Although the first snowblower was invented in 1925, it didn’t become popular in the US until the 1950s. The price dropped below $200 in 1952, people here suddenly couldn’t get enough of them.
Since then, we’ve been using and fixing snowblowers at an ever-increasing rate. Why does your snowblower stall, and how can you fix it? I’ll help you troubleshoot that stalling blower so you can get back to clearing snow.
Why Does My Snowblower Stall
The most common reason for a snowblower to stall is the carburetor is clogged and needs to be cleaned. The fuel cap vent can clog, causing air to not enter the tank and vapor lock will occur causing fuel not to move within the carburetor. Also, leaving fuel in the tank for an extended period of time can become sticky and clog the carburetor.
Snowblower Stalls Under Load: How To Diagnose & Fix It
There are several reasons a snowblower might stall under load. Unlike a rapid onset stall following after you turn on the machine, blowers that stall out when fully operational have different issues.
It is vital to pay attention to when the stall happens to diagnose the problem quickly, without additional work.
- Exhaust Valve Burnt Out – Unfortunately, it often damages the cylinder head when your exhaust valve burns out from carbon buildup. You’ll need to have the valve replaced and the head rebuilt if this happens. Pretreat with seafoam to prevent buildup.
- Exhaust Valve Lengthening – When the exhaust valve becomes recessed in the valve seat, it loses the valve lash. It will run fine until the machine gets up to temperature, then the valve lengthens slightly. Once this happens, it holds the valve open a little bit, which causes stalling. The only solution for this is to replace the valve.
- Dirty Bowl Nuts – As odd as it sounds, having dirty nuts hold the bowl on your carburetor can cause it to stall out under load. Spotting a dirty part is as easy as looking at it, and the solution is to clean your carburetor.
Snow Blower Stalls At Full Throttle
When you can run your snowblower on idle, but it dies at full throttle, you have a fuel or airflow issue. Try partially unscrewing the gas cap first.
If this fixes the problem, you only have a clogged gas cap. Switch out the part. Otherwise, it’s most likely another common problem that causes the fuel to run light, or not at all.
- Damaged Gasket Below Carburetor – A damaged carburetor gasket is a progressive problem. At first, it presents as a rough idle. As it progresses and becomes a more significant leak, it will misfire and cause excess vibration, but it will stop at higher RPMs. Eventually, the leaner fuel to air ratio will lead to heating or overheating in the engine, and the excess air may cause the engine to stall out. Fortunately, a gasket is easy to remove and replace. This piece is made of rubber to seal out the air where the parts connect. There is a large hole in the center and smaller holes on the sides to attach it. Unscrew the pieces holding it in place, remove the worn or broken gasket and replace it with a new part.
- Leaky Fuel Line – If there’s a break in your fuel lines, it will let too much air inside. This messes with the fuel ratio and causes it to stop combusting correctly. More fuel flows when you run at full throttle, and it creates additional suction, pulling extra air inside as a result. Drain the tank, disconnect the fuel lines and replace them with new, unbroken lines to fix this issue.
- Clogged Fuel Filter – When did you last change your fuel? Old gas that has started to separate is the usual culprit when a fuel filter gets clogged. Check your tank and gas can. You can fix this by draining the fuel and reaching inside the carb to pull out the filter and replace it with a clean, new model.
Why Does My Snowblower Stall When I Engage The Auger
Your snowblower stalls when you engage the augur because the carburetor is dirty. Most of the time, a dirty carb is the cause of stalling.
You can clean it out with carburetor cleaner fluid by emptying the gas and running some carb cleaner inside for about twenty minutes.
If that doesn’t work, check for a blockage that’s causing the auger to stop moving. Your snowblower may have a safety feature that kills the engine when the auger won’t turn to prevent damage.
Clear a blockage only when the machine is off, and the key is no longer in the ignition.
Finally, you can check the auger pulley and belt. If the belt is worn out or off the pulley, it won’t turn, and nothing is powering the auger.
Changing a belt involves removing the old belt and placing a new one on the pulleys. Happily, this is a basic repair anyone can do. I recommend this video if it’s your first time changing a belt.
Snowblower Runs For Awhile Then Dies
When you turn on a snowblower, it idles, runs for a few minutes, then dies; it is frustrating. Mostly the problem is a dirty or clogged carburetor, but other issues can cause the stall.
Below we’ll look at some well-known brands and their leading causes for stalling that are not a blocked carb.
MTD Snow Blower Stalls Under Load
MTD makes the parts and engines for several snowblower brands, including Craftsman.
Most MTD parts are well made, but springs wear out no matter how high-quality the materials are. Check the springs on the butterfly valves in this type of engine.
As EReplacementParts points out, it is vital to check for missing and poorly installed springs. Additionally, if they are worn out, not holding tension, corroded, or broken, they won’t regulate the valves and governor—Swap the springs for new ones.
Ryobi Snow Blower Stalls
Small Ryobi snowblowers often run on battery power. Rather than the usual carb and airflow issues, check for battery problems.
A standard rechargeable lithium-ion battery will take hundreds of charges, but if it’s drained all the way, it can have difficulties regaining the charge.
A tiny amount of power may allow you to kick the engine on, but then it will die. Replace dead batteries with new ones and never let them fully discharge.
Cub Cadet Snow Blower Stalls
Loose and damaged spark plugs can cause power issues with Cub Cadet snowblowers. You should change a sparkplug every twenty hours of use anyway, but pull the plate cover and check regardless of when you have stalling issues.
Any signs of discoloration, damage, wear, oil, or anything out of place means you need to trade out the plug. You can also use a spark plug tester. The tip or terminals should spark bright and robust when the tester is on.
Why Does My Craftsman Snowblower Keep Stalling
Craftsman and MTD are the same product. However, there’s another easy fix that you can check when stalling isn’t caused by a dirty carburetor or a clogged fuel filter.
The air filter may be blocked. Dirt, debris, and even snow can get in the way of the air intake. The cover can be a pull tab or screws depending on your model but removing the air filter doesn’t require special tools or knowledge once you pull this off.
Pop the dirty filter out and put a new one inside.
Helpful Tips To Know Why My Snowblower Stalls
Although eighty percent of snowblowers stall because of a carburetor or air to fuel ratio issue, stalling also indicates numerous other problems. Always clean your carburetor regularly.
Here are some other helpful tips to know why your snowblower stalls.
- Never leave gas in your snowblower for more than thirty days. Your machine needs clean, fresh fuel to run correctly, or it will clog up the carburetor and stall out.
- The needle valve inside your carburetor regulates fuel flow. If this tiny part is defective or happens to break, the fuel won’t get where it needs to go in sufficient quantities.
- A flooded snowblower engine probably won’t start at all, but it may ignite and then stall. The easiest way to check if this is the issue is to pull your sparkplug. A greasy sparkplug is a sure sign of a flooded engine. Open the gas tank up and let the excess evaporate or drain some of it out.
A stalled snowblower may seem like an expensive doorstop, but it’s typically a straightforward repair. More importantly, you can troubleshoot the issue at home and often get it taken care of in an hour or two with the correct information, an owner’s manual, and minimal tools.
Sometimes you don’t need any tools at all if it’s a clogged fuel cap. Getting your snowblower working again doesn’t need to cause a headache or a trip to the repair shop.