Sears Craftsman Snow Thrower Dying

Closed Thread

  #1  
Old 12-22-08, 12:04 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7
Sears Craftsman Snow Thrower Dying

Hello to all! I am new to the site. I stumbled onto it while searching for answers about my in-law's snow thrower. I bought it for them a few years ago - it is an 8.5hp with a B&S engine. The Model number is 536.881850. It will run fine for about ten minutes and then die - then it will not start for a long time - usually put it away and try again later. It did not always do this. There was a recall on it - they added a spark arrestor to the carb inlet - an it has done it since then. My in-laws have had Sears come out and look at it twice now and it is not fixed. It has fresh gas, the carb and main jet are clean and the plug is a good color. I am stumped on what is causing this. I searched through many pages on this site before posting and noticed others have a similar issue with the same model but no solutions were ever given it looks like. Is there something in the governor that I should adjust? If so, is there a manual to explain the multiple holes in the arm for the spring? Thanks very much. I am home with them for the holidays and would love to get it fixed while I am here.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-22-08, 12:54 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 1,363
if it dies after 10 minutes and won't restart AT ALL right away. do this if possible. run the snowblower and see if it stops after 10 minutes. if it does immediately remove the sparkplug from the hole and lay it on the engine with it still in the boot. crank the engine. do you have spark. if not then the coil or ignition modular is bad and needs replacing.
 
  #3  
Old 12-22-08, 12:55 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Central New Hampshire
Posts: 754
Try running it with the gas cap loose. This sounds like a classic case of a blocked vent for the gas tank. Most vent thru the cap.
If you can post the numbers off the engine it would help.
I went to the Sears site and found your model, but it did not give an engine number.
 
  #4  
Old 12-22-08, 01:04 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7
Thanks for the fast replies. My father-in-law said it will sit and idle forever - but will die after 10 minutes of blowing snow.

I searched for numbers on the engine and did not find anything. Any specifc place to look?
 
  #5  
Old 12-22-08, 01:14 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Central New Hampshire
Posts: 754
This link may help find the numbers:

http://www.briggsandstratton.com/mai...eltypecode.pdf
 
  #6  
Old 12-22-08, 01:40 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7
The engine says:

15A114-0342-E1-050523FD

All the help is greatly appreciated!! It sounds like I either have a simple problem of vapor lock or a larger issue like a bad coil/ignition modular.
 
  #7  
Old 12-22-08, 02:43 PM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 2,333
I vote it has a non venting gas cap. Have a good one. Geo
 
  #8  
Old 12-22-08, 03:12 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: usa
Posts: 755
Pick up an inexpensive spark tester at a local auto parts store. I like to use an in-line spark tester that installs between the plug and plug wire. The engine will run with the tester installed and when the engine shuts down you immediately attempt to restart and look for spark. If no spark, it is time to replace the coil, which is actually a simple task.

I seriously doubt the problem is a vapor lock. If the fuel cap was not venting the engine would not idle.
 
  #9  
Old 12-22-08, 04:34 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Northern Vermont
Posts: 1
Thanks for the tips. I'll try them on my snowblower.
 
  #10  
Old 12-22-08, 05:15 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7
I talked to my father-in-law today about this and he said he tried running it with the gas cap un-screwed 1 turn in the past and it still happened.

There is no more snow to test this out with, but if it is the coil, why does it have spark and then stop 10-15 minutes later and then provide spark the next time it runs? I have the operator's manual and it has a parts breakdown, but has anybody replaced the "coil" and know the part number?

My plan right now is to see if we get anymore snow, get this to happen and check for spark.

It is covered by the extended warranty, but whenever they come, there is no snow and they just let it idle and it never happens. Anybody have any experience with getting them to replace what you have determined it to be if I do figure it is the coil?
 
  #11  
Old 12-22-08, 05:35 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Carleton Place
Posts: 156
What is the colour of the plug tip? White- fuel starvation, black or brown- ignition problem
 
  #12  
Old 12-22-08, 06:17 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7
The plug is a brownish color. It is a little darker than the good tan color, but I never knew brown was an indication of ignition problems. Why does the ignition system work and then stop working - is it heat related? I am pretty good with mechanical things, but electrical systems throw me off!
 
  #13  
Old 12-22-08, 06:59 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: usa
Posts: 755
One thing I overlooked is the possibility of a defective spark plug. Defective spark plugs can cause some strange problems. The spark plug for your engine is Champion RC12YC.

