Abby's Guide to Outdoor Power Equipment (Lawn Mowers, Snow Blowers, Chain Saws and more)
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Name nibbler
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Date Joined Mar 5, 2004
Date Last Access Jan 2, 2018 6:09 pm
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Re: Hydro drive vrs Friction disk
#1   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.
Re: 3 Stage Snow Blowers - Opinions ?
#2   Jan 2, 2018 5:31 pm
I have not used a so called three stage machine so this is just an opinion.

Looks like a bit of marketing smoke and mirrors to me. The third stage is a little auger to suck in and move the snow at the middle of the auger housing. This is normally the area that the regular augers don't process snow in since its also where the auger gear box is. I've never had a problem with any snow thrower not being able to move snow because that little area isn't "in use".  As such its a mechanical complication with little or no benefit.

The main limit to how fast you can move snow is the size and speed of the impeller. It has a maximum volume that it will process. That is why with deep snow you have to either use a slower gear or take a partial swath. If the augers suck too much snow in, the impeller gets backed up and the snow goes out front at the top of the auger housing. I've been calling that snow plowing. More power in and of itself won't fix this since its the volume of snow that determines this and not its weight.

The HSS724 Wheeled thrower isn't  that much different from any other wheeled 24" thrower in terms of handling. It is nicely built but I'm not sure if going with a different brand but getting the same size will do much for you. About the only thing that might change is the balance. A tracked unit will give you a major change in handling, generally "tougher" but with way more traction.

Good luck.
Re: Hydro drive vrs Friction disk
#3   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.
Re: Ariens hydro pro track vrs Honda 28 in track blower
#4   Feb 18, 2016 9:20 am
I also have a Honda 928TCD as well as an Ariens Pro 28 wheeled unit.

I use the Honda on a gravel driveway with ruts in Ontario cottage country. The Ariens on several driveways in the city. I am considering getting the track conversion kit for the Ariens mostly for the height control and partially for the extra "tank like" feel of tracks.

1. Both units work very well and are well made. I lean slightly to the Honda on the build quality but the difference is probably less than negligible.

2. The Honda is a bear to turn since you are sliding both tracks sideways. The Ariens is wheeled with an automatic slip mechanism that they call "auto-turn" it is not what I learned in shop class was called a differential although it is trying to do the same thing. It works well and I like it alot. From what little I've heard the tracked Ariens has the same mechanism and it helps with turning however you are still slewing the tracks around so its going to be harder than a wheeled unit with the same auto-turn mechanism.

3. Both are snow and slush cannons which chug through deep snow with lots of power. The Ariens does have a more powerful engine

4. With proper maintenance ( drain the gas at the end of the season is what I do, stabilizer is supposed to work) both start very reliably. I use the electric start occasionally on the Honda with its on board battery, pull  start works very well on both. I generally run the carburettor dry after shutting of the gas so it does take a minute or so for the gas to get back into the carburettor at start up.

5. The Honda's electric chute control is nice but I prefer manual since I can fix it myself with less cost. I have had to yet.

6. The one thing about the Honda is that it is harder to maintain on your own. Changing belts, which doesn't happen often, is practically a shop required exercise whereas the Ariens is much easier.
#5   Jan 5, 2015 8:29 pm
Exactly don't knickel and dime on the power cable when you advertise the thing as having 120V start. It would be like the 12V start coming batteries not included.
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