Craftsman snow thrower won't start

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  #1  
Old 01-28-04, 05:38 AM
Peethree
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Craftsman snow thrower won't start

A question from the mechanically UN-inclined!

We just got a 2nd-hand snow thrower, Craftsman 8/28, 6 spd, 8 hp, C-950-52678. It appears to be an older model but apparently has nothing wrong with it (given to us by family who have NOT been any help whatsoever)

It is missing the electric start, $180 to order from Sears and not available until March 1. In the meantime we have not been able to get it to manually start.

We have also ordered the user manual but it won't be here until next week. In the meantime we have been getting snow every day and it is heartbreaking to be out shovelling with this monster sitting in the garage.

So...can anyone please help with some tips on getting this guy started? ie. how many times is safe/reasonable to pull the starter - ie. is it just possible that it needs a lot of tugs to get fired up the first time? (we once had a lawn mower like that)

Or...maybe we aren't even doing it right (?) - turning the choke and then pulling the starter - perhaps this is more complicated than a lawn mower?

Thanks for your help and patience!!

Peeth
 
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  #2  
Old 01-28-04, 11:14 AM
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Check for spark at the spark plug when you pull the rope. If no spark, you have an ignition problem, maybe a bad plug. If you have spark, drip a bit of gas into the plug hole and reinstall the plug and try to start it. If it starts and runs for a second, then dies, you have a fuel problem...probably a clogged carburetor.

I have seen the electric starter you need on Ebay many times...seems like they usually sell for around $50 to $60.00 there. Might be a good place to save some money.
 
  #3  
Old 01-28-04, 01:01 PM
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peethree
Chances are that you have a primer bulb on that motor too. It will be around the size of a looney. If you have that, next time you try to start it, prime it twice, put the throttle to full, make sure your key (if you have one) is in the on position and most importantly check to see that none of your safety switches are being activated.(in other words, don't try to start it if your auger is engaged cause the safety switch will not allow the ignition to fire.) Also if you have a fuel shutoff just below the fuel outlet on the gas tank, make sure that it is open.
If all this fails, and you have a spark, then I would look at getting the carb redone..
Oh and another thing, this doesn't pertain to starting but since you just got this machine, make sure the oil is at the correct level.
Hope this helps.

snoman
 
  #4  
Old 01-28-04, 01:29 PM
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re: starting Craftsman snowblower

Hello Peethree:

You didn't mention how cold it is where you are. If temps are subzero even a well tuned 8 HP plus engine may be hard to start.

Follow the procedures others like Snoman (yes, we are different people but kindred spirits I'm sure) suggested.

Determine that you have spark. If so, remove the plug and pour a small quantity of fuel in the cylinder (or use ether) and try again to start.

If the temps are above 20 degrees farenheit I'd get the carb redone.

But if it's 30 or 40 below here's a tip--BUT PLEASE NOTE THE SAFETY PROCEDURES!!!!

Remove the spark plug and heat the electrode end (the part that goes into the engine) until it is starting to get cherry red.

Best way to do this is with the plug still in a plug socket wrench

Re-install the PLUG and while wearing gloves start threading it and then tighten normally, then try to start the rig.

NOTE:

DO NOT HEAT EVER EVER THE PLUG NEXT TO THE SNOWBLOWER--AND MAKE SURE THERE IS NO GASOLINE RESIDUE ON THE TANK, ETC. GIVE YOURSELF A SAFE DISTANCE OF AT LEAST 10 FT. OR MORE.

ALSO NEVER STORE FUEL OR OTHER VOLATILE (FLAMMABLE & EXPLOSIVE) MATERIALS NEAR THE MACHINE OR YOUR WORK AREA FOR HEATING THE PLUG.

Anyway, if you are not dealing with subzero temps I'd skip the tip above. It probably is the carb.

Worked like a charm on an ancient 8 HP Ariens we had when I was a kid and the mecury dipped to more than 30 below.

Good Luck,

Snowman53
 
  #5  
Old 01-28-04, 02:14 PM
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re: electric start backordered

Hello Peethree:

Seems foolish to wait until March for the electric start as they are available.

I'm assuming your blower has a Tecumseh engine and would be VERY suprised if it did not.

I just checked with one local supplier and they have the starters in stock and will ship accept a major credit card for phone orders and will ship UPS.

Prices range from $160 to $170 plus shipping depending on the model (and tax if you are in NY.)

I'm NOT affiliated with the company but will email you their phone number and address if you want it, or will post it here if it's OK with the moderators.

Also just called another in this area and they also have them in stock and priced at $140 or so--but you'd need a part number or the SN from the engine to be sure.

Both companies are locally owned and long established with a good record of excellent customer service--but I'd pay $20 more and deal with the first one as it's a small and family owned business and you'd generally be speaking with the owner or one of his family.

Ohhh..you will need the serial number to make sure you get the right starter. It should be located on the top of the engine in back of the area where the spark plug is located.

It's also possible as another poster mentioned to find one on E-Bay but that can be a hassle at times.

These folks have them in stock and will ship the same day or the next depending on when you place the order.

Good luck and let me know if you want contact information for either company.

I'll be checking this forum later tonight (Eastern Time) and tomorrow and Friday as well.

Must go now as it's snowing 3" to 5" per hour. We're getting hammered...again.

Cheerio,

Snowman53
 
  #6  
Old 01-28-04, 02:59 PM
tidajo
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craftsman carb

If it's craftsman, it might be a Tecumseh engine. no need to wait for that "manual', that probably won't help anyway.

