Snow Blowers

Tune Your Snow Blower Engine Now

November 21st, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Tune Your Snow Blower Engine NowThe best time to make sure your snow blower is ready to go for the season is in October or November before it gets really cold. That’s why we are saying Tune Your Snow Blower Engine Now! The picture on the left, covers most of the small engine types with snow blowers at the bottom of the picture. They all have similar steps, however obviously each is different and requires specific steps to make sure that your snow blower is ready to go for the coming winter. We will go through each of the steps or activities in a bit more detail.

Tune Your Snow Blower Engine Now

Inspect The Safety System – check that all levers etc disengage properly, with the engine off check the shear pins, lights work if you have them

Replace or Clean the Spark Plug – replace if in doubt, clean and regap if you reuse the old one.

Adjust the Skid Shoes if Needed – Check that the bolts are tight and they lift the shave plate slightly above the surface of your driveway

Change the Engine Oil – at minimum once a year in the fall and more often if the engine is used a great deal as per the manufacturers instructions

Adjust the Shave Plate if Needed – it should be slightly above the surface, but not so much that it leaves a significant layer of snow on the driveway

Adjust the Drive System if Needed – check the belts for fraying and cracking, replace as needed and ensure that there is an appropriate amount of tension

Test the Snowblower for Operation – Start it up and let it run for a few minutes and test all moving parts.

Add Fuel Stabilizer – to the gasoline tank and the extra fuel you keep for refilling. This will ensure that your engine runs smoothly and does not gum up.

Following these steps should ensure that you have a problem free winter, unless you have missed a major item that needs an overhaul.

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Should I Change Oil in My Snow Blower Spring or Fall

November 7th, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Should I Change Oil in My Snow Blower Spring or FallOne of our readers asked the following question, When Should I Change Oil in My Snow Blower Spring or Fall? We will answer this question for our readers in this post and also share an approach to draining the oil from the engine that avoids oil being spilled all over the housing, the tire or on the ground. The best time to change the oil in your snow blower is in the fall when it is still relatively warm. No one wants to work in the cold weather doing this sort of job in their garage. The fall is the best time for another reason. The oil has been sitting in the engine block all summer, after being used in the engine during the previous winter. It is time to have fresh oil in the engine for the coming season to ensure that your snowblower delivers the best results. If your snowblower is used a great deal, you may even change the oil more often based on recommendations found in the user’s manual.

Should I Change Oil in My Snow Blower Spring or Fall – Draining

Regardless of when you do this job, start the engine and let it run for 5 or 10 minutes to warm up the oil. This will ensure that it has a higher level of viscosity and will drain more thoroughly.

Many snowmobile engines have a drain plug on the side of the engine block, near the bottom of the engine block. Some like mine, have a 3 or 4 inch pipe with a plug on the end of it. If you remove the plug the oil is going to fall all over the gear housing or the tire depending on the location with a great deal of oil ending up on the ground.

I always have a one foot long piece of hose available and a reservoir to catch the oil when I am draining the oil. AS I remove the plug on the end of the pipe, I have the hose ready to place over the end of the pipe so that the oil drains through the hose and into the reservoir. This is just a handy little trick that helps me change the oil without making a big mess.

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Snowblower Tuneup For the DYI Consumer

October 21st, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Snowblower TuneupSnowblower tuneup for the DYI consumer can save you quite a bit of money, give you satisfaction knowing that you performed this activity yourself and ensure that your snowblower will always operate when needed. Delaying a tuneup or never tuning up your snowblower just means that eventually it is not going to work and that will probably be on the coldest snowiest day of the year. Don’t procrastinate, do it today when the weather is still reasonably warm, compared to winter time. We are writing this particular post in October so it is still pleasant outside compared to what it will be like in a few months time.

Snowblower Tuneup For the DYI Consumer

The basic things you need to address when tuning up your snowblower are as follows:

Spark Plug – Remove it, clean it up and check the gap. Reset the gap if needed. Replace the spark plug if it is not in good shape.

