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Trying to justify a snowblower, live near Philly

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Plasmech, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. Plasmech

    Plasmech Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. I own a townhouse and am responsible for a short driveway, a stand-alone parking spot, and a stretch of sidewalk. I also take care of my parent's 175 foot very steep driveway.

    Currently I own a 1978 Craftsman 3-stage snow-blower with a 6 HP Tecumseh engine. The engine is giving me major problems...mainly if it is under ANY load whatsoever, it stalls unless I very quickly apply full choke. This means I have to crawl at a snail's pace through even a moderate snowfall. Also, I have to run the choke 2/3 of the way ON all the time to keep the engine running.

    I am considering three options:

    1. Re-build or replace the carburetor with a new one
    2. Replace the entire engine with a modern one
    3. Buy a new 2-stage blower

    Actually there are some other problems with the snow-blower as well. The gas valve on the bottom of the tank leaks, pretty quickly. I have the shear pins replaced with bolts because I have no idea what pin to buy or where to get it. The thing always wants to track to the right for some reason as well. These are all annoyances, no single one of which is exactly killer...but they are there.

    My biggest hang-up as far as spending any money on this thing other than the carb is the fact that while it snowed it's butt off last year and we've already had one this year, it just doesn't seem to snow "reliably" around here anymore..well maybe it never did. If I drop a grand on a new unit, it's hard for me to see that shiny thing sitting in my garage doing nothing but get old. Granted, if it ultimately keeps someone from having a heart-attack from shoveling snow, it could cost 10 grand.

    Re-engining my 1978 model would cost between $250 and $650 depending on what engine I select. I would likely go cheap being that this is an occasional-use tool.

    Something like this perhaps (Is StormForce any good? Very cheesy name!): http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200362863_200362863

    Is there any merit to the 'ol "they don't make them like they used to" phrase? My 1978 is made out of steel that's a lot thicker than what you see today in stores like Lowes and Home Yuppo (Home Yuppie). It also has an iron auger gearbox, something you don't see anymore. The self-propelling system is pretty robust as well. What it does NOT have are any modern safety features...just a simple spring-loaded clutch in the form of a pulley idle wheel.

    Well ultimately I do not even know where I went with this thread, sorry! Any thoughts, wisdom, or comments are surely welcome.

    As you can probably tell, I am not made out of money, hence all my hang-ups here. Thanks guys for any help!

    edit: please refer to the post "1978 Craftsman 3-stage snowblower, engine upgrade" near this one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  2. Yooper75

    Yooper75 Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    Why not check out your local dealers for trade in or look on E-bay for a used machine for what it is going to cost you to fix your old one.
     
  3. Plasmech

    Plasmech Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Good suggestion. I bought the 1978 unit last year used.

    I have become very weary of buying used however, seems like you're always simply buying someone else's problems.

    Perhaps I could find one that is very new and being sold because the seller is moving or some sort if liquidation.
     
  4. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Rebuild the carb and see where it gets you or have a shop give you an estimate. Fuel valve could be replaced cheaply, shear pins are usually available at HD or Lowes and the tracking issue could be a bearing needing grease. IMO keep the one you've got nothing seems like catastrophic issue.
     
  5. Yooper75

    Yooper75 Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    I picked this 1978 John Deere 312 up last year for $850. I had to add the chains, blower, and wheel weights but it came with a 4 way hydraulic blade and 48in mower deck and it's been dead nuts dependable.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Plasmech

    Plasmech Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    The show-stopping issue I am having as far as working on the existing 1978 vintage 6.0 HP Tecumseh engine is that I have no idea where to get parts for it. It's a model 143-566002.
     
  7. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Check http://www.tecumsehpower.com/ for a dealer and how to identify which series engine you have. It should be stamped on the housing.

    Parts Tree has parts and diagrams that should help also.
     
  8. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    the carb issue is just the jet needing to be cleaned, very simple to do yourself... at least thats what it sounds like with the choke somewhat fixing the issue. Shear pins come in generally 3 different sizes, just bring the bolt you got to HD and they will get you the pins you need by that size. The vintage engine you have is very common and a lot of parts are interchangeable, but it doesn't sound like the motor has any major issues. Just fix the carb problem, i can even give you a step by step way of doing it if you can't find it online.

    For what's it worth I sell and repair snowblowers... I specialize in the older ones.

    Good Luck!
     
  9. Plasmech

    Plasmech Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Thanks Andy!

    Just found all the parts I need on Sears.com. They have the shutoff valve (that design is extremely common) and of course shear pins. They are selling a drop-in replacement carb for $90...no way I am going that route. I can't find a re-build kit for my carb.

