The Ariens 1960's and 1970's 
  Sno-Thro Photo Archive .   

PROUDLY MADE

IN THE U.S.A.
 


Page 11.

 
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
  Maintenance, Repairs, Parts and other Research.

 




Page 11
Questions & Answers. 

This page will be a "FAQ" type page, with answers to some common questions.
And for more information, there are a few excellent snowblower discussion forums
on the internet! not a lot, (the "Old Snowblower" hobby isnt nearly as large or as organized as the "Old Garden Tractor" hobby, for example..but it's growing!)

www.snowblowerforums.com is in my opinion an excellent forum. very friendly, very active,
and there is always a lot of interesting discussion going on.

http://www.abbysguide.com/ope/discussions/ is another good snowblower forum.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/tools/  is the "Toolshed forum" on gardenweb, it isnt
"snowblower specific", lots of other things are discussed there, but its also a good resource.

There are also several yahoo forums for specific brands, Ariens, Toro, Snowbird, etc.


In addition to listing those forums, I thought it would be a good idea to gather some of those questions and answers together on one page.






Question 1 - Serial Number Zero.

Question 2 - Throttle control lever.

Question 3 - Ariens has made snowblowers for Cub Cadet and John Deere.

Question 4 - Carb leaking gas!

Question 5 - Shear Bolts for 10,000 series.

Question 6 - Snowblower "Model years"

Question 7 - White vs. Black nameplate.

Question 8 - Spring Maintenance.

Question 9 - Gear Box lube for 10,000 series.

Question 10 - Where to find parts.

(click the text links above to go straight to the section)




 
 

 
 Question 1.
January 25, 2009

 "Serial Number Zero"

On page four I described how the tractor tag on my machine says "serial number zero"
I will just copy and paste that info here:


1. The "tractor body" tag, containing the model and serial number of the tractor body only.
located at the left-rear of the machine, behind the left wheel.
On my 1971, the Tractor Body tag says:

Model No. 910692
Serial No. 0 (serial number zero, no other numbers after the zero)

What is up with "serial number zero?"
at first I didnt know..but I figured it out! (well..sort-of)
I wrote to Ariens, and they quickly replied with an answer..
there is also a model and serial number stamped into the machine:

2. Stamped into the metal of the tractor body, near the tractor tag, are a model and serial number. This contains the model and serial number of my machine as a whole, (visable stamped into the frame on the photo above) which in my case is:

Model No. 910692
Serial No. 038860

Areins did confirm that the number stamped into the frame, model and serial number,
is the model and serial number that should be used for the machine as a whole unit.
not the model and serial number on the sno-thro housing..that is the "attachment number" only.

So why isnt the serial number stamped into the frame also on the tag? why exactly does the tractor tag say "serial number zero? I dont know..and Ariens didnt really have an answer either..one logical reason might be that perhaps Ariens, as part of the sno-thro production procedure, had a bunch of tractor bodies in line, waiting to be assembled into Sno-thro's, and they all wore the tractor tag with the model number, 910962, but with serial number zero on that tag, because the final serial number wouldnt be known until the complete sno-thro unit was finished..then, when its all assembled into a complete sno-thro, the unit recieved its final model and serial number, which is the number stamped into the frame..
makes sense! but thats just a guess!

I still dont have a definitive answer about "serial number zero"..and I would like to know!
If anyone has any info to help clarify this, please let me know!


status - not fully answered.


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 Question 2.
January 25, 2009

Throttle Control unit.

While looking at photos of Sno-Thros on line (mostly on ebay, a great source of photos, but not a great source of information.) I noticed several machines that have a different throttle control than mine, they have an actual Ariens throttle control unit, that looks like this:



This is on the left-side handebar, as you operate the machine.
Notice that "stop" is all the way "forward" toward the front of the machine,
then slow, then fast, then "Park" is all the way back, toward the operator.
and oddly, there is no "start" position labeled.

Thats all well and good..(and the manual for my machine mentions "park", and does NOT mention a "start" position!)

Now..take a look at the throttle control that is actually on my 1971 machine,
it came this way when I bought it:



I assumed this was simply a replacement throttle unit, replaced for some unknown reason in the past..(if you google Ariens 69032 there are a ton of replacement throttles available to fit this Ariens part number)

A very odd thing about my "replacement" throttle..
the positions are REVERSED!
how can that be?

Here are the two side-by-side:





How can one throttle be:

Stop
Slow
Fast

top to bottom, and the other is:

Fast
Slow
Stop

the complete opposite..when the cable moves in the same direction either way.
perhaps my engine is not original afterall? I don't know.


According to the 10000 series manual, this should be original Ariens part number
69032 for my machine.

Part #28X32 for 1964 - 1968

Part #69032 for 1969 - 1972 (I believe my machine is a 1971)

Part #69085 for 1973 and 1974.

I went looking on-line for OEM part 69032, and found one!


but it was an ebay auction that had just ended a week before, so I missed it.
I emailed the seller, and they said they get more from time to time, so I will keep
watching for it.

I havent found a photo of part number 69085 from a 1973 or 1974 machine,
so im not sure what that looks like..right now, im assuming my machine is a 1971
and should have part number 69032, which has the reverse/backwards configuration
of the throttle that is actually on my machine...I have no idea why its reversed.
anyone have any ideas?

I would like to purchase an original 69032 for my machine! to replace the (what I assume is an) "aftermarket" throttle and return the machine to its original specs for the throttle control..
I thought I could simply swap out the "replacement" and install the OEM unit in its place. but now I dont know if OEM part 69032 will work on my machine, because of this "reversed" issue. thoughts anyone?

