Snowblower Drive Question ?

Hi,
Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts or knowledge re this:
Had a 20 yr old Ariens snowblower which I had to finally get rid of.
Not their Professional series; just the typical homeowner version, but built quite well. Cast Iron gear box, etc.
Also had a differential for the drive wheels.
Made it a pleasure to use. Could go absolutely straight, or very easily turn.
Now, looking at what's available, all the brands seem to have gone away from differentials.
They now seem to use these idiotic pins in one of the wheels, or no pins at all, to connect to the drive shaft. This makes it just about impossible to turn (when both wheels are pinned) or it keeps wanting to turn by itself (with only one of the wheels pinned).
Absolutely idiotic.
Is it simply a matter of cost, or... ?
With the blowers now well over a grand, how much could it possibly cost them to have another gear or two and use a differential like they used to ?
Just wondering ?
Bob
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On 11/05/2012 06:32 PM, Bob wrote:

90% of consumers buy the cheapest product they can get their hands on (think China-Harbor Freight). Consequently, most manufacturers design and build inexpensive junk. If you want quality, stop shopping for snowthrowers at McLowes Depot
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You can get what ever you are willing to pay for. If you want a differential & remote locking/unlocking, or automatic traction control, Ariens will sell you one:
http://ariens.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/99
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OP should of kept the old snowblower..... Old products were made to last.....
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old Bolens [mostly Ariens]. It just got to be a chore having to make parts fit it.
I got one that is about 10 yrs old but lightly used. About a 200 pound difference. The new equivalent one at Lowes seems to have lost another 50.<g>
Jim
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Only the pro series had the differential -

Some of the delexe models have "power steering" which releases the wheel on the side you want to turn to.

Yup. Cheap means no diff - and no "power steering"

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I bought a Ariens Sno-Tek 24 a couple of years ago.
http://www.sno-tek.net /
It comes with the wheel locking pins and I have never had a problem with it wanting to turn by itself with one wheel pinned. It needs at least one wheel pinned for traction, but I can drive it with one hand since it drives perfectly straight.
Granted, I don't need to drive it on any steep inclines, so I don't know if that matters. The driveways I do are flat but the street between the houses does have a slight incline.
By the way, at $599, the Sno Tek 24" is a much better built machine than the Craftsman, Troy-Built, etc. at that price point. Granted, many of those other brands are the same machine (MDT?) but the features and quality of any Ariens, even their entry level machines, blows the others away.
As far as I understand it, Ariens sets the price for their machines, so as long as the price was aleady set, I bought mine from an independent dealer where I had more faith in the assembly than from one of the borgs.
I was also told (by the independent dealer) that they are the local warranty repair center for machines sold at Home Depot. He said that their own customers get priority over warranty repairs sent in by Home Depot, so if I needed service, I would get it quicker from them.
Just this weekend, I rolled mine out of the garage and got it ready for the upcoming season.
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