Hot Topics: Problems Manually Starting Your Snow Thrower?

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Just because you might prefer to use the electric start on your snow thrower, doesn't mean you should neglect a manual starter that seems to have stalled out. It is important you keep both options functioning properly so that in emergencies, you're always ready to demolish snow!

See what these DIYers have to say about why the manual starter might not be working and how to fix it.

Original Post: Problem Starting Snow Thrower Manually

peter72 Member

I have a Power Smart 22-inch 208cc Gas Powered 2-Stage Snow Thrower with Electric Start option, which I bought last year. It worked well all year. I always used the manual pull start because that was easiest for me. In the spring, I performed general maintenance including replacing the oil and adding fuel stabilizer.

I recently tried to start her up just so that I knew I was ready for this winter, and it didn't start despite several efforts at a manual start. So, I tried the electric start and it started fine. So, any ideas why the electric start is working but the manual start is not? Is it possible the spark plug needs to be replaced or something else?

I am admittedly pretty clueless with engines, big or small.

Highlights from the Thread

Pulpo Member

It can't hurt to replace the plug but there is no guarantee that it will help the manual start. I would try it. The electric start spins the engine faster & gives it a few extra seconds to catch. Personally, I like the electric start. In 1969, Harley Davidson motorcycles had their first electric start. No one really liked it, but manual kick starts have disappeared.

Vermont Member

I agree with the idea that it is the speed of rotation. I like not having to worry about the Recoil Starter when it's -20°F or below, but I like to make sure that the Recoil will be fully functional when I run out of gas a few hundred feet away from an AC Outlet or when I have to occupy myself snowblowing during an electrical outage.

It may start a little faster when the fuel no longer contains any of the stabilizer too.

peter72 Member

Thanks, both of you. Just to clarify, the machine is not even making a sound like it's trying to start when I try the recoil starter.

Dumb follow-up in regards to the original question: does the electrical start even utilize the spark plug?

Vermont Member

I've thought about it and have to agree with Pulpo that it must be the speed of rotation, and that the compression of the air/fuel mixture is retained slightly longer when the electric starter is employed.

Someone else may chime in with a more sophisticated explanation; I don't have one, and I haven't encountered the problem (yet). And my comment about the older fuel with the dissolved stabilizer in it being slightly less volatile is offered as pure speculation on my part. I've not seen evidence of that documented anywhere.

BFHFixit Member

How many times does it spin with the electric starter before it starts? Likely more times than you can spin it with one pull of the rope....???

Once the engine gets a few rotations, it also gains some momentum, which will help out the combustion process somewhat. It would likely start manually just might take several pulls. It also depends on the engine temp. Colder engine can be a bit more difficult.

BoudreauxEunice Member

I would dump the older gas and put fresh gas in it. Change the plug if you want not a bad idea.

Down here gas is 1.60 a gallon, so even if you dump half of a gallon you're not losing much and you have a good parts cleaner if you save the gas in a coffee can.

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