Another possibility to account for the difference..if the cable attaches to the throttle lever above or below the pivot point, that could account for the "backwards" labeling.
I havent seen a photo of the bottom of part 69032 to confirm if this is true.


status - unanswered.




UPDATE!
February 23, 2009
mystery solved!
turns out my initial theory was correct: "
Another possibility to account for the difference..if the cable attaches to the throttle lever above or below the pivot point, that could account for the "backwards" labeling.
I havent seen a photo of the bottom of part 69032 to confirm if this is true."

I suspected that might be it, but I couldnt find a good photo of the OEM throttle to confirm it.
but I just found one! here is what is happening:

My replacement throttle:



The OEM Ariens throttle, which would have originally come on my machine:


Excellent! mystery solved..
the throttle lever moves in opposite directions on the two different throttles,
but the cable doesnt!

Which means nothing is different down at the "engine end" of the cable,
and I can easily swap throttles when I find the OEM part..nice!

A minor thing perhaps, and if I had had both throttles side-by-side the difference
would have been clear and obvious instantly..but I had no way to know! which is why I ask..

This excercise also showed me that I have been storing my machine with the throttle
in the wrong direction! (which I probably would have never even known if I hadnt bothered to look into this throttle mystery) Ariens says to store the machine in the "park" position when not in use..well my throttle doesnt *have* a park position! so I have been storing it in "stop", which is at the "slow end" of the cable throw.."park" on the OEM throttle is at the opposite end, the
"fast" end! So I have been storing my machine in the wrong position! might not be a big deal either way..but Ariens went to the trouble to mark "park" on the original throttle, then specifically said to park it that way in the manual..so im sure there must be a good reason for it..I will start parking my machine correctly now! now that I know..
 

Status - fully answered.



Update! January 2011.
I found an OEM white throttle, and installed in on my machine!
looks great!


but..

I discovered why so many Ariens snowblowers seem to have that later replacement throttle! as opposed to the original OEM white throtte..its because the original freezes up badly and easily!

I had the original OEM throttle on my snowblower all winter for the 2009-2010 winter season.
it froze up..and remained frozen most of the winter! I also discovered why its VERY important to always leave the throttle in the "park" or "full throttle" position when the machine is stored..because if the throttle cable freezes, at least you are frozen in a position where you can still use the machine! ;) I kept the machine at "full throttle" most of that winter..I simply started it at full throttle, and to turn the engine off, I had to close the gas tank valve! It worked.
Then in October 2010, at the start of the third winter with my snowblower, I simply put the "newer" black throttle back on..problem solved..its been working fine!


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Question 3.
February 2009 (Updated January 2011)

Once upon a time,
Ariens made snowblowers for other brands! 
Two brands have been confirmed so far, Cub Cadet in the 1960's and/or 1970's, and
John Deere in the 1990's. (there may be more, these are the only ones confirmed so far!)



Cub Cadet:

 
In the 1960's and 70's, when Ariens was making the 10,000 series, they also made some snowblowers for International Harvester and their "Cub Cadet" brand..(I dont know if IH ever made their own snowblowers, apart from tractor-mounted units) I dont yet know exactly which years these "Ariens/Cubs" were made, or how many were made, but it would have to be during the 1965 to 1974 10,000 series run.

The Cub Cadet brand was created by International Harvester in 1961 to introduce a new line of Lawn and Garden tractors for home use. (before this time, IH was mostly known for building quality "full size" tractors and other large machines for agriculturual and farm use.)

"Cub Cadet" by IH is best known for their classic line of 1960's and 70's lawn and garden tractors. The first Cub Cadet tractor was introduced in 1961.



In the early 1960's the snowblower market (and the market for all kinds of "suburban" homeowner tools) was just taking off..Perhaps Cub Cadet wanted to get into the snowblower game, and rather than design their own, they simply contracted with Ariens to build snowblowers for them, which were then re-painted in classic Cub colors, and sold as "Cadet" snowblowers at Cub Cadet dealers.

And this leads me to an interesting conclusion I came to recently..
when I started this webpage, and first came across these early Cub snowblowers, I remember thinking: "well..they look *sort of* like an Ariens, but not completely." there are actually quite a few differences! differences that made me doubt (at the time) if these are in fact "ariens built" machines..because I had originally assumed that "a Cub Cadet snowblower built by Ariens" would be identical to an Ariens machine in ALL respects except paint! and thats not what I was seeing..but further research, (and logic!) shows why they arent identical.,and why the differences actually make a great deal of sense!

I believe the differences are simply due to "corporate pride"..to explain: If you are the Cub Cadet company in the 70's (or John Deere in the 90's) and you decide to have another company make machines for you, but that are painted up in your company's colors and wearing your company's name, you wouldnt necessarily want them to look identical to the other machines! Because if they were *completely* identical except for paint, people would probably quickly draw the correct conclusion.."John Deere doesnt make their own snowblowers anymore"..This isnt necessarily bad, (especially if its a well-respected product, like Ariens) but in general, you would want to "keep up appearances" and make it at at least *appear* that you actually make your own product! Not only to differentiate your product in the marketplace, but also simply as a matter of corporate pride..it was never a big secret that this happened in the tractor-mower-snowblower industry..but you also didnt want to go out of your way to advertise it either..So now the differences make a lot of sense! The "Cubs built by Ariens" and the "John Deere snowblowers built by Ariens" are NOT identical to the same models that wear Ariens orange! but now I understand why..handlebars are different, control units are different, chutes are sometimes different, engines can be different, etc...and of course paint, lettering and model numbers are different..but once you get past the cosmetic differences, it becomes easier to spot the Ariens hiding underneath.

