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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, snow gurus --

Newbie here, I've enjoyed reading (lurking) on some of your forums. Now I find that I have a problem with my much-loved Ariens ST26DLE.

I did a search of the Forum but it kept returning 'no results.' I find that hard to believe, so forgive me if this is a topic that everyone has seen/read about a hundred times.

I prepped it in October 2017 for the season and it ran just fine. I use ethanol-free gas only in all my yard gear.

Today when I started it up electrically, it immediately spewed oil out of the left side of the engine compartment. I quickly killed the blower and then stood around staring at the dirtied snow with my mouth hanging open. DOH.... I've never had the slightest problem with it.

I'm not an especially gifted wrench-turner, although I do a little bit on my motorcycles. I removed the lower black casing on the B&S engine and couldn't really see anything amiss. There is a black hose that seems to be just floating around, but I suspect that might be a breather hose.

Also, after reading some other posts here, I took a sniff of the dipstick -- and dang it, it *does* smell like gas. I looked like a freak because then I was sniffing my John Deere dipstick, then my two motos' dipsticks. They all just smell...oily. But the Ariens smells like a gas station. So -- gas in the crankcase, maybe? :crying:

If so, that's currently beyond my tech abilities, and I'll have to look for a repair shop.

Here's a link (I hope) to 4 photos on Imgur. The photos are out of order, I'm afraid.

Thanks for any advice!
 

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only seen/find one pic. idk the problem but if u can attach photos to post it be much better for future reference, very easy todo just make sure photos are max 1080p
 

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Welcome! Sorry to hear that. As I was reading, I was wondering about gas in the oil, raising the "oil" level too high.

Does it have a fuel shutoff valve? Typically, when you get gas in the oil, it's because the carburetor's needle valve isn't completely stopping the flow of fuel for some reason. As the machine sits around, the fuel overflows from the carburetor, runs through the intake, and into the cylinder. It then gets past the piston rings, and ends up down in the crankcase, with the oil.

If it's a slow leak, then you can close the fuel shutoff when you're done, and run the engine until it dies. This will use up the fuel that's in the carb, and also help stop any more from flowing to the carb between uses, as a short-term "fix".

If you need to use the machine, you first need to drain all of the "oil". The level is probably too high, which could cause the spraying. But also, gas is a bad lubricant, so if you kept running it with gas in the oil, you could cause engine damage. So, close the fuel shutoff if it has one, drain the oil completely, and fill it with fresh oil. When you need to use it, check the oil level, and see if it smells like gas. Hopefully not. Open the fuel shutoff, clear your snow, close the fuel shutoff, and run it until the engine dies. Next time, do the same routine.

This is a stop-gap, to try and let you use the machine if you need to, until you can get it fixed. It's likely that the carburetor needs to be cleaned, and maybe use a rebuild kit to allow replacing the needle-valve parts if needed. You could do this yourself, or take it somewhere.

And if you want to do it yourself, there are plenty of people here willing to help.
 

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Welcome to SBF!

Time to roll-up your sleeves b/c i see a carb rebuild in your future there Tracey! :)

Good job catching it in time and finding the "source" of the geyser.

RedOctobyr hit all of the keypoints. It could be the carb float as well...swamped w/ fuel or even stuck to the bottom of the float bowl.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi, RedOctobyr,

The fuel shutoff was closed when I first tried to start it today - so yes, I believe that I left it stored in the shutoff position. And when I ran it in October '17, it was fine. So I think I shut it down properly in January '17.

The blower was spraying oil today as though a line had separated, so I'm going to do an oil change as you recommended. One question, though: it's bitterly cold here for the next 4-5 days. I'm *not* going to use the blower during that time. Will it hurt it to sit with possible gas in the oil reservoir (if that's the right term) for those 4-5 days? Or should I just go ahead and drain the oil tomorrow, and refill it with fresh oil?

<sigh> OK, I'll confess: I'm a 63-year-old woman who just started riding motorcycles 3 years ago. With that came a certain degree of working on my bikes. I like doing my own maintenance...sort of. I like knowing how stuff works and fits together, but I'd rather just get out and use the blower/motorcycle. So yes, darn it, I will probably jump into a carb cleaning. But if I win this week's $550M lottery, then I won't. ;-)

Thanks for the great info, and to recap --- can I wait until it's a tad warmer to drain the oil? Or should I get on that right now? Not planning on using the blower at all until this issue is fixed.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, Classicat, standby for carb questions unless the Snowblower Fairy visits tonight and fixes my Ariens!
 

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Tracey, that's somewhat odd, then, to have gas in the oil, if you had the fuel line shut off during storage.

Before you drain the oil, how is the oil level? Is it above the Full mark? If not, then maybe the gas in the oil isn't the cause of your spraying. It's still Bad, and would need to be addressed, but if the level isn't over-filled, then it likely wouldn't explain the spraying.

It's fine to leave the gas in the oil if you're not running it, and it's just sitting around. No rush, drain it when you can.

Maybe someone more familiar with your engine can confirm whether the rubber tube from the OHV valve cover is the breather tube. I had a generator with a rubber tube coming from the valve cover, I believe it went over to the air intake, behind the air filter. But I don't know if that tube was the same function as the breather tubes I'm familiar with on my Tecumseh snowblower engines (those tubes are open to the atmosphere, they just aim at the ground, only 1 end connects to the engine). Trying to think it through quickly, you may be able to accomplish the same breather function with a tube mounted on the valve cover.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, RedOct, I'll wait for a few days before trying to change the oil.

