problem starting snow thrower manually

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  #1  
Old 12-16-15, 05:38 AM
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problem starting snow thrower manually

I have a Power Smart 22-inch 208cc Gas Powered 2-Stage Snow Thrower with Electric Start option which I bought last year. It worked well all year. I always used the manual pull start because that was easiest for me. In the spring I performed general maintenance including including replacing the oil and adding fuel stabilizer.

I recently tried to start her up just so that I knew I was ready for this winter and it didn't start despite several efforts at a manual start. So I tried the electric start and it started fine. So any ideas why the electric start is working but the manual start is not? Is it possible the spark plug needs to be replaced or something else?

I am admittedly pretty clueless with engines, big or small.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-16-15, 05:47 AM
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It can't hurt to replace the plug but there is no guarantee that it will help the manual start. I would try it. The electric start spins the engine faster & gives it a few extra seconds, to catch. Personally, I like the electric start. In 1969, Harley Davidson motorcycles had their first electric start. No one really liked it but manual kick starts have disappeared.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 06:41 AM
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uel

I agree with the idea that it is the speed of rotation. I like not having to worry about the Recoil Starter when it's -20F or below . . . . but I like to make sure that the Recoil will be fully functional when I run out of gas a few hundred feet away from an AC Outlet . . . . or when I have to occupy myself snowblowing during an electrical outage.

It may start a little faster when the fuel no longer contains any of the stabilizer too.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 09:02 AM
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Thanks, both of you. Just to clarify, the machine is not even making a sound like it's trying to start when I try the recoil starter.

Dumb follow-up in regards to the original question: does the electrical start even utilize the spark plug?
 
  #5  
Old 12-16-15, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by peter72
". . . does the electrical start even utilize the spark plug . . ."
Yes, the AC Starter Motor just replaces your arm.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 09:50 AM
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Ok, then any thoughts why it starts right up with the electric starter and it doesn't even make a sound like it's trying to start when I try to start manually? Even if the stabilizer was the issue, it would at least make a sound like it was trying to start, wouldn't it?
 
  #7  
Old 12-16-15, 10:04 AM
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No; I'v thought about it and have to agree with Pulpo that it must be the speed of rotation, and that the compression of the air/fuel mixture is retained slightly longer when the electric starter is employed.

Someone else may chime in with a more sophisticated explanation . . . .. I don't have one; and I haven't encountered the problem (yet). And my comment about the older fuel with the dissolved stabilizer in it being slightly less volatile is offered as pure speculation on my part. I've not seen evidence of that documented anywhere.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 10:18 AM
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How many times does it spin with the electric starter before it starts?
Likely more times than you can spin it with one pull of the rope....???
Once the engine gets a few rotations, it also gains some momentum which will help out the combustion process somewhat.
It would likely start manually just might take several pulls. It also depends on the engine temp. Colder engine can be a bit more difficult.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 10:20 AM
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I would dump the older gas and put fresh gas in it. Change the plug if you want not a bad idea.

Down here gas is 1.60 a gallon so even if you dump half of a gallon you not losing much and you have a good parts cleaner if you save the gas in a coffee can.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 10:32 AM
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Fresh gas is always a good first place to start with any hard or no start condition.
As many ropes as I pull on, if three pulls aren't enough, I look at sumin needs fixin
208cc gas engine? 5.5HP Briggs?
For a cold engine you can give it some prime might help also:
With the ignition "off"
Choke closed/full throttle
Pull the engine through at medium speed a couple times, turn ignition on and start.
 
  #11  
Old 12-16-15, 06:11 PM
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I could try fresh gas. But what is the rationale in terms of why it starts easily on the first try of an electric start vs. not even sounding like it has a chance of starting from a pull start? Would old gas cause that?
 
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Old 12-16-15, 06:38 PM
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The electricity to fire the spark plug comes from the motion of a small magnet past a coil of wire. It turns out this process is dependent on how fast the magnet moves past the coil. Faster generates higher voltage. It's possible you just aren't spinning the engine fast enough by hand to generate enough spark to start the engine when it's cold.

Why it should have just started doing this, I don't know; it's usually a pretty trouble free system, except for the plug, which you changed.
 
  #13  
Old 12-17-15, 05:39 AM
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I dropped off a little gift for my small engine Mechanic/Consultant yesterday, and brought up the issue of stabilizer in the gas.

