Hot Topics: Snow Blower Won't Start

A snow blower in the snow with someone pushing it.

Here on we enjoy providing a place where home improvement novices and experts can come together to share ideas and advice. Inside our Forums, users can browse threads to see what exchanges are taking place on a topic of interest or start their own dialogue by posting something for the community to take part in. With over 250,000 members and counting, this resource is quite active so each week we highlight one of the conversations that may just help you with that next DIY project.

Seasonal power tools tend to need a little TLC before they're expected to perform after being ignored for months. This DIYer is having trouble getting his snow blower to start, but the forum helps them out in time for the winter weather.

Original Post: My Ariens Snow Blower Won't Start


I have an old Arien snow blower. I am having difficulty starting the machine as it won't start when I pull the recoil cord and gives a weird squeak when I pull the cord. I just cleaned out the gas tank with apple cider vinegar as it was rusty and replaced the gas line to the carburetor as it was leaking. Now when I go to start it, it won't turn on and there's just a weird squeak when I pull the cord. Any ideas?

It was sitting for a year before it was given to me and then I was able to get it running. Then, it sat through this past summer and started up again, but was giving me issues so I decided to clean out the gas tank and fuel line thinking the gunk in them was causing the problems. Now it won't fully start up when I pull—just squeaks.

It only has a recoil starter on it.

Any advice as well on how to use the throttle screw and how deep it needs to go into the carburetor? I was messing about with the carb when I was cleaning it out.


I suspect you'll have to reveal what make of engine is on it, and then the carburetor. Most initial settings on carb jets measure from the closed position (clockwise) and then being loosened (counter-clockwise) 1¼ to 1½ turns, but that varies by manufacturer.


I just got it started. I found a loose screw when I took off the gas tank which wasn't allowing the proper compression in the engine. Now the engine is firing, but shutting off after a few seconds. Guessing the carburetor settings are wrong. I will try closing it and giving it a 1 1/2 turns counter-clockwise and see what happens. Are there any other settings on the carb I should be looking at?

To add to that, should you ever see gas coming out of the throttle body? When I was first firing up the engine I could have sworn I saw a spark in there.


Power tools like this that only get little seasonal use are always going to be an issue. By now that carb is all gummed up and needs to be completely taken apart and at least cleaned with carb cleaner and a rebuild kit. Just blowing it out with air is not going to cut it. If you want to avoid future issues, only use ethanol-free gas.


Is it dangerous to try and start it with a float problem and some fluid build-up in the throttle body? Are there any adjustments that can fix this?


There aren't any adjustments for that. That problem is typically a float valve not sealing off the incoming fuel to the carburetor. That can be in the valve, the seat, or the float itself. A lot of times just cleaning the valve seat takes care of it.

It's not a good idea to run an engine in that condition from not only the fire hazard consideration, but also the fuel contaminating the crankcase oil. The latter needs to be changed after the leakage is stopped.


It seems that the leaking fuel problem has subsided. Now the snow blower runs, but idles high then low. What can cause this?


If it's surging at idle when not under any load, then it may be this common problem with Tecumseh snow blower carburetors: http://


Great point. What I am trying to figure out is how to set the settings on the carburetor. How many turns out does the idle mixture valve get, the main mixture, and the idle screw itself? I am having trouble finding the perfect settings.


Use 1 1/4 out from lightly seated on the mixture screws. Set the idle speed so it keeps running.

Then, turn the idle mixture in until it starts to falter, then back out until it smooths out. Then at full throttle set the load screw the same way. Then go back to the idle speed and set it.

When you start using it in snow, you may have to turn the load screw out just a little.

To read the rest of the thread, look here: //