Zen and the art of Snowblower maintenance

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jay H, Jan 4, 2003.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Was blowing the snow from our driveway this morning. Not much snow but a whole mixture of freezing rain and snow that would be a pain to shovel so I got out the snowblower. Halfway through I heard a pop and the auger stopped spinning. So I finish off the rest with a shovel and later that afternoon start to diagnose it. Engine was running fine, wheels were spinning so I figured it's probably the drive belt to the auger. Pop a cover off the Craftsmen snowblower, yup, a broken auger belt. At that point I decide to do some maintenance on it since I already had the cover open. I cleaned out the shredded belt (perhaps it was misadjusted from the factory cause I haven't touched it yet, except for an oil change after the first 2 hours of usage. I open the underside and look into any moving parts.

    I lube the chain drive with some bike lube and lube some pulleys and stuff, I see that one is supposed to lube the drive shaft that the auger (2 parts, right side and left side) spins around on. Take out the 2 breaker bolts that locks the drive shaft to the auger (hollow shaft). Actually more like I break the breaker bolts as it is designed to do.
    Now, unfortunately, one side seems to be permanently fused to the drive shaft. A few squirts of oil frees up the left side so that it spins freely around the drive shaft, but the right one refuses to spin. Even after a few hits with a mallet. I guess that is not normal right? The only thing that will be is I'll lose the safety feature that suppose to break the breaker bolt and release the auger from the driveshaft. Oh well.

    But the next thing confuses me, the "clutch" that controls the motor and the wheels is controlled by a friction wheel and a metal drive disc. Pushing the handlebar lever raises the drive wheel which causes the chains to spin and the wheels to move once the drive wheel hits the friction wheel.

    Now I'm supposed to use a grease gun to push some high temp grease through a grease port (or "Zert" as it says in the manual) but I'm supposed to rotate the drive disc by hand until the grease port is in front of me. However, the thing doesn't budge an inch, could it be fused or am I doing something wrong? It says to put the drive selector into "first gear" which doesn't seem to do a thing nor do I think it should since the only thing the gear knob does is move the friction wheel closer or farther away from the center of the disc (effectively giving you a change in speed or gearing). It is not til you push the handlebar lever down then you make the friction wheel contact the drive disc. It does nothing else but for the hell of it, I tried every gear on the thing and it doesn't matter. I even tried to "let out the clutch" so to speak and engage the friction wheel to the disc and try to spin the disc that way to no avail.

    Anybody real knowledgeable with Craftsmen stuff or should I just ask Sears the next time I'm there? I wonder if I can squirt some lube in the axle and see if the disc will spin. Obviously the disc has no problem spinning with the engine power since the snowblower works great under normal power..

    I drained the oil while I was at it and am going to put new one in when I get a new auger belt.

    Jay
     
  2. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Probably the best way to rotate the drive disc is to turn the engine over by pulling the rip cord or engaging the electric starter (if it has one) with the ignition off. Turn the engine over until the grease port is accessible.
     
  3. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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  4. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Kevin P, OK, I'll give that a shot. It's got both a pull starter and an electrical one.

    Julie K: I need snow!! I could never live in a place without snow, even if you could drive a few hours to find it, I just love looking out my window and seeing powdery fluffy stuff. Just this morning, I went out to High Point State Park in NJ and snowshoed for a couple miles on the Appalachian Trail.

    Jay
     
  5. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Jay, the pull starter is probably the way to go. If you can pull it slowly while looking at the disc, so you can stop when the hole becomes accessible, you should be golden.

    KJP
     
  6. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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  7. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    You want snow? Come 'n get it! We have more right now than we know what to do with. Another foot and we won't be able to see around the snow banks when pulling out of intersections to see if any cars are coming! I'll take the 80 degrees any day!

    KJP
     
  8. Ralph Summa

    Ralph Summa Supporting Actor

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    I have a 15 year-old Bolens snowblower that had one of the two belts snap last week. I replaced both belts while I had it open, figuring the other one would go soon. I was able to pull the belt manually to get the auger to turn. It did take some effort though with both hands. Wear gloves!
    I also had to replace the entire pull start assembly as well. After the problem I had with the old pull start(uncoiled spring), I am convinced that your thread title is a complete oxymoron. [​IMG]
    Good luck!
    Ralph
     

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