Walk Behind Snowblowers - Triggers or Autosteer?
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    Tomfive's Avatar
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    Walk Behind Snowblowers - Triggers or Autosteer?

    I'm in the market for a new walk behind snowblower. I'm looking for a 2 stage, probably 26 to 28 inches wide. My current unit is a 6 hp Ariens 2 stage that I bought used at an auction about 20 years ago, and at that time it was already 20 years old. My best guess is that it's a 1963 or 64 MY. It's so old that there are NO safety features, let go of the handles and it will keep going and going until it will run into something and try to push it over . I need more blowing power and maneuverability and it's time to upgrade.

    Because of my postage sized lot and driveway, the cars I have to snowblow around, I can't really use a snowblower on my tractor, nor do I need to spend that much money.

    I'm partial to trigger control over autosteer, in that a guy at work bought an Ariens with autosteer a fer years ago and he literally hates it. He says it wanders left and right and never goes straight. So I ask the wise GTT crowd if any have experience, knowledge and preferences.

    I'd like heated handles, but that is not necessary. My first choice seems to be the Toro PowerMax HD 928 OXHE (38801). The Ariens Platinum blowers look good too, but those are autosteer.

    Opinions?
    Tom

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    J3 Driver's Avatar
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    I have an old MTD tracked snowblower with the triggers to steer.

    I love the thing.




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    bmichael's Avatar
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    I got an ariens 30 deluxe blower with the auto turn and heated hand grips the auto turn works ok for me its very powerful and does a good job. I just got my fathers old 1989 jd 826 running and cant wait to test it out this winter it hasn't been used for over 10 years I believe its a 1989 but not real sure maybe someone on here can decode this vin I haven't had much luck researching it
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Picture0416172243_1[1].jpg   Picture0416172247_1[1].jpg  
    Last edited by bmichael; 10-08-2017 at 03:16 PM.
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    brian
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    1989 jd 826 walk behind snow blower

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    Cutty72's Avatar
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    Triggers on my craftsman 30" work good for me. Still takes a bit of input from operator to turn, but better than fighting a locked axle.
    Never used an auto steer version, so can't say how they work.
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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutty72 View Post
    Triggers on my craftsman 30" work good for me. Still takes a bit of input from operator to turn, but better than fighting a locked axle.
    Never used an auto steer version, so can't say how they work.
    I'm not sure what auto steer is either. I can see having steering on tracked blowers but why wheeled units?

    I have a long steep gravel driveway and a couple parked cars. I've been using walk-behinds for the past 40+ years until getting the 2720 with front blower a few years ago. My 25 year old MTD 32" walk-behind blower doesn't have any steering and maneuvering it has never been an issue. I have a little lynch pin on the right wheel that I can move to select one wheel drive or two wheel drive. I have chains on my tires and normally keep it in one wheel drive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    I'm not sure what auto steer is either. I can see having steering on tracked blowers but why wheeled units?

    I have a long steep gravel driveway and a couple parked cars. I've been using walk-behinds for the past 40+ years until getting the 2720 with front blower a few years ago. My 25 year old MTD 32" walk-behind blower doesn't have any steering and maneuvering it has never been an issue. I have a little lynch pin on the right wheel that I can move to select one wheel drive or two wheel drive. I have chains on my tires and normally keep it in one wheel drive.
    As I understand it, trigger steer stops/lessens the torque on the "pulled trigger side" allowing the machine to do the turning. When the triggers are released, it's like a locked up differential, both wheels have power. This is similar to a commercial walk-behind mower where you steer with the handles. "Auto steering" supposedly does the same thing but doesn't have the manual triggers. The internal differential somehow senses that you want to turn and removes torque from the inside wheel.

    My current 50+ year old Ariens has a differential, but no locking pin to make it 2 wheel drive. I actually have a newer model (for parts) that has a locking hub, but never had a chance to see if it would fit my working machine. 1 wheel drive always worked for me too, except when a drive wheel got on top of a patch of ice or hard pack ... then I just had to muscle it through. (I'm getting too old for that and too cheap to hire my snow removal out ... and I just want a new machine )

    2 cents.
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    Tom

    2011 1026R/R4's -- H120 FEL/49" -- 260 BH/12" -- Bro-Tek Ripper -- Artillian Forks/42" -- 244 lbs JD Rear Wheel Weights -- KBOH Hooks and Clevis' --
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    Ariens Auto Turn

    Arien's Auto Turn feature works great as long as the machine is properly set up AND you use the poly skid shoes.

