Ariens snowblower seized, I freed it up, now no tension on pull


Old 01-12-11, 05:06 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: US
Posts: 7
Ariens snowblower seized, I freed it up, now no tension/compression on pull

We just got blasted here in CT and my Ariens crapped out on me today!

I got about 5 feet into some deep snow and the engine was straining so I slowed it down a bit. Next thing, BANG (loud noise) dead. In an instant. It sounded like I ran into a piece metal! But there was nothing. Shear pins are fine.

I could not pull as it seemed completely seized. I checked the oil and it was pretty low if not dry.

I pulled off the pull assembly and turned whatever the inside round thing is inside with a wrench per what I read on the web. It now moved freely. Added some oil, put some WD under the spark plug, changed the spark plug.

I put the pull start thing back an now it pulls too freely and kind of spins and obviously won't start. I can see that the pull start thing is engaging as it should because I could see the pistons/cylinders(?) move up and down in the spark plug hole. Also if I engage the clutch, the impeller and front blades slowly move. So the pull start does not seem to be the problem as far as I can tell.

Seems bad....any ideas? Help.

Last edited by scareddude; 01-12-11 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 01-12-11, 06:42 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: US
Posts: 7
Follow up, it seems I have no compression. After reading a few other threads here I removed the spark plug and covered the hole with my thumb while I pulled it over. I couldn't feel anything pressure against my thumb.

How bad? I'm handy, but I'm not rebuild an engine handy, just don't have the time.
Old 01-12-11, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SE PA
Posts: 120
If you have no compression then one of two things are happening. First, a valve (or both) are stuck open. If the valve does not close you cannot build up any pressure. Or, second, the piston is not moving up and down in the cylinder. Try this with the spark plug removed. Place a screwdriver into the cylinder and push it in until it hits the piston. Note the depth that the screwdriver is into the cylinder. I usually just place my thumb on the screwdriver and pull it back out without moving my thumb. Measure the depth. Turn the motor over a bit by hand or use the rope starter. Check the depth to the top of the piston again. If it is still the same the piston is not moving and something has failed internally. Most likely is the connecting rod that attaches the piston to the crankshaft.

Edit: OK I read your full thread and saw that the piston is moving and you had a large bang - which is not good. Check for external signs of damage to the block. If that looks good check to see if the valves are working properly.

Old 01-13-11, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 628
Thd bang

Take the cylinder head off it's only eight bolts or so. Take pictures for re assembly, you should get a good idea what is going on. Rotate the flywheel and observe the piston and valves. They should all be going up and down. At the bottom of the piston stroke or anywhere really, reverse the flywheel. The piston should follow the flywheel with NO slack, you can move the flywheel back and forth and there should not be any clunks or clicks, if there are you will have to open up the crankcase, and hope it's not too bad. Good luck. Mabey its only a broken valve spring.
Old 01-13-11, 08:05 AM
bontai Joe's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 592
I'm thinking that the objects you saw moving thru the spark plug hole were the valves opening and closing. With the clue of low oil to the point of possibly being dry, I'm gonna bet you broke the connecting rod to the piston. What that means is the piston is no longer connected to the engine, so no compression. You haven't given any model numbers on the blower or engine, but I'm guessing the motor is a Tecumseh and they DON'T like running low on oil. Remove the head as mentioned above to verify what is moving and what isn't. You got a lesson on never ever start a small engine without checking the oil level every time, the tuition you paid is a motor that needs repair.
Old 01-13-11, 10:09 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: US
Posts: 7
Update: The repair guy (who is not my main long time guy...) says I need a new short block - $475. Not sure I'm going to do it. Not that I don't trust him but...he's not my long time guy (who is closed until March 1). Opinions and advice is welcome here...

Maybe I should just pick up an old used Ariens bomber for a couple hundred and wait for my main guy to come back.

You got a lesson on never ever start a small engine without checking the oil level every time, the tuition you paid is a motor that needs repair.
Frankly, I'm embarassed. I've owned and maintained (obviously not very well...) machines since I was a teenager. I didn't know they burned oil and that I needed to check it at all and I've never had this happen.

I'm pretty sure it is a Tecumseh by the way.
Old 01-13-11, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 2,365
You might check the link below for a replacement engine, they seem to have good prices. Have a good one. Geo

Small Engine Warehouse - Repower Outdoor Power Equipment

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