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Old 01-13-20, 09:28 AM   #1
Daox
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Default Got a free snowblower - doesn't run

This past weekend I helped a friend move his son. They're closing on the house this week, so he needed to get everything out. In the back of his garage was a not horribly old snowblower. It was going to be left there, so I asked and they gave it to me. It is an MTD 31A-32AD700.

Once I get it running, I'm not sure what I'll do with it quite yet, but I figured it would at the very least be a easy / quick flip thing.





The first thing I did was remove some of the covers so I could get at stuff. With the covers removed, I was able to spray some starting fluid in it. One good tug and it fired right up. So, I figure its probably a carburetor problem which is what I originally thought. You can also see duct tape over the primer bulb. Its torn so I ordered a new one.





The next step was to get to the carb. I removed the float bowl and it was definitely on the dirty side.





The lower half of the carb didn't look too bad, but it will definitely need some cleaning up.





That is as far as I got for the day. Removing the carburetor completely is proving a pain. Suggestions are welcome as to how you guys deal with small engine carb cleaning!

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Old 01-13-20, 10:40 AM   #2
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Carburetors have gotten so cheap. I have been just replacing them. I have bought over 6 in the last year.
The last couple I bought were cheaper than the rebuild kit.
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Old 01-14-20, 06:31 PM   #3
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Same story here. Picked up a Troy-MTD-Bilt click lock set this spring with a weed whacker, edger, and brush cutter heads off the local yard sale site. Super cheap, not running. Initial testing presented low compression. The thing has a downsized valve train in it just like the riding mowers. No stuck valves or bent pushrods, so it had to be a piston ring. No problem, right?

Wrong! None of the internal engine parts are available for the thing! Not from Troy, not from MTD, not nowhere! Smallest thing to get is the long block. Soooo, I dismantled the motor and measured the rings. Only thing that came up was for nitro go cart motors, and nothing was generic or cheap in any way. Ok, so back to the engine block. I ended up finding a pre-owned guaranteed to work motor on fleabay and just changed the whole thing, carb, flywheel, spark plug and all.

Considering the fact that the kit exists on a shelf near you for around 400 bucks, I would like to think that the manufacturer would support the gear. All in all, I have about 75 bucks in the whole project, including a filter hose primer set gotten from local small engine guy shop.
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Old 01-14-20, 07:02 PM   #4
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Is that float inside the carb hanging freely or is it stuck up, I can't tell, give it a push up and see if it moves up and down. If it's stuck give it a little tug to see if it will drop into position. If that's normal, give a shot of carb cleaner up the center tube. On the bottom of the carb, the screw usually has a fixed-orifice jet built into it, shoot carb cleaner through that too along with any other thin passages you find. Reassemble and 99% of the time it will run fine. You rarely ever need a rebuild kit on a float carb. Usually you'd need one on a diaphragm carb(the type on weed wackers) because the rubber diaphragm will get stiff or crack from ethanol fuel and it will fail to meter fuel properly.
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Old 01-14-20, 09:26 PM   #5
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Oooh, small engine mechanics... This thread I can totally relate to!! I've got LOTS of small engines!! When I was growing up, my best friend's dad used to do small engine repair for extra $$$ on the side. I learned a bunch as a teen in his garage, being around dismantled chainsaw, edger, mower and car engines!

As Pinball said, the last carbs I needed to play with were practically the same price for a Chinesium carb as a kit. I bought the eBay Chinesium carb for my Troybilt 5500W generator just so I could add a drain to the bowl and easily drain it when I wanted to put it into long term storage. This left me with one completely new carb with an old slightly pitted carb bowl that I could install on the generator if I needed it in a pinch. My neighbors have identical generators, so having a spare in the neighborhood is a good thing when a hurricane comes along.

With that bowl you have, I'd hit the inside of it with a wire wheel on my dremel moto-tool. Then I'd probably hit it with some naval jelly or a soak in Evapo-Rust. To clean the main carb body, I'd remove it, check the float needle for varnish, and if you have access to an ultrasonic cleaner I'd dunk the carb in one for an hour in some sort of parts cleaner fluid. If you don't have access to an ultrasonic, I'd spray carb cleaner through the passages, and try to visually inspect the passages with a magnifying glass to be sure the lower pickup that draws off the bottom of the bowl is clean. If you can back the lower carb jet out with a screw driver, do it and check it visually that way. Run a small paper clip diameter wire through the jet if it looks crusty. You don't want to ream it with a drill bit, you just want to flake off any varnish.

Beyond that, I'd turn the low speed needle in gently (clockwise) against the stop to find out where it was originally set. (typically around 1.5 turns out from the stop). Then I'd remove the low speed needle, spray carb cleaner through the passages. Blow the carb cleaner out with compressed air. Reinstall the low speed needle at whatever setting it was previously at, reassemble the remainder of the carb, add the primer bulb replacement, and give it a go. It ought to run if it has spark, fresh gas, and a clean carb.

If you get bored, I scored a 5kW Coleman Powermate generator with a Subaru/Robin engine a few months ago when a neighbor was moving. (it was on the swale for the trash man/junk guys). The engine had fuel in the tank and actually ran! The generator head was burned up (cooked windings). Last night, I scored another nearly identical Coleman Powermate with a Briggs & Stratton engine like my Troybilt uses. The air cleaner was partially removed from this one, so I am guessing the engine won't start but maybe the generator head is still functional? (I'll find out this weekend). My original plan was to gift the first generator to my sister for hurricane season use. If the latest generator just needs a carb, they're under $15 on eBay all day, and that's easier than swapping the generator head. (although, the Robin engine seemed quieter than I remember my Briggs being). I might have to break out the sound meter and compare sound levels if I can easily get the last one running.