    If your dealer doesn't take the time to properly adjust the unit, you'll have problems. It's quite easy to adjust.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDVAnmvbovs
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    I was in the market in January 2017 myself and was undecided about Honda vs Ariens. I wanted something with more than enough power to never get stuck, handle the hard pack at the bottom of the driveway, and easy enough for my wife to use should I be traveling. I looked heavily at the Honda 1332ATD. It's truly an amazing unit and the trigger steering is simple to use. Purchasing the ATD makes sense since it comes with an onboard hour meter as well as the auger protection system. While I'm a fan of spending money once I couldn't justify the honda yet as I was remodeling my first home.

    I found a local family owned Ariens dealer and began my hunt for one. I was virtually set on a Hydro Pro 28" unit. I love the idea of hydro like I have on the tractor. I have always hated trying to keep disc drive snowblowers in the right gear as it starts to bog in heavy pack. Only one Ariens unit in January came with EFI, an idea which I loved. Why the hell would I want to deal with a carb if I could have the luxury of EFI. I was allowed to try out the unit and found that on the first pull, about half way through the pull it came alive. After some more number running I pulled the trigger on a 2017 Ariens Platinum SHO EFI 24". I ran the snowblower for several storms in February and the unit was a beast. I had no issues tossing fluffy snow, heavy wet snow, slush, or idea snow. Everything the unit tossed with ease thanks to proper setup as well. There were times when I had to turn down the throttle since I was launching the snow over my lawn and into my neighbors driveway.

    I recently found out the hydro units are now equipped with EFI. If I could break even on my unit I'd be willing to sell my disc 24" Platinum SHO model for a 28" Hydropro EFI model.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod330 View Post
    Arien's Auto Turn feature works great as long as the machine is properly set up AND you use the poly skid shoes.

    If your dealer doesn't take the time to properly adjust the unit, you'll have problems. It's quite easy to adjust.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDVAnmvbovs
    Thank you for the link. I found the comments interesting. It confirms that I'm not missing a thing on my old blower which doesn't have [ahem] "auto steer". :-)

    [Comment] I like the distance that the snow blower can move the snow but the auto turn leaves me exhausted after trying to stop the machine from going side to side between cars. FYI I have a flat level drive way so the fishtailing I experience seems odd to me. Is t here a way to just lock the axle of the machine so it disable the Auto-turn feature?

    [Reply] Auto-turn does n not work very well if your driveway is slightly less that a perfect flat plane. Any slight drag on the skid or scraper will cause the blower to turn that direction. It is quite a workout - your forearms will be pumped at the end of the winter. Auto-turn work great on the grass then the blower is 6" above the lawn - the wheels unlock flawlessly when you make a turn in any direction. On snow, not so much.

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    rod330's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    Thank you for the link. I found the comments interesting. It confirms that I'm not missing a thing on my old blower which doesn't have [ahem] "auto steer". :-)

    [Comment] I like the distance that the snow blower can move the snow but the auto turn leaves me exhausted after trying to stop the machine from going side to side between cars. FYI I have a flat level drive way so the fishtailing I experience seems odd to me. Is t here a way to just lock the axle of the machine so it disable the Auto-turn feature?

    [Reply] Auto-turn does n not work very well if your driveway is slightly less that a perfect flat plane. Any slight drag on the skid or scraper will cause the blower to turn that direction. It is quite a workout - your forearms will be pumped at the end of the winter. Auto-turn work great on the grass then the blower is 6" above the lawn - the wheels unlock flawlessly when you make a turn in any direction. On snow, not so much.

    I can't speak to those comments but the auto turn feature on both my Ariens and my son's works perfectly fine on concrete and asphalt. In fact, my son's house was built in 1939 and his driveway is anything but a "flat plane" and he is working in confined spaces. Again, I suspect those comments are from those still using the old steel skid shoes rather than the poly version....just my 2 cents.
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