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Craftsman II 8/27 C950-52318-3
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Discussion Starter #1
It’s nice to see build threads on this site. Like the 4x4 forums etc. So here we go. Though I guess this is more of a restoration thread.
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I was an Ariens fanboy for years but had to give it up because it was becoming an obsession. Haven’t had a snowblower in years. But I recently stumbled across a Craftsman 8/27 and now I have to revive it.

Found: Oct. 2 2020
Price: $0
Condition: Poor
Known Issues:
  • HMSK80 motor turns but does not run.
  • Every motor linkage stuck.
  • Transmission only shifts between 1, 2 and R1
  • Pull start frozen. (Electric starter sounds strong).
  • Oil is black and between hash marks.
  • Wrong spark plug (Thankfully this seems to be the only mod the PO has done)
  • Dry rotted tires. One holds air for about a week. The other for about a day.
  • Lots of surface rust but no holes.
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Goal:
  • Get back within factory spec and run it this winter.
  • Make mechanically perfect in spring 2021.
  • Full cosmetic restoration by winter 2021

The Process Begins
The first thing I did after inspection was hit all the mechanical links, springs and fasteners with WD40 to free things up. I removed the belly pan and dumped out a mouse’s nest. I hit everything in there except friction disks with WD. WD40 has a solvent as well as oil that will penetrate. But it’s not as aggressive as PB blaster. I let it sit and started my online searches for info on this model. Lots of info on Craftman/Murrays and C950’s. But not a lot on this particular model.

While it sat I pulled the carb and drained the gas/water from the line. The gas tank was empty and smelled terrible. I cleaned the carb quickly. Just enough to get the engine to catch. I still wasn’t sure if the Tecumseh was finished or if this machine was worth fixing.

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I couldn't pull the float pin out. I had to knock it out.

Initial Start
After getting everything moving including the speed selector I did the following:
  • Removed pull-start assembly and used compressed air to blow out rust flakes and debris around the flywheel. Soaked the area with WD40.
  • Pulled the spark plug. It was black but tip didn’t look so bad. The gap was correct at .030.
  • I turned the engine over by hand with the flywheel several times and expelled lots of muddy water out the exhaust and spark plug hole.
  • Hit the electric start until brown water was almost gone.
  • Ran a bit of gas through the fuel line to flush it before installing the carb.
  • Reinstalled plug and carb.
  • Added ~¼ litre of fresh gas and set full throttle and choke.
  • 3 primes on the bulb, hit the electric start. She cranked for about 5 secs and fired.
She spit more brown gunk all over the place (the muffler was now full of it) and ejected all the dead spiders and leaves from around the head. It took a few restarts and some playing with the throttle, choke and mixture but I eventually got her to run stable at half speed. Though any touch of the throttle and she’d hunt wildly and die. I had to make the call now. Do I rebuild the carb properly (replace seat, remove welch plugs etc.) or do I go the lazy route and find a new carb online. Either way I got a good enough sense that the engine is still strong. This whole machine seems to be a really nice construction and worth restoring to new condition. I think I may be a Murray convert.
 

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You're in deep at this point. As far as the carb, if it were me I'd do both. So, get an inexpensive new carb online and rebuild the old one. That way you can compare how it runs with both.
I looked quickly at your title at first thought you were restoring a CB950. A Honda CB950 motorcycle and I said hey way cool thread!
 

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'98 Noma 9/27 & '82 Honda HS50
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Craftsman2, looking forward to following this one. Please post some complete "before" pix, I am unfamiliar with the model.
 

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Craftsman II 8/27 C950-52318-3
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Discussion Starter #4
You're in deep at this point. As far as the carb, if it were me I'd do both. So, get an inexpensive new carb online and rebuild the old one. That way you can compare how it runs with both.
I looked quickly at your title at first thought you were restoring a CB950. A Honda CB950 motorcycle and I said hey way cool thread!
Ha ha great minds!. That's exactly what I'm doing. I will provide an update shortly on the carburator progress.

