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Platinum_2


Joined: Sep 17, 2012
Points: 7

New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Original Message   Sep 17, 2012 12:09 pm
Well, autumn is fast approaching and before long, the snow will start falling.  I have been considering the purchase of a new snowblower, but cannot decide if I should go forward or not.  Currently, I have a mint condition, fully restored 1974 Jacobsen Imperial 830.  It has an 8HP Tecumseh Snowking engine and a 30" bucket.  It has a locked axle.  The unit is reliable, very heavy duty, and has served me well.  However, I am concerned that with both Jacobsen out of the snowblower market, and Tecumseh out of business, finding parts in the future could be problematic.  In addition, the features on the newer machines such as heated grips, remote chute deflector, and power steering/remote pin-lock axles seem attractive.  Even having a headlight would be helpful at times.  I have 2500 sq.ft. to clear, and living in Michigan brings about 45-70 inches of snow each year.  My sidewalks are 5ft. wide which makes the 30" bucket perfect as one trip down and back and I'm done.  My driveway is 14ft. wide by 50ft. long and I clear that in about 6 passes.  I then have a 10ft. X 12ft. parking spot that I clear.  I have a rather long sidewalk along the side of the house and out to the mailbox that is 3ft. wide, again allowing me to clear it in one trip down and back with the 30" bucket.

My ultimate question, do I keep what I have at the risk of not being able to find parts/have it serviced, or do I look at something new that has readily available parts and service?  I am looking at 30" Ariens Deluxe or Platinum.  Not sure anything under 30" makes sense because then I would have to go down, back, down to clear the 5ft. sidewalk, and then walk back to get to the house.  Seems like 2 extra trips I don't need to make?  I have all sorts of dealer nearby so service is not an issue with any brand I go with, but Ariens seems to be a real solid machine.  Ideally, I'd like the PRO series, but they don't have a 30" bucket model.  Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

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aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #1   Sep 17, 2012 1:08 pm
Sounds like you have plenty of reasons to get a new snowblower.  If you have room, keep the Jacobsen around as backup.  It all comes down to finances and space.  I'm sure I'm simplifying this but I bet you are doing your homework to make an informed purchase.

For general homeowner use, I think the 28" is perfect.  Good size and power.  Anything above 32" is becoming a bear to wrestle with.  I rather have good maneuverability over size, since I'm no longer 20 years old.  Look at it this way, two extra passes that's easier on your body is much better than 10 passes that you hate.  By the way, I like the new Ariens Pro machines, especially since Ariens finally have hydrostatic transmission, and that new engine is powerful.
This message was modified Sep 17, 2012 by aa335
Platinum_2


Joined: Sep 17, 2012
Points: 7

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #2   Sep 17, 2012 2:18 pm
Thanks for the reply! I'd love to keep the Jake if I get something new, but I just don't have the room for two blowers....especially mid-size two-stage. The extra passes if I go less than 30" add up to 500ft. For now, that would be fine, though less than ideal. I like the coinstruction of PRO series Snowblowers as I only like to buy things once. Most people look at price...I look at quality. I'm going to see what the dealer suggests also.

This message was modified Sep 18, 2012 by Platinum_2
Bill_H


Location: Maine
Joined: Jan 12, 2008
Points: 354

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #3   Sep 18, 2012 12:38 am
Look very closely at your Jake before you go looking at new ones. Then look very closely at them. I think you might just be disappointed in the new ones. Lots of plastic and much thinner steel, plastic bushings, etc. If you don't have a severe rust problem and you're comfortable with doing an engine swap, you might want to consider keeping your eyes out for another engine that will fit right in and putting it on a shelf in case of emergency. A good summer project - or now if you can get it done in time - would be to pull apart the Jake and check/replace all the bearings/bushings and fix whatever rust has started. The new features are nice but I am not thrilled with the build quality and ruggedness of the newer machines as compared to the old iron. I do see a headlight as something of a necessity, the others are just conveniences.
This message was modified Sep 18, 2012 by Bill_H


Who the hell let all the morning people run things?
trouts2




Location: Marlboro MA
Joined: Dec 8, 2007
Points: 1328

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #4   Sep 18, 2012 7:32 am

>>Do I keep what I have at the risk of not being able to find parts/have it serviced

For the body:

   You’ve been living on the edge for 20 years or more depending on the part.  The more common wear parts are still available.  Those are fantastic machines.  The front end gearbox was probably never touched on the rebuild and just as likely will never have to be.  They don’t toss far but you did not mention that as a short coming. 

    A remote chute deflector is nice but not so essential given the infrequent use of a snowblower for your amount of snow per year.

    Those turn well enough and with your 6 passes “power steering/remote pin-lock axles” would not be a needed enhancement.  You’d gain a few seconds per pass.

    I’m pretty sure those did not have locking levers for one hand operation allowing you to turn the chute while moving and tossing.  It’s a convenience but again for the amount of use per season and area configuration not so essential.  Only a few seconds gain per run.

    For all the straight runs the features on a new machine won’t make any difference.  For the main drive with 6 passes and the 10 x 12 there won’t be much of a time or convenience improvement with new features.

   Hand warmers never did much for me.  By the time they get warm you’d be halfway  done clearing, pumped up and probably unzipping your jacket a bit.  On some machines on a warm day they are too hot and uncomfortable.  On other machine they just don’t make a difference.

