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Minus 9 degrees this morning and more extreme cold coming our way along with more snow.

What do you people who live in very cold areas do different from the rest of us to maintain or prep your blowers ? I know you should keep them in a garage or perhaps a heated area but a lot of snowblower owners don't have a garage.

I know to make sure your impeller is not frozen to auger housing before using it. I know about making sure your tracks are not frozen to the ground or floor before moving. Do you have to use starting fluid in below weather starts or does a well tuned carb. start OK?

what about gas additives for below zero weather? is Stabil okay or do you need something else.?

I am trying to give people around here the best information possible to keep their snowblowers working under extreme cold conditions.

thank you.
 

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If it's well tuned and in good shape it should start without starting fluid. But if it's really cold, depending on the vapor pressure of the gas in the tank and how good the carb is at vaporizing primer fuel, you might need electric start to get it spinning fast enough / long enough to fire. Pull start can get a little questionable when it's really cold. Appropriately thin oil for easy / fast cranking is important too (0W-30 or 0-40 would be good in extreme cold).
 

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In cold weather here around 0 degrees or below, I usually will prime a couple more times. If my snow blowers need the usual prime of 2 times, I will go 4 times. It does make a difference for me.
 
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Trust me -9 is nothing compared to what we have here in the FROZEN TUNDRA. if everything works now it will work when it is cold oot. SO DON'T GO LOSING ANY SLEEP OVER IT. :eek:k::eek:k::eek:k::eek:k::eek:k::eek:k::eek:k::eek:k::eek:k::eek:k:
 

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Another thing that can help if using electric start is to do the normal choke / prime sequence and then crank it and hit the primer again while it's cranking. Sometimes that gives a bit better fuel vaporization on that last primer shot and gets it to fire. Making sure you've got good, strong spark helps too.
 

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A machine in good tune, with fresh non ethanol fuel and a good sparkplug , it should start.An electric start will help too.
 

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The only thing I do different for "real" cold, which for me is around +10F, negative 12C, or colder,
is I give a squirt of starter fluid straight into the carb bowl before startup, and use electric start.
(my '71 Ariens doesn't have a primer button that squirts fuel)

Probably not strictly necessary, but I find it helps with starting under those conditions.


Scot
 

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When the polar vortex hit a few weeks ago, I tested cold starting my machines. Only my powerlite has a primer.

All of my non primer machines took TWO pulls @ -4 degrees F. Every machine I own has been rejetted.
 

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The only thing I do different for "real" cold, which for me is around +10F, negative 12C, or colder,
is I give a squirt of starter fluid straight into the carb bowl before startup, and use electric start.
Scot, how do you spray it right into the carb bowl? Do you pull the fuel line off the carb, or drop the bowl?

If I'm using it, I just spray it into the carb's throat, at the choke plate area.
 

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My new Ariens Pro has been starting 1st pull in my unheated garage. Still breaking it in with the Dino oil too.

I can’t understand why manufacturers want you to start a stone cold motor on “Fast" throttle setting. That’s murder on an engines internals. I start it on half to two-thirds throttle when cold. Then give it a 2-3 minutes before putting it to work.
 

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Yeah, now I keep the throttle just above idle while starting. The governor should still have the actual throttle plate pretty much fully open, making it no harder to start than if the throttle lever was set to full speed. But as soon as the engine starts to spin, the governor closes the throttle plate down, to hold a low RPM, and the engine never has a chance to get to a faster speed while it's ice-cold.

I should probably start it sooner in my getting-ready process, to give it a little longer to warm up. But I try to give it maybe a minute, so at least the oil can get moving around, etc, before putting a load on it.
 

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Always use synthetic oil, warm up a little longer, and take it to bed with me, I mean bring it in to the house (only kidding)

If everything is right with the engine, oil, valves, ignition, carb, the engine will start without ether.
 

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I can’t understand why manufacturers want you to start a stone cold motor on “Fast" throttle setting. That’s murder on an engines internals.
Nonetheless, all the small engine manufacturers seem to be going to the "no throttle" model. It would be interesting to talk to a few of the engineers who design these engines - maybe it really doesn't do that much extra wear on them to run fast with NO LOAD on a cold start? Especially with the variable viscosity oil that is universal now - the last time I looked for straight 20 or 30 weight oil at the auto parts store I didn't see any.

Now, I'm 68 years old and every small engine I ever saw until about six or eight years ago had a throttle on it. We bought a Lawn-Boy mower with a Briggs electric start engine on it to leave at my wife's father's house so she could do the lawn there - I was still working so didn't have time and she doesn't have the shoulder strength to start a mower with a pull cord. That mower still runs fine although it hasn't been used regularly for the last five years (FIL passed away) but I have to say I've seen no ill effects from not having a throttle.

So while it is counter-intuitive and goes against the teaching and experience I've had all my life, I have to wonder if different metals and lubricants now negate or at least minimize the need for a throttle on small engines. I mean, if it was really needed, they'd still be there, wouldn't they? Given that the designs for a throttle are well entrenched and it isn't breaking any new designing or manufacturing ground to put one on (i.e., it's cheap) does it really reduce the cost of a small engine enough to make a noticeable difference in the retail price of one?

I really don't know. I'm not an engineer and don't even play one on TV, just throwing that thought out there.
 

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Starting at full RPM definitely causes extra wear, but they probably figure it's like a generator that does it out of necessity. It'll cause some extra wear, but chances are they can still make it last longer than 90% of people care for it to.

Personally, I start with the throttle a little above idle on my Pro 28 (about 1/3). If I start it at idle, it'll get stuck chugging along at 1200 RPM and not come up to idle properly after it fires. At 1/3 throttle it runs just about 1800 or so after start and gradually come up closer to 2000 as it warms up (fully warmed up idle is about 1700, it'll idle down to about 1400 - 1500 if I drop it all the way back when cold).
 

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Never had to use starting fluid.

According to my manual, when very cold I must start with 1/2 throttle. When it's -10C or warmer I can start at full throttle.

When very cold I let it warm up a bit longer. Stabil won't change anything for the cold starts. If the impeller is full of snow or slush after using it, I put a milkhouse heater in front of it for a few hours until it all melts down. The shed isn't insulated, but I have electrical outlets in it.
 

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Blower has always slept in the cold. Earlier on it was under a custom cover but most yrs in an unheated shed. Some other stuff:

- always employed synthetic oil;
- gas tank is always full (I've never used a fuel additive/stabilizer);
- check impeller is not glued to the housing;
- extra priming is necessary when mercury descends past -20c (old Mastercraft was easy - prime until fuel was dripping from carb inlet);
- at -30c and below, dry crank the engine with e-starter through two five-second cycles to loosen things up; and
- once started, let her run for a minute of two before getting down to business.

I'd run the throttle to the max detent and back it just off the detent to start the Mastercraft. The Husky won't go unless the throttle is at max.
 
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