Performing regular maintenance on your machinery is the most important thing you can do to keep them running well. Snowblowers suffer yearly abuse from removing hard-packed snow from sidewalks and paths and corrosion from salt and sand, so taking out the auger for cleanings during the off season should be among your top priorities. However, this is a job that should only take you a few hours.
Types of Snowblowers
There are two main varieties of snowblower: single-stage and two-stage. A single-stage blower usually has a two-stroke engine and an auger that spins and chops up the snow in its path, sending it out a discharge chute. Two-stage types usually have a four-stroke engine. They include not only an auger, but they also have an impeller, which collects the show as it is chopped up and then powerfully shoots it out the side.
Step 1 - Prepare the Snowblower
Unplug the spark plug to disable the motor, thereby ensuring you can't lose a hand in the auger/impeller mechanism while working. If it's repairs, rather than a cleaning, that your auger needs, you should also make sure to have any necessary replacement parts on hand at this time.
Remove any obstructions and debris like twigs or stones from the auger as well. In fact, if you are removing the auger because something is stuck in it, it may not be necessary if you can just dislodge the problem. Try to turn the impeller with your pry bar to rotate the stuck pieces back out. Some of the parts on the snow blower might be rusted so have a good penetrating oil product on hand to help.
Step 2 – Remove the Belt Covers
Start by removing the auger belt covers. Some have bolts located on the top, some on the bottom, and some models have them on the top and the bottom. Remove the screws that hold these in place, using the penetrating oil liberally to loosen the bolts if needed. Keep track of the screws by collecting them in a small can.
Step 3 - Remove the Drive Pulley
Next, you have to remove the drive pulley, which is tricky. The drive pulley actually turns clockwise to remove, so you'll have to jam the auger so it doesn’t shift when trying to unscrew the pulley. Insert a pry bar into the auger to lock it in place and slip the drive pulley out of the mechanism.
Step 4 - Pull the Auger Out
Remove the small key now exposed in the groove on the auger shaft and keep track of it for re-assembly. Then, unscrew the bolts on the outside of bucket holding auger bearings on. At this point, you now pull entire unit (and on some models, this would include the impeller) out of the auger bucket. Remove the impeller, if necessary, from the auger assembly shaft. Usually the two pins holding the impeller on the auger shaft are roll-type tension pins that cannot be removed with a wrench. You will have to drive them out with a punch instead.
Now you are free to perform any cleaning or maintenance necessary on your snowblower's auger. Putting it back together after you're done is simple as well; just follow these steps in reverse, and you should be set.