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Homeowner Snowblower Question

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Jim-in-NOVA, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. Jim-in-NOVA

    Jim-in-NOVA Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    My driveway is not terribly large but does have a pretty large parking area near the 3-car garage and house front. I would hire someone to plow it, BUT, due to the layout, plowing is actually not a good option. The parking area is bound on two sides by the 3-car garage and house front. A plow would have a difficult time maneuvering in this space to push the snow where it needs to go.

    I decided to get a snowblower. I ordered a Craftsman 88180, 8 hp, 27", 2-stage blower. It may be somewhat overkill for my needs considering the average VA snowfall but I need to move the snow from the area nearest the garages and house front a good ways (25-35'). The other options I looked at were a Toro 2450, 5 hp, single-stage up to a Craftsman 6 hp, 2-stage.

    The prices for the various units ranged from $540 for the Toro, $600 for a Troy-Built 5.5 hp 2-stage, and $660 for the Sears 6 hp 2-stage. I thought the $700 8 hp Craftsman 27" 2-stage was a reasonable upgrade, seemed like the most bang for the $$$.

    I know Craftsman power equipment gets "mixed" reviews but I don't live in an area that gets a LOT of snow so I don't want to spend $1000+ on equipment I don't need.

    Any/all opinions welcome, thanks in advance.

  2. jpunlimited

    jpunlimited Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    it is newver enough

    you made the right choice with the two stage. even if you only get a reasonble amount of snow it probably tends to be wet, which eats power and requires the second stage to get it moving. as far as sears goes if you got the cast iron sleeve cyl. then you will be fine. no body likes to work on sears power equipment. but the parts are not hard to get in store or on the internet. so if you use fuel conditioner, quality oil and check the belts once in a while the only problem you will have is from the machine being in active.
    TIP: small motors without oil filters live a long life if you add synthetic oil and a slick 50 like additive.
  3. dunedog

    dunedog Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    I have a 48" Simplicity tractor blower, 32" 10hp Ariens,24" 6hp Honda (wheeled),and a 24" 2 cycle Simplicity rubber paddle snowblower to choose from. The two larger units hardly see any use and if there is any real snow the Honda is my choice hands down. But more surprisingly....the little 2cycle is what I get away with 90% of the time.
    It is lighter to move in and out of my truck (no ramps),quicker and easier to maneuver and faster than my larger units. Before I got a Snowbear for my Astro, I did my three rental property parking lots/ drives with a blower.Many times just using the 2 cycle!!
    Don't underestimate their ability,but don't buy a cheap under powered unit.

    The biggest tip I can think off with blowers is to keep the belts tight (adjusted) or replaced......keep an extra one on hand because you always need one when the store is closed !
  4. swolff

    swolff Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Smallest intake biggest engine

    I have always found that the smaller intake you get and the biggest engine you get is always the best. I have always bought the non-comercial brand and have not had good luck with Sears. Most 2 stage have Tecumseh Snow King engines on them. My MTD 24" 8hp (Cheapy) has not let me down in 8 years. My neighbors Ariens and the like have been in the shop many times.

    We get significantly more snow here then you do so any 2 stage snow thrower will work for you if you change the oil every season and keep it clean and clear of snow.
  5. swolff

    swolff Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    oh yea

    To answer your post my advise on the smaller intake and bigger engine allows you to throw the snow farther. But it may be the wrong way into the wind
  6. Jim-in-NOVA

    Jim-in-NOVA Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I use Castrol Syntec in my Jeep, I'll put that in the blower after any required use of break-in oil. The engine is a B&S OHV, don't know whether it's a cast iron cylinder sleeve.

    I liked the smaller size and weight of the Toro single stage but I was concerned about its ability to throw heavy wet snow or tackle the banks occassionally left at the end of the driveway. Hondas are expensive.

    Crafsman doesn't manufacture their own stuff. It's possible MTD may make some of their machines. As stated above this model has a B&S OHV engine.

    Here's a link to what I ordered:
  7. dunedog

    dunedog Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    I was concerned for years that the 'little' single stage paddle flappers would not do the job.
    Correct with a foot of heavy wet snow they would not do,but I have had no problem with anything under 8".....be it wet,slush, or anything else.
    (keep the belt tight)....hey, do it twice if you are caught with a big storm.
    The reason I finally gave one a shot was because I was tried of getting beat up by my large Ariens.......and seeing people using these little units and having success.
    I bought the Honda after seeing a few in use....Then checking some of the little things of how it was built.Again a 32/36" tends to beat you up,so I wanted to go back to a 24" for any monster storms.
    I always thought of Ariens as a top notch blower ....not after using the Honda. Yes ,the Hondas are not cheap but 'You get what you pay for' ..they are in a league of their own, in my option.
    I said my little paddle blower was a Simplicity (mind fart) ..it is in fact an Ariens.
    It fell apart after a couple of years(chute/wheels) but I have made the necessary modifications and have never had a problem with the engine.
    A lot of snow contractors in my area use 2cyc. paddle type blowers. They also use everything from power brooms to leaf blowers too.
    Good luck....
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
  8. Jim-in-NOVA

    Jim-in-NOVA Junior Member
    Messages: 4

  9. dunedog

    dunedog Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Hey Jim,
    How come you don't have a porch over your front door ? Your neighbor must have got the LS model (lol)

    Oh,you will be well served by the blower you got.......
  10. Jim-in-NOVA

    Jim-in-NOVA Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Yep, I'm the second owner, the original owner didn't add that nice feature OR the nice brick lamp posts at the driveway entry. I got a decent price on the house because the prior owners had it decorated REAL funky and it turned a lot of potential buyers off. Ridiculous size house for 2 people and a dog. LOL

    Because I've got to get all the snow from the parking area out to the yard, I still think I need the bigger machine. You can see what I mean about plowing NOT being a good option, at least not with a pick-up.

    Long range forecast for next Wednesday and Thursday, when I'm supposed to pick up the blower, is 70* and sunny. Think I'll put shorts on and play golf and the blower can wait until Friday. LOL

  11. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Here is a discussion from last winter on 2 stage VS 1 stage snow blowers. http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=15270&highlight=toro+snow+blower I own both and for MOST snows my 1 stage toro will kick the pants off my 2 stage 8hp Airens. 14.7 inches the Toro had no problems, even cutting through the 2+ foot drifts. It struggles alittle through the plow mounds left by the city crews. We use the 2 stage on a 2 block long walk next to a MAJOR street that is cover by snow thrown off the street by the city crews.