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Tecumseh 8 hp engine on Ariens snow blower

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by John_M, Jan 14, 2009.

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  1. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    My Ariens snow blower is 17 years old and has worked flawlessly all these years. The engine now has about 1500 hours on it. I service it at the end of each season and use nothing but fresh premium gasoline with fuel stabilizer and Techron added. It still starts at the first pull and does everything perfectly except: starting this year it begins to bog down and almost stall when I get into deep and heavy snow.

    I can hear this coming on so I just reverse it a little. It then resumes normal operation. I then ease my way through the deep and heavy snow with a "two steps forward; one step back" process. It acts like the engine is just not powerful enough to move lots of deep and heavy snow anymore. Is this possible/probable after only 1500 hours? It burns very little oil. I have not done a compression check on the single cylinder. The spark plug looks fine. Because the engine runs so well at both high and low rpm's I assume the carburetor adjustments are okay. A couple of times when this began happening I thought the vacuum release in the fuel cap might have been plugged by blowing snow. When I opened the fuel cap a little the engine seemed to rev up a little.

    Do you think the engine could be wearing out? Is it starved for fuel? Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Best wishes,
    John_M

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  2. Biglumber

    Biglumber Member

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    Pursue that gas cap a little further, either open the vent hole up more or put another small hole in the cap.
    Also, I'd say 1500 hrs is a lot of use, you may be running into throttle issues as those carburetors are made of pot metal and brass which will be subject to wear. Check for wiggle on the throttle shaft. You may want to step down to regular gas. Those old L head engines only need 82 to 85 octane.

    Good luck
  3. stop drop & roll

    stop drop & roll New Member

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    Sounds like it's starving for fuel under load. I would take the carb bowl off first and check for gum. Could have a slightly blocked main jet passage. Even though you take good care off it, it still could build up.
  4. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I'm having a similar problem with my old Snapper and I took the needle out of the bowl figuring I'd find white ethanol jello and found black tar, some of it quite crystalized and crunchy.
    Only the bowl is easy access on this one, so I'm droopping it off with someone who enjoys this stuff.
    With a heated shop to work in in the Winter.

    Ran fine in September when I got a early start on checking Winter stuff was ready.
  5. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    I knew you guys would come through with helpful answers. As soon as the weather warms up a little I'll open the vacuum hole in the fuel cap a little, replace the fuel lines, start using regular fuel (with stabilizer and Techron), and order a rebuild kit for the carburetor. These small items shoudn't cost more than $30 or so. In the meantime I'll try to make it as far as possible this winter before doing repairs.

    Thanks and best wishes,

    John_M
  6. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    1500 hours is an awful lot for that engine. We rarely got that many hours out of large engines on commercial landscaper machines before Honda and Briggs-Vanguard came into use. It ought to take you 30 years to use a blower that much in Central New York unless you're doing work for others. Maybe you've got a very long driveway? If your engine is old enough to have a cast-iron cylinder liner, it could virtually last your forever. If it's the newer cheaper engine with aluminum bore, you've been very lucky.

    You ought to check the main jet adjustment before you do anything. Just back it out while the machine is running a high speed. It should be just rich enough that you hear engine break up a bit from being too rich, and then screw it back in (clockwise) just enough to smooth out.

    In regard to a rebuild kit for that carb - it is rarely needed if clean. In most cases, you'll need a bowl gasket and a new seat for the inlet needle - and that comes in a smaller separate kit.
    If your engine is very old - and the fuel bowl had a little push-button drain valve, you might want to get a new one-piece bowl to eliminate leaks. In most cases, with your sympoms, the main jet adjuster is out of wack, or the main jet itself has some dirt or water in it.
  7. beau5278

    beau5278 Member

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    Have you ever had the head off of the engine?After 1500 hrs,I'm sure your going to find a carbon buildup on it possibly on top of the piston also,what that does is change the ignition timing in the engine slightly.I wouldn't be surprised if your valves were in need of reseating and adjustment also.If it's not burning any oil,I'd try those 2 things,that should bring it back to life.
  8. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    jdemaris, This engine does have the cast iron cylinder bore. As to the 1500 hours, I lived in north Idaho for 13 years and we had as much, if not more snow than we have here in upstate NY. Let me adjust those hours to a probable range of 1000 to 1200 hours. I did a lot of snow blowing for neighbors who had to drive their kids to school each day. Another neighbor lost the tops of two of his fingers trying to dislodge a stone from the auger of his blower. The engine was turned off but there was so much torque built up in the auger that when it released it just took off two dingers to the first joint.

