect they are all MTD.
Somebody here is sure to know- and they might have some other thoughts- http://www.opeonthenet.com/phpBB2/index.php
Jim
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Thanks Jim...I just registered and posted my question there.
I'll let you know what I hear.
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On 10/27/2010 11:09 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

http://movingsnow.com/2010/09/powermore-craftsman-troy-bilt-yardman-cub-cadet-ohv-winterized-engines /
I've got the Troy Bilt as does my next door neighbor. Machine works fine but one season it would not start when stored with stabilized gas and I had to take it to the shop for cleaning/repairing carburetor. Gas may have evaporated from carburetor or, as I later read in the manual, alcohol containing gas should not be used (its all you can buy here). Storing dry, I've had no problems and my machine being 4 years old may have been modified since.
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On Wed, 27 Oct 2010 20:09:18 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

Ariens beats the above units with both hands tied behind it's back.
Chances are excellent that you can buy it from a "real" tractor store for the exact same price as Lowes or Home Depot. There is a long term advantage to buying from a dealer who also does service and any warantee work on site.
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On 10/28/2010 7:49 AM, snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

Be real surprised if you can find an Ariens for the same price as an MTD. Quick Google for 24" 2-stage shows a couple of hundred bucks more. For single-driveway use, it probably doesn't matter much. If I had a lot to plow, I'd go with a premium brand, but the generics are 'good enough' for most of us.
Don't most 'real' tractor stores turn their nose up at the generics?
--
aem sends...



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re: "Be real surprised if you can find an Ariens for the same price as an MTD.'
Prepare to be surprised.
As you said in you earlier post:
"Look closely at the sheet metal stampings. Odds are they are all MTDs, under the decals."
Based on what I've learned over the past few days, the Troy Bilt, the MTD and the Craftsman are all the same machine.
Here's the Troy Bilt for $599:
http://milo.com/troy-bilt-179cc-dual-stage-gas-snow-thrower-1
Here's the Craftsman for $599:
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07188957000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1
I can't find a link for the MTD version at $599, but my local BJ's carries it.
And finally, channeling Gomer Pyle: Surprise, Surprise, Surprise, here's the Ariens Sno-Tek for $599:
http://tinyurl.com/sno-tek
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wrote:

For a tool where a good one may last 30 years or more, it's nice to have one that performs well and reliably for all those uses. When you spread the extra cost over such a long period, it is really meaningless, and may actually work out to a lower total cost of ownership.
So, yes, I think it is well worth the extra money, and quality makes a big difference, both in longevity and in better performance every time you use it. If you are buying snowblower just to look at it, then maybe these things don't matter as much. :-)
The end of my driveway is about 25 feet wide, so every time the plow comes by (about once an hour) during a storm, I get a huge 2 foot high by 5 foot wide compacted berm blocking me in. The Ariens, with chains clears that heavy solid icy stuff out in a few minutes.
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On Wed, 27 Oct 2010 20:09:18 -0700, DerbyDad03 wrote:

cadet-ohv-winterized-engines/
24" is really big for a small driveway. Since I swear by my 21" 25 year old 6 HP 2 cycle Toro the only thing i can recommend is Toro.
http://www.toro.com/home/snowthrowers/gassinglestage/221Q.html
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I have used single stage snow *throwers* for years. They were usually free or very cheap. Now that the last one I had has rotted out, there's a reason I want to ungrade:
I live on a curve, therefore I end up with a large "plow pile" at the end of my driveway. The snow throwers have don't handle these piles very well so I end up having to chop them down before I can throw them. They also clog up with heavy snow very easily.
In addition, my son parks in a elderly neighbor's driveway for "free" other than a promise to shovel her driveway and rake some leaves. A 24" unit will make quick work of both jobs.
I have watch my neighbor do his driveway (and plow pile) with a 24" unit for years and he has no problems. He even occasionally comes over and does mine on the really bad days.
The kids are paying for half of it, so for my share, I'm getting a lot of machine. I can't see paying $475 for a single stage unit when I can pay $600 for a 2-stage.
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http://movingsnow.com/2010/09/powermore-craftsman-troy-bilt-yardman-cub-cadet-ohv-winterized-engines /
Consumer Reports list several different models where the Craftsman, Troy-Bult, MTD and Yard Machines are the same machine with a different label. They don't really say that, they same those are comparable to the tested model. None of those machines match your number exactly but that is frequently done to help the retailer beat the "no lower price" guarantees.
The 24" Craftsman 88955, Troy-Bilt 2140, Yard Machines, MTD,and Huskee were rated a best buy in the two stage 24" class at about $600 street price. They all had the 179cc engine. A bigger engine and wider path is about $300 more for the Craftsman/TB model.
They, you and I agree that a two stage is the way to go for not a lot of extra money.
--
Colbyt
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
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Thanks!
The folks over at the site that Jim E suggested are recommending a Sno Tek (which is an Ariens machine) for the same money with a bigger engine (208cc), sturdier construction and Ariens quality.
http://tinyurl.com/sno-tek
or for you cautious folks:
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&productId=202222489&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&ci_sku=202222489&ci_src=14110944&cm_mmc=shopping-_-googlebase-_-D28X-_-202222489&locStoreNum=2807&marketID=101
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Whatever you buy, the addition of a set of tire chains is VERY desirable. It halves the physical effort of operating the machine, and makes it go through just about anything. I'd rather have 6 HP with chains than 12 hp without. Makes all the difference in the world.
You can find chains online.
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Thanks!
The folks over at the site that Jim E suggested are recommending a Sno Tek (which is an Ariens machine) for the same money with a bigger engine (208cc), sturdier construction and Ariens quality.
http://tinyurl.com/sno-tek
or for you cautious folks:
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId051&productId 2222489&langId=-1&catalogId053&ci_sku 2222489&ci_src110944&cm_mmc=shopping-_-googlebase-_-D28X-_-202222489&locStoreNum(07&marketID1
The one Ariens they tested was a larger 27", $1000 model and it was very well rated. Rated much better than the ones we discussed above. I suspect that if you can pick up a 24" model for the same money you will be getting a good deal. Quality seems to follow in a given product line.
Colbyt
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