Snow Blowers

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In the $600-700. range what would be a decent brand gas snow blower (thrower)? What is 2 stage blower? Thanks.
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You might also check around for a used blower. You might be lucky enough to find a decent one for less money than a new one, though you'd have better luck in the springtime. As for what type, it's very dependent on how much snow you expect to move. If you have a large driveway in a heavy snow-prone area, a 2 stage would probably be best - probably a 10HP or similar. As others have said, the single stage blowers are typically smaller: they'll handle less snow, some of them don't have any ground drive, which means more work for you to push it along. If you only expect 6" of snow all winter, this might be the best option for you. Until I recently moved south from upstate NY, I was happy with my 1985 John Deere 10HP, 32" snowblower. If you go the used route - some things to check: look at the blower fan housing - check for dents, holes, etc (indications of stones & other hard objects being run through it); also check the auger and fan shaft for movement (with the engine OFF - wiggle them by hand - excessive movement may mean worn bearings).
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a two stage thrower has just that....2 stages in where it handles snow .. The two stage thrower has the aguer on the front that chews at the snow. It brings the snow to the trower which looks like a round dick with paddles on it.....it then takes the snow and throws it out the chute.... Thats the 2 stages.....as compared to a single stage snow thrower that throws it out the chute right off the auger. Generally speaking, the real small electric thrower that you buy are single stage throwers Hope I was able to explain that okay for you... Jim

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Oh good Lord!...I meant to say...the thrower looks like a round DISC with paddles on it....sorry for the typo...ROFL!

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Too funny !

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Not a good time to get good price. Some folks call single-stage snowblowers "egg-beaters". They _might_ be able to do that.
IME, bigger is _not_ necessarily better. E.g. there are cases where a smaller, lighter, less expensive blower from a given mfg. can do more work in a given time than a bigger one. Because of being more controllable, quieter, less fatiguing to operate.
Meaning, from some mfgs. their 5 or 6hp models would be preferable to many folks than their 8 or 10hp. Until you get to something like a Jacobsen diesel tractor with 5' snowblower. :')
Parts & service are important, too. Ask neighbors about local dealers.
HTH, J
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You might start by looking here: http://www.whatsthebestsnowblower.com /
I learned a lot from that board before buying my snow blower a couple of years ago. I did not go for the really high-end stuff (which seems to be favored by the afficionados on that board) that might be required in Minnesota, etc. I got one from Sears for about $450, on sale, and have been very happy here in southern New England.
Strongly recommend getting one which you have option of plugging into house current for starting, in addition the manual starting.
Chet

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Where is it to be used, on gravel, how much snow per fall, maximum falls, lenght of area to clear etc etc. A 500$ John Deere single stage does not do wet snow. Consumer Reports rates them #2 but never tested the JD on wet snow before I bought it and I comstantly need to clean the chute, a pain in the hand so I rate it zero on wet pack midwest snow, great on light thick snow. Your local independant lawn shop should direct you well if they carry multiple brands.
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I had a Jackobson single stage (egg beater or what ever). It didn't have a chute. Just threw it out in front thorough some deflector vanes. They didn't do a lot of good but it did a great job with wet snow if it wasn't too thick. It would even throw water. It was great for clearing off two or three inches. When doing my driveway with my two stage I walk half way across the street to get turned around.
With my 2 stage, if the snow is wet and the temp right near freezing the stuff will freeze up in the chute.. But it is really great when we get a couple feet of snow.
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Yes, for wet snow and mimimal falls a toro with no chute works good, mine broke it is 25 yrs old
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I still have my old Toro 624 (only 6HP), but works wonders even in the snow falls up here in Montreal. Close to no maintanence (once every 2 or 3 years, I spray some carb cleaner in the carb and changed the oil twice in the last 15 years). They definately don't make them like they used to. My little 6HP Tecumseh engine seems to do alot better job than the so called 10HP unit my neighbour bought. I really like my Toro's powerdrive option which allows the drive wheels to shift forward or backwards. Forward for easy lighter handling and most light jobs. And backwards, in order to allow the weight of the auger, etc..which is in the front, to dig deep into the snow for the heavier jobs. ie: nice cantilever effect to get the best of both worlds. And the nice thing about it, is that it takes a split second with the shifter to force the wheels back or front.
I looked at the local forsale newsgroups, and they usually have a few units forsale, and usually 50% of what you'd pay retail. However usually most easily found in the spring time :) I know here in Montreal, you can usually find a few deals at the local sharpening shops, or small motor rebuild shops. They usually sell many reconditioned units, and give a 3 or 6 month warranty on them which is pretty good.
Good Luck..
-Tony

