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brake4beaver


Location: Cle Elum, Washington
Joined: Dec 31, 2008
Points: 2

New guy question
Original Message   Dec 31, 2008 10:56 pm
Hi everyone. I stumbled on this site a few days ago and I love it.  It's great to read real, honest assessments about new machines. After years of back pain the doctor told me I have a couple of crushed discs and arthritis in my back. So shoveling snow is getting to be less of an option for me. After reading this great site I am sold on Simplicity, but I am wondering about durability between the Large frame and Professional models. I don't have much of a driveway right now, but I don't want to have to trade up when that changes in a few years. I have ruled out Honda, they are too expensive and parts are absurd. I also want to buy from an American company if I can. My area gets an average of 80 inches of (usually) heavy wet snow a year. I am leaning towards the L1428E, or actually its John Deere cousin, the 928E, since the JD is $250 cheaper, and the dealer is only 30 miles away, vs 65 miles for the nearest Simplicity dealer. Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated.
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MacLorry27


Joined: Dec 23, 2008
Points: 54

Re: New guy question
Reply #6   Jan 1, 2009 8:18 am

brake4beaver,

I agree with JeffM that Toro is also a good brand. I had a Toro 419 (4 HP, 19 inches wide, two stage) snow thrower that served me without fail for 28 years with little maintenance past changing the engine oil and gear oil in the auger gear case. I never changed a belt nor had to take it in for repair. It finally started making a noise that meant it needed some work and I gave it away, but it still started on the first pull. The JD 928e I have now is overkill for most situations given the size of my driveway, but if it’s anything like the Toro, I figure it will last me for a long as I’ll be clearing snow.

The important point is that you can get a good quality small snow thrower that’s far easier to handle and maneuver than something the size of the JD 928e or 1130se. The smallest Toro two stage thrower is the 522e, which has a list price of $1,050. The important point is that it weighs just 143 pounds vs. 255 for the JD 928e. That much less weight is important for anyone with back pain.

Photo of the Toro 522e

borat


Joined: Nov 10, 2007
Points: 2692

Re: New guy question
Reply #7   Jan 1, 2009 11:04 am
Looking at the specifications between the Pro and Large Frame Simplicity models, there's not much of a weigh differential between the 24" Pro and 28" Pro.  with the 24" being 15 pounds lighter.  There is no difference in weight between the Pro 28" and the Large Frame 28".  If I were you, I'd be looking at the Large Frame 28".  It has most of the durable features of the Pro model and from my experience is a plenty tough machine.  Throws snow like no tomorrow as well.  The easy steer feature is very nice to have.  It will save wear and tear on you back.  Moving the machine in tight quarters with or without the engine on is where the easy steer pays for itself.  

Personally, I don't understand the concept of the Simplicity Pro Series line.  Their Large Frame machines are very robust.  I can't see the need for something as tough as the Pro models.  Big time over-kill.  I guess if, one falls out of a pick up at 30 mph, it will fare better than the others.   Short of  serious careless abuse, their Large Frame models will hold up just as well under normal use.   Simplicity is easily the quality leader, barring possibly Honda.   They're still building them old school style, avoiding the trend to go cheap for the box stores.  Now that Briggs & Stratten is at the helm,  I wouldn't be surprised to see them deviate from existing quality standards to enter the box store market.  You're on the right track with the Simplicity or Snapper.  I'd be looking at getting one sooner than later.  Never know when Simplicity will be making the switch to "more advanced" (read cheaper) production methods .    Stay the course and you'll end up with one of the best snow throwers out there.    

Snowmann


Joined: Dec 3, 2003
Points: 494

Re: New guy question
Reply #8   Jan 1, 2009 11:07 am
A $1050 Toro 522? What  a bargain...

It might be a fine machine, but that money will buy a whole lot more than a 522. That unit should be under $700. Dealers must sell these with a ski mask on.

PK
MacLorry27


Joined: Dec 23, 2008
Points: 54

Re: New guy question
Reply #9   Jan 1, 2009 11:42 am

Snowmann,

I agree, $1,050 is a lot for a Toro 522, but as I wrote in reply #4, the similar sized Troy-Bilt I originally purchased for $599 didn’t last through the first tank of gas. Maybe it was just that particular machine, in which case, the Troy-Bilt is a good buy. If you purchase it from Lowe’s you can use it and then take it back within 30 days for a full refund.

However, brake4beaver is looking for an American made machine and the engine on the Troy-Bilt was made in China. When I asked about that the salesman said it was the same design as the Honda engine, to which I commented, coal and diamond are made of the same thing. I don’t think he got it, but my point was there’s more to an engine than just the design, there’s the metallurgy, tempering, machining, materials and workmanship.

Anyway, if the Toro is built like they used to be built, the machine can last for decades. That reliability and light weight might be worth the money to someone with chronic back pain.

