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View Full Version : OT: Why is my Toro snowthrower stalling out? (more snow tomorrow!)



gellfex
01-06-2011, 01:16 PM
I've found not much help googling, so I present it here to the best crew of "experts on everything mechanical" I know!

I've got an older Toro 524 blower, that crapped out for no apparent reason after running for 4 hours when we got 24" here the day after Christmas. It had gas, and today it just started fine for me. I'm going to get a new plug for it, the old is a little carbon coated but not gummed. How can you tell if one of these is overheating?

I got the blower from my dad who didn't get it new so it's got to be at least 25 years old. I haven't done any but routine maintenance on it, I'm not much of an engine guy, more of city boy. I did find a manual online, but it has no insights http://lawnandgarden.manualsonline.com/mdownloads/3949aa92-0994-4dfb-af0b-6b400168aadb.pdf

Any hints would be appreciated,

thanks.

G

AiR_GuNNeR
01-06-2011, 02:05 PM
I had a similar issue. It would run fine, but as soon as I put any load on it, it would putter out.
It turned out that the jets were partially blocked. I did a carb rebuild and that fixed it.
Eric

kf2qd
01-06-2011, 02:12 PM
May have a problem that after 4 hours the temperature was changing and you got some carburator icing. Do you store the blower someplace warm where it can thaw out and dry off when you aren't out slinging snow? If so, that is probably what was happening.

Don't need one now, (live in nice warm South Texas) but up until 3 years ago I depended on one in the winter time.

JanvanSaane
01-06-2011, 02:21 PM
You say it ran fine for 4 hours, died. Would not restart. I ran into one similar about 10 years ago. The vent in the fuel cap was plugged, after it ran thru about a half of tank of fuel it would die,,but,, pulling the fuel cap off to check the fuel would allow it to start again. Some of these will wet down the ign wiring in powdery snow, the shield does little to keep fine snow out. Could be packing snow around the intake too, icing in the venturi of the carburetor will generally cause you to lose power (and RPMs) gradually before it dies. Just a couple ideas. Jan

Willy
01-06-2011, 02:25 PM
The plug should normally run a light tan color when everything else is in good running order, (not using oil, carb mixture is correct).

The fact that it stalled yesterday and started up good today could be an indication of water in the fuel line that froze while you were using it.
I used to have problems with this in the past and finally determined that the vented gas cap was allowing snow dust into the fuel tank. A little gas line anti freeze(methyl hydrate) will be a temporary cure. For a more permanent fix all I did was to wire tie a small rag over the filler cap, it still allows the tank to vent but it is too fine to allow the the snow into the tank.
The next time it stalls see if the flow of fuel to the carb has been compromised.

There could be other factors as well but try the easy ones first.
Remember an engine need three things to make it run.
Compression, fuel, and spark, with all of those elements present it should at least run. Look for these elements first, it should make diagnosing a problem a little more simple.

Dr Stan
01-06-2011, 02:35 PM
Willy,

You answered your own question, because it's going to snow tomorrow! :D

Seriously though, as others have suggested its probably your carb and/or water in the fuel. Since outdoor equipment tends to sit for long periods of time between uses this is a common problem.

I'd go get a carb kit and a can of cleaner. Small engine carbs are fairly simple so just follow the directions in the kit and make sure everything is super clean. Beware carb cleaner will dry out your skin in a heart beat, so wear gloves. I would also empty the fuel tank and fill it with fresh gas. Having a can of starting fluid on hand may also be a good idea.

This reminds me, I should go out and start up my generator. It's been at least a couple of months since I ran it.

Stan

Willy
01-06-2011, 02:42 PM
Willy,

You answered your own question, because it's going to snow tomorrow! :D



Sorry Dr Stan, that one went over my head.
I had a question?

gellfex
01-06-2011, 03:51 PM
Thanks guys, you're awesome with the help.

