Snow blower advice

jussi_1933October 19, 2006

I plan to replace my 10 year old Murray Spirit snow blower. Tired of wrestling with it and some of it problems.One of my requirements on a new blower are hand warmers. I am considering 3 different machines. Two of them are Ariens, a model 11528LE or 11528DLE. Both of them are 11.5 HP but are seperated by a few hundred dollars in price. The third machine is a Husqvarna 1130SBE-XP. It retails for about the same price as the Ariens 11528LE. The major differences are between the Husky and the Ariens is the size of the impeller(Ariens-14in/Husky-12in) and the auger(Ariens-16in/Husky-12in). The other item is tire size. The Husky has 16"x6.5" ,the Ariens LE is 15"x5" and the DLE is 16"x4.8".

Do these variations have a major impact as far as handling and snow blowing ability? Any suggestions as to the use of these machines? Our average annual snowfall is 180 plus inches with occasional years in excess of 300 inches.

Does anybody have experience with these choices?

Ariens has a good reputation in our area but I hear very little about Husqvarna.

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Someone wiser than I needs to educate me on why a purchase of $1500-$2000 is dependent on a gimmick device like hand warmers. No offense intended, after all it is your dime. I just want to understand what line of reasoning leads to this conclusion? Items like this are great when they work, but often troublesome and expensive to fix when they break. Have you been using that old Murray bare-handed all this time? Is a good pair of insulated gloves not an option? Do tell.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 4:30PM
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Perhaps you missed the point of why I plan to replace the old Murray blower. It is not just to get hand warmers. The Murray has had a lot of problems. I have probably spent at least half of the original cost for maintainance to this point and it still has problems. The last thing I need is a machine that will not be reliable enough to allow me to clear my 270' of driveway and other misc. areas after a 20" snowfall. Have you ever tried to blow snow for 3 hours when it it 15 degrees below zero? I have yet to find a pair of insulated mittens which is capable of retaining heat in your hands under those conditions. As long as I plan to replace a troublesome machine it seems to make sense to opt for handwarmers. I am sorry if it does not make sense to you but it does make sense to me.

In case you missed it, my questions to this forum were related to some technical aspects of the machines I was considering to replace the Murray.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 6:22PM
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I have heated handle grips on my ATV, they are a godsend, not a gimick. They are made by Kimpex.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 2:28PM
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newjerseybt(5b NE PA)

I have the Arien's 1128DLE from 2003. The handgrips help alot. You are right about gloves in those temps. Unless your fingers are against the palms of your hands they still get cold.

The differential makes a great difference in handling. The 11528DLE machine is about 300 pounds and the differential ensures tight turns whether turning to your left or right when the trigger is left unlocked. The cast iron auger gear case is also stronger and is usually the choice for professional landscapers or enthusiasts.

The 11528LE unlocked makes wider turns either left or right depending on which wheel is the drive wheel. If the right wheel does the driving, then left turns will have a much smaller radius. (I can't remember which is the drive wheel)

If it is windy in MI where you are I would also suggest a cab to block the wind and blowing snow. You also need a weight kit on top the intake chute to counterbalance the cab. The cab may have a disadvantage when climbing up a ramp on a truck. As the intake chute goes up , the cab comes down and may strike your head depending on how tall you are.

I also have the 6 inch wide wheels. There may be 2 schools of thought as to which has an advantage, the wider wheel or the narrower. The narrower may sink down to the pavement quicker but if you don't sink, the wider wheel may have more surface area on the snow increasing friction.

Also a softer compound rubber helps in traction. I don't think there is a rating like car and truck tires though.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 8:35PM
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Best thing I've found for traction on my blower is sheetmetal screws 3/8"long w/ 1/4"hex head screwed into every other lug on the tires. They grab good w/o the jumping up and down of chains.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 10:20PM
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I'm not trying to be flippant (born near the St. Mary's River), but would mittens work better than gloves after you got the machine started? Good mittens tend to keep the fingers warmer than gloves most of the time (hunters mittens work well too), especially with hand warmers inside (air activated heating pads) (no mechanical parts to break down)

Not too sure about the above because I rarely deal with -15 F anymore, which you get regularly, worst I've had to deal with was a clear night at -7 lately (last 20 or so years).

