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#1742551 - 01/14/10 09:29 AM Subaru vs. Briggs
heavyhitter Offline


Registered: 07/22/07
Posts: 674
Loc: Nebraska
Im looking at buying my first snow blower. I really wanted to get a Cub Cadet 24" with the steering, but didnt want a Chinese clone engine.

So now I am looking at an Ariens Compact 24". One has the Briggs & Stratton and the other has the Subaru. I have always had great luck with Brigg's but I checked out the Robin Subaru website and those Subaru's look really state of the art and on paper they look like the most advanced small engines out there.

Any advice as to which one is better?
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#1742555 - 01/14/10 09:37 AM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: heavyhitter]
ARCOgraphite Offline


Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 8581
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
Well their recent automotive engines are blowing up left and right. No QC as far as I can see.
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#1742586 - 01/14/10 09:59 AM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: ARCOgraphite]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2533
Loc: Canada
Robin Subaru engines are some of the finest small engines available. Not sure if they're being built in Wisconsin or Japan these days. Take a close look. They might also be made in China. I have a Mitsubishi 6.5 h.p. that has not country of origin label on it. It's supposed to be a Japanese engine but I suspect it's Chinese built. It's been a fine engine nonetheless.

By the way, Briggs and Stratton are having some of their major engine components being manufactured in China. So, it's not like it's all American.

If you are avoiding Chinese engines for political reasons, that's understandable. However, if it's a quality issue, I wouldn't be concerned with that. My recent experiences with Chinese engines have been very favourable.

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#1742602 - 01/14/10 10:13 AM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: boraticus]
Kaboomba Offline


Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 782
Loc: SE WI, USA
From what I have read, the Subie small engines are excellent.

I think they have targeted a mid-premium price-point, and the product belongs there.

B&S, like many other mfrs, has many price-point products. The truly great B&S engines are very expensive industrial varieties.

Either brand engine will treat you right if you don't do anything stupid.

If you ever need a part, the B&S service network is broad and people who know how to work on them are everywhere.

I doubt the Subie would last longer, but it may be more reliable in the meantime. Some B&S's are finicky.
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#1742674 - 01/14/10 11:18 AM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: Kaboomba]
yeehaw1960 Offline


Registered: 05/02/07
Posts: 535
Loc: Nebraska
The key word in your inquiry is "Ariens". They are one of the few manufacturers who are still making quality machines.

If there is a big price difference though between the Briggs powered and Subaru powered machines, there will certainly be a reason behind it. Since a bottom of the line Ariens is fairly expensive, the Subaru engines might be their way of competing with the Chinese cheapy (MTD, etc) market.

4 or 5 years ago you could buy a Toro mower with a (much less reliable) Tecumseh on it for less than $250. The Toro model with a Briggs was nearly $400 (or more).

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#1742682 - 01/14/10 11:26 AM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: yeehaw1960]
heavyhitter Offline


Registered: 07/22/07
Posts: 674
Loc: Nebraska
Originally Posted By: yeehaw1960
The key word in your inquiry is "Ariens". They are one of the few manufacturers who are still making quality machines.

If there is a big price difference though between the Briggs powered and Subaru powered machines, there will certainly be a reason behind it. Since a bottom of the line Ariens is fairly expensive, the Subaru engines might be their way of competing with the Chinese cheapy (MTD, etc) market.

4 or 5 years ago you could buy a Toro mower with a (much less reliable) Tecumseh on it for less than $250. The Toro model with a Briggs was nearly $400 (or more).


Its actually opposite, the Subaru engine models cost more than the Briggs models. Depending on the model the Subaru's run $90-300 more. However I found a good deal on a Subaru model for $70 less thna the Briggs version.

From what I can tell they are only manufactured in Wisconsin and Japan.

