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Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: pdq
Date: November 11, 2020 11:42AM
...on my trusty ~25 year old snowblower. 7 horse, two stage Ariens, for those of you in the know.

I’ve always kept good care of it- scraped down the rust and painted on the lower part, changed the oil, replaced the old skids with wheelie things...and every year when I put it to bed in the spring I took out the spark plug and squirted a little clean oil on the piston and cycled the cylinder with the pull start.

We got snow last night - maybe only 3 in, but heavy, so I went out and put the new spark plug in, and the wrench just kept turning and turning.

The threads on the engine’s spark plug hole gave up the ghost and stripped.

So, anyone know? Could the hole be retapped, for a larger diameter plug? I hate to send ol’ Betsy out to pasture for such a little (big) problem.

sad smiley
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: OWC Jamie
Date: November 11, 2020 11:55AM
[www.amazon.com]

Your snowblower has paid for itself. smiling smiley May be time for a new one.



Good Luck!
Jamie Dresser
Other World Computing
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: Z
Date: November 11, 2020 11:58AM
If the engine is otherwise cared for as described, time to go grab one of these options - [dsportmag.com].

I've used healicoils on my my motorcycle engine with good success in the past. If you've got good access to the spark plug hole, probably an hour or so to fix.
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: pdq
Date: November 11, 2020 12:14PM
Quote
OWC Jamie
[www.amazon.com]

Your snowblower has paid for itself. smiling smiley May be time for a new one.

Thanks Jamie! I actually came to the same Amazon page after I posted here. Sounds like Betsy may not be dead yet!

I did kind of have to laugh at the product description:

Quote

  • This are woodworking project kit
  • This are highly durable
  • Made in China

Ah. Number 3 seems to explain numbers 1 and 2.

But thanks, Jamie, I’ll give it a shot. And thanks for these wonderful boards!
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: pdq
Date: November 11, 2020 12:20PM
Quote
Z
If the engine is otherwise cared for as described, time to go grab one of these options - [dsportmag.com].

I've used healicoils on my my motorcycle engine with good success in the past. If you've got good access to the spark plug hole, probably an hour or so to fix.

I do have pretty good access. But I’m a little concerned that 1) some of the old thread may have already dropped into the cylinder, and 2) I’m not sure if the block is aluminum or steel.

For 2), I can probably look it up. For 1), I’m thinking I may want to see if I can take the top of the block off to clean it up.
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: voodoopenguin
Date: November 11, 2020 12:25PM
Quote
pdq

I do have pretty good access. But I’m a little concerned that 1) some of the old thread may have already dropped into the cylinder, and 2) I’m not sure if the block is aluminum or steel.

Use a magnet.

Paul
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: Schpark
Date: November 11, 2020 12:51PM
Maybe look for a used cylinder head.
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: November 11, 2020 12:57PM
Quote
voodoopenguin
Quote
pdq

I do have pretty good access. But I’m a little concerned that 1) some of the old thread may have already dropped into the cylinder, and 2) I’m not sure if the block is aluminum or steel.

Use a magnet.

Paul

And if aluminum try a vacuum to suck debris out of the cylinder, or blow out with compressed air. Not a bad idea for steel/iron either after magnet.
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: November 11, 2020 01:08PM
I know people that have helicoiled car engines without pulling the head.

Worst case, you can probably get an engine to replace the original. Should use a horizontal shaft and a belt. I would consider this rather than trying to find a quality replacement.
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: November 11, 2020 02:07PM
Quote
macphanatic
I know people that have helicoiled car engines without pulling the head.

Worst case, you can probably get an engine to replace the original. Should use a horizontal shaft and a belt. I would consider this rather than trying to find a quality replacement.

Had a spark plug hole fixed with an insert, not Helicoil brand, on a Plymouth Breeze I used to own. Person who did it had a set of tools and accessories to go along with the inserts to avoid the need for removing the head. The repair lasted the half a dozen or so years I had the car after that.

For a small engine like this, unless you are dealing with overhead valves, probably easiest to remove the head before doing the insert. Depending on the head gasket, you may be able to reuse it, a new one won't be expensive anyways.
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: Z
Date: November 11, 2020 02:57PM
Quote
JoeH
For a small engine like this, unless you are dealing with overhead valves, probably easiest to remove the head before doing the insert. Depending on the head gasket, you may be able to reuse it, a new one won't be expensive anyways.

This.
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: davester
Date: November 11, 2020 03:38PM
This is quite a common occurrence and a helicoil is the standard fix. Not a big deal.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: November 11, 2020 06:00PM
Quote
davester
This is quite a common occurrence and a helicoil is the standard fix. Not a big deal.

I would at least call a small engine shop. My guess is less than $25 for the helicoil and less than 1 hr of labor. As long as there is access to the hole you don't need to remove the head as long as you have a good vac and a scope and can make sure you get all the metal bits out.



C(-)ris
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Throwback Thursday Signature:
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: November 11, 2020 06:18PM
I imagine your wife was not too happy to have to shovel the drive.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: pdq
Date: November 12, 2020 09:08AM
Quote
Speedy
I imagine your wife was not too happy to have to shovel the drive.

Well, I gave her the smaller shovel. I took the big push-shovel.

F/U: After tips here and some Googling, I learned about helicoils and similar things, and figgered I could probably do this. But I thought I would call around to some small engine shops and see what they had to say. Surprisingly, some had never done stuff like this, but I found a full-service hardware down the street that said no sweat; if it’s just a helicoil fix, it’d probably be around $40-50.

They’ve already got the tools and parts, unlike me, so they get a shot. Maybe old Betsy’s got some life in her still. I’ll know in about 10 days or so (keeping my fingers crossed and my eye on the weather forecast, which looks promising so far...)
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Re: Oh crap - small engine repair?
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: November 13, 2020 05:00PM
Thinking more about this. I think this is the perfect opportunity to upgrade your snowblower. Remove the engine and put a motorcycle engine in its place... more power along the lines of Tim "The Toolman" Taylor.
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