Sears Craftsman snow blower - auger stopped

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  #1  
Old 01-26-11, 12:54 PM
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Sears Craftsman snow blower - auger stopped

I was out blowing the latest stuff landing on us today, when the auger simply stopped running. The engine was fine and running and the drive wheels also function properly. In fact I was almost done and used the snow blower like a plow to push the last little bit of snow off the driveway. So, I know that the drive wheels are not slipping. I have never had this thing, or any other snow blower, apart before so I am about to dive in to something new to me.

Anyway once I cleared the snow out of the unit and could observe the auger, I had another person engage the auger drive. It did rotate but did not do so smoothly. It would rotate about a half turn and then jump, rotate a half turn and jump. Like it was binding up a bit and then releasing. But, the auger was obviously not rotating when it was in snow. The second stage appeared to be spinning OK when I was in the snow because I could see some light snow coming out of the discharge tube.

I know something needs to be replaced and I was hoping someone on here could provide some guidance on what I need to buy.

Model number 536.886190.

If you know the issue I would appreciate referring to the part number on the sears web site or an equivalent substitute.

http://www.searspartsdirect.com/part...dMod=536886190

Thanks in advance.

Steve
 
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  #2  
Old 01-26-11, 02:09 PM
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The Craftsman

It could be the impeller #40 pins #41, the pins could be sheared, or something else. The gears in the gearbox. Have someone run the machine with the wheels not engaged if possible and see if indeed the impeller shaft is spinning continually, if it is than it is probably in the gearbox. It also cold be the friction drive, most likely the rubber disc. Be careful, lots of guys have lost one or more fingers while checking too closely with the engine running. As an aside, make it a habit to check the oil levels in all engins and gearboxes at least once a year or before each season.
Sid
 
  #3  
Old 01-26-11, 03:16 PM
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Well I went looking at the unit and have not been able to confirm that the pin in the impeller is intact or not. But, I removed a cover that allowed be to check the belts and the one that drives the auger has a 4" chunk out of it.

According to the sears part site the part number is 581264 and has been substituted by part number 581264MA.

Another search on the substitution part turned up on Amazon for a few dollars less than Sears.

I will call around tomorrow and see if I can get one - if anyone is open around here!

Steve
 
  #4  
Old 01-26-11, 03:32 PM
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With the engine off and nothing running can you spin the augers by hand?????? Try both augers. You have a shear pin for each. If you can spin by hand its the pins. 522 and 523 in auger housing assembly.

Screw, 1/4-20x1/75 also known as shear pin. Get at any Sears store.


Mike NJ
 
  #5  
Old 01-26-11, 03:45 PM
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Mike

I can rotate the full auger assembly about 120 degrees before I am stopped. I can see both of the 1/4-20 bolts and they are intact. I can also reach into the housing the rotate the impeller and the augers will slowly rotate.

If I return to my original post, I sad that with no load on the auger they would turn but there was a periodic "jump" to the assembly. This must have been the chunk out of the belt.

Steve


Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
With the engine off and nothing running can you spin the augers by hand?????? Try both augers. You have a shear pin for each. If you can spin by hand its the pins. 522 and 523 in auger housing assembly.

Screw, 1/4-20x1/75 also known as shear pin. Get at any Sears store.


Mike NJ
 
  #6  
Old 01-27-11, 02:59 PM
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Physically pull the shear pins and check them.

Looking at the parts explosion you should not be able to rotate the auger at all by hand. The worm gear will not let you.

Turning the impeller will, that's the way it is designed.
 
  #7  
Old 01-27-11, 05:28 PM
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Well I picked up a belt locally and after putting it on the pulleys, I was not too happy about the amount of tension applied to the belt. Further inspection showed that the bracket holding the auger cable in place is bent. If you follow the link to the Sears web site on the first message in this thread and click on the Frame Assembly link. Part number 107 - named as a Compact Bracket - is bent. The replacement part number 340579E701MA if searched on is available on Amazon. But three reviews on the Amazon web site all indicated that the replacement part quickly failed. I have removed and straightened it but will weld a small piece on it to reinforce it.

