I pit the world's wimpiest snowblower

About a foot and a half of snow (or, for those living in coiuntries that use the metric system, about 50 cm) fell on Casa Elmwood yesterday. The Forester couldn’t make it out of the driveway, so breaking out the snowblower was a must.

My snowblower is small; not one of those monster 20 horsepower Buffalo specials that can hurl even the wettest stuff clear over an Amherst McMansion. It’s a little two-stroke Toro, and it takes more coaxing to get started than it does to get me out of bed on a Saturday morning when there’s no curling. The pull cord is useless, so I get an electrical extension cord, find the nearest outlet, and follow an arcane rutual to get the thing started.

  1. Plug it in.
  2. Turn the ignition switch to “on”
  3. Turn the choke to “on”
  4. Give the manual fuel pump button a few pushes.
  5. Press start

After you hit start, the snowblower makes a shrieking sound similar to a 1970s Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth vehicle, wakes up with a rumble, and dies seconds later. Rise, lather, repeat, until it finally runs.

From there, theoretically you should move the choke to “off”, and throw snow. Not with my Toro. The moment it so much as a single flake, it freaks out and stalls, as if it’s saying “I’m a sunblower, not a snowblower! I’m not sending these delicate crystals of H20 to a certain doom!”

Finally, after about seven restarts, each followed with an increasingly lengthier stream of profanities that would make even the most seasoned J.B. Hunt driver blush, the snowblower stays running. During then time I cleared my driveway, I only had to restart it five or six times, when it hit the dense mix the city plows pile up at the end of the driveway.

No, it’s not an old snowblower; it’s resisted work since the day I bought it. Right now, I’m waiting for my parents to make good on their threat to move into a condo, so I can drive up to Buffalo and liberate their he-man-woman-hating snowblower, the one that can cut through chunks of ice and hurl them away at a velocity approaching the speed of sound.

Wait. So you’re saying you don’t have one of these?

I have four snowshovels of varying snow/ice effectiveness. I spent a few hours yesterday shoveling the porch, steps, walk to driveway and one of our driveways. Today, I dug out my neighbor’s car in the other driveway and cleared the ice out of her tire wells (I live in a duplex). It’s all good now; no doubt, by tomorrow it will have all melted. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

Should I add that I am a perfectionist at shoveling? I like clean lines between the drift and the cleared area. No errant snow chunks allowed. Further, slushy, icy patches are scraped until they are dry as a baby’s bottom. Salt is for patient people. I am a snow shoveling Roy Waller.

That’s a nice neighbor!

Ice and snow in tire wells drives me batty. It’s like a big booger hanging out of a nose – even if it’s not my nose/car, I want to get rid of it. “Here’s a tissue!” “Here’s my foot, kicking your snow away!”

Nice rant, Elmwood. Sorry about your pussy blower.

Since Toronto got roughly similar amounts of snow over the last two days, I can sympathize. Of course, I don’t even have a snowblower, so I can’t sympathize too terribly much.

On the other hand, your post made me, as the kids say, LOL.

Even crappy, selfish human beings such as myself do thoughtful things sometimes. Honestly, I don’t hate doing it as much as I know everyone else does and I consider it my one decent excuse for physical exertion that I mostly try to avoid. Since I didn’t grow up in an area where snow shoveling was ever necessary, I never developed an aversion to it.

That right there is the real reason I do it. I hate tire boogers, too.

Elmwood, is there any consolation in the fact that you only have to put up with it a few days out of the year? With any luck, your lawn mower is more cooperative.

Wow, maybe you should get one of these. It’d take up less room, less fuel, and probably do a better job!

Ooh, you’ve got a snowblower. What a wuss. God forbid I should ever get so lazy I can’t tell my wife to shovel the driveway.

So you DO have a snowblower. What’s her name?

Work had a unit that could handle about 3 inches of dry stuff and throw it two feet over. This was a retail store so the walks had to stay clear. Paying three time the price for a better unit would have paid for it’s self quickly. I would have to use it all day when it snowed instead of maybe 2 hours. I don’t know why they even sell units so small as to be useless.

