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shpid

Name shpid
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Date Joined Nov 20, 2015
Date Last Access Dec 10, 2015 3:57 pm
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Re: Ariens hydro pro track vrs Honda 28 in track blower
#1   Nov 21, 2015 1:00 am
First time poster. Long story short, I've had both... the track drive Honda 828 with all the bells & whistles (hydrostatic & electric chute control, etc) which I sold after using for 20+ years. I currently own a 2014 Airens Hydro Pro 28 wheeled unit /not tracked. I chose the wheel-version on the new machine simply because I'm six-five & found that the handlebar height on the Honda was too short. I'll start with the Honda... wonderful machine, but it was not without it's faults. For starters, I bought it "used" off of a Honda-rep who never used it (but his wife did), as he was out of town a lot. I remember using it for the first time, not at all impressed with it's performance only to discover that both shear pins were ...well ..."sheared" which was no fault of Honda. Three years later, the hydro was starting to act up... I took it to the dealership only to discover that it required a new transmission which was $900 sitting in the box. The Service Manager said that it was because I used the wrong Hydrostatic fluid, which I did not as it was never low, & I never added any, despite the fact that the blower came with an unopened bottle of Honda Hydrostatic fluid. Long story short, I got it fixed. Now to it's performance... always started (no surprise there). Honda's like to be choked (when cold), and I found that it was better to use the recoil, as it never took more than two pulls (even when cold). The electric start (on board battery) however, when starting for the first time, would basically flood the machine. It turned out to be the "needle & seat" which I had replaced TWICE, but to no avail. Once warmed up however, the electric start performed flawlessly. As a matter of fact, if you failed to remember to turn the gas off it would eventually lock up to the point where you would have to pull the plug, pull the recoil to expel the gasoline and then replace the plug. About that, you had to remove the muffler (easy, two bolts) if you were to be given a fighting chance to get the plug back in without cross-threading it. Performance wise - wonderful! I liked the key start (again when warm), and it was quiet and smooth. Another nice thing - the rubber tracks (though I never needed to replace them) are still available... unlike Yamaha. I have a gravel drive way, and there is a step-control that either lets you bare down (if on pavement) or in the other position... lifts up the tunnel about an inch & a half... and allows you to pivot the machine using the handle bars. That is to say, if you lift the handle bars up slightly, the tunnel goes down, and visca-versa. Turning is accomplished by basically skidding the machine around while at the same time pressing sideways on the chute's joystick to move it the 180 degrees or whatever position is desired. Honda has the feature that (once both levers are engaged) allows one to release the auger-lever which stays held down allowing the operator a free hand to operate the chute control. Another thing I like about the Honda is the throttle control is a lever on the top console. Lastly, changing oil is messy. The drain plug is right on top of the tracks. I made a channel out of some tin that I could fit over the short drip rail beneath the drain plug, which worked quite well. Onto the Airens HydroPro 28... Size-wise it dwarfs the Honda. This is a good thing when you're tackling snowdrifts, but can be a bad thing when you're storing it in your garage, and space is at a premium. The 420 cc engine works out to be about 16 HP, so power isn't an issue. Fortunately it too comes with electric start, though the conventional-type, where you plug one end into an AC outlet and the other into the machine... press a button & voila! I have to say it's definitely louder than the Honda, but I wear hearing protection on all my power equipment, so this is not really an issue for me. The throttle-speed is on the side of the engine and not within easy reach like the Honda's. I would have to say the most pleasant surprise on the wheeled Airens is the steering, as it takes absolutely no effort at all. On that note, what is worth mentioning is the transmission release system between the two machines (should you ever need to move them without the bother of starting them). On the Honda - there is a release lever underneath the chassis that you access from the back - slide it to the "Release" position (to your right) and away you go. On the Airens, it is similar... again it is on the back of the machine, lower down and it is a lever that you pull out to release which allows you to effortlessly move it. Here's the difference which I consider HUGE - if you start the Honda, with the lever in the release position, no big deal. If you do the same on the Airens, you stand a good chance of damaging the transmission, which (reading the manual) doesn't appear to be covered under the factory warranty. Even though Honda has the faster reverse-speed, performance-wise the Airens gets the edge in my experience. The bigger engine which equals more power, coupled with its larger size to get the job done and easier steering does it for me! In Honda's defence however, there is a 25 year difference in technology, so I can't honestly say if an equivalent 2014 Honda wouldn't fare better against the Airens Pro, but then it would all boil down to value for the extra money. I can say however, that from my "Bang For Your Buck" perspective, I'm very happy with the Airens! Hope this helps.
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