Join 3,434 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Snowblower Fix
January 14, 2004 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Anyone know anything about small gasoline engines? We've got snow coming, and I pulled out my snowblower last night to see if it would start. It would not. It cranks (electric starter) but does not even cough. It's one of those ones that takes a gas/oil mixture. I filled it up a couple of weeks ago (it already had a quarter-tank or so left over from last year.) This snowblower is about 3 years old and I am not proud to say I have not lifted a finger to maintain it, including emptying the tank in the offseason. Last time I used it was last winter. I'm reasonably handy with the tools, so any at-home suggested fixes would be VERY welcome, and if fact may very well save my back over the next 48 hours!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
 
You likely are not getting a spark or the fuel isn't being delivered or both. You can pour a little fresh fuel in the carburetor and try again to start it. If you can get it to at least cough then you have a fuel problem - you'll need to drain the fuel tank and all the lines (if it has a fuel filter you'll probably need to replace it) and fill it again with fresh fuel (not fuel that's been sitting around in a can since last season).
If it doesn't even cough with the fresh fuel in the carburetor then you're not getting a spark. Remove the spark plug and check it for deposits. If it's gummed up you can try to clean it with fine steel wool. Check the gap with a gauge if you have one. Or just replace it - they don't last long in two cycle engines anyway.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:17 AM on January 14, 2004


and make sure you have enough clean oil in the machine. have you tried to manually start it?
posted by evening at 8:53 AM on January 14, 2004


Timefactor is wise. You could also, in most cases, remove the plug from the engine, reattach it to the wire, and see if you get spark when you try to start it.

A starter cord will not produce quite the same juice as a car alternator, but to be safe, wear gloves and dry shoes, and use rubber-handled pliers.
posted by trharlan at 10:00 AM on January 14, 2004


You could also, in most cases, remove the plug from the engine, reattach it to the wire, and see if you get spark when you try to start it.

You can also do this without removing the plug by running a screwdriver through the spark wire clip and holding it close to the engine block to check for spark. The same grounding precautions apply for yourself. You'll need a helper.
posted by machaus at 10:04 AM on January 14, 2004


I have tried to manually start it, but the electric starter is a lot easier. I don't think the engine cares which way it gets cranked.

Clean oil is not an issue as the oil is mixed in with the gas (two-stroke engine).

Somewhere I read that putting some fresh gas directly into the carbeurator (sp?) may get it going. How much is "some"? And is that dangerous?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:04 AM on January 14, 2004


Before I poured raw gas into the carb, I'd try spraying some starting fluid (ether) into the air cleaner. You're asking for a fire by screwing around with gas like that.
posted by machaus at 11:12 AM on January 14, 2004


A two-stroke engine that's not been maintained and won't start is almost (almost) always indicative of a dirty carburetor. The oil/gas mixture sitting in the carburetor the whole off-season will clog the jets, gum up the float needle seat, and block the idle passages. Unless you've taken apart and reassembled a carburetor successfully before, you should take it to a small-engine repair shop and have them clean it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:27 PM on January 14, 2004


What crash_davis said. That falls into the 'fuel delivery problem'. And yeah, carb disassembly and repair is not for the faint of heart, although if you have some liquid carb cleaner (not spray) you might be able to soak them and have them work.
posted by SpecialK at 6:48 PM on January 14, 2004


« Older Scotch: It's coming up on my b...   |  Software Question - I am tryin... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.