I'm a newbie tractor (and 1025r) owner. I've been pouring over this site for a while now, most recently gathering intel to get ready for winter. We live in North NJ suburbia about 30 miles west of Manhattan, and most who actually take care of their own driveways use a walk behind of varying sizes. Some peeps (such as my Pop) continue to say: no need for a plow or blower, just use the FEL - and while appealing from a cost perspective, my asphalt driveway isn't in the best shape, and I'm concerned my limited skills will do more damage than its worth this winter. I'm pretty dead-set against buying a front (either quick hitch or loader mounted) plow - I've never used a plow before and frankly, I think I'd be better off saving that cake and just using the FEL. That leaves me with looking into the blowers (I was actually going to buy one last month with the 1025, but the dealer couldn't get one until September and there was no way I wanted to wait on the entire package until then). My salesman tells me: the wider track of the 54 will cover the 49" wheel width and for the minimal cost difference definitely go with the larger. Frankly, with my size property (half acre), I think I'd prefer the smaller. After searching quite a bit I can't seem to find a lot of differences noted for the two front blowers JD offers. I ask you fine gents a couple of questions:
is there no feature or functional difference between the two blowers other than width?
the only real difference I've found is the 47" seems to be an older model and have a steel impeller where the 54 has a plastic one. Any one verify that with the 2018 models?
I've read the Deere blowers aren't great with lighter accumulations, is it that they aren't great - or they simply won't work without at least 3" of snow?
Will I really *need* a rear blade to tackle those light snows or can i just push it around enough with the front blower until there is enough snow in the box for the auger to pick up?
Anyone have a recommendation on a decent rear blade with a poly or rubber cutting edge?
I need to keep the driveway very clean as my 73yr old MiL walks up and down in the afternoons to get young-ins from the bus stop - can't afford any ice build up where she might get hurt. At the same time I'm *really* looking forward to selling my impeccably clean walk behind craftsman that has served me very well the last 8 winters and getting more seat time on my new big boy toy !