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Snowblower shear pins, transmissions, and scraping the bottom of Craigslist

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by theholycow, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    I've been scraping the crud at the bottom of Craigslist for big snowblowers under $100 (poor but hate shoveling). I'm pretty sure I need a big self-propelled one; I have a lot of area to cover, somewhat steep and rough. I'm thinking an ancient, ugly Ariens might be a good match for me.

    Anyway, the most common maladies listed include ailing carburetors, broken pull cords, broken electric starters, broken shear pins (or "auger doesn't spin", which could be something worse than a shear pin too), and failed transmissions. If I was to gamble on one of these, which problem is the best gamble?

    - I hate carburetor work so that option is right out.

    - Starters/pull cords might be ok if I can get it started to test how it runs. If not, I fear a hidden problem with carb or engine that I'm not willing/able to handle.

    - Shear pin: Is the most common cause debris that was picked up and the shear pin did its job, preventing further damage? Or is it common for something to seize and the shear pin is collateral damage?

    - Transmission: Is there a common failure mode? Is it likely to be hackable or at least cheaply replaced?

    It's always fishy when someone posts something to Craigslist as an easy fix but they aren't willing to fix it themselves so they can sell it for twice as much.

    :mechanic:
     
  2. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,403

    i've been finding useable 8 hp 24" ariens ready to go for @150 on craigs list
    if the bolt does not shear it wipes out the gear box
    a lot of the carb problems are from bad gas or crud in the carb
    i've never had a tranny problem ...just a rubber drive wheel come apart
     
  3. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Yeah, I've seen a couple $150 ~8/24 Ariens...I might just need to squeeze my budget a little harder for something that's definitely working.

    In my experience carb problems with lawnmowers are usually bad gas or crud, and that's what I figured for snowblowers too like you say. I can handle that, but if that's NOT the problem then I will be miserable. I guess that's how gambling works!
     
  4. Blast Chamber

    Blast Chamber Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 4

    I hate adjusting carbs as well. I recently bought a 25-year-old Toro 5hp blower that didn't idle very well. After my attempts to clean and adjust the carb didn't fix it, I bought a new OEM carb on eBay for $60. Bolted it on and it runs like new again, so don't rule out a blower just because it needs carb work as new carbs are not all that expensive.
     
  5. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Interesting thought. I imagine it is tough to do the Cinderella-style matchmaking of finding a carburetor for an old machine. Maybe Toro would be a good brand for that, being very common but decent quality and not so much badge-engineering of other manufacturers' models.
     
  6. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

  7. carkey351

    carkey351 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    wow! that is the first snowblower I have seen that's older than mine....looks like it should work good for you. carbs are not that bad to rebuild. just count the number of turn to turn the screw in and write it down. poke the screw into a piece of cardboard when you pull it out and number it; it is all about the organizing that makes it easy. rebuild kits are around $20 shipped for just about all small engines...

    or just save up and slap on a bigger engine!Thumbs Up
     
  8. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Yeah, I can imagine replacing the engine if it becomes too much of a hassle.

    I found the model/serial number on the engine and I think it may only be 4 horsepower. The seller said it had been replaced and I thought it looked too small to be 6+ hp. That's ok, it ought to do the job.

    For now I'm going to try to do all the maintenance things that ought to be done and fix that throttle cable.