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Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
4/15/20 4:46 p.m.

Hey guys, 

 

I bought my current Husqvarna snowblower in or around 2003 or so. When I bought it (just before a blizzard) I paid a pretty penny because there were limited choices due to the storm. I didn't realize that I had really bought quite a nice unit. It's 30" wide and has a 12.5 (I think) hp engine, steering, etc. It's now pretty old, best up and rusty. 

 

Through some good timing and horse trading I bought a slightly used Ariens snowblower from a friend of mine at work. It's really nice and because of the horse trading I did it only cost me $300 out of pocket. I'm sure it's just as good if not better than my old one, but I worry that I might miss some of the features of the Husqvarna and it's seemingly better build quality. 

 

I don't know that I need two snowblowers, but I'm thinking of trying to restore the old one possibly to keep it, or sell it. Would this be a good idea, or just sell it on as is? If I decide to fix it up, can you guys recommend somewhere to get parts for snowblowers? 

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/15/20 5:11 p.m.

Last year I gave my 15-year-old Honda-powered Craftsman mower a bit of a refresh. I replaced any cracked plastic pieces--like some of the guards and the cap that I had just run over. I also gave it a tune-up and then hit it all with some spray wax. If I remember, some parts came from Sears, some from Amazon, and some from the local Lowe's. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/15/20 5:13 p.m.

Old trumps new IMO.

New stuff, especially stuff since 2008 and the new EPA regs is just trash.  I don't mind chinese products, in fact they have come a long way, but they do skimp wherever they can... especially if it was destined for a big box store who leverages buying power.

I used to work for HD in the warranty and tool repair department.  We repaired customer stuff, and any time they were just given a new one, we refurbed and sent it to one of those liquidation stores you see in some outlet malls.

Every year, it was the same thing.  The first nice day of spring, we would have a line out the door with lawnmowers that were purchased last year.  The cheap alloys of brass and aluminum in the carbs got white crusty corrosion.  I could fix 10 an hour.  Then in November the same thing happened again with snow blowers.  The first time the weather man says it might snow, everyone gets out their last-year's blower to find that it won't start.  Of course, I had to repeat complete BS about ethanol fuels even though it didn't matter.  I wasn't allowed to say, "congrats, see you next year with your chinese carburetor."

I never (and I repeat never) saw an older gas powered tool in my shop.

Compare the thickness of the steel in your old Husqy to the new Ariens.  Compare the size of the gear box.  I would bet that the Husqy has a cast iron or aluminum gearbox and the Ariens has two halves of a stamped steel shell that hold some cast gears... maybe even plastic.

Sell the newer one.  You'll get more money and you'll keep the better machine.  I used an IH blower much like your Husqy from the early 80s with a completely obsolete Tecumseh engine.

Truth is, most lawn and garden manufacturers aren't even manufacturers anymore.  They are assemblers.   Next time you're at a box store, compare the Cub Cadet with the Echo or MTD.  Same thing but with different trim pieces and stickers, but the guts are usually the same.  Take [insert one of three motors with the same bolt pattern], add [insert one of 4 gear boxes], and then add [generic stamped steel body work], and differentiate them with paint and stickers.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/15/20 5:15 p.m.

https://www.jackssmallengines.com/
https://www.ereplacementparts.com/

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
4/15/20 5:15 p.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

Old trumps new IMO.

New stuff, especially stuff since 2008 and the new EPA regs is just trash.  I don't mind chinese products, in fact they have come a long way, but they do skimp wherever they can... especially if it was destined for a big box store who leverages buying power.

I used to work for HD in the warranty and tool repair department.  We repaired customer stuff, and any time they were just given a new one, we refurbed and sent it to one of those liquidation stores you see in some outlet malls.

Every year, it was the same thing.  The first nice day of spring, we would have a line out the door with lawnmowers that were purchased last year.  The cheap alloys of brass and aluminum in the carbs got white crusty corrosion.  I could fix 10 an hour.  Then in November the same thing happened again with snow blowers.  The first time the weather man says it might snow, everyone gets out their last-year's blower to find that it won't start.  Of course, I had to repeat complete BS about ethanol fuels even though it didn't matter.  I wasn't allowed to say, "congrats, see you next year with your chinese carburetor."

