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Location: Long Island, NY
Joined: Jul 28, 2005
Points: 45

Ariens Vs Toro
Original Message   Jul 28, 2005 8:05 pm
I've just spent a ton of time reading all the old posts on this forum from Jan 2005 till present.
Lots of cool info. And a few hot threads... I don't tend to repeat such an event in this thread.

I see a lot of Ariens owners on this site. But I've not seen those owners knocking Toro either.
So I figured it would be a good place to share my story and get some opinions to help finalize my selection.

I'll tell my story, honest and true, but it will sound a bit like trashing Craftsman, or maybe not... maybe it wasn't the right tool for the job?.

I've been shopping now for about a month for a new snowblower  and have come to some conclusions and have read a lot of  "Facts" or better put "statements".
I'd like to run them by the crew here as well.

First, my story and what I'm dealing with........
15 years ago, after getting into a very bad car accident due to the permant damage, I can no longer shovel the snow off my driveway.
So in a lurch that snow season I bought what I could afford. How could I go wrong with Craftsman? It was such a deal.

My driveway....
It's 150ft long, from the garage to the street, with the entire east side is up against a 6 ft fence on the property line.
On the west side, no easy access to get ride of the snow.
It's single width for most of it's length ( 10-11ft wide), except for the last 25feet, it's a bit over double width - 25ft wide.
The 1st 30 feet ( starting at my garage), my trailer blocks me from throwing snow to the rear lawn... there's about 10 feet of open space between the trailer and house. So starting at the garage, traveling north,  I blow the snow to that point on the drive way, across from the opening between the house and trailer.  I make a mound on the drive way to Que up the snow. Then as needed I work on the mound and  throw it to the rear lawn, easterly.
Then the next 44 feet of  the driveway is between the house on the west side and and the fence on the east side. So I start at the mid point of the house and go southernly, throwing  the snow to the Queing point on the drive way across from that opening to the rear lawn in front of the trailer, then once again as needed I work the mound and  blow that mound to the rear lawn. I may do it several times so the mound doesnt become too much for the blower.
Now I go back to the mid section of the house, and start blowing to the street end ( heading north) of the driveway making mounds and moving it to points on the driveway and eventually to the front lawn.  I can't use a plow, if I did, I would blow out my basement windows and fence.
And I'm at a dead end.. so I get the mother of EODs to deal with.... the whole front of my house is EOD, since I have to clear room for the mail box and for the mai truck to turn around and the double car width of the drive way.
I can amass 5 ft piles of snow with a 1 - 1.5 ft snow storm on my front lawn and on the rear lawn.
The drifts between my house and the fence have topped the 6 ft  fence  on a 45 deg angle once or twice.
The thing is the Craftsman doesn't throw very far, so on the rear lawn, it looks more like a sand dune and once the pile gets too big, I can throw over it.
And since it didn't throw far enough to start with, if I get too many snow storms I can have a problem if it doesn't melt inbetween.
And by the time the time I've made this dune, the snow has been moved so many times, it very compact and heavy and it's too much for the blower.
Been very lucky so far. And if I don't clean the drive way, with the melting and freezing we get, I wind up with ice and drainage problems.
So I have to get the snow off of the driveway.
I live on Long Island. One 2005 snow storm took me 4 hours to clean up, the other took me about 3 hours.
A few inches of snow.. takes about an hour and a half or a so. Never less than an hour's time.

So what I've been beating to death is a  25" 6HP 2stage Craftsman snowblower, which is about 15 years old now.
I'm handy and do most of my own auto work and home renovations,I can weld a bit and such.
All came in handy while owning the Craftsman.
Right from the get go, during the  the 1st year, I blew belts. I'm sure to blow one or more belts for the drive or the auger during a season.
After using up all the ones I orderd from Sears one seasons, I decide to replace them with automotive belts, which must of tripled my uptime between blowing up belts.

