Single Stage Snowblower Belt Replacement

April 7, 2011

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Task – Belt replacement

Machine – Single stage snow blower

Brand – Snapper

Model Number – Model SX5200R, serial number 85004531

Belt Replacement Model Information

Belt Replacement Model Information

This snow blower is typical of small, impeller type snow blowers, with both 2 and 4 cycle engines.

Belt tensioner, v-belt, v belt, snow blower belt, impeller does not turn, impeller slips, won’t blow snow, squeeze handle nothing happens, engine runs no motion

On paddle type snow blowers, the drive belt is typically on the left side of the machine, when the operator is looking down at it. The drive mechanism can be of two types. The simplest is for the impeller to turn whenever the engine is running. This has safety implications, and you have to keep the machine tipped back when you’re transporting it over a gravel road. Wouldn’t it be hard to explain to your spouse or insurance agent how your car window got broken? The second way to get power from the engine to the impeller is to use a belt tightener, controlled by a bar on the handle. This keeps the lawyers happy and gives the repair person more mechanism to keep working.

A snow blower had been dropped at my shop with only the customer’s name and phone number. Making a classic error, I moved ahead with my inspection and repair without calling the customer first. I removed water from the gasoline, put in fresh fuel, and cleaned the spark plug. The snow blower started just fine and when I held the handle, the blower part even spun.

After finding several possible problems, I assumed the blower was all set to be paid for and picked up. The owner asked if I had dealt with the drive problem, which he hadn’t mentioned before, and which I hadn’t noticed.

1.)    I pulled the side cover and found that the belt had jumped up and over a guide bar and was now rubbing its inner edge away.

2.)    I put it into its proper place and tested it again. It still managed to spin the impeller, but the least amount of snow would cause the belt to slip and the impeller to stall.

3.)    I tried to adjust the belt tensioner to pull harder, but it still slipped. So, I used the above mentioned numbers and found a new belt.

4.)    Getting the belt in place was difficult since the clearance between the large pulley and the sheet metal is quite close.  I finally relaxed the belt tightener, got it started, and turned the large wheel which pulled the belt into place.

Snowblower Belt Detail

Snowblower Belt Detail

Notice the large number of bolts that hold the side cover in place. These are 5/16” and can be moved quickly with an air wrench. Just  be careful not to over-tighten. You could also use a nut driver or your electrical drill.

Notice also the flat tab near the small drive pulley, which helps keep the belt in place. When I opened the access cover the first time, this had slipped under the belt.  That’s what was shredding the belt.

5.) I used compressed air to blow the belt fuzz out.

6.) When the new belt was in place, with the increased tension from my earlier attempt to get the old belt to work, there was very positive engagement between the engine and the impeller. I took it out to a handy snowfield, grabbed the lever, and started blowing some serious powder.  As a test that there was no slipping, I made the engine work very hard, just short of stalling it. That will show that the machine is able to take the full output of the engine and turn it into work.

So, do not assume that you know what is wrong without first talking to the user, do not assume that just getting an engine to run is the whole solution, and do your testing under realistic conditions.

Snowblower Parts

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