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):
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.