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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 15 year-old Toro Powerlite 3.25 which I love.
In the last two years however it has developed a strange symptom: it won't start when it is in cold air.
I prime the crap out of it (anywhere from 3-10 pumps), choke it fully and pull and pull and pull... (and pull, and pull...)
Then, I give up and bring it inside my house for 30 minutes.
Prime it again (only 2-3 times), and BOOM it starts right up in 4 or 5 pulls.

This morning I did this routine (brought it in, let it warm up, started it) and let it idle for about a minute. Then I put it back outside on the porch for an hour (thinking it just ran, there's good fuel in the carb, everything should be good) When I went out to start it up again, right back to the beginning. No start regardless of choke and priming.

It's now back inside the house and I'm 100% sure it will start in a half-hour but it's pretty frustrating. Anyone have any ideas what cold air is doing?

Thanks for any insights, ideas.

Peter
 

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I have a 15 year-old Toro Powerlite 3.25 which I love.
In the last two years however it has developed a strange symptom: it won't start when it is in cold air.
I prime the crap out of it (anywhere from 3-10 pumps), choke it fully and pull and pull and pull... (and pull, and pull...)
Most likely your primer hose and or the primer bulb is cracked and should not be difficult to repair but you need to purchase a length of new hose and or a new primer bulb at the dealer. Good Luck
 

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hello peter, welcome to SBF, the rear cover needs to be removed to do the job
 

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I have a 15 year-old Toro Powerlite 3.25 which I love.
In the last two years however it has developed a strange symptom: it won't start when it is in cold air.
I prime the crap out of it (anywhere from 3-10 pumps), choke it fully and pull and pull and pull... (and pull, and pull...)
Then, I give up and bring it inside my house for 30 minutes.
Prime it again (only 2-3 times), and BOOM it starts right up in 4 or 5 pulls.

This morning I did this routine (brought it in, let it warm up, started it) and let it idle for about a minute. Then I put it back outside on the porch for an hour (thinking it just ran, there's good fuel in the carb, everything should be good) When I went out to start it up again, right back to the beginning. No start regardless of choke and priming.

It's now back inside the house and I'm 100% sure it will start in a half-hour but it's pretty frustrating. Anyone have any ideas what cold air is doing?

Thanks for any insights, ideas.

Peter
I vote for checking the primer bulb and hose as well. Also, check the spark plug make sure its got the correct gap. When's the last time you changed the plug?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Great ideas!

The only work EVER done on this think was replacing the drive belt on the side.

I will change the plug and look at the whole priming system (bulb and hose).

Why would either of these things be affected by cold temperature? Is the idea with the priming bulb that when it's cold it can't create the vaccum it needs to pull the fuel?

Why would the plug be affected by the cold.

BTW, as I predicted, it started right up (when inside) and ran fine as I plowed my entire driveway.

Oh, I'm also selling a Crafstman snowblower for a friend. My son and I made a pretty funny video for the CL ad.

 

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I will change the plug and look at the whole priming system (bulb and hose).
Why would either of these things be affected by cold temperature? Is the idea with the priming bulb that when it's cold it can't create the vaccum it needs to pull the fuel?
Why would the plug be affected by the cold.


The spark plug change suggestion is very valid since it will greatly increase your ignition spark as opposed to an old one.
As for the primer and hose getting cracked over aging has nothing to do with the temperature and those engines will simply not start without them in cold temperature. The choke only enrichens the gaz mixture to a point like helping the engine to run once started in the cold.
 

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The only work EVER done on this think was replacing the drive belt on the side.

I will change the plug and look at the whole priming system (bulb and hose).

Why would either of these things be affected by cold temperature? Is the idea with the priming bulb that when it's cold it can't create the vaccum it needs to pull the fuel?

Why would the plug be affected by the cold.

BTW, as I predicted, it started right up (when inside) and ran fine as I plowed my entire driveway.

Oh, I'm also selling a Crafstman snowblower for a friend. My son and I made a pretty funny video for the CL ad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlDIMmS4aFg

I'm afraid that all that abuse you put on that starter during that video scares me away from it. You shouldn't run the electric start for more than 5 seconds max, and then a couple of minutes rest to cool down.

Old plugs wear, the gap widens, they get carboned up, and that can inhibit its ability to provide a clean hot spark to ignite the vapour in the cylinder. The manual probably mentions checking the plug annually, and replacing it. I don't think its necessary to replace a plug annually, but at least check, gap, and if its major dirty, then replace it.

Just out of curiosity, how old is the fuel in you machine?

I get about 3 years on a plug, then I change it, because I hate standing out in the cold trying to start a snowblower with a possibly bad or tired out plug.

I do however change oil every year, lubricate parts that move, and paint the parts that don't to avoid having things rust, seize and generally malfunction at a time when making repairs is no fun.
 

