I am thinking about picking a L1428E Tuesday Sept 7, 2010 on a pre season sale. Coming from a Yardworks 10.5hp 28 I want to make sure whatever I get next last longer then 7 years I got out of that one, and hopefully throws snow a hell of a lot better. I have some questions about your post just wondering how the purchase has worked out for you?
Some comments about your post and some of the other comments above.
The background is for comparison to what they (Snapper) are now since being bought by Briggs a few years ago.
Snapper used make a great snowblower, one of the best. It had a great cast iron gearbox which was a match or better than any other maker. The tractor design was excellent and the components robust along with the housing and augers.
The company’s snowblower side was low key without mass marketing so they are not well known. They had slighter price break builds for the 5 and7hp models but their 8hp and larger hp medium and large frame models were fantastic. One of the best average size models ever made was their 8hp medium frame model 8265.
Going by the dealer showroom models I’ve seen in the last few years the (Briggs) Snapper line has no relationship to the prior Snapper line. The models now are straight Murrays using a base design by Murray that has been around for the last 15 years (with additions mentioned below, chute, wheel slip and gearbox). Anything relating to the prior reputation of Snapper does not apply to post Briggs purchase of Snapper.
The original poster was considering the L1428E model #1695681 which he said had a cast iron gearbox. Going by the owners and parts listing it looks like Briggs is offering two versions of their medium and large frame models. [As an aside the medium and large fame seems to be terms left over from Snapper manuals and does not really apply to the Murray line. The “medium duty” gearbox is the standard aluminum gearbox Murray has used for many years in 5 through 12 hp snowblowers.] The cast iron gearbox used in the large frame units is something I’ve never seen before but looks like a Murray gearbox and beefier than their standard gearbox. The “medium duty” is home owner grade, not the best but can easily can last 15 years of average service in central Massachusetts. That would be reduced a bit for large machines doing huge driveways. The cast gearbox would probably do much better.
The new Snapper models have electric chute drive which might be desirable but a fairly recent design. It would be worth searching the net for owner comments by people who have owned them for a few years.
The intake housing and auger section is straight Murray. The RPM rotation of the augers and impeller is not as fast as new models by other makers. The 12 inch 4 blade impeller shoots into a very small rectangular outlet into the chute. It’s impressive that anything comes out. It’s not a great design for throughput or distance. I had a 10-15 (?) year old 1233 Yard King which was an ok machine. It was the same design as the L1428E i.e. same augers and bucket, same gearbox as the new medium duty L1428 and the same basic design in the tractor less the single wheel slip components. [By the way, that design looks simple and effective with not much to go wrong over the years.] It did not toss that far for a 12hp but did well. Collecting at full 33 inches or taking a smaller 24 inch slice did not make much of a difference. As I mentioned, distance was ok but limited by the slower RPM and design.
I don’t know where you live but a Yardworks 10.5 28 is a basic MTD and would easily be capable of 15 years where I live clearing a decent size driveway say 2 car wide 10 car long driveway. You might have to replace the friction disk once over that time. Given whatever your area is if you burnt through an MTD in 7 years with proper use and maintenance I’d look for something above the Murray. What crapped out on your machine?
As a very general evaluation the Briggs Murray medium duty would be a small step up from the Yardworks and the heavy duty a tad more. The tractor and intake sections are identical in both medium and heavy duty from what I could make out in the drawings with only the auger gearbox in the heavy duty model being different.
The original poster got his for $800. It’s a lesser machine compared to Ariens or Toro but a decent price break. His machine will probably last many years with average home use. For a large area to clear and living in an area with more snow than eastern MA the $800 would be tempting. You could lessen a disappointment with an Ariens (with at lest an XS or Steel gearbox) and consider it a long haul purchase good for 15 to 20 years.