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Advice Needed: Snow Blower Setup

TheHud

Heliman

Ellsworth, ME - USA

Just moved to Maine and for the first time have a driveway I can not just shovel myself. Description of driveway: about 80-100 yards, gravel/rock/dirt mix, uphill all the way to the main road, somewhat steep as it gets closer to the road.

I have a large yard, about 2 acres and plan to buy a good garden tractor by this spring. I am leaning towards a Craftsman 6500 or John Deere x300 for mowing and other work that needs to get done.

My question is does anyone here have much experience with the front mount snow blowers you can get for these machines? Good and bad experiences? Would I be better off just getting a dedicated walk behind snow blower? I would appreciate any input you might have.

Just so you know, I have been to several yard work/tractor forums and am seeing a lot of mixed opinions and fan boy rants, so I thought I would see what you all think.

Gun control is like fighting drunk driving by making it harder for sober people to buy cars.

12-28-2011 Over year old.
povern

Senior Heliman

LF, MN

Not sure, but maybe you want a plow with the loose rocks and gravel. The blower will throw the rocks all over the yards and cause damage in the blower.

Screw It, I'm gonna fly
Mini Protos, Logo 600-3d and StingRay
iKon

12-28-2011 Over year old.
gmcullan

Key Veteran

Southbridge, MA

I had a Wheel Horse tractor that I used to put a 4' wide snowblower on. It had a cab and was the cat's meow to clear the driveway and walk.

My current property is much smaller, so I have an Ariens walk behind with a sort of cab enclosure to keep the snow and wind off of me.

Whether it's a tractor attachment or a standard snow blower, you'll have these little skid brackets on either side of the auger housing that allow you to set how close the scraper blade comes to the ground. Even with a gravel driveway, you can still set it so that you don't scoop up gravel into the auger and blower.

Oh, and make sure you have some extra shear pins. Trust me, you'll eventually need them.

Gerry Cullan,
Gaui 200, 255; T-Rex 250, 450 SE & SA, Mini-Titan, Blade 450

12-29-2011 Over year old.
Cowjock

Veteran

Collegeville, Pa.

If the driveway was paved I'd say go for the blower It's amazing how far it'll THROW ROCKs ! I do believe a plow would be a better choice.

Damn that ground is hard! When's the right time to get out of this money sucking hobby?

12-29-2011 Over year old.
fastflyer20

Key Veteran

N. Tonawanda, NY

Say no to Craftsman, and yes to the Deere (or another quality brand). Craftsman has cut costs so much over the years that the service life is not very long. Thin sheet metal, undersized bushings & bearings, etc.

If you select a blower, make sure the skids are set high, this will decrease the number of rocks it will suck in.

12-29-2011 Over year old.
Dood

rrProfessor

Wescanson

For a driveway that long, a plow for your truck might be the way to go.

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12-29-2011 Over year old.
TheHud

Heliman

Ellsworth, ME - USA

Dood
For a driveway that long, a plow for your truck might be the way to go.
I would agree, but truck met a sign, large ditch and a tree during ice storm last week. In the shop till the end of January.

Gun control is like fighting drunk driving by making it harder for sober people to buy cars.

12-29-2011 Over year old.
NRoof

Senior Heliman

Palmyra, NY

I'm going to disagree with everyone who says a plow is better.

My in-laws have a crushed stone driveway and had it plowed for years. Every spring this would have to scoop up the the mounds of stone the plow had pushed in their yard. My in-laws tried many different plowing contractors always asking them to not scrape the stone but everyone of them did. I gave them my old snow blower a couple of years ago and they haven't had a problem since. I set the snow blower up so the scraper blade would always leave 1/2" of snow (uneven driveway).

Same with my parents except they have a stone (not crushed) driveway. My father uses a 6 foot wide snow blower hooked up to the PTO of his John Deere tractor. That thing will throw snow 100 feet. He keeps it high enough so as to not pick up any stones. A plow would most likely push the stones out of the driveway making a mess that would need to be taken care of in the spring.

