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Old 03-13-2011, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default Craftsman 536.xxx - 4 snowblowers reviewed

I thought I'd pass along what I've found regarding some older Murray built Craftsman snowblowers. The models are: 536.918100, 536.918202, 536.918800 & 536.882600 chassis - all purchased used this last year.

536.918100 - 4 hp Tecumseh Engine 20" 2 stage auger, 3 speed Tecumseh Transmission (80's era machine I think).
Good solid little machine. Easy to split the auger part and drive section apart. Easy to change belts. Only real part that's plastic is the belt cover otherwise all metal. It has a gear transmission in it vs friction belts. single chain between the transmission and drive axel. Starts easily via rope but electric starter is an option. uses the 3 mount bolt starter. This one has a 2 shaft Tecumseh motor, one shaft for the auger and one for the drive. It uses metal/bronze bushings on both the auger and drive wheels. Most repair shops have control cables that will work with this machine if the originals are broken. It has metal chute vs plastic ones. Carburetor has both low and high speed jets you can adjust (not sealed like newer motors). 10" impellar.

Downside: hard rubber wheels/tires - they can be swapped for the right size pneumatic tires fairly easily to get rid of the washboard effect on hard surface when chains are on the wheels. Changed out the impellar shaft bearing - very high price via Sears so found one in a bearing supplier. Typical issue with Tecumseh carburetor gumming up is gas is left in over the summer but it's easy to clean and rebuild. Easy to add an electric starter is desired though they can be pricey. Most of the parts are discontinued through Sears so you have to do your homework to find replacement parts.

536.918202 - 5 hp Tecumseh Engine 22" 2 stage, 4 speed Tecumseh Transmission (80's era machine I think). The difference in model numbers is this one came with a factory installed 110 v starter vs the 536.918200 which didn't.

Virtually identical to the 4 hp unit with a few exceptions: 5 hp Tecumseh motor, 4 speed Tecumseh transmission and 22" wide auger vs 20". Transmission shifter is on the handlebars vs back side of the chassis. Otherwise same info applies.

535.918800 - 7 hp Tecumseh engine 26" 2 stage auger, 4 speed Tecumseh transmission (80's era machine I think). The 536.882600 looks like a newer model number but is basically is the same as this unit except it's a different color and newer.
Big, heavy duty snowblower. Very comparable to the 5 hp unit in that it will move alot of snow and has alot of metal in it. Comes with pneumatic tires and chains. This one has a 14" impellar and the augers are a larger diameter. It will handle deeper snow drifts than the 5 hp due to the larger auger diameter. This one uses a single shaft Tecumseh motor with a double pulley, both the auger and drive belts run off the same motor shaft.

Downside: Same issue with alot of parts discontinued by Sears. The auger and transmission operation are linked by a single control cable, you can't run the auger without running the transmission (even if it's in neutral). The cable that controls that (Sears 51303) is no longer available and unless you luck into one it's impossible to find. If it's the handle end that's broken off, there is a replacement end available McMaster-Carr that may work as a repair. The wheel and auger bushings are plastic and not available via Sears. The metal bushings from the smaller snowblowers work on the wheels of this one. I'm researching whether the auger bushings from a Airens snowblower may work on this one (1" auger shaft vs 3/4" auger shafts on the 4/5 hp units). This one has a totally different transmission in it, it has 2 mount bosses on the front and 4 on the back. The 2 front mount to an intermediate shaft using spacers between the shaft and mount and bolts directly to the bracket in back. There is a problem with the front mounts breaking (I think due to the intermediate shaft end bolts working loose). Normal repair is to replace the transmission, I didn't do that. I found a way to both correct the bolts working loose issue and another to repair the existing transmission broken mounts wihtout without replacing the transmission. Once that repair was done along with shimming the intermediate shaft gear and transmission axel to remove extra play, it's proven to be a very solid performing machine.
Splitting the auger assembly and the drive chassis can be more complicated as part of the belt idler control attach to the belt side of the auger chassis and the drive unit. You have to be careful and watch how you remove things so you can be them back into the same positions on reassembly.

These are units built by Murray and sold through Sears. I've had good luck overall finding parts and using them. With parts though, check other brands as many parts were using on multiple brands of snowblowers. Also things like bearings and bushings are available via bearing suppliers etc.

Over all, very solid, strong performing units. Not without their issues, but overall minor compared to their performance. Hope that helps if you're looking at one.

Paul
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:47 PM   #2
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Default

Thanks for the rightup Paul!

Hopefully your review can be helpful to others who are in the market for snowblowers.

Thanks again for sharing!
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:42 PM   #3
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Default Typos

Wayne

Happened to notice a couple of typos, most are one letter here or there but the transmission info though correct may be confusing. The transmissions in the various snowblowers are physically the same dimensions, it's the number of gears, shifter, pulley size and how they mount in the chassis that's different between them. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they interchanged betweem the 4 hp and the 7 hp.

