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Incredibly inefficient snowblower


I have a 20-year-old Toro Snowblower I just bought last summer. It has an electric start; even so, I need to pump it like 10 times, and then keep priming it when it’s cold, just to keep the engine running. As I’m using it, I need to keep the choke all the way on, or the engine will die.

I’m thinkin’ the carburetor - but I have no experience cleaning one out. Is this something I can repair myself?

What if you take it off and take it into a Toro repair shop to get it rebuilt Shouldn’t be too much $$.

Symptom of ethanol damage to carb since the conversion to 10% ethanol/gasoline mixture… Check on line you can get carbs for less than $50…many can not be rebuild …use fresh/stabilized gasoline in the winter and drain tank and run dry before storage.

Check to see if there is a fuel filter in the gas line, if so replace it and you can try to spray good carb cleaner in gas line after filter. Put as much in line as you can then put line back on and start and let run about o 20 seconds then shut engine off and let set for 10 minutes or so. Restart and let it run for a bit, if that does not work you will need carb cleaned.
If it did not have fuel filter you really need to put one in there and be sure to use fuel staybalizer in gas the last time you use it. You must run it for 5-10 minutes after putting it in, next winter you will be good to go.

You should be able to find a lawnmower mechanic who can clean and rebuild this carburetor for you for a reasonable price. That’s where I would start. It might be caused by Ethanol in the fuel and it might not.

Do you use fuel stabilizer? If not, it might prevent problems like this in the future. When I buy fuel for my lawn equipment, the first thing I do when I get home is add a double dose of fuel stabilizer. It seems to mitigate these types of problems.

Personally, if I ever have to move back to the Great White North, I think I will opt for a four-wheel ATV with a small plow on the front. I should be able to clear my sidewalk and driveway in a few minutes.

The choke should only be used for starting when the engine is cold. After that, if it won’t run without the choke, don’t run it at all.

Personally, if I ever have to move back to the Great White North, I think I will opt for a four-wheel ATV with a small plow on the front. I should be able to clear my sidewalk and driveway in a few minutes.

If the snow fall stays below 4-5" and it’s NOT the wet heavy stuff. Full size pickups with chains have problems when it’s more then that.

Wouldn’t off road tires that are used on ATVs make a difference? I am thinking of the ones that are directional and look like small tractor tires.

I think full size pickups have problems because of weight distribution. The average pick-up truck is already quite out of balance. Adding more weight to the front probably makes it worse. Doesn’t the average utility ATV (not a sport ATV), have better weight distribution and suspension? Those full-sized pick-ups don’t usually have independent suspension, do they?

Just took my atv into the snow for the first time on Sunday. I was good up to a foot of snow, and the atv is only two wheel drive with stock tires. I would Imagine a good sized 4x4 utlity atv would do very well with a plow.

Exactly, I live in MN and have a 1/4 mile driveway which I plow with an ATV. If I don’t keep on top of things and let the snow get too deep or it’s that wet heavy stuff, i’ll literally be sitting in one place while all four wheels on the ATV spin uselessly. Otherwise it works great.

I have a 2007 Polaris Sportsman 500 EFI 4x4, it does great without the plow, but with the plow if you get too much snow you’re stuck. It has more to do with the ATVs being so light.

While the ATV’s got good traction for its weight, the pickup has lots of good ol’ momentum going for it. That’s what can make a difference in thick, heavy snow. Say it plows 3X the width of the ATV - I bet it weighs more that 3X as much.

Having gone through a similar problem with my 20 year old Toro snowblower I think this may help. Mine would run for 20 minutes then be starving for gas. I had completely cleaned and rebuilt the carb over the summer so I thought the problem was fixed.

After the same failure, having a balmy 28 degree day in december I tore the carb apart, cleaned the heck out of everything, adjusted the float a couple thousandths to meet specs and still had the same problem.

