Snow blower on gravel drive?

tbakes(Philadelphia)February 13, 2006

Hi - my driveway is ~200 feet long, all 1/2" to 3/4" gravel. It is pretty well packed, but not like asphalt.

So, the question is, will a snow blower work on it? I'd like to find out before I pay 750 bucks for something. I am looking at a used Ariens 8526, and need to let the guy know by tomorrow.

I have an '80 Allis-Chalmers diesel tractor with a plow and loader, but I got stuck pretty bad a few times on Sunday trying to clear the 16" we got. Plus, every time I get a little stuck, the wheels dig deep ruts in the gravel, creating pot holes. I imagine a 4 wheel drive tractor would be better, but that isn't in the cards.

And advice appreciated!


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canguy(British Columbia)

What are your conditions? I allowed a build up of snow to pack and freeze before I started in with the snowblower. Ask my lawnmower how I learned this? LOL. I also learned to drop the shoes so I did not take out the neighbour's windows with the crush from my driveway.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 10:14PM
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Depending on what suface conditions are like it may or may not work. Different folks get different results. But regardless of that, $750 for a used 8526 is too much, at least around here. Some Home Depots have had new 9HP machines for that or less. Locally $300-400 will buy you Ariens and Simplicitys all day long, all under 15 years old. The early '90s ones were some of the most solid.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 10:29PM
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If it's fairly smooth it's not usually a problem, as the gravel freezes together and the skids ride over it.

I just did a neighbors driveway who has gravel and just put a little upward pressure on the handlebars to stay off any high ones. You can adjust them up, and one fellow here added to the standard skids so they have more contact area.

HD was selling Ariens 926LE's for 1/3rd to 1/2 off - $500 to $667. - so $750 is mighty dear.

If you wait a month the prices really go down. I bought a 10 yo Ariens ST824 for $212.75 over Easter weekend on eBay last year. The guy I bought it from had just gotten a great deal on an 11528 DLE so he didn't care. For $750 you could probably get an Ariens Pro model.

There are some real shysters out there, I've seen a couple guys in NH and one in MA offering machines with virtually no work done on them - original skids, worn scraper bar, old tires - for the price of a well maintained machine.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 11:21PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone! The one I was thinking about buying is 1 yr old, but I agree that the price is prolly too hi, so I am going to pass.

I'll be in the market once we find a dealer with some in stock!

As for conditions, I think before next winter I will rent a compactor and really pack in the driveway. That should help.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 8:52AM
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I have an Ariens 11528 which I use on a gravel drive. I got a couple pieces of 1/4 inch steel (1/8 inch would be OK too) that were 1 foot long and 2 inches wide. I heated these up and bent the ends over a pipe. I then welded them to the original skids. If there is a good packed snow/ice base on the drive I can lower the auger housing to 1/2 inch or less. This year with the inconsistent weather and thaws I have it set at 3/4 inch. It picks up an occasional piece of gravel. I'm just very careful about how I direct the snow when I get at the end of the driveway and near the house.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 8:59AM
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You have a Allis Chalmer diesl tractor not sure what model you have but since it has a loader it must be a real tractor?Not sure what you mean by 80 unless thats the year.I can not place a model 80 have heard of a 180.Can not picture getting a tractor like that stuck in 16'' of snow.Uless it has turf tires.When you started to get stuck did you push the opposite break from the wheel that was spinning.If not thats why you got stuck.I would think it would have seperate brakes for each wheel right?Next time if the left wheel spins hit the right break and see if thing go better for you.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 1:20AM
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Its an AC model 5030 - one of the made in japan ones. Rear wheel drive only. Chains on rear. Prolly need more weight in the back. But, when I get stuck, it basically digs itself a hole and I can't get out of it.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 4:59PM
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And yes, separate brakes and it is a 1980 as far as I know. It came with my property.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 5:08PM
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The next time it starts spinning use the opposite break from the side that is spinning.You might just find out it will help.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 7:50PM
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I have a standard 22' Craftsman snowblower... I drilled a 5/8' hole on each side and put a 5/8' threaded bolt to act as an axle on each side.. Added a John Deere deck wheel on each side which raises the leading edge 3/4' so I don't grab gravel..... WORKS AWESOME:) used 5/8' lock nuts to hold wheels on....

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 21, 2014 at 9:33PM
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I have a 400 foot gravel driveas well and have used a snowblower on it. I removed the shoes and replaced them with lawn mower wheels. Those do a great job keeping the blower from digging into the gravel.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2014 at 12:18PM
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