That time of year again seems like no time ago since I put the snowblower away. Problems often arise at the start of the season. I’m a mechanic and my customers usually say something like, “It was running fine when I put it away”, sound familiar?
A snowblower that won’t start after summer storage likely suffers from fuel system contamination. Draining the fuel system and refueling usually solves the issue, however, a carburetor cleaning may also be required.
In this post, you’ll learn the likely reason why your snowblower won’t start and you’ll also learn what you can do to fix it right now.
Common Causes Of No Start After Summer Storage
The single most common cause of no starts after summer storage is as you know, fuel system contamination. But what does that mean? You might ask. It means the gas in your snowblower has gone stale and in severe cases the stale gas congeals and gums up the fuel system, clogging the carburetor.
Stale gas is a simple repair, but gumming of the carburetor requires a little more work, but I’ve got you covered, we’ll deal with both a little later in this post. All that said, stale gas, although the most likely cause, isn’t the only possible cause. I wrote about stale gas here in “Will a snowblower start with stale gas?”
Here’s a shortlist of other possibles based on my experience, together with what you’ll need to do in order to repair them.
Check out this video, it covers checking for stuck valves and how to fix them.
Snowblower Fuel System Diagnosis
Ok, so we suspect the problem is fuel contamination because it’s the most common cause of a no-start snowblower after summer. Checking is pretty simple, in the workshop to quickly discover if I’m dealing with a fuel system issue or a spark issue I pour some fresh gas down the carburetor.
I attempt to start the engine in the normal way and if the engine starts or makes a good attempt to start, I know the fuel is the issue. If on the other hand there is no change in the engine’s behavior, I’ll suspect one of the less common faults already listed above.
I made a short video covering the gas shot test, you can check that out above.
But if you don’t want to run a gas shot test, it’s not a problem. The next test will also help confirm fuel system contamination.
Follow these steps:
Fuel System Cleaning
Cleaning the fuel system requires draining the gas tank, cleaning or replacing the gas filter (if fitted), and of course cleaning the carburetor. For many though, just draining the gas tank and cleaning the gas bowl is enough to fix the issue.
Storing A Snowblower Like a Pro
Storing the snowblower correctly will ensure your machine starts next season’s first crank. Storage preparation isn’t difficult and only takes about an hour of your time. You may need to buy a few items to nail this procedure. You can find all the products you’ll need here on the “Snowblower maintenance tools page”.
Use Gas Stabilizer
The gas stabilizer keeps gas fresh over the storage period. This is top of the list for good reason. Blended gas, known as ethanol, goes stale quickly. When it goes stale it can congeal inside the carburetor causing damage.
In addition to going stale, ethanol damages the plastic and rubber components of the fuel system. To protect your snowblower fuel system, add a gas stabilizer.
Check out the mixing and adding gas stabilizer video.
Valves open and close to allow gas in and exhaust gases out. After shut down, it’s normal for a valve to remain open. This isn’t an issue for short-term storage, but over the longer term, corrosion can enter the cylinder through the open valve. This process is covered in a stepped fashion with pictures here in “How to store a snowblower in a garage”.
To prevent this, add some engine oil and we’ll place the engine at TDC.
To close the valve go ahead and:
- Remove spark plug
- Add capful of engine oil to cylinder
- Place non metallic blunt object inside the cylinder (pencil)
- Turn over engine by hand until the pencil is pushed to the top of the cylinder (valves are now closed)
- Refit the spark plug
Clean Body & Protect
Wash the machine thoroughly, allow dry, and coat with Dupont coating. The Teflon coat helps guard against moisture, rust, and electrical damage. You can use WD40 but the Teflon works best. Safe to spray everything but belts.
Use Breathable Cover
Many people place a simple plastic sheet over the machine, this isn’t ideal. Plastic will trap moisture in and that’s almost as bad as the machine sitting in the rain.
A good quality breathable cover will allow trapped moisture to escape through the material.
You can check out the cover I recommend here on the “Snowblower maintenance tools page”
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