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How to Store a Snowblower

How to Store your Snowblower properly. Prevent damage during summer season.

Storing a snowblower properly is vital to ensuring it fires up when the snow eventually returns. When the first storm of the season dumps eight inches of snow on your driveway, you don’t want to be messing around in the garage when your snowblower won’t start.

fuel stabilizer is key for storing the damn snowblower

Time needed: 30 minutes.

Step-by-step: How to store a snowblower

  1. Stabilize the gas

    This is the most critical step to ensuring the snowblower starts right away in the winter.

    Gasoline begins to break down in as few as 30 days. Varnish and gums begin to form, which clog the tiny fuel passages in the carburetor. I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t take much to clog a snowblower carburetor and prevent it from starting.

    AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer keeps fuel fresh up to 12 months. As the image shows, it also does a great job fighting corrosion to keep metal fuel tanks and other components clean and working properly. After adding stabilizer, run the engine for a minute or two to distribute treated gas throughout the fuel system.

    Seafoam sucks

  2. Change the oil

    Running the engine to distribute gas stabilizer has the added benefit of warming the oil so it flows more easily.

    Changing oil before you store your snowblower removes acids and other combustion by-products so they’re not sitting in the engine throughout the summer. Plus, the engine will be ready with fresh oil come winter.

    Don’t cheap out on oil – you likely spent upward of $1,000 on your snowblower, so you want it to last. Plus, small engines are tougher on oil than most people think. They’re air-cooled, meaning they run hotter than automotive engines, typically don’t include an oil filter, further stressing the oil, and are often neglected.

    AMSOIL Synthetic Small-Engine Oil is a commercial-grade formulation that fights wear and deposits in the toughest conditions. It also flows readily in the cold for maximum start-up protection.

  3. Fog the engine

    Simply remove the spark plug and apply fogging oil. It coats the cylinder wall and piston with oil to help prevent corrosion from forming during the summer. If corrosion forms, it flakes off into the oil and scours the bearings and other components, causing wear.

  4. Check the gear lube

    Remove the gearbox fill bolt and ensure the housing contains sufficient oil. Check your owner’s manual for the proper lubricant.

  5. Inspect the belts

    Now’s the time to check drive belts for cracks or abrasions. Replace them if needed.

    Otherwise, I promise you they’ll break at the worst time, like at 5:30 a.m. on a cold November morning after a wet, heavy snowfall. Be proactive and save yourself a ton of grief down the road.

  6. Check the linkages, auger housing and other areas

    Before you store a snowblower, look it over from top to bottom. Check for damaged parts and linkages. Lubricate pivot points with a spray protectant, like AMSOIL MPSpray the auger housing to guard against rust formation over the summer.

    Don’t overlook this step. While examining my snowblower last year, I realized three of the four bolts that hold the auger housing and chute (sometimes called the “bucket”) to the chassis had sheared. One bolt was literally holding the snowblower together.

    The following Thanksgiving weekend, two feet of snow blanketed Duluth, Minn. I spent eight hours moving snow. Imagine if I hadn’t repaired the snowblower the prior spring and that last bolt had given out halfway down my driveway?

    Again, be proactive now to avoid a ton of problems later.

  7. Store the snowblower inside

    Finally, park your snowblower in the back of the garage or in a shed for the summer to protect it against rain. If you have no choice but to store it outside, cover it securely. I bought a nice cover at Kmart a few years ago and it still does the job.

    Following these steps will help ensure your snowblower is ready to go the next winter.

Eastern South Dakota Mess Package

Thanks to AMSOIL’s Sprays Winter Kept at Bay

Cleaning and preventing big messes made easy. An arsenal of help.

AMSOIL aerosols deliver cleaning power and performance you can see immediately.

Mudslinger®

Provides a protective layer of armor against the accumulation of mud, dirt and snow on ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes, easing clean-up.

Engine Degreaser

Effectively cleans engine surfaces by cutting through grease, oil and grime. Works on cold parts. No high pressure needed.

Glass Cleaner

Cuts through grease and grime faster than other leading glass cleaners, stays where you spray it and leaves no streaks. It’s really amazing.

Power Foam

Improves starting and performance by cleaning dirty intake systems and spark plugs, freeing sticky valves and removing gum, varnish and carbon deposits. One of the most bragged about AMSOIL products on Youtube.