The reason a coil fails under heat conditions is defective wiring or the transistor, in electronic ignition, coils (Armature-Magneto) will breakdown when heated and stop producing spark. Often when they cool down they will work normally until heated back to the critical level.
 
  #14  
Old 12-23-08, 04:35 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Carleton Place
Posts: 156
Originally Posted by Snowfrustrated View Post
The plug is a brownish color. It is a little darker than the good tan color, but I never knew brown was an indication of ignition problems. Why does the ignition system work and then stop working - is it heat related? I am pretty good with mechanical things, but electrical systems throw me off!
I meant that if it isn't white, more brown or black you have an ignition problem. Find your self a used coil and swap it out, that's where I would start.
 
  #15  
Old 12-23-08, 09:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7
I am putting in a new plug today. If it does it during the next use, the coil is getting replaced. I will let you all know the end result. Thanks for all the replies.
 
  #16  
Old 12-23-08, 09:29 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2
I have the same issue with the same snowblower. Mine will stop running when snow gets blown back over the mototr or piled on top of the engine. Ask your father if this is what happens to his. I haved checked the coil, spark plug, gas. It seems as though the snow gets sucked into the engine because when i try to restart it back fires. If I let it sit a while it will restart.
 
  #17  
Old 12-23-08, 10:27 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Central New Hampshire
Posts: 754
jd4769, your problem is the gas tank vent is getting clogged.
Piling up the snow on the gas cap is blocking the vent.
 
  #18  
Old 12-23-08, 12:45 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2
Indypower. I thought that may have been it but even after I clear the snow and try to re-start it will not start unless it sits for a good while. Sometimes is is a small amount of snow blowing back over the engine and then it just dies. Also the engine seems to backfire when I try to start it.
 
  #19  
Old 12-23-08, 01:13 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Central New Hampshire
Posts: 754
Originally Posted by jd4769 View Post
Indypower. I thought that may have been it but even after I clear the snow and try to re-start it will not start unless it sits for a good while. Sometimes is is a small amount of snow blowing back over the engine and then it just dies. Also the engine seems to backfire when I try to start it.
Next time it dies, remove the gas cap, reinstall the cap and try to start it. Brushing off the snow will not remove ice from the pinhole vent in the cap. Removing the cap will release the vacuum.
 
  #20  
Old 01-05-09, 12:28 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Northern WI
Posts: 3
Also Frustrated

I have been experiencing the exact same problems with my snowblower. Craftsman 8.5hp Model No. 536.881851 I also had the factory recall done and now it runs maybe 15 min. and quits. I just got it back from a mechanic and he says he went through the carb and is now suspicious of the coil. Did anyone get any results from what they've tried? I also replaced the gas cap and that didn't help.
 
  #21  
Old 01-06-09, 07:57 PM
Square Head's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Winnipeg MB, Canada.
Posts: 188
I would do the easy ones first.
Change spark plug
Ensure gas is fresh / use high octane
Change plug wire / cap.
Is the engine starving for fuel?
 
  #22  
Old 01-07-09, 09:12 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Northern WI
Posts: 3
I have another mechanic coming today to look at it. I have printed all this info and maybe it will help him figure this out. I will let you know if I ever get it fixed. Meanwhile, I'm still shoveling.
 
  #23  
Old 01-07-09, 12:00 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Northern NH
Posts: 1
The problem is NOT the gas cap, but a manufacturers defect of some type that Sears won't acknowledge or fix. I bought my 8.5 hp snowblower 2 years ago, and I've had the same problem from the start. The first time that it did it after a big snow storm here, I called my Sears store to tell them I was having problems with my snowblower. Before I had a chance to say anything, he said "Let me guess - you have an 8.5 hp snowblower that runs about 10 minutes, quits, then won't start back again until it cools off completely". I said yes. He said that I was the 5th person to call that morning (they had only been open a half hour), and that HE was the first one to report the problem with HIS snowblower. He told me to call Sears main number (I was calling the local store), and maybe if they received enough complaints they would do something. I called, but it didn't do any good. The thing will idle for a long time, but as soon as you put a little strain on the motor it kick out. I'm still looking for a solution! Please post it if you get one!
 
  #24  
Old 01-07-09, 03:59 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Maine
Posts: 1
Coil Replacement?

