I am convinced this is the best heavy-duty snowblower currently in the marketplace. I sent you comments earlier about modifications to make it better. I have now completed the modifications.
Problem #1: The unit is not adequately weight-balanced toward the front. I attribute this to the placement of the EFI 420cc Engine in relation to the Drive Axle and the 28" Auger Assembly obviously weighs less than the 32" & 36" models. Addition of the
optional Weight Kit still left the unit light in the front resulting in tip-back when plowing on uphill driveways under power in heavy snow, requiring the operator to apply continuous upward pressure on the Handles to maintain ground contact.
Solution #1: I ordered an additional Weight Kit to "sandwich" with the other one. 20lbs. tested sufficient to not require upward pressure on the Handles to keep the Auger Assembly in ground contact. The Weight Kit should be standard equipment on this
Problem #2: Factory Skid Shoes are a problem on virtually all snowblowers. They are prone to premature wear due to contact with rock, gravel, rough asphalt, chip-sealed pavement, and rough concrete. Some users complain of Skid Shoes damaging paved surfaces
and gouging up gravel which becomes ingested into the Impeller. The Skid Shoes do not adjust high enough to keep rock/gravel from being ingested into the Impeller when the unit is used for plowing uneven driveways.
Solution #2: Replace Skid Shoes with hard plastic Deck Gauge Wheels. I re-engineered as follows: 1) Removed factory Skid Shoes. 2) Installed (1/8" thick X 2"W X 5"L) Flat Bar where the Skid Shoes were installed as an additional stiffener. The Flat
Bar was punched with one 3/8" square hole & one 3/8" round hole on 3" centering to match the two existing square holes in the Auger Housing. 3) The existing rearward (3/8" X 1") Carriage Bolt was flipped 180-degrees & installed with head on the outside of
the Auger Housing to provide for adequate clearance with the Wheel. 4) I mounted two (6" X 1-3/8") Martin Wheel hard plastic Deck Gauge Wheels with Shoulder Bolts (1/2" X 2" shoulder & 3/8" X 3/4" stud). Seven 1/2" Flat Washers were installed on the in-side
of each Wheel on the shoulder to provide for adequate clearance between the Wheel and the Auger Housing. 5) The Wheels and Shoulder Bolts were secured to the forward holes in the Auger Housing with 3/8" Flat Washers & 3/8" Self-Locking Nuts attached to the
stud end of each Shoulder Bolt. The above parts were procured from Sears/John Deere/Oregon.
NOTE: This installation only provides for a non-adjustable 1-5/8" clearance between the Scraper Bar and the ground. An engineering solution for adjustability is to source two Wheel Height Adjustment Mechanisms which are readily available in the lawn equipment
part systems instead of the Flat Bar used above.
Existing Skid Shoe adjustment slots should be lengthened to facilitate higher adjustment settings for users needing higher clearance.
Let me repeat, the Ariens Professional 28" EZ-Launch EFI 420cc Two Stage Snow Blower is the BEST in the industry. I have suggested the above improvements to Ariens. I hope you do the same!
Gerald H. in Bonners Ferry, Idaho