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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1971 Ariens that I have used a couple times with no issues. Last week I tried to start it after a snow storm and it just wouldn't turn over. When pulling the pull starter sometimes the engine would try to turn over but then for some reason it would pull back on the starter rope which was still in my hand and I couldn't let go quick enough causing the engine to not turn over. Thinking it was an issue with the pull starter I took an identical pull starter off another Ariens I have and had the same issue. A couple times I noticed a flash and smoke coming from the carbutator. Here are the steps I followed to try to start it (the steps printed on the engine). Put the choke to full. Hold down black button while slowly pulling starter once. Try to start it with black button released. I seems to want to turn over after that but like I said it pulls back on the starter rope and fails to turn over. I also noticed it seems like it is closer to turning over at half choke position. The last couple times I got it to start and used it I had to very quickly flip the choke lever off or it would die right away. It is snowing right now and were supposed to have a lot of snow tomorrow so I would appreciate some troubleshooting steps I can try tomorrow. I have very little experience with these types of machines but I'm mechanically inclined and can follow directions. Any advice is greatly appreciated. If you need more details to better advise me let me know.
 

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Take the spark plug out and try shooting some quick start (ether) into the spark plug hole. Rescrew the spark plug in and connect the wire and give it a few pulls. Also, you might have residue in the carburetor. Try to unscrew the bolt at the bottom of the carb and clean out the carb as much as you can. Shoot some carb cleaner in every orifice you can get to. Use a thin wire to clean out the little orifice in the main jet. Try that first. If your gas gone bad and has water in it you should drain the entire system and get some fresh gas.
 

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1st off, what 1971 model number tractor and attachment do you own? Is it a 910954 or 910962 tractor with a 910995 attachment maybe (7HP 24"), or a 922002 with a 922003 attachment (4HP 20")?

My 71 at the moment is running fantastic. I've noticed if the temperature is above roughly 20 degrees, after the pre-start "priming" like you're doing, I need very little choke at all. Like you say, if I don't shut the choke off pretty quickly once it fires, it'll die.

Questions - do you...

a) have a fuel shutoff at the gas tank and is it open? Seems like common sense, yet I've forgotten it.
b) if you have a shutoff, do you actually shut off fuel after use or are you leaving it open? Hint: I close it always after use.
c) plenty of fuel in the tank, correct?
d) lastly (for a 10,000 series) make sure you are in neutral gear (you can physically move the machine around without having to pull on the clutch handle at the handlebars), and that you have the auger clutch handle and engine clutch both out before starting. That means on the attachment the "sno-throw clutch lever" is pointing forward (turned counter-clockwise) and the "lifting lever" is down.

On a 1971 22,000 series, the "lifting lever" is down.

I've forgotten these before...and it will be hard to pull on the starter rope with a cold blower if forgotten - and chances are you won't get enough force on it to get it to fire up. My way of remembering the settings are "neutral, down and out" before I ever pull on the rope.


If all of these are being done correct, my hunch is you may have a stuck float bowl. The rope kickback to me...for some reason I think maybe the attachment lever is on (lever is "up") and you're pulling against the attachment too.
 
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I had 4 lawnmowers that were kicking back, when the first did it, I thought it was the engine shear key, it wasn't, it was the fresh gas. I went to a different gas station, drained the gas, started right up, no problems.
 
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Is it the original Tecumseh Engine (points/magneto) or a newer (Electronic) ignition?

Regardless, with our simple ignitions, there are actually 2 sparks:
- top of the compression stroke (used for power)
- top of the exhaust stroke (wasted)

So if it’s not popping-off (weak spark? bad fuel?) at the top of the compression stroke, you may have residual fuel that ignites when the exhaust valve is open. will a double-pop cause the recoil to yank on your arm? I suppose it’s plausible.

Conventional kickback is often a symptom of bad timing.

If someone replaced the original engine with something more modern, it's likely electronic ignition (external coil) and you may have a sheared flywheel key throwing off your valve timing.

If it's the original tecumseh engine, it could be a number of things throwing off your ignition timing including a sheared flywheel key. The magneto (behind the flywheel) may have rotated changing your spark advance…supposed to be set at 0.080” before top-dead-center (BTDC). Is the points gap out of spec…that can also advance/retard the timing.

