snowblower maintenance is pain in the (#&


Old 01-06-09, 07:35 AM
digraph's Avatar
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Shore, Boston, MA
Posts: 65
snowblower maintenance is pain in the (#&

I'm just griping here:

I grew up in the Mid Atlantic and while we dreamed about getting a snow blower, 12-20" a season really was no reason to get one when you only had a 40' driveway.

5 years ago I moved to Massachusetts and the circle driveway in our front yard necessitated me getting my own snow blower. My inlaws live down the street so it was also to help them out too (what else is a son-in-law good for to a family of all daughters!).

So I picked one up, used, this summer for a good price. Nothing fancy, a small 2-stage craftsman. After a few hours of light cleaning and lubing it in December, and tracking down a few minor problems, I've come to the conclusion that maintaining your own snow blower is more work than any other item I've owned. (even more than my VWs that require a lot of TLC!).

I'll add that while this used craftsman was in OK shape, the previous owner must have only replaced the engine oil every season - nothing else. The gear box is rusty and was never lubed and filled with all kinds of cr4p. I think he put it away wet for the last 10 years. I'm just praying that the shear pins weren't replaced with steel bolts (new ones on order).

Right now I'm waiting for a new auger drive belt to arrive in the mail, because it stopped throwing fluffy snow the other day and I found that when engaged, the belt deflected about 1 3/8"!!!

enjoy the snow everyone
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Old 01-06-09, 07:57 AM
bontai Joe's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 592
In my opinion, a lawn mower or chainsaw requires more of my time in maintenance than a snowblower. All the engines need regular maintenance, the mower and saw also need sharpening, cleaning of debris, and more. You just had the misfortune of getting to do the last ten years maintenance not done by the previous owner all at once this year. Next year will be more normal, and trust me, the maintenance chores are a WHOLE LOT EASIER than using a shovel.
Old 01-06-09, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Carleton Place
Posts: 156
Snowblowers are one of the easiest machine's to keep up, neglect from previous ownership is usually the culprit, people leaving them outside in the rain all summer long and then wonder why their new machine is rusted, needs new belts, won't start when they need it after 8 months of sitting. People also don't take the interest in figuring out how they work. I love it here in Canada, I post on want adds and people give me snow blowers that ran one day and didn't the next. I put 1/2 hour of time into cleaning a carb and presto, 1 pull and it's running again. There are hundred's of resources on the web that can help anyone keep these machines running, we've become a throw away society unfortunately.
Old 01-06-09, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Central New Hampshire
Posts: 754
Maintaing a snowblower is easy IF you take care of it from day 1. This means NOT leaving it outside EVER!! When done snowblowing, brush off all the snow & ice. Run the auger for a couple minutes after you are done to get the snow out of the impeller area so it won't turn to ice. The best thing is to have a heated garage to store it in. I know lots of people don't have that. Treating it like a 1964 Mustang will make it last a lot longer.
You bought someone else's problem and now have to deal with what he didn't want to.

Last edited by indypower; 01-06-09 at 08:51 AM. Reason: added last line
Old 01-06-09, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Northern Minnesota
Posts: 1,486
1996 Toro 824 Power Shift

Originally Posted by indypower View Post
Maintaing a snowblower is easy IF you take care of it from day 1. This means NOT leaving it outside EVER!! When done snowblowing, brush off all the snow & ice. Run the auger for a couple minutes after you are done to get the snow out of the impeller area so it won't turn to ice.
Exactly! I bought mine in 96 and it still looks brand new. I use my horse-hair bench brush to clean it after each use, Toro must use some darn good paint. I can't believe I paid $1,450 for this, what would it cost now?

Couple questions if you don't mind:

1) I can't find any mention of shear pins in the book, do I have any?

2) Checking the gear box there was a little foamy like stuff behind the plug. Maybe a little moisture got in there? I squirted some 80-90 weight in there and it ran right out so it is full.

I'm thinking in the spring I'll stand it up on its nose and drain it and put fresh stuff in there. Ya think?


Old 01-06-09, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,126
snowblower maintenance is pain in the (#&

I am a DIYer when it makes sense. I built a 1800 sf lake home, did the wiring, drove the well, did the plumbing, etc.

When I lived in Michigan (100-200" of snow), I bought a reasonable (not name brand), two stage 8hp new. It had electric start. I had a detached 2-car car garage and could nose it in between the front ends of the cars and plug it in.

The blower worked great for a 3 car wide driveway that was only 30' long plus sidewalk and apron and a 100' long - 4' wide sidewalk.

Every year, before the you thought about winter (about late October or November) I called the place where I bought it and they came over, picked it up, serviced it and delivered it ready to go for the year in the same day for a very reasonable amount. That was it for maintenance!

After fighting northern Minnesota snow (which can be brutal) and the deep northern Michigan fluffy snow, I was not about to fight with a machine early in the morning.

Just check on the problems you can encounter with a used/abused machine and trying to make it worth the efforts on a cold winter day.

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