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post #1 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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New to snowblowers and have questions

Hello! Recently picked up a fairly old and beat up snowblower for $5 from my boss; model # 536.886540. I cleaned out the carb, got rid of a rat's nest in the bottom of it and got it running off the electric start (pull cord is snapped). I don't know anything about snowblowers, so I was hoping someone could help me out here.

1)How capable should this model be at clearing a paved driveway? It currently shoots 3" snow-fall about a foot away from the chute, and I'm not sure if that is typical of this model or not.

2)The auger belt appears to be fairly worn (assuming this is the cause for question 1), but the nearest Sears that carries the belt is in the next state. Are all belts created equal as long as I get a similar length/width/type belt, or am I better off ordering the belt online?

3)This model apparently uses shear bolts with spacers, but I can't seem to find replacements when looking online. Am I able to convert to pins, or is anyone able to point me to the correct replacements?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated! I figure if this snowblower does turn out to be junk, then I won't be too hurt over the $5 loss.
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post #2 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 03:17 PM
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I'm not an expert on Craftsman machines, but I don't think there's ever been a snowblower made that will throw snow only a foot when operating properly! That's as long as it's actually snow and not slush. The worst machine I've ever seen would throw heavy wet snow at least 8 feet... the best will do well over 5 times that distance.

And the belt does seem like a likely cause for the poor performance. Many people here will tell you you should get the "right" belt for the machine, as belts vary quite a bit in quality and belts made for OPE (outdoor power equipment) can have some differences from ones made for cars or air compressors or whatever. So the best approach definitely would be to order online from Sears. However I will say I've had pretty good luck in the past getting belts from my FLAPS (friendly local auto-parts store).

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post #3 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 03:18 PM
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I find it rather amusing that your boss had the nerve to charge you $5, instead of just giving it to you, but that is another story !

Yes, a new belt should improve the throwing distance. Look for a fairly high quality replacement belt on EBay or an Automotive store - tell them your application.

You can also increase distance by installing an impeller seal - try searching this forum for a description, and YouTube for some visual proof of the before/after results.

Where do you live, and home much snow do you get ? A picture of the machine would interest most members.
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post #4 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 03:40 PM
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Very likely the belt is your problem.

You don't have to get a Craftsman brand belt.

If you have the manual, check the belt number in it, write it down and bring it to an automotive or outdoors equipment retailer, they should be able to find a compatible model. Or search online. If you don't have the manual, you can find it online too searching with your model #.

Either way, you could very well end up with a "brand x" belt and on its packaging, you'll read "compatible with Craftsman <your belt number>"
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post #5 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses! I'll look into getting a belt from the auto parts store.

I live in northern Vermont, so sometimes we get a couple inches and sometimes we can get over a foot.

I've attached a picture of the snowblower. I'm pretty sure it has been repainted a few times, but all the controls seem to still work.
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 06:03 PM
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Make sure the new belt is rated for heavy duty clutching applications. Those are usually colored and can be blue, red or green. The basic black once are usually cheaper belts. A good one will say it is reinforced with kevlar or arimid cords. If you have a Tractor Supply Company, a Rural King or some other kind of farm store close by those are good options as well.

For 3" of snow a lot of blowers don't work too well. You will get the best distance with a full bucket.

Getting the engine to 3600 RPM will also help. Sometimes they run slower. If you get it too high though the engine will blow up on you.

Please direct all snow blower questions to the forums and not to me with PMs.

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post #7 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 07:17 PM
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I looked to see but can't find that model #. Maybe it's me but check the number, may be a Murray. Craftsman doesn't make its own products it contracts with manufacturers. My Craftsman for instance is an MTD. Once you can cross reference the model you can get parts much cheaper than through Sears. You can get the part number (eg shear pin) and get it from Amazon or Jack's etc.

Many parts are used on multiple machines so that makes availability and $ better.
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post #8 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 07:30 PM
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$5.00 well spent. Looks like it is in decent shape.
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post #9 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shryp View Post
For 3" of snow a lot of blowers don't work too well. You will get the best distance with a full bucket.
Just to elaborate on this slightly. With small amounts (1-2", etc) of snow, 2-stage machines often struggle a bit. They aren't getting enough snow to keep the impeller properly fed, so they don't throw as far as they can.

One way to help with this is to use a faster ground speed, to help feed enough snow into the impeller. If it's not throwing far, but the engine isn't slowing down, try using a higher speed.

This assumes your belt isn't slipping, of course. Are you hearing squealing noises (or similar) when putting it into snow, especially deeper snow? If you're hearing a screeching noise in deeper snow, for instance, that would be consistent with a slipping belt.

And absolutely, that's a great addition for $5! Can't beat the price, even if it needs a little attention.

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post #10 of 16 Old 02-05-2018, 07:51 PM
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nice boss....not. $5, cmon. at a garage sale i get it but from someone you know?
industrial belts should be fine, got mine at carquest @~$11
check for play from impeller/auger shaft, grab auger shaft or pulley and see if it moves up and down as it should not. if yes u need new bearing.
w/auger belt removed spin impeller, does auger move accordingly. w/belt on, spark plug boot off, auger lever engaged, turn motor. does impleller/auger turn.
pics/vids of inside would be good if these tests failed

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Last edited by vinnycom; 02-05-2018 at 07:53 PM.
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