Another year - another problem with Toro snowblower

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  #1  
Old 12-15-07, 07:05 PM
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Another year - another problem with Toro snowblower

Well my Toro snowblower 1128 OXE model 38650 with the Techumseh 'Snow King' 11HP engine is now just starting its 3rd season (purchased new 10/05). It has just 6 hours on the meter as the 05/06 and 06/07 winters here in eastern New England were really wimpy.

We just had our 1st real snow of the season this past Thursday (12/13/07) and we got about 7-8 inches of powder snow. So this was the first use of the machine for the 07/08 season. I used it for about 35 minutes and it a great job. I had no problems (I had changed the oil, filled it with fresh stabilized gas, and let run it a bit the day before the storm). After I used it and my driveway was clear the town plows came up the street and dumped a big load of snow at the end of the driveway so I decided to start it back up and clear this before heading in for the night. It started right up but after about 10 minutes it started to sputter and sounded exactly like a small engine that is out of fuel (I know - I run my lawn tractor out of gas all the time!), and then it died. I manhandled it back into my garage where there was some light and could look it over (pushing a big machine like this without its own drive is a PITA!). I was sure I filled the gas tank before I started and could not believe it was out of gas after 35 minutes. And sure enough I removed the gas cap and the tank was still fairly full. (On this tank the fuel level is very hard to tell as its an black opaque plastic tank with no 'level indicator stripe' molded in - like you see on cheap disposable motor oil bottles. The black plastic tank material makes it very difficult to see the fuel level even under ideal lighting conditions. I complained to Toro about this soon after I purchased it but basically they blew me off). So after checking that everything else seemed OK (plug wire, fuel line, shut off ground not shorted, etc). I tried to restart it and...it started right up. I finished up and put the machine away for the night. I used it again the next morning for about 15-20 minutes to help out my neighbor. So, what happened?

My theory is the fuel tank became under vacuum.

I assume that the gas tank cap must have some type of 'breather' valve to admit air as the tank level falls to prevent the tank becoming under vacuum and cause fuel starvation. Is it possible that this breather 'froze up' as it was snowing a bit when I started to job and the top of unit was a bit covered in snow/ice? But I would also think that a snowblower with a 'snow king' engine would be desgned for exactly these conditions and that freeze-up of the tank breather would be very unlikely. But with this machine - in my experience - I consider no failure scenario is 'unlikely'.

What do you think?

ps We have another big storm coming tomorrow (6-8 inches of snow then sleet/freezing rain/rain on top of that. FUN!

FYI
05/06 season rant:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=250989

06/07 season rant:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=293674

Paul
 

Last edited by Paul78zephyr; 12-15-07 at 07:25 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-22-07, 07:44 PM
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May have found the answer

Originally Posted by Paul78zephyr View Post

My theory is the fuel tank became under vacuum.

I assume that the gas tank cap must have some type of 'breather' valve to admit air as the tank level falls to prevent the tank becoming under vacuum and cause fuel starvation. Is it possible that this breather 'froze up' as it was snowing a bit when I started to job and the top of unit was a bit covered in snow/ice?
Paul
Well I found this at another board:
http://www.abbysguide.com/ope/discussions/7828-0-1.html
Look at the 6th post down (by Snowshoveler, he sounds like PE dealer himself). I think he nailed my problem although when I first read it I said to mysef 'gee, my gas cap seems fine - I dont have that issue'. But the very next day I took the gas cap off to check the fuel level and as I did all the little parts of the cap vent fell off onto the floor. It was just as the post had said - the rubber piece, metal disc, and foam all just fell out from the plastic cap. I can see now that those parts are what makes the cap breath or 'vent' (as he calls it) and Ill bet my cap was not venting when my engine 'ran out of gas'.

So Im off to my PE dealer to see if he has any of those 'new' Toro/Tecumseh gas caps while New England here catches a break from all the snow we had last week. Hope this info can help others that have (or may have) similar problems.

Paul
 
  #3  
Old 12-23-07, 09:53 AM
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Your problem is with Tecumseh not Toro as Tecumseh did have a problem with the gas caps coming apart. Your new cap should have a different style of venting inside the cap. It will be interesting to see what happens now that Tecumseh small engines has been sold off to a line of investment conglomerates. Tecumseh has had it share of problems with the engine works in Argentina and the goverment there.
 
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