Here is the Amazon link - Amazon.com: Murray 340579E701MA Compact Cable Bracket: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Steve
 
  #8  
Old 01-29-11, 03:48 PM
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aandpdan

You were correct, the auger should not move. So after replacing the belt and fixing the bent bracket, I have full power at the impeller and the shft going into the transmission, but no power out to the augers. It will run under no load but stops as soon as it touches snow.

My question: Can I service the transmission on the shaft, or do I need to remove the full auger to do so? I see that there is a key on the auger gear in the transmission. I am hoping that is sheared and that the auger gear has not fallen apart.

Steve



Originally Posted by aandpdan View Post
Physically pull the shear pins and check them.

Looking at the parts explosion you should not be able to rotate the auger at all by hand. The worm gear will not let you.

Turning the impeller will, that's the way it is designed.
 
  #9  
Old 01-29-11, 04:42 PM
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I would think the key would likely have failed versus the gears too.

I'm not sure if you can do it while on the shaft. At the minimum you're going to have to separate the transmission case. I expect you'll have to remove the auger.

Best I can say.
 
  #10  
Old 01-30-11, 03:15 PM
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Well, I got it all apart and it turns out that the auger gear is all torn up. The item is made from BRASS???? No wonder most people classify most Murray made items as junk. Making such a part from brass seems to guarantee that the item will fail long before the item should be retired to the scrap pile.

And, the replacement part - 51405MA - is brass as well.

Steve
 
  #11  
Old 01-30-11, 03:47 PM
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Worm gear

My Craftsman just did the same thing. The worm gear stripped - good news is that you can order the replacement at amazon for $49. My issue is that the gear box popped when I tried to reassemble it, so I am waiting for a new one (hopefully tomorrow). Anyone have tips on aligning the impeller shaft with the worm gear in the gear box?
 
  #12  
Old 01-30-11, 06:07 PM
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They will roll into place, should not be a problem. Don't forget new grease
 
  #13  
Old 01-31-11, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 2ndgencamaro View Post
Well, I got it all apart and it turns out that the auger gear is all torn up. The item is made from BRASS???? No wonder most people classify most Murray made items as junk. Making such a part from brass seems to guarantee that the item will fail long before the item should be retired to the scrap pile.

And, the replacement part - 51405MA - is brass as well.

Steve
That's nuts. It's probably cheaper to cut than a steel gear. Glad you figured it out though and can still get the part.

It's probably nylon in a new blower.
 
  #14  
Old 01-31-11, 04:38 PM
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I have opened up a ton and they are all brass even Ariens and Toro. Although it appears to be cheap I would argue that when augers come to abrupt stop and shear bolts fail, gear is next line of defense and if it strips then the repair is simply a gear for $40-$50. If it was made of titanium it would not strip and be forced to jump off the auger worm and split case open and destroy auger worm meaning a new gear, 2 side cases and a new auger shaft as well as dealing with removing impeller to install on new shaft. many gears cases are split even with the brass gears. I will take a simple gear replacement any day.
 
  #15  
Old 02-01-11, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by smallengineguy View Post
I will take a simple gear replacement any day.
Thanks for explaining what could happen. Didn't think of that.
 
  #16  
Old 02-01-11, 02:18 PM
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Same thing happened to me ....I opened the gearbox to peek inside and found the worm gear all worn down and the impeller shaft with only two good threads on it. I ordered the replacement parts, but was under the assumption that the impeller shaft was attached to the impeller with set screws (according to the Sears parts diagram). What is the procedure to get the impeller shaft free?
 