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 12:11AM
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I just purchased a Husqvarna 1130SBE-XP from Lowes last week. I just returned it (5 days later) and got my money back.

Despite the Husqvarna website, the 1130 SBE-XP I got new from Lowes last week (1/1/07) does NOT have handwarmers. It also doesn't have the 6" tires, doesn't have the high speed impeller, doesn't have the ball bearing auger support and doesn't have the grease zerks. In fact, even thought the label says 1130SBE-XP, it's really the 1130SBE-OV with a Halogen light added.

But this isn't Lowe's fault. I contacted Husqvarna, they told me the features listed on the Husqvarna website are for a new version of that - only those models made after Jan 7th. 2007 will have those features.

This is annoying because the street price on the -OV is $1199 (what you pay at Lowes for the supposed XP), while the street price for the -XP is $1399 or maybe $1299. So what looks like a good deal is really a bad deal, expecially since you can get the identical machine at Sears on sale for $1049. (These two, plus Poulan plus maybe others are all made by the same mfr, not Husqvarna. I think AYP makes them all.)

My opinion is that this is deceptive advertising, since nowhere on the web site does it say that there are updates - especially including EVERY feature that separates this model from its lower cost cousin.

But the real reason that I am returning it is that after no more than 30 minutes of use in only 6" of light snow the auger stopped turning. I thought maybe I caught a rock and sheared the bolts. But no, they were fine.

It turns out that the engine pulley for the auger is made of two sheets of steel stamped to shape and attached to each other. But the steel was weak and the engine ripped a disk out of the center of the pulley so that it was no longer attached to the engine shaft. On a 2 day old snow blower! The mfr must have saved $1 by using a cheap stamped 2 pc pulley instead of using a real pulley.

I think I'll get the Ariens 11528DLE or 9526DLE - it probably really does have all the features that the Husky claims to have and I'm told that the quality is much better.

I can't recommend that anyone buy any of the Husqvarna snowblowers - you just can't be sure you'll get what you think unless you check before you buy. And how will you know if you got the high speed impeller or other features you think you should get?

Despite the bad blower, I have good things to say about Lowes - they trucked a snowblower across the country for me and didn't complain at all about taking it back.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 11:37PM
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ajer16(z5b MI)

I'd be the last person to give someone grief about wanting handwarmers if they lived in da UP and had 270 feet of driveway. Here in southern MI our winters are detestable enough, but up there winter doesn't kid. Good luck jussi.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 5:54PM
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One year ago February, I purchased a Craftsman Model 71.88115 with a 11.5 hp Briggs & Stratton OHV Intek engine with 8 speeds (6 forward, 2 reverse). Of course, we haven't had any snow since it was delivered. There it sits brand new and ready to go.

Last week I installed a "Classic" cab (the higher grade model) and added high intensity reflective tape so I can be seen (I hope) while working and removing the driveway entrance snow plow accumulations piled up from street plows. Sears wanted $109.95. Amazon had it available for $79.99, free shipping (we're enfrolled in their limited free ship plan). This model is much sturdier than their less expensive version.

I have a 100' driveway on a main street. I bought this monster when it was on sale for $900 and the last one in the store. My plan was to go for the extra power because of the often heavy wet snow we get in Massachusetts in addition to the heavy stuff from street plows.

This machine weighs 300lbs so I chose Sears 3 year "In-Home Repair Protection Agreement" for $99. I'm turning 66 this month so lugging this thing to a repair shop is not in my retirement plan.

