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Location: Maryland
Joined: Jul 24, 2010
Points: 321

Hydro drive vrs Friction disk
Original Message   May 25, 2016 10:10 pm
I was wondering.Does a friction disk use more power than a hydro drive? Which drive uses less power to run, friction disk or hydro drive. Ariens shows their Hydro pro 32 towing a truck and trailer. That must put a lot of stress on the drive pump thus taking away the power to blow snow. A friction disk I'm sure will not tow a truck yet I'm sure it to looses power driving the wheels. I also believe a tracked unit uses, even more, power. The hybrid units from Honda do not have this problem because the tracks are driven by electric motors. All the engine power is directly going to the impeller and auger. That being the case do you guys think an Ariens pro track 28 will out throw a Honda HSS928AT or even an HSS1332AT? The Ariens has a bigger engine and more torque. Who is king of the Snow Ariens Hydro Protrack 28, Pro track 28 (friction disk) or the Hondas? If so why?
This message was modified May 25, 2016 by bus708
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Joined: Mar 5, 2004
Points: 751

Re: Hydro drive vrs Friction disk
Reply #1   Jun 1, 2016 12:02 pm
I have this vague recollection of snowman stating that hydrostatic units are either 30-40% efficient or that they loose 30-40% ( 60-70% efficient), I don't remember which. That is of the power that comes from the engine and is sent to the transmission. The big Honda hybrid unit does use electric motors but where do you think the electricity comes from? It must have a generator taking power from the gas engine, so if anything the potential for loss is higher. Converting gas to mechanical to electrical to mechanical looses a bit on each conversion. In both cases the big "advantage" is the wide variation in speeds, forward and backward that you can get. The Honda also has stick shift steering. Each system has differing maintenance requirements so that should be factored in.

I have a Honda tracked unit with a hydrostatic transmission and its great for where I use it. Two long, twisty gravel driveways with upward to 1 meter ( 3 ft) per snow fall and a fare amount of ice as a base. Its a tank, well designed and built solid. It is hard to do anything but† very basic maintenance, even changing the belt is complicated enough that I have taken it into a shop and let them do it. I may still give it a try but since it doesn't seem to need to be done often I am still waiting.

I also have an Ariens wheeled professional unit with their "differential" traction drive for suburbia. I still lust after the hydrostatic tracked model but it was out of my price range and probably wouldn't have suited my needs as well. In suburbia I clear a number of short driveways with small front yards. The Ariens or Honda can throw snow two driveways away so I'm more interested in speed,† ease of turning and EOD clearance. There is more user maintenance that can be done on the Ariens. I haven't done the dual belts yet but its basically the same friction disk system I had on previous blowers so I know I can do it when needed.

Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: Hydro drive vrs Friction disk
Reply #2   Jul 5, 2016 11:14 pm
I may be generalizing here but take it with a grain of salt. From what I have seen, the Ariens will process more snow volume than a Honda. Ariens usually equip their snowblower with larger displacement engines and larger diameter impeller (fan section). Its just pure simple physics, more power + larger fan equal higher capacity to do work. Ariens is an American company so their prescription for Americans is bigger and bigger is always better mindset. That being said, the Ariens will impress you with the sheer amount of snow it devours, the Honda will impress you with the tight stream and throwing distance. The Ariens will impress you with how things looks so big and thick. The Honda will impress you with how beautiful and thoughtful everything is designed. Depending on the age and fitness of the operator using the snowblower, a bigger and heavier snowblower means more work for the operator. Smaller and lighter machines does not beat up on the operator like a heavier and more powerful machines. I rarely take out the heavy 2 stage snowblower except for heavier snowfalls. Most of the time, I enjoy using the smaller single stage machines just because I don't feel like I just wrestled a 350 lb pig around. The efficiency of hydro versus friction disc is a non-issue, except for academia. Does the drive does what it supposed to do, without slipping? I prefer hydrostatic myself because I like to finely adjust the forward and backward speeds. However, I don't like the fact that the hydro does not allow the wheels or track to totally freewheel, which may be a pain when trying to reverse without using power. So there you go. My answer is more pragmatic, not so much specs and numbers.
This message was modified Jul 5, 2016 by aa335

Joined: Mar 5, 2004
Points: 751

Re: Hydro drive vrs Friction disk
Reply #3   Jan 2, 2018 5:46 pm
I have to agree that the so called "infinite" adjustment of the hydrostatic transmission is great. The limitation to how much snow you can clear is basically how much volume can go through the impeller. If you go too fast or take too large a swath then the impeller backs up and snow goes out the front of the auger housing at the top, sort of like a snow plow. You therefore have to either slow down or take a smaller width swath. The hydrostatic transmission allows very fine speed adjustment and is handy for making those changes "on the fly" with out having to stop. I must admit I also like going from forward to reverse without disengaging the traction clutch.

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

Re: Hydro drive vrs Friction disk
Reply #4   Nov 29, 2018 4:23 am
We have a 2015 Honda HS928T (since redesigned), 2004 Ariens 1124 Pro (disc drive) and a 2017 Ariens RapidTrak Hydro Pro. The Honda is a good little unit. It will throw snow quite far. The RapidTrak Hydro Pro moves a LOT more snow. Donít see image tags or Id post pictures.
This message was modified Nov 29, 2018 by Garandman
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