After the 10th year of owning this machine ( bought it new), I called sears parts, once again, to order some more spare parts  for stock so I can fix it when it breaks during the season and to my surprise they couldn't find my machine listed. After some discussion, the punchline was,  they said.....  "when a machine is 10 years or older, it's not in the system any longer since we do not expect it to still be in service" ..."and we may not stock the parts"  I quote.

So with the p/n's in hand I was still able to get friction disk and cable and shoes and some other hardware... all came not in sear bags as in past , but it was either YTD or MTD.. I'd have to go out to the workshop and look. All were correct and looked just like the original parts.

I've taken that machine apart so many times that the threaded holes in the sheetmetal were gone and I had to put PEM nuts in for the case so I could still screw it back together and take it apart as needed.
The front auger gear box is now ratteling around with tons of end play on each of the inputs of the three shafts. I'm afraid of that just come apart in pieces one year.
It's time to shoot it and put it out of it's missery.

The engine still runs strong, it's a Tecumseh SnowKing 6hp... still starts well. Just started using oil this year.
At the 10th year, had to replace the carb. Over the years I've had to unstick this, replace that, de-rust this to get something moving again in the "transmission" or drive disk housing. I guess pretty normal stuff considering?

So with all my problems I figured I was just over working this light duty machine ( or it's a POS?). So I started looking at the Ariens. A friend of mine from NH says that up there the machine of choice, and he owns, is a Toro.
I started reading that the Ariens don't really have the quaility they used to and parts are hard to come by and there are fewer and fewer authorized dealers each year.
As I looked around, everyone here sells Toro. I can't find a local shop selling Ariens. A few Polound (spelling) dealers.. never ran across that brand online during my research.

Last year was the first time I saw the HD ( the big orange box) selling Ariens. After visiting Ariens' website, I found that HD wasn't selling the better grade of Ariens either.
I have a bunch of good local dealers selling Toro.
After looking at both machines, the Toro's at the dealers and the Ariens at the HD, it seemed that the Toro had heavier steal and impressive braces from the outer ends of the front housing to the frame.

I do see both as premium brands. But is the Ariens that the HD is selling apple and oranges to the Toro's at the dealers?
Do I need to be looking at a better grade Ariens at a dealer?
Or am I just not seeing a good comparasion since they aren't truly side by side?
Again I read statements else where saying that the lesser grade of Ariens doesn't use as thick of metal, no real bearings-just bushing and such.

I've come to think I should buy a 10hp 28" snowblower to get it as far as possible and to deal with my EOD and Queing piles.
Smaller opening and more power = more power to push out the snow that's in the blades as far as possible. Bigger opening = more snow with same power =  less available pressure to push present snow out the chute.
I'd buy a 26" 10hp if I could. As it is with my present blower, I take 1/2 width cuts to keep the loading down with heavy snow.
I wanted the 11hp from Toro, but the auto adjusting scraping blade is getting bad reviews around here.... so two dealers say and they have the 11hp model to sell me, it's not like they don't.
And with the added price... ~$300 from the 10 to the 11hp.. not sure if I need the extra 1hp.. until I read that the 11hp is the OHV and a better series of engines from Tecumseh.  Being on Long Island, we can get 2 inches or  2 feet. Either way it can start melting before your done cleaning, or the snow can start to turn to rain.. in which case you better start cleaning before it refreezes. So it's usually a very heavy snow, rarely light and fluffy.
And with moving pile to pile to pile, it tends to compact and become wetter each time , even if it's not warm enough to melt.
So been thinking big and tough and strong, real bearings - no bronze sleeves,  so I'm not loosing nuts and bolts to stripping threads, and blowing belts and seizing things up. The funny part, I never lost a sheer bolt on the auger. My father as the same model, but track drive and a few years newer, and he always blows his sheer bolts.

