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Discussion Starter #1
I inherited an old Craftsman snowblower (14" impeller / 7 HP/ 26" clearing path) and I changed both the auger and impeller belts, but unsure how tight the belts should be without pushing the engage lever.

Is there a good high level idea of what tight or loose the belts should be?

The snowblower moves forward when I put it in gear even without me pushing the engage lever. How do I resolve this issue

Thanks
 

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Snowblower

Your snowblower should look like this:

Belts should look something like this when the engine is off:

Thing you need to watch is that the belt keepers go over the belt, not under them. You need the correct belt, the wrong type can grab the pulleys regardless of how the thing is adjusted. To adjust it (takes a 9/16" wrench), there is an idler pulley that you adjust in or out depending on the condition of the belt. The other thing is that the section of the idler pulley needs to be able to move easily so you want to lube the shaft along with the pin that moves in and out to engage the auger also.

Check that out and let us know if you have any further issues or questions.

One other thing, through each side of the drive unit, forward and above the wheels, there is a 3/4" bolt head. Insure they are snug and fully seated. If not and the intermediate shaft (what they bolt into the ends of) comes loose and drops, it can damage the transmission mounts. Far as I know, no one else has a repair kit if that happens. I developed one because I refused to pay $300 for another transmission on one of the machines I bought it had happened to.

PS - check out the thread on changing bushings to bearings if your bushings are worn, that was done to a comparable machine and it does make a very identifiable improvment in performance.

I do have a pdf of the manual for a 536.918300, it's basically the same machine just a different color, if you're looking for a manual let me know and I can email you a copy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here is a picture of how I routed the belts:

Your belts looks much looser than mine

After running for only 20 seconds, you could smell the belts burning

Here's what is sounds like running:
 

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if that picture is without engaging the belts, they are way too small. thats how they should look engaged
 

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That is how they look without engagement - Couldn't I loosen the pulley adjustors?

The reason I tried to make them as tight as possible is because the snow blower was only throwing the snow 3 - 4 feet

I'll try loosening the belts
 

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Belts

You have too much tension on those belts, back off the tensioner pulleys so there's slack in the belts like the picture I posted. New belts are: 51304MA (same belt on auger and drive).
If the belts are worn on the sides that will cause slipping and act like you describe. Another spot to check when the belts are off, how well does the auger pulley spin while there's no belt on it. I had a couple of bad bearings on 2 auger assemblies on machines I worked on this year. I know it won't make sense now, but if you have to replace the auger pulley bearing, check out the thread I made on modding a 10 HP. It's easier and faster (at least for me) to pull the transmission out and then change the pulley bearing going through the tractor unit than it is to take the auger assembly off to change it. This way to don't have to remove the idlers etc, which can be a bear to get off but especially get back in and working correctly afterwards.
Here's what one looks like with the transmission in:

And the transmission removed

Remove the belt, Unbolt the shift rod between the long section from the handles and the short section with the gear on it, the bracket on the back of the transmission to the sides of the chassis and the 2 bolts holding the intermediate shaft in place and the whole thing works out once clear of the chains. I usually just remove the split link from each section of chain, again it's faster for me that way.
If you do this, watch the bushing on the sprocket end of the intermediate shaft. When reassembling make sure you get the shoulders of the step bolts on the intermediate shaft fully into the holes in the chassis. Snug them up, don't overtighten and either use something like Loctite or pin the bolts so they can't loosen inadvertantly.

PS - that machine 'likes' snow. If there's only an inch or two, it will only throw maybe 3'-4'. Give it 6" or more and it should throw probably 20' or better. Found that one out last year with the one 7 HP like yours I have. It will also launch a big chunk of ice the size of a baseball about 40'+.
 

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My poor snow blower looks like this . Chain came off and pulled the tranny off the intermediate bar and broke the mounting holes on the case . Yours is looking nice and clean . Im guessing new chain and case for mine . Chain seems to be stretched out .
 
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