I had suspected the gas cap, but loosening it did not start the blower. It did look all clogged with snow, so I'm going to try willys rag cover idea. I just changed the plug, drained the tank and loaded it with BP gas with ethanol, treated with Sta-Bil on the advice of the Pep Boys counterman (for whatever that's worth).

It's running okay with just a little roughness, and if I throttle down all the way it stalls. I don't really ever do that so I don't know if it's normal. If you're not blowing the deadman lever will kill it anyway if you need to do something else. I was daring and tied it down last time, it was tiring my hand squeezing it. Is it something everyone does, like taking off the blade guard on a tablesaw?

The blower is stored in an unheated garage, which is where I'd have to do a carb job. Brrrrrrrrrr!!! Maybe that can wait til spring if it runs okay tomorrow.

Again, thanks all.

troyken
01-06-2011, 04:51 PM
I was having problems with my fathers old 5hp Sears blower (about 30 years old). It would run fair I would say. Would not start without ether ever. Last winter at the end of the season it conked out and we left it. Saturday, removed and cleaned carb, put in new fuel filter, fresh gas, squirted ether and started and ran about 15 minutes until hot and quit and would not restart even with ether. Checked spark and found a yellow, weak spark. He bought a new plug, points and condensor, new fuel line (old one was not that old but changed while there) and we added a fuel shutoff between tank and filter,$50 in total.The original point rubbing block was worn to about 40% of original length and lubrication wick was bone dry. Intalled all new parts, reassembled and the result was a nice snappy blue spark. Started without ether and ran like a top at all rpms up to full operating temperature. Please evaluate spark quailty on any old equipment. A cheap in line spark tester is really useful. It's not always, but often is the problem after clogged carburetor/fuel system. Fuel shut off lets you run gas out of carb after use. The ethanol gas is very hard on the old fuel system.

ihvvet2
01-06-2011, 05:15 PM
I have had some good luck with Sea Foam. Its suppose to do everything under the sun but, people claim it does. It is available at Menards, Walmart and most auto stores. A can cost about $7 and is worth a try before tearing a carb apart. I had a lawn tractor that kept fluctuating its speed. I put some Sea Foam in the tank and it ran smooth after a couple minutes. To me it's worth a try if you feel it is a carb problem.
Chip

Dr Stan
01-06-2011, 05:58 PM
Sorry Dr Stan, that one went over my head.
I had a question?


Willy,

My fault. I should have addressed it to gellfex.

Sorry 'bout that.

Stan

Doozer
01-06-2011, 07:36 PM
Ok- Stop with the mechanic in a can and pick up a wrench. It has a Tecumseh engine. Use a 7/16 wrench and take the high speed adjustment nut out of the bottom of the carb. Gas will come out, so turn it off first, or vise-grip the fuel line. Take out the adj needle and don't loose the spring and little washer and the 0-ring. Remove the red fiber washer and look closely near the bottom of the threads. There will be a small hole, almost hard to see. It is the feed to the idle circuit of the carb. It is the lowest point in the float bowl, and always clogs when gas is old. Use a small wire from a bread bag twist-tie and poke the dirt out of the little hole. Put it back together and adjust the high speed needle 1-1/4 turns from seated for initial setting. Final adjust it when you run it. --Doozer

dockrat
01-06-2011, 07:38 PM
I need a snow blower!!!! I shoveled the driveway 3 times today and its still coming down :(

SGW
01-06-2011, 07:41 PM
Based on my experience with a Toro 724, I second Doozer. He clearly knows a lot more about the "why" of it than I do, but what I found was that when it started running roughly (or not running), it generally got better if I turned that adjustment screw he's talking about in and out a few times.

