Joined: Dec 12, 2003
Sorry in advance if this review is some-what long winded, but after spending $1,249.00 and being 100% satisfied, this machine deserves top honors from me and I didn't want to leave any details out. Here's how it went.
Well, Long Island had their first snow on 12/18/04, enabling me to give this new snowblower it's first run. Although it was a small amount of snow, due to high winds, our driveway and walkway was one large snowdrift covered with about 3-1/2" of the white stuff. Still, it was enough to test it.
The conditions that morning were 10 degrees and just a bit of wind. After breaking in the machine about two months prior, I stored it with Pri-G already run through it and the tank emptied. I then removed it from storage, added fuel mixed with Pri-G, rechecked the oil, and it started right up.
After about a 5-minute warm-up and engaging the controls, this machine just sucked up snow and tossed it so far, it began hitting my neighbor's home with a plumb of snow reminiscent of a plumb of water you would see from behind a racing powerboat.
This was something I was not used to seeing compared to our old machine. Fortunately the Quick Stick chute control, and what an amazing piece of engineering it is, enabled me to make the proper fast adjustment in the wink of an eye preventing any mishap to his house.
It does take a bit of getting used to since I'm accustomed to reaching for a hand crank placed in an inconvenient spot that had a very poor ratio, rather than reaching for a joystick intelligently placed on the dashboard.
My old machine, which I gave away, was a 25-year-old Toro 524, and was a good machine, but the throwing distances cannot be compared in the least, even in similar snow and weather conditions. Thanks to the polyethylene chute on the 828 LXE, spraying silicone was totally unnecessary as it was for my old Toro with its rusty metal chute. I'm very happy I have one less thing to deal with.
Another point about the 828's throwing distance, it has always been my experience with small amounts of snow, I've always had to use a higher gear or ground speed in order to feed the auger sufficient amounts of snow to produce enough backpressure for any kind of decent throwing distance. It may surprise you to know, incredibly, I never needed to go beyond 1st gear. Obviously this new Power Max auger system isn't just hype. I also wanted to slow down while getting used to this new snowblower.
The controls, all of them, required on a light touch to manipulate, even through thick gloves, was just another sign of well thought out engineering that was an absolute pleasure.
The typical EOD 180 degree turn that I never looked forward to with my old machine caused a big smile when I attempted it with my 828 LXE. All I can say is, if you haven't tried Toro's Freewheel trigger steering control or think it's just a needless bell and whistle, you couldn't be more wrong.
When I think about how I'd have to muscle my old 214 lb. machine in a turn, actually breaking out in a sweat while snowblowing, and now with this 828, I look forward to making turns on a dime requiring just a simple pull of a trigger releasing the wheel on that side you wish to turn in. It really does turn on a dime.
The snowblower just powers right into the turn, and you're just along for the ride. I was very impressed with the fact the 828 LXE never needed control inputs in order to maintain it's direction. As a side note, I did confirm both tires have the exact air pressure and the scraper was optimally adjusted.
As you may be aware, the free wheel trigger controls can be used to make directional control adjustments while snowblowing or by squeezing both triggers simultaneously, puts the machine in neutral, allowing you to move it around in tight spaces without having to switch gears, so the freewheel trigger steering isn't just for making turns. The triggers can also be used when the machine is not running, such as when storing it in your garage. Have you even tried to maneuver one of these full size machines on dry pavement with both wheels locked, it isn't easy. Obviously, Toro has gone in a great direction with this feature.
The 828 LXE comes with the more aggressive 15" X-Trac Carlisle tires. I actually expected them to lose traction at the end of my driveway because of the down hill slope and a base of ice, but the tires never broke traction at all and powered right through even while turning on the up-slope.
They had no problem climbing the cobblestones that border my driveway in order to get to our slate walkway. The aggressive tire pattern and larger 15" tires made this effortless compared to my old machine with 13" tires that always got stuck and I'd have to muscle it up.
The L-head engine was always a disappointment to me that Toro doesn't offer this model with an overhead valve engine, but I must say, it ran excellent and never missed a beat. For some reason it didn't have the excessive vibration my old machine had with its 5 hp L-head engine, which I'm very happy about.
Although not necessarily required, I did install a SunDec hour meter that I purchased at Sears and mounted it on the dash. It too worked great enabling me to see just how fast I was able to get the job done.
Date Purchased: September, 18,2004
Price Paid: $1249
8 hp tecumseh Snow King
Quick Stick Chute Control
28" Clearing Width
Freewheel Trigger Steering
Heavy-duty Auger Gearcase (Elimintes Shearpins)
45' Throw Distance (2,000 lbs. per minute)
3 Year Warranty if Purchased Pre-Season
Free Pickup and Delivery for all Warranty Repairs
Would make it the ultimate snowblower if offered with an OHV engine.
This message was modified Feb 17, 2005 by Richie