Snow Blowers


Tubeless Tire Conversion

March 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Tubeless Tire ConversionWe discussed options for a tubeless tire repair in our last post. We wanted to spend a few more minutes discussing tubeless tire conversion. This is a viable option for older snow blowers with tubeless tires. It is an inexpensive way to repair the tire and you do not even have to take the tire and rim off the axle. This can be a problem for older snow blowers. We will outline a step by step approach to completing a tubeless tire conversion assuming that you cannot remove the tire and rim from the axle. If you have the rim off the axle, just ignore the appropriate steps.

Tubeless Tire Conversion – Step by Step

  • Place blocks under the snowblower to raise the wheel off the ground
  • Disconnect the spark plug wire to avoid accidental engine starts
  • Remove the existing valve using pliers to pull it out of the rim
  • Using several screw drivers pry the outside edge of the tire off the rim
  • Reach inside and run your fingers along the inside of the tire to detect any sharp edges that could damage the new tube
  • Remove any sharp objects from inside the tire
  • Place the new tube inside the tire and position the valve in the rim
  • Begin blowing up the new tube
  • Massage the tire as you are adding air to ensure it properly seats onto the rim
  • Fill the tire with air to the recommended pressure

The tire is repaired inexpensively and without waiting for a mechanic.

 

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Tubeless Tire Repair Snowblower

March 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

tubeless tire repair snowblowerIt should be pretty easy to do a tubeless tire repair snowblower, right? Well there is always a complication. To begin with the tire always goes flat when it is really cold outside. If only the tire would go flat in the summer time and you had the presence of mind to repair it then. Another complication is that your snow blower is old and the rim is rusted on to the axle. No matter what you do it will not come off! Even after using penetrating oil, hammering it and trying to get a gear puller on it, nothing works. What can you do to get this fixed? In some cities there are mobile small engine repair mechanics to call on. You may have to load it on to a trailer and take it to a mechanic. While these solutions are viable, they can be expensive and time consuming. There is another answer.

Tubeless Tire Repair Snowblower – Install a Tube!

If you cannot get the tire and the rim off, there is another approach. Purchase the proper size of tube for your wheel. Pry off one side of the tire from the rim. Install the tube inside the tire and insert the valve into the appropriate spot in the rim.

Pry the tire back onto the rim and blow up the tube. Take care to make sure that the rubber tire seats properly on the rim. You may have to massage the tire a bit to get everything to fit. Now you have a tubed tire with a lot less effort and very little cost.

If you can clean the rim and the existing tire, reapply glue and then blow up the tire you may be able to keep your tubeless option. When it is cold or you cannot get the rim off the axle, this can be quite difficult to do. Never the less it is another option to a tubeless tire repair.

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No Contract Driveway Snow Clearing

February 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in On Demand Snow Removal | No Comments »

no contract driveway snow clearingMany consumers have struggled with the decision to hire a snow removal company for the season or do it themselves. They worry about the cost and also health issues, particularly during heavy snow days when shoveling can be very strenuous. Now there is a third solution provided by TouchPlow, no contract driveway snow clearing. Modeled after the ride sharing service, Uber, TouchPlow allows consumers to order snow removal on demand. This is another example of how technology is delivering better service and more competition to the consumer.

No Contract Driveway Snow Clearing

When there is a light snowfall clear the snow from the driveway yourself. After a heavy snowfall use TouchPlow to order a contractor to come within a specified time frame. The breakeven cost is somewhere between 10 and 15 times. Cost for a double wide driveway large enough for 4 cars will cost between $30 and $45 depending on how quickly you need the service.

You can save on the cost by only ordering on heavy snowfall days and giving the contractor 24 hours to complete the job. Prices may vary based on demand and supply of contractors. Once you place your order, a snow removal contractor will bid on the job and make arrangements to clear the snow from your driveway.

No Contract Driveway Snow Clearing is a new solution which may have some growing pains. Download the app to your smartphone and sign up for the service to get started.

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Touch Plow Driveway Snow Removal

February 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in On Demand Snow Removal | No Comments »

On Demand Driveway Snow RemovalThere is a new snow clearing service available that is modeled after the Uber ride sharing system. On Demand Driveway Snow Removal provided by local contractors. It is called TouchPlow and is designed for consumers to order snow clearing as needed using an app on their smart phones. The app is available on both apple and android phones. All you need to do is download the Touch plow driveway snow removal service. Once you install the app, you will need to create an account, providing address and payment information. Whenever you need your driveway cleared of snow, just place an order and wait for a bid. There are a couple of things that consumers need to be aware of when using this app and the services provided by contractors. We will cover a few of them in this article, although the services in still quite new. They are still getting the bugs out of the system.

