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I keep hearing different advice about yearly Maintenance on snowblowers, so I have some question to get at the truth. I have the Snow Tek 24" model with electronic start and did buy Areins Maintenance kit.

1) Why drain the gas out of the tank if you used a stabilizer which I do? The gas is supposed to last for a year to 2 years.

2) Why drain the oil from the snowblower for the summer? It's just sitting and you don't drain the oil from your car if it isn't being used. Doesn't these engines have a oil pan like a car?

3) How often should the oil be changed? It seems every year might be a little much. It is only used during the winter and only if you get snow which might be a few hours of running time for the whole season.

4) the engine came with a switch to close off the fuel flow to the carbirater and says it should be switched off during moving it or storage now i can see while being moved but storage?
 

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1) I don't use stabilizer and just drain everything. Those who use stabilizer usually recommend keeping the tank full to prevent condensation.

2) The oil picks up dirt and water during normal use. Most people say it is best to change the oil as part of you storage so all the crap doesn't sit in the engine for a year.

3) Oil picks up dirt and water during use. That can be especially so of snowblowers because of a constant temperature change. The engine gets really hot during use and then cools down to freezing temperatures. This can cause a lot of condensation to form inside the engine. Also as opposed to a lawnmower that kind of buzzes around, your snowblower is often running full blast as you are usually running through some deep and heavy stuff especially by the street.

4) If the float ever starts leaking you will either end up with all the gas from the tank in the engine oil, or all over the floor of your garage.
 

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1) Why drain the gas out of the tank if you used a stabilizer which I do? The gas is supposed to last for a year to 2 years.
I dont drain the gas for the summer..BUT! I do drain out the old gas and replace it with fresh gas in the fall! I dont see any reason to drain the gas just for storage, but its probably best not to use the old gas to run the engine.

2) Why drain the oil from the snowblower for the summer? It's just sitting and you don't drain the oil from your car if it isn't being used. Doesn't these engines have a oil pan like a car?
I also dont drain the oil for the summer, but do an oil change with "fall maintenance" when im getting the machine ready for a new season.

3) How often should the oil be changed? It seems every year might be a little much. It is only used during the winter and only if you get snow which might be a few hours of running time for the whole season.
Change every year no matter what..its best for the health of your engine.
cheap insurance.

4) the engine came with a switch to close off the fuel flow to the carbirater and says it should be switched off during moving it or storage now i can see while being moved but storage?
good to shut off the gas flow to the carb in case the carb springs a leak..which can happen.
closing the switch prevents a puddle of gas all over your garage floor..

there is a always a lot of debate over "drain all the gas for storage" Vs. "dont drain gas"..

Personally, I chose the "dont drain gas" route..because my carb doesnt have a bowl drain! so even if I try to get as much gas out as possible, I will never get it all..and I figure "a little bit of gas" is worse than "a lot of gas" because a little bit is more likely to eveporate away and leave gummy deposits..while a half-full tank of gas, and the carb and gas lines solidly full of gas, cant evaporate and leave "varnish" or deposits in the gas lines or carb..

there is also a question about "gaskets drying out" and going brittle..if the gas is drained and they are exposed to open air..might be a myth! ;)
but if my carb is full of gas, I figure the gaskets wont be exposed to air..

so for me, im more comfortable leaving in the old gas all summer..
I just leave whatever is left after the last use..dont really pay any attention to how much..its usually 1/4 to 1/2 a tank..then I just drain it in the fall and replace with fresh gas..

old gas goes into the tank of the pickup truck..half a gallon of "stale" lawnmower gas mixed in with 8 to 12 gallons of "fresh" gas in the truck tank wont do anything..it just burns away with the rest of the gas..

so thats what i do..your mileage may vary! ;)
I have been doing it this way on my 40 year old Ariens for the past 3 years..no problems..honestly I think its perfectly fine either way..drain gas or dont drain gas.

