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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to this - have an ages old Toro 521 (38052) from my Grandma. Runs like a dream and have used it a few years after getting it.

This past big storm in Chicagoland dumped a foot on us. (Which has since been followed by almost another 2 feet over the last 2 weeks)

Starts fine, drives great, but the second the auger touches the snow, it’s stops spinning and disengages. The impeller free spins just fine, also spins when the auger is engaged and when the auger stops. So it’s only the auger drive that stops when it touches the snow.

Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions on what I can try? I’ve since bought a new Toro PowerMax828, so this isn’t a desperately urgent need. But if I can get it running I’ll happily have my partner help dig out some more neighbors. (And probably eventually sell it since it’s built like a tank)

i just know the shops around here are obviously deep in repairs and work with all the snow so figured if I can manage a self repair I’ll give it a go.
Thanks in advance!
 

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First of all welcome to the forum, and I agree those machines are worth fixing yourself. And I'm sure the shops are swamped, and will be for weeks (I am NW burbs). What do you mean the impeller free spins? It spins without spinning the shaft that it is on? When it spins, does the auger spin with it (It should, but the auger spins slower than the impeller). Did you look at the belt? Take off the plastic cover and see how tight the auger belt is (you will have to hold down the auger lever to engage the tensioner for the belt).

tx
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First of all welcome to the forum, and I agree those machines are worth fixing yourself. And I'm sure the shops are swamped, and will be for weeks (I am NW burbs). What do you mean the impeller free spins? It spins without spinning the shaft that it is on? When it spins, does the auger spin with it (It should, but the auger spins slower than the impeller). Did you look at the belt? Take off the plastic cover and see how tight the auger belt is (you will have to hold down the auger lever to engage the tensioner for the belt).

tx
When powered off, I’m able to spin the impeller (so it’s not jammed with a rock or something).
When I engage the auger lever, both the impeller and the auger spin and kick on like normal. As soon as the auger touches a hint of snow, it stops, but the impeller still runs like normal. Hence I don’t think it’s the belt since it all engages normally (and the impeller continues to work). I suspect it’s something in the auger shaft or the gear box. But from what I’ve read, the gear box is unlikely as it seems they’re built to withstand a pretty harsh beating.
Also worth noting, I used it a few weeks ago and all was perfect, didn’t hit any gravel, or other objects and was working when I put it away, then 2 weeks later when I started it up and started outside the garage, the auger just stopped when I hit the first little drift.
 

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Check your augers shear pins. Remove them! To ensure they are intact, then put them back in. Remove the belt cover and see when you hit snow the belts and the impeller both are spinning.
 
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When touching the snow... Is this mean when there is a load to the impeller? If so, I would look in to the belt tension. I've had issue with this too. Mine worked sometimes and did not other times.
Also, while at it, check the gearbox to add 00 grease and grease gun the shaft if there is nipples to inject.
 

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I would check the auger shear pins if they are intact I would pull the gearbox fill plug out and stick a zip tie or a piece of rope or something similar and check for metal shavings
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When touching the snow... Is this mean when there is a load to the impeller? If so, I would look in to the belt tension. I've had issue with this too. Mine worked sometimes and did not other times.
Also, while at it, check the gearbox to add 00 grease and grease gun the shaft if there is nipples to inject.
No load to the impeller.
Just pulled both shear pins and both are fully intact and normal.
Video here of the action.
I pulled the belt cover, all appears tight and normal when engaged and as shown in video, impeller is still running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would check the auger shear pins if they are intact I would pull the gearbox fill plug out and stick a zip tie or a piece of rope or something similar and check for metal shavings
I assume that’s the single black 4 headed bolt on the front of the gear box?
175921
 

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I assume that’s the single black 4 headed bolt on the front of the gear box? View attachment 175921
No the shear pins/bolts would be on the augers themselves, but I don't think yours uses shear pins?
From reading other threads on Toro.
I may be wrong.
If you had shear pins/bolts that were broke it would do that.
We need a Toro man to the rescue.

Edit, I just reread it, yours have shear bolts?

It's got to be the belt then?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No the shear pins/bolts would be on the augers themselves, but I don't think yours uses shear pins?
From reading other threads on Toro.
I may be wrong.
If you had shear pins/bolts that were broke it would do that.
We need a Toro man to the rescue.

Edit, I just reread it, yours have shear bolts?

It's got to be the belt then?
The picture was of the fill plug — mine does have shear pins, I know a lot of toros dont, but I did pull both shear pins out and they’re both fine and put back in.
I suspect it’s something with how it’s engaging in the gear box, since the impeller still works and is spinning at the gear box, I’m guessing it’s something there and likely not something I’m going to be able to fix on my own, but if there’s a toro pro who has other ideas, I’m certainly all ears and willing to try!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No the shear pins/bolts would be on the augers themselves, but I don't think yours uses shear pins?
From reading other threads on Toro.
I may be wrong.
If you had shear pins/bolts that were broke it would do that.
We need a Toro man to the rescue.

Edit, I just reread it, yours have shear bolts?

It's got to be the belt then?
Belt runs Normal as well, I pulled off the cover and it’s tight when engaged and spins (still runs impeller just fine) so I’m guessing it’s the gear box.
 

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Wow, haven't seen that before. You may be correct on the gear box. I haven't seen a Toro gear box fail yet, but that would explain it.

tx
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow, haven't seen that before. You may be correct on the gear box. I haven't seen a Toro gear box fail yet, but that would explain it.

tx
That’s why I was baffled - everything I found said the gearbox on the toros is like a tank and near impossible to fail. But given the impeller runs and cranks at the box, I think it’s got to be in the box.
 

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Belt runs Normal as well, I pulled off the cover and it’s tight when engaged and spins (still runs impeller just fine) so I’m guessing it’s the gear box.
Did you try going into the snow with the belt cover off and actually watch the belt itself to see if it is slipping?
Edit, my understanding is if the impeller is still spinning the gear box would be OK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Did you try going into the snow with the belt cover off and actually watch the belt itself to see if it is slipping?
Yep, doesn’t appear to slip at all, and impeller still spins at full speed. It’s just the outer auger that dies.
 

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If shear pin is out, your auger does not turn. Your auger is turning. You have a problem inside the gearbox, it seems. Try undoing the square bolt and top off with 00 grease.

Video seems like mine. I think you need to check the tension of belt.
 

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This is the problem I had:
 
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I assume that’s the single black 4 headed bolt on the front of the gear box? View attachment 175921
That’s the one! Unfortunately at this point it sounds like the gear is toast. The good news is that the gear is cheap and easy to replace however it is a fairly labor intensive job. It would make for a great spring project since you already have another blower
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If shear pin is out, your auger does not turn. Your auger is turning. You have a problem inside the gearbox, it seems. Try undoing the square bolt and top off with 00 grease.

Video seems like mine. I think you need to check the tension of belt.
Read your belt/gearbox post. I suspect it’s my gearbox.
I’ll try it again here in a bit to check the belt again, but when I looked at it earlier, it appeared normal when engaged and not slipping or wobbling. I suspect the gearbox innards are roast and it had enough to engage it, but any load at all and it’s just spinning inside.
 

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actually the auger gears are ~ $75 to $90 each (worm and helical) OEM. And you usually need new seals as well. If you enjoy working on these machines, I would recommend finding another Toro of same vintage and using that gearset. Toro used the same gears for many years on most of the small frame machines.
 
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