Do you mind me asking approximately what you paid for the 5518? I have one on my list to buy eventually, but haven't seen one for sale in years in this area.
It was on CL for $4K with only the 54" blade and the quick hitch (no mower deck which was fine for me but would have a value if it was included). I offered $3200 and he countered at $3400. I offered 25% less and we settled at 15% less than listed price.
I don't think I stole it but likewise, I don't think he bent me over either. There was one on CL at $5500 that had 233 hours, front blade, snow blower, mold board plow, mower deck, looked like two sets of wheel weights, etc... for $5500 (http://boone.craigslist.org/grd/4257078760.html
). Only problem was that it looked like it had never been stored inside and was a nice faded pink... Oh, and it was in North Carolina I believe. When I called them, it was sold to a Canadian. That was not a bad deal for everything you got.
Here's a nice one in Pittsburgh: https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/grd/4319831624.html
. Just listed a day ago and looks very nice (I haven't studied the listing but from what I see it looks about as nice as you could find). Incidentally, I drove four hours to get mine and would not have had a problem with more distance but I drive a lot.
I am happy with mine. It is in pretty darn good condition (for being 18 years old). I will have $1700 in the snow blower but it's said to be mint. Breakdown on that is $1K for the blower then another $700 for the chute crank, crank support and drive shaft (all of which I need). Two guys in MN/WI that are friends with each other and live fairly close to each other are selling me the four pieces and worked together on getting everything at one place for pickup which should happen tomorrow morning (I gave one of them $50 for driving the three parts to his buddy's house which is included in the $700 for his three parts). Hopefully, I will be able to pickup the pieces on Saturday. A friend is having his crew make the pickup on their way back from Hibbing MN to Fort Wayne, IN which is generally where I live.
From what I have seen, there does not really seem to be another machine like this one--4wd, 4 wheel steer, two stage snow blower which is what mine will be doing 95% of the time. I like the JD 400 but it's single stage snow blower and 2wd. I will have $5100 in mine and I haven't seen another machine like this one for that price. Oh, and it's a Honda--our largest customer (Anna Engine Plant). Everyone knows they make an awesome product which outweighed the parts availability IMHO.