  #17  
Old 02-01-11, 07:16 PM
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The shear "pins" for the auger on my snow blower are a pair of 1/4" bolts. I would have preferred that the pins be lighter in weight and fail more readily than having to go through the exercise of ripping the unit all apart to replace the auger gear. In such an arrangement, the pins could be replaced in three minutes as opposed to the nearly two hours it took me to tear the unit apart; the days and days it will take for the part to arrive in the mail; and, the hours it is likely to take for me to re-assemble the unit.

OK. Off soapbox for now.

Steve



Originally Posted by smallengineguy View Post
I have opened up a ton and they are all brass even Ariens and Toro. Although it appears to be cheap I would argue that when augers come to abrupt stop and shear bolts fail, gear is next line of defense and if it strips then the repair is simply a gear for $40-$50. If it was made of titanium it would not strip and be forced to jump off the auger worm and split case open and destroy auger worm meaning a new gear, 2 side cases and a new auger shaft as well as dealing with removing impeller to install on new shaft. many gears cases are split even with the brass gears. I will take a simple gear replacement any day.
 
  #18  
Old 02-02-11, 05:44 AM
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I dont think all shear bolts are the same, I know that the older sears and areans were different, so if those shear grooves dont line up they will not "shear". So if you want more safety, just cut a little more into those groves. My auger shafts shear pin holes are a little egged so they dont offer a clean cut, that's on my someday list.
Sid
 
  #19  
Old 02-02-11, 03:36 PM
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So once you get the gear case apart and gear replaced, how do you get the dang thing back on the snowblower? Basically have the two halves of the auger on the main axle(?) with the gear and gear cases all as one unit. That whole set of pieces then goes into the snowblower scoop which has the impeller/shaft assembly already installed.
My problem is that I can't split the cases far enough apart to get them back around the worm and shaft assembly. They need to split about 1" apart, but I can only get them about 1/2". Any tips?
 
  #20  
Old 02-02-11, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by babyman1737 View Post
So once you get the gear case apart and gear replaced, how do you get the dang thing back on the snowblower? Basically have the two halves of the auger on the main axle(?) with the gear and gear cases all as one unit. That whole set of pieces then goes into the snowblower scoop which has the impeller/shaft assembly already installed.
My problem is that I can't split the cases far enough apart to get them back around the worm and shaft assembly. They need to split about 1" apart, but I can only get them about 1/2". Any tips?
OK - here goes - just remember I have only ever done this once!

1) Remove belt cover in front of the engine.
2) Remove auger belt.
3) Disconnect auger cable.
4) Remove 6 bolts (3 per side) that held the auger assembly to the rest of the snow blower.
5) Set the main part of the snow blower with engine aside.
6) Set auger assembly face down - the auger pulley should be facing up.
7) Use a gear puller and pull the auger gear off the main shaft that goes into the back of the transmission.
8) Use a punch and hammer to knock the key out of the shaft.
9) Remove the auger bearings from the sides of the auger case - 3 bolts per side on my snow blower.
10) Pull the augers, transmission, main shaft, and impeller out of the housing as a unit.
11) remove bolts from the transmission.
12) Separate case and marvel and all the bits of brass in the transmission.
13) Determine which parts are required; order; replace; assemble.

Like I said above I have done this exactly one time and it is still apart in my garage waiting on the part to show up in the mail. So if I have missed something maybe someone correct my procedure.

Steve
 
  #21  
Old 02-07-11, 06:27 AM
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Final update:

Snow blower is now working. Total cost to fix was $72 - $27 for a new belt and $45 for the auger gear.

I also got some extra practice at tearing down and assembling the snow thrower. The first time I put it back together I reversed the augers side to side and the snow was getting pushed away from the impeller. So I got a second round of tearing it apart and putting it back together.

Steve
 
  #22  
Old 02-07-11, 08:02 PM
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Hey Steve,, Glad you got it up & running,, I know about the Augers on wrong & I do this for a living,,, 1 distraction is all it takes,, We've all done it somewhere.. Roger..
 
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