Oil Change – change the oil every year as a minimum, follow the manufacturers instructions and always check the oil before starting the engine.

Belt Condition – make sure that the belts are in good condition, that the tension pulleys are operating properly. Change the belts if they are fraying or cracking.

Tire Condition – Check the tire pressure and add air if needed. Remove the tires and grease the axles. If you ever need to remove them because you have a flat tire, you will be glad you did this.

Grease Auger – there are at least two grease nipples on the auger shaft. Give each one two pumps with your grease gun

Test Operation – Once all of the above are complete, start up the engine and test all functions on your particular snow blower. If anything else needs to be repaired, now is the time to do it.

As long as you have done all of the above and your engine starts easily and runs smoothly you should be good for the season. A rough running engine usually means that the carburetor needs to be cleaned or overhauled which takes more time and the subject of another post.

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Just Tuned my Craftsman 10hp Snowblower

October 7th, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Craftsman 10hp SnowblowerJust got finished with a tuneup of my Craftsman 10hp snowblower. This machine is about 15 years old and is still going strong. It is beginning to show its age in terms of rust on the housing etc, bit the engine and the impeller operate just like new. Anyway I thought I would go over the steps required in a tuneup / checkup to help readers decide if this is something they want to tackle themselves or have a small engine mechanic look after for them. We will list them in no particular order and you can tackle each one as you see fit.

Tuned my Craftsman 10hp Snowblower

Change the Engine Oil – Drain the oil into a oil bin and then dispose of it properly at a recycle location. Before you drain the oil, run the engine for a few minutes to warm up the oil. You find that it drains much more quickly and thoroughly if you do this. Add the recommended oil for your engine in the correct quantity. Check the level with the dip stick before and also after running the engine to ensure that the correct amount of oil has been installed.

Check the spark plug – Always take the plug out, check the gap after first giving it a good cleaning. If it is corroded etc, then replace it with a new one after you have set the proper gap.

Check the belts – The belts should be free of cracks, and wear and tear. Check that they are also properly tensioned as per your snowblowers manual.

Grease the Auger – The auger usually has 4 grease points. Give each at least two squeezes from your grease gun.

Grease the Wheel Axles – Remove the wheels and grease the axles and then place the wheels back on, taking care to put them back in exactly the same way. This may seem like a waste of time, however if you have a flat tire and need to remove the wheel,  you will be glad you did this.

Reconnect the Electrical Wires for the Light – Check all of the electrical connections. Reconnect or tighten any that are needed.

Test All Moving Parts – Finally start up the engine, make sure it is running smoothly and test that the auger and impeller are working properly. Check all of the gear speeds to ensure that there is no other maintenance required.

That’s a pretty good check list to make sure that your snow blower will be ready for the season. There is still a chance that it might be hard to start in the cold weather, but at least you know that all of the major things have been addressed in your tuneup.

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Best Snowblowers for Roof

September 21st, 2015 ernie Posted in Roof Snow Removal | No Comments »

Best Snowblowers for RoofThe snow rake pictured on the left is by far the best snowblowers for roof situations where there is lots of snow to get rid of. It comes with 3,  8 foot sections that hook together giving you a 24 foot reach to get at the snow on your roof without having to actually get on your roof. Consumers using the snow rake stand on the ground and pull the heavy snow off their roof onto the ground. It is much safer than getting up onto a slippery roof and there is almost zero chance of damaging the roof shingles as well. Consumer need to understand that their shingles can become brittle in cold and crack if stepped on. Anytime a shingle cracks, it is a potential leak into your home which can cause a great deal more damage.

Best Snowblowers for Roof

Some consumers will use an electric powered snow shovel while on their roof. They are handy for light powdery snow conditions, however for heavy snow and ice crystals, a shovel is probably the best tool to use. Be careful to avoid damaging your shingles with the shovel and causing potential future leaks into your home.

Unless you have the proper equipment i.e. boots that don’t slip and a roof that is not too sleep, we really recommend that you do not get onto the roof. The possibility of losing your grip and sliding off the roof is high and depending on the height and also what you land on, you really could hurt yourself badly.