I never (and I repeat never) saw an older gas powered tool in my shop.

Compare the thickness of the steel in your old Husqy to the new Ariens.  Compare the size of the gear box.  I would bet that the Husqy has a cast iron or aluminum gearbox and the Ariens has two halves of a stamped steel shell that hold some cast gears... maybe even plastic.

Sell the newer one.  You'll get more money and you'll keep the better machine.  I used an IH blower much like your Husqy from the early 80s with a completely obsolete Tecumseh engine.

Truth is, most lawn and garden manufacturers aren't even manufacturers anymore.  They are assemblers.   Next time you're at a box store, compare the Cub Cadet with the Echo or MTD.  Same thing but with different trim pieces and stickers, but the guts are usually the same.  Take [insert one of three motors with the same bolt pattern], add [insert one of 4 gear boxes], and then add [generic stamped steel body work], and differentiate them with paint and stickers.

The new Ariens is a HD special. The Husqvarna was from a Husqvarna dealer and is definitely better built. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/15/20 5:19 p.m.

The other nice thing about the old one, it usually doesn't matter if they stopped making parts for it.  The only thing that will likely fail regularly is the shear pin on the impeller, and that is a standard-issue part much like a bolt or nut.  Just call any outdoor parts supplier and ask for a 5/16" x 3" shear pin (or whatever size yours is).  If you ever really need actual parts, chances are they'll work from some other blower.  Things like cables only come in about 5 different configurations.  Pulleys are all sold by diameter and shaft size.  Belts can be had by just going to AutoZone with the number off the old one, or the old belt itself.  If the engine fails, they're mostly universal.  Its pretty rare that you can't find a part you need, even if they stopped making them years ago.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
4/15/20 5:28 p.m.

If I could get the sheet metal parts sandblasted, would you guys suggest any special paint to refinish it? As far as summerizing these, I usually just put some stabilizer in the tank of the old one and run it for a half hour or so and then put it away. The friend who sold this one too me always runs it completely out of fuel. What is the proper way? I've never had problems with doing it the way I just mentioned, but of course I will now. 

drainoil
drainoil Dork
4/15/20 6:11 p.m.

The big red Snapper has to be almost 30 years old and still going strong. I bought it from the original owner who took good care of her. It's a huge tank compared to my other blower which is an almost as old MTD that still runs decent.  With both being this old I can afford to have two so if we get a good snowfall and one machine goes down, I've got the other as immediate back up. They get only non oxy and I run the tanks dry before summer storage. 
 

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/15/20 7:09 p.m.
Mazdax605 said:

If I could get the sheet metal parts sandblasted, would you guys suggest any special paint to refinish it? As far as summerizing these, I usually just put some stabilizer in the tank of the old one and run it for a half hour or so and then put it away. The friend who sold this one too me always runs it completely out of fuel. What is the proper way? I've never had problems with doing it the way I just mentioned, but of course I will now. 

I buy the cheapest "up to 15% ethanol" 87 octane crap.  I store it in a plastic gas can.  When I'm done with my lawn equipment for the season, I turn it off and shove it in a corner.  I don't run them dry, I don't use stabilizer.  I get them out next season, pull the cord.  Period.  If they sit for two seasons, (like a winter where we don't get enough snow to use a blower) sometimes I'll get them out and fire them up for kicks, but fuel is not as unstable as everyone thinks it is.

People go spend twice as much on non-ethanol fuel, then put Sta-bil in it... which contains ethanol.  The ethanol doesn't kill things.  Cheap alloys in carburetors makes crusty stuff.

I personally don't do a single thing to mine, and if they don't fire up on the first pull, I'm shocked.  If you must do something, run it dry.  You'll shorten the life of gaskets and seals, especially the needle and seat, but do what you want.  In January I dragged home a Cub Cadet self-propelled mower that someone had put out for trash pickup.  First pull.  My old mower that I just sold, second pull.  My old Tecumseh-powered snow blower, first pull every time.  Chainsaw, first or second pull.  Both weed whackers, first pull.  Leaf blower, first pull. Log splitter, first pull.  I know that millions of people have all kinds of trouble and I don't know what they are doing to invite it, but I have never had trouble.