Black_Moons
01-06-2011, 07:57 PM
My lawnmower dies every 3~ years untill I clean the carb jet. Never had anything else wrong with it.. Except the time some idiot friend of mine smoked the self pulling transmission or somesuch. Stupid person did'nt even notice when she sucked in 40' of rope around the blades.. Yet I noticed, 150' away, inside a house, that the motor sounded like **** and went out to tell her to shut it down and inspect it.

bborr01
01-06-2011, 08:11 PM
I have had some good luck with Sea Foam. Its suppose to do everything under the sun but, people claim it does. It is available at Menards, Walmart and most auto stores. A can cost about $7 and is worth a try before tearing a carb apart. I had a lawn tractor that kept fluctuating its speed. I put some Sea Foam in the tank and it ran smooth after a couple minutes. To me it's worth a try if you feel it is a carb problem.
Chip

X2 on the Seafoam.

My diesel mechanic brother turned me on to it. It really seems to clean the varnish out of carbs that sit for a long time.

I used it on a Simplicity lawn tractor that sat for a couple years. Put gas in it and it ran out of the carb. Tried tunking the carb with a screwdriver handle to free up the float valve to no avail.

Finally put some Seafoam in it and ran it for a while and the leak stopped.

Much easier than tearing the carb down.

No affiliation with the company. Just know it works. I use it in everything now.

Brian

troyken
01-06-2011, 08:37 PM
Doozer is correct. In my case the engine is a Tecumseh. The orifice he talks about was clogged ( the very small one and one of the larger ones too) and we cleaned them with a fine wire from a wire brush and spray gumout. That solved the first no start/ no run issue. The hot stall/weak spark was a bad/leaky condenser and worn points. The red washer he mentions leaked after loosening and had to be replaced.We got one in a new carb rebuild kit.The power equipment supply guy said the new kits are "resistant" to ethanol., not ethanol proof.

Black_Moons
01-06-2011, 10:18 PM
I wonder how much polution ethonal causes due to screwed up carbs. :)

gellfex
01-12-2011, 12:31 PM
So we got another 8" today. It got it done in about 45 min and then started being very rough. I was inspired to wiggle the plug cord, and was rewarded with shocks through my glove and the blower smoothing out! Maybe I found at least part of the problem. Do I need a new cord or dielectric grease in there or what?

gvasale
01-12-2011, 02:07 PM
If you're trying to say the spark plug wire, they do get old. If so a lot of the older ones were attached to the coil by soldering. If yours is, then buy some of the "Packard 440" ignition (spark plug) wire and replace it. Otherwise. you might need a new coil assembly. You'll have plenty of wire left over.

jack3140
01-12-2011, 02:14 PM
have you checked for spark when it quit hot ? sometime when the ign coil gets hot it opens closes again when cold and also have you checked the breather hole in the carb? both these things will do what you experience a new plug is definitely a must good luck jack

airsmith282
01-12-2011, 02:59 PM
ok boys remebr he said he was a city boy right so lets start simple and easy on the poor guy,

turn off the fule or crimp with vise grips but not to hard you dont want to puncture the fule line,

step 2 take out the bottom float bowl jet ,

step 3 take of the bowl and dump it out and make sure its all clean inside

step4 take a can of carb cleaner and spray the insize hole in the carb there the jet screws into and let it sit for a few min , then while your waiting hose down the jet you removed with carb cleaner and make sure the holes are good and clean, there is by the way a red or culd be white oring that will be on the jet or attached to the bowl dont lose it its seals up to keep the gas her from leaking out the jet

once all done reassemble, the carb dont mess with any other jets..now remove the fule line from the carb and drain out all the old gas and put in fresh stuff ,

also make sure when you put the float bowl back on the part that site up in the bolw its like a detent that goes right under the float oppisit the hing for the float
next you will reattach the fule line put in new gas, uncrimp or turn fule back on pull the choke on prim and pull and see what happens,

if you did this right you should be back up and running. if not then you will defentally have other isses,

one other thing when you take the jet out of the bottom of the bowl dont mess with the screw at all,,if you do then turn it clock wise till it stops on its own then back off 2 full turns then get it running and once warmmed up put to full throttle, then adjust till the engine runs the fastest then go the otehr diection till it almost chockes then about 1/2 turn up and you should be running fine..