If you scroll down the page you can see the product looks ver innovative. I am just unfamliar with the brand.
http://www.robinamerica.com/pfeatures.aspx?pid=200
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#1742691 - 01/14/10 11:36 AM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: heavyhitter]
punisher Online   content


Registered: 09/11/04
Posts: 1932
Loc: snowblind in TX
Hands down, the Subaru is the better/longer lasting engine vs any Briggs except the Vanguard. Just some really tough engines.

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#1742730 - 01/14/10 12:16 PM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: punisher]
JustinC25 Offline


Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 806
Loc: NH
Subaru HANDS DOWN !!, I have a EX30D on my generator. It's quiet effiecient, and Subaru is the only manufacturer that I've seen that uses modern technology, in this big of an engine. (It's Overhead Cam, NO PUSHRODS !!) Honda makes a small light duty version for mowers, and pressure washers, but all their commercial grade engines use pushrods. The EX series is commercial grade.
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#1742779 - 01/14/10 01:00 PM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: JustinC25]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2533
Loc: Canada
As far as I know, most Honda GC series engine (less durable than the GX series) are OHC. Don't know why but that seems to be the trend. Almost all of their heavy duty GX series engines are push rod for some reason.

I do know of one engine they make with n OHC that is a GX series engine and that's one of their vertical crank shaft V twin lawn mower engines. I have a lawn tractor/mower with a GX series OHC engine in it. Cast iron cylinder liners and all. The same engine however is also available as a GC series engine without the cast iron liners.

Regarding Ariens snow throwers. They are still a premium brand but they're also getting into big box store mode producing lower quality machines that what Ariens customers are used to seeing and buying in the past. Not just Ariens either. All of the premium brand snow thrower manufacturers are taking the quick and cheap route to the bottom line.

Personally, if I were in the market for a new snow thrower, I'd be looking at used machines in good condition. Ariens and Toro machines built prior to 2004 were still pretty stout and Simplicity machines built prior to 2007. That seems to be the last year that Simplicity built their machines in the Wisconsin plant. The older Simplicity, Ariens and Toro machines will outlive their engines if properly maintained. Then new machines don't look nearly as robust.

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#1742828 - 01/14/10 01:39 PM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: heavyhitter]
yeehaw1960 Offline


Registered: 05/02/07
Posts: 535
Loc: Nebraska
I can see that. At least you know that both engines will be reliable if you treat them right and keep up with maintenance. So far, unlike many others, Ariens won't put total junk on their machines. But you do pay for the increased reliability.


Edited by yeehaw1960 (01/14/10 01:40 PM)

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#1742965 - 01/14/10 03:39 PM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: boraticus]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2533
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: boraticus
As far as I know, most Honda GC series engine (less durable than the GX series) are OHC. Don't know why but that seems to be the trend. Almost all of their heavy duty GX series engines are push rod for some reason.

I do know of one engine they make with n OHC that is a GX series engine and that's one of their vertical crank shaft V twin lawn mower engines. I have a lawn tractor/mower with a GX series OHC engine in it. Cast iron cylinder liners and all. The same engine however is also available as a GC series engine without the cast iron liners.

Regarding Ariens snow throwers. They are still a premium brand but they're also getting into big box store mode producing lower quality machines than what Ariens customers are used to seeing and buying in the past. Not just Ariens either. All of the premium brand snow thrower manufacturers are taking the quick and cheap route to the bottom line.

Personally, if I were in the market for a new snow thrower, I'd be looking at used machines in good condition. Ariens and Toro machines built prior to 2004 were still pretty stout and Simplicity machines built prior to 2007. That seems to be the last year that Simplicity built their machines in the Wisconsin plant. The older Simplicity, Ariens and Toro machines will outlive their engines if properly maintained. The new machines don't look nearly as robust.

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#1743280 - 01/14/10 07:52 PM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: boraticus]
yeehaw1960 Offline


Registered: 05/02/07
Posts: 535
Loc: Nebraska
In reference to the Honda eninges, that's why I tell people to walk past the lowest level Honda units (Home Depot's) to, at least, the next one up. They'll be much happier in the long run.