Not wanting to give up I decided to try new gas. In removing old gas from the tank I found a 1/2" high by 1/4 inch brass strainer in the bottom of the tank. There was grit and garbage that I could not clean out by dumping the tank as the filler tube extends below the top of the tank.

I dumped the gas, back flushed the filter with gumout, then plugged the outlet for the tank added water, swirled then used a turkey baster suck up the grit and debris. There was no documentation anywhere I saw for this.

Carry on and let me know if it works!

As a side note my primer rubber was shot, so I replaced it, only then to break the hose connection off upon dis assembly to remove the gas tank. A shot of starting fluid with the choke open, close choke and start is now my procedure.

Your fuel bowl vent is clogged (probably). That’s why you have to run the choke even when warm. That’s the only way fuel will flow into the venturi.

Try this. Get it started and running as fast as it can. Have the air filter off. After it’s running full tilt, slam a rag over the air horn and let it stall. Repeat a couple of times. This should clear the debris from the vent …if that’s the case.

I doubt there is an air filter, as I don’t have one and I do not recall seeing a vent, please consider previous post.

The average pick-up truck is already quite out of balance. Adding more weight to the front probably makes it worse

When you add a plow, you’re supposed to add ballast to the rear to counteract the effect of the plow.

I just bought a 2010 Polaris 550 EFI Sportsman Touring EPS 4x4 last month. It’s a monster in snow! Although it’s tow rating is 1500lbs and can easily be outfitted with a plow, I’ll stick to my truck plow. It’s far more capable and I can sit inside with heat and coffee :wink:

I had a similar problem with an old Toro snowblower. I had to keep it on almost full choke to keep it going. It turned out that the compression was really low. I took it to a small engine shop and they told me that it really would be more cost effective to buy a new snowblower.
I had originally purchased the snowblower for my father after he retired because I was worried about him shoveling out the driveway. When he finally had to move into assisted living, I ‘inherited’ the snowblower. It worked for two seasons. When I took it to the small engine shop, the mechanic couldn’t believe that the engine was worn out. He asked if the snowblower was used commercially. I replied that it wasn’t. He couldn’t believe in our midwestern climate that a snowblower would wear out. It then dawned on me that my dad not only did his driveway and sidewalk, but also moved snow for all his neighbors. At any rate, you might remove the spark plug and put your thumb over the spark plug hole while you run the starter. You can get a rough sense as to whether or not weak compression is the problem.

One would not see the vent unless one was about the size of a baby mouse in a refugee camp. Fuel bowls are vented inside the air horn.

For anyone not using an air filter. This is BY FAR the most wear causing thing you can do. Airborne abrasives SAND BLAST your VALVES, PISTONS, RINGS.

It’s the most assured way to destroy an engine.

A snowblower engine with VALVES (and not the reed type) this must be a high dollar snow blower:)

The biggest enemy of infrequently used machinery like yours is gas. I’d drain, put in fresh gas with carb cleaner first; then if if works, use stabilized gas always and drain at the end of the year. Obviously, if that fails…all the other good suggestions are in play. In 40 years of running small engines, I’ve never had carb problems as long as I’ve used fresh stabilized gas always, drain at the end of the year. Always run it through the system on EVERY use as you never know when the last use will be or how old gas is. The carb will build up problems over the years w/o these precautions. It’s not enough to just use stabilizer at the end of the year when the gas may already be too old.

No, standard issue, reed valves are typically in the fuel delivery system, standard 1990 ccr 1000 3.5 hp toro 2 cycle snowblower, snowthrower. You guys live in California? Have you ever had or worked on one?
Best I can find is an ebay link, this is it, no air filter etc.

What I was getting at was thinking this is a two-stroke snowblower, and two-strokes have reed valves. The advice that the OP’s valves would be damaged by operation without an air filter could be applicable if the snowblower was a 4 stroke. I guess the clue that it is a 4 stroke snow blower is the OP says “electric start” or perhaps Torro only makes 4 stroke snowblowers, so what is it a 2 stroke or 4 stroke snowblower?