Wait till you hear/see what I picked up tonight. I still have to go through it but here's a tease for now: 10/32 Drift Buster, built like a tank, weighs a ton, electric start and got it for a bottom feeder price.

Paul

Last edited by HCBPH; 03-16-2011 at 10:43 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:06 AM   #4
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Drift buster. Sounds like one of those 2.5 stage Craftsman ones. Not quite a snow shark, but close.
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:58 AM   #5
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Default Give that man a cigar!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shryp View Post
Drift buster. Sounds like one of those 2.5 stage Craftsman ones. Not quite a snow shark, but close.
Didn't have alot of time to look at it last night but being I had planned to buy it for a parts machine that was ok. Wanted an electric starter, got the starter for about 1/2 what they go for around here used and it came with a snowblower attached. Guy I got it from said there was a drive issue, sure was: the control cable had come unhooked. Did a quick once over on it, other than some faded paint and paint chips, the control cable unhooked and the chute cable being rusted stuck, the rest of it looks to be in great condition. In fact it looks to be in better shape than the 7 HP was when I got it, I'm finishing off rebuilding the 7 HP now and all I need is a few small pieces.
After getting this one home, I'm not sure I'm going to steal any parts off it, rather rebuild it and sell it come fall. Unless I change the auger assembly with the one from the 536.882600 parts machine I have, this one has a 32" auger on it and it's too wide for my garage door or backyard gate. I don't know how I'd get it to the alley or out front without some changes.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:48 PM   #6
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Default It's running - 10 HP 3 Stage

Got it running as of today. Cleaned the valves, rebuilt the carb, fixed the control cables. Pulled the gears, axels, pulleys, flywheel cover & chute etc and cleaned them up and painted them with Rustolium paint. Switched out a few parts with some from a parts chassis I have that were in better shape.

Here it is as I got it, haven't taken any pictures since getting it running, just looks a little better.





Don't think I'll have a chance to use it this year, but when the time comes it'll be ready.

Last edited by HCBPH; 03-26-2011 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:28 PM   #7
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Default transmission

That drift breaker looks exactly like mine only in better shape! I just joined this forum because the bushing is worn out in the transmission (aluminum housing, friction disk on one end and pulley on the other). I wasn't going to post yet until I had all my info on the blower with me but I saw your pics and felt I had to reply.
I really should get rid of the thing but the engine is in great shape, it just won't die. I go through a lot of belts, partly because the transmission shaft has been so loose it wobbles alot. Now with this storm just passing through with 15" of wet snow, I just can't get it to keep a belt on it.

Do you have a transmission for sale? do you know anyone who does? Do you know how I could repair this issue myself if I can't get a part?

btw, I have the manual and parts list for this model.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:10 AM   #8
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Default Transmission issues

Jengele

These blowers have a transmission similar to this:

While it sounds like yours has something more on the order of this:


They aren't interchangable unfortunately.
I suspect you can get parts for your machine. Assuming it's a 536 prefix s/n with a friction disc, it's likely a AYP designed machine especially if internally it looks alot like these

If it's true and has a 6" friction disc, if you need one (friction Disc) check out using a Toro. Open the center hole up and you'll need to drill new mounting holes. Most bushings and wear parts are still available through parts resellers. Hope that helps.

You might want to take a look at this thread:
Alternate and Substitute Parts
I've listed some of the interchangable and alternate parts I've found while fixing up several snowblowers this year. Might help you out on your search. If you machine is basically sound and has a good motor, it's definitely worth considering fixing. IMO the older ones are better built, may not have all the whistles and bells the new ones do but are planning on listening to a radio or moving snow? Couldn't pass that up :-)

Last edited by HCBPH; 11-02-2011 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:06 PM   #9
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Default transmission issues

It does look a lot like the bottom two photos you posted (I will post photos myself as soon as I can, I've jumped in here without being prepared) except!... Mine has an aluminum housing that (if I recall correctly) contains the shaft (the one that is wobbly) for the pulley and friction disk in one plane and the drive axle for the wheels in the other plane. (again, the power has been out, our cable and internet has been down, I'm posting from work so I apologize for not having all pertinent info at hand). From the photo it looks like mine but the aluminum housing has been replaced with a homemade welded unit, does that look like it to you too, or do you think that it is a stock part we're looking at?

I've never taken one apart before, I'd like to do it myself, can I get directions and help from this forum?
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:22 PM   #10
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Here is a good place to start:
donyboy73's Channel - YouTube

Search for auger. I know he has MTD videos. They are all basically the same.

If nothing else the videos will give you an idea of what to expect and what is required to fix it yourself.
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