P.S.
Sorry to disappoint about the bike. My sons are the bike guys. One has restored a Ducati Monster and one is looking for a dirt bike project this winter.

Northeast Dave, looking forward to following this one. Please post some complete "before" pix, I am unfamiliar with the model.
I wasn't thinking of joining a forum and doing a build thread when I started this. I took some pics of the carb for reference and started work the day after I got her home. The look hasn't changed much so I'll take a few pics today for my next major post.
 

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Now that this is also a bike thread, I've been looking at this. Just for the track of course no road again for me no way.
suzukicycles
Yes I'd love the R750 or R1000 but at 65 I'm going to go my speed, lol.
 

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Craftsman II 8/27 C950-52318-3
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Discussion Starter #6
You'd never get me on one of those things. My son's want to get me back on the trails but even that's out of the question.
 

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Troy-Bilt 11/30 Storm 8.5/27 Craftsman II Husqvarna 580 BTSII Backpack Husqvarna125B Handheld Blower
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Very good machine. Ive had one for 23 years and its served me well. Ive never had the carb apart but am a firm believer in the use of fuel stabilizers/seafoam in moderation.
Mine is a bit different that yours as it is labeled as 8.5hp and has a different suffix on the serial number. Although religiously serviced/maintained its starting to show its age. The chains/sprockets/friction wheel are getting close to needing replacement for the second time. A couple weeks ago I bought a very slightly used Troybilt 11/30 from my neighbor. So I will keep my Craftsman as a backup or maybe once the Troybilt proves itself I will put it on Kijiji as garage space is now at a premium.,
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Discussion Starter #8
It's really nice to see someone care for their tractors. I hope to be as nice as yours one day. But for now...
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Craftsman II 8/27 C950-52318-3
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Discussion Starter #9
Carburator
I could probably soak the original carb and use a generic seat kit from the local Reno store and she’d be fine for the winter. But before doing that, there was a brand new 640052 for a 9HP near me that I decided to try out. I was curious but also anxious to hear it run smoothly and my gut said it would work. I believe the only difference between the 8, 9 or 10 HP Snow Kings is the carburation. I’ve been out of the game too long. Perhaps someone can confirm this.

So I popped the new guy in and BAM she fired right up and ran like a charm. Not perfect but probably fine for the winter. It idles nicely and does not hunt at WOT. It does hunt very slightly at some points along the power band. Giving a little choke stablizes it. This of course is bothering me. So I ordered a gov spring to eliminate that as the cause of the hunting. Grunt here on the forums also found me the parts list for the 52318-3 and I have ordered a knock-off carb from ebay of the correct p/n 632334A. It was $27 to my door.

Once it arrives I will pop it in and see if it runs better or worse than it does now. But I will need to push some snow before I can really say fuel delivery is smooth under all conditions. I’ll have the gov spring on hand and I will order rebuild kit #634347 for my orig unit. This way I can add these parts mid-winter if required. I also hear the knock-off carbs can fall apart and not even last a season. We shall see if the orig goes back in sooner than later.

Carb as found
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9HP Carb (with muddy muffler and recoil starter I have been playing with. I will do a write-up on it eventually)
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Fuel System - Other
The orig gas tank was beautiful when I brought it home. But after adding gas for my start-up tests it began to disintegrate. I guess the machine sat for too long and the cap was not venting. The new expanding gas killed it. It literally happened overnight. A hole formed on top that you can push your fingers through. It was still holding gas but I found a used one for $20 locally. It was fine for a week and now it too is cracking. There’s no odour so I don’t think the cracks have gone completely through. I’ll be watching this gas tank thread - Gas tank leak / fix..? . But a brand new part may be in my future. Is there something special on the market other than a wax or Armor All to coat a new tank to keep the plastic fresh? Wondering if something like Vaseline would “moisturize” plastic. Just thinking out loud.

