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Old 02-14-2021, 05:24 PM   #1
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Carburetors

OK, so this is not car-related, but it's "wrenching"-related.

My Ariens snow blower, sorry, "thrower," was bought in late 2004. it's been great. Five years ago, I gave it a well-deserved, epic maintenance - belts, plug shoes, scraper, hardware, even bought official Ariens paint and touched it up. It kept on working like a charm.

In the Dec storm we had, I noticed that after a long stretch of use it shut off on me as if it were out of fuel. Checked it had fuel. Pulled to start and it fired up again and finished the job and I forgot to investigate. Forward to the good-sized, heavy, wet snow storm we had in late January and this time the same happened, except more than once and after the 3rd time, I could not get it to fire. Luckily I was >95% done and I finished the job with a shovel.

I suspected it may be carburetor-related since it had never been serviced in 16 years. I just never had to. Luckily, it started and worked for the last two light snowfalls as I waited for service parts. It took forever to find the proper kits, gaskets, etc.

Today I got to work. I figured the gaskets would surely be a dried-up, deformed mess (and they were), but I also expected to find nasty, gummed-up internals. To my surprise, all looked pretty damn clean. I still cleaned the bejeezus out of it with Carb-cleaner replaced all sorts of seals and gaskets, reinstalled it, and it works well.

I am just left wondering what it could have been? I suppose some of those small orifices may have been partially blocked in a way I could not see by eye. But that would be odd IMO, since all else looked in excellent shape.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-14-2021, 06:27 PM   #2
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Could it be overheating with extended use? Could snow/ice be blocking the air intake where the first few times a vacuum kept whatever it was blocking the intake until the engine stopped running and too much stuff the last time when you couldn't restart it? Is there a fuel filter that needs replacing?
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Old 02-14-2021, 06:38 PM   #3
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What kind of gas do you use? the corn/ethanol stuff sucks on single cylinder engines.
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Old 02-14-2021, 09:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kognito View Post
What kind of gas do you use? the corn/ethanol stuff sucks on single cylinder engines.
That is my guess as well.
I use only non-ethanol fuel in all my power equipment (and in the Mustang as well). With all the gas powered stuff I have, I seemed to always be chasing issues till I went to 100% gas. Now - I have had better luck with all my motors running well after being stored for the season.
I use Stabil in all their fuel - and use premium as well (just because).
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Old 02-14-2021, 11:12 PM   #5
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I’ve always used regular fuel, which I know is not great. But I’ve never had problems and for the past few years I’ve been using 93. Always Mobil since it’s the closest to home.

I feared the ethanol content may have gummed up the carburetor, but as I mentioned, it was pretty clean.
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Old 02-15-2021, 07:23 AM   #6
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Ethanol doesn't have any particular effect on single cylinder engines as compared to multi-cylinder engines. Too much ethanol will cause a lean condition, some carbs are jetted rich enough that it doesn't matter. The main issue with snowblowers is they sit for 90% of the year, and that's enough for the ethanol to attack the plastic and aluminum in the carb if fuel is left in it.

There is no benefit to running higher octane in these engines. Based on what I've seen with the RX-8's flex fuel sensor, the higher octane stuff seems to generally have a little higher ethanol content (not surprising, ethanol is an octane booster) than the lower octane stuff. If you can't find E0 gas where you live, put the lowest octane you can find into the engine. In the off season, drain the bowl of the carb and put some seafoam or Sta-Bil in the fuel tank.

My guess is you got a piece of grit in the main jet and when you cleaned the carb it came out.

Last edited by John V; 02-15-2021 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 02-15-2021, 07:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John V View Post
Ethanol doesn't have any particular effect on single cylinder engines as compared to multi-cylinder engines. Too much ethanol will cause a lean condition, some carbs are jetted rich enough that it doesn't matter. The main issue with snowblowers is they sit for 90% of the year, and that's enough for the ethanol to attack the plastic and aluminum in the carb if fuel is left in it.

There is no benefit to running higher octane in these engines. Based on what I've seen with the RX-8's flex fuel sensor, the higher octane stuff seems to generally have a little higher ethanol content (not surprising, ethanol is an octane booster) than the lower octane stuff. If you can't find E0 gas where you live, but the lowest octane you can find into the engine. In the off season, drain the bowl of the carb and put some seafoam or Sta-Bil in the fuel tank.

My guess is you got a piece of grit in the main jet and when you cleaned the carb it came out.
Good to know. I do add Sta-Bil to the fuel when I buy it, but never thought of adding it directly in the off-season. Thx

Last edited by FC; 02-15-2021 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:07 AM   #8
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You are doing well with that Snow Blower, in the same time frame I went through 3 of them with the last of them being an Ariens as well. If you end up replacing yours I would just warn you the new Ariens have automatic Steering which really sucks, the manual steering is much better though the heated handles is a good feature.

The other issue I find with the machine is it is ridiculously heavy and while I understand you need to let the machine do the work there are times you need to push or pull the machine and the heavy weight makes it a bit of a workout.

Overall I would not purchase this machine again.
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:39 AM   #9
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You are doing well with that Snow Blower, in the same time frame I went through 3 of them with the last of them being an Ariens as well. If you end up replacing yours I would just warn you the new Ariens have automatic Steering which really sucks, the manual steering is much better though the heated handles is a good feature.

The other issue I find with the machine is it is ridiculously heavy and while I understand you need to let the machine do the work there are times you need to push or pull the machine and the heavy weight makes it a bit of a workout.

Overall I would not purchase this machine again.
My 16-yo Ariens has heated handles. I love them.

Mine is a 300lb machine and I do lock the axle for better traction, so it is not easy to move and is definitely a workout. I prefer to keep yard equipment simple. The fewer motors the better. I see some have electric chute orientation, fuel injection, etc. No thanks.
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Old 02-15-2021, 12:24 PM   #10
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I would for sure pony up for fuel injection if we lived in an area where I had to use the machine more than once a year on average. That sounds awesome.
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