I have the same model Craftsman snowblower with the B&S 8.5 HP engine and have the same problem with it dying after 10-20 mins, depending on the conditions, load, etc. I've also heard the coil could be the culprit as when it heats up it could potentially expand and, therefore, lose connectivity until it cools again. I haven't investigated this too much on mine, yet... but makes sense. I'm also getting frustrated and next step is to pull the plug after it dies next and check for spark. Anyone heard anything back from Sears and/or Briggs & Stratton seeing as how this is their engine? Also... has anyone actually replaced the coil on this engine? How difficult is it? Thanks!
 
  #25  
Old 01-07-09, 05:20 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: usa
Posts: 755
Originally Posted by Shipwr3ckd View Post
I have the same model Craftsman snowblower with the B&S 8.5 HP engine and have the same problem with it dying after 10-20 mins, depending on the conditions, load, etc. I've also heard the coil could be the culprit as when it heats up it could potentially expand and, therefore, lose connectivity until it cools again. I haven't investigated this too much on mine, yet... but makes sense. I'm also getting frustrated and next step is to pull the plug after it dies next and check for spark. Anyone heard anything back from Sears and/or Briggs & Stratton seeing as how this is their engine? Also... has anyone actually replaced the coil on this engine? How difficult is it? Thanks!
Why not start a thread just for your problem. When individuals begin tagging on their problem it can get very confusing and can be a waste of time.

I will gladly help those who create a stand-alone thread for their problem. I have sent individuals service manuals that are only available to dealers.

Sorry, I no longer respond to any post piggybacked on another thread.
 
  #26  
Old 01-08-09, 12:09 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Northern WI
Posts: 3
Sorry we messed up your thread. It sounded like we were all talking about the same problem, but anyway, I just got my snowblower back and the coil needed to be replaced. The mechanic who fixed it ran it about 30 min. at his place and I just cleaned up my driveway for about 30-40 min. and it runs just fine. Cut into some old snowbanks and tried to give it a real workout. I guess won't know for positive until we have a "normal" snow of 6-10 inches.
 
  #27  
Old 01-08-09, 11:53 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 1,363
this thread is so messed up right now lets get back on track. Snowfrustrated did you ever get the problem fixed.
 
  #28  
Old 01-12-09, 04:32 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Exclamation 536.881850 craftsman snothrower stalls

Well the orignal post was by Snowfrustrated and his craftsman 536.881850 snowthrower.

Hearing of these chronic problems from posters hear (and about 5 elsewhere) tells me this is indeed a DESIGN defect that Sears/Briggs is not owning up to . I encourage folks to contact them, as I have done. I am also pressing my local qualified B&S shop to dig in to this as well.
 
  #29  
Old 02-09-09, 08:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7
Well, I am glad to report the snowblower is fixed. And yes, it took this long to fix it.

As you see in my last post, I put a new plug in and then had to head back home after the holidays. The next snowfall, my father-in-law used the blower and it died after 10-15 minutes again!! Then it would not start at all after sitting, which has never happened.

He called Sears and they sent a tech out. He could not get it to start at all either. My father-in-law told him about the coil, but he took off the valve cover and said there was problems with the camshaft and/or timing. Again, this is all over the phone, etc. The tech said he was ordering an all new engine.

Engine arrived by FedEx and the tech came back to install it. They opened it all up and the tech said - "This is not the engine I ordered". But then they started looking at it and it was - it was just updated with some new items, like an in-line fuel shutoff, a throttle, etc. The tech intsalled it and it has been running great since. No more shutdowns.

I hope this helps anyone with this snowblower and these problems. This has been a real pain. For once, the extended warranty I bought actually came in handy.

I was discussing this problem and the number of people with similar problems with this model with a guy I work with and he said, he has returned stuff to Sears for a full refund well after the warranty period. He had the receipt and said he was not satisfied. He said, just look above your door - it says "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and I am not. Obviously, this might not work in all cases, but there is something wrong with this model and I would call Sears until it is resolved.

Thanks for everyone's help on here. I definitely know where to come for small engine help!!
 
  #30  
Old 02-13-10, 03:51 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 3
Hi,
I was going to buy a used Craftsman 8.5 hp snow blower, started to read the neg. comments and was concerned.
Model 536.881851
There was a lot of comments about it dying out under a load.
I went and looked and just could not turn it down, it was like new.
I shared my concerns with the seller, he said he had all the same issues as everyone posted. he also had it REPAIRED.

