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The old snowblower...
Old 03-16-2017, 06:24 AM   #1
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The old snowblower...

The predicted snowfall was 8 - 15 inches - "snowmegeddon". The night before I dutifully pulled out my trusty twenty year old Toro 'Red' to the front of the garage. I set up the extension cord, turned the gas line to the on position, checked the gas level and set it to full choke and turned Red over. A couple of tries and she kicked to life. I ran her 5 minutes and I figured all set. - the trick I learned was gas stabilizer and turning the gas line to the off position while Red was still running. Then when the machine stalled there would be no gas in the carburetor to gum up. I even pulled all the shovels out. Red and I have been through 2 houses and lots of storms together. The wife and I bought her at the Toro dealer for over $1,000 right after we bought our first house.

Bam 15 inches became 4 or 5 inches of the heaviest snow known to man. I went out at 1pm, opened the garage door, fired her up and went 2 feet when I realized the auger was barely spinning! Another foot and it was totally clogged with slush. I pulled red back into the garage and checked her belts: good- the suspected culprit is the auger transmission. Yikes my poor red.

Over the next few hours this 62 year old man was then reminded
1. I have a long driveway
2. Slushy snow is very heavy
3. I have a good wife 60 who helped me with my son clear the driveway for the next hour and a half.
4. It is not uncommon to have pain in your arms after shoveling heavy snow.
5. People with a metal knee fear falling on the ice and snow.

Call me crazy but I am hesitant to abandon trusty old Red. I'm not sure we will be in this house too much longer. I plan on retiring in July and look forward to some Florida sun. A suitable replacement with lights and heated grips (snowblower bling) would be about $1,200 but it just won't be good old Red. I think ill investigate if they can repair my old gal and what it will cost....
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:01 AM   #2
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I wouldn't blame your machine, they have limitations and I think you hit it. A plow blade or a tractor and bucket are the answer there. I'm about to go out and do some cleanup, then head over to our new neighbor and clear his driveway. He must travel for work as he blasted his way out and left the driveway for dead yesterday morning. I used to travel for work and several times had neighbors clear our driveway as a surprise. Time to do the same for this guy. I use a 1995 two-wheel Gravely Tractor for everything on our 4 acres including snow blowing.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:12 AM   #3
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Lol >>>> I liked your story because I have been there done that many of times. Old Red has served you well but that job was to much for that job.

I have snow blower that is 30 years old. It still does a great job but had a few hic ups this year but resolved them and dug me out all winter.

Mine is a two stage and can do heavy/wet but doesn't throw snow very far if that is the case. I had that heavy stuff yesterday to move.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:21 AM   #4
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Feel your pain. I upgraded a couple of years ago to the biggest one Husqvarna made. Main reason was to throw the snow when it is more slush than snow. when it is really wet it does not throw it far but enough to clear the driveway, just have to go slow. Heavy snow is a recipe for strains and worse.

When it is dry...watch it go!

Worth every penny to me as drive way is very long and house we are building in WI is even longer. Probably will do only the apron there and either pay for or get old uninsured truck with plow to do it my self.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:22 AM   #5
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Ray, check out snowblowerforum.com. They have a bunch of brand-specific boards, including Toro (and my beloved Bob-caT). Lots of knowledgeable people over there who likely can help you get your machine back into shape.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:24 AM   #6
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Good read. One thing that struck me is low rate of inflation for a high quality blower. My brain freezes when I think of paying full price for a new blower but the Toro's and other top brands really can last a long long time. I bought my old Toro used (eBay) but it also let me down by not starting. My driveway is short and my neighbor cleared a bit of mine with his machine. I think you should explore all options:
-get a price to repair in the off-season
-see what the Toro dealer will offer for a trade....you'll forget about Red as soon
as you fire up her replacement.
-check out good used machines.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:25 AM   #7
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Ray, check out snowblowerforum.com. They have a bunch of brand-specific boards, including Toro (and my beloved Bob-caT). Lots of knowledgeable people over there who likely can help you get your machine back into shape.