Bottom of the line Toros, Hondas, etc, are made to self-destruct a few years after you purchase them, just like the Walmart specials. Doom, gloom, we're all DOOMED! Hide with me on top my soapbox!

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#1743412 - 01/14/10 09:30 PM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: yeehaw1960]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2533
Loc: Canada
We consumers are our own worst enemy. Ignorance is bliss. Sure, there are a handful of us who are mechanically inclined and understand why paying a bit more will sometimes get you a lot more. However, the vast majority of consumers don't know squat. They are the people who should be buying a more expensive/reliable unit because they don't have the ability to repair a less reliable machine. However, that's not how it goes, they know virtually nothing about the product, maybe familiar with a name brand and buy there bottom of the line because of the price point.

Building cheap, less reliable machines is a trend that is becoming commonplace. Manufacturers make their quick profits and service departments are delirious with glee from all of the work pouring in to fix the junk. Everyone wins except the consumer.

This trend reminds me of the auto industry turn around that occurred in the early '70s as a result of the fuel shortages. Government leaned on the auto industries to make more efficient cars. The auto makers manipulated "fuel efficient" to read light and cheaply built. Not necessarily cheaper to buy.

Think of the cars that were built from the 50s through to the late 60s. They were big, solid, well built and on the most part, very reliable. The cars of the '70s on were underpowered, poorly built, unreliable and not a great deal more fuel efficient. The domestic auto industry started that trend and perpetuated it. What they had failed to realize is that the Asians (Japanese) were building and shipping cars to North America. Their first attempts were a little lame but, in short order, they improved their products and made them suitable for North Americans. Slowly but surely, they kept improving their products and fine tuning them to North American tastes. Their reliability was excellent and prices competitive. All the while they're advancing, the domestics kept building lack lustre unreliable vehicles that were beginning to lose the appreciation of consumers.

The writing was on the wall almost thirty years ago for the domestics. Last year, they finally read the message on the wall only to find out that they were on the verge of extinction. Hubris, a false sense of superiority and upper management's head up their a$$es are to blame. There are some that hold the view that the unions contributed to the demise of the domestic auto industry. Being familiar with union/management relations, I have this to say about that line of thought: A union never got anything from a Company that management didn't give to them.

My personal feelings are that there will be one domestic auto manufacturer left within the next two to five years. That will be Ford. I think GM and Chrysler have lost far to much market and have far too little time to bring their products up to par with the competition. If they survive, I will be surprised.

End of rant.

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#1743848 - 01/15/10 10:01 AM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: yeehaw1960]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 7300
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: yeehaw1960
The key word in your inquiry is "Ariens". They are one of the few manufacturers who are still making quality machines.


That's it right there. Chonda, Briggs, Subie, it doesn't matter what's bolted to it. It's a decently designed and built unit as a whole, with a dealer network for parts and services. Little things like carb issues will effect even the most 'premium' of engines.

Joel
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#1745712 - 01/17/10 10:59 AM Re: Subaru vs. Briggs [Re: JTK]
Bror Jace Offline


Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 4878
Loc: Saratoga, NY
I'm impressed with that Subaru/Robin small engine ... both the site and the engine itself. I like they fact that engineers are still putting a lot of thought into small motors ... and they designed a site to showcase those attributes to those of us that actually care.

Speaking of which, I'm fine with big box stores and private dealerships offering the budget OPE machines designed to put up with 5-7 years or moderate use for most consumers. But please, continue to offer the better stuff (label it industrial/commercial if you must) to those of us willing to special order and pay for real quality. I don't think that's too much to ask.

If Briggs, Kohler or any other small engine manufacturer is going to make it in North America in the long run, it will be making the higher end, premium quality machines. Competing on price with older or lower quality designs will be the realm of the cheap $#i+ from China. Go up against that and you'll lose, I'm sure.

Nice rant boraticus. I agreed with most of it, strongly disagreed with none of it. You're probably right that only Ford will survive of the original "Big 3."
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