Heavy-Duty Degreaser

Formulated with powerful and fast-acting solvents, attacking petroleum-based grime on a molecular level to loosen its hold on metal, concrete, engines and other surfaces. Easy to use, just not easy on the wallet but when you see the effort it saves, you’ll be mighty pleased. Use it on the toughest jobs – concrete, chains, old neglected parts, etc. Not just automotive.

Miracle Wash®

People come from Canada for this one. Unique dry car wash and polish delivers outstanding performance and quick, easy and economical application. No water or shirt required.

 

Here at AMSOIL in Sioux Falls you can not go right! You have to go left at the stop sign then we are are third building on the left.  47073 98th St.

Also find all these items at Stan Houston’s on W. 12th St. Look for the old Kmart. AMSOIL found on  the eastern wall by the parts department.

Lawnmower Won’t Start? Do this.

Lawnmower Won’t Start? Do this.

A lawnmower that won’t start, especially when taken from storage, is almost always due to one problem: bad gas.

Storing a lawnmower in the fall without adding gasoline stabilizer to the fuel tank can cause the fuel to break down and plug the fuel passages. If fixing that problem doesn’t help, there are a few other common maintenance practices to try, as we explain below.

Here’s what to do when your lawnmower won’t start

Replace the gas

Over time (like the six months your lawnmower sat in your garage over the winter), the lighter hydrocarbons in gas can evaporate. This process creates gums and varnish that dirty the carburetor, plug fuel passages and prevent gas from flowing into the combustion chamber.

The carburetor bowl below formed corrosion and deposits during storage, which can easily plug fuel passages and prevent the engine from starting.

Deposits and residue in carburetor bowl

Deposits and residue in carburetor bowl

Ethanol-containing gas can absorb water from the atmosphere, which can lead to phase separation, which occurs when ethanol and gas separate, much like oil and water. Ethanol that has absorbed enough moisture and has sat long enough can foul the fuel system and prevent the engine from starting.

No matter how many times you yank the starter cord and pollute the air with your advanced vocabulary, the lawnmower won’t start if it isn’t getting gas.

In extreme cases, evaporation of lighter hydrocarbons can change the gasoline’s composition enough to prevent it from igniting. The gas may be fueling the engine, but it doesn’t matter if it won’t ignite.

If you neglected to add gasoline stabilizer to the fuel prior to storage, empty the tank and replace with fresh gas. If the tank is nearly empty, simply topping off with fresh gas is often enough to get it started.

On some mowers, you can easily remove and empty the fuel tank. Sometimes that’s more trouble than it’s worth. In these cases, use a fluid extraction pump or even a turkey baster. (We keep them in the Sioux Falls location also)

Clean the carburetor

You’ve replaced the fuel, but your lawnmower still won’t start.

Next, try cleaning the carburetor. Remove the air filter and spray carburetor cleaner into the intake. Let it sit for several minutes to help loosen and dissolve varnish and gums.

On some carburetors, you can easily remove the float bowl. If equipped, first remove the small drain plug and drain the gas from the bowl. Remove the float bowl cover and spray the float and narrow fuel passages with carburetor cleaner.

This kind of “quick-and-dirty” carburetor cleaning is usually all it takes to get the gas flowing again and your lawnmower back to cutting grass.

If not, consider removing the carburetor from the engine, disassembling it and giving it a good cleaning. Be forewarned, however: taking apart a carburetor can lead to nothing but frustration for the uninitiated. Take pictures with your phone to aid in reassembly. Note the positions of any linkages or the settings of any mixture screws, if equipped.

If you’re at all reluctant, visit the servicing dealer instead. Also consider replacing the carburetor altogether. It’s a fairly simple process on most smaller mowers and it’s often less expensive than taking it to the dealer.

Clean/replace the air filter

With the air filter removed, now’s the perfect time to clean it. Tap rigid filters on a workbench or the palm of your hand to dislodge grass clippings, leaves and other debris. Direct compressed air from the inside of the filter out to avoid lodging debris deeper into the media.

Use soap and water to wash foam filters. If it’s been a few years, simply replace the filter; they’re inexpensive and mark the only line of defense against wear-causing debris entering your engine and wearing the cylinder and piston rings.

Check the spark plug

A dirty or bad spark plug may also be to blame. Remove the plug and inspect condition. A spark plug in a properly running four-stroke engine should last for years and never appear oily or burned. If so, replace it.