Here is an International Harvester "Cadet" snowblower.
Clearly a 1960's or 1970's 10,000 series Ariens!



And here is a second "Ariens Cub"
This machine is owned by Nick A. of 
Yorktown Heights, NY.
Nick purchased this machine in early 2010. When Nick first sent me some photos,
I wasnt yet totally convinced it was an Ariens! but after Nick and I emailed back and forth several times, and I saw some other photos, it became clear this is *definately* an Ariens!
a few major features erase all doubt:
The teardrop bucket with the three "racing stripes" on the side!
Which is uniquely Ariens10,000 series, no question...
Also the clutch control and auger control levers on the side of the tractor body, very clearly Ariens as well, there is no question. So the overall basic machine, the "guts" if you will, are an Ariens 10,000 series. Several other features were then changed to make it more "unique" as a Cub Cadet snowblower. handlebars, chute, probably even the engine! (assuming the Briggs engine is original, which it likely is..) I dont know if these machines were "finished" by Ariens or by IH..but it seems more likely that Ariens shipped the basic units to IH, who would then finish "spec-ing them out" adding all the "IH specific" features, then paint them up themselves.
Here is a look at Nick's machine, an interesting model in Ariens (and Cub Cadet) history:









Nick also uploaded a video to youtube! check it out:


Thanks Nick!

It is believed that Ariens *only* made these "Cadet" snowblowers in the late 1960's and/or early 1970's. Cub Cadet was originally an International Harvester brand, started in 1961.
MTD purchased the Cub Cadet name in 1981, and modern snowblowers wearing the
Cub Cadet paint and badge are now made by MTD, and are totally unrelated to Ariens machines.

An "Ariens Cub" would be a fun machine to have!
and restore in its original Cub Cadet dress..
I will have to keep my eyes open for one..



John Deere:

 

Ariens also made snowblowers for John Deere! But much later than the Cub's..
Ariens made snowblowers for JD in the 1990's (1991 to 2001)

John Deere made their own snowblowers until 1991. Before 1991, the JD snowblowers were considered by most to be perfectly fine and robust machines, Here is a 1989 model:


Thanks JT for the photo!

Most of the 1970's and 80's JD models seem to look about like that.
(Im not actually sure when JD began making snowblowers! if anyone knows, please let me know.)

In 1991 JD decided to stop making their own snowblowers in-house, and they went with the
"re-branding" business model, (which is now very common) where they had another company make the machines, then they "spec'd" the machine with their own specific desired features, (usually just things like chutes, "control panels", possibly different engines, etc. but not the working guts of the machine itself) then painted them in JD green and yellow. Usually this "rebranding" isnt a problem, but it didnt work too well for JD in this case.

For reasons uknown (to me) JD chose two different manufacturers for their snowblower line from 1991 to 2001, Ariens and Murray. Perhaps the Ariens-built machines were intended to be the higher-end of the new John Deere snowblower line, and the Murray-built machines were the more "entry level" end of the spectrum..but thats just a guess. (I would be interested to see MSRP for these different models! that would tell the tale right there..)

The Ariens machines are perfectly fine..just as robust and reliable as any "orange" Ariens.
(they are the same quality as an Ariens, because they *are* an Ariens!)

But the JD snowblowers built by Murray were another story..
It seems that the Murray-built machines are often considered about the worst products to
ever wear JD green! Here are just two webpages that discuss these machines:

http://www.ehow.com/about_5696171_problems-john-deere-snowblower.html

http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/129861-john-deere-walk-behind-snow.html

(there are plenty more..)

The 1990's JD snowblowers built by Murray have "TRS" and "TRX" in the model names.
Here is a photo of one:

That large scalloped indent at the bottom of the bucket is a good way to identify
the Murray machines.


The Ariens machines of the same era have no such problems! and those are the
machines I wish to document here..Here we have a beautiful example of a 1997
John Deere, built by Ariens; this machine is owned by Frank D. of Batavia, NY.












Thanks Frank!

And here is Franks "Green Ariens" compared with an "Orange Ariens" of the (aproximate) same era:

(The Orange Ariens is perhaps 5 years newer, and has a more modern engine on it)
But notice that the buckets and chutes are identical! And presumably all the tractor internals
as well, and the drivetrain..its all Ariens.

There are at least three different Ariens bucket styles seen on the JD machines
built by Ariens from 1991 to 2001:

1. The "924000 series" style, probably on the earlier machines. (early 90's)


2. the Modern" style bucket, seen on recent consumer models.


3. and what is now the "pro" style bucket, probably on the higher-end JD machines
near the end of the 1991 to 2001 "built by Ariens" run.

All three are very distinctive Ariens designs.
(thanks to Greg H. for photos 1 and 3 above)

If you are looking to purchase a used JD snowblower from the 90's, pay good attention to that bucket shape! ;) You want the Ariens, not the Murray..Or look for the "classic" machines actually built by John Deere, made before 1991, with the "teardrop" shape bucket,
(photo at the top of this Ariens-Deere section.)
(that bucket looks a lot like the Ariens 10,000 series bucket! but it isn't.)

TRS or TRX in the model name = Murray.
"D" in the model name (such as 826D.1128DDE, etc.) = Ariens.

For the record, the *vast* majority of JD snowblowers appear to be very good machines.
The 1990's TRX and TRS machines were probably just a fluke.

