Checking spark on snow blower


Old 12-28-04, 08:02 AM
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Checking spark on snow blower

I have a ten year old Ariens 828 that decided not to start. Interestingly, it started fine first thing in the morning, but I had to stop to replace shear bolts, and couldn't get it to start again. I tried tweaking the carb adjustment with no luck. I've already found the Tecumseh manual at (thanks for that link), and plan on using it, though I certainly welcome other suggestions.

The question is this: I learned the old-school way for testing for spark on a car by placing the plug on some grounded metal part. That seems relatively safe, as the tank is over ten feet away and there are plenty of grounding points far from the engine and fuel line. But on the snow thrower, with a relatively short plug wire, it seems I have a choice of near the tank or near the carb.

I'm wondering if it's safe to test that way, or is it worth getting a spark tester? If so, is there a particular type of spark tester that should be used, or would any old spark tester from my local hardware or NAPA store work?

Many thanks,

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Old 12-28-04, 04:45 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: mb, can
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Yes you can use the old school way to test for spark, just remember safety first. Putting the plug on the cylinder head near a bolt should work. And don't have the gas cap open or have leaking gas nearby. You know what I mean. Your plug may have crapped out, even if you test it for spark doesn't necessarily mean it's good. Once it's back in the cylinder head and put under the real pressure, it may not work. The first and cheapest thing to do is replace the plug. You're probably running a Champion plug and I've sworn off those about 3 years ago for very poor quality control on their part. I use Gator but use what ever you feel comfortable with.
Let us kow how you do.

Old 12-29-04, 09:25 AM
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A quick n easy spark tester can be had with an old jumper cable or similar item. Use a known good plug, attatch one end of a cable to the plug on the threads or hex part, the other end of the cable attactch to a solid ground on the unit, or what I usually do is leave a plug in the head, use another known good plug to attatch the cable too, then attach the other end of the cable to the plug screwed into the head. Cant beat that ground. Then you should have an insulated handle to hold and able to point the plug away from ne danger up in mid air to test.


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