So I've been drawn to the Toro, more dealers around and more service centers. 12months free financing.
I've been thinking atleast 10hp.. but still thinking about the 11hp (also better engine)... but the auto scraper and money keep bringing me back to the 10hp model.
Since I have a lot of spinning around, turning todo of the machine and of the chute ( kinda like a MA1A, I have to aim and shoot on the go to make the piles in the right place) , the Toro keeps my attention with it's stick chute control, over the fine and old reputation of the Ariens.
Every time the Craftsman broke, while I was turning wrenches and warming up next to the turbo heater, I kept telling myself I'm buying a Ariens.
So now it's time to spend a good chunk of money, and I've run into to the Toro during my research.
And honestly, if I couldn't find anymore info I would either be buying the 10hp or the 11hp Toro.
But as an engineer, the more data the better.

Can I go wrong with the Toro?
Any long term issue with the trigger stearing on the Toro?
10hp vs 11hp?
Is the new  "automatic leveling scraper" a liability? (maybe it has todo with how much icing and heavy snow we get here?)
I see a lot of plastic on the Toro, my only real negative, problems?
(my plastic chute on my Craftsman never broke and for half it's life, my drive way was 3/4" gravel not blacktop like it is now, but that was the only real plastic "hardworking" piece on it.)

Sorry about my spelling, and writing. English was never my best subject, and I never can proof read what I write, I always read what I thought I wrote.

Not too much posion on those arrows please, " just the facts mam, just the facts".....

Thanks abunch and sorry about the long winded post, I guess I babbled long enough at the keyboard...

Long Island, NY

This is what we like to do during the summer...
older, but more camping/fishing pix...

And after the 1st snow storm last year, daughter snapped some pix after I finished cleaning and went to work...


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As Long As There Are Tests, There Will Be Prayer In Public Schools. ;- )

Joined: Sep 16, 2002
Points: 7730

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #60   Aug 7, 2005 5:43 pm
ramit wrote:
Kris , you so right, and sorry.. but maybe it will only effect my town ! Sorry, but murphy's law is very applicable to my life.

Being a diesel enthusiast, power is dear to my heart.

The thread started with just a study of HP vs displacement, which also  went across engine technology. So it was just a key hole look in to the subject.
As Highwind finally correctly brought up ..... Torque.

Change the way an engine breaths, and you have a different animal. Change's it's fuel and it's will be different again.
I've heard, but can not find any real hard published data from the factories, the OHV are supposed to build more torque earlier on in the RPM's and be more "torquie". If that's true than that's why they have more "HP" with less displacement. HP is just a result of rpm x Torque , with another standard conversion factor in the equation  to make a standard that we label as HP, a way to quantify the work done over time.

The $#%*mins engine I have comes in about 5 different power levels, all the same displacement completely the same guts. Just fueling and EPA ratings.... from 400ft/lbs to 1,000 ft/lbs... same exact engine no difference, just changing in the  fueling and rev limiter, the same HP rating can be achieved, but over 2 : 1 difference in torque, or the HP can follow the torque proportionately.

I was hoping to find real data in the that thread, but none, and due to the lack of real data from the factories, which doesn't make it easy.
Have you seen any  real graphs? As you mention I should review them, but I can't find them.... a bit frustrating.
Are there some links to decent reviews and/or  testing of the old L head design ( which is much like a flat head isn't it?, which from what I understand are known not to breath well) vs the more contemporary OHV design?

With data lacking, if I had to put money on, and I guess I am,  which is more effiecent, I would say the OHV is.
The only real data point I have now is that  it was  proven in the automotive industry years ago...  L heads (flat heads) vs OHV heads. Now we moved the cam up there too....

OHV technology is more efficient. Call Brigg's or Tecumseh's tech support if you have to have someone tell you so. It's a hell of a lot quicker and less frustrating than looking for hours on end for information.
This message was modified Aug 7, 2005 by Marshall

Location: South Boston, MA
Joined: Mar 10, 2005
Points: 341

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #61   Aug 7, 2005 6:33 pm
You're going to be all set no matter what.
Not many people buy a 10 or 11 hp snowblower in a region that gets on average 35-36" of snow per year.