Thank you sir never heard of that site..
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:26 AM   #8
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I also had 5" of ultra heavy snow. While using my Ariens 2-stage snow blower, one of it's 2 augers stopped spinning - the shear pin on that auger broke, but fortunately it's a simple do-it-yourself repair. Could that be the problem with your blower?
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:21 AM   #9
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Good chance it was the key that broke, a tiny piece of metal that locks the spinning pulley to the axle to transfer power.
They cost about $1 for the part.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:33 AM   #10
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Good chance it was the key that broke, a tiny piece of metal that locks the spinning pulley to the axle to transfer power.
They cost about $1 for the part.
On my 2010 Toro the key, shear pin, whatever you want to call it is just a bolt. Easily seen and replaced from the front.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:40 AM   #11
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I also had 5" of ultra heavy snow. While using my Ariens 2-stage snow blower, one of it's 2 augers stopped spinning - the shear pin on that auger broke, but fortunately it's a simple do-it-yourself repair. Could that be the problem with your blower?

Great advise and this is a very common thing and an easy fix.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:54 AM   #12
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I have a good, albeit not top of the line, snow blower that's faithfully served me for 25 some-odd years. Heavy snow is tough. Now at 64 years old, I make it a point to consciously take my time, plowing half the width of the front scoop...........and periodically doing a mental check of my physical well being. For example, no sweating, no pain in the left arm, etc. For the small areas by my front step that have to be hand-shoveled, I likewise go easy so as not to injure my not-the-greatest back.
I tell everyone that I don't enjoy snow removal, per se, but I don't mind doing it. I always like being outdoors, even for this task. But once it becomes too difficult, physically, I won't hesitate to start with a snow removal service.
Every other season, I have my snow blower serviced, and it's due this year. But I think if my snow blower ever bit the dust, I would not replace it and just go with a removal service.
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:28 AM   #13
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I blew out the drive using a snow blower that I inherited from my father. It is about 45-50 years old, and still works like a champ. I did put new bearings and bushings in it this fall, just to make sure everything was in good shape.

My neighbor across the street was starting to shovel his drive. He is perhaps 80? I waved him off and told him to go back in his house. That I would use my blower to open up his drive and sidewalks. It maybe took 15 minutes at most.

He sent me a card- part of it said "I know I should be doing more of the homeowner chores, but I have come to realize I actually am an old man." He put a $100 bill in the card. Darn. Now I need to figure out what to say when I give it back to him. I didn't want him to hurt himself trying to shovel that heavy snow, but I feel like I may have shamed him or something.
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:47 AM   #14
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My 20 year old Ariens wasn't great on the ice/snow either. But I'm reluctant to upgrade as it's got the original Tecumseh engine and has never broken down.

My neighbors new 15 HP Ariens sure does look nice though..
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:53 AM   #15
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My neighbor across the street was starting to shovel his drive. He is perhaps 80? I waved him off and told him to go back in his house. That I would use my blower to open up his drive and sidewalks. It maybe took 15 minutes at most.

He sent me a card- part of it said "I know I should be doing more of the homeowner chores, but I have come to realize I actually am an old man." He put a $100 bill in the card. Darn. Now I need to figure out what to say when I give it back to him. I didn't want him to hurt himself trying to shovel that heavy snow, but I feel like I may have shamed him or something.
I used to do the older next-door neighbor's driveway (he's since moved) and he would insist on taking us out to lunch a week or so later. We think it was more for the company than anything else. Perhaps you could try suggesting that so it wouldn't appear to be an all-or-nothing proposition.
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:59 AM   #16
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That sounds like a great idea.
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The old snowblower...
Old 03-16-2017, 02:22 PM   #17
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The old snowblower...

Update: The repair guy is coming for Red tomorrow; albeit I've requested a kind of a living will that should limit the extent of the services rendered to save her. No $1,000 transplants - still I have my fingers crossed. If she lives I'll treat her to an oil change and a tune up.

It's best that if she doesn't make it the repair man sends her off to snowblower heaven. Then I won't I have to take her to the curb.. it would kill me.

You know She still kinda shines...
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Old 03-16-2017, 05:27 PM   #18
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You would love the new Red.
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The old snowblower...
Old 03-16-2017, 05:27 PM   #19
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The old snowblower...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
Update: The repair guy is coming for Red tomorrow; albeit I've requested a kind of a living will that should limit the extent of the services rendered to save her. No $1,000 transplants - still I have my fingers crossed. If she lives I'll treat her to an oil change and a tune up.

It's best that if she doesn't make it the repair man sends her off to snowblower heaven. Then I won't I have to take her to the curb.. it would kill me.

You know She still kinda shines...


You'd be surprised what non running Toros go for on eBay. Or more accurately "engine runs; needs work".
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Old 03-16-2017, 05:32 PM   #20
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Snow? It hits 96F today where I am. Nuf' said.
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