Orig tank
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New (used) tank cracks
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Despite my gas tank bad luck there have been no gas leaks or any odours from this baby since I got her. But I’ll be replacing the fuel line just in case it’s as rotted as the tires.
 

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what part of Canada are you from? i have craftman II identical to gpguy2008 that i am parting out if you are close enough and need something.
 

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You should be able to find a replacement tank?
I would say that one is toast?
 

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Craftsman II 8/27 C950-52318-3
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Discussion Starter #13
Years of UV must have broken down the plastic. I'll get a new one.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Been banging away at it. Here’s a small update.

Engine
Not doing anything to the engine this year.
  • Had a sparkplug from a Toyota FJ40 in it. A Champion J8C which was replaced with a new Champion RJ19LM. (Engine sounds the same but the headlight started working. :)The new plug magically fixed it ;))
  • Changed oil (Mobil 1 5W30). Maybe this fixed the headlight.
Gearbox
GB is full of clean white grease. Will leave it and crack open next year.

Wheels & Tires
  • Submerged my wheels. Beads and valves were fine but lots of bubbles from sidewall. Tubed one tire. Still need to do other side.
  • Will restore rims and get new tires next year.
Skids
Broke 2 bolts while adjusting the skids. Did a quick strip of one and hit it with some spare Mazda silver-gray. Thought it might look cool. It’s ok but going to put back to orig colour in the spring when I do the wheels. Lovin the Battleship gray on this baby.
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Misc
  • Ordered 4 skid bolts.
  • Ordered 10 Murray style shear bolts.
  • Ordered new belts for when the originals break.
 

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could have got new skid bolts from a hardware store. i picked up 6 the other day and it only cost about $2. the bolts for a impeller mod brought total up to $6 because i bought the nylon nuts. also most auto parts stores should be able to get those belts for cheap if needed since they are full size belts. i think they are usually about $10. if you got a princess auto close by you can sometimes get the Kevlar belts for about $10 or so on sale. also can you get the rims off? could always slime the tires. i bought a gallon of it and have almost used up the entire thing. all 4 of my atv tires have it in them and i use it on any tubeless tires that won't hold air and most times it works. i think my atv tires were the worst to slime or maybe i wasn't using enough but i eventually got them sealed and no longer leaking.
 

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Craftsman II 8/27 C950-52318-3
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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the advice. As for the tires, they are really cracked. Didn't think slime would do the job. Plus I didn't want the mess when i replace them next year.
 

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A little elbow grease and paint you will have a nice machine.
Must have sat out in the elements for a while?
Or rescued from the lake after it thawed? :D
Kidding aside.
Evaporust works great on rusted parts that you can soak. Like the control rod on the carb.
Soak it for a while and it will all come off.
Non toxic.

 
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Thanks for the advice. As for the tires, they are really cracked. Didn't think slime would do the job. Plus I didn't want the mess when i replace them next year.
as long as you don't have bead leaks it work good for really cracked tires. if the slime stops the leaks i wouldn't even bother replacing the tires or you can look at the cost of new tires or tube but last time i look they were not cheap for what they are. my atv tires were the same. they are very cracked from sitting flat and sitting outside but have lots of tread. 1 would leak in about 24 hours. i replaced the valve stems and cleaned all the beads and they still leaked so i slimed them. it has been a year so far and they are still holding air. there was slime bubbling out some of the cracks for months after sliming them but never had to ad air yet. i did have the tires off the machine so i could have the tires sit on its side and get the slime into the sidewall cracks real good.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
A little elbow grease and paint you will have a nice machine.
Must have sat out in the elements for a while?
Or rescued from the lake after it thawed? :D
Kidding aside.
Evaporust works great on rusted parts that you can soak. Like the control rod on the carb.
Soak it for a while and it will all come off.
Non toxic.

I have been using Rust Check Rust Wash for some little parts. I hear that Evaporust is better and will pick some up when the Rust Wash loses it effectiveness.
 
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