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Honda Snowblowers, Track vs Wheel Drive

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by keuka, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. keuka

    keuka LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    My old trusty toro walk behind needs replacing. I might be interested in a Honda 928 and I'm torn between the track vs the wheel drive.

    My drive is crushed stone and about 600 to 700 feet long with parking areas behind the house and shop. I was thinking of buying a back blade to use with the bucket on my Kubota but stone walls and plantings make plowing a problem.

    My drive is curved and it isn't level. The old Toro had 13 inch tires with chains and it worked ok but there was one rise where it sometimes lost tracktion. The Honda looks like it has a larger diameter tire and hydrostatic drive so I'm thinking it would perform much better on the hills. I'm trying to deal on a used wheel driven Honda 928 and I'm thinking I can put chains on the tires if needed.

    For those of you who have run the wheel driven Honda, how did you like it and how was the traction? I know chains and tires can't match the track for traction, but I'm thinking hydro drive must be a big plus vs the friction wheel drive on the old toro.
  2. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Posts: 127

    I bought a track drive in 2001 because it was the only Honda left that year. I lived in a subdivision with fairly short 4 car driveways. In a straight line, the machine would chew snow like there was no tomorrow. If I had to turn it, which I did frequently, it was a huge PITA. I sold it and bought a Toro 828 on wheels and never looked back.

    When I moved last year, it dawned on me I should have gotten a new blower with tracks because my driveway fairly long now and there will be no quick turns. But my trust Toro soldiers on.

    tl;dr: tracks for long straight runs, wheels for frequent short turns
  3. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    I have a track drive HS1132 and the transport mode is slow compared to the transport mode on a 928 wheel drive. I f I return to residential snow removal next winter I will be looking to buy a wheel drive 928. This is not a big deal for personal use or for a homeowner but commercial use it does matter.
    When I use my track drive 1132 the transport setting on the tilt mode is more than enough to prevent sucking up gravel but you will be left with 2-3” of snow. Not sure about just relying on skid shoes to keep rocks and gravel out of the housing…?
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    Also the track drive for the traction factor is over rated unless you put studs on the knubs or something to that effect. I've experienced plenty of sliding around in icy conditions. It does give you a stable platform to hold onto while on ice. Kind of like a walker that granny uses. I think chains on the pneumatic tires will deliver plenty of traction. Also look out for over inflated tires on the Hondas. They are low pressure tires that are sticky when cold. A fair amount of owners over inflate these tires and end up distorting them permenently.

    The big thing I don’t like about the Honda 2-stages is the painfully low height of the handle bars for tall people. Honda is out to lunch thinking every operator out there running these blowers is 5’ 4” and below….:hammerhead:

    However I absolutely LOVE the infinitely variable hydrostatic drive lever on the Hondas. Works great on chewing through snow berms etc. I have this on my mowers …why would I NOT want this on a 2 stage blower? After owning a hydro mower why would I want a gear drive mower or even a belt drive mower…?

    I’m not aware of any 2 stage blowers on the markets that have infinitely variable hydro drive?
  5. keuka

    keuka LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Thanks for the replys.

    I'm looking at two used Hondas, one wheel and the other track drive. I'm leaning towards the wheel drive for many of the reasons you've stated. The Hondas are high priced but they keep on ticking when the others need to be pulled back to the shop, through a foot of fresh snow.

    I had also considered both Simplicity and Ariens. I'm still considering Simplicity but I think the Honda may be a higher quality unit. I'm not sure if Hondas blower quality is quite up to the price but their engine is in a class by itself.

    I have somewhat ruled out the Ariens because of the engine. If I'm correct, they used Tecuseh, no longer in buisness, and I'm concearned the newer "Ariens" engine is using parts from China and I'm no fan of their junk.

    Anyway, thanks for the replys. I've still got the Kubota with the front bucket and a shovel.
  6. bare spot

    bare spot LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,421

    can't compare the track drives, just have a 928 but really like it, think honda makes a nice machine. exact, seeing how the 928 throws the snow, the 1132 gotta really hammer it out.
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    It does.just.that ...Honda updated it.to a 1332. Makes a bit.more.sense IMO. I've been told.the 928 and.1132 fairly comparable but I'm sure.the extra 2 HP helps. Check out the YouTube video. Search 1132 Honda. The one where the Guy.is doing his.driveway in powder snow. Also the HP loss to the auger is supposedly less since.there is no.friction disc just hydro drive. If I'm wrong on this someone correct me.
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  8. bare spot

    bare spot LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,421

    yeah, was thinking after i posted and and don't see it to often in my local but in the idea conditions it could be a blast. haven't been looking forward the the snow last few yrs (not to mention working hurt last yr in what seam to be record snow events) but this yr looking forward to it in anticipation. hope to see the white stuff early and often. interesting on the friction disk, will have to learn more bout that.
  9. bare spot

    bare spot LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,421

    just checking in, got message in my e-mail there been some more post(s), not sure what happened, maybe was nothing. since i'm here since i'm here though might as well mentioned that i picked up an old single stage 2 stroke craftsman (3/20). i finishing up at a job, customer pulls in and said she was getting rid of an old snowblower. thought what the heck i'll take a look, been looking aroud for something small, like the old toro 2 strokes ltwt. toro's (think the powerlite or curve or something). something that i could just through in the back of the truck over the rails, something small, so i took it home. she said said it needed a part or something, idk, didn't get a chance to it check out , but interested now to see what's up with it, could be something of use.
  10. keuka

    keuka LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Well, I ended up buying a used Honda 928TAS track from a local on Craigs list. It's seen 4 winters and looks to be in very good condition. A little rust here and there but stored inside and mechanically seems like new. I gave $1700 and that's about half list, if you add in the New york State sales tax.

    I,ve got a heated work shop so touching up the paint is a good evevings type project. I know, it's just a snow blower but I'm a retired engineer and we tend to be that way. Besides, if it's going to last as long as my fathers' 1972 Toro, that it replaced, it will need to be kept up.

    The honda seems to be very well built but I have to comment on the old Toro. It was really built like a tank and lasted like one. It's a damn shame quality has been replace by throw away type equipment. The industrial B&S engine on the Toro, still runs like a top and I think the most I ever did to that engine was rebuild the carb, once. If the old drive system hadn't given out I'd still use it.

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