OK, newbie question -- When I check the oil level, do I seat the dipstick fully into the engine or no? Reason I ask, one of my motorcycles is emphatic about *not* screwing the dipstick back into the case to check the level.

Am working on trying to post the photos.

Thanks!
 

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I don't know, sorry. As you alluded to, it can vary. The best bet is to check your manual.

If you were just curious, as a start, I'd say screw the dipstick in. That would show the highest-possible level. If you did that, and it still wasn't above Full, then that would be interesting.

But unless someone who knows that engine can chime in, I'd say take a look in the manual, and follow whatever they say. With your model and serial number, you can download manuals from Ariens for free, if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Uh-oh, I did it wrong -- they're small thumbnails. I believe they'll show OK when clicked on -- they are also out of order! sorry for the ineptitude.

From top to bottom - black casing that I partially removed to peer inside; oil sprayed onto the snow; inside of the compartment just aft of the spark arrestor; the mysterious 'breather hose', perhaps?

Any tips on posting would be appreciated, too. I read the FAQ and still didn't do it right.

casing.jpg

Oil everywhere.jpg

Inside.jpg

breather hose?.jpg
 

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I've seen many fuel shutoffs not work, even a new one. And if your carb is level with the port into the engine and had a float problem, fuel could definitely seep in and fill the crankcase. On the old Tec engines, the intake port is 3 inches above so fuel would just pour out the carb.
 

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I agree that the fuel shutoff is not working properly and the fuel overfilled the crankcase and it just blew out of the breather assembly. Can you unhook the fuel supply line running into the carb and put it in a piece of larger tub running down into a glass jar? Leave your fuel lever in the OFF position and see what you get in that jar after a week or two. The needle/seat also probably has a bit of dirt preventing it from fully seating so a combination of things.

Most dipsticks need to be screwed in and seated EXCEPT for Honda (assuming you have a Honda bike) which specifically just is wiped down and seated against the hole without screwing it in.
 

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Good idea with testing the fuel shutoff. You could even try to do just do this briefly, while sorting out the problem. Or it it's the off-season, sure, give it a while to drain into the jar.

The fuel-shutoff valve shouldn't even be needed to prevent this problem. To get fuel in the crankcase, with a closed fuel-shutoff, the shutoff needs to be leaking, *and* the needle valve in the carb needs to be leaking. Or, as classiccat said, there needs to be some sort of problem with the float in the carb. But you usually need a combination of two problems to get fuel in the crankcase in this situation. Hopefully it's just bad luck, and fairly-easily resolved.

A little more evaluation of the problem will help figure out a path forward. Like checking the oil level, checking for leaks through the fuel shutoff, etc. If the carb is part of the problem, it can likely be disassembled and cleaned/repaired.

But if that's something you'd rather not get into, you might be able to just buy a replacement carb and shutoff for less than the cost of taking it to a shop. It depends on what you're willing to spend, and how much of the work you're interested in trying yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well, I'm so embarrassed. I realized today that I have never, ever used the fuel shutoff on my snow blower. I am an idiot -- I was always putting the throttle control to stop. Why the heck I never thought to swing the red Fuel switch down, I don't know. <sigh>

Hokay, so I did this to myself. I'm picking up the pieces of my shattered life and moving on. LOL

I drained the fluid out of the oil reservoir today -- 1/2 gallon of gas and oil. Toward the bottom of the drain pan, I could see metallic flakes. Hooboy, peachy.

Refilled the oil case with a quart of 5W-30 synthetic and the oil level is perfect now. I expect to change out the oil again to try and get any residual gas out.

Took the blower outside and tried to start it electrically -- no go. It made a terrible buzzing noise. The pull cord was locked and wouldn't budge, either.

Started Googling and found a post on reddit with a link to a YT video:

(Grr, sorry, trying to embed the link rather than having the video display.)

My Ariens is making exactly the same noise. I suspect it's a bad starter, but I'm not sure why it would go bad all of a sudden.

Thank you all for your input and advice. You were spot on about the gas in the oil case! And I learned a BIG lesson.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dhazelton,

I'd like to give this a try! Thanks for the guidance. Great idea to see if there's a leak.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi again, Red --

But if that's something you'd rather not get into, you might be able to just buy a replacement carb and shutoff for less than the cost of taking it to a shop. It depends on what you're willing to spend, and how much of the work you're interested in trying yourself.

I'd like to take a shot and fixing this myself, actually. Taking it to a repair shop is always an option. So I'd like to try it first and save the $200 repair as a last resort. :)

Y'all have been very helpful, thanks, guys!
 

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I'm glad you're at least learning more about the machine's situation, at least.

It may have liquid gas in the cylinder, making it difficult to turn over. The liquid gas won't compress, unlike air, so the piston doesn't want to move. Remove the spark plug, and try pulling the starter cord. If it now turns, then pull it quickly several times. Watch out for the gas that might come splashing out of the spark plug hole.

Then reinstall the plug, and try starting it. When done, close the fuel shutoff, and run the engine until it dies. This will get the fuel out of the carburetor. *Then* lower the throttle lever to the Off position. Even if it won't start, close the fuel shutoff before putting it away.

Then let us know what you find.
 
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