Sounds like you need a Big block Chevy Snowblower

I’ve got a brand-spanking-new $1200 snow blower sitting in my garage, waiting for me to use it for the first time. The problem is that there’s a huge 6-foot drift of snow between me and the garage. Plus the fact that I can’t even get the outside doors open, there’s so much snow packed against them. So here I sit indoors until the spring thaw, probably around May. Oh yeah, I’m keeping busy reading the snow blower manual. I’ve never used one before, and hopefully I can figure out how to get it started by next winter.

And I might as well pit the Craftsman cheapskates, who combined four different models of snow blower into one manual. The problem is that the models are very similar but not quite the same, and they don’t even put the descriptions in the same order, each time. Thanks a lot, Craftsman.

Two-stroke snowthrowers are lame, without exception. They get bogged down easily since 2-stroke engines have acceptable power only at max rpms. Four-stroke engines don’t have to be at max rpms to deliver sufficient power. Don’t bother getting one which is less than 5 horsepower.

Craftsman is known as Crapsman in professional circles. Poor design and cheap construction are what you get. I have intimate knowledge of two cases in which critical parts were unavailable for Crapsman snowblower models which were only a few years old.

FYI a snowblower has two augers- one to break up the snow and another to propel the snow some distance away. A snowthrower has only one auger to do all the work.

Honda makes the best power equipment. All their snowthrowers have 4-stroke engines.

Snow … hmmm. Umm. Sounds familiar. Uhh … Oh, the heck with it. A ha! Oh, that stuff! Yeah, we see a few flakes of that stuff around here from time to time. I, personally, have seen accumulations reaching the lofty height of about a quarter of a gnat’s ass around here.

So, why do you want to “blow” this stuff?


I did notice this fall during maintenance that the snowblower had a tiller attachment. I don’t know why you’d buy it, because you have to tear a lot of crap off to change it over twice a year. The tiller would never be very good either. Attachments are worthless if they don’t work in less than 5 minutes.

snrk My dad lives in your neck of the woods and sent me a couple of pictures to prove they get snow. “We went home at 2PM!”


I’m sure my sister was stifling her gales of laughter when she saw the email – she happens to live in MA. :smiley:

I’ve got a four-stroke 5-HP single-stage Honda snowthrower, and I can confirm that it is great. I love it. It doesn’t take up much room, unlike all of those two-stage self propelled monstrosities, and it works great. It’s small, efficient, and fairly powerful. It’ll shoot dry snow about 30-40 feet. It’ll easily handle the typical 6-8 inches of snow we’ve been getting here, and will make it through the 2-feet high mound at the end of the driveway with a few repeat passes. Also, because the rotating blade is rubber coated, it actually does a better job than most 2-stage snow blowers, since the rubber blade actually sweeps the driveway as it clears.

Damn, that sucks, Elmwood. I bought one of these , used it about half a dozen times and I would never look at anything smaller.

When my 135 foot driveway takes just 10-15 minutes it’s almost a letdown.

But then, what do I know? I’m just a geek. :smiley:

You want me to bring this over?

You boys just don’t know how to talk sweet to your machines…my little Toro (3 HP, 2-Stroke, I’ve named it after my ex…) did just fine with my very long driveway and the 20 inches of snow. I always use the electric start, being a wussy girl with a sore shoulder. But during last week’s snow, the rubber thingy over the choke disintegrated (the choke still works, though, thank goodness) and then the electric start died. So now I have to use the pull cord, which is very picky about things like angle and force and which side you pull it to. But at least it worked, and I have very tidy sidewalks and driveway. So I don’t want any whining about having to use the electric start, elmwood! Though it really should run better than it does. Mine sort of muttered things about wanting to eat even more snow, please, and could we do another pass on the sidewalk, but I told it enough was enough, we had to drive in to work.

And **panache45?**Use a shovel to get to the garage!