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Curious...are new Ariens snowblowers as good as or better than a snowblower on a walkbehind or tractor? Ariens has many grades of snowblowers, not sure how good one is over the other. But for comparison sake, comparison to the professional. Are they still cheap junk?
 

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Gravely Model L Guy
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i would have to say they are junk. There is no comparison between a ariens snow-blower of today and an open reeled or MA210 gravely snow-blower
 

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I woundn't say that the Ariens style are "junk", but they cannot even come close in quality to the MAxxx series blowers. The Ariens blowers have very touchy gearboxes and you need to stay on top of the clutch adjustments, otherwise, the life expectancy will be greatly reduced. The one and only advantage that the Ariens blowers have is the adjustable chute deflector for close quarters snow removal, but thats about it.
 

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If one reads the OP's post carefully, he is clearly looking for opinions comparing current Ariens brand walk behind snow blowers to a Gravely walk behind tractor with a snow blower attached.

I had the same question last year when I considered buying a snow blower, either one for my 16G rider, or a new Ariens walk behind blower.

My Gravely/Ariens dealer, someone with 40 years of experiance with Gravely and Ariens products, suggested that from the middle of the line and up that the current Ariens blowers are very nice and explained that they have upgraded a number of things, including gauge of metal and other features to make them more "heavy duty".

He also indicated that given a choice he would ride on my 16G with a 48" "Ariens style" blower before he would walk behind anything - including a Gravely two wheel tractor and whatever blower you want to put on it.

This is a person I have known for 15 years and who has never steered me wrong - even if it cost him a sale.

I will openly admit I don't know a thing about snow blowers, I decided I did not need one. But in my research I found that many people speak badly about Ariens blowers, including those sold for the riders with the Gravely name on them - BUT, the people who actually own and use the 48" Gravely (Ariens) blower like them.

Some actually like the fact that they don't throw the snow into the yard of the neighbor three houses down the block and that they can actually control where the snow goes - easily.

Personally, growning up and living my whole life here in the Mid Atlantic, I don't really like the idea of a snow blower, they go too slow in light snow, we seldom get big snows, and I don't want a garage full of equipment that only sees occasional use.

So I improved the snow pushing abilty of my 16G and snow dozer - with rear wheel brakes, wheel weights on all four wheels, a "down pressure" system to increase the weight on the dozer blade, better lighting for night plowing to simply "keep ahead" of big snows, in addition to chains which I have had since day one.

This way, in a light snow I can clear my 7000 sq feet of drive and parking pad in record time - or - I can plow early and often in those few big storms - without changing back and forth from blower to blade or having to have another piece of equipment to store and care for.

I know for some of you, having another piece of equipment is what you live for, but as much as I love the GRAVELY, I have other hobbies that take up my time, money, and garage space.

I'm sure a new Ariens walk behind is not as 'rock basic indistructable" as a MA blower on a two wheeler, but I'm not sure I would use the term "junk" either.

But that's just my view, from the research I did, that concluded I had no real use for a snow blower at all. But then again I don't live in Maine or Massachusetts either.

Sheldon
 

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apples and oranges. Garden tractor is designed to do many things, a walk behind snowblower has 1 task it can perform.. walk behind is the only commonplace between the 2
 

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I had no real use for a snow blower at all.
I lived in Chicago for the first 35 years of my life. During that time I can count on one hand the number of times the snow blower was used. Sure there were times when I would plow 2 or three times during a significant storm but that didn't happen all that often. I think that if I had to do it all over again, I think that I would get a blower for the G tractor or the Pro16.
 

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Original Gravely blowers vs Ariens is like comparing the Wright flyer to an F-15 fighter. I have both and granted you can control the flow of snow more with the new style like Mark said but blowing distance and aggressiveness of digging in the snow is different. Also new style is much lighter than the Gravely style. Like Mark stated the clutch setup is much more fragile and i have heard of countless stories of the clutches burning up fast (Non Asbestos Material) and the tiny gear boxes blowing apart. In Ariens defense, i understand everything is about the "buck" nowadays and if it comes to cutting corners with cheaper materials it is what it is. Just my two cents worth guys.C.V.
 

