Toro 518ZE Won't stay running for more than a minute or two. - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 21 Old 02-25-2018, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Toro 518ZE Won't stay running for more than a minute or two.

Hello Everyone!

First time poster and snowblower owner. I bought a house back in June and after a few good snowfalls here in MN with just a shovel, I decided it was time to buy a snowblower. I was going to wait and buy one end of season on sale but made an impulse purchase a few days ago.

I bought what I believe to be a customer returned Toro power clear 518ZE at a wholesale shop for half off retail. It had gas and oil in it but looks like it never saw snow. The paddles and chute were brand new with no wear and the whole unit looked fresh out of the box. I assumed it was a return because that's what this particular store sells and it already had gas in it.

I knew there would probably be something wrong with it but should be repairable.

It has a small 99cc engine I assume made by Toro. I topped off the tank and it fired on the second pull. It will do the following almost exactly the same every time it starts.

After it starts it will run with the choke on, as move the choke lever off it revs up and runs well, after about 30 seconds it will seem to start to miss occasionally but still run. In about another 30 seconds it will surge and miss more often then eventually die. To troubleshoot I tried moving the choke on while it is dying and that extends the run for a few seconds. Also it will run a bit longer if I pump the primer button while it's starting to die.

My troubleshooting makes me think it's a fuel delivery issue so I have done the following with no change in result. I did a fuel cap venting test by filling the tank full, removing the fuel line from the carburetor and letting it drain into a container. The fuel came out in a steady stream until the tank was almost empty then slowed down of course toward the end.

I have removed the carb now 3 times, the first two just to spray cleaner in whatever holes I could see from the outside, and the third time removing the bowl and unscrewing a venturi looking screw and again spraying off anything I could see. Could a carb have an issue right out of the box? I assume the original owner returned the snowblower after having this same issue, hence the machine never seeing any snow.

Everyone on this forum seems very helpful so I thought I would sign up here and see where I should look next. Thanks in advance!

Victor
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-25-2018, 10:29 PM
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Yes, initial defects are possible. Have you checked the float and it's needle? That's about the only thing between the fuel line and the jets, and it sure sounds like the fuel level in the bowl is getting lower and lower making it leaner and leaner until it dies . . .
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post #3 of 21 Old 02-25-2018, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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When I pulled the bowl off of the carb, I checked that the float moved freely but nothing else. How would I go about checking the needle attached to the float? Remove the pin to the float and pull the whole assembly out?
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-25-2018, 11:37 PM
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Just guesses on my part, but it could be that there was some foulup during initial assembly of the carburetor at the factory that allowed a contaminant into the system. It could be a piece of an insect, a small flake of metal (from the machining of the carburetor body), a piece of gasket, or something similar, that is trapped in one of the various sections of the carb near an orifice. And as the system runs, the contaminant floats with the fuel down to the orifice and then seats against the orifice and blocks fuel flow until the engine stalls and the flow stops, then the contaminant is free to float away from the orifice, allowing the engine to be restarted.
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post #5 of 21 Old 02-26-2018, 12:10 AM
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post #6 of 21 Old 02-26-2018, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Yes my carb is like the one in the photo. I removed the jet in the side of the stalk and cleaned it, but it already looked clear. It has the brass slotted screw in the middle but I didn't have a screwdriver big enough yet narrow enough to get all the way up there. The one I tried with tonight was too small and started to strip the center of the slot so I stopped and just sprayed cleaner up that hole from the bottom. I will get a different screwdriver tomorrow and try again.

As for the float, that is what I was suspecting since the run times are ending it seems at a very consistent time. Every time I removed the carb the bowl had fuel in it however it could be refilling too slow. Come to think of it, it is almost impossible to restart the engine right away. It will take a few tries with the electric starter before it fires which could be the time it takes for the bowl to fill up again. I will tear back into the carb tomorrow.

Thanks for all the help so far!
Victor
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post #7 of 21 Old 02-26-2018, 09:04 AM
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post #8 of 21 Old 02-26-2018, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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I worked on the carb today and made videos of how it drains out of the bowl drain bolt, and of the machine running. It still dies in the same way at the moment. I this time went through the whole carb as you suggested. I did not see a seat for the needle attached to the float to seat in but I did notice the tip of the needle was made of rubber so I assume that does the same thing.

I will upload the videos when I am home a bit later. For now I am off to the store to buy a new spark plug. When I pulled the boot off I noticed the white part (insulator I think) is cracked on both sides. Not the part in the engine by the tip but the part that sits under the boot. I did not have the right spark plug socket so I am off to buy that and a new plug now.

Can the plug be arcing and causing the occasional miss that gets worse as it heats up then eventually dies?

Victor
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post #9 of 21 Old 02-26-2018, 03:22 PM
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post #10 of 21 Old 02-26-2018, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for all your help! I replaced the cracked spark plug and she runs beautifully! I cleared the walkway to my front door without a stutter.

I was dumb not to start at the spark plug but I am glad it happened the way it did. All it cost me to go down that route was a can of carb cleaner and one new screwdriver but I learned so much! I have never taken a carb apart, but with the four different times I did along with your help and YouTube I feel confidant working on a project like this again. I probably will have to since as a new homeowner who has never owned a lawnmower before last summer I put it away with gas and all! Now I know not to do that but I also know how to fix my error.

All in all I got this new Toro machine for $199.50 plus 5.99 for a new spark plug. It's only a single stage machine but I have a small driveway so I am happy.

Thanks again,
Victor
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