Unless you have a truck and a plow yourself you will have the problems outlined above. Most people who plow make their money on volume so time is critical and they don't take as much care as you or I would.

01-03-2012 Over year old.
TheHud

Heliman

Ellsworth, ME - USA

Local Sears had a GT 6000 refurb on sale, very good price with full new warranty. Bought it, blower, weights and chains last weekend.

Delivered today, would not start. Dead as a doornail. I and delivery guys spent about 45 min trying to get it going. Nothing. Refused delivery, guys loaded it back up and took it away. Sears is sending me a brand new GT 6000 next week, with other items I bought, no extra cost.

No complaints on that outcome...as long as it works.

Gun control is like fighting drunk driving by making it harder for sober people to buy cars.

01-04-2012 Over year old.
Erwin Atchison

Senior Heliman

Winsted, CT USA

Ok my 2 cents. I have a rather large driveway. Good thing I also obtained a skid steer loader this year and have modified a 7.5' plow to it. Real handy. Most people don't have access to a Bobcat. My snow blower of choice is Ariens, made in USA all steel construction. Last year I ran the heck out of it (record winter here in CT). It can take 24" snow and throw it over 50'. And yes it will throw stones even further.

Your fun starts here!

01-04-2012 Over year old.
himaxkeith

Senior Heliman

Atlantic City NJ. USA

Look into a Kabota compact tractor. BX series.Has 4wd,front loader,backhoe and you can get two different lawnmower attachments

01-04-2012 Over year old.
TheHud

Heliman

Ellsworth, ME - USA

Ok, now I have complaints.

The brand new GT6000 was delivered 3 days ago. I made sure it started and ran around the yard with it before I signed for delivery. New gas in the engine. No problems.

Parked it in the basement, spent a few hours getting the craftsman snowthrower attached, along with weights and chains. Took longer than normal, but I was going slow and meticulous, I hate going back to fix something that should have been done right the first time. Started it up and ran the thrower, no problems, working perfectly.

Got some snow yesterday/last night. Got up at 5:30 this morn, bundled up, went down and got the machine going, drove it around the house to the driveway...where it died. Three hours later, still can't get it started. It turns over, but will not run.

I am starting to think it is time to get my money back.

Gun control is like fighting drunk driving by making it harder for sober people to buy cars.

01-13-2012 Over year old.
Cowjock

Veteran

Collegeville, Pa.

Never cared for any kind of lawn equipment from sears. Take it back and get your money back it's not worth the headaches. Like himaxkeith said, compact tractor would work well for you whether it be Kabota or John Deere either one will work. If price is an issue than you'll have to stick with the "cheap" stuff.

Damn that ground is hard! When's the right time to get out of this money sucking hobby?

01-13-2012 Over year old.
drifter88

Senior Heliman

Upstate NY

Send that Sears tractor back!! Get a name brand tractor from a local dealer. Stay away from the box store tractors (Home Depot, Lowes). I had a Cub Cadet ( bought new from dealer in 2003) that I used to do my 500 ft. driveway, and mow 2.5 acres. At first I used a blower, but changed to plow as I could do it faster. Just last Feburary I bought a Massey Ferguson GC2400 Sub compact tractor 4x4 3 cylinder diesel with 60inch belly mower and 48 inch loader. Cut my mowing time in half and my plowing a third(playing with loader to see how high I can pile snow takes up some wasted time lol). Wished I bought this a long time ago! Just my .02 cents.

01-13-2012 Over year old.
ChrisJ

Heliman

MI

Does your tractor have the fuel valve under the seat ? If it does it might be set to the res. position.

01-13-2012 Over year old.
ROGER543

Veteran

bristol ct usa

i am from fortkent maine and when growing up we tried them all from mtd to craftmans and these brigs engines never started let along last. Buy a deer and not the home depot one either my dad has a kabota my uncle has a ford my in-laws have a john deer. I grew up with a bolens tractor the tractor was used year round and for some reason its still around and runs like it did when new. If you get a real tractor it will be the last one you buy

01-15-2012 Over year old.
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