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Abby’s Guide > Outdoor Power Equipment (Lawn Mowers, Snow Blowers, Chain Saws and more) > Discussions > Toro Snow Commander In-Depth & Dirtiest Carb Ever

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superbuick


Joined: Feb 23, 2009
Points: 134

Toro Snow Commander In-Depth & Dirtiest Carb Ever
Original Message   Feb 4, 2010 6:13 pm


Had the chance to work on the rare Snow Commander this week.  A friend purchased it after seeing an old S200 in action and realizing just how awesome Toro Single Stages are - he went all the way to the top of the pile with the Snow Commander and got a great deal on a used one.

This unit had been sitting outside most of its life, and needed some minor repairs, but the owner used it on a grass/dirt driveway, so the paddles are not worn at all, and the unit itself has very little use.  Most of the work required was a result of it sitting outside and/or careless/brutish owner treatment (like breaking the chute adjuster - only a plow horse brute dummy would do that)

Here's the unit after we picked it up:


and the dirt and crud inside as a result of its being used on a dirt and grass parking area:





The primer bulb on this unit had rotted/torn from exposure and while replacing the bulb is easy, what happened as a result of the torn bulb was more labor intensive.  Not only had this owner stored the unit with gas (and left it in there for years at a time), but the torn primer bulb allowed dirt into the carb via the priming tube.  The amount of crud buildup was incredible, but the most amazing part.....IT RAN.  It started on the second pull with year+ old gas and all that crud in there, and ran OK too.  Needless to say I cleaned it and rebuilt it, but I thought it was pretty amazing that it started and ran in this condition:



When the previous owner broke the chute adjuster, he tried to put it back together without the adjusting lever and used the wrong sized hardware to screw it back together.  We had to grind the bolts out because they were stripped/rusted in place.



Once everything was bolted back together, rust removed and some parts repainted, and the overall unit cleaned up (minus the chute adjuster and a new belt - still waiting for those to arrive from RCPW), I decided to take some pics of the unique/previously a mystery to me Snow Commander tilting head chassis.

Here you can see that the unit has FOUR wheels (including 2 really cool looking knobby ones):



The handle/bail, when engaged, tilts the unit forward so that the paddles contact the ground (while lifting up the 2 little wheels underneath) and it then has power-propel like all the traditional Toro single stages.  Here's a shot of the tilting mechanism:



I also took two side shots to show the difference between non-engaged and engaged (sorry for the washed out second picture, but you can clearly see the difference in the attitude of the body):

Non-Engaged

Engaged
And here are two shots of the unit as it sits now cleaned up and waiting for its chute adjuster and new belt:




The unit has 3 paddles on a drum auger instead of the usual 2 on a thin shaft.  In theory it should work great, but I haven't run it in any show yet.  The R*Tek has proven to have plenty of power, so I'm not concerned about the additional width.  Mobility of this unit, factoring in the size, the 4 wheels, and the tilting head, is not as friendly as a traditional Toro single stage, which can be used one-handed like a vacuum cleaner.  It is, however, alot more maneuverable than a 2 stage of any kind, and should work almost as quickly as a 2450/3650/221 chassis single stage unit.  As soon as I get it in the snow, I'll add more to this thread.

Replies: 13 - 19 of 19Next page of topicsPreviousAllView as Outline
bulbman2852


Joined: Feb 15, 2010
Points: 22

Re: Toro Snow Commander In-Depth & Dirtiest Carb Ever
Reply #13   Feb 16, 2010 6:52 pm
ok   so i bought a used snow commander=  that was used only 4 times--- and from the condition of the paddles and the machine in general;  I believe the previous owner  only used it  4 times.  So I tried it today-- I am NOT  a happy camper...   I also own a  2450 20"   model  and the 20"  model has never plugged up....Not the same with the  snow commander----I will agree that the snow was wet   and it was not very deep..... but the snow commander plugged up a number of times and only worked ok when I moved very quickly to keep the volume of the snow up

ANy  Ideas-- I really like the extra 4 inches of the commander width,  but  I will resell it  if it can t handle the heavy snow..

John

superbuick


Joined: Feb 23, 2009
Points: 134

Re: Toro Snow Commander In-Depth & Dirtiest Carb Ever
Reply #14   Feb 16, 2010 11:06 pm
John

I ran a Snow Commander today in sticky, wet snow (possibly te same snow as you - I'm located southwest of Boston), and while it worked ok, my Toro 221 QR is better - by quite a bit in my eyes.

The problem with the Snow Commander, in my opinion, is the extra paddle.  The paddles are closer together, and they do not have air space around them because of the drum auger (as opposed to the steel rod type as seen on the 2450/3650/221 )  In super sticky, clumpy snow like we had today, this can cause clogging because the snow has nowhere else to go but up (or forward).  I also noticed that it does not throw as far as the 221 (or even the powerlite).  I also think this has to do with the third paddle.  Some will like to think that the extra width is the issue, but the motor is more than powerful enough (I have the same motor on a 2 stage and it has no issues with bogging down in any type of snow).