On Demand Driveway Snow Removal by Touch Plow – Comments

From a process perspective it all seems to work really well. Once you create an account, select your driveway size, place an order and wait for a contractor to take your request. You can request service in 4 hours, or longer. The longer your willing to wait, the lower the price that you will pay. Something to consider based on how urgently you need your driveway cleared.

Any contractor can pick up your order. There have been some reports of less than scrupulous contractors taking bids. This is part of the getting established phase. You will want to monitor how good a job the contractor does.

Some folks have placed their order while sitting in Florida for their home in Ottawa. Nice touch and you do not need to be there to clear snow.

You can also specify if you just need the driveway clear or if you also want your steps and sidewalks cleared. It all depends on the price you want to pay.

The trade off of course is relying on a contractor to meet specific standards throughout the winter or just ordering snow clearing as you need it. Prices we saw indicated $30 to $40 for Touchplow driveway snow removal. A seasonal contract could cost around $500, making it worth about 10 driveway clearings in the season. If you get a lot of snow days, you might lose out going with Touchplow vs. a seasonal contract.

A decision consumers need to make.

 

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How to know if a Spark Plug is bad on a Snowblower

January 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

The spark plug in the picture has been partially cleaned. Readers can tell that it was very dirty and corroded. It probably was not delivering a very good spark to the engine. How to know if a spark plug is bad on a snowblower? In situations such as this the engine will be difficult to start and may also run roughly. These symptoms can also be caused by dirty gas, a dirty carburetor or clogged filters. You really have to solve the problem through a process of elimination and the easiest one is to check and clean the spark plug first. Don’t forget to set the gap properly each time you clean the spark plug.

How to know if a spark plug is bad on a snowblower?

Remove the spark plug after first removing the spark plug wire. Next clean it up using medium grit sand paper. If you cannot get all of the grit off, it is sometimes just easier to install a new plug. Make sure that the gap is set properly as well before you test it.

The next step is to reconnect the spark plug wire. Hold the plug using gloves  with the metal portion touching the side of the metal housing of the engine. Slowly crank the engine and observe if a spark is being generated between the central post of the spark plug and the outer metal housing of the plug. This test will confirm that electricity is being delivered to the plug and it is generating a spark.

Reinstall the plug and start the engine. If the engine still does not run smoothly, you may need to clean the carburetor and filters.  Before doing so make sure you have gasoline in the tank! This is actually a common problem for many people who have trouble starting their snow blower. They forget to add gasoline!

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How do I know i need a new spark plug for my snowblower

January 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

how do i know i need a new spark plug for my snowblowerIf your snow blower is not running very well it could be because you have a bad spark plug. It could also be due to bad fuel, a dirty carburetor, or even a clogged filter. The only way to really tell how do I know I need a new spark plug for my snowblower is to check. A poor running engine is just the first symptom. Either yourself or a mechanic will need to eliminate the possibilities until you have a smooth running engine. Here is some more information about checking your spark plug.

How do I know I need a new spark plug for my snowblower

The easiest first step is to actually check the spark plug. If the engine will run, but not smoothly, then you already know that the plug is delivering a spark to the combustion chamber. If it will not run you will need to ensure that electricity is being delivered.

Remove the spark plug after first disengaging the spark plug wire. If the spark plug is dirty and coated with deposits either replace it with a new one or clean the existing one. If the porcelain around the central post is cracked or chipped, replace the plug. Other wise it can probably be cleaned with sand paper.

After all of the deposits are removed, set the gap to the recommended gap provided in your manual. Reattach the spark plug wire and ground the outer electrode of the spark plug against the housing. Turn the engine over once or twice by pulling the starter chord. You should see a spark between the central post and the outer housing. If not you may not be getting any electricity to the plug.

Once you have confirmed that there is electricity being delivered, re-install the spark plug and try starting the engine following the normal procedure. If it will still not start, remove the plug to see if gasoline is being delivered to the combustion chamber. You should be able to smell it. If not, you will need to clean the filters and possibly the carburetor.

If the spark plug is wet, you may have flooded the engine. Wait a few minutes and try again.

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Snow Blower Limb Accidents

December 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Safety | No Comments »

snow blower limb accidentsThere is a right way and a wrong way to clear snow from the snowblower chute. Many snow blower limb accidents occur every year because the operator sticks their hand down the chute to clear snow . This happens to experienced operators more than it should. There are two categories of accidents.

First the operator does not turn the engine off. The auger and impeller is still turning in a two stage blower. A foot or hand is inserted to remove clogged snow and they lose toes or fingers or worse once they clear the snow away and they get caught.