    I will try cleaning it...hey any instruction you have there would be great.

    I would just ship it to you and have you do it (if that is your business) but at the end of the day may as well buy a new carb with the shipping costs and all. I have every tool known to man and know how to use them so shouldn't be too too bad.

    edit: There used to be some sort of shroud over the carb intake that I think re-directed warm air into the intake. That is gone now and it's just a straight shot in. Could this be hampering performance as well?


     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  10. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow blower trouble

    The carb is definitely and issue and if you do not have a filter between the tank and the carb inlet .......... thats what our big issue was with our original equipment Briggs engine for our original Troy Built Rototiller as I was going to replace the Carbureateur entirely as i dd for our 16 horse I/C Briggs with the cast iron piston sleeve


    I would add the in line fuel filter before you do anything else as it may be the only issue other than a bit of varish and gum in the carburateur jet.

    The gravity feed is reacting to the engines loading and the engine may be starving for fuel and simply stopping.


    Adding fuel treatment to the gas is always a good idea as it prevents a lot of issues.

    Sea Foam is what I use and its on sale at NAPA for slightly under 7 dollars a can. you add an once per gallon to treat fuel of all types - straight gas, mixed, diesel fuel.

    There is no harm in adding 2 ounces per gallon from what my experience and machinery useage has shown me.


    I would add the inline filter, a new plug and gap it at 25 thousandths and you should be fine.:waving:
     
  11. Plasmech

    Plasmech Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    It's interesting that you mention fuel starvation because that's sure what it seems like. It just simply dies like it's it's job to when under any load. Let me ask though, would a fuel filter solve this or would a check valve solve this, or does a fuel filter contain a check valve?

    Any suggestions on what fuel filter to use? Thanks.

    One more thought...I am ASSuming that when this blower was new, the original owner did not need a fuel filter to get it to work...otherwise it would already be on there...so...just a thought.


    :mechanic:



     
  12. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    If it's got the same carb as my tiller, the main valve screws right into the bottom of the bowl. Unscrew it, at the top of the threads is a small (as in tiny, extremely tiny) hole, using a toothpick (nothing metal) clean it out.
     
  13. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow blower

    Use high test fuel and Seafoam

    The inline fuel filter is something that gets over looked sometines because the tank is there to allow the dirt to settle out and somne times the tanks fuel line is not put above the base of the tank-been there done that to fix problems by the OEM builder.

    Using the tooth pick will also work as suggested by Festerw to be sure the jet is clear or cleared.

    Happy New Year:waving::drinkup::sleeping:
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  14. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow blower

     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  15. Plasmech

    Plasmech Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Well guys, I too the carb apart and much to my surprise, it was immaculately clean. The previous owner must have cleaned it before selling it to me, either that or he was VERY religious about not letting fuel sit in it.

    Now I am stumped.

    I really expected to find a heavily fouled carb. I even looked everything over with my magnifying visor hood.
     
  16. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    what about one of these

    toro.jpg
     
  17. Yooper75

    Yooper75 Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    Where the jets clean? The next thing I would check is the tank there is normally a screen over the outlet on the inside of the tank that can get plugged with junk.
     
  18. Plasmech

    Plasmech Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Single stage blowers are OK for maybe 4 inches of snow, we can get feet here.

    I will say that another advantage single stage units have are that they clean the asphalt very well...very close scrape...nut jut not for me. Would make a great finishing blower perhaps.
     
  19. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    we just had over 24 inches of snow where i am at in nj. i have had no issues with this at all.
    i was going to buy a 2stage but i brought this instead. i did driveways over 60 -70 feet long and 2 cars wide after it stopped snowing . a guy with a 2 stg was doing a similar drive right next store to my customer and this little toro got the job done quicker. yes you have to muscle it around a bit but for the price,light weight and portability its worth it.
    now if you let that snow turn to ice it is not going to work.
     
  20. keitha

    keitha Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    Check the gas cap vent.
    The pull to the right, check that both wheels have the pins through the wheel hub into the axle.
    For easier handling one can be set to free wheel.
    One tire not flat?

    6hp may simply be at it's limit if full width clearing

    LCT are a honda clone made in china. Could be a mess getting everything lined up.
    $90 for the carb you'll be ahead simply replacing it. Internal passages can still be blocked even if it looks good.
    Off season you should be able to find a decent "newer blower" for $200-$400.
    a '78 is really nearing the end of it's useful life.
    Check the throttle linkages for free & full movement .
    I agree sea foam and fresh fuel.
    Jet holes clean w/ carb cleaner and a"tag" wire ( bread wrapper w/ cover removed).

    Good luck.
    Keith