If I get that project done, I picked up a Poulan Farmhand 2900 (20" bar) at a thrift store not too long ago for $10. (I have two just like it already.) I may have to see what it needs to get it running? Typically, chainsaws need a Zama or Walbro carb kit, and replacement fuel lines. I keep a spare carb kit for each of my weed eater and chainsaw engines on a shelf, along with eBay fuel line... I usually go through the carbs and fuel lines on at least one chainsaw and one weed-eater every spring (in FL), then take them to our farm in Maine over the summer. When we leave the farm, I bring whatever saw and weedeater was there back home to R&R the next spring, leaving the one I most recently renewed and refreshed.
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Old 01-14-20, 09:49 PM   #6
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Daox, when I searched that MTD model number, those carbs appear to run around $12-$15 on eBay for a complete new carb!!
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Old 01-15-20, 08:38 AM   #7
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In another lifetime I worked in a lawn and garden repair shop. Id seen a lot of odd things. Sometimes lawn mowers would come to the shop in a box. The best one and I realize the woman really was unaware of the basics of electricity. With her electric mower she had accidentally ran over the cord. The fix was to strip about 2 ft of all 3 wires and twist them all together and make it look nice with a generous wrap of electrical tap.

In todays market the small Internal Combustion Engines are made as more of a disposable nature. Inexpensive plastic parts and parts not really designed for any longevity. We had some larger HP riding mowers that would only operate for an hour or two before the ignition coil needed to be replaced. Probably needed to be wound with a little larger gauge wire.

The other problem is the fuel. The intermitted uses of small engines as the tool is shoved into the back of the garage not to be used till next year allows the fuel to evaporate leaving all its sticky residue.

And yes the fix is to run it out of fuel. But is it really fully empty or is there enough to evaporate to cause headaches the next year.

Ive found another solution. !!! It works fantastic. Go to a small airport and buy some aviation fuel 100LL..... not jet fuel!!! Use that in your equipment. Its more stable and it has none of that sticky residual after evaporation. And yes its a little more expensive but reliability has some costs to...

Nothing worse than trying to fire up the generator with a gummed up carb in the dark with a power outage.

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Old 01-15-20, 04:37 PM   #8
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I took another look at the snowblower today. I pulled the float and valve out. It was physically stuck in place and I had to yank it out with a pliers. It was froze shut. After cleaning it up I gave it another quick go to no avail (not too surprised).





Next I removed the carb from the engine. It seems pretty gummed up. The choke and throttle both turn with a decent amount of effort.





Right now, the whole thing is sitting in this carb cleaner bath. I've used it in the past with pretty good results. I usually let it sit overnight.

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Old 01-15-20, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randen View Post
Ive found another solution. !!! It works fantastic. Go to a small airport and buy some aviation fuel 100LL..... not jet fuel!!! Use that in your equipment. Its more stable and it has none of that sticky residual after evaporation. And yes its a little more expensive but reliability has some costs to...
A better and cheaper option is to get ethanol free gas if you can in your area.
www.pure-gas.org
If that isn't available see if you can find UL94, which is the unleaded version of aviation fuel, it's basically the same thing but without the lead(lead is an octane booster and serves no other purpose), it's AKI octane(which matches what you see on the pump) is about 98 octane.
Here's a search engine for UL94 https://www.swiftfuels.com/swift-ul94
Either that or use this search engine and choose the Mogas option which will give you unleaded ethanol free fuel. http://www.airnav.com/fuel/local.html

100LL will coat your combustion chamber and spark plug with lead, especially if you aren't running a relative lean fuel mixture and also keeping the load consistently high to prevent the lead deposits from building up on the spark plug and rendering it useless. Lead is some nasty stuff, avoid it if you can. Not to mention that lead has a really good reason to be illegal to sell for every use in every country of the world apart from aviation purposes(because it's the only way to easily boost a 98AKI octane fuel to 130AKI without causing bad combustion characteristics at high altitudes in turbocharged engines). ..except for Algeria, they are the only exception and still use it in cars(without catalytic converters or oxygen sensors because lead destroys both of these in short order).

Why do I know this? I fly airplanes and someone kept putting 100LL in the snowblower at the airport and the lead deposits built up and rendered the spark plug useless in short order. It's less work to buy ethanol free fuel or put fuel stabilizer in the gas.

Even with all of that being said, I've had no issues with putting fuel stabilizer in my fuel cans when I fill them with fuel containing ethanol and making sure I run the tank and carbs dry before the end of the season.
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Old 01-16-20, 09:38 PM   #10
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Yes, ethanol free is finally becoming relatively easy to come by in my metro area in FL due to the sheer number of people refueling their boats. (no not the Land Yachts, but 25-36' double and triple outboard engine monstrosities). E-Free is still a bit challenging to find in rural areas such as near my farm in Maine. Thanks for the reminder of the site above. I now see I can get it in the next town which is better than the 40 miles it used to be to find it!!

Looking forward to how the carb works after a good soak in carb cleaner. The fact that the float needle was totally stuck makes me suspect the orifice in the high speed pickup tube that goes through the center of the float may have also been plugged.

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