Snow Blower Limb Accidents

The second type of accident occurs even when the engine is turned off. The chute and auger area is clogged with wet snow. You turn off the engine and start clearing the wet snow away.

Unfortunately because  of the clogged snow rotational force was built up. When the snow is removed, the auger can move several inches. The impeller can also rotate several inches as well. If your fingers are in the way, your going to lose them!

Never insert feet or hands anywhere near the impeller or the augers. Always use a stick or some other tool. Better the stick gets broken and not your hands!

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Injuries from Powered Down Snow Blowers

December 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Safety | No Comments »

Injuries from Powered Down Snow BlowersEven powered down snowblowers can cause serious injuries. Injuries from powered down snow blowers are very serious and happen to older experienced operators. The culprit appears to be wet snow. It clogs the augers and the impeller. When you shut the engine off rotational force is still in place because of the wet snow. If you try to remove the snow with your hand and fingers there is a high probability that you will lose your fingers.

When the clogged wet snow is removed the impeller will move and slice off your fingers. At first you may not even realize that they are gone. Never stick your hand and fingers anywhere near the auger or the impeller!

Injuries from Powered Down Snow Blowers

The best way to remove that heavy wet snow from a clogged snow blower is to use a stick or the tool that it came with. It may be frustrating and take more time but it is so much better than losing a finger.

The snow is wet and heavy. Clear it  out immediately before it has a chance to freeze. If it does freeze you will not be able to unclog it until spring.

Injuries from powered down snow blowers are increasing every year. We have not included any pictures in our posts of the injuries, however there are lots on the internet and some of them are pretty gruesome. There are no safety warnings in the manual or on the machine. Never stick your hands anywhere near the auger or the impeller ever!

 

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Snow Blower Finger Accidents

November 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Safety | No Comments »

Snow Blower Finger AccidentsMany people lose their fingers or worse, their hands in snowblower accidents every year. Most people put their fingers or hands were they shouldn’t. They get sliced by the auger or by the impeller. Snowblower manufacturers advise all operators to shut the snowblower off, before dislodging any compacted snow that is impeding the snowblower. This is a pretty standard safety recommendation. Don’t put your hands or your arm anywhere near the auger or the impeller on a two-stage snowblower.

But consumers are still getting injured from snowblowers when the engine has been turned off. They are losing fingers and damaging their hands drastically in many cases. A recent study undertook to find out why this was happening and it comes down to a build up of rotational force!

Snow Blower Finger Accidents

When wet snow gets stuck in a snowblower and plugs the machine you need to shut the engine off to clear the snow. Most people know that they should use a stick or a special tool provided by the snowblower manufacture. Use the tool clear the snow from the auger and also from the impeller.

But sometimes that just does not work. It is wet snow and difficult to remove from that area of the snowblower. In frustration they reach in with their hands to clear the snow. Particularly from around the impeller as the picture shows above.

Since the snow is compacted inside the machine, there is a build up of rotational force. When the snow is removed by a stick or by hand the impeller will rotate sometimes buy as much as several inches. This is enough to slice off a finger or even a hand. At the very least there is going to be significant damage to your limb.

There are no warnings in most snowblower manuals or on the machine of this problem. The bottom line, is never stick your finger or hand anywhere near the impeller or the augers when the snow blower is plugged by snow. Wet snow appears to be the most significant problem. Always use a stick and be patient and work at it until the snow was removed. Better to have the stick get cut in half than your fingers.

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Snow Blower Foot Accidents

November 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Safety | No Comments »

snow blower foot accidentsThere are lots of serious snowblower accidents every year. In some cases operators lose a hand, fingers or even a foot. Many snowblower foot accidents usually occur when the snowblower jams and operators attempt to clear the snow away while the engine is still running. Never stick your hand in the auger area or your foot. You’re taking a serious risk of being injured. These residential consumer snowblowers are quite powerful and capable of cutting through the hand or foot. Always take proper safety precautions before clearing snow from a jammed snowblower.

Snow Blower Foot Accidents – Safety

The following outlines the steps you should take to ensure your safety and avoid any accidents:

  • If the snowblower jams, turn it off before attempting any work to clear the jam.
  • Disengage the clutch
  • Wait 10 seconds to make sure that the auger and the impeller have stopped rotating.
  • Always use a snow clearing tool to clear snow from the auger or the impeller. Never use your hands or feet to attempt to remove the snow.
  • Do not remove any shields or safety equipment from the snowblower.
  • Keep your hands and feet away from all moving parts. Wear tight fitting clothing and remove scarfs that may droop down into moving parts.
  • Avoid distractions, keep a clear head and concentrate on what you’re doing.
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