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Snowblower Maintenance Advice?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Calman, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. Calman

    Calman Junior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 6

    Hey Guys,

    I'm new around these parts, so first of all, I'm glad to be here in what looks like a well structured forum.

    Now then, I'm not a natural when it comes to mechanics or snow blower maintenance, but after owning a Craftsman for 2-3 years, it's time to do some decent maintenance I figure.

    In the next week, I will be carrying out an oil change, inflating the tyres and adding new fuel. My problem is in the oil & grease department. I read the manual, but got lost in technical jargon really quickly. So, I'm hesitant in knowing which parts to oil and what to grease (by hand or with a silicon gun)

    Any advice welcome, as I know there are certain parts you need to keep lubricants well clear off.

    Thanks in advance,
    Cal :)
     
  2. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow blower

    =================================================================

    safe to assume you have a two stage blower, you should have a drive belt that will most likely be dry rotted and need changing

    The open auger bearins are on the ends of the auger and my have fittings either inside or outside- two or three pumps of lithium grease in each one.

    The chute control may be a cable or gear drive and spraying some "Eureka Fluid Film" on the cable and bushings that support the rod that turns everyting and where the chute contacts the fan housing to penetrate and lubricate the chute to ease movement. after lubricating it rotate it a several times to make sure the fliud film gets in to contact with everything.

    You should also spray some fluid film down the throttle control cable to lubricate that as well.

    spray fluid film on the surfaces of the auger housing and the fan housing to reduce water damage and it will help with snow removal too.



    A bit of fluid film on the exposed pins for the auger and fan controls and any exposed pivot point(including the ground speed control) is good in general to do because of the ice and melt water that will get into everything when done blowing.


    If you shut the fuel tank off last season thats very good as then you will be able to drain the old gas and have no worries about gum and goo in the fuel bowl and jets.

    If not- drain the old fuel out of the tank by removing the fuel line at the fuel filter and drain it into a waste oil can along with the old oil.

    be sure to buy a new fuel filter as well; personally I like the inline clear plastic ones as you can see everything.

    A fresh tank of fuel and with some "Sea Foam" added to the fuel can should be run through the engine to make sure it runs properly.


    It will not hurt to change spark plug and the air filter and clean the foam prefilter and re oil it for the season coming. be sure to gap the plug according to the engine manufacturers specs.

    The springs that create tension on the cables for the safety controls should be looked at to see if they still have adequate tension.

    The axles protruding from the gear box should be looked at.

    If they are sagging downward its not a good thing and the transmission needs some work they may have sliipped out a bit and need to be pushed back into the gear box.


    The fluid level on the gear box needs to be chaecked as well-hopefully when you remove the guard to change the fliud level plug will be right in front of you.

    leon:waving::drinkup::sleeping:
     
  3. Calman

    Calman Junior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 6

    HOLY SMOKES!!!!

    I didn't think after 2-3 years, my machine would be in that condition????

    If that's the case, I may have to look at getting a professional to service it yearly!

    Thanks for the "frightening" info,
    Cal

    BTW, the manual reads "Dual Stage Craftsman - Models (C950-52409-0) 9 H.P. 27 inch" (if that's ant help?)
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  4. plowinginma

    plowinginma Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 326

    It is well worth the hundred dollars or so to get it looked at by a pro!! Nothing worse than shoveling!!!!
     
  5. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow blower

    Your most welcome and I apologise for the typos, I have two Toro snow pups and they need work every year to be sure they are ready to eat snow. It is much easier to be prepared and have no worries as snow shoveling is very unforgiving.


    leon:sleeping::drinkup::waving:
     
  6. Calman

    Calman Junior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 6

    .. I think I'll start a step by step maintenance schedule (once I buy the proper lub/grease ... which so far is only a new container of 5W30. I seriously hope I have no major issues other than neglected upkeeping, so I'll keep you posted on what I find/learn.

    My main concern is to not get any oil or grease spill onto parts of the machine that it shouldn't, so a gentle dampened cloth with be my first approach on anything which needs it.

    All the best,
    Cal :)
     
  7. Bigcat99

    Bigcat99 Senior Member
    Messages: 126

    Wow! Do I feel like I mistreated my last snowblower! Just sold a 9 yr old 8/26 MTD to a friend - that we both considered to be in pretty decent condition. I used it anywhere from 5-15 times/winter, and only replaced the plug once, without EVER replacing the fuel filter. Never once had an issue with it starting - or running normally. I did do oil changes yearly, along with draining the fuel most years. Last fall, I finally found out about the wonder product known as Fluid Film, so it got sprayed down a few times with that. My new Simplicity will be treated MUCH better. Heck, I am going to print out Leon's post, and tack it up in my garage just so I can refer to it each fall!!
     