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Gravely bug bit.
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Also remember, not all Gravely/Ariens branded units are made by Ariens/Gravely. As an example, my snow plow and snow blower for the Rapid XZ are made by RAD Tech in Canada.
 

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I don't have a lot of direct experience with ariens units, but when I observe my neighbor with his brand new ariens 8hp unit, which seems to work to throw 8-10 ft, while I have to be careful not to hit my house from the street, or put snow up on the roof of my barn, I figure there's no point in looking further :)
 

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Never had a problem with Ariens... Most reliable ones i saw being used last winter when it was deeper than most could throw over. My old Craftsman which throws plenty high and far was even having trouble going over the deep banks on either side of the driveway.

Overall though... Nothing wrong with an Ariens. I have an older Ariens now as well, mounted on my YT12, can't wait to use it, will be nice to ride instead of walk some this winter!
 

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Gravely Fan
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Curious...are new Ariens snowblowers as good as or better than a snowblower on a walkbehind or tractor? Ariens has many grades of snowblowers, not sure how good one is over the other. But for comparison sake, comparison to the professional. Are they still cheap junk?
They both have their pros and cons. I own an Ariens ST1236, that's 12hp, 36" wide bucket as well as a 6.6hp L.I. and 7.6hp C8 as well as a pro 12 with next to new MA210 28 and 34 inch blowers. My Ariens will out throw both "L" tractors and throws it just as far as my pro 12. The pro12 has a wider stream of snow than the Ariens. The Ariens has the remote deflector which I can easily control the distance of the snow from the operators position behind the handlebars. I don't have to stop to adjust it. The Ariens is not as long as the Gravelys and is easier to turn in tight spaces. The bucket on the Ariens is taller than the Gravely blowers. In deep snow the Gravely blowers turn into submarines with more snow going over the bucket than the Ariens. The steering brake on the pro definetly helps on the pro12 but it is still a longer unit. The Gravelys have a lot more weight than the Ariens and because of that they do not ride up over the (EOD) end of driveway pile up. When the snow starts to stick and solidfy on the ground the Ariens will ride up no doubt, the gravely goes right thru. Ariens sells an optional weight kit but it is a joke. I have had my Ariens I guess about 15yrs now and my plan of attack is 1"-4" Gravely with sweeper and I like the older sweeper better it's smaller and easier to move and see around. 5" - 8" Gravely wth plow blade above 8" Ariens snowblower. I keep the Gravely blowers as back ups. I think the Gravely walkbehinds really excel with the plow blade. This is their niche. Their small, heavy and powerful and push alot of snow. I have pushed a foot of snow with my pro 12. There was a bunch of years were I did get enough snow to blow but there was enough to push. I have seen people try to retro fit some sort of plow on their Ariens and it is a mistake. It's not made for pushing at all. I personally don't like the build quality of the newer Ariens. My machine has metal gears for the chute the newer ones have a plastic disc. The gear box on mine has bearings the newer ones are bushings etc. You have to analyze your situation and decide what's right for you. - Kris :rauch10:





 

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"You have to analyze your situation and decide what's right for you."

Very true - Kris, in my mind, none of the snow shown in your pictures justifies a snow blower - unless possibly if you are in really tight quarters with no place to push it.

Anything less than a foot my 16G with blade just blasts right through in high gear - three passes and the driveway is clear. And I am riding at 8 MPH rather than walking at 1.5 MPH.

And that was before some of the improvements I have made over this summer. I expect performance to be even better now with rear wheel brakes, rear wheel weights, etc.

The only thing better than a GRAVELY walk behind with a blade is a late model GRAVELY rider with one.

Last year we had two 30" snows within a ten day period - my 16G cleared them from my 400 plus feet of driveway. It was a lot work, mainly pushing it far enough on the yard to have someplace to put more, but it did the job.

When I think of a snow blower, I think of two feet or more of snow - than the snow blower becomes neater, easier and equally as fast. A foot of snow - I will take my 16G with a blade any day.

Snow blowers, the Ariens deticated type, have one other special use as Kris pointed out - confined spaces.

All the suburban subdivision home owners with a driveway that is only slighly bigger than two parked cars are likely better off with a small snow blower - that's not my situation.

