Never had an Ariens so I'm no help. Don't see them down here. But I don't see anything wrong with the modification. Any way you could make the upward bend tighter to miss those holes?
Well, if you don't get that feedback, look at what I threw out there.The modification I'm making is to copy how the gt18 that came with a filter equipped engine from the factory that I recently saw, was made. That's why I thought maybe someone here that has a gt18 might be able to measure it on theirs and/or take a pic of that spot on theirs so I could judge.