Scot
 

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There are persuasive reasons to change the oil before storage. As Styrp said water will collect in the oil as a result of condensation. It makes me crazy when I see the foamy goo on the dipstick when I check the oil. That's the condensation (water) mixing with the oil. Acids are a product of combustion that will mix with the water in the oil. Because water is heavier than oil this water, combined with the acids, will settle in the lowest area in the engine during storage and just chow down. That's the major reason auto manufactures recommend changing engine oil after a certain time. That said when was the last time you saw a hole eaten through an engine block. I suppose the acids could well be eating at the bearing and rings as well but for the most part small engines are pretty bullet proof. Me... I just feel better after the oil is changed and the machine is well cleaned and lubed before it is put to rest.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You know i never really did any of this to my old toro and it lasted 40 years. Only had it go in for service three times and never changed the oil or even checked on it. Reason it couldn't be fixed now is it's the old toro power handle model and the guy said he could not get parts for it anymore, shame it was a work hound.
 

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None of it is "necessary" just best practices. I have skipped doing some of it some years with no ill affects.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
FYI, what i bought is Ariens LCT 208cc Maintenance Kit which contains SAE 5W30 Sno-Thro Engine Oil, One Champion RN9YC Spark Plug, 1 Pack Ultra Fresh Fuel Stabilizer treats 2.5 gallons and 1 Spare Ignition Key. Ok so besides all the oil questions, how offten do you replace the spark plug?
 

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Some people say change the spark plug once a year, some people say leave it in for 20 years unless the engine starts acting weird.
 

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Summerization

I like to drain the gas and run the carb dry in off season. No potential alcohol in the system to sweal seals or attack things (using stabil or sea foam helps but I lean toward draining it).

Fresh oil gets rid of contaminents and keeps things lubricated. I also like to give the starter rope a jank every so often to keep everything lubed. Along with that, I like to fog the cylinder before putting it away.

I recommend doing oil every year. It's cheap compared to the price of an engine IMO.

If you drain the tank, the shutoff value does nothing. If you leave gas in it, it reduces the chance of something failing in the carb and gas leaking out over time.

If you leave gas in the tank, fill it up - less airgap then less chance of rust in a metal tank, less air space to evaporate etc.

As far as plug and points, to me that depends on their condition. If working well, clean them up and see how it runs. If not then replace.

My 2 cents
 

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I drain most of the gas out of the tank and then run the engine for a while to get it nice and warm. When it runs out of fuel and stops I drain and replace the engine oil. I remove the carburetor bowl and remove any leftover gas and i make sure that there is no gas left in the tank.

I pull the spark plug and fog the cylinder and then pull it over a few times stopping when the engine is at TDC on compression so both valves are closed and replace (i rarely put in a new plug) the spark plug. I then lightly fog the empty gas tank (yes i know this sounds strange) and this puts a very thin coating on the inside of the tank and is easily mixed with the new gas when the tank is filled next season and protects the tank from rusting if moisture happens to get in and then replace the gas cap.

I also wash and wax my snow blower before i put it away for the summer. After it is ready to be put away I put it in the corner of my garage, cover it with a tarp and don't see it until next season (unless i get a bright idea and want to change something):)
 

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CarlB said, "I pull the spark plug and fog the cylinder"... While I always thought fogging was a great idea I have never done it. I'm not sure why as I am a big maintenance fan. I was under the impression that fogging the engine was shooting a little raw motor oil through the carb while the engine was running. In addition to smoking up the shop and clogging my lungs it sent an oil mist through the entire engine hence the name "fogging." I don't understand what you are doing when you "pull the plug and fog the cylinder." What is the correct way to fog an engine?
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
. I also like to give the starter rope a jank every so often to keep everything lubed.My 2 cents
What is JANK? I have a Toyato 4Runner SR5 and the spare tire hangs under the rear of the truck. I was told i should lower the tire on the rope and spary it with White Lithium Grease with Cerflon so should that be done with the blower pull cord?
In 40 years my toro gas tank never rusted and i never found the white stuff you talk about in the oil but that engine didn't have a dip stick. I wrote Ariens about this and when they write back i'll post it here
 

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Mispell

Yank the rope every so often. So I can't type at times :)
Turn the engine over so often just to insure everything stays lubed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ariens answered my email and this is what they said:

Hi,
If you use a good stabilizer you would not need to drain the fuel tank. Make sure you run the engine long enough to get the stabilizer through the carburetor. I would shut off the fuel valve and run the carburetor dry. The less fuel in it, the less chance to varnish up.
Changing the oil once a year is normal. If the engine has very few hours on it look at the oil if it is clean it is still fine. If it is turning dark, then change it. Never store an engine without oil in it. If someone starts it up the engine would get damaged. If the oil is dark and needs changing in the spring, it is best to do it in the spring so that when the engine stands it has fresh oil in it. New oil has all the additives in it and the moisture from the winter is removed.