If the 24 foot pole is not long enough to reach all of your roof consider adding additional 8 foot lengths to increase the reach. The pole is a bit difficult and unwieldy to handle, but once on the roof, all you need to do is pull the snow towards the edge without allowing the rake to go over the edge.

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Roof Snow Blowers

September 7th, 2015 ernie Posted in Roof Snow Removal | No Comments »

Roof Snow BlowersUsing roof snow blowers is not a good idea for the average consumer. We wanted to say that up front to make sure that readers understand that it can be very dangerous to the person using the snow blower as well as for the possibility of actual damage to the roof. If not completed carefully and in a safe manner, people have fallen from the roof due to the unsafe conditions. They have also damaged the roof causing water damage and major leaks to the interior of their homes and businesses. If you must clear snow from your roof there are a couple of safe ways to arrange for the job to be completed, which we will cover in this post. We are very interested in your safety and prefer that no one is hurt in any way.

Roof Snow Blowers – Use a Snow Rake Instead

For those of you who may not be aware, a snow rake is actually a blade that is attached to a long pole that allows the operator to stand on the ground. The business end of the rake is placed on the roof and the operator pulls the snow towards the edge of the roof onto the ground. Sure you have to work a little harder and you may have to shovel the snow that falls onto your driveway or steps, but it is far safer than getting on the roof.

If you must get on the roof, devices like the one shown in this picture are sometimes used. It is light, easy to hold and runs on electricity. It can be used on the roof without placing a lot of weight on cold brittle shingles which could break under your own weight.

We have seen pictures of full sized snow blowers on a roof, we are not sure if they were photo shopped or not, but this is clearly a very unsafe thing to consider.

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What Oil to use in Snow Blower Engines

August 21st, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

What oil to use in snow blower enginesThe chart at the left provides consumers with recommendations regarding what oil to use in snow blower engines at various temperatures. Most consumers will end up using 5 W 30 since it is good for temperatures from -22F to 32F and it is cheaper than synthetic oil which has a wider range. Since a snow blower engine is not needed during warm temperatures the wider range of synthetic oil is not really needed and you save money as well since it is more expensive. Always review the owners manual and use whatever is recommended for your snow blower engine. The intent of this post is to provide consumers with a guideline to follow.

What Oil to use in Snow Blower Engines – Fresh Oil

We also recommend that the oil should be changed at the beginning of the season in the late fall period. Run the engine for a few minutes to warm it up and ensure that the oil is hot enough to cleanly drain out of your snow blowers engine. Shut it off, drain the oil and replace the oil with whatever oil you decide to use. Check the oil level, restart the engine and let it run for a few minutes and then shut it off again. Let it sit for a minute before checking the oil one more time to make sure there is the right amount of oil in the engine.

Depending on how much your snow blower is used, you may need to change the oil one more time during the winter season, otherwise you can change it again at the beginning of the next season. Maintaining fresh oil in your snow blowers engine is one of the best ways to maintain your engine and keep it running for a long time. Don’t forget to put gasoline preservative in the gas tank, which you can obtain from most auto stores. Clean the spark plug and re-gap the plug when you change the oil as well.

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Signs of bad spark plug on Snow Blower

August 9th, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

bad spark plug on Snow BlowerSigns of bad spark plug on snow blower engines can be confused with several other issues all of which have similar symptoms. For example if your snow blower engine will not start it could be because there is no gasoline in the tank (don’t smirk this happens a lot), bad gas that has clogged the filters and / or carb, a bad spark plug or no spark at all getting to the spark plug. The easiest way to trouble shoot these problems is to check the easy things first, eliminate them and move onto the more difficult areas. For example, always check that you have gas in the gas tanks and if there is a shut off cock for the gasoline, that it is open! Many people shut this off in the spring and then forget that they did that when it comes to firing the snow blower up in the fall.