Ariens stopped making snowblowers for John Deere in 2001, and from 2001 to 2005 JD snowblowers continued to be made by Murray under the "Frontier by John Deere" name.
(discussion on Frontier)

Today, (since 2005) the John Deere snowblower line is owned and produced by Briggs & Stratton, who also produces the Snapper, Simplicity and Murray snowblower lines.
Current JD snowblowers are upgraded Murray designs, (although probably not the same design from the 90's.) Current JD snowblowers have NO relation to Ariens machines. (not since 2001)


Anyone know anything more about these "branded" Ariens machines?
(and if you own one of these, and its really an Ariens, photos and info would be very welcome!) additions, corrections, etc, are most welcome.


 Status - mostly answered, but im sure there is still much to learn..research is ongoing.
 

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Question 4.
February 2009
Carb leaking gas!


First repair needed!
I have owned the machine a month, and used it 4 times already!
and im sure there will still be more snow on the way..Here in Western NY, February is still
100% winter, (March is half winter and half spring, and April is 80% spring and 20% winter..real spring, with no danger of snow, isnt safely here until May..)

Sunday February 16th was a nice sunny day, about 32 degrees..so I wheeled the machine out into the driveway to lubricate some of the cables..I noticed the levers and cables on the handlebars were a bit dry, and could use some lubrication..that was all I was planning to do!

Well..after lubing up the cables, starting the machine a few times, and putting it back in the garage again..I suddenly had a gas leak! dripping right out of the carb!
aw man..what did I do??
I was simply oiling some cables! how can that go wrong??




I posted a question on one of the forums,
and the guys there had all kinds of great advice and suggestions for me..
turns out it was a very easy fix!

I tried to work from the most "basic" fix to more advanced..if something basic didnt fix the problem, I would move on the next idea.

One likely cause of the leak was a stuck carb float..One of the guys suggested that sometimes a gentle tap with a hammer might "un-stick" the float..so I tried that first.
no good..still leaking..

So on to the next suggestion..sea foam.

Sea foam is a gas additive, comes from the boating hobby from what I understand.
it's supposed to have cleaning properties..

Considering I just bought the snowblower, and I really have no idea how it has been maintained over the last 40 years, a build-up of old gas varnish and gunk, causing the float to stick, is certaintly plausable..

So I added the seafoam..at first, I thought it was also a failure, because the leak continued for the first two runs..but after the third run, the leak stopped! and it has not returned!

So the seafoam actually fixed my carb leak! very cool..
The float must have been stuck, causing the leak, and the seafoam did in fact clean things up and "un stuck" the float! im going to use seafoam every winter from now on in this machine..
(or at least with the first tank of the season)..

So im glad that was an easy fix! :)
if that hadnt worked, I probably would have had to go for the full "disassemble the carb and clean it out" route..which I would have done if necessary..but im a firm believer in the "try the simple fixes first"..and if they work, then great! if not, just keep going..

Someday I might still have to disassemble that carb, but for now, I say: "if it aint broke dont
fix it"..its now running fine, so im going to leave it alone..

Status - fixed!

 
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Question 5.
February 2009
Shear Bolts.


About shear bolts.

While I was getting oil and hose clamps for my carb leak above, I finally got the correct shear bolts for my machine..I had looked at bolts several times at Home Depot, but none of the parts numbers matched the part number I needed..they were all for much newer machines.
finally I did the research and figured it out!
Here is the story:

Looking at the original manuals, I see the 1971 part number for the shear bolts is 10195.
that number is long obsolete, no longer in use..it has been superceded by Ariens part number
51001500. Then, thanks to the thread on the forum, I can see that Ariens confirmed that part number 51001500 can be found in the Home Depot package number 72405900!
I believe that number 72405900 is a Home Depot number..that is the Home Depot number
for the package of three bolts, and the bolts inside the package are Ariens number 51001500!

10195       - original Ariens part number for the shear bolts, from the 1970's.
51001500 - new/current Ariens parts number for the same bolts.
72405900 - Home Depot package number that contains three
51001500 bolts.

If you are not buying from Home Depot, then use number 51001500.

I bought 2 packages, so now I have 6 shear bolts in reserve, ready for action if needed.


In case you arent sure what a shear bolt is, click here.
(I didnt know before I bought my machine! ;)
(they are also sometimes incorrectly called "shear pins"..same thing, different name.)

 




Status - answered.


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Question 6.
December 2009 (Updated January 2011)
Snow Blower "Model Years"

While building this "1960's and 1970's" snowblower archive, the topic of "model year" is very relevant..
*every* snowblower on this webpage is designated with a "model year".

My snowblower is a 1971 model.
People have shared photos of their 1963 models, 1962 models, 1974, 1978 models etc etc..
We like to know the "model year" of our machines..(and its important information to know, when it comes to parts and repairs.)

Its like model years with automobiles..there are big differences between a 1965 Ford Mustang and a 1969 Ford Mustang! not the same car at all..So "Model Year" is an important topic, and very relevant to the snowblower "hobby"..

When I bought my 1971 Ariens a year ago, I just naturally assumed that a new snowblower "model year" would be the same as the year they go on sale..

For example..as I type this, it is December of 2009. New snowblowers went on sale a few months ago, in the Autumn of 2009..I assumed those new snowblowers are "2009 model year" machines..they were built during the Spring and Summer of 2009, they "hit the stores" in the Autumn of 2009..they are for sale right now, and will remain on sale through early 2010..then next spring and summer (2010) they will disappear from the stores, and the new 2010 models will appear in the autumn of 2010.