For the engine:

   The usual wear parts for those are still available.  A replacement engine can be swapped out in about a half hour.  If the engine has good compression and you don’t have any complaints about tossing then your probably good for several more years.  I would think that a few storms per year that thing struggles with the 30 inch bucket and 8hp.  For the majority of storms the 30 and 8 would be fine.

   A new machine would be slick but at a big price.  You’ll want to use it more and be frustrated.  You’ll search for neighbors drives to clear.  You’ll drive the blower around the neighborhood with a sign your back, “Free Snow Removal”.  Eventually you’ll end up in counseling.  A new machine is a very risky purchase.  Save the money and buy golf clubs or a canoe.
carlb


Joined: Nov 16, 2010
Points: 279

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #5   Sep 18, 2012 8:41 am
trouts2 wrote:

>>Do I keep what I have at the risk of not being able to find parts/have it serviced

For the body:

   You’ve been living on the edge for 20 years or more depending on the part.  The more common wear parts are still available.  Those are fantastic machines.  The front end gearbox was probably never touched on the rebuild and just as likely will never have to be.  They don’t toss far but you did not mention that as a short coming. 

    A remote chute deflector is nice but not so essential given the infrequent use of a snowblower for your amount of snow per year.

    Those turn well enough and with your 6 passes “power steering/remote pin-lock axles” would not be a needed enhancement.  You’d gain a few seconds per pass.

    I’m pretty sure those did not have locking levers for one hand operation allowing you to turn the chute while moving and tossing.  It’s a convenience but again for the amount of use per season and area configuration not so essential.  Only a few seconds gain per run.

    For all the straight runs the features on a new machine won’t make any difference.  For the main drive with 6 passes and the 10 x 12 there won’t be much of a time or convenience improvement with new features.

   Hand warmers never did much for me.  By the time they get warm you’d be halfway  done clearing, pumped up and probably unzipping your jacket a bit.  On some machines on a warm day they are too hot and uncomfortable.  On other machine they just don’t make a difference.

For the engine:

   The usual wear parts for those are still available.  A replacement engine can be swapped out in about a half hour.  If the engine has good compression and you don’t have any complaints about tossing then your probably good for several more years.  I would think that a few storms per year that thing struggles with the 30 inch bucket and 8hp.  For the majority of storms the 30 and 8 would be fine.

   A new machine would be slick but at a big price.  You’ll want to use it more and be frustrated.  You’ll search for neighbors drives to clear.  You’ll drive the blower around the neighborhood with a sign your back, “Free Snow Removal”.  Eventually you’ll end up in counseling.  A new machine is a very risky purchase.  Save the money and buy golf clubs or a canoe.

+1 on what trouts2 said
Platinum_2


Joined: Sep 17, 2012
Points: 7

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #6   Sep 18, 2012 9:07 am
Thanks for the replies guys!  I think I'll keep her.  I'll upload some pics so you can see just how perfect she is.  The gearbox is rock solid.  The only part I could imagine needing might be a friction disc or chute rotration gear...an obsolete part from what I understand.  As of now, she needs nothing.
hcbph1


Joined: Sep 20, 2012
Points: 16

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #7   Sep 20, 2012 6:29 am
Platinum_2 wrote:
Thanks for the replies guys!  I think I'll keep her.  I'll upload some pics so you can see just how perfect she is.  The gearbox is rock solid.  The only part I could imagine needing might be a friction disc or chute rotration gear...an obsolete part from what I understand.  As of now, she needs nothing.



Don't rule out a machine for things like a friction disk not being available.  For example a 6" Toro friction disk can be used in an older Roper snowblower.  You do need to machine the center hole open a little and drill new mounting holes but that's minor when it comes down to a couple of mods vs throwing an otherwise perfectly good machine away.

You just need to do some measuring of what you have then start looking at what's still available.

Platinum_2


Joined: Sep 17, 2012
Points: 7

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #8   Sep 20, 2012 9:25 am
I'm pretty sure a friction disc would be easy to come by.  There was a Ford variant and I believe a John Deere variant of this machine.  My local JD dealer may be able to get his hands on some parts.  He still has parts for my old JD snowmobile.  It's amazing what these dealers sometimes have on their shelves from years past!  I would certainly not throw her away.  It is fully restored, new paint, tires, etc.  A commercial snow contractor would probably give $500 for it knowing that he could not find anything as heavy duty on the market today in brand-new condition, maybe even more. For me, the machine is a bit of overkill.  I like the 30" bucket, but I bet the thing weighs over 300lbs.  It can be a bear to muscle it around during the winter months.  For this reason alone, sometimes I wish I had something a little lighter.  But, I only have about $200 into it and it is now mint and needs nothing.  Hard to justify replacing it.
This message was modified Sep 20, 2012 by Platinum_2
Platinum_2


Joined: Sep 17, 2012
Points: 7

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #9   Sep 24, 2012 10:19 pm

This message was modified Sep 24, 2012 by Platinum_2
Platinum_2


Joined: Sep 17, 2012
Points: 7

Re: New Ariens Snowblower....or keep old Jacobsen?
Reply #10   Sep 24, 2012 10:28 pm
The pictures above are of my 1974 Jacobsen Imperial 830.  As you can see, it has been fully restored and modernized.
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