Its not bad, its just not as good as the proven 21 inch models.
Paul7


Joined: Mar 12, 2007
Points: 425

Re: Toro Snow Commander In-Depth & Dirtiest Carb Ever
Reply #15   Feb 17, 2010 12:15 am
aa335 wrote:
I have the Honda HS621.  This model is no longer available for sale new in the US market, but still available elsewhere like Canada.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_O6g_uHAA4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVGE5dwn8FY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzn5DrICZzU&feature=related

The only other single stage snowblower that comes even close in handling slush is the Toro 221Q / 421Q.  I really like this snowblower and may get one soon.  Either one are great machines. 

My neighbor has the Toro 221Q and I have the Honda HS621.  The Toro excel over the Honda in throwing distance, maneuverability, and user friendly features.  The Toro has newer chassis and more efficient curved auger / paddle design that gives it an edge in throwing distance, while the Honda has larger flat paddle center and torquey 4-stroke engine that handles slush and packed snow better.  However, the Honda HS621 is heavy at 100 lbs in weight and does not have the Quick Chute features of the Toro.  The Toro power propel is much more aggressive, requiring you to tip it back a bit to prevent it from going too fast.



aa335, the Ariens 722 that I had didn't come anywhere close to throwing heavy snow as well as the Hondas in the those videos. 
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2391

Re: Toro Snow Commander In-Depth & Dirtiest Carb Ever
Reply #16   Feb 17, 2010 2:07 pm
Paul7 wrote:
aa335, the Ariens 722 that I had didn't come anywhere close to throwing heavy snow as well as the Hondas in the those videos. 

That is just surprising.  On paper, the Ariens 722 looks like it should do well.  It is well built and "rated" at 7 HP, 2 more HP than Ariens 522, while using the same exact engine, chassis, and paddles.  Hmm....

Maybe it was purposely crippled so that it won't tank sales on Ariens two stage snowblowers.  Who needs a big Orange when the little Orange can do so well?
Paul7


Joined: Mar 12, 2007
Points: 425

Re: Toro Snow Commander In-Depth & Dirtiest Carb Ever
Reply #17   Feb 17, 2010 2:27 pm
aa335 wrote:
That is just surprising.  On paper, the Ariens 722 looks like it should do well.  It is well built and "rated" at 7 HP, 2 more HP than Ariens 522, while using the same exact engine, chassis, and paddles.  Hmm....

Maybe it was purposely crippled so that it won't tank sales on Ariens two stage snowblowers.  Who needs a big Orange when the little Orange can do so well?

I'm an big Ariens fan but even so I can't defend the 722.  My 2-stage Ariens 5hp ST504 was still strong when I sold it after 20 years...and I love my Ariens 11.5hp machine.  That's the good new.  The bad is that I've owned two Ariens snow throwers that couldn't throw snow out of their own way.  One was an Ariens Metro...a small 2 stage blower with a plastic bucket and a 4hp 2 stroke engine.  It was pitiful.  And of course the 722 single stage machine.  Interesting that neither is in Ariens current line-up. 

Bulbman made a comment in an earlier post that makes me think that I wasn't using my single stage thrower the right way.  He said that his Commander only worked ok when he moved very quickly to keep the volume of the snow up.  That's pretty much the opposite of what I was doing.  I ran mine like I run my 2 stage...slowing up to keep the volume from being too much. 
bulbman2852


Joined: Feb 15, 2010
Points: 22

Re: Toro Snow Commander In-Depth & Dirtiest Carb Ever
Reply #18   Feb 17, 2010 4:40 pm
Paul7 wrote:
I'm an big Ariens fan but even so I can't defend the 722.  My 2-stage Ariens 5hp ST504 was still strong when I sold it after 20 years...and I love my Ariens 11.5hp machine.  That's the good new.  The bad is that I've owned two Ariens snow throwers that couldn't throw snow out of their own way.  One was an Ariens Metro...a small 2 stage blower with a plastic bucket and a 4hp 2 stroke engine.  It was pitiful.  And of course the 722 single stage machine.  Interesting that neither is in Ariens current line-up. 

Bulbman made a comment in an earlier post that makes me think that I wasn't using my single stage thrower the right way.  He said that his Commander only worked ok when he moved very quickly to keep the volume of the snow up.  That's pretty much the opposite of what I was doing.  I ran mine like I run my 2 stage...slowing up to keep the volume from being too much. 



Paul

Just to be clear.  I bought my snow commander used very recently.   I have only used it once.  And  the snow was wet and sticky and only about 2 inches deep.    I really wanted to try it out....... I have had other toro single stage machines and yes you do have to have some volume of snow to keep the snow flowing out of the chute.   i am anxious for the next  fluffy snow to try it again.   OR NOT.  maybe we wont have any more snow and I can go golfing

John the bulbman

Kalamazoo  Michigan

bulbman2852


Joined: Feb 15, 2010
Points: 22

Re: Toro Snow Commander In-Depth & Dirtiest Carb Ever
Reply #19   Feb 18, 2010 9:22 am
LATEST UPDATE:     I had a section of sidewalk that was never cleared of snow.   Since the weather turned a little colder and the slush was gone  I tried the SNOW COMMANDER again.   This time it cleared 10" of snow that was packed and crusty    with ease.  Guess I will hang on to this snow blower for another season to give it a real try.

John the bulbman

This message was modified Feb 18, 2010 by bulbman2852
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