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post #1 of 8 Old 03-23-2016, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds

Well, since I finally got the snowblowers finished I figured I would post a info and pictures thread.

First off we have a 1999 vintage Yard Machines 4.75hp 21" 2-cycle Tecuseh HSK850 powered single stage. This was the first snowblower I ever purchased, picked it up in 2012 from a guy that flips snowblowers. He didn't do much except to cover up some rust, removed the working starter to make more money and adjust the scrapper bar so that the worn augers would make contact with the pavement. Once I got it I replaced the worn out paddle rubber, flipped the scrapper bar around to use the unused edge (original paddles were so far gone so that you couldn't use the good edge) and changed out the fuel for a known good mix. I used the snowblower like this, putting up with horrendous smell, until spring of 2015 when I picked up a Cub Cadet 1x 221LHP. This winter I lent it out for a few months and ended up taking it back when it was obviously abused (bottom edge by the scrapper bar was totally bent by someone ramming it into pavement expansion joints at far too fast a speed).

So, I did a complete tear-down and assessed the damage, figured it was a bit of bending back sheet metal and got the chassis back in working shape. Upon inspecting the engine it was obvious that the bottom of the crankcase wasn't sealed anymore, so I rectified that. I pulled the muffler and used a MAPP torch to clean it out (talk about the stink!). I checked inside the cylinder with the muffler off and it was near perfect internally. Compression test showed as at least 115-120psi with a few pulls of the cord. I rebuilt the carb entirely (including putting in the spec'd float spring that was missing), putting on a drainable bowl to make storage it easier. I also tightened up the choke so it doesn't dance around anymore. I also used new carb and muffler gaskets. For good measure I also put a new coil on it. The plug of choice was a NGK (runs soooo much better with it compared to a brand new spec'd Champion).

I sandblasted the chassis, had it powdercoated, then used Valspar gloss black implement paint to paint all the crevices to protect it from rusting.

The parts I ordered to redo it include a new belt, pulley, new style auger (without the paddle supports), bearings, scrapper bar, pull start handle, all stainless hardware and even got a smoking deal on a brand new in the box Tecumseh starter to replace the one that was taken off it before I purchased it.

Upon assembly I lubed every bolt that went through sheet metal, and all unfinished steel was lubed to prevent corrosion. The chute on the inside and where the chute retainers ride the chute snout was liberally lubricated as well. The chute turning handle was adjusted for minimal clearance and it works better than even my brand new Cub Cadet 221LHP. I considered trying to engineer some sort of chute lid vertical system, but decided against it since it is easy enough to reach over and adjust it if needed, especially because of the smaller size of this blower in general.

It starts on a single pull and I reset the RPMs so the engine produces about 5.5hp compared to the stock 4.75hp. It runs great, consistant and smokes only slightly with the choke on. Once the choke is off it doesn't smoke at all and the exhaust is no-where near as bad as it once was. You can definitely tell it is running much cleaner than before.

I adjusted the scrapper bar so the paddles barely touch the pavement, which should allow it to pull itself along just fine with minimal paddle wear.

As I promised here are pics:

1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020772.jpg

1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020771.jpg

1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020769.jpg

1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020768.jpg
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-23-2016, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, now onto rebuild #2...

This was originally a 1999 Craftsman 28" EZ-Steer 9hp Tecumseh l-head powered snowblower. It had the original design driveshaft with bushings, not roller bearings. It was well taken care of, as there was minimal rust, but it was fairly well worn out, both in the drivetrain (worn bushings/driveshaft/cables/springs), but also the 9hp engine was original with the emissions-style fixed carb that runs these engines so hot that the exhaust valve stretched and there was no valve clearance which caused a loss of power and the engine to backfire, spit and run improperly.

Since this was obviously well cared for and did it's job faithfully for 16 years, I figured I would do it justice and do a complete rebuild from top to bottom.

I planned things out, and I ended up spending more on this snowblower than it would have cost to buy a new model. But, considering it has all the bells and whistles, and since I added in some cool features, plus I hand-picked the best of the available parts (I will get to that more later) I figure I have a unit that is more powerful and will outlast anything else I would have bought new for what I spent.

So, as for new parts, I have all new bushings, bearings, washers, belts, chains, converted the original driveshaft to a complete needle bearing setup (including converting the end-bushings to needle bearings as well with high-load Torrington needle bearings), cables, all stainless hardware, new plastics where needed and even added in some new features.