Overpowered is Usually Adequate

Location: Connecticut
Joined: Feb 19, 2003
Points: 1564

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #62   Aug 7, 2005 8:06 pm
Garandman wrote:
You're going to be all set no matter what.
Not many people buy a 10 or 11 hp snowblower in a region that gets on average 35-36" of snow per year.

True. Im also the exception.

But chance Favors the prepared, and in last  10  years, weve doubled normall snowfall 2-3 times.

Edited, meant 10 years, not 20.

This message was modified Aug 7, 2005 by MountainMan

Ariens 1128PRO- Honda Generator_ Husky 480-257 Jonsered 2050Turbo- Shindiawa T2500 SCAG Mower -little wonder blower-Sears track blower-Coleman Generator- Bombadier ATV-Stihl HS-45 Etc-Etc-Etc

Location: Long Island, NY
Joined: Jul 28, 2005
Points: 45

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #63   Aug 7, 2005 8:21 pm
Garandman wrote:
You're going to be all set no matter what.
Not many people buy a 10 or 11 hp snowblower in a region that gets on average 35-36" of snow per year.

Ajace, yup, I would suspect our friend Torque since it breaths better.

I have a 360CI engine that can haul ~21Klbs GCVW all day long,  my friend has a 360CI that can only haul ~13Klbs GCVW all day long, and when he comes close it , he's running very hot... I'm running cool.  We have about the same  HP, same displacement, but my engine produces twice the torque and run at about 1/2 the RPM.
I get 12-14mpg, he gets 8-10mpg.

True Garandman. But it's a very wet and heavy 35" that we get and I have to move serveral times.
Last year, just in two storms we exceeded that. And I had 6ft drifts in my driveway for 44ft, which wasn't the first time.
If it was light and fluffy and I only had to move it once..... your right, I think I'd still be ok  with my old 5/25.
Each time I move a pile, the snow becomes more "wet" and heavier and compact. By the 2nd move, the old 5/25 bearly throws 10ft, 3rd about 5-8ft..
After that, the machine just can't bite into it and throw it.. the machine studder's and stalls or rides up on it. My auger blades are straight and smooth, no teeth like we see on the Toro, Ariens and Simp. I think that'll be a major help too.

If the snow is fluffy, which it's rarely, it would go about 30ft with my old machine on the first move.
A few forecasts say last winter was a warm up for this one coming..... now that I'm  buying something with twice the power, they'll be wrong.
Murphy's law.... rule #268, if you've spent the money and  prepared you won't need it. If you didn't you'll sure wish you had.
Edit:As I see, right after I posted this, MountainMan and I see eye to eye.

This message was modified Aug 7, 2005 by ramit


Joined: Mar 5, 2004
Points: 751

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #64   Aug 8, 2005 10:26 am
Congrats on the new beast. I think it will throw the snow very well. Going with a local dealer that you trust is also a "good thing".

I think all the research will pay off with a good feeling that you considered all the angles and came to a decision that  fits you.


1. You can get variable diameter, high quality pulleys that allow you to change the ratio of the impeller/auger system to traction system.
2. There's probably not much point doing anything to the traction system ratios unless you need a faster top speed or slower bottom speed.
3. Good belt tension can make a whole lot of difference.
4. Pick a forward speed that is as fast as possible that doesn't cause snow plowing or ride up.
5. If your slowest speed still is too fast take a smaller bite, if that doesn't work try dynamite!
6.Listen to the engine, you can tell when its working because its at full rev, if it doesn't then you don't have enough load or the automatic throttle is sticking.
7. With really tough EOD you may have to use a spade or ice breaker to get it into chunks that the blower can handle, keeps you warm

Glad to hear the good news about your father, hope he coninues to get better.

Location: South Boston, MA
Joined: Mar 10, 2005
Points: 341

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #65   Aug 8, 2005 11:27 am
BTW, you didn't look at the Honda 928?  The GX series Honda motors seem to have a lot of torque.

I live 500 yards from the Atlantic as well so we get heavy, wind-packed snow that's mighty tough. Boston averages 45" and last season got 86" - more than Manchester, NH. 