Lee Wicker
Ariens Company
Field Service Coordinator WSR
 

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Summer Maintance...

I keep hearing different advice about yearly Maintenance on snowblowers, so I have some question to get at the truth. I have the Snow Tek 24" model with electronic start and did buy Areins Maintenance kit.

1) Why drain the gas out of the tank if you used a stabilizer which I do? The gas is supposed to last for a year to 2 years.

2) Why drain the oil from the snowblower for the summer? It's just sitting and you don't drain the oil from your car if it isn't being used. Doesn't these engines have a oil pan like a car?

3) How often should the oil be changed? It seems every year might be a little much. It is only used during the winter and only if you get snow which might be a few hours of running time for the whole season.

4) the engine came with a switch to close off the fuel flow to the carbirater and says it should be switched off during moving it or storage now i can see while being moved but storage?
This Week I took delivery of a new Cub Cadet 526SWE. Retail with taxes, $50 set up and delivery was around $1275. I paid $913 total with free delivery!!
During discussion with the very helpful salesman I mentioned adding a fuel additive for storage and year round use. He said " you need our Marine type because the regular types won't take out the water from the 10% Ethanol fuels that we are forced to buy". So I researched on Amazon.com and found Sta-Bil made by Gold Eagle Products has a new 10 oz. Ethanol fuel system treatment. One once treats 2 1/2 gallons of fuel. I ordered two @ $5.40 each plus $6.72 freight no tax. I have 5 gal. gas cans but will buy a 2 1/2 plastic one. Add one oz. of Sta-Bil, half fill the container, shake it up then top it off.

STA-BIL ETHANOL FORMULA 10 OZ Search Amazon.com for different prices and freight. Tip; buy more than one of this size because it has a limited shelf life once opened something like a year or two just like the fuel has. Don't treat more fuel than you will use. Keep both fresh when you fill your car/truck as needed.

I had a 1974 big heavy steel snow thrower and always shut off the gas line supply to the carb. The carb bowl gasket at the bottom of the bowl where the little drain button with the spring dried out and the bowl poured gas onto the ground. Leave treated fuel in the tank to avoid condensation. Change the oil with recomended type and weight per the engine owners manual and at the end of the season. It's cheap and will prevent acids from eating at rings, cylinder walls, valves etc. If you have OCD like I have dry the thing down after use. Don't even think of covering it up when wet!! I just used Maquires Paste Wax on all metal, fasteners, impellers and in between seams and did not buff it. Same with the head light housing where condesation will definately deposit. Lay in a heavy coating in the seams and leave it there. Spray Cooking "Pam" in the discharge shoot before you use it. This works great on Direct T.V. Dishes also to shed snow and water. Clean and gap the spark plug back to specks according to the users engine guide. Check tire pressures before storage and before use. The machine will track better and it is a pain when your tire loses the bead on the wheel because it ran out of air pressure to hold it's seal.
If you have a garage or shed Home Depot sells a heavy pool like cover with draw strings. A took a guess and got a 9' X 9' square one for $9.98. I laid it out with the black side up, pushed the new dry 526SWE onto the center, pulled up one side of the cover then the other side. I pulled both the draw strings on each side and worked then like I was sawing with them which tightened the bottom and the top of the cover on each end of the machine. This covered the whole machine, You may want to get the next bigger size if they have a 12' X 12' but get it with draw strings. The 9' X 9' Just fit the 526SWE... just.... Again, don't cover it when it's wet. I have a cheap 1500 watt space heater that I can put inside the cover on the floor during the winter and turn it on a hour or two before starting the machine. With warm oil and fuel I shouldn't even need the electric start feature. After use when the machine is full of snow and water I will cover it over just the top with the tarp and let the space heater blow heat under it from a short distance to melt away the junk and follow up with a wipe down with an oiled rag, let it air cure then cover from beneath like when it was new.
Last year we got hit hard in the North East because of the El Nino which is the cooling effect around the Equator. This happens every 3 to 5 years but is predicted again this year!!

BadJanuary2011006.jpg picture by pdexter46 - Photobucket

BadJanuary2011003.jpg picture by pdexter46 - Photobucket

BadJanuary2011002.jpg picture by pdexter46 - Photobucket

The earthquakes are over, the floods are over, the hurricans are over. The snow is just getting ready. Best wishes to all. May Texas get rain!!