One of the things I wanted was to get rid of the hand-crank chute control. The vertical chute control was easy and effective enough that stayed, but I did my research and found that MTD at one point did offer an electronic chute rotation for this model chassis. It used an aftermarket GM window motor, but alas you could not get the ring gear anymore (discontinued like 6 or 8 years ago). Well, wouldn't you know it, I found a ring gear with a chute on ebay, so I snapped it up, along with the main bracket. I was still able to buy the second smaller bracket and the bushing needed for it, along with the plastic cover. I sourced by own DPDT momentary switch with a rubber-weatherproofing cover and did up my own wiring. I also sourced an actual GM window motor so I have the most robust, long-term solution compared to aftermarket motors.

To use the chute I needed to increase the power output since the engine I had originally came with a 1.4 amp stator. So I did my research and settled on a 3-amp rated stator that actually puts out more than 6amps with a 3-magnet flywheel. It was rated to support a 12v SLA battery on a tractor, so for my use it leaves me the option of adding in a 12v SLA battery, switch and 12v starter for automatic self-contained engine starting if I feel the need to add it at a later date.

For the engine I picked up a brand new, never run 10hp generator long block. Mine was a dual-shaft engine, so I sourced a new crankshaft and PTO 2:1 camshaft, along with the higher compression head gasket used on the 11hp engines. I reused my crankcase cover since the bearings in it spec'd perfect (I did pick up a new crank bearing, "just in case" but never had to put it in and have it machined). I did have to drill and tap for a rear drain since the block only had the side drains from the factory, and I put on a new adjustable carb, new intake and exhaust gaskets, new muffler and bolts, new fuel tank cap, new fuel line, fuel filter and 90 degree fuel cutoff valve.

As to the chassis, well, I went a little overboard there... I was planning on sandblasting and powdercoating, but considering it would run me at least $120 or so just to get that done, and I was looking at doing the augers and impeller as well (all had minimal surface only rust) I looked into just sourcing a new housing and augers (I was interested if the new design was an improvement in performance, or if it was done only to save money on manufacturing). Well, I found a decent-enough deal on a new housing, so I splurged and ordered it. I planned originally on keeping everything the original Polo Green. Well, I got the housing in, just to find it was bent to ****. I could have worked it to get it back into shape, but not for the amount I spent on it, I expected it to be perfect.

I called up the supplier, explained what was up, was hoping since I have a parts hub in town I could just go swap it out. No dice. None of the Polo Green left anywhere. Well, they did have a Troy-Bilt red one (also known as MTD Red) in Minnesota they could get to me in a couple of days. So I opted for that. Then I inquired as to what kind of break I could get on a new set of augers (I still was intrigued by the new design) and decided on a set of those as well (only those came in black).

I get everything in and the housing is 99% perfect with one little ding on the upper edge corner. I fixed that in a couple of minutes and settled on doing an all-red build with black impeller, augers, brackets. So I order up a set of auger end caps (since they come in black) as well as the bracketry to reinforce the auger gearbox against the housing that is normally used on only the 42" tractor-mount units.

Well, I get all the parts in, finish cleaning everything up. I didn't need to redo the blower frame as it was perfect, so I painted that red (Valspar Troy-Bilt red is a PERFECT match). Painted the belly pan. Then I realized I already put zerk fittings into the original auger end-caps, so I decided to paint those red as well to match the housing. While I was prepping things I decided to check the original augers compared to the new ones. Come to find out the original augers are beefier, and they are a larger diameter, plus the original augers were in great shape. So I get a quote to have everything powdercoated, came in cheaper than I expected and headed out to the "do it yourself" sandblasting place to cleanup some parts.

Now, here is where I ended up blowing all budgets. Turns out the sandblasting took me almost 2 hours to sandblast the 28" housing, the 28" augers, the impeller and the 21" snowblower chassis. The original powdercoat was a major PITA to get off. Too bad MTD didn't prep the parts properly before powdercoating. What a waste.

At this point I was in deep already, as I won't make you all cry by telling you how much per minute I had to pay. But, I had everything done and at this point I needed to get everything powdercoated before it rusted, so I sucked it up and dropped the parts off to be powdercoated. I drop everything off and feel pretty good that they will do a quality job (same guys that machined the parts for my driveshaft needle bearings and everything turned out great).

Well, lets just say I didn't explicitly tell them the parts needed to be wiped down first because they JUST came from sandblasting, but it was obvious they didn't consider it and powdercoated the parts without doing that first. On the 21" chassis I got some bubbling and some streaking on other parts. Now they really did do a good job as the powdercoat is thick and adhered excellently, but I am still kinda bummed it wasn't "perfect". But, most of the parts you won't see and everything was protected.