I dont why I thought model years would work this way..no one told me this..it just seemed logical!

but is that correct??
perhaps not..
The automobile industry does not do their "model years" that way!
starting in the summer and autumn of 2009, the 2010 models went on sale!
Right now (December 2009) you cant find a new 2009 model car to purchase..they are long gone..
if you are buying a new car in late 2009 you are looking at 2010 models!

So we have two conflicting theorys..lets call them "Snow Blower Model Year Theory #1" and Theory #2.
SBMY #1 and SBMY #2.  The Red Dot represents right now, December 2009.

SBMY #1:


With theory #1, above, the 2009 models were made earlier in 2009, and are for sale right now.
We wont see 2010 models until the Autumn of 2010, next year.
I assumed theory #1 is the correct theory..that 2009 model year snowblowers go on sale in late 2009.


SBMY #2:


With Theory #2, it would be 2010 model year snowblowers that are in the stores right now! in late 2009..
The "current" (if this theory is true) 2010 models were built earlier in 2009, and hit the stores in the autumn of 2009..
The automobile industry matches SBMY #2:


The question arises in the first place, because winter spans two Calendar years every winter!
This winter, one winter season, will span both 2009 and 2010..this happens every year.
(In the northern hemisphere anyway..I wonder how they handle snowblower model years in South America and Australia?? hmmm..)

I had a person email me to discuss his 1963 Ariens snowblower..He always assumed it was a 1963 model, because his parents bought it brand-new in January of 1963..(he still has the reciept! :)
But after looking at the photos, its clearly a 1962 model! there are clear visable external differences between a 1962 and a 1963 Ariens. It would appear his 1962 machine was built during the summer of 1962, went on sale in the autumn of 1962, and his parents bought it new in January of 1963...but even though it was purchased in early 1963, its still a 1962 model! (this matches SBMY theory #1)
This is how this whole question began for me! ;)

So which theory is correct?
I thought it would be easy to determine..everyone must know right?
the snowblower industry is half a century old! should be "common knowledge"..
I myself dont happen to know yet, only because I have been involved in this hobby for only a year.

(yeah..its kind of weird calling it a "hobby"
..but if you are reading this, you are probably a "snowblower hobbiest"! some people simply "own a car"..their car isnt a hobby..other people have classic cars!
they restore them and seek them out, they buy books and magazines about them, they join internet discussion forums about them...that crosses over into the land of a hobby!..my 1971 snowblower in one sense is just a tool..but its also a hobby! in the same way that a 1965 Mustang can be both..)

(anyway..getting back to the model year question, and "everyone must know right?")
surprisingly..its not well known at all!

I hit the internet..
there are some references to "The new 2009-2010 snowblower models" referring to one winter season..
this is not helpful..doesnt answer the question.

I did find a few references to "the new 2010 models"..referring to current snowblowers, but oddly, only from
Canadian dealers! it seems some are using SBMY theory #2 in Canada..but I dont know why.

I posted this question on a few forums..
no one knows!
the threads are old now, and have died off without solving the mystery.

So then I thought..what do the actual snowblower manufacturers themselves say?
I checked out the Ariens, Craftsman, Deere, Simplicity, and Honda snowblower pages..
they all make NO mention of a model year! not a peep..

But if you think about it..this makes sense..
because new snowblower sales can be "weather dependant"..if its a snowy winter, machines might sell out.
but if its an unusually mild winter, there might be surplus come spring, and un-sold machines will have to wait for the following winter to be sold! in that case, brand new, over one year old, machines might be sold the following winter! This is fine..the machines are still new, they just spent an extra summer in a warehouse somewhere. (I saw some new Husqvarna machines at an Ace hardware store a few weeks ago..with Tecumseh engines! ;) clearly "last years models"! )

Im sure the manufacturers do this on purpose..they dont mention model years at all..because it could be a sales disadvantage if there is a mild winter and models have to wait another year to be sold.
thats fine..its just a smart business practice. (same thing with lawn mowers..no one really cares about the model year of a lawn mower..until you start getting into old 1960's, 70's or 80's machines..(especially riding mowers) then the model year becomes relevant.)

But it still doesnt help us with this question! ;) because even though the manufacturers probably *assign* model years..they down-play the use of model years, and they dont advertise them at all.
the new machines have a model year..we just arent told exactly what it is! ;)

So now what?

Well..I think have found some "proof" of which way it is!

The data comes from 1960's Ariens manuals and advertisements.

First up is the 10,000 series model list, printed by Ariens in 1974:


(the full document can be found here)

this document lists model years, designated by Ariens, and the model numbers associated with a specific year.
but this document, by itself, does not solve the mystery..because it doesnt tell us *when* a model was built!
for example, a model number 910006, from "model year 1973"..was it built in the summer of 1973? (SBMY #1)
or the summer of 1972? (SBMY #2)..we cant tell.

We need something else..I found something else!

Two of my vintage advertisements (full collection on page 11)
have very specific dates..first is this one:


dated July 7, 1966.
that very specific date is very helpful..
because these models were being advertised in the Summer of 1966, they must be the models
that are coming up for sale very soon..in the Autumn of 1966. They are the current models for the
autumn of 1966, and the winter of 1966-1967.
What do we know?
We know the 5hp model is "new for 1966", (the ad says so) and we know that 4hp, 5hp,  6hp and 6hp Deluxe
models are available in 1966 and 1967.
Going back to the model chart above, do we have those model years listed for 1966?
yes..we do! but because Ariens has them listed as 66-67, this "proves" both theory #1 and #2!
but it does prove theory #1.