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I have a two stage, track drive, Sears. (Denver area). I think it is an MTD. Has a 5.5HP B&S Engine. Great for deep snow but overkill for two or three inch. I don't know if they even make the track drives anymore. Most I see just put chains on the wheels.
A two stage in that price range might be hard to find. Try Ebay. Most will not ship but you might find one your area.
I had a little single stage "paddle wheel" type that actually did a pretty good job and often wish I had it back. Very light weight and easy to move around. Not self propelled. Only problem with it was when the snow got to more than six inch debth it didn't work very good but it was excellent at throwing wet snow if it wasn't more than two or three inches deep.
The two stage with their extra blower often results in the slush freezing in the chute.
The paddle wheel are usually two cycle engines and the two stage are four cycle.
What ever you do always drain all the gas before putting it away for the summer. I wouldn't even try that stabil stuff when it will be stored for several months in hot weather. I also have used nothing but 5W30 Mobil 1 Synthetic oil in it.
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I have a Sears 22/5, which is a 22 inch cut, 5 hp engine, 2 stage. I've had it about 7 years and while it hasn't had a huge amount of use here in NJ, I'm very happy with it. One feature you may want to consider is electric start. I have that and it's just super for getting it going!
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On 10/17/2005 3:14 PM, Rich256 wrote:

Does B&S have an engine mad specifically for snow like Tecumseh has the Snow King? I know B&S engines used to be horrible in cold weather.
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It has a choke in addition to the rubber bulb. For $100 extra they have the electric start that can be added at any time. I just have not seen a reason to get it. In the coldest weather, putting it on full choke and prime, it starts on the first pull everytime. I have also found on engines that don't want to start in cold weather, a shot of carburator cleaner into the air intake usually gets them started right up.
Also as I said I use 5W30 Mobil 1. Since air cooled engines run hot I think it is far superior compared to conventional oil.
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Ariens. Buy from a real shop and not chain store. I just saw the throwers in HomeDepot. They looks like toys.
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Thanks to all for the input.

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John F. wrote:

I have a CubCadet 9hp 26" track drive snow thrower(blower) with a Tecumseh motor and electric start, purchased in Nov. '96. The primary feature I sought was the track drive because my driveway is >150' and goes uphill from the garage to the street. With wheels, I would have needed chains and probably wheel weights.
7 hp would have done the trick, but the store could only get a 9 hp with the tracks.
I am about 90 miles north of NYC and we get some serious snowfalls and it has always done the job. If I don't beat the highway department and they have left a wall at the top of my driveway, I just stand there with my machine and it eventually eats through the pile. Have actually cleared out/broken through the wall for neighbors who couldn't!
I agree with the poster who said - buy from a local rather than a big box store. They provide the service and, in my case, they have done 'telephone' support when I had a question. In addition, once a relationship is established, a) they will fit you in when everyone wants service and b) they will even service equipment not purchased there.
I disagree with the comment about Sta-bil. In the past, I put away either the lawn tractor or the snow blower with gasoline and sta-bil. My equipment store service guy then recommended that I add Sta-bil to the gas tank i use to refill the equipment and whenever I fill up that tank (2 1/2 gal), the sta-bil gets mixed in. That way, he said, the carburetor is always protected. Furthermore, he (and others) have told me that removing all the gas can lead to sludge, since it is difficult to remove the gas in the carburetor.
My equipment spends its off season in an insulated, but unheated garage!
Oh yes, I was able to purchase mine for 0% interest for 6 months, so look for 'specials'.
--

Rex\'s Mom





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Thank you Rex's mom. Comments appreciated.

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for a dusting, use a hand scoop pusher shovel with an all plastic blade [no metal edge] it's quietest for late night snow.
for the lighter snowfalls, we start with a toro electric power shovel. $119. best part about it it really throws the snow far and other family members enjoy using it! buy it a cold weather flexible extension cord instead of gasoline. here's a new model, ours is really old.
Toro Electric Power Shovel http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Lawn_and_Garden-Power_Tools-Blowers-Toro-Toro_Electric_Power_Shovel
i'm getting tired of fixing my old gasoline snowblower every 2 hours: our craftsman 26" 8hp is 10 years old with belts and a turntable transmission. half the reason is we are dumb and like to chew into snowbanks of plowed snow here in buffalo ny. its price when new was 995 + 100 extra for the electric start.
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