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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,
I got a new Craftsman snowblower this year, and have used it twice so far with no issue. I can't find the model number, but it's a 27" dual stage 208hp.

So this morning, I had a bit of difficulty pull-starting it, but nothing out of the ordinary. I figured it just wasn't fully primed, but plugged it in and started it electrically with no issue. As soon as I started to engage the auger, I could hear the engine start to die, headlight dim, etc. I released the lever, and the engine came back to life. I could engage the drive (forward and reverse) with no issue. I fully engaged the auger, and the the engine quit. There was no hesitation, strange noise, etc.

Now, I can't get it started again. When I try pulling on the cord, I can tell that something is wrong -- something that is supposed to move won't, so that I can't pull the cord at all. I haven't tried starting it electrically in case that just makes things worse. At that point, given that it was dark outside and I had to get to work, I just left the thing to deal with later and shoveled my way out.

I really have no knowledge of small engines and this is my first snowblower. I'm aware of shear pins (and have spares), but this doesn't sound like that's the issue here. Any suggestions on what to look for or try?

thanks.
 

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My guess is that water melted and then refroze at the base of the impeller. When you engaged the auger/impeller you were essentially applying a very strong brake to the motor.

If it spins a little but then hits a point where it stops you may have broken a connecting rod.

Try the electric start. Try pulling the spark plug and looking down the hole to see if the cylinder is moving when you pull the rope. If you have a warranty, use it. (Make sure the auger is not somehow still engaged).
 

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Get it in a warm shop and thaw it out. Remove the bottom skid plate and make sure the motor is turning freely with the lever disengaged. Make sure the auger is free of obstruction and spins.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No, I didn't check the oil. I'll try to get it someplace warm (don't have a garage, just a tent-shelter thing) and follow all suggestions posted so far.

Thanks all!
 

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Don't try the electric start until you know the engine will spin. I'd try thawing it out first and then trying to pull start it. If it doesn't turn over (spin by hand) using the electric start might only damage the starter and or flywheel.
I'd do some simple stuff to see if I can get it running unless you have an easy way to transport it and are close to a Sears store.

What you don't want to do is something that would void the warranty. Hopefully you just have some frozen water in there causing this.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Don't try the electric start until you know the engine will spin. I'd try thawing it out first and then trying to pull start it. If it doesn't turn over (spin by hand) using the electric start might only damage the starter and or flywheel.
I'd do some simple stuff to see if I can get it running unless you have an easy way to transport it and are close to a Sears store.

What you don't want to do is something that would void the warranty. Hopefully you just have some frozen water in there causing this.
Thanks. I definitely want to avoid making things worse. I'll poke around a bit over the next few days. :)
 

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Just an update for those interested...

Late last week I checked the oil, and it was fine. I also tried using the electric starter, but that didn't work either -- whatever was jammed was not budging. So, I called Sears and arranged for a local shop to do the repairs (closest Sears service centre is a 2 hour drive).

But, yesterday it was close to 10 degrees C (about 50 F), so figured it was a good opportunity to test the theory that something was frozen (like I said, I don't have a heated garage/shop). Started right up with no issue. Tested the auger, drive, etc. successfully. Stopped and restarted a couple of times.

So, no immediate issue with my new snowblower. I am a bit concerned that this could happen again though -- seems like a design flaw if a snowblower can't start in cold weather.

Should I be concerned, or is this the kind of thing that just happens every once in a while?

Thanks all!
 

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Did you have the local shop do any repairs or was warm weather the only thing that may have corrected your problem ??

Did you take the time to pull the bottom cover off and do any inspection to see if you could locate the problem ??
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Did you have the local shop do any repairs or was warm weather the only thing that may have corrected your problem ??

Did you take the time to pull the bottom cover off and do any inspection to see if you could locate the problem ??
I didn't take it to a local shop. The only thing that changed was the warm weather. I also did not pull the bottom cover off -- I figured if I was going to get into that kind of thing, I'd rather it be done as part of warranty work. I did look at the auger and chute from the top, with a flashlight, and couldn't see anything.
 

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The advantage to taking a little time and pulling that bottom cover off is that you might have seen ice someplace it should not have been and you could either try some sort of DIY repair to prevent it from happening again or take a photo or just explain to who ever you have repair it what you found as now it's gone and you're unsure if or when it might fail to operate again. Hopefully not when you have a fresh 18" snowfall :eek:

There are only two or four screws (6 at worst) that hold that panel in place and there isn't anything you can do to void your warranty in there looking around or just using your hand to check for free movement. You want to try and not have a full tank of fuel when you tip it up on the auger and best to lay down some cardboard just in case the engine leaks a few drops of oil.
The video isn't the best but it shows the unit up on it's auger for inspection and how easy it is to pull the cover.
 

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when done blowing snow and before you put in the shed spin the auger to blow off any left over snow then brush off the whole machine. sometimes i put a space heater in front of my auger for an hour to help melt the snow
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The advantage to taking a little time and pulling that bottom cover off is that you might have seen ice someplace it should not have been and you could either try some sort of DIY repair to prevent it from happening again or take a photo or just explain to who ever you have repair it what you found as now it's gone and you're unsure if or when it might fail to operate again. Hopefully not when you have a fresh 18" snowfall :eek:

There are only two or four screws that hold that panel in place and there isn't anything you can do to void your warranty in there looking around or just using your hand to check for free movement. You want to try and not have a full tank of fuel when you tip it up on the auger and best to lay down some cardboard just in case the engine leaks a few drops of oil.
The video isn't the best but it shows the unit up on it's auger for inspection and how easy it is to pull the cover.
Awesome, thanks for this. Can I basically just tilt the thing forward onto the auger, or do I need to be more careful (i.e. lift it up, rotate, then set down)?
 

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Be careful when that happens. If you keep trying to run it you can ruin the belts as well.


 

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The lube on ghe bendix of you electric starter may have gummed up and the bendix didint retract.

I had same problem at minu 10 degrees.

removed starter and cleaned bendix.

cheap springs on those bendix...not alot of push
 

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Awesome, thanks for this. Can I basically just tilt the thing forward onto the auger, or do I need to be more careful (i.e. lift it up, rotate, then set down)?

Yes you can just tip it forward slowly and once on the auger you should feel it steady itself when the weight settles on the front of the auger housing.
If you add drift cutters that can pose a problem if they don't retract but it all depends on the machine and the specific bars as my Troy will sit just fine on the drift cutters and my Craftsman will not.

Best to have as little fuel as possible and take care in case you engines dipstick (if so equipped) doesn't seal properly. One of mine drips even when the cap feels tight. Best to lay down cardboard or a drip/drain pan if you have one.

Going it there and cleaning anything that needs it and putting a couple drops of oil on the various bushings and oil or grease on that friction disc shaft should be something you do every summer as well as check all the adjustments, belts and condition of the friction disc and the plate that it rides on. Do it in the summer and it should take you through the winter. ;)
 
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