Sears LCT Stormforce worked, didn't, and works again. Worried. - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-03-2016, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Sears LCT Stormforce worked, didn't, and works again. Worried.

I have a Sears Craftsman 944.520621 snowblower. It's about six or seven years old. It is a 12.9 HP, 291 cc, 24" cut with the Stormforce LCT engine. (First gen Chinese I believe)

I recently replaced the friction wheel on the unit. We had a snow fall of about 6" of heavy, wet snow last weekend. The snowblower worked superbly, stalling out occasionally when I hit some real heavy stuff and tried going too fast. I spent about an hour with the machine.

Following this I turned it off to clean the side entrance of my house by hand. When I finished that I attempted to start the snowblower to clear the displaced snow out, but it seemed to be seized when I pulled on the recoil starter cord.

I got on the internet and looked around. I pulled the spark plug and took off the recoil starter cord and slowly cranked the engine by hand to see of there was anything in the cylinder. It seemed dry, and I could see the piston moving up and down in the cylinder. I changed the oil during the summer as part of my prep for winter, and put in a new plug. I changed the oil again once I hand cranked the engine, just in case. I tried to pull start it, but the cord only came out a few inches and the engine was seized again. I figured it was dead and resigned myself to selling it for parts.

Yesterday I went out to drain the gas before getting rid of it and decided to try one more time to fire it up. So, out came the spark plug, off came the recoil starter, and I started turning it by hand. I felt something while turning it - but eventually I was able to turn it in either direction. I popped the plug back in, used the electric starter while keeping the recoil starter off, and it started!! I ran it for about 10 minutes then completely reassembled it and let it run for the remainder of an hour - clearing some snow out of the back yard that had sat all winter as a bit of a stress test.

So, I'm a little concerned that there was something crunchy in there that seemed to come loose and allow the engine to run correctly. Any thoughts, or just let it run until it dies?

TL;DR - thought snowblower was dead because it wouldn't crank. magically started cranking again with some crunchy feeling while manually cranking. worry or not?
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-03-2016, 09:41 AM
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It sounds like the recoil just got jammed or may be an ice chunk around the belts if you were able to turn the engine by hand

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post #3 of 7 Old 02-03-2016, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Hopefully the ice chunk - I checked the recoil itself when I took it off initially and it operated smoothly. (left that out, sorry) The electric start still wouldn't start at that time.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-03-2016, 10:46 AM
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I had to remove my tin foil hat to think this far out but maybe a critter nest in the intake. Some stout twigs got sucked in ??

You've got all summer to fire it up a couple times a week or for that matter just pull it over a few times with the ignition off. You're only checking to see if it jams again.

You might try changing oil with a keen eye out for any grit or parts pieces that might come out.

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post #5 of 7 Old 02-03-2016, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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I had to remove my tin foil hat to think this far out but maybe a critter nest in the intake. Some stout twigs got sucked in ??

You've got all summer to fire it up a couple times a week or for that matter just pull it over a few times with the ignition off. You're only checking to see if it jams again.

You might try changing oil with a keen eye out for any grit or parts pieces that might come out.
I had been running it one hour every month through the year on the 1st. (was told to do this - just found out yesterday I should let it run dry so no old gas sitting in it). Where is the intake specifically on these units? Should I do some Seafoam perhaps? Maybe some carbon build up in the cylinder/valves? It ran smoke free when I did run it - the occasional little chug while running, but nothing really out of the ordinary for a lawn engine.
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-04-2016, 08:01 PM
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Everyone knows that monthly running sessions should be done on the 30th, not the 1st

Kidding, of course. Running it every month won't cause any harm, but I'd say it's probably overkill. Buy fresh fuel and add fuel stabilizer (I use Marine Sta-Bil). Since you're in Canada, buy ethanol-free gas if possible, sounds like some premium there is ethanol-free. Start using that near the end of the season, so you have stabilized gas in it during the summer.

I add stabilizer to my (with-ethanol) gas every time I buy gas. It's cheap enough that to me, it's worth doing every time. Close the fuel shutoff and run the carb dry at least at the end of the season, and I do it that way every time I shut the engine down (doesn't hurt anything).

Just a thought, if you're running the engine for an hour in the summer, I hope it's not windy and dusty during that time. Snowblower engines don't have air filters, since their typical environment really has no dust, and therefore doesn't require them. But summer can be different, especially if you're mowing a dry lawn next to the idling snowblower.

Seafoam can be good stuff, but I personally doubt it would help with something that may be sticking/jamming inside the engine. The suggestion of changing the oil and looking for anything weird in the drained oil is a good one.

If the recoil housing was removed, so you eliminated the possibility of something stuck in there, and you still felt something jamming, that's disconcerting. I'd be a bit skeptical of ice under the belt cover jamming something, since the pulleys are round and smooth. It seems like there wouldn't be a lot for ice to jam against.

The intake is probably under a shroud, near the choke/throttle controls on the engine.

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post #7 of 7 Old 02-09-2016, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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I changed the plug, drained out the old gas and added new supreme, and changed for new 5W30 high mileage synthetic. Lubed the auger, impeller and chute.

Ran it this morning for a good hour and a half through 18 inches of snow. Only stalled twice when I went too fast and it started to bog. Like last time I turned it off to work on my hand shovelling and this time it did run for a few minutes after starting. Then it died. I tried recoil starting it and it seized up. I took it in the shed, and once it cooled I took the plug out and removed the recoil starter.

The plug was dry, but the engine was stuck. I kept at it with a ratchet and it broke free. I notice that just before total bottom and just coming out of total bottom position is when it sticks. I took a video to show the stiffness and sound. I tried to get a shot inside the cylinder but it's not that good.

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