This evening at the end of my snowblowing session (a few minutes before I was done), I lost all traction. I finished the job pushing the blower.
I thought my traction belt snapped or was worn out as I could hear the friction disc making contact with the rubber wheel while engine was off, so the handle & spring were fine.
I removed the underside panel and saw the belt was fine, but found a bolt snapped in two parts. This bolt links the gear to the axle. Can I use any bolt or is it a special one like the auger safety bolts, designed to break at a certain point ? No clue from the manual.
You might want to check your manual for a parts breakdown. I have to agree that I don't think it's a sheer bolt but without more make\model info, it's purely a guess. Grade 3 or 5 bolt should do though in most cases I would speculate.
Manual simply mentions the size of the bolt (1/4-20x2.25").
I put in a spare bolt I had, but it's grade 0. Have not used it since.
I'll try and find some grade 3 or 5 today.
If you need it, use it. What's the worst that can happen - it's a soft bolt and breaks. To be honest, I'm surprised it broke in the first place unless something shocked the heck out of it like a jammed gear or chain. If that's happening then you want to find and correct that also.
On your replacement, just go to your local hardware store, tell them you need a 2.25" long 1/4" bolt, preferably with a self locking nut.
If they don't have one of those, set a lock washer and nut. Could even use a little Locktite blue on it to help a little more.
I doubt you'll ever need to touch it again unless there's something else going on with your machine.
I put in the right bolt and did a test, all good. I see no reason why the bolt snapped as nothing else was damaged, the chain is still on the gear, axle seems straight, etc...
I guess it's one of those things that happens. At least it's easy to fix and I now have a couple spare bolts.
Glad to hear it's fixed. And yes, sometimes things just happen for no reason or explanation. If you checked everything for alignment and interference and found nothing then I'd keep an eye on it but would not worry a lot on it.