The problem was.
A GASKET WAS TO LARGE, IT BLOCKED THE FUEL LINE AND NEEDED TO BE REPLACED.
Gas was able to trickle into the line, but once it started it would run out (empty the fuel line) which was what was happening to just about everyones add I read.

I got it home, used it in around 12" - 16" of snow and had no issues what so ever.

He paid someone $120 to replace the gasket.

I AM VERY HAPPY I BOUGHT THIS UNIT, WELL WORTH THE MONEY.

TO BAD SEARS DID NOT HONOR OR FIGURE OUT THIS PROBLEM.

Hope this helped everyone.

Chuck
 
  #31  
Old 02-15-10, 09:32 AM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1
Same problem - What gasket needs replacing?

Please let me know what gasket was replaced so I can attack this problem with my same snow blower engine I bought from Sears.
Originally Posted by Henning508 View Post
Hi,
I was going to buy a used Craftsman 8.5 hp snow blower, started to read the neg. comments and was concerned.
Model 536.881851
There was a lot of comments about it dying out under a load.
I went and looked and just could not turn it down, it was like new.
I shared my concerns with the seller, he said he had all the same issues as everyone posted. he also had it REPAIRED.

The problem was.
A GASKET WAS TO LARGE, IT BLOCKED THE FUEL LINE AND NEEDED TO BE REPLACED.
Gas was able to trickle into the line, but once it started it would run out (empty the fuel line) which was what was happening to just about everyones add I read.

I got it home, used it in around 12" - 16" of snow and had no issues what so ever.

He paid someone $120 to replace the gasket.

I AM VERY HAPPY I BOUGHT THIS UNIT, WELL WORTH THE MONEY.

TO BAD SEARS DID NOT HONOR OR FIGURE OUT THIS PROBLEM.

Hope this helped everyone.

Chuck
 
  #32  
Old 02-15-10, 03:43 PM
hopkinsr2's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: canada
Posts: 1,561
I thought I already replied to this post, but it may have been deleated or lost in the Internet... There is no gasket to block the fuel line on these units.. The line runs from the tank to the carb & into the carb thru the needle & seat... The only thing I can think of in the fuel line is the shut-off valve closed or the screen in the fuel tank blocked, or the seat swelled from old gas & blocking the flow ... Thats about it... Roger
 
  #33  
Old 02-15-10, 06:27 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 11
Exclamation

what he said -... I just fixed mine..i'll be updateding my post'
i have the 8.5 536 881850 there's no filter or shut off on this model ( i will be added a filter and or shut off)
I removed the bowl & float etc etc. and cleaned what ever i could w/ carb cleaner and blew out w/air. and I noticed when assembled and u lift up the float very gently and the needle disappers the float wasnt level.
I bought a new needle and seat... and when put together and lifted up the float it was level much more then before. I've heard and seems the gas that has alcohol and ethanol in it screw up carb components. and the seat is only made of a rubber material.
dont of any gasket w/the fuel line sounds strange to me.. i had mine all apart and the tank off...
 
  #34  
Old 12-04-10, 06:39 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: usa
Posts: 3
Smile disconect the ground for the safty key

I went through checked the carb and every thing else plug etc, come to find out it was the wires for the safety key that was getting wet and shorting out thus no spark
so i disconected the ground wirefor the safety key and its works great. its a easy 1 sec fix. hope this helps every out. thanks to the best mecanic I know my father inlaw figured it out in about 15 mins.
 
  #35  
Old 12-04-10, 06:44 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: usa
Posts: 3
disconect the ground for the safty key

I went through checked the carb and every thing else plug etc, come to find out it was the wires for the safety key that was getting wet and shorting out thus no spark
so i disconected the ground wirefor the safety key and its works great. its a easy 1 sec fix. hope this helps every out. thanks to the best mecanic I know my father inlaw figured it out in about 15 mins.
 
  #36  
Old 12-04-10, 06:47 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: usa
Posts: 3
disconect the ground for the safty key

I went through checked the carb and every thing else plug etc, come to find out it was the wires for the safety key that was getting wet and shorting out thus no spark
so i disconected the ground wirefor the safety key and its works great. its a easy 1 sec fix. hope this helps every out. thanks to the best mecanic I know my father inlaw figured it out in about 15 mins.
 