    I will fiddle with the carb high rpm adjustment a little to see if that helps. It is difficult to work on these adjustments with the engine running because the exhaust blasts directly into your face when you are trying to find the teensey adjustment screws in the dark space deep behind the protective shield. There does appear to be a spring loaded adjustment screw at the bottom of the carb. I believe it is the high speed jet. This is accessible with my fingers and I did adjust it about a month ago. I may have turned it a quarter turn or so too lean. Ill double check those adjustments and focus on fuel issues as the cause of the problem.

    Best wishes and thanks to all for the help.

    John_M
  9. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I have the maintenance manual for this engine you if you want to PM me I'll send it to you.
  10. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I had a very similar problem on my 8 hp Ariens. It seemed to resolve itself the last time I used it. I put some new gas in it. Hopefully it'll stay working.
  11. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    Deffy, I was heavily into boating for quite a few years and guys were always looking for ways to make their engines run better. Sea Foam and another product from Yamaha both received rave reviews. I'll look into some Sea Foam the next time I am out and about. Thanks for the reminder.

    John_M
  12. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    My 25 yo Ariens needed work on it this year. The rubber drive wheel was just plain worn out. I also replaced the carb since it was scaled up.

    Matt
  13. Frostbit

    Frostbit Feeling the Heat

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    [quote author="beau5278" date="1231990803"]Have you ever had the head off of the engine?After 1500 hrs,I'm sure your going to find a carbon buildup on it possibly on top of the piston also,what that does is change the ignition timing in the engine slightly.I wouldn't be surprised if your valves were in need of reseating and adjustment also.If it's not burning any oil,I'd try those 2 things,that should bring it back to life.[/quot


    Ditto on his advise. Go and buy a new head gasket, remove the head, scrape the carbon from the top of the piston and carefully from the dome in the head (the combustion chamber). Clean it all up with a small wire brush, change the gasket and put it back together. Good to go.
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Before taking much apart, I'd try running a tank of gas with a good slug of Sea Foam in it through the engine, and maybe give it a shot of the aresol in the carb while running. That may clean things up enough that further disassembly might not be needed...

    "Magic potions" aren't the cure for all ills, but this is one type of case where they can definitely help, and certainly won't do any harm...

    Gooserider
  15. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    Here is an update on the apparent fuel problem with my snowblower: On Sunday I opened the main jet on the bottom of the carburetor about 1/8 turn. At first the engine ran a little rougher but soon smoothed out.

    Yesterday I had to move a lot of heavy, drifted snow. The engine ran like a hairy chested beast for a while and I was beginning to think the 1/8 turn solved the problem. But, after a very short while my buddy showed up with his tractor and 6' snow blade. He told me to get out of his way. Well, my mother did not raise a fool and I am not nearly as dumb as I look, so I let him finish the job I had just started. My driveway is 45' wide and 160' long with a 12' x 40' parking area on one side of the garage. He cleared the whole area in about 15 minutes. It ordinarily takes me 2 hrs, 45 min to clear the same area and he even does a much "cleaner" job. We help each other all the time and not one penny has ever changed hands for all the help. It's good to have reliable friends who do great work.

    Today, I will go shopping for Sea Foam and will fill a couple of 2.5 gal containers with a Sea Foam/regular fuel mixture. I will attack the next heavy snow with confidence and a vengeance. My Ariens shall not fail!

    I'll keep you abreast of happenings.

    Thanks for the valuable suggestions and best wishes to all.

    John_M
  16. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    My worked okay over the weekend.
    Granted not as much snow as in the snow belt.
    I'm thinking it could've been the gas.
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