Anyone want to recommend a good two-stage gas snow thrower? We've narrowed down our choices to either a Troy-Bilt or a Sears Craftsman ... anyone have one of these two models (or would like to recommend another)?
Before last season, I bought a used Craftsman 2 Stage Snow Thrower with the 9 hp Tecumseh Snow King electric start engine. It's a very good machine, and the support at Sears is always reliable, and parts are pretty easy to obtain. It doesn't need the electric start, and almost always starts on the first or second pull, if I remember to press the priming bulb.
My dad has a John Deere 2 Stage with an older vesion of the Snow King electric start engine, and it's running on it's 20th year (give or take) with no major engine problems. Just oil and plug changes. Oh, and last year he finally replaced the muffler. His requires the electric start, though. It is near impossible to start by hand.
In other words, I don't know if I can specifically recommend the Craftsman over the Troy-Bilt, but I would recommend getting something equipped with the Snow King engine.
I would recommend going Toro for a snowblower. I have a Toro 826 that I got four years ago that has a Tecumsah 8 hp motor, 28" swath that blows it 40' and electric start. I Took it out of the shed two weeks ago, and just like that past three years, after priming it three times it started on the first pull. The only time I use the elestric start is when it gets to 20 below. I have NEVER had a problem with it and would recommend it to anyone. One of the best investments I have ever made.