Use a spark-plug tester to check for spark. If you don’t have one, clip the spark-plug boot onto the plug, hold the plug against the metal cylinder head and slowly pull the starter cord. You should see a strong, blue spark. It helps to test the plug in a darkened garage. Replace the plug if you don’t see a spark or it appears weak.

While you’re at it, check the spark-plug gap and set it to the factory specifications noted in the lawnmower owner’s manual.

If you know the plug is good, but you still don’t have spark, the coil likely has failed and requires replacement.

Did you hit a rock or other obstacle?

We’ve all killed a lawnmower engine after hitting a rock or big tree root.

If your lawnmower won’t start in this scenario, you probably sheared the flywheel key. It’s a tiny piece of metal that aligns the flywheel correctly to set the proper engine timing. Hitting an immovable obstacle can immediately stop the mower blade (and crankshaft) while the flywheel keeps spinning, shearing the key.

In this case, the engine timing is off and the mower won’t start until you pull the flywheel and replace the key. It’s an easy enough job IF you have a set of gear pullers lying around the garage. If not, rent a set from a parts store (or buy one…there’s never a bad reason to buy a new tool) or visit the dealer.

My lawnmower starts, but runs poorly

If you finally get the lawnmower started, but it runs like a three-legged dog, try cleaning the carburetor with AMSOIL Power Foam. It’s a potent cleaning agent designed to remove performance-robbing carbon, varnish and other gunk from carburetors and engines.

Power Foam®

Buy AMSOIL Power Foam

Add gasoline stabilizer to avoid most of these problems

Which sounds better? Completing all these steps each year when your lawnmower won’t start? Or pouring a little gasoline stabilizer into your fuel tank?

Simply using a good gasoline stabilizer can help avoid most of the problems with a lawnmower that won’t start. AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer, for example, keeps fuel fresh up to 12 months. It helps prevent the lighter hydrocarbons from evaporating to reduce gum and varnish and keep the fuel flowing. It also contains corrosion inhibitors for additional protection.

Gasoline Stabilizer

Buy AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer

I have a five-gallon gas can in my garage from which I fuel two lawnmowers, two chainsaws, two snowblowers, a string trimmer, an ATV and the occasional brush fire. I treat the fuel with Gasoline Stabilizer every time I fill it so I never have to worry about the gas going bad and causing problems.

You can also use AMSOIL Quickshot. It’s designed primarily to clean carburetors and combustion chambers while addressing problems with ethanol. But it also provides short-term gasoline stabilization of up to six months.

Signature Series Battles Sludge

Signature Series Battles Sludge

The health of your engine depends on motor oil circulating quickly and efficiently through the system, but sticking components and obstructed passages inhibit motor oil from lubricating, cooling and protecting your engine. Engine “sludge” occurs when oxidized oil and contaminants build up on engine surfaces. It can restrict the flow of oil to the point of engine failure and costly repairs.

Warehouse note: The so called “fully synthetics” which are mostly group III’s or a combination of a majority group II and a fraction III ($3.50 synthetics)  to a majority III and a fraction of IV ($8.50 synthetics) – all based on price and what the stock holders allow to be used for a desired profit.. Note that all of these WILL leave deposits in the form of sludge. Turbocharged engines must avoid these brands which include the silver one shaped like a shampoo bottle. 

Sludge: Where It Starts & How It Ends

  • The valve cover and oil pan are generally the first areas sludge appears.
  • The oil pick-up tube screen is often the next spot it accumulates, impeding oil flow through the system.
  • What begins as a thin film of lacquer or varnish deposits eventually bakes into an expensive mess.

 

The Sequence VG Engine Test

Engine failures due to sludge are often caused by a clogged pick-up tube screen – the motor is effectively starved of oil. The Sequence VG Engine Test determines how well an oil resists sludge formation and keeps the lubricant flowing freely throughout the system. The test is required for API SN PLUS – a specification recommended by most domestic vehicle manufacturers.

TEST PARAMETERS

 

Engine Ford* 4.6L V-8
Duration 216 hours
Measures Sludge and varnish deposits, piston ring sticking, clogged oil pump screens and roller pin wear
Simulates Taxi, delivery or commuter vehicle service
Requirement Oil pick-up tube screen limited to 10 percent blockage

 

The Results

Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil was subjected to the Sequence VG to measure its ability to prevent sludge. As expected, Signature Series produced an oil pick-up tube screen virtually free from sludge (see image). Our unique combination of detergents and high-quality base oils control oxidation and sludge to keep engines clean and efficient.