Pete K.
 

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for what its worth i never changed or emptied gas either......up to 10 or so years ago....never had a problem.then the ethanol gas mix started and it was all down hill. just looked at my snowblowers the other day and realized i didnt clear out any of them. i emptied the gas just to see, and what started out as clear gas was now a nice amber color. i put in fresh gas and all but one fired right up, luckily it was just a stuck needle valve.

i dont trust modern gas one bit. stabil did nothing. now i am doing an experiment with sea foam as a stabilizer just to see what happens to the gas when it sits.
 

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td5771...

for what its worth i never changed or emptied gas either......up to 10 or so years ago....never had a problem.then the ethanol gas mix started and it was all down hill. just looked at my snowblowers the other day and realized i didnt clear out any of them. i emptied the gas just to see, and what started out as clear gas was now a nice amber color. i put in fresh gas and all but one fired right up, luckily it was just a stuck needle valve.

i dont trust modern gas one bit. stabil did nothing. now i am doing an experiment with sea foam as a stabilizer just to see what happens to the gas when it sits.
TD, I called Gold Eagle Products right after my post yesterday just above your post with questions about the new 10 oz Sta-bil Ethanol gas treatment product. My question was " should I store the snow blower off season with this product"? The answer was "no, it is for daily use to combat the negative effects of Ethanol and improve performance". Also I was told to use the Red/pink container for off season protection. The red/pink product will eliminate varnishing of needle valves, rusting/pitting of fuel tanks, gas lines, protect pistons, valves etc.
As I mentioned above I just took delivery of a 526SWE Cub Cadet and have an order of two 10 oz. yellow container Ethanol Treatment in transit.
On the 5 quart gas tank is a lable that states " don't use gasoline with more than 10% Ethanol" so the manufacturers are aware of the damage to their machines or poor performance caused by it.
In the past I have been very lacking in fuel treatment in my lawn mowers. After a while they would start, run, surge and stall. I have taken the fuel bowls off, removed the needle valves, cleaned all parts and reassembled and then they ran just fine. I don't wish to have to do that again!!
I need to go pick up a print out of the Engine Manufacturers owners instructions but I think I read the oil should be changed every 25 hours of operation and before storage. That makes sence to remove acids, gunk and grime, condensation etc before storage.
See the link below and go to the second page for all the Sta-bil products. Read the reviews on the red/pink for storage and remember the yellow/Ethanol one is for daily use. Fresh fuel is recomended as is fresh Sta-bil so buy smaller quantities . The Ethanol one says "one oz. treats two and 1 /2 gallons of fuel so I bought two 10 oz. containers which will treat 25 gallons twice or 50 gallons. Enough for the winter season I would think all for around $17.57 delivered. The local auto parts stores stock the red/pink product.

www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dautomotive&field-keywords=Sta-Bil+Ethanol+gas+treatment&x=21&y=19


Buy the way, two stroke engines do not require any gas treatments for storage as the gas oil mix is the protection. Four stroke engines should be run a few minutes before storing and after changing and adding fuel stabilizers to get the treated fuel through out the fuel system for protection. Leave fuel in the carb so the gaskets and seals don't dry out.

This is what classic car guys state and owners of equiptment that have had problems in the past have repoeted. Read the reviews.

Best wishes,
Pete K.
 

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thanks for the info. i didnt know stabil had more than one type. problem is the type i used was the red/pink product. still had a problem. maybe i bought an extra poor or bottom of the stations tanks batch of gas. we will see what happens with the seafoam. for now i will continue draining gas and popping off the fuel bowl, quick spray down with a carb cleaner thats not harmful to rubber or gaskets, put it back on and store the engine.
 

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Gas

I'm starting to use non-oxygenated gas - supposed to not have alcohol in it. I've heard of people saying how E85 gas seems to attract moisture more than regular gas. Anything to keep it clean sure can't hurt.

I've also noticed my lawn mower seems to act sluggish and harder to start if I've used E85 in it and it's sat a while, that's why I'm starting to try non-alcohol gas lately. Haven't used enough to see if it truly makes a difference or not but at a difference of 30-40 cents a gallon, it's worth trying IMO.
 
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