If anyone out there has experience with this or any other similar machine, I'd like to hear both good and bad.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 11:06AM
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Can anyone tell me where I can get parts (a gear) for a spirit snowblower.I've tried local places and the internet but no one seems to know the make. I even tried the engine manufacturer (Tecumseh) and they say try the internet. If you know of a place I can contact I would appreciate your help, thank you.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 1:48PM
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I'd get the Ariens 1128DLE. Ariens is the top of the line and you can't go wrong with them. With that much snow, the traction control will come in handy with the DLE model. I have to manually lock my wheels on my 824 classic deluxe, but it comes in very handy in icey conditions especially if your driveway isn't flat. I don't see to many husky blowers, so I can't comment on those. However dealer support is important so pick one that you can get serviced.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 7:04AM
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Ariens has been a leader in Snowblowers for years. The Husky, which is a AYP product is just an Orange Poulan. The quality of the Husky is much lower than the Ariens. This year will be interesting, since Tecumseh dominated the engine market for years, and B&S's new engine series will really be put to the test. 11.5hp will move tons of snow. I would concentrate on ease of wheel brakes, shifting and chute controls. I think larger tires are more of a plus than larger impellers. Heated grips can be added to any machine at minimal cost. Shop for a deal!! You can save hundreds. Our local Home Depot discounts ALL Ariens machines at 50%, at the end of the season. I live in MASS, and around here, stores with large inventories, panic if we're not burried in snow by November...we've had none. Good Luck

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 8:42AM
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tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)

This is an old thread, and is about getting a top of line 2 stager for serious snow. That's not me, but I thought I would add this, because I saw mention of the large fan size (16")

I have about 500' of driveway, and I used to use a 524 Snowking. That was OK when I was a young pup, and couldn't find two nickels to rub together. In the fall of 2000, I got a leftover deal on a 1333 Yardman (16" fan). I paid $1299 (brand new).

I realize it is not a Honda, Ariens, etc., so I am usually gentle with it, but it has monster power for the heavy snow out by the street. It probably throws the clean dry stuff about 40'.

What I am getting to is the 16" fan. It is so big, and with the 13HP behind it, you have to be respectful. Meaning that you can't stop the blower loaded with wet snow, then start it again with the snow in there. You will probably bust the belt straight off. (I did that the first season). And because of the size of the fan, the belt is really a maintenance item. I replaced my second fan belt a few seasons ago. Even if you baby it, they don't last that long - maybe 100 hours (for me). So, a good idea to have an extra fan belt.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 7:33AM
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Yes, this thread is two years old, but maybe we can keep it going for someone else besides jessi. I really like Ariens because of their great build quality.

Did you know that Ariens has been using a double-belt set-up for the auger/impeller drive for the 2007 and 2008 models? I found out from another forum where "Snowmann", an engineer at Ariens regularly posts responses. I don't know if this also includes their compact smaller machines. Hope this helps someone.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 1:59AM
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One of the posts above stated that handwarners are fairly inexpensive and easily installed, or something to that affect.

Could you please tell me where you can buy them and how they are powered?

Thank you

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 3:01PM
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hi all need some help i got a used snow blower and it works great except for some reason when i put it in forward it goes in reverse and vicea versa ? is something on it backwards any tips on how to adjust would be great thank you

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:25AM
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You might have to turn the dial from southern hemisphere to northern.... Any idea what make and model this is?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:10PM
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i think it is a craftsman 2 6 speed but not sure if the engine is the original how do you mean turn south to north is that the plate you mean?the plate where the rubber disk connects to turn it ? is itpossiable the disk is on wrong? thanks for your help...barry

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 5:02PM
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I have a 2008 Ariens 1130 DLE snowblower (75th anniversary edition...for whatever that's worth), and it continues to be a snow pig when it comes to eating snow. I truly am impressed with the amount of snow this unit will throw, and I've seen it throw as far as 75 feet when the weather is very cold and the snow is dry....very impressive for an 11hp (358cc)Tecumseh engine. The newer Ariens come with the Briggs and Straton engines, which I'm sure Ariens tested before agreeing to use them, however, I was always told that the B&S engines were a better summer engine and that the Tecumseh were a better winter engine.....who knows.
I am thinking of changing from regular dyno oil 5w-30 to a synthetic 5w-30 in my Ariens. Would anyone here recommend or not recommend that I do that ?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 12:17PM
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