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Various things could be going on. Check the simple/obvious first. Plug and hoses/primer will elimiante those. If the problem still exists - drop the fule bowl and clean the carb and the jets (use a wire) and put a new fuel bowl gasket on there. Once you have it back together see how it does. You may need to adjust the carb after that. It sounds like your either flooding it, or not getting enough fuel. Look at your plug in a no-start condition.... is it wet? If so your way to rich.
If you just want to cheat and not deal with hard to start use starting fluid..... I have one machine with a small hole drilled for just that purpose. She is cantekeous in the cold - but warms up and runs like a dream. Always keep a can handy - it's the best tool in your toolbox some days.
 

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With two stroke motors that have a lot of hours or age, a common source of starting problems is worn crank shaft seals. The colder the temp. is the more the seals will shrink and get less flexible moving away from the crank shaft. These get worn and or hard from heat and age wear. When starting they allow air to be sucked into the crankcase on the up stroke of the piston and this leans out the fuel mixture or it doesn't suck fuel from the carb. and on the down stroke they leak the fuel /air mixture out by the seal instead of forcing it through the transfer port to the top of the piston to be ignited. Any seals that are 15 years old have hardened/worn and are not providing a good seal.
 

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Many helpful replies but lets not forget the OP has only a starting problem when the engine is as cold as outside and if he brings it inside to warm it up it starts and perform as intended hence to start with the obvious checking if the fuel is supplied properly via the primer and its hose in good condition, the same could be tried if he added gas with the plug removed which might confirm if there is lack of priming of the carb.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Gas directly into cylinder!

Brilliant idea. Should have thought of that myself.
If gas directly into cylinder makes it start out in the cold, then the primer has to be the problem.

THANK YOU!!
 

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All the primer does is force fuel from the bowl of the carb. to the front opening of the carb. It still has to be sucked through the carb. throttle bore into the crankcase. If you have bad crank seals you will not have any suction or negative pressure in the crankcase when the piston goes to the top of the stroke in the cylinder.
 

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I prime the crap out of it (anywhere from 3-10 pumps), choke it fully and pull and pull and pull... (and pull, and pull...)
To me, this is the most concerning detail that you mentioned. If you're hitting the primer up to 10 times in an attempt to start it, then I'm going to make a guess that the carburetor is just flooded. Then when you let it sit for half hour (coincidently inside) it'll have evacuated the excess fuel and starts.
Just my opinion. And be sure to take in consideration what the other folks mentioned, for it may be a collective of factors that are causing the hard starts
 

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Not to hijack the OP's thread, but my old (1977) 826 has the exact same issue in very cold weather, except there is no primer pump on it. The plug is in good shape (changed/gapped it last year) and the fuel tank hose appears to be in good condition. I only run ethanol-free 91 octane gas in it.

I was using it today in 10 F weather and the sucker wouldn't start. It finally did, but I had to tug on the cord like 20+ times. When it's warmer out, then it tends to start almost right away (3-4 tugs at most). Playing with the choke (open, closed, half way, etc) didn't seem to affect it much today... it just wouldn't cooperate. If it were any colder out, I probably wouldn't have been able to use it at all.

I was thinking that next time I'll probably just try the electric start... even though it's a real pain to have to run an extension cord from the house.

:(
 

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Not to hijack the OP's thread, but my old (1977) 826 has the exact same issue in very cold weather, except there is no primer pump on it. The plug is in good shape (changed/gapped it last year) and the fuel tank hose appears to be in good condition. I only run ethanol-free 91 octane gas in it.

I was using it today in 10 F weather and the sucker wouldn't start. It finally did, but I had to tug on the cord like 20+ times. When it's warmer out, then it tends to start almost right away (3-4 tugs at most). Playing with the choke (open, closed, half way, etc) didn't seem to affect it much today... it just wouldn't cooperate. If it were any colder out, I probably wouldn't have been able to use it at all.

I was thinking that next time I'll probably just try the electric start... even though it's a real pain to have to run an extension cord from the house.

:(
Ethanol-Free is great. But 91 octane in cold weather may prove troublesome.
The higher octane means that it resists detonation moreso than lower octane gas. That's why it tends to be required for higher compression engines to allow proper performance. If lower octane gas was used in a higher compression engine it may ignite too early and cause it to run quite rough.
 

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In a pinch a can of starter fluid can be your friend - just use it wisely! Open the choke find a way to shoot some in. Close the choke and start it. You may have to do it a few times on some machines...... it's a poor mans fix, but beats yanking your guts out or burning up a starter. Then, figure out whats wrong and fix it properly..... a well tuned machine will make your life much easier.
 

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In a pinch a can of starter fluid can be your friend - just use it wisely! Open the choke find a way to shoot some in. Close the choke and start it. You may have to do it a few times on some machines...... it's a poor mans fix, but beats yanking your guts out or burning up a starter. Then, figure out whats wrong and fix it properly..... a well tuned machine will make your life much easier.
I would not use starting fluid on any two stroke motor, it has no lubricant in it. Running a two stoke on it is like adding no oil to the gas/fuel mix. Motor damage is the result.
 
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