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Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

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Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Old 01-21-19, 09:10 AM
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Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Should start by saying I have very little experience with mechanical engines. I grew up in a house where I learned about electronics/computers. I brought out my snowblower on Saturday for the storm we got yesterday. Made sure the oil was good and filled the gas. The engine wouldn't start at all. It would turn over with the pull start but not start up, regardless of how much I tried. Outside of looking for lose connections anywhere, I wasn't able to figure it out. The machine is only 3 years old and we keep it in our shed.

The only thing I could think of which I wasn't sure how to check was the possibility that the primer line somehow froze and gas wasn't getting gas into the engine. Or maybe a spark plug somewhere? Thankfully we got way less snow than expected so I just bit the bullet and pulled out the old shovel. I'd like to make sure it's working for the next storm though. Any ideas on what I can check to troubleshoot? It ran with no issues all last year. Troy-Bilt, if that matters. Appreciate any advice.
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Old 01-21-19, 09:34 AM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Did you use any type of fuel stabilizer when you put it away after its last use? How long has it been sitting?

If not, your fuel could be bad. And by that, I mean fuel that was left in the carburetor/lines and the tank.

You can check the plug by taking it out and (with the cap installed) holding the end against a metal part of the engine, while someone pulls the starter cord.

You should be able to see the spark. Be careful, however, to only hold it by the insulated cap. You can get a nasty shock, otherwise.

Also, while the plug is out, you should smell a bit of fuel, while you're checking the spark.
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Old 01-21-19, 09:39 AM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Thanks for the reply!

There was gas left in it over the summer. This was the first snow storm for us so it was also the first time I went to use it this year. On Sat, i checked the oil (still looked clear and there was enough) and filled the gas. If it were an issue of bad gas in the lines, how would one go about resolving that?

I'll have to figure out where the spark plug is so I can test that. It was icing out and super cold so I didn't put too much effort into troubleshooting before grabbing the shovel and getting it done. Would the primer line be something that's easy to access as well so I can check that?
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Old 01-21-19, 10:11 AM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

I put fuel stabilizer in mine at the end of last season, and still had a hell of a time getting mine started this weekend. I ended up adding another ounce of fuel stabilizer and letting it sit for another day, for it to hopefully break up any gunk that had built up. I still had to pull the starting cord a lot to get things warmed up before it actually caught and started (mine doesn't have an electric start...). I had actually given up and shopped for a new one online, before giving it "one last try". Saved myself $750...
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Old 01-21-19, 10:15 AM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Ok, so it sounds like picking up some stabilizer is my next move. I'll have to wait a couple days because it's like -10 with windchill today. No way I'm spending any extended time outside. Thank you both for the tips. Happy to hear any other advice or things I could try.
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Old 01-21-19, 10:17 AM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Also, I am far from "good with engines" but I can say that the "right" way to store them is to leave fuel in it and add stabilizer. Running them empty can gum them up just as easily as storing it with gas it in without stabilizer. I had to replace the carburetor on mine after just a couple of seasons because I was running it empty instead of using stabilizer.
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Old 01-21-19, 10:20 AM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Originally Posted by bralph View Post
Also, I am far from "good with engines" but I can say that the "right" way to store them is to leave fuel in it and add stabilizer. Running them empty can gum them up just as easily as storing it with gas it in without stabilizer. I had to replace the carburetor on mine after just a couple of seasons because I was running it empty instead of using stabilizer.
Interesting; thanks. I never thought about emptying the snowblower since it's off-season is the summer. I didn't think it would cause any harm. Looking back, I should have made sure it would start on Saturday, rather than just checking fluids and such.
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Old 01-21-19, 10:31 AM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
Interesting; thanks. I never thought about emptying the snowblower since it's off-season is the summer. I didn't think it would cause any harm. Looking back, I should have made sure it would start on Saturday, rather than just checking fluids and such.
Same goes for a lawn mower in the winter. Store it with fuel + stabilizer. I waited until we had 4+ inches before doing anything about testing mine, if it makes you feel any better...
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Old 01-21-19, 11:30 AM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

A lot of small engines like this have an inline on/off valve for the gas line. Make sure it is in the on position. If you have tools and means, remove the sparkplug and use a wire brush to clean it up (or replace).

I still add stabilizer but I think turning off the gas valve is the preferable way to shut down an engine particularly when storing for long periods. This allows most of the gas to exit the carburetor which helps prolong the life of your carb. The effects of Ethanol and other additives in gas wears out the seals and can even pit the bowl of the carb to the point it leaks. My snow thrower also has a push valve at the bottom of the carb to drain it completely.
Consult your manual for best advice, but in my opinion if they have these options there, it's for a reason and to be used.

I do this with my snow thrower and portable generator. But, both of them have electronic ignition too.
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Old 01-21-19, 01:11 PM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

One thing I forgot to mention...

I'm assuming your engine has a choke? Hopefully you were using that. If full choke doesn't work, move it to half-choke and try again. Just remember to turn it off once it's running, or after a brief warmup.
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Old 01-21-19, 01:13 PM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Originally Posted by andicus View Post
One thing I forgot to mention...

I'm assuming your engine has a choke? Hopefully you were using that. If full choke doesn't work, move it to half-choke and try again. Just remember to turn it off once it's running, or after a brief warmup.
Yeah, it does. Thanks for the reminder but no concerns there. That's part of the standard process to start it up. Tried it in a few positions and primed the engine each time.
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Old 01-21-19, 01:16 PM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

also do you have a gas cut off on the tank? Make sure you turn that so its feeding fuel to the engine. It may sound silly but its easily overlooked....
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Old 01-21-19, 01:18 PM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

The machine may have a gas on/off. That being said, if it does I certainly didn't know about it and turn it off last Spring. Still, something I'll be checking for later this week when it warms back up a bit.
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Old 01-21-19, 01:22 PM
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Re: Anyone good with Engines/Mechanics? Re: Snowblower

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
Yeah, it does. Thanks for the reminder but no concerns there. That's part of the standard process to start it up. Tried it in a few positions and primed the engine each time.
If the primer is a bulb type, and you primed it each time, it's possible you may have flooded it. Try it again when you feel like it and prime it initially, then try different choke positions.

If you could smell gas when you were trying, it's likely it was flooded.
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