If it were my engine and the kickback persisted after addressing any fuel issues, I’d start with making sure she has a good spark and that the flywheel key is in good shape. Then dive into the points; clean-up the pitting and adjust the gap to spec. Just be careful removing the flywheel (no puller holes) and DO NOT loosen those magneto bolts; it will screw up your ignition timing.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
First of all I know it is a 910995 attachment with a 7hp engine. Secondly I did some reading last night about the kickback issue and some forum posts seem to suggest with this particular engine the timing could be off which would have to be caused by a bad flywheel key. I will try the other suggestions posted here first but if I need to look at the flywheel key is this difficult to get to? I have another Ariens model number 932006 with a 5hp engine that I could never get to start since I bought it. Does this engine by chance use the same key (I know the pull start is identical)? If not where can I purchase one? As far as the gas goes I ran all the old gas through the engine the first time I used the snowblower and replaced it with new higher octane ethanol free gas. I have never closed the fuel shutoff valve (Not even sure where it is located). Everything is in neutral when I attempt to start it. I read a suggestion in a forum post about how to possibly avoid kick back and that is to turn the ignition off (Not sure how to do this as this snowblower has no key unlike the other ariens I have) and pull the starter cord until resistance is felt which apparently puts the piston in a position where it is less likely to backfire then try to start it like normal. What are your thoughts on what I posted here? I appologize if it is total ignorance but the only knowledge I have about this machine is what I have read online. I will try the suggestions already posted here while I wait for a reply to this post.
 

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If it's the original engine, 7 hp, 910995 bucket - you probably have a 910962 tractor (I own the exact same machine, in my avatar). The tractor will have a square sticker just like what is on the 910995 - except near where the lower left handlebar attaches to the top of the frame in that corner. If that sticker is gone or faded, there will also be a stamp into the tractor frame with both the model # and serial #.

That also should mean you have a Tecumseh H70-130067 engine. The engine ID plate for that will be on the flywheel cover just above the tractor data.

If it has an original metal tank and (probably) shutoff valve, this is located under the tank where the fuel line attaches. The valve is metal with a turn knob at the bottom. If my memory is good, it'll turn clockwise to open, CCW to close (since it's upside down). You'll know it's open when the cap looks to be extending down some.

A newer version of this has a petcock valve looking shutoff...same principle as far as opening and closing. Either way, look to see what you got. I owned a 910965 (5HP version of our blower) that only had an elbow coming out of the tank with no shutoff valve, which I added an inline shutoff valve right where the hose comes off.

If you've never touched it before, and you're running it, whatever is there is obviously open.

The reason for shutting off the valve after use is fuel can still flow if the carb float/needle assembly sticks open, pouring fuel possibly into your engine and oil. What I do is when finished using the blower, I do not shut off the engine with the throttle. I close the fuel shutoff instead, allowing the engine to run all the gas out of the carb. That way very little fuel sits in the bowl when not in use nor will gas simply keep flowing down the fuel line if something with the float/needle occurs.

Otherwise, don't know what to tell ya. I simply try to "check off all simple possible causes first" in a no start situation. I had one machine just this week refuse to start, pull rope only, and yeah it was hard to pull the rope. I figured out it was getting fuel to the carb. The eventual result was a stuck closed needle and float in the carb. But to get that far...

a) did I have fuel flowing to the carb? yes
b) did I have spark? yes
c) did I have compression? yes

Since there was no other real reason for it to not run (it ran in December), it had to be the carb...and during disassembly, voila. The needle clip was turned off kilter somehow causing the float to not "float" - which meant the needle stayed seated - and therefore it was not allowing fuel into the bowl.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just went out and started it with few issues. I'll tell you what I did but first the tractor model number is 910008 and the engine number appears to be (though it is faded) h70 130158a. Anyways I first tried starting normally and it kicked back. Then I tried what I described in my last post which is pulling the starter slowly until I felt resistance. It then started with one pull. It backfired here and there but didn't seem to have any lack of power and it cleared the snow just fine. I then shut the engine off and it restarted after a couple pulls hot but I had to set the choke at half. I could be wrong but to me it looks like there is a timing issue which from what I have read indicates an issue with the flywheel key. If this is the case do I risk damaging the engine by running it in this condition? I want to fix this as soon as possible but I am busy until next week and there is more snow on the way. What do you guys think? Should I check the flywheel key first or could it be something else?
 

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btw 910008...1972-73 7 HP tractor. Effectively the same as a 910962 for 1971. It'd be a 1973 if the engine clutch lever is on the handlebars, and if the tractor clutch lever on the right handlebar is above the handlebar, not below.

Here's a good look at those years...

https://scotlawrence.github.io/ariens/Page5.html

 

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....It then started with one pull. It backfired here and there but didn't seem to have any lack of power and it cleared the snow just fine. I then shut the engine off and it restarted after a couple pulls hot but I had to set the choke at half. I could be wrong but to me it looks like there is a timing issue which from what I have read indicates an issue with the flywheel key. If this is the case do I risk damaging the engine by running it in this condition? I want to fix this as soon as possible but I am busy until next week and there is more snow on the way. What do you guys think? Should I check the flywheel key first or could it be something else?
I'm not familiar with that particular engine, but if there was a timing issue bad enough to damage the engine it is highly unlikely that it would run at all, let alone have enough power to clear any snow.

The easiest/cheapest fix is to try a different source of gasoline. Pour whatever you have in your car and get fresh gas from a different source and try that. Just because you bought gas last week doesn't mean that it's good gas. Sometimes even fresh gas has water in it unintentionally.

If that doesn't work I'd look at cleaning the jets in the carburetor since what you're experiencing is more likely a lean mixture rather than a timing issue.
 