if not then time for a complete over haul kit and while your at it get a new float and float bowl just to be on the safe side as these 2 parts do not come in over haul kits

GBertolet
01-12-2011, 05:50 PM
I had trouble with a Tecumseh 5 HP motor similar to what you have. It would start up and run fine for a while and stall out. Letting it sit for a day or so, it would restart and the process repeats itself. If I pushed the primer bulb I could get it to run for a few seconds. This told me it was a lean condition for the fuel mixture. Ultimately, I found it was a small piece debris being sucked up the jet tube, restricting the fuel, and when it sat, the piece of dirt became disloged and cleared itself, until the next time. Disassembly and cleaning of the carb fixed the problem.

gellfex
01-12-2011, 07:38 PM
Ughh, I guess I really need to do the carb job. Maybe I can get a warm day for it. So dielectric grease on the spark plug wire isn't a good idea? Was the fact that I was getting shocked insignificant? I'm guessing it starts to crap out when water gets up inside the spark plug connector.

RB211
01-12-2011, 07:57 PM
Old fuel? Probably need to clean the carb and the jets.

GKman
01-12-2011, 08:51 PM
I wonder how much polution ethonal causes due to screwed up carbs. :)

We're burning 100's of millions of gallons of ethanol containing fuel without any problems yet some people will point to it as the cause if anything goes wrong. I know there was some equipment years ago with rubber parts that ethanol would damage but that should be ancient history.

Tinkerer
01-13-2011, 12:03 AM
Another thing to check out... is to make sure none of the screws on top of the carb cover box that attach to the muffler have come out. It'll allow snow to get sucked in and bog the motor. But yeah the gas cap ices up when you have to throw into the wind. Also rough running takes a tweak on the power jet screw smooth it out.

I just spend the last few days breaking down my 1977 Toro 524 to repair the impeller (finely got to the point where it would not chuck snow out of it's own way). The worst part was getting the friggin' stamped steel pulley off the back. Had to re-cut the keyway ( Atlas Shaper ) make a new woodruff key for the pulley cause I bugger them up in removal. But happily now it again throws snow 25-30 ft. :D

gellfex
01-13-2011, 12:19 AM
I just spend the last few days breaking down my 1977 Toro 524 to repair the impeller..SNIP.....But happily now it again throws snow 25-30 ft. :D

30 FEET!!!!!!!!

That distance would make it much easier to throw all the snow from my driveway through the chainlink fence into the school parking lot next door. :D

OK, I've REALLY got to get this thing tuned up.......

jthellin
01-13-2011, 12:37 AM
airplanes use a hot box for air to engine, you can make a cheapone using hose clamps and an old beer can around exhaust pipe witha nozzle for air to go to air cleaner, you are getting moisture in carb because of extrenme cold. also. add some rubbing alchohol to gas, this mixes withw ater to burn it instead of stalling engine

HSS
01-13-2011, 08:36 AM
We're burning 100's of millions of gallons of ethanol containing fuel without any problems yet some people will point to it as the cause if anything goes wrong. I know there was some equipment years ago with rubber parts that ethanol would damage but that should be ancient history.
Here the guy is talking about an old piece of equipment he's having problems with, and now ethanol shouldn't be the problem? There is still a lot of engines out there that shouldn't be run on that crap. I use non-ethanol fuel in all my engines, new or old. Just my opinion, mind you. Oh, and I get 3 miles to the gallon better gas mileage without it.:)

And I have run it in the past and wondered why my mileage went down. Switched back to non-ethanol and the mileage went back up.

Doozer
01-13-2011, 09:17 AM
Better mileage without ethanol makes sense.
While alcahol does have higher octane than gasoline, (burns slower),
it contains about half the energy. (btu's per puond).
That is why engines converted to run straight alcahol
(go carts and such) need carb jets twice as big compared
to gas carb jets.

--Doozer

vpt
01-13-2011, 09:21 AM
Get a honda snow blower.