Sheldon
 

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Also remember, not all Gravely/Ariens branded units are made by Ariens/Gravely. As an example, my snow plow and snow blower for the Rapid XZ are made by RAD Tech in Canada.
When I was a Snapper dealer, Snapper started using RAD snowblowers for their tractors after they discontinued the Snapper built units. If I had known what a POS they were, I never would have gotten involved in the sale in the first place. To make matters worse, Snapper didn't handle RAD parts, I had to find and deal with a RAD distributor. That was during Snapper's dark days, right after Jerry Schreiner had bought them and started distribution through National Power. What a disaster that arrangement was. At the first dealer meeting, an edict came down from above that if you wanted to remain a Snapper dealer, you had to purchase $20,000 worth of lawn equipment AND $20,000 worth of snowblowers. Half the dealers got up, left the meeting, and became Toro dealers. Shortly after that debacle, Jerry came to his senses.
 

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I use my Pro-16 Kohler with a 34" MA-211 most winters. Most snowfalls, too. I did a season with a plow and my 5665, but all the back and forth trying to clean up every little line of snow gets super annoying. The 16 will blow through a foot of snow at half throttle and typically the RPMs don't even dip. Also, there is no snow left to push around.

The plow blade on a walkbehind still rules the roost when it comes to light snows. But even with 6 inches or so, I just find the blower easier.

This winter, I'll let you know how this one works out:
 

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Gravely Fan
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Very true - Kris, in my mind, none of the snow shown in your pictures justifies a snow blower - unless possibly if you are in really tight quarters with no place to push it.
The pics are old and not from last year where Long Island got killed and I don't have any place to push it. I push it to the driveway edges and come along with the blower to throw it.

The only thing better than a GRAVELY walk behind with a blade is a late model GRAVELY rider with one.
You are comparing apples to oranges here. Gravely riders are bigger,heavier,and more powerful. But they don't fit everywhere. I was in NYC (Manhattan) last winter and I could not believe how many walkbehinds I saw. With plows and sweepers doing sidewalks. The walkbehinds were a perfect fit. An 18 or 20 hp rider on a sidewalk with people walking back and forth would be a bit much and a snowblower? there is no place to throw the snow. If you have the room a rider is great but it is not right for everyone neither is a walkbehind at times.

Kris :rauch10:
 

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I use my Pro-16 Kohler with a 34" MA-211 most winters. Most snowfalls, too. I did a season with a plow and my 5665, but all the back and forth trying to clean up every little line of snow gets super annoying. The 16 will blow through a foot of snow at half throttle and typically the RPMs don't even dip. Also, there is no snow left to push around.

The plow blade on a walkbehind still rules the roost when it comes to light snows. But even with 6 inches or so, I just find the blower easier.

This winter, I'll let you know how this one works out:
Nice... Looks like an Ariens 36" Sno-Thro? Thats what mine is.
 

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looks exactly like my 36" Ariens..... figured you just modified and adapted it.
 

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When I was a Snapper dealer, Snapper started using RAD snowblowers for their tractors after they discontinued the Snapper built units. If I had known what a POS they were, I never would have gotten involved in the sale in the first place. To make matters worse, Snapper didn't handle RAD parts, I had to find and deal with a RAD distributor. That was during Snapper's dark days, right after Jerry Schreiner had bought them and started distribution through National Power. What a disaster that arrangement was. At the first dealer meeting, an edict came down from above that if you wanted to remain a Snapper dealer, you had to purchase $20,000 worth of lawn equipment AND $20,000 worth of snowblowers. Half the dealers got up, left the meeting, and became Toro dealers. Shortly after that debacle, Jerry came to his senses.
RAD Tech may also have changed over the years. You will find them hooked up to Cat 1 3-point hitches on larger tractors. The one for the Rapid is as heavy as the Ariens built ones or more. In fact, to lift mine with the Rapid, the relief has to be set to closed per the factory. Mower deck and snow polw have the valve set to 2.5 turns out so that the auto adjustment works.
 

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Had a simplcity 38 inch wide commercial grade brand new which was given to me. Tried it last year in 30 inch plus snow. No way any of the newer style blowers (ariens, simple city etc. ) will ever out blow a 12 hp plus gravely with the old style blower. Granted new ones easier to turn but for long runs gravely hands down. Ask Mark, he has photos of my 16 in action and it is instant white out up over the power lines. C.V.
 
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