Coldfingers


Joined: Nov 20, 2008
Points: 84

Re: New guy question
Reply #10   Jan 1, 2009 12:00 pm
I had a guy tell me that the 5 hp. toro was built by another company for them? Don't know if that true or not. A dealer had told me that the bigger models were fine but to stay away from the 5 hp.?

Coldfingers
borat


Joined: Nov 10, 2007
Points: 2692

Re: New guy question
Reply #11   Jan 1, 2009 12:24 pm
Toro exact a premium for their name.  Fine machine but not for the price they demand.  Better machines can be had for equivalent or less money. 

I agree with the "ski mask" remark.  The local Toro dealer here should be behind bars.  I'm forever astonished with the number of zombies that continue to deal with the guy.   There's no shortage of uninformed people in this world willing to part with large sums of money unnecessarily.  That's what keeps dealers like that in business.     When the local Husqvarna dealership went out of business, this crook was quick to assume the line.  Out of desperation, I had to buy an air filter and mower belt from him.   When he gave me the price for the air filter, I commented that it was three times the price for the very same product at Canadian Tire.  His reply was (and this is no lie), "Wait until you see the price of the belt."   Talk about arrogance.   Needless to say, that's the last time I dealt with the guy and will NEVER darken his doorway again.    Not sure what other Toro dealerships are like but if they're anything like this one, I'm surprised they exist. 

Paul7


Joined: Mar 12, 2007
Points: 425

Re: New guy question
Reply #12   Jan 1, 2009 1:50 pm

A small 5hp machine that weigh in at around 140 lbs would be easier to maneuver through turns for normal snows BUT for end of driveway snow you’ll have to “put your back into it” to get the job done.  I had a 5hp Ariens for 20 years and it was a struggle to force the machine through packed EOD snow.  By contrast I can just guide my larger Ariens through that same snow with no effort.

brake4beaver...I’d look for a 9-11hp machine with either Eazy Turn (remote wheel lock/unlock) or a Differential.  Also, because of your back, I’d want a machine with an electric starter.  

My local Lowes just started carrying John Deere snow throwers including the 1130se.

My Home Depot carries some Ariens snow throwers but the selection varies week to week. 

Borat, does the dealer have much discretion over the price of parts?  I ask because last summer I needed to replace a specialized bolt on my Ariens lawn mower that’s used to secure the handlebar height.  The dealer got the part, then paused and said he needed a moment before he rang it up.  I asked why and he said so he could try to do it with a straight face.  He said the company keeps raising the prices and when he complains at dealer meeting they tell him that the higher the price the greater his profits.  He told them, true but he’s the one that has to look customers in the eye and tell them that a .25 cent bolt costs 7.00 dollars.

borat


Joined: Nov 10, 2007
Points: 2692

Re: New guy question
Reply #13   Jan 1, 2009 2:13 pm
Of course the dealer has last say regarding how much to charge for a part.  However, peer pressure might be an issue if there is more than one dealer of the same product in a given town/city etc.  If dealer A sells a twenty five cent part for $7.00,  dealer B is expected to do the same otherwise, he'll be criticized by the other dealers for not maintaining the ridiculously high prices.  The greedy dealers will contact the mother ship to inform on the dealer with the lower price.  The fair dealer will then suffer the consequences if he doesn't fall in line.  It's basically price fixing.   In a town where there is only one dealer of a particular product (as with the local Toro dealer) he should have no concerns regarding giving customers a break.  There's no competing dealers to complain or rat him out.   It takes a dealer with a sense of dignity and fairness to his customers to lower the prices.  He must also have the b-alls to stand up to the supplier to defend his practice of discounting parts prices.  After all, if a dealer can maintain a successful dealership and give the customer a break, more power to him.  If the gougers need to charge top dollar to stay in business, maybe there's a lesson to be learned on how to do it more efficiently, or possibly not be as greedy.   
This message was modified Jan 1, 2009 by borat
Paul7


Joined: Mar 12, 2007
Points: 425

Re: New guy question
Reply #14   Jan 1, 2009 10:55 pm
Well then that explains it Borat.  To say that I live in Ariens country would be an understatement.  Ariens dealerships are everywhere!  If you drive 3 miles in any direction you'll pass an Ariens dealer.  Heck, one of the largest John Deere dealership in the country is in my town and even they carry Ariens snow throwers.
borat


Joined: Nov 10, 2007
Points: 2692

Re: New guy question
Reply #15   Jan 2, 2009 10:29 am
Any bolt or fastener, specialized or otherwise can be had from sources other than a dealer for a fraction of the cost.  It might take a bit of hunting to find one but you can rest assured it's out there.  If people were to get a little more familiar with businesses that specialize in fasteners, bearings, drive belts, filters etc. they'd save a bundle.  I use them at every opportunity.    Dealerships are my absolute last source.  I'll make a part if I can to avoid a dealership.  And there is no way I'd bring my machine to a dealer for service.  That's like playing Russian roulette with five bullets in the gun.   
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