Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bye-Bye Electric Snow Blower!

Put it on nextdoor.com, and sold it for $300. 

Yeah, I took an almost $600 hit for two seasons of use, but it's out of here. I even "delivered" it to the guy who came down this morning to buy it.

He'd read all the online reviews of it, and agreed with me on it's limitations, and is prepared to put up with them. He's from Wisconsin, has owned and used snowblowers, and knows snow at least as well as I do. We both commented on how "nice" the snow is here, all fluffy and dry compared to the sludge that used to blanket us back in the Midwest.

I put the batteries in and ran it, and showed him how all the controls worked. He was very pleased with the condition it was in, and how clean it was, and the fact I had the manuals, tool kit, and all the misc parts that originally came with it.

He and his wife are moving out of their townhouse here in FoCo, and moving in to a new house up in Wellington. The HOA at their new place does the streets and sidewalks, but not the driveways, so unless his driveway is significantly larger than ours, this thing should easily handle it.

He didn't want to be "bothered" with a gas engine snowblower (sound familiar?), but had researched them, and recommended a Toro for my new one.

So he was happy, handed me three Benjamins, we loaded it in the back of the Colorado, and I followed him back to his place. It would have barely fit in his Subie Outback, and we would have had to take the handlebars and discharge chute off.

With a little truck sitting right next to it, why bother?


So now I have to decide on what the replacement unit will be, get one, and RTFM. Leaning towards the Ariens "DeLuxe 24" at this point, but if I get a screaming deal on a good, used Honda, I'll probably go for that.

Winter is coming, and I don't want to get caught flat-footed.....

31 comments:

  1. Spend the money this time.

    "Buy once, cry once".

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. The only reason I bought the electric one was I didn't want to be "bothered" with the care and feeding of a gas engine in the wintertime. Plus I'd never had to use, buy, or own a snowblower, so I had zero background.

      And that led to me "knowing better" on some of the adjustments like for the skid shoes and scraper blade, leading to much anguish and cussing.

      The Ariens is $1100, and the Honda is $2300, hence the scouting for a used Honda. I had a chance to get a like-new (really was!) Honda in an earlier model of the series I wanted last year for around $1000, IIRC. Missed it because I had no way to get it home, and didn't want to rent a truck to retrieve it. Yes, the in-laws have trucks, but getting one scheduled can be "problematic".

      Now that we own a truck, I can go get things like this on my own quite easily. Who knows, I might turn into another Phil at Bustednuckles. Saw a nice floor-standing drill press for $75, and a decent 2HP compressor for $100......

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  2. Good riddance. In your previous posts about the old rig, it seemed like a PITA. Waiting to see what ultimately will replace it.

    BTW - we get "nice snow" in Wickenburg every couple of years. Nice that it melts or sublimates away without having a mess to clean up.

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    1. Some of that was me not having it set up right, and some was it just being to small to do the job. It worked great with 6"~8" of dry snow, but just couldn't gulp in more than 10", and we get drifts in the driveway bigger than that. You had to carefully manage deep snow removal or you'd run out of battery, as the batteries would last about 40 minutes with heavy work.

      Now I'll just grab the gas can!

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  3. Good luck with whatever you decide on. We piddled with snowblowers on the car lots but always ended up using the one ton 4x4 with a 8' snowplow.

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    1. Yeah, clearing a parking lot is a bit different than doing a sidewalk and driveway. Back in Illinois, my best buddy had a plow for his Jeep and would come do my Dad's driveway and sidewalk. He could do the sidewalks as we had no curbing or storm sewers in that part of town.

      I have to go to Home Depot tomorrow, so I'll be checking to see if they have any out yet, along with Lowe's and Tractor Supply.

      The only ones I've seen on nextdoor.com are small, single-stage units, and that won't cut it on the drifts we get on the cul-de-sac.

      I'll have to start checking craigslist again. That's where I saw the Honda.

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  4. I suppose you don't need a lawn tractor to cut your grass, but I use mine to push snow also. Never regret it.

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    1. IMHO, we barely have enough yard for a small lawn/garden tractor. More of a "riding mower", actually. Nothing big enough to move snow with, and no place to store it.
      The older guy and his wife who moved last year had a really nice tractor with a snowblower attachment. WAY overkill for here, but then he did all the sidewalks here in the cul-de-sac.

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    2. My dad had a riding mower that he also used as a vehicle tug and snowplow. Granted, snow normally never got any deeper than maybe 6 inches, and the larger garden tractor with those tall lug tires did a better job as a plow, it did the job when the bigger one wouldn't start. Select the right gear, and it would move anything short of a big rig. Mostly it moved trailers (had a tow hitch at both ends), but we moved his 30' and 35' motorhomes around when they didn't run. And it still cut grass on his two acres.

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    3. If you have the square footage to justify one, a little tractor is a wonderous thing to have.

      Almost like having a Bobcat with all the goodies!

      Delete
  5. The only regret we have with our Ariens Deluxe 30 is that we didn't shell out a little more for the track drive. Even at 275 lbs, the thing can't always reach down through the deeper snowfalls for the traction it needs. But it still makes quick work of our 260' driveway.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, the first time I saw a set of tracks on a snowblower was a definite "WTF?!" moment!