  8. Calman

    Calman Junior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 6

    I hear ya Bigcat99,

    I'm not mechanically minded (even although my dad was a trained mechanic) ... I like to think I take time & care to look after equipment, but all the "customer responsibilities" for our 3 year old snowblower is way over my head.

    I've cleaned it out after a run, re-inflated tyres, kept clean fuel in it and intend to drain the oil & add new this season .... BUT, never realised all the other checks were important. My main worry, is that reading the manual, it specifies "areas" to grease/lubricate, but is pretty fague on precise location, so I worry about getting fluid on parts which I shouldn't.

    So ... I think I'll do my best this season and cough up for a full service next year!!

    BTW, I'm in Western Canada (Semi Desert, Okanagan Valley) ... just some useless info for ya! lolol

    Cal :)
     
  9. Rubicon 327

    Rubicon 327 Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    Not trying to jack a thread but have a question about a maintenance procedure recommended above by Leon.

    he writes....................It will not hurt to change spark plug and the air filter and clean the foam prefilter and re oil it for the season coming. be sure to gap the plug according to the engine manufacturers specs.

    I have seen different Ariens/Snappers/MTD's/ mostly 8hp 2 stage machines and don't think I have ever seen one with a air filter on it let alone a foam prefilter?

    My question is: What am I missing here or was that kind of a typo? In the winter you usually don't have dust and dirt issues to contend with as with summer equipment.I know some of the old Ariens had attachments so you could use it year round but never saw an air filter attachment.

    Just curious if anyone knows.

    Sorry if anyone considers this a thread jacking as I believe Calmans question was answered.If not I apologize.
     
  10. Calman

    Calman Junior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 6

    Absolutely no problem with me Rubicon 327 .... I'm just pleased to hear the voice of experience, as I prepare to carry out some much needed maintenance on my Craftsman Snow Blower.

    Although my question has had good feedback, I still welcome other experiences and input from newbies and experienced owners alike!

    All the best,
    Cal :)
     
  11. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow blowers et. al.

    Every 4 cycle small engine has an air filter (or should have one) and the snow blower engines probably have small cartridge air filters tucked behind the engine coooling shroud housing OR

    a flat pancake foam filter if the carburatuer draws fuel from the top of the engine fuel tank.
    ==============================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================
    I just looked at a Briggs and Stratton blower engine and voila-no filter which is huge surprizde to to-but as the engine shroud apparently wraps around the intake to help keep it clean

    and as mentioned the dust level during snow season is zero or almost zero anyway
    ===============================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================


    My expreince dates me as I was always working on blower engines that had air filters; apparently they changed their engine design after I was dealing with a statndard engine in snow service.


    None of my toro snow pups has an air filter but they are two cycles.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  12. Rubicon 327

    Rubicon 327 Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    Thank You Calman for your understanding, and Thank You Leon for the break down I understand what you are saying now.:)
     
  13. briggsguy17

    briggsguy17 Member
    from NW PA
    Messages: 39

    With the exception of Honda, snowblower engines do not have air filters. There are two reasons for this, 1) If you are blowing snow there is no dust and 2) Air filters tend to ice up when run in cold weather, try running your generator outside for several hours in freezing temps and you will see what I mean. Honda has a pretty fancy heater system that keeps the filter from freezing but it will freeze if the unit is shut off and left out in the cold with a wet filter.
    Anyway, as for maintenance, Change your oil (5w-30), New plug, make sure gas is fresh and clean, check your rubber drive disc and replace if neccesary, check all belts (drive & auger), make sure that you are using actual shear pins and not grade 5 or 8 bolts, and finally lube your gearbox by removing the small plastic cap and fill with a "00" rated grease.
     
  14. Calman

    Calman Junior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 6

    Super info and great reading this thread in handshake with my owner's manual.

    To be honest, I think I have most of the obvious maintenance licked, just worried about taking the panel off to do the more technical stuff (especially as the manual warns you not to get oil on other parts when greasing the hex shaft etc.)

    All the best,
    Cal

    P.S. One of the tyres has gone fairly flat again, so I'm thinking seal or valve? .. or slow puncture??