The independent drive wheels on the Toro (if I understand it correctly) would seem to be a significant advantage over an Ariens, which otherwise is mighty close in specs.

Location: Long Island, NY
Joined: Jul 28, 2005
Points: 45

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #66   Aug 8, 2005 1:12 pm

Ok, your handle or username.. from you favoriate shooter?

I don't have a local dealer handling  the Honda's.. so I didn't consider them. Never even saw some one using their snowblowers around here.
Maybe I'd have to go to DixHills? I would assume that Honda's are also a bit more expensive?
I respect their product, real good engines. But no local dealer, so even though they make a very good product, I didn't try to research them to consider to buy them.

With all the turning I do, I like the trigger turning and I am soooo looking forward to the joystick for the chute that's on the Toro.
A few others now have the trigger steering as well. But the joystick is very different.
With the old machine, I spend a lot of time readjusting chute elevation (need to leave the handles and walk to the side of the machine to adjust elevation), spinning that chute rotation handle ( gotta be 15 - 20 turns lock to lock)  and throwing the machine around each turn by man handling it or by reversing.

With the old 5/25 I had to be very careful in using what little power I had for the big job. So I am used to listening to the engine and gauging travel speed compared to loading of the engine based on density of the snow and filling the chute. So I understand and apperciate your comments.  I can see where someone who hadn't done it before may not apperciate those comments till they were knee deep in the snow. Then it would all come together.

Still every now and than I clogged the little bugger or blew belts. But I'm told the belts used on the 5/25 craftsman are tiny compared to whats on a real machine.  I never broke a shear bolt, but been through close to two dozen belts, figure atleast two a year over 15 years ( first year or two I went through more than two a year, until I crossed them to automotive belts), sometime the auger twice, sometimes one of each.. mostly Auger belts.
I didn't know there was an optional variable pully. Is that an after market pully set or a Toro thing? Your comment is the first I'm hearing of it. Wont know if I'll need it or not. What causes one to want to change the auger drive ratio?

I have a long 30lbs Iron rod with a flat spade hammered into the end... great for demo work and breaking up the ice. But what snow/ice would need that thing to break up, I wouldn't dare try and put through any snow blower I owned.

Thanks for the comments regarding my Dad, and yes every day has been better. Each day a bit stronger and further in his little walks. The night time episodes are gone since he got home too.. the very thing that was keeping him in the hospital.  I still say they were really caused by panic attacks. 


Location: South Boston, MA
Joined: Mar 10, 2005
Points: 341

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #67   Aug 8, 2005 4:32 pm
ramit wrote:

Ok, your handle or username.. from you favoriate shooter?

This message was modified Aug 8, 2005 by Garandman

As Long As There Are Tests, There Will Be Prayer In Public Schools. ;- )

Joined: Sep 16, 2002
Points: 7730

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #68   Aug 8, 2005 7:03 pm

Location: Long Island, NY
Joined: Jul 28, 2005
Points: 45

Re: Ariens Vs Toro
Reply #69   Aug 8, 2005 7:55 pm
now we have my heart pumping...
now where talking about some real outdoor hardware....
ah,, along with a Dodge PW from ~ 1947...
WWII hardware.
Hardware on my wish list is a clean, rattle free, #matching Garand. And even though it's not WWII, an M14.
Also love to get a BAR,  Thompson 45 and M1 carbine.  Some eaiser to get than others.
One real good reason to move to PA.
The last of the real autoloaders, no plastic guns there.
Missed out on an bolt '03, but decided not to since it was too sporterized. But a good shooter.
Just haven't been able to come up with the funds to fill my wish list, it's an expensive list, but we can have dreams.
Other more important things keep coming up, like a new snowblower, lawn mower next year, mortage payments,  daughter's college which should keep me broke for a while.

Combat was an awsome show, grew up watching it, love it.
Ocassionally there are reruns of  the shows up on the Action channel on cable, caught it early a few saturday mornings in this spring.
A show with out Vic, just wasn't right.

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