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SonataInFSharp 12-11-09 12:31 PM

Snow Blower Ideas
I could Google, but I'd rather FOOgle.

I have a bad back because I fell out of a car going down the freeway when I was a toddler. I am not supposed to shovel snow or help people move, but I do anyway. Until now. After our snow storm a few days ago, I shoveled and now I can't walk, only sit, and it's even excruciating to shift my car. This happens 3 or 4 times a year at least, and I can't let it happen anymore.

I feel badly if my wife is shoveling (plus she doesn't do a good job and halfway through the season all the snowbanks have to be torn down and moved out of the way for more snow because there is no space left to walk or drive, if that makes sense), and the 16-month old is a little young to be shoveling yet.

So, I may break down and get a snowblower--first one of my life.

I don't have much to shovel: the sidewalk in front of the house is about 25 yards long; the driveway is about 10 feet wide and maybe 30 feet long, but it is dirt/gravel. We don't have a walkway out to the garage, so I shovel a path through the grass.

Can I just get the cheapest snowblower I can find at a hardware store and be content with it?

Things to consider: I don't care about 2-cycle or 4-cycle (I thought everything was 4-cycle these days anyway, but maybe not); The driveway is dirt/gravel as I mentioned; I would like to clear a path from the steps to the garage via the grass witout ruining the grass; I don't want to pollute the neighborhood more than my lawn mower already does.

Any advice to be had, or is it really as simple as walking to the hardware store down the street and buying their cheapest unit?

jsharr 12-11-09 12:45 PM

Wordbiker sent me this. I am not sure what model he is using, so I would check with him.

skijor 12-11-09 12:49 PM

For wet heavy crap like we just had, I'm REALLY glad I got the standard 2-stage 8HP. Your choice whether you wanna spend the big bucks on a Toro, John Deere (really big bucks), Ariens, Simplicity (what I have), or the usual stuff (MTD, etc.) you'll find at the big box stores. All I know is that my back still loves me after about 18" of the heavy stuff cuz I had a capable machine. The little 2-stroke Toro's (e.g.) wouldn't have had the moxy for this storm.

redirekib 12-11-09 01:04 PM

Ditto on the two stage. No need to spend a lot, just take care of it and it will last a good long time.

JF1 12-11-09 01:22 PM

Dirt and gravel will pretty much mess up most regular duty snowblowers so I don't know what you will do about your driveway. I think a Toro Power Shovel would be ideal for the small amount of area you need it for and you don't need to worry about fuel.

skijor 12-11-09 01:25 PM

^adjust the skid plates to avoid chewing up gravel.

overthehillmedi 12-11-09 05:33 PM

Don't buy anything smaller than an eight horse motor,I have a blower with a five and my neighbour has an eight and his handles the wet snow while mine just plugs up plus his blows the snow at least ten feet farther than mine. My back is like yours and has a attitude about shovelling but doesn'y seem to mind the blower.Oh and make sure you get one with a reverse by the end of the job it was getting awfull tiring horseing the blower around.

nivekdodge 12-11-09 05:40 PM

WHOAAAAAAA back up the Frigging truck and let's hear how a toddler falls out of a car on the freway!!!! If your back is a problem condsider the smallest self propelled on you can find.

2manybikes 12-11-09 06:00 PM

More power! More power! try a v8!

Timber_8 12-11-09 06:12 PM

Personally it sounds like you would be better off hiring someone to plow & shovel for you. A snow blower will toss you around also. don't you have kids running around with shovels after a storm. If you do buy a snow blower your getting good advice with an 8 horse 2 stage blower. My snow blower mounts on my lawn tractor but it is not a cheep rig, it is a back saver, I am sure this would be overkill for your situation. Your gravel drive is your real problem with any snow removal equipment.

On another note do tell the story of how you fell out of the car on the freeway.

Luddite 12-11-09 06:15 PM

Do what has been done since the dawn of...whenever. Hire neighbourhood teenager types to shovel your snow.

waldowales 12-11-09 07:21 PM

Agreed on the eight horse two stage, but be aware that you will still get a workout using it. A really heavy snow leaves my back sore, using one. I'd go for the neighbor kid if I were you. You could hire it many times for the price of a snow blower.

root11 12-11-09 07:29 PM

electric start!! I have it and need it every winter the first time i start it up. I tried pull starting it this year and after about 5 minutes plugged her in and pressed the button for about 10 seconds and presto. Usually one pull after the initial start of the year does it.

had one of these growing up and it would chew through anything! Too bad they don't make 'em anymore:(

Luddite 12-11-09 07:33 PM

Originally Posted by waldowales (Post 10135441)
Agreed on the eight horse two stage, but be aware that you will still get a workout using it. A really heavy snow leaves my back sore, using one. I'd go for the neighbor kid if I were you. You could hire it many times for the price of a snow blower.

LOL at "it."

root11 12-11-09 07:46 PM

Originally Posted by jsharr (Post 10133837)
Wordbiker sent me this. I am not sure what model he is using, so I would check with him.

damn, no gloves!! must be cold...

SonataInFSharp 12-14-09 12:43 PM

Thanks for the responses.

I ended up picking up a 5hp 22" deal, used but completely reconditioned with new parts for practically free. I tested it out where the city plows went by on the street and it worked like the snow wasn't even there. I need to lower the skids a bit for the driveway, I think, but then it might leave a layer of snow on the cement sidewalk, so I will have to play around with it a bit.

It didn't seem to be too much work to handle, at least not for my back. There are 6 forward speeds and two reverse.

I will be curious with the very heavy wet snow someday regarding clogging, but we don't run into that too much around here--it's cold when it snows and stays cold. If it's warm enough to be wet and heavy, it will melt soon enough.

As far as blowing the snow, granted we have a city lot, but I can hit the neighbors house on the far side from my driveway, so I better watch for rocks since it's more fun than pointing the chute down (the house is vacant).

I fell out of the car when I was a kid because back then only some cars had seatbelts in the back. The story is that I was laying down because I felt sick and I was playing with the door handle and out of the car I went. The lady driving behind us was a pediatrician and checked me out on the spot and away we went. Nowadays, that certainly isn't how it would have gone down...

Velo Vol 12-14-09 02:01 PM

If you wake up and there's enough snow on your driveway to make you think you need a contraption to remove it, you're living in the wrong place.

overthehillmedi 12-14-09 04:24 PM

leave the skids as they are and after doing the side walk just run a shovel down them, the little snow that the blower leaves is easier to move than fiddling with the skids constantly.

skijor 12-15-09 08:42 AM

Originally Posted by Velo Vol (Post 10145106)
If you wake up and there's no snow on your driveway, you're living in the wrong place.

fixed :p

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