Thats pretty good, but we still need something better..
we have it:




I dont have the date on the scan, because I cropped it out of the larger page.
but the original magazine page that advertisement is from says:
"Popular Gardening & Living Outdoors - November-December 1963"
again, that very specific date, November-December 1963, is very usefull..
because we know the models being advertised must be current models for sale
in the Autumn of 1963, and the winter of 1963-1964.
the models in the ad match everything we know about 1963 sno-thros.
and they do *not* match everything we know about 1964 models!
they clearly say "Gard-N-Yard"..which is a 1963 feature.

This confirms theory #1, and clearly contradicts theory #2.

If theory #2 were correct, these machines in a November 1963 ad would have to be
"1964 model year" machines..which would mean 10,000 series and "Track-Team"..not Gard-N-Yard.
but because the November-December advertisent very clearly is *not* 10,000 series and Trac-Team,
but is instead Gard-N-Yard..this proves 1963 "Model Year" machines were in the stores in the Autumn
of 1963, and were being sold through the winter of 1963-1964. The 1964 10,000 series models must
have come out in the Autumn of 1964..thats a win for SBMY Theory #1!

So we have three pieces of evidence that support Theory #1. the two advertisements above,
and an existing 1962 model, known for a fact purchased in January of 1963, which is very clearly a 1962 model.
All those support theory #1.

I have no actual paperwork or data to support theory #2.
I have seen a few on-line dealer advertisements where they are talking about "The new 2010 snow blowers"
in December of 2009..but I noticed something interesting..
Snowmobiles use method #2! same as automobiles.
New 2010 model year Snowmobiles are in the stores in December of 2009.
Many dealers sell both snowmobiles and snowblowers..
Perhaps these dealers assume snow blowers must use the same model year convention as the snowmobiles?
it would seem they do..but perhaps they are wrong..

(if anyone has anything to dispute my conclusions, please let me know!
I have no problem with being proven wrong! but im pretty sure im right in this case..)


Status - probably answered correctly.

Snow Blower Model Year Theory #1 is probably the correct theory.



UPDATE!
January 2010.

Ok then..interesting new data has come to light!
I found even more data that absolutely proves Theory #1 for the 1960's..no question.
check this out:


 
In December of 1967, Ariens themselves said "Get a lift out of life with a new 1967 Sno-Thro"
So that proves that in the winter of 1967-1968, Ariens considered them 1967 Model Year machines..
pretty much case-closed for Theory #1.

But then something interesting happened!
Fast-Forward to September of 1979:



hmmm..Its September of 1979..If Theory #1 was still in effect, we would expect that 1979 model year
machines would be on sale in September of 1979..but! Thats clearly a 1980 machine in the advertisement!
We know its a 1980 machine because of the  Black nameplate..(see next section below)
(Im basing these conclusions on actual Ariens model year designations! Ariens says Black nameplate = 1980)
So it appears we have switched from Theory #1 to Theory #2??
When did this happen?
I think I know when..
check out the 924000 model list:



Notice that all the model numbers have one associated model year, except for two models
that are listed as 1977-78. Could that have been the switchover year? could be..
It makes sense..
I theorize that the snowblower manufacturers started out with Theory #1, because that was just the
logical way to start..but after a few years it became clear that it might be better to switch to
theory #2, since thats how the automobile manufacturers did it.
Plus it sounds much better, in November of 1979, to say "Check out the new 1980 Line of snowblowers at your
dealer today!" rather than calling them 1979 models, which would be percieved as "older"..So I think an industry change-over happened in the 70's, and today we are using Theory #2, same as the Auto industry and the Snowmobile industry. Which means that right now, The winter of 2009-2010, there are actually 2010 model Snow Blowers on sale..
I still havent proved it 100%! but im getting closer..

I suspect it might look like this:



It still seems very difficult to find out what model years the current manufacturers themselves are using!
they simply dont say..(for reasons discussed above)
So there is very little data from the past few decades.
the data exists to match a model with its model year, but finding out exactly when that model went on sale is the
tricky bit..

Although.. here is some strong evidence for Theory #2 being currently in effect.
We know for a fact that the new Ariens Sno-Tek line came out in the Autumn of 2009, this was the first
time these machines went on sale..So are they considered 2009 models or 2010 models?
there is some strong evidence that they are referred to as 2010 models:





Those are Sno-Tek dealer ads from January 2010, and are obviously the first year Sno-Tek models,
because we know for a fact that the Sno-Tek line first went on sale in the Autumn of 2009.
I cant tell for certain if the Ariens company itself says "these are 2010 models"..or if dealers just assume it.
but still, thats pretty good evidence that Theory #2 is currently in effect..
I found no references to Sno-Tek models being referred to as 2009 models, even though they were introduced in
the autumn of 2009..they are all called 2010 models.

And here is the clincher for "theory #2" being currently in effect..
I picked up the new Ariens snowblower brochure at an Ariens dealer in November of 2010, the start of a new winter season..This is the "50 years of Sno-Thro Excellence" brochure! (Autumn 2010 is the 50th Anniversary of Ariens Sno-Thros!) you can see an abbreviated version here:
http://www.ariens.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/Ariens 2011 Sno Spec Sheet.pdf
(that on-line version only shows the model list, the actual paper version has more pages, with a lot more detail
and photos of specific models...its very much like a "new car brochure" you would get a car dealership.)
On the back, it says "copyright 2010"..because it was published in 2010. Even though the brochure itself never once
says "2010 models" or "2011 models", there is one small clue that indicates Ariens refers to these as 2011 models!
The actual file name of the brochure on their website! notice that it is the "2011 Sno Spec Sheet!"
So Ariens is calling the machines on sale in the Winter of 2010-2011 "2011 models"..
case closed!

status - I believe it is 99% proven! ;) and I think my conclusions are very valid, based on a lot of good evidence.
Theory #1 was in effect originally, 1960's, at some point in the 70's there was a switchover, and today Theory #2 is
in effect.