      A 30" would be nice, but that's just too big for our needs. The 24" SnowJoe was wide enough, but the "maw" on it was only about 11" high, so deep snow was two passes.

      We don't need one right this moment, so I'm scouting around for a Honda with Hydrostatic drive at a good price, and keeping the Ariens DeLuxe 24 as the #1 back-up.

      Delete
  6. We bought a new Husqvarna ST224 two years ago, and we haven't had enough snow in the last two winters for me to honestly evaluate the performance.
    The electric handwarmers do little to warm one's hands, and I knew that going in because I read the reviews in detail.
    If drift cutters aren't included when you get your blower, you can either buy them ready made, or make a pair fairly easily.
    We have only needed the drift cutters a couple of times during the quarter century or so we owned the first snowblower, but when we needed them they really helped.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heated grips sound like a nice idea, but since I always wear gloves, I doubt their effectiveness.

      Are "drift cutters" like little side plates that help funnel the snow into the maw?

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    2. You can get heated grips on motorcycles, and I hear good things about them, but have no personal experience. Heated gloves and vests/jackets, those I have used, and they work well.

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    3. Will. We tuck a hand warmer pack into each glove, I looked at the motorcycle hand warmers, but the blower doesn't have a 12 volt battery, and I don't know enough about the electrical system on the thrower to know if the motorcycle hand warmers would work.
      And I resent having to buy aftermarket warmers because the ones included in the purchase price don't really work.

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    4. John, do you have to plug your Husky "into the wall" to use the electric start? The Ariens I'm looking at has a 120VAC socket on it that you have to plug in so you start it with the electric starter. It has a small battery pack for the fuel injection, but no "12 Volt" battery like a motorcycle or little tractor has.

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    5. Yes. The Husky is "wall started."
      We don't heat the shed, and we've test started it down into the low teens.
      The only time I've rope started it is when I run out of fuel, and that is almost always when I'm about as far from the fuel in the shed as I can be.
      At that point the engine is warm, and the pull rope started it easily.

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    6. OK, same as the Ariens. Is it fuel injected, or carburetor?

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    7. Conventional carb.

      I wanted a solid axle instead of a steering machine to keep things simple. (As I age I'm rethinking that)
      I'd narrowed it down to the Ariens Compact 24 and the Husqvarna ST224.
      They had only minor differences and I went with the Husqvarna because the lights were LEDs, and the height was easily adjustable.

      But we just haven't had enough snow over the last several winters to really give it a workout, and it never left the shed this winter.

      New topic. Snowthrower cab. Very late in the life of the old TroyBilt thrower I mounted a simple cab on it.
      I did not mount the cab on the new thrower because the cab just never quite worked out as well as I'd hoped.
      If there was little wind you didn't need the cab, and if there was a lot of wind the snow swirls stuck to the cab window, and you had to stop and brush the snow off of the cab.

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    8. I've seen those little "cabs" and wondered about their effectiveness.....

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  7. This shows them stowed on the same machine we have.
    When pushed up all the way you use them to carve away the drift when you are making your passes.
    I made a pair for the older and smaller TroyBilt from flat bar, and the new machine included a set.
    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Husqvarna-Metal-Snow-Blower-Drift-Cutter/50100812?cm_mmc=shp-_-c-_-prd-_-sol-_-google-_-pla-_-238-_-sossnowblowersaccessories-_-50100812-_-0&placeholder=null&gclid=CjwKCAjwnK36BRBVEiwAsMT8WKCtmVVL_X-LSZlASssfiQO9H6Wznh5qkKo1XPEUclCjB3IcJ-wlhRoCW5sQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That's not at all what I had in mind. They just bolt to the sides and stick out in front a little bit?

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    2. Not exactly. I wanted a photo that showed them in their full extended position, but didn't find a photo that showed them in use.
      They stick up above the height of the machine, lean forward, and allow you to carve away a high drift.
      We only used them a couple of times in the 35 years we've lived here, but on those occasions when the snow had drifted in places to a height of 3-5 feet, the cutters did a fine job.
      You can see them in use on a tractor mounted thrower.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wneik5CM3DM

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    3. Tomorrow I will send you a few photos of the cutters on our machine.
      We headed for the shed a few minutes ago to do the photos and backed away to avoid an encounter with one of those black and white striped varmints.

      Delete
    4. Thanks, John, I'll check them out. Those look to be easily fabricated.

      Delete
  8. That was an 'expensive' lesson learned, but at least you got something (and some use) out of it.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I've done stupid stuff like that a few times. You'd think I'd have learned better by now!

      Delete
  9. Snowblowers up north in the midwest are like air conditioners down south: gotta have 'em. Once we move to Texas, we ditch our Cub Cadet blower for whatever we can get for it, since in Texas you don't need to plow sunshine.

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    1. I always bugged my Dad to buy one when I was growing up in Illinois. NOPE! I can see his point. Back in the 60's, you were dealing with basically a "Briggs & Stratton" lawnmower engine on a blower. They could be hard to start in the summertime, and I'd imagine much worse at 10*F.

      "If I Were 20 years Younger" I could probably shovel it all by hand, but I'm not, and I won't.

      MORE POWER!!

      Delete

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