He agreed that that while the stabilizer helps to prevent the fuel from damaging components and prevents the build-up of gum or varnish while in storage, it does reduce the volatility of the fuel when it comes to starting later. He wasn't surprised by the question . . . . much of the equipment that arrives for service in the Spring (Lawnmowers and Tillers, et cetera) suffer from this failure to start following Winter storage.

The problem is more with the humans being generous and using too much of the additive. If the instructions say to add One Ounce per 2 Gallons, they often mis-read and add 2 or 3 ounces. Only you would know if there's a chance that you added too much stabilizer . . . . like with many medications, more isn't better.

With a normal snowblower fuel tank, the amount of stabilizer required is probably in the neighborhood of only a Teaspoon or two (Six (6) Teaspoon per Ounce). I've got an 8 Ounce bottle of stabilizer in my hand and that's enough to treat 20 gallons per the label.

The old fuel doesn't have to be disposed of (i.e. dumped) but it should be thinned by mixing it in with a few gallons of fresh fuel.

That's my 2
 
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Old 12-17-15, 12:51 PM
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But what is the rationale in terms of why it starts easily on the first try of an electric start vs. not even sounding like it has a chance of starting from a pull start?
How many times does it spin with the electric starter before it starts?
Likely more times than you can spin it with one pull of the rope....???
Once the engine gets a few rotations, it also gains some momentum which will help out the combustion process somewhat.
It would likely start manually just might take several pulls. It also depends on the engine temp. Colder engine can be a bit more difficult.
Fresh gas is always a good first place to start with any hard or no start condition.
As many ropes as I pull on, if three pulls aren't enough, I look at sumin needs fixin
208cc gas engine? 5.5HP Briggs?
For a cold engine you can give it some prime might help also:
With the ignition "off"
Choke closed/full throttle
Pull the engine through at medium speed a couple times, turn ignition on and start.
Would like a solution or just the chance to discuss theories?
Any chance you are not turning the run switch on when manually starting?
 
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Old 12-17-15, 01:55 PM
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Just to add to the thread hopefully and inject my own opinion/experience on fuel.
I have nothing against fuel additives when used properly however I personally have not found a need or advantage in using them. Proper storage IMO is much less expensive and more effective.
Extreme climate change will more rapidly degrade fuel and introduce condensation: IE: A unit stored in a small tin shed,(or wrapped in a tarp) overnight ambient temps drop below freezing, day time temps reach 50's/60's. The shed is lit by sunlight most of the day and inside can reach temps of 80+. The shed holds no heat so reaches below freezing overnight. Air contains moisture and can only suspend that moisture at given temperatures. At colder temps the air can no longer suspend the moisture as a gas and it condensates to a liquid and into the fuel. Water and oil do not mix, so the saying goes but now we also have ethanol/alcohol in the mix which do mix and which any mechanic need not understand the science, but realize the fact that there is a chemical reaction responsible.
All machinery is somewhat similar to the human body as in they both need to be exercised. If they simply sit idle for long periods of time, fluids degrade, seals and gaskets, rings etc, dry out, metal parts begin to corrode in place, parts needing lubrication get no attention....

Do I have bad gas?
Smell and color of fuel can indeed give signs. Fresh gas will easily vaporize on a standard day, 59 degrees @ sea level. Remove the fuel cap and smell or maybe look for vapors. If you need to get close to the opening to smell any fumes then it is questionable. The smell is also an indicator. If there are any signs of it smelling like vinegar, varnish, turpentine...etc there is reason to question.

Color: Most pump unleaded fuel should have a mostly clear color and strong odor, minus any additives. Some will have a "slight" yellow tint, however distinct yellowing is a sign of degraded fuel.

This is simply from my personal education and experience, YMMV, however it has served me well.
 
  #16  
Old 12-18-15, 09:05 AM
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"Ok, then any thoughts why it starts right up with the electric starter and it doesn't even make a sound like it's trying to start when I try to start manually? "


You are going to need to look under the hood for this one. Go into a lighted room with a mirror and remove your shirt. Take a close look at those arms. Are they the same arms you had when you were 18? When was the last time you worked out? Is more and more volume starting to show up in the center section of the body, similar looking to a tire?

Sorry, couldn't resist. lol.
 
  #17  
Old 12-18-15, 10:29 AM
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For your manual start, did you first turn the key to the on position - before priming /choking / and then pulling the start rope?
The key could be a got ya.
 
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Old 12-18-15, 12:45 PM
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Would like a solution or just the chance to discuss theories?
Any chance you are not turning the run switch on when manually starting?
.
 
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