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We bought a Craftsman snowblower last year
C459-52093 with high hopes. It began malfunctioning after a while.
They repaired it, said a drive belt was wearing thin which is why the "blades" stopped turning. Sorry for being so low-tech but I am NOT mechanically inclined. They repaired it but now with the first major snowfall it did it again. It worked OK at first and then it stopped functioning agian. I'm so disillusioned with Sears and Craftsman.
How long is a snowblower supposed to last anyhow? I really know nothing of machinery and don't know how to fix it myself.

-Sean
:confused:
 

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Life cycle depends on initial build quality and maintenance and care.

There are still plenty of snow blowers built in the 80s, 70s and even 60s still going strong. Newer ones aren't built as durable as some of the older ones. Sears/Craftsman doesn't actually make their own. They buy whatever they can get cheap from other manufacturers and put their sticker on it. A lot of them are MTD built. MTD is generally considered to be a lower quality manufacturer, but they are also a lot cheaper.

All that being said, you should be getting more than a year out of the machine. It is true that belts might need readjusting after a short break in period. It could simply be that they never set it up right to begin with. Was a new belt added when they fixed it or did they simply tighten the old one?

Operator usage will also play a role in belt wear and belt slippage. Do you generally engage and disengage the augers quite often? Do you engage the augers with a full bucket of snow already piled up inside? Do you ram the machine full force into heavy snow banks? Is it possible that the belt cover isn't on right and snow and water are getting inside on the belts? Is the machine stored in a place cold enough for any snow left in the blades to freeze to ice and jam everything up when you go to use it next time?

Belt adjustments are pretty easy to do.

If you search through his videos he has a lot of basic maintenance videos and shows how to replace belts and all kinds of things.

Here is a video specific to tightening the belt. Don't worry, yours won't look anywhere near that complicated under the cover. Yours will look more like the above video.
 

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Hi Sean, and welcome to the group. Problems with anything can make you pretty upset, especially when you spend that kind of money, but there are a lot of people out there with Sears machines that are quite happy with them.

Like Shryp said, it could be things are just not quite set up as they should be. I'd recommend you call the Sears folks again, and have a chat with them about it. There are online parts diagrams and parts numbers available you can check to verify the correct parts are being put in if they replaced things. I'd also check the warranty information. I don't know how long a warranty they have on their machines, but if you just bought it last year, maybe it's still under warranty. Looking at the Sears site, it looked like many of this years offerings have a 2 year warranty.
 

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My opinion:

A modern MTD snowblower, (including Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt and Craftsman) probably 10-15 years, with good care. (they simply arent built as well as they used to be..quality has gone downhill)

The cheapest machines sold at Walmart and Tractor Supply - 3 to 5 years, if you are lucky.

A modern "mid to high end" ($700 or more when new)
Ariens, Toro, Honda, Deere, Snapper or Simplicity - 40 years with good care.

Any snowblower built before 1980, 40 to 50 years with good care.

Average lifespan of an average snowblower, with average care..probably 15 to 25 years..

Original quality and level of care are the two most important factors..
the same model can last 10 or 50 years, depending on how its cared for..

However many modern "low end" machines probably wont go 10 years, regardless of care, because they were junk when they were new..there are many variables!

Scot
 

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Belt issues

Sean

First off, welcome to the forum.

On your belt issues, I have to agree with the concensus, you have a setup or alignment issue in all probability. It sounds like your issue is with the auger belt (augers not turning). If you can remove the belt cover from the front of the engine, that's your starting point. With the engine off, put tension on the control for the auger so the belt is tight (might have to use cord, tape etc to keep tension on the control) and sight down from the motor pulley, down the belt through the auger pulley and see if they are aligned or not. Any 'belt keeper' should be on the outside of the belt in all likelyhood. Use a light if you have to but see if both pulleys align and the belt is running straight or not. That would be my first guess on why you're chewing up belts. The other would be the wrong width of belt was used in the first place. After that would be a bad pulley or bearing, but that's not likely on such a new machine.

