Tecumseh HMSK80 running great to not running at all - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 40 Old 01-13-2017, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Tecumseh HMSK80 running great to not running at all

Four years ago I bought a used Snow King 883 to help a guy out. I didn't know much about blowers in general but this one looked good, seemed to run ok and was less expensive than similar units on Craigslist.
First snow season it fired right up but wouldn't throw snow, chute just constantly plugged up. Parked it in the garage, ran the carb out of fuel and paid the neighbor $20 to plow the drive.

Second season, same story except this time I parked it behind the house, drained the fuel and covered with a tarp and neighbor was now charging $30.

Third season, new house much much much longer driveway and against my better judgment I had brought the snow blower instead of pushing it off a cliff. Like Charley Brown believing this time Lucy wouldn't yank the football away, I tried the snow blower. Hard as heck to start, had to pull the spark plug and spray starting fluid directly into the cylinder but finally got it running but only with 1/2 to full choke to keep it running. Dove into the snow and to my shock and surprise snow went flying. I wasn't dressed for snow blowing but I was afraid to stop lest it never work again so I kept going. Woo Hoo! Worked great the rest of the season abet hard to start.

Season four. Changed the oil, cleaned and adjusted the carb filled the tank with non-ethanol premium. 6 primer pumps, full choke and started on the first pull and immediately wanted the choke open. White smoke for 10 seconds then cleared up and ran ok, little black smoke and slight rpm surge. Dove into 12" of wet snow and worked her hard for an entire tank of fuel. Refilled with fresh non-ethanol gas,restarted and now the trouble begins. Not running very well, more black smoke and not handling the load. Thought maybe the carb needed a little tweak, tried leaning out the mixture a bit then she died and wouldn't restart. Set mixture back to where it was and still no start. Would pop and maybe sputter for a second or two.
Back in the shop wouldn't start with throttle wide open but would start at idle and run for 30 seconds to a minute before dying. While idling attempts to throttle up caused engine to die. Pulled spark plug, it was wet and black. Cleaned plug and engine restarted, ran briefly, died and hasn't restarted since.
Spent some time reading these forums. Pulled carb, cleaned again and set for initial start up but no go. Checked spark-good and strong.
Decided to check compression and based on a video posted in another thread, got some base line ideas for compression readings with decompression system. In the video new engine was 60lbs, used engine 50lbs both dry.
My engine was 30lbs dry and 50lbs wet (5W-30). With oil in the cylinder the engine will fire and run for a few seconds.
Guessing low compression is the problem.
According to the DOM the engine is a 1995. I paid $400 for the blower and in my four years of ownership have used it a guesstimated 10 hours total.
Is it worth trying to repair the Tecumseh or just sell as is and cut my losses?
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post #2 of 40 Old 01-13-2017, 11:42 AM
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Those compression numbers are really low. The biggest contributor to tecumsehs with low compression is having out of spec valve lash. The valve works its way deeper and deeper into the seat then you end up with zero lash and compression leaks out the exhaust.

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post #3 of 40 Old 01-13-2017, 02:11 PM
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I agree on the compression being low and valve lash being a typical problem, but I tend to think that with compression improving that much by adding oil, the piston rings might be worn - or maybe it has both issues.

Also, low compression from the above causes won't make an engine go from running great to running awful overnight. With your engine having all the different "moods" you describe, I'm thinking carburetor issues.

To get the full story, you'll probably have to pull the engine apart and check some things. Measure the valve lash. Check the piston ring gap and if it's out of spec, check the bore. There's not much checking you can do on a carburetor, the easiest thing is to just toss a $25 Chinese replacement on there.

Or... look on Craigslist and see if you can find an engine in better condition that you can just bolt on and go...

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post #4 of 40 Old 01-13-2017, 05:26 PM
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GAfternoon Ristin, I got to the third paragraph and blew my soup through my nose......I'll finish up this comedy AFTER lunch, Thank You... OK, cleaned computer screen. Sounds like rings with those compression results, but if rings are weak, then valves will need to be done too. Where are you located?? I just bought a parts machine yesterday in MA for $60, with a sweet running 10hp Snow King. Engines by themselves are $100-$150 around here. If the machine throws snow that good (when it DOES Run), it may be worth getting a donor. Although, some here may recommend a Predator Transplant. I'm a purist and find it cheaper and easier to replace/rebuild what is there. GLuck, J
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post #5 of 40 Old 01-13-2017, 05:52 PM
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Compression readings are funky to read on L head snowblowers. Since it ran and blew I'd suspect the carb and fuel delivery. Nothing worse than "cleaning" a carb (I don't know what "you" mean by that, off the machine in a bath or ultrasonic, or a spritz up the the butt?), doesn't matter if you didn't start from the source gas supply. The lines on these degrade and will continue to drop crap into a perfect new carb until you fix the line and fuel source. I always start from fuel tank down and eliminate supply system failure first if you have spark ( does take time and lots of parts have to come off to accomplish). Then you can go on to the possible mechanical failure (likely the exhaust valve lash). Easy if you have a backup, terrible thing if it's the one and only. Sometimes the fastest fix is a new power supply. Nobody at the EOD with a plow truck coming hard left wants to hear their fuel system is dirty and should have been watched more closely. Sometimes getting a cheapo running one off CL is best bet and see if you really want to fix the old girl and continue with the old ergonomics. I like keeping the old girls running, but I keep backups because they only break when there's snow
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post #6 of 40 Old 01-13-2017, 06:03 PM
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The HMSK engines are well known for valve clearance issues. If you didn't see any blue smoke when the engine DID run, the rings should be ok and a simple valve job will cure the compression issue.

Now the carb sounds like it needs a thorough cleaning and rebuild....

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post #7 of 40 Old 01-13-2017, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by majorxlr8n View Post

Now the carb sounds like it needs a thorough cleaning and rebuild....

+1 on the carb clean(again) and rebuild.Get a bucket of carb cleaner at Wally World and soak that baby.

It's certainly a throw-away society we live in today.I never cease to be amazed at how quick people are to advise someone to toss out the OEM Tecumseh carb and just go and buy a $15 Chinese wonder.In the many years I've farted around with those Tecumseh snowblower carbs I've seen very few that couldn't be straightened out.I would buy a Chinese carb as a last resort and I haven't bought any yet.

Side note:I did a search on "Snow King 883" and came up with nothing.Is that an engine model or a blower model?

Last edited by Mike C.; 01-13-2017 at 10:08 PM.
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post #8 of 40 Old 01-13-2017, 10:43 PM
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I agree with jtclays,might be as simple as a degraded fuel line.You said the fuel line is at least 4 years old .
Valves don't go out of lash,unless you get the Tecumseh engine really hot.
You hardly used the blower,check over the fuel system first.
The plugging up of the chute was probably a belt issue.

Hope this helps.

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post #9 of 40 Old 01-14-2017, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Ian Ariens 924 View Post
Valves don't go out of lash,unless you get those Tecumseh engine really hot.
A snow engine running hot in sub 30 degree weather? Please elaborate.

I'll sit on the real reason why they go out of lash for now...
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post #10 of 40 Old 01-14-2017, 06:33 AM
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i have had many Tecumseh engines with lash problems on the exhaust valve.

clean the tank replace the fuel line and clean the carb again. if it still doesn't run well then look at the valves. With compression that low i suspect a lash problem with the exhaust valve.
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