Go to http://www.cpdonline.com/692509.pdf

it's the Tecumseh technicians handbook that's available to view/print online.
help me out alot. (after HOURS of playing, rebuilding, etc., i read this and found out about an idle tube inside the cast of the carb that I broke when I tightened down the adjusting screw too much). never would have even thought about something like that...)
good luck!
 
  #7  
Old 01-28-04, 03:16 PM
Peethree
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Craftsman snow thrower won't start

WOW! Thanks for all the responses. You folks really seem to know what you're talking about.

Forgot to mention, it is close to, but not quite 0 degrees F and the machine is in the garage anyway.

I read through everything - thank you so much!! and it looks like we have no spark.

Would replacing the spark plug be the logical next step as something to try? If I can avoid spending $170 on a new starter kit, I'd prefer that...

Beyond that, if we have carb troubles we will need to call a technician - my knowledge of "carb" is limited to the Atkins diet, I'm afraid!

Peeth
 
  #8  
Old 01-28-04, 03:22 PM
tidajo
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Go ahead....

if you have no spark coming from the plug, then try another.
Don't be afraid to clean that carb!
It's not tough, step by step instructions on that link above.( as well as fixing that spark problem)
And a kit to "rebuid" ithe carb is only about $10 US.. Worth it. It comes with a new bolt/needle that is in the bottom of the carb, as well as a new seat and float needle.
You can do it!
 
  #9  
Old 01-28-04, 03:24 PM
Peethree
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Craftsman snow thrower won't start

Thanks! I could help you do your taxes, but small engine repair is new to me.

Browsing that link right now. Diagrams are awesome and let's hope that spark plug fix works.

Thanks again!
Peeth
 
  #10  
Old 02-01-04, 09:29 PM
pagerboy
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How about checking the points, I just had my 1976 Mastercraft snowblower tuned and he said that the points were offset a little that is why it was hard to start.
 
  #11  
Old 02-02-04, 05:38 AM
Peethree
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Craftsman snow blower

If I knew what you meant by 'points' ...
Remember I am a little short in the mechanical knowledge dept...but if you can describe what you mean I can sure check!

Thanks!

Peeth
 
  #12  
Old 02-02-04, 10:01 AM
pagerboy
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That's the thing, I'm just repeating what the mechanic told me.

I thought that it would jog someones memory and tell us about these so called points. I figured it was like a distributor cap and rotor.
 
  #13  
Old 02-02-04, 06:44 PM
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The point/condensor and coil are what gives the engine the spark it requires to run. These have to be properly gapped (.020) for the spark to jump. They also have to open at the correct moment which is referred to as BTDC (before top dead center) If this criteria is not met then hard starting can happen. These are located behind the flywheel.
Now in your case, it's very possible that you have the external ignition which would only require cleaning and resetting the air gap on your external coil. If so that would be set with a guage of .0125. That system is located just outside the flywheel. Visible after removing the starter housing.

snoman
 
  #14  
Old 02-03-04, 05:52 AM
Peethree
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New development

OK, this whole experience is really humbling. Finally pinned down my family member and they said all we need is a stupid extension cord, not the whole kit. So much for Sears being helpful in desciribing that I needed a whole kit. At least my user manual arrived yesterday.

It looks like a regular 3-pronged extension cord in the manual so we tried one out. All we got was a horrible loud sound - that stops as soon as you let go of the starter.

We are shovelling ourselves out (yes it is snowing again) and are headed to home depot to get a new spark plug. Still hopeful that that is the problem...

Peeth
 
  #15  
Old 02-03-04, 08:58 PM
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The horrible sound you heard was probably due to the teeth on the starter and/or flywheel being ground off or otherwise damaged. Hopefully a new plug will get it sparking again. If not, we'll get into checking the points if it is equipped with points.
 
  #16  
Old 02-04-04, 05:02 AM
Peethree
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Thumbs down No spark

Changed the spark plug and....no dice.
My Manitoba heritage is failing me! We're supposed to know all things snow!!

Anyway, I broke down and called Sears - and for $49.95, the technician is coming out tomorrow to tell me what's wrong.

Folks of Ontario can now rejoice, since the moment my snow blower is fixed, Murphy's Law says we will not get any more snow this season!


Peeth.
 
  #17  
Old 02-04-04, 07:07 PM
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Aw, you can do it (but 49.95 isn't bad for a house call). Are they just going to tell you what is wrong and leave, or are they going to fix it? If it is the points, you can do that yourself fairly easily. If it is a bad coil, and the engine is one of the models that has the coil under the flywheel, then you might want a pro to fix it as it is not a simple job. If it is a coil and is one of the models with the coil mounted on the outside of the flywheel, then you can do that easily too. Either way, we're here to help!

Also, I don't know if this thing has any safety switches or not, but you might check to be sure all devices are in neutral in case a safety switch is engaged, killing the ignition.
 
  #18  
Old 02-04-04, 07:36 PM
Peethree
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Snow blower repairman

OK, so, the service tech has come and gone and taken the front end of my machine with him. The bearing and shaft are completely shot and even though he got the beast working by rebuilding the carb and fixing the primer hose (rotted at one end), he said the front end loose bearing and worn down shaft was 'code red'.

Total damage $170 today (including $50 service call charge), plus another approx. $150 for the bearing parts/labour next week.

On the bright side he did get it up and running (both manual and electric) and says the engine is overall in great shape for being about 20 yrs old.

Peeth
 

Last edited by Peethree; 02-05-04 at 10:44 AM.
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