Bad Spark Plug on Snow Blower – Check the Plugs

The next easiest thing to check is the spark plug. Remove the wire connected to the plug and hold the metal end of the wire within 1/16th of an inch to the end of the spark plug. Have some one slowly pull the starter chord. You should see a spark. Be careful not to touch anything metal connected to the machine to avoid receiving a shock. It will not hurt you but it will give you a bit of a surprise.

Next remove the plug, clean it and re gap it to the specification in your manual. If the spark plug is badly corroded or cannot be cleaned properly, replace it with a new one. Make sure you also set the gap on this plug as well. If your engine is still running rough or not at all and you confirmed that there was a spark then you will have to search for other solutions.

At this point you know you have gas in the tank, the shuttle cock is open so gas can get to the carb, you know there is spark getting to the spark plug and you have either cleaned the plug or replaced it. What’s next? Turn the engine over a few times, remove the spark plug and check for gasoline on the plug. If the plug is wet, and you can smell gasoline, then gas is getting into the engine, you will need to recheck that it is gaped properly and that the spark plug is actually receiving a jolt of electricity. If it is dry then gas is not getting into the engine and you will need to recheck and / or clean the carb and gas tank.

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Best Snow Blowers for Roofs

July 21st, 2015 prrichar1 Posted in Roof Snow Removal | No Comments »

Best Snow Blowers for RoofsUsing a snow blower on your roof is probably not the best thing to do, given the danger of slipping and also potentially damaging your shingles on your roof. However we know people are going to disregard these suggestions and do things that may compromise their own safety. You are much better to use a snow rake, stand on the ground and pull the snow off the roof rather than lift a snow blower onto the roof. Although a snow rake takes more work, it is by far the safest approach to take. If you are going to use a snow blower on the roof, use one that is meant to be portable, that you can lift with one hand and that you can handle easily while maintaining your balance on a slippery roof.

Best Snow Blowers for Roofs – Portable Snow Blower

Most snow blowers are far to heavy to lift onto the roof and they will definitely damage your roof as well. Use a portable snow blower like the one in the picture. It is an electric blower so no need to worry about spilling gasoline on your roof and it is light enough that it will do less damage to your roof.

The hand held model will handle most snow conditions, however if there is ice or hard packed snow it may have more difficulty removing the icy junks. You probably also blow the snow onto adjacent sidewalks or even your driveway and will have to clear it later on. This is to be expected. If there are shrubs just below your roof, try to avoid dumping too much snow onto the shrubs. The weight of the snow will usually break the branches and flatten them to the ground.

If there is any doubt about your safety, hire someone to do the work on your behalf or use a snow rake to remove the snow.

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Snow Blower for Roof

July 7th, 2015 prrichar1 Posted in Roof Snow Removal | No Comments »

Snow Blower for RoofMany readers are looking for snow blower for roof solutions which we have to say can be very dangerous. We have seen numerous pictures of people using hoists and cranes to lift full size snow blowers onto a sloped roof to clear snow off of them. Not only will you damage your shingles you can slip off the roof and have serious injuries as a result. We strongly encourage readers to never lift a snow blower of any kind onto a roof. There are two possible solutions which are much safer. The electric snow blower shown in this picture would work provided that the snow is not hard packed or has an icy crust on it. Anyone attempting to use this solution needs to be very careful to avoid falling off the roof, but at least it is a light machine and can be controlled much more easily than a full blown powerful snow blower.

Snow Blower for Roof – Use a snow Rake

snow rake for roofThis solution is far better and although it involves much more work and is probably a lot harder, it is much safer than getting onto the roof. The snow rake has several long poles which are connected together so that the user can stand on the ground to pull the snow off the roof. Consumers must be careful to not work too hard especially if you have been a couch potato for many years. With this kind of work, often people who are not fit, suffer heart attacks when they do this type of work.

If you fall into this latter category, hire someone to do the work for you who is younger and fit. While it will cost you some money, it is much better than falling off the roof or suffering a heart attack. Electric snow blowers and roof snow rakes are the best options for clearing snow off of sloped roofs and even those that are flat.

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