If the pulleys were misaligned, just putting on a new belt would only put off the issue as the new belt would be eaten up like the previous one was. If in fact they aren't aligned, you can either adjust them yourself or take it back to Sears and have them do it correctly this time. They say Knowledge is Power and the more you understand the better chance of getting it done correctly.

To add to the comments on snowblower life, I have to agree with the others comments. IMO the older machines were better built from heavier materials and will last much longer than the new ones will given the same care and maintenance. Less plastic and heavier gauge of steel, along with cast iron engines make for stronger machines IMO.

By the way, I tried to look up that model number on Sears site and didn't find it. Might be incomplete or could be a Canadian number. I don't know but I didn't find it.

Good luck, hope it helps.
 

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Couldn't find your unit online either. Maybe it is a single stage unit that has the paddles and you have to manually push it??? If so sorry to hear that. I have had better luck using expensive aftermarket kevlar belts than OEM on those single stagers. The only single stage to get is a toro IMHO. Sears can be a pain to deal with too. Hope all goes well.
 

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what i would do is id buy a set of Oregon belts for it.they may be really expensive but a good chance is,thell outlast the machine.i got a Oregon belt on a single stage crapsman snow blower that just loved to stretch belts. after i put on a Oregon belt i haven't even had to add tension to it and its going on its 2nd year.if i used the crapsman belt it would of went from nice and tight to on the last notch for added tension after a years of snow blowing,and the belt would of had to be replaced yet again.
 

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If you happen to see an Ariens from the 1970s for sale in any condition, buy it. These are solid machines. I have my Dad's 1977 Ariens with 8hp Tecumseh. It starts on the first pull. Belts, tires and spark plugs wear out as usual. But if you run with fresh premium gas and lubricate regularly you won't be disappointed.
 

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Cole - I don't believe that premium gas will make any difference, unless it is non-ethanol when you get premium. The higher octane by itself is wasting money.
 

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I would have to disagree. I used premium gas in all my small engines and I find I get way less detonation and misfire. These engines have a set timing.

You guys are forgetting one big factor in machine endurance. The average amount of snow you have to blow. Up here an MTD won't last very long before it rips itself apart.
 

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Plus the amount of salt they use in your area. And whether you rinse the blower clean after use.
 

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There is really no correct answer to the original question.

So much depends on the quality of original machine at purchase, how it is maintained, and how it is operated, how it is stored, etc., etc. ....... way too many variables.

I have seen people destroy a high end unit in a short time, and I have seen people make a cheap unit last for many, many years.
 

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Plus the amount of salt they use in your area. And whether you rinse the blower clean after use.
and that's a factful mouthful. the more the salt the less the life of the machine, rinsing after use helps if you wash it with something that deletes the salt first.
 

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and that's a factful mouthful. the more the salt the less the life of the machine, rinsing after use helps if you wash it with something that deletes the salt first.
So is leaving salt on a machine “unrinsed” better than taking the machine in to a warm space and hosing it down, then leaving it to dry?
 

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I'll preface by saying that I live in a smaller community in Northern BC, Canada.
Most homes have gravel driveways.
While salt may be part of the issue, I am finding more and more Craftsman/Husqvarna machines with bent impellors and cracked auger housing mounting points.
It seems the impellors are not designed to "last". Also, with gravel driveways (and an abundance of gravel used on the icy roads), small rocks frequently get caught between the impellor and the housing, leading to the impellor bending. Once the bend starts, the life of the impellor is greatly shortened.
Cracked auger housing mounting points is the next issue, (according to a couple of welding shops I use the issue is vibration/stress related), which lead to potential of the auger housing being held to the machine by the belt and pulley.
These are not all box store machines, some are dealer sold units, and cost upwards of $1,800 Canadian dollars, however it seems the same metal is used in both machines, and the life expectancy is reduced due to a cost of production/shipping and end user price point being balance over PROFITS.
I have included a few pictures.
169331
169332
IMG_4361.JPG IMG_4360.JPG
 
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