Maybe I'm just the gas whisperer

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
4/15/20 7:14 p.m.

 That Snapper is a beast

I have the 10HP/32" version in Lawn Boy colors.  It weighs a ton, is loud, but just keeps chugging.

Agree 100% that old is better than new.  i bet that Ariens weighs 50lbs less than the Husky.

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
4/15/20 7:52 p.m.

I guess I’ll be the contrarian, color me the Ariens guy. 

Ive been running them since my dad bought a 24” with a 7HP Tecumseh in the mid 70’s.  Still going, yeah he takes good care of his stuff.    I bought a 1971 24” / 7HP used for $350.00 in 1992 and retired it (still running but very tired) in 2012.  In that time, I bought a set of tire chains, 1 throttle cable a few spark plugs and shear pins.   All the bushings were gone in the lower end and while I could have bought them, the engine was very tired and so... I bought a new Ariens 28 Deluxe in 2013.  Looks just like what you have in the picture.    

Other the the LCT made in China engine, Ariens makes everything else in Wisconsin.  Including the cast iron gear box.  It throws snow literally twice as far as any of the old machines, more than 50 feet with drier snow.  The automatic locking / unlocking differential took some getting used to.  I bought some after market skids for the bucket (Armor Skids) and they completely changed the way the machine ran. (Longer skids bridge over bumps and it doesn’t grab and turn on them.). Other than changing the skids, one set of drive belts and PM every year it’s been flawless.     I remember paying about $1,100 new for mine, yours looks like it’s been hardly used. You did well, get what you can get for the Husky and run it.  

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
4/15/20 8:03 p.m.
11GTCS said:

I guess I’ll be the contrarian, color me the Ariens guy. 

Ive been running them since my dad bought a 24” with a 7HP Tecumseh in the mid 70’s.  Still going, yeah he takes good care of his stuff.    I bought a 1971 24” / 7HP used for $350.00 in 1992 and retired it (still running but very tired) in 2012.  In that time, I bought a set of tire chains, 1 throttle cable a few spark plugs and shear pins.   All the bushings were gone in the lower end and while I could have bought them, the engine was very tired and so... I bought a new Ariens 28 Deluxe in 2013.  Looks just like what you have in the picture.    

Other the the LCT made in China engine, Ariens makes everything else in Wisconsin.  Including the cast iron gear box.  It throws snow literally twice as far as any of the old machines, more than 50 feet with drier snow.  The automatic locking / unlocking differential took some getting used to.  I bought some after market skids for the bucket (Armor Skids) and they completely changed the way the machine ran. (Longer skids bridge over bumps and it doesn’t grab and turn on them.). Other than changing the skids, one set of drive belts and PM every year it’s been flawless.     I remember paying about $1,100 new for mine, yours looks like it’s been hardly used. You did well, get what you can get for the Husky and run it.  

I see that the Ariens list some sort of locking differential, but I don't understand what it is. I'll have to dig through the owners manual. My Husqvarna has steering on it with triggers that stop one wheel from getting power. It works pretty well, as long as they system is lubed up. Where'd you get the skids? 

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
4/15/20 8:26 p.m.

In reply to Mazdax605 :

Google Armor Skids.  Guy makes them from steel plate with a plasma cutter and then welds the bottom skids on. I believe he’s in upstate NY somewhere.  Great product. 

Not trying to be too much of a fanboi on Ariens, I have a decent sized driveway and up until this year did an elderly neighbors 120 foot drive and turnaround as well. (20 plus years. Old one would still be going lol.) Charley passed in October at nearly 96 and we helped keep him in his house until nearly the end, it was a worthy sacrifice.  