So, I get everything home and then realize I need to decide something. Am I building an all-black 28" blower now, using the black original housing, or am I going to continue building the red/black one with the new housing? I decided on the red/black, so I boxed up the black housing in the box I received the red one in with some desiccant packets in the bag.

Now, I also needed to decide which set of augers, since they were both black. For the reasons mentioned prior I went with the original augers. I ended up shooting the augers and impeller with Valspar gloss black implement paint to protect all the nooks and crannies that powdercoating couldn't get into. Everything turned out great.

So I proceeded to build up the blower. It went pretty quick actually. Every bolt that went into sheet metal got protected with synthetic grease. All bolts/studs that weren't stainless got synthetic grease. The auger gearbox got built with Castrol synthetic 00 lube. The auger shafts got lubed the entire length before the augers went on. They also got greased internally before assembly. The auger end-caps got packed with grease before assembly and I pressurized them with grease via the zerk fittings before I was done.

This model still used two belts for the impeller/auger drive, so when it engages it is solid. I also used the new style wave washer with a new shoulder bolt and new pulley bracket (the new one was adjustable for belt wear) for the impeller/auger engagement.

I was going to put a torsion spring on the shifting mechanism to do positive gear engagement, but I didn't like the feel it gave once I put it in, so I removed it.

I mounted the chute control switch just to the left of the chute vertical control lever and it is spaced perfectly so I can just use the thumb on my left hand to control the chute either way while snowblowing. If I decide to add hand-warmers I will add a vertical switch for them on the right side and even have a perfect spot to the left of there if I want to add 12v electric start with a tractor start switch in the future.

About the only thing that isn't "new" is the control panel and levers, but those were in good shape. I did use a black plastic dye to re-dye the control panel front to look like new. It had a couple of small scratches and once I dyed it they are invisible. The top and sides were perfect and it all looks great.

I have the engine set at 3800 rpm right now and plan to leave full throttle there for now. I might mount the tach permanently between the chute lever and speed selector and then I can just choose the RPMs I want with the throttle, so leaving WOT a little high just gives me options on how I want to run it.

I will say, the headlight is VERY bright with this stator. When I actuate the chute motor it dims a little, but it is no big deal. If I go to a 12v start setup that would end up going away with an on-board SLA battery anyways.

Well, I think I covered everything here. The auger/impeller assembly spins VERY freely. A lot better than the new Cub Cadet 524SWE I have (I tried it when I redid the belts on that one).

Time for pics:

Last edited by DennisP; 03-24-2016 at 04:24 AM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-24-2016, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020761.jpg

1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020762.jpg

1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020763.jpg

1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020764.jpg

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post #4 of 8 Old 03-24-2016, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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Here are the two newer Cub Cadets:

1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020775.jpg

And the entire fleet, ready to go:

1999 vintage snowblower rebuilds-p1020774.jpg

I blame everyone else here that lives by the mantra that you can't never have too many snowblowers... It is contagious by association... That is my excuse...
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-24-2016, 06:59 AM
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nice job! too bad we didn't get to use our machines very much this year...

Current machines-
1978 Bolens 8/24 (Loncin 420cc engine upgrade)
1986 toro powershift 6/24 ( 212cc Predator upgrade)
1988 Simplicity 860 (Predator 301cc upgrade)
1995 Honda HS 621
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-24-2016, 08:29 AM
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They don't look vintage to me Dennis! ;>P Nice work!




I am deathly allergic to shovels!


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post #7 of 8 Old 03-24-2016, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Well, we got a good 2"+ of heavy wet snow, so I tried out the 21" single stage.

I must say it works just as well as the Cub Cadet 221LHP. Hard to tell if the 4-cycle 221LHP has more power than the 2-cycle, but I would expect it to be on-par with the higher RPMs and corresponding power increase of the amped up 2-cycle.

This was pretty thick stuff and it just powered right through it. The engine spits a little without load, but once it is into the stuff it sounds consistent. Throwing distance was more than adequate.

It did also pull itself along just fine, so the self-propelled aspect works great. It also has less vibrations than it had before the rebuild, so that was nice as well. This stuff was frozen on the pavement with slush/snow on top, so comparing it to the way it ran in similar conditions before the rebuild it is a night and day difference.

Now I have to decide what 2-cycle oil I will be ordering to try to get rid of the smell. I have read about Klotz, read that Stihl synthetic doesn't smoke but smells really bad, and that possibly some of the exotic racing 2-cycle oils are the best bet for no smell and no smoke.

But, I might add that it is great that there was no smoke at all while using the blower now.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-10-2016, 04:27 PM
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Incredible!!
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