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IF you suspect bad gas and it does not want to run in a simple carb blower , I certainly would not pour it into a complicated system of todays cars.
EFI,02 sensors, Cat conv. fuel pumps in gas tanks, and computers trying to readjust everything to make it run how it is supposed to , the computer dont know you put bad gas in it. And really I wouldnt put it in an old carb car either. Not worth it!!

New can / new gas. Take your old gas and shake it good , then pour some into a clear bottle let it set a couple days and see if you have water separation if so then freeze the gas if it is below freezing outside . pour gas through a paint strainer and if there is water it will be frozen and the strainer will remove the ice. then add a little dry gas and use it. Done this many times.

The above is only in case you don't have a big brush pile to dispose of.!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well the snowblower wouldn't start today so I took it to a guy who works on small engines. I tried for over an hour to get it to start and he started it on the second pull but it was running rough. He adjusted the carburetor screw and the idle screw until the engine ran smoothly. He checked everything else over for me (belt, ect.) and lubricated some spots that needed it. He told me the kickback I was getting is probably because the engine was rebuilt and has more compression. I took the snowblower home and started it a few hours later and it starts much easier and so far has no kickback. The engine still backfires a bit but runs smoother than it previously did. I'm wondering if cleaning the carburetor would be worth it to make it run a little smoother. The guy who worked on it for me also recommended using stabill 360 in my gas. We also noticed the fuel shutoff valve on the gas tank is dripping a bit. Is there an easy way to fix this?
 

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If you have a steel tank with a metal valve, they make replacement valves for them still. I got one at my Ariens dealer for something like $9. They are threaded, so it's a simple matter of unscrewing the old, replacing with the new.

I've heard there's a way to repair a leaky shut off valve too, but I've never done it before.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well we got 18 inches of snow last night and my snowblower wouldn't start and kept kicking back. It seems like it will start warm but not cold. I'm thinking having the snowblower in my van on the way to have it worked on yesterday warmed it up enough to make it start. I was talking to my neighbor today who is a retired mechanic and former tank mechanic in the army and the first thing he said is it sounds like the flywheel key is bad so I think that is my next step here. Is this a difficult thing to do and is there a step by step guide somewhere? Where can I find a replacement key? I have another Ariens with a 5hp engine on It? Is there any chance the key might be the same?
 

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Very rare for a Tecumseh to shear a key ...they are steel and very robust.....the popping out the exhaust may be the exhaust valve clearance being to tight. I would check valve clearance (TDC compression stroke) fix if too tight....and either get a new carb from e-bay or go through yours
 

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If this is the original motor , and someone rebuilt it already you have a few different possibilities of what could be going on.

1) possible sloppy flywheel key, partial sheared key.
2) point gap can and will affect timing on older engines ie; to close or to wide, I highly doubt that during reassembly of rebuild that they could have the timing out between cam and crank. however when the flywheel nut was installed if they did not hold the crank , but used the flywheel itself to lock and hold during tightening, then that could move ignition timing as well.
3) Inspect your flywheel carefully for any cracks.
4) and as previously stated valve clearances
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Took the snowblower over to my neighbors today who is an older guy and used to work on these engines for a living. He suspected a bad flywheel key but we checked it and it's fine. He checked the point gap and said that looks fine. Then he looked at the carburetor and said it looks fairly dirty. He wants to take it apart and clean it tomorrow. Are we on the right track here? Before I took it to my neighbors he suggested I replace the spark plug. He told me to get a J19LM spark plug but I forgot the model he told me and got a RCJ8Y because that was the same one in my machine. The old one by the way way pretty fouled up. I put the new one in and it didn't fix the problem. My neighbor was adamant about the J19LM plug and told me the RCJ8Y fouls up a lot easier. He is an older grumpy guy and tends to get agitated when I don't do exactly what he says but he seems to know his stuff so I'm trying to not let it get to me and try to learn some stuff from him lol. Anyways does what he told me about the spark plug and carburetor make sense to you guys?
 

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Rebuild the carb.

I own now 4 snowblowers, 5 lawn mowers, two trimmers. They're all older than at the very least 15 years. A few of them are near 50 now. Every time they wouldn't start, I cleaned/rebuilt the carb, solved all running issues.

I never changed a plug (never even pulled them), never checked points or flywheel key etc. Yes, changed fuel lines, cleaned out the gas tank on a few.

But every time, doing the carb solved all running issues. It's always the 1st place I start at.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Do you happen to know what size the fuel line is? Mine is old and cracked and I had to cut it off. How would I go about cleaning the fuel tank? Is there a video or some sort of guide somewhere on how to clean/rebuild the carburetor? My neighbor knows how but I don't want to look stupid tomorrow and if I can do this myself it would be better for him because he has back problems and can't stand or work on things for more than a short period of time. He can walk me through it though if I have any issues and he has all the special tools for working on small engines (pretty much all I have is little more than a socket set).
 
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