I’ve probably put 2 to 3 times the hours on my 2013 than the average homeowner, it’s a good machine.    The whole HD vs dealer / different machine thing is BS by the way.  I bought mine from a dealer but it’s the same machine / same price either way.   Easy machine to work on and parts are readily available.   They’re still making this design now so we’re all good on parts for some time to come.  I think routine maintenance is probably the most important thing anyway, I’ve got a Craftsman lawn tractor from 2004 with close to 500 hours on it that still looks and runs like new so call me crazy. 

The LCT engine has occasionally surged a bit which is likely related to running lean for emissions.   The tubes has videos of how to drill out the idle jet to fix it, I haven’t bothered so far.  

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
4/15/20 8:36 p.m.

Sorry rambling and I forgot about the differential.    It’s dead simple, push lightly on the left handle and the machine turns to the right and opposite  handle to tun to the left.  No levers or triggers.   Bucket needs to be square to the ground and if you’ve got a less than perfect driveway like mine, the aftermarket skids glide over bulbs and keep it from taking off on its own.   With the factory skids it seemed like I was fighting with the machine. 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/15/20 12:37 p.m.

Armor skids showed up yesterday. 

 

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The0retical (Forum Supporter)
The0retical (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/15/20 1:15 p.m.

In reply to Mazdax605 :

I have a set of those for my Honda HSS928A.

It's like cheating on my gnarly gravel driveway. Worth every penny.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/15/20 1:27 p.m.
The0retical (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Mazdax605 :

I have a set of those for my Honda HSS928A.

It's like cheating on my gnarly gravel driveway. Worth every penny.

I'm looking forward (not really) trying them out. I'm thinking they'd be even better if they had Teflon, or delrin on the bottoms, but they should be good as is. 

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
5/15/20 1:37 p.m.
Mazdax605 said:

Armor skids showed up yesterday. 

 

​​​​​​

Yup, that’s them!   Get some carriage bolts, washers and nuts, you’ll need to space them a little out to clear the ridge on the bucket.   They work great, good luck with the new machine.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/15/20 1:41 p.m.
11GTCS said:
Mazdax605 said:

Armor skids showed up yesterday. 

 

​​​​​​

Yup, that’s them!   Get some carriage bolts, washers and nuts, you’ll need to space them a little out to clear the ridge on the bucket.   They work great, good luck with the new machine.

Oh, I can't just bolt them on as is? Also is the wide part the front, and the narrow the rear? 

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
5/15/20 1:47 p.m.

In reply to Mazdax605 :

Unless he’s modified the design since I bought mine, no they need to go out a bit.   The shoes mount facing out. If there’s any difference, I’d mount the long end forward to better bridge any bumps.  

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
5/15/20 1:48 p.m.

Sorry, wide part forward.  

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/15/20 3:13 p.m.

Not sure how I missed this one!

I have an Ariens a lot like the one you bought. I've had it for a few seasons now, and it is a really, really nice machine and it's made me an Ariens fan for life. Mine is a Deluxe 24 (would have gone wider but can't fit anything more between the house and garage). Even though these can be bought at Home Depot/Lowes (they are official Ariens dealers technically), they are great. Starting with the Deluxe series, they have a cast iron gear box, the split-turn differential, and a remote angle control for the metal (not plastic) chute.

I've had plenty of older machines from a variety of manufacturers, and this one smokes them all. I don't regret the purchase one bit. If you get the Classic (which yours isn't), that one has the cheapo parts you don't want. The small equipment dealers do get access too a higher line of machines, which have things like the SHO engine and EFI (yes, EFI on a snowblower!) but these ones are great too, and yes, those small equipment dealers sell the same lower lines that you can get at HD/Lowes.

Those skids are cool! Might have to get some for mine.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/16/20 10:20 a.m.

Installed the armor skids on the Ariens. 

 

 

Kinda bodged install, because while I was smart and bought longer carriage bolts and nuts I neglected to think about washers, so I had to make due with what I had around or go back out. I didn't want to go back out. 

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
5/16/20 4:58 p.m.

In reply to Mazdax605 :

That’ll work fine, besides I think you’ve got some time before you need them.  

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/16/20 7:41 p.m.

How far am I supposed to space the skids down on the scoop? 

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