 

Signature Series has 50 percent more detergents1 to help keep oil passages clean and promote oil circulation. It provides 90% better protection against sludge2.

Warehouse Note: Thankfully our efforts here in Sioux Falls have made the Signature Series our top seller and on the minds of many who want their investment to remain like new beyond 250,000 miles. People are realizing that it’s not all about change frequency as a non “true synthetic” can cause damage in just 10 miles in GDI engines due to LSPI.. Not to mention why I adopted AMSOIL back in the day – the added power and performance!!

1 vs. AMSOIL OE Motor Oil
2 Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in the ASTM D6593 engine test for oil screen plugging as required for the API SN PLUS specification.
*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use. All products advertised here are developed by AMSOIL for use in the applications shown.

Help Revive a Lawn Mower (and other equipment) that Runs Rough

Help Revive a Lawn Mower (and other equipment) that Runs Rough

Judging someone’s character can be boiled down to this key question: do they love going to the dump?

An affirmative answer indicates a visionary – one who sees a fashionably distressed dining set where others see a worn out table and chairs. One who sees the south wall of their new chicken coop where others see dusty old windows. One who sees his new (free) rolling shop stool where others see a ratty office chair.

Why drop $50 on a shop stool when you can get a sweet unit like this free at the dump?

So, while I salivate at adding a lawnmower, snowblower or other piece of equipment from the dump to my family fleet, I also burn with shame toward my fellow man for discarding something that might have been easily repaired.

There has to be a better way

One of the biggest reasons people junk their lawnmower, string trimmer, chainsaw or other equipment is because it starts hard and runs rough. A dirty carburetor is often to blame.

Over time, oxygen deteriorates the gasoline in the carb, leading to the formation of varnish and other deposits that stick the float, block the screens and plug the tiny fuel passages. The result? Fuel that doesn’t flow properly and an arm nearly ripped from its socket from fruitlessly yanking the starter cord.

Engine deposits are another problem

The combustion chamber grows intensely hot during operation. The heat breaks down motor oil, creating carbon that can lodge in the ring lands and cause the piston rings to stick. Stuck rings reduce engine compression, which makes starting more difficult and reduces engine power.

Gasoline byproducts can form deposits on the piston crown, which can lead to pre-ignition. That’s when a super-heated chunk of carbon ignites the fuel/air mixture before the spark plug fires, causing a shock wave in the cylinder that can lead to piston damage.

In two-stroke engines, deposits can block the exhaust port or spark arrestor screen, choking off airflow and leading to rough-running. If bad enough, the engine will quit running altogether.

String trimmer exhaust port plugged with carbon deposits, causing it to run poorly.

An effective way to prevent hard-starting, rough-running equipment is to treat gas with gasoline stabilizer prior to storage and to periodically clean the carburetor and combustion chamber with a good fuel additive. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself at the dump paying to dispose of your lawnmower, snowblower or other equipment while people like me lie in wait, rubbing our hands together with glee.

If your engine and carburetor are already dirty and causing grief, clean them with AMSOIL Power Foam. It’s a potent cleaning agent that…

  • Cleans deposits from ethanol and degraded fuel
  • Removes gum and varnish
  • Maximizes horsepower
  • Restores startability
  • Helps improve fuel economy
  • Reduces pollution

It will not damage seals, gaskets, rubber or plastic materials commonly used in gasoline engines.

I’ve tried it a few times on my lawn and garden equipment, and it’s pretty simple to use. Just run the engine to normal operating temperature, remove the air filter and spray Power Foam into the intake as fast as possible without stalling the engine. You may have to rev the engine to facilitate the process. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area because an impressive volume of smoke will emit from the exhaust.

Then, shut off the engine and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

While you’re waiting, Power Foam‘s potent formula attacks and loosens the built-up carbon and varnish, helping free stuck rings, clean the valves and piston crown, and remove varnish from the carburetor. If the engine is especially dirty, you may want to repeat the process.

Replace the air filter, start the engine and pat yourself on the back for helping prevent the addition of one more perfectly usable piece of equipment to the local dump.

It may be unfortunate for scavengers like me, but it’s great for your wallet.

And here’s another Sioux Falls secrete for you lawn care customers!! A frequent weedeater problem easy to repair.