  #37  
Old 12-15-10, 10:17 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 1
Frustrated no more

I am a first time poster. I have been searching the web high and low for a solution as i have the same issue with a 536-881550 Craftsman snowthrower. First of all I wanted to thatnk everyone for posting as it led me down the right path of troubleshooting. This is the best forum i have seen on this issue and so I became a member to thank everyone and post my solution. Mine runs for about 20-20 minutes and then dies out. It then has to cool before I can get another 20-30 minutes out of it. I have tried the spark plug, drained and replaced the gas with fresh gas, removed the carburator and cleaned it. None of these solutions fixed my problem. I live in Minnesota and we just got 17" of snow last weekend and i was not going to have my snowblower watch me shovel the last half of my driveway. So I checked it for spark after the first time it died and there was spark. losening the gas cap and even replacing the gas cap didn't help. I was more frustrated than ever! This is when I tore into it and did the above mentioned inspection/ cleaning. This brought me to the potential of overheating causing the issue. I fashioned a heat shield out of some left over heating duct that i had laying around and placed it between the exhaust mainfold/ muffler and the carburator. And this fixed the issue for me. It seems that the muffler being too close to the fuel line was causing vapor lock (heat changing the state of the fuel from liquid to a gas) . The heat shield I made is bent over the top allowing it to be attached using the thumb screws for the outer shroud. It extends from the top mounting bracket down to almost making contact with the engine block. it runs from the gas tank with about a 1" 90 degree return bend on each side going toward the muffler side of the snow blower and away from the carb. I hope this helps and that I've explained this adequately. Good luck to all of you!
 
  #38  
Old 12-29-10, 10:30 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Craftsman Snow Thrower
8.5 Horsepower
Electric Start
Dual Stage
Model 536.881850

I'm having that stall when hot and restart when cool problem as all you others. When I put it away last year I had the carb cleaned and it was idling well. Now that I need to use it, it's stalling after 15 minutes of use.

I did notice a fair amount of water accumulating around the plastic key so maybe that's the problem. I'll try the gas cap and key wire. If that doesn't fix it I guess I need a coil / module. I'll let u all know what I figure out. Since so many of us have this problem there is definitely a design flaw - Thanks Sears

BTW I burn everything on the muffler. If sears / Briggs, is listening I would suggest a heat guard.
Bob
 
  #39  
Old 12-31-10, 04:28 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 1
Dying Sears Snowblower

I had the same problem with my Craftsman 8.5 hp snowblower, which is about 4 years old now. It always started and ran until hot, then sputtered and died while plowing snow. I always let it cool before using again, which was frustrating. I took apart the carb. and cleaned it, which was no help. I loosened the gas cap, which also was no help. I even replaced the carb. last year, which worked for awhile until I used it last week (we got 18 in. of snow here in NJ) and it died after 20 min. of use. After reading the suggestions from Geoff3316 and nate.k below, I did two things today:

1. Disconnected the ground for the safety key.
2. Made a heat shield to shield the muffler from the gas line as Geoff3316 did. I also put a layer of pink fiberglass insulation on the shield, and held in place with tin foil wrapped around the shield.

The snowblower now runs perfect, with no stalling. I used it for about 1/2 hr. to finish up my driveway, then plowed my neighbors (about 1-1/2 hrs. of continuous use). It never ran this good. I personally think the heat from the muffler was vaporizing the gas in the fuel line, and the heat shield now prevents this. I also noticed that I can run it without the choke partially on, which I couldn't before.

Thank you Geoff3316 for your helpful suggestion.

Happy New Year !
 
  #40  
Old 01-01-11, 11:44 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Since I made that post on 12-29 I tested the machine again. I pulled the wire from the shut-off key and also left the gas cap loose (with tape holding it from screwing itself off)

Ran it for at least an hour and it never quit. It was about 40 degrees so I guess that rules out a heat related failure. The only other difference is that it was pretty dry compared to the day it kept stalling. I'm no engineer but I believe that fresh water is not a good conductor. However it seems that melted snow was shorting the shut-off key (or possibly something else). Or maybe the gas cap was the problem - maybe it had frozen up the vent??? Anyway, it seems to be working OK now.

I'm ordering an inline spark tester from amazon now so that if the thing quits again I can diagnose instead of just guess.
 

Last edited by boblewisphoto; 01-01-11 at 12:13 PM.
Closed Thread



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:05 PM.