Rookie Mistake - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Rookie Mistake

As I've stated once before, I finally broke down this year and bought my first snowblower. Between the manual and the great advice here, I'm trying to do all the right things so that she works great and will last a long time.

We've been hit hard here in Maine thus far; ice storms, frigid temps (-16.2 at 6:30 this morning), and over 2-1/2 feet of snow thus far.

After each use I take great care in letting her cool down for a few minutes at a slower idle, all while gently brooming her clean of snow/water on the outside. When I shut her down, I usually try to broom out (hands never enter inside) any snow in and around the auger & housing. I also take a peek down the chute.

Rookie mistake alert!! Yesterday, when taking her out again to clear off an additional 6" that mother nature left us overnight, I started her up like I normally do & allowed her to warm up for a minute or two. BUT once I started going and went to engage the auger she died instanly. I review of the interior revealed that ice had formed around one of the impeller blades!! Can only assume the machine had melted remaining snow when she was still warm during the previous use and then froze up on me. I pulled off the spark plug wire, sprayed some de-icer on the ice, and was able to eventually clear her of ice with the scraper provided with the unit. Lucky for me, she started back up and worked fine. I hope there's no damage that was caused???????

Lessons-learned; I guess I run the auger a bit during the cool down stage to clear as much out as I can AND do a visual inspection before each use??

Thanks.

2014 Ariens Deluxe 28 - 921030
Coast of Maine, average snowfall is 62"
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 10:49 AM
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Icing the impeller is much easier to do withe newer units because the gap between the impeller and the housing is so small. What you did is very common. I have even done it once. The real lesson here is to always check for a frozen impeller even if you are sure you cleaned it well after the last use.
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 11:52 AM
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Most likely the only damage that can be caused is the belt getting a flat spot or burnt completely up. Now. A complete rookie would have just keep trying and trying till the belt was completely broken or beyond repair so I believe you graduated

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post #4 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 12:06 PM
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After im done using the snowblower, I shut it down completely, (turning off the engine)
*then* brush the snow off..getting into the bucket and impeller housing as best I can with the brush..
when it not running, you can really scrape a lot of snow loose..I also use a long stick, about 3/4" by 1.5" by 18"..(I think it might be a "1x2")
to get into the bucket and auger area..I *never* stick my hands in there, even when the engine is off..

then start it back up, engage the impellers and auger briefly, which spits all the loose stuff out, then put it back in the garage..

Scot


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Last edited by sscotsman; 01-04-2014 at 12:22 PM.
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 12:10 PM
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what's the best way to check if the impeller is froze?
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 12:27 PM
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Depending on the model, it should freewheel a bit when everything is disengaged..
some might be stiffer than others though, depending on how the belts work..
but on my '71 Ariens, the augers and impeller will spin by hand when the tractor and auger levers are in the "off" position..(with some mild force..they arent *really* loose, but I can move them.) I can take the "snow clean out stick" and give the impeller a shove, and it should move a bit..

test out your machine when you know its *not* frozen..then you will know how its supposed to act when its not frozen..then you can test to see if it is *is* frozen before you start it up..if it is frozen, it wont move at all...remember, use a stick! not your hands..

Scot


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post #7 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 12:35 PM
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I do not idle the motor to 'cool it down', since these are air cooled engines.
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 12:36 PM
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I usually clean it out a bit, then bang the bucket on the ground a couple times and engage the auger again to throw anything dislodged.
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 01:07 PM
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I have a big piece of cardboard that I put over the machine and leave a small heater in there for a couple hours. I usually keep it there 'till I see everything is clear and dry. I have to admit that I don't look in there real carefully before use. I just glancce a little to see if anything may have inadvertantly got placed in there. So far I've been very fortunate. No problems so far but I'll be checking from now on.

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post #10 of 17 Old 01-04-2014, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestminsterFJR View Post
I do not idle the motor to 'cool it down', since these are air cooled engines.
I dont either..no sense in that for a snowblower..
and for mowers, riding mowers and garden tractors, lowering the RPM to "cool down" is a BAD idea! because it actually creates the opposite of a cool down..it creates a heat-up! Air-cooled engines need to run at full RPM for proper cooling, and proper lubrication..running them at low RPM actually heats them up, reduces cooling, and reduces lubrication, to the point that could destroy the engine!

Our small gas engines are much happier at high/full rpm than they are at low rpm..

The only time low rpm is "good" is at initial startup..but then 5 to 10 seconds on "low" is enough..just enough to get the oil flowing..then crank them right up to full speed..

In the winter, on a snowblower, overheating isnt as big as a concern as it is for a summer lawnmower..but still, the same concepts apply.

I shut down my snowblower by moving the throttle from "full" down to "off"..which lowers the RPM until the engine is off..but its a 5 second slow down between full and off..No need to idle at "low" any more than that. and extended "low" idling (for several minutes or more) is generally a bad idea.

Scot


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