This whole model year question isnt even an issue with Lawn mowers..
because a "mower season" happens all in one calendar year, while a "snow blower season" spans two calendar years..

In the Spring of 1971, no one needed to question that the new 1971 models were arriving in the stores! ;)




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Question 7.
December 2009

Concerning the "White nameplate" vs. "Black nameplate" question.
When I started this webpage in January 2009, I noticed that some 924000 series had the older style "white nameplate" across the handlebars, and others had a more modern Black nameplate.
I started collecting photos of machines to try to determine what year this transition happened.
I have now determined that the transition year was in fact 1980!

Here is a photo of a 1979 model 924038, notice the White nameplate:


and one year later, we have a 1980 model 924050:

Thanks to Brandon R, who restored the 1980 machine seen above.


Here are some other model numbers I used to try to determine the transition year:

White nameplate.
924038
924039
924040
924042
(all of the above believed to be before, or up to, 1978)

932001
932002
932006
(all of the above believed to be before, or up to, 1978)

924042 - confirmed 1979, white nameplate.


Black nameplate.

924052 - in black! this might be right around 1979 or 1980..altough im not sure if any 924052 machines were built after 1980..
924053 (ST824) -  8HP 24"  (listed in 1983 manual) - black nameplate - click for photo.
924071
924082


Now we know 1980 was the year the transition occured, which means the white nameplate vs. black nameplate can now be used as an ID feature! white nameplate = 1960's or 1970's.
Black nameplate = 1980 and after.

The machines themselves (the mechanicals) are not really different between 1979 and 1980,
it was more a paint/style upgrade to enter the new decade, the 1980's.


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Question 8.
Spring Maintenance!

Its now Spring 2009.
the machine ran great all winter! (apart from the carb leak issue)
Now its time to store her away for the Summer, and time to do the annual
spring maintenance
routine..

Since this is my first ever snowblower, naturally I have never done the
spring maintenance before, so again I relied on the vast resources of the internet to guide me! using a thread on one of the forums, I started putting together my checklist:



1. Change the sparkplug.
Fire up the machine, just to make sure the new plug works, and to let engine warm up (to warm oil), shut off, then disconnect spark plug wire.

2. Drain oil.

3. Drain gas from gas tank.

4. Drain gas from carb.

5. Drain and replace gearbox oil.

6. DISCONNECT the spark plug! (for safety)

7. Place the machine in the “service position” and open up the bottom cover.
Oil and lube bits and pieces as necessary.

8. Check condition of belt..replace if necessary.

9. Replace bottom cover, return machine to its wheels
Grease the impeller shaft, with lithium grease, using the zerk fittings.


10. Lube impeller axle bearings, on the side of the scoop.

11. Check tire pressure – (check sidewall for PSI)

12. Lube cables (oil)

13. unscrew sparkplug, pour in some engine oil, hand-crank a few times to distribute. replace plug,
leave spark plug wire disconnected all summer.


14. Place bottle of oil on machine, put tag on handlebars saying “No Oil!”




I started with number 3 and 4, drain gas from the gas tank, and drain gas from the carb.

Many people like to drain all gas from their OPE (Outdoor Power Equipment) while in storage, no gas in the lawnmower over the winter, no gas in the snowblower over the summer..
this seems to work great for many people, and if it works for you, then thats fine!
im certaintly not going to say its wrong to do that..

But for my snowblower, I decided to go the alternate route..
first of all, my carb (the former "problem carb" as discussed above) has NO fuel drain!

I could have unscrewed the needle valve to drain the gas..but the carb has been finicky already, and as I said, im a big believer in the "if it aint broke dont fix it" theory..will unscrewing the valve mess things up? maybe..I could also "run it dry"..just by running the engine until it runs out of gas..but that wont get ALL the gas out..there will still be small puddles of gas in the system that can then evaporate and cause "varnish" over the summer..another theory states that storing a machine "dry" can cause gaskets to dry out and go brittle..maybe a myth? I dont know, but it sounds logical..

So I decided that for my particular machine, im going to keep gas in it all summer..add fresh gas in the spring, about half a tank, with fresh stabil..then simply fire up the machine once a month! to keep the gas circulating and well-mixed..that should prevent all varnish and gunking.. I simply fire up the engine around the first of every month, let it idle for 5 minutes or so, then put it back..works for me!

So my particular spring checklist will be a bit different:


1. Change the sparkplug.
Fire up the machine, just to make sure the new plug works, and to let engine warm up (to warm oil), shut off, then disconnect spark plug wire.

2. Drain oil, replace with new oil.
you should always drain the oil after the engine has been running for a bit, hot-warm oil drains faster and more completely.

3. Drain gas from gas tank. (so gas doesnt leak when you tip up the machine to lubricate underneath)

4. DISCONNECT the spark plug! (for safety)

5. Place the machine in the “service position” and open up the bottom cover.
Oil and lube bits and pieces as necessary. (im going to add more detail about what gets lubed)

6. Check condition of belt..replace if necessary.

7. Replace bottom cover, return machine to its wheels
Grease the impeller shaft, with lithium grease, using the zerk fittings.

8. Grease the differential, using the zerk fitting.
(
this is a zerk fitting I didnt even know existed until a year after I had owned the machine! much thanks to Gary H.
who told me: "On a 10,000 series machine w/differential, on the left axle right near the axle bushing, shoud be a grease Zerk. This lubes the long, small diameter right axle where it passes through the stub left axle. Gary"
(Not all snowblowers will have this zerk fitting..mine does..)

