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Hi all, newbie here!

I purchased my first snowblower about 2.5 years ago from Lowes - which I think at that time relaunched the Craftsman brand in Canada.

Anyway, I haven't had much use of it, probably a total of 8-10 hours since I bought it - so didn't do any maintenance on it EXCEPT letting it run dry at the end of every winter i.e. I made sure there was no fuel left over in the tank.

So this week we had back to back snow days in Toronto area. It worked just fine yesterday but when I started it again today, it didn't sound right. The engine sounded sick, maybe it was sputtering a little. First I thought maybe it was too cold so I let it run for a few minutes before I decided to use it. But it didn't change anything. Anyway I decided to use it and it didn't really work. It felt like it wasn't throwing the snow as far as yesterday. It almost felt like it was going to die when there was a bit too much snow. I thought maybe the fuel was running out but nope, that's not the case. There's enough fuel in the tank.

I know I haven't changed the engine oil but would that cause the engine to sputter and sound sick? By the way its a Briggs & Stratton 950 Snow Series engine.

I think I might still be under warranty but both the Craftsman and Briggs & Stratton websites are absolutely useless. I can't find my model number of Craftsman website and I'm not sure exactly what the engine model number is. I do have the engine serial number handy but I can't search for that on B&S website.

Has anybody else had issues with their Craftsman or B&S engine? What do you recommend?

Novice Handyman
 

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To be sure and start fresh, drain the gas from the tank and carb in to a clear 2L soda bottle. The gas should be clear, no water in the bottom, no cloudiness. If it's golden, it's old. With a 100% empty gas can, go to a big name brand station, we call them Top Tier, put that in and try. Then come back to us. If you cheat any of these steps, .......
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To be sure and start fresh, drain the gas from the tank and carb in to a clear 2L soda bottle. The gas should be clear, no water in the bottom, no cloudiness. If it's golden, it's old. With a 100% empty gas can, go to a big name brand station, we call them Top Tier, put that in and try. Then come back to us. If you cheat any of these steps, .......
I'm not sure if you're serious or if you're giving me some kinda newbie treatment. Anyway I don't think its an issue with the fuel. As I mentioned, I emptied the fuel tank at the end of last winter (around April 2020 I think) and only filled up the gas tank in December 2020. It ran fine until yesterday.
 

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I am serious and have encountered the same in my repair business of others. It sounds like gas or carb problem like the choke is not functioning correctly or the mixture is not right. You can try removing the carburetor, disassemble, and using the red tube on spray carb cleaners and spraying it in every hole. I'd also run a welding tip cleaner in every orifice even if it looks clear.
 
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Welcome to SBF Novice
176169


There is no newbie treatment offered or tolerated on the forum. The member trying to help you has been here many years with lots of posts and he's trying to find a place to start to help you with your issue.

You're in Canada so for some of us in the US that's a pain as the Sears site we use usually doesn't pull up Canadian machines. Please post the model # of your machine from the ID plate down on the transmission.
If you can find the engine numbers all the better.

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I agree it sounds like a fuel problem. Do you use a stabilizer in your fuel, Stabil ? I understand you run it dry but do you take off the carb bowl and check for water before filling it up in the fall ?
Condensation over the off season will settle in the tank and if possible will travel down to the carb bowl and sit in there.
What he said about draining the gas is correct. It should be your first step into something clear and let it set for a few minutes 5-10 and see if you see water settling to the bottom.

Let us know what you find and we will be happy to walk you through anything we can.

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Agreed you always have to eliminate fuel as the issue...With most shops its the first thing they do is replace the fuel.
When you said running sick..does the engine surge?
How long does the engine have to run cold before the surging stops...it should surge for a minute after starting with no choke applied
Does a little choke make the problem worse?
Have you seen black smoke with the choke off.
You have to eliminate any carb problems before going any further...you can check for a good spark as well.
I do remember a member on here that had his cam gear go bad in a very short time on his BRIGGS engine..its not that uncommon..first though you need to cover everything else before checking valve timing

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Once fuel is sorted out and eliminated as the problem.

Check the spark plug for good spark. If it is a Torch brand, replace it even if it shows good spark. There have been numerous issues with Torch brand plugs being defective.
 

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The last 3 housecalls I made this past week I drained the gas from the carb and tank, there was water. I asked for their gas can and drained that in to a clear 2L soda bottle, water, one was discolored golden. All 3 swore they used fresh gas and it was good. I can't depend on it, I need to see for myself. I ask everyone who brings their snowblower or lawnmower to me the same, bring your gas can. During the grass season, I give everyone a full tank of gas, 2-3 weeks later they are back, mower is not running, just the time my gas is gone in their tank, and they have refilled it. While they are here I have them hold the 1L soda bottle while I dump their mower's fuel tank, water in the gas. Where is your gas can? That's why I want their gas can. I cannot depend on their thoughts, I need to see for myself. I'm the mechanic, they are not.
 
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