Changing The Oil, Wheel Maintenance, Drive Shaft Maintenance on your Craftsman, Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Yard Machines, Husqvarna, Ariens Snow Blower
by: Paul Sikkema
Craftsman has put together short videos that go through the basic maintenance you should perform on your snow blower to keep it running this season. These videos are short and to the point. If you follow them – you can perform the task and save yourself $100 or so for a “tune-up” at your local repair shop.
These videos will give you the information you need for 90% of the 2-stage snow blowers on the market. This includes all Craftsman 6 speed snow throwers, Cub Cadet 6 speed snow throwers, Troy-Bilt 6 speed snow throwers, Yard Machines 6 speed snow throwers, Husqvarna 6 speed snow throwers, and most other brands with 6 speeds forward.
I am including pictures of a Husqvarna to show you that all of the current brands are different – yet basically the same. If I can do this, you can do this.
AFTER the videos, I put together a list of the minimum tools you need to do all the maintenance on your snowthrower. Of course this is a list of Craftsman tools – because all these tools have a complete, no questions asked, life-time warranty.
Craftsman Snow Thrower – Changing the oil
Changing the oil on another brand is basically the same. The drain tube/plug may be on the side of the bottom of the engine instead of the back.
If the oil drain is on the side, I usually put a block of wood under the transmission housing to lift the back of the snow blower off the ground and remove the wheel. That way I can get an old ice cream container right up to the drain tube to collect the oil. Some people put a piece of cardboard down under the used oil container to soak up any drips. If you spill some on your cement floor, oil dry, kitty litter or sawdust all work well to soak up the oil. Put the oil dry on the spill and leave it for 24 hours. If there is a stain left use Dawn/water to scrub the stain.
If you have never changed oil in an engine before I want to warn you that if you get it on your hands it can be very hard to get off. The dirt in the oil stains your hands. Wear vinyl gloves. Washing your hands thoroughly with Dawn will usually clean most of it off though.
Save the oil. You are going to use some of it in the next two videos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q3OjHkYfgA : :
In the video Craftsman suggests warming the engine up before changing the oil. If your work area is 45 degree Fahrenheit or warmer I don’t recommend doing this. Why? Your snow blower engine is designed to run in cold temperatures and should not be run for more than a minute when the temp is above 45 degrees. Instead of warming up the engine, I just set up the container I am draining the oil into on the ground, open the drain, and then walk away for 20 minutes or so.
By the way: When I get an empty cooking oil bottle in the kitchen, I use it to store my used engine oil out in the garage. I use the oil for lubricating shafts and when I get too much it is easy to transport to a recycling facility.
Craftsman Snow thrower – Wheel Maintenance
You don’t need a grease gun to do this task. Any automotive store sells a container of wheel bearing grease about the size of a Planter’s peanut can. One container will last you 10 years. I use a paper towel to wipe the grease on the axle.
It is a good idea to do this on your lawn tractor also. That way if you ever have to remove a wheel it will come off easily.
Craftsman Snow thrower – Driveshaft Maintenance
Watch the video and look a the picture of the Husqvarna transmission. The difference is MTD produced snow blowers use gears to reduce the speed, Husqvarna and others use chains.
Here is where you can use the engine oil you drained from your engine. Use that old oil to lubricate the shaft. I use a paper towel dipped int he oil to lube the shaft.
Try not to get oil on the big aluminum disk and the rubber “tire”. Oil on those two items will cause your transmission to slip. If you want to lay a rag or paper towel on the disk to protect it when you lube the shaft.
I suggest when you get the snow blower tipped up and the transmission cover off, put the gear selector in 6. Lubricate the shaft. Then put the gear selector in R2 and then lubricate the other side of the shaft. You can also wipe oil on the gears/chains.
List of tools you need to work on your snow blower quickly and safely:
Go through this list of tools and see get what you don’t have. You can buy these online, pick them up at your local Sears or have them shipped right to your home. Click on each item to review it and/or buy:
1. 3/8 inch Socket Set: The new Universal Craftsman sets will handle most nuts and bolts including the new Torx style. Here are 3 different sets. The basic set is what you need. The other two sets have more tools so you can do more stuff around the house.
2. Spark Plug Sockets: Spark plugs on the new OHV engines require a special spark plug socket to get them safely in and out of the engine. This set covers all the spark plugs for small engines (and most cars, trucks and power sports)
3. Screwdriver Set:
4. Pliers Set:
5. 3/16 Punch:
6. Safety Glasses:
7. Hammer: Any old beater will do…….. including a claw hammer in your kitchen drawer.