9. Drain and replace gearbox oil. (add note about finding the right oil.)

10. Lube impeller axle bearings, on the side of the scoop.

11. Check tire pressure – (check sidewall for PSI)

12. Lube cables (oil)

13. Refill gas tank with fresh gas, with stabil added.

14. Fire up the engine one more time, so the fresh gas, with stabil, is mixed through the whole fuel system.
I would also run the augers and drive, give it a spin around the driveway, running through all the gears, so the fresh grease is thoroughly spread around, where it is needed.

I might not bother with the "fire it up once a month" routine anymore..thats probably not necessary.
It can probably just sit until October, when I will give it a test-run to make sure everything is ready for the next upcoming winter season.


(if you see anything missing from my checklist, please let me know! email link is below)

More info on the Spring Maintenance is coming soon..complete with photos..
stay tuned!


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Question 9.
Gear Box Lube for 10,000 series and other 1960's and 1970's models.

There are several different types of gearbox lube used for Ariens snowblowers over
the past 50 years! and knowing which type to use for your snowblower is very important.

The gearbox used on the "first series" and the 10,000 series
(and some later machines as well) was a cast iron gearbox, very robust! and nearly all the classic machines I have seen
are still using their original gearbox today! its virtually bullet proof..but, like anything else, its only "that good" if you take proper care of it! After I bought my 1971 Ariens in 2009, I went looking for the gear lube to do my first "spring maintenance"..looking around the internet, I came across a fair amount of confusion and ambiguity..Some people seemed to think you use "L2" gear grease for these machines, but that is wrong! Here is the story..

My 1971 Owners Manual specifically says "MP-90 gear lubricant"..
So I searched around for that..I found the actual product, still made and sold by Ariens!

It is called:
"Ariens Premium Gear Lube SAE 90 MP"
It is Ariens part number 00006000, an actual Ariens product, I ordered it from an Ariens dealer..it comes in a 16oz bottle..

This is the lube for the older cast-iron gearboxes..
L2 is the newer stuff, for newer machines..
you do NOT want the L2 for the 60's and 70's machines!

When I went to a local Ariens dealer, with that specific part number and description in hand, the guy behind the counter was a bit insistent that I wanted "L2"..I had to keep telling him,
"no, I dont.." (I dont think anyone had ever asked him for the MP90 before!..the L2 is for much newer snowblowers, and I think that was all he had ever heard of.) finally he found what I wanted in the computer and could order it..but if I didnt know for a fact what I wanted, and listened to him, I would have used the wrong stuff! this is why we cant always rely on dealers to know about these old machines..they just dont have the experience with them anymore..

So that is the right stuff for most of the 1960's and 70's machines,
"Ariens Premium Gear Lube SAE 90 MP"

Many newer machines use "L2" gear lube, there is also a modern Ariens "No. 70 Liquid Grease", and there is also a "Synthetic L3"! check your owners manual to make sure you
use the correct gear lube!



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Question 10.
Parts.

I get asked this question a lot! "where can I get this part"?
I know of several sources:

1. Ariens themselves! They still carry a lot of parts, which can be looked up in the
    Ariens "Parts Radar" area:
    http://www.ariens.com/corporate/pages/partsradar.aspx

If Ariens doesnt work, try one of these on-line mail order stores..people have had good luck with them.

2. Jack's Small Engines.
     http://www.jackssmallengines.com

3. Small Engine Warehouse
    http://www.smallenginewarehouse.com

4. Replacement Commercial Parts Warehouse
    http://www.rcpw.com/snowblower-parts

5. Central Outdoor Power Sales
    http://www.centraloutdoorpower.com

If anyone knows of other good on-line sources, please let me know!

There is also another option:

6. Your local "lawnmower junkyard"..
This place you have to search for..its usually a very old shop/dealer, been around for decades, and they keep a stash of old junked riding mowers, garden tractors, and snowblowers out back..This is the place you would drive to and search through the old machines yourself!
These kinds of places are more common than you think! I have discovered 2 or 3 just in my immediate area..I would suggest starting with the yellow pages under "mower repair".

If you live in Central New York State, Paul Jackson mowers in Seneca Falls is the place to go..they have literally *acres* of lawnmower and snowblower junkyard out back.




If you dont know the part number you need, you can find it from the "parts manual" for your machine..I have several manuals listed for the 1960's and 70's machines on my "manual" page, page three: http://gold.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/ariens/Page3.html

If your machine isnt listed there, you can probably find your manuals from Ariens on-line,
plug your model number into the Ariens model lookup here:
Ariens owners-parts-repair manual lookup.

If you dont have a specific serial number, I have found that entering serial number 001000 almost always works.



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Continue to Page 12  -  Vintage Advertisements and Dealer Brochures. 

Back to Page 10.

Back to Main page.

 

 
         

This educational, non-profit site is not affiliated with the Ariens Company.
It is simply the "hobby webpage" of one satisfied 1971 Ariens Sno-Thro owner.

All logos, names and trademarks are property of their respective owners.
Official Ariens webpage is here:
www.ariens.com
 
 

Scot Lawrence
Site started January 2009,
  Page 11 last updated  January 23, 2012.



For information about Ariens parts, see here.

For other general snowblower questions, take a look here:
 http://www.snowblowerforum.com/
I am a member on that forum, and its a very friendly and helpful place!
The best place for snowblower discussion on the internet.
If you have questions, you can find the answers there..