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Old 12-01-2011, 09:33 AM   post #1 of 15
khnitz
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Default An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

It gets dark pretty early around here now, and on my drive home from work last night my headlights flashed past a decent looking snowblower waiting for the trash. I stopped and took a look, pulled the starter rope and the engine turned over, so I figured what the heck...

It's an Ariens ST420. From rolling it to the car, it sounds like I'll have to take a look at the gearbox, and the starter rope needs replacement, too (no handle), but otherwise it looks to be in pretty decent shape.



Sorry for the dark image, but it already dark when I picked it up. I'll post what I find and what it takes to get it ready for this season.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:27 PM   post #2 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

Spent a little time digging into it this afternoon and resolved one of (I think the main) issue. The friction wheel hub was frozen to the hex shaft on the friction drive, so it would not move between drive speeds. I removed the hex shaft assembly, removed the friction wheel from the hub and then heated the friction wheel hub while tapping the hex shaft with a hammer. Once the shaft started moving through the hub, I used a drift to drive it all the way through.

The hex shaft had old grease residue and some corrosion on it, so I cleaned it with some solvent, then further with steel wool and finally 1000grit automotive sandpaper. I also ran a screwdriver and towel through the center of the friction wheel hub, but there wasn't much wrong with that surface.



I reassembled everything with synthetic lube, adjusted the tension on the traction clutch cable and prepared to fire the motor up.

Added a little gas, prime the carb, full choke, ignition on, throttle at max - about 3 pulls of the starter cord and it fired right up. It will still need the carb gone through, as it would die if I didn't have the choke on a little. Still, not bad for a little "dumpster diving" :-)
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:03 PM   post #3 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

Heck of a good find!! I think you'll find the small holes in the fuel bowl nut just need cleaning. It looks like there's lots of winters left in it. It just amazes me what some people throw away!!
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:07 PM   post #4 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

Great find. It's unbelievable the things people will throw out.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:35 AM   post #5 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

I trash picked a '73 Ariens blower a few months ago. It threw a rod and needed a $5 bushing. $130 later I have a refurbished unit that runs like new. I will play with it this season and likely sell this year or next.

What are your plans for the ST420? Keep, sell, or throw out.
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:24 PM   post #6 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

Super good find, that is a great snowblower. It is amazing what people will throw away but like the post above the snowblower repair for $130 and a do it yourselfer is well worth it. It's just when some people aren't capable or want to do the work it becomes not cost effective and they go out and purchase a new one for $1000 instead of investing $400 at a repair shop.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:07 PM   post #7 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

Sorry for the late reply...once I finish going through the carb and replacing the scraper bar and starter cord/handle, a co-worker has expressed an interest in this unit, so I'll be selling it to him.

I'm all set anyway with my 2-stage Toro for the big stuff and single-stage Toro for the lighter snows.
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Old 12-18-2011, 06:28 PM   post #8 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

mla2ofus(Mike) was right that all that needed attention on the carb was to clean the holes on the bowl nut. A little Gunk carb cleaner and compressed air was all it took. Once re-installed, the engine ran fine, and kept running once the engine was warm and the choke was fully off.

I installed the new scraper bar and bolts, then adjusted the skids for proper clearance. Also, a new starter rope and handle was fitted to replace the temporary setup that was in place from the previous owner.


With it running well, I then noticed that there was fuel leaking at the inlet to the carb. Having run into this on another snowblower I repaired a couple of years ago, I figured it was the plastic elbow fitting at the carb inlet that was the trouble. Luckily, when I made that last repair, I ordered 2 pcs of the part (Tecumseh 632527), so that I'd have a spare on the shelf for the next time I stumbled upon a repairable snowthrower in the trash - this happens to me more than my wife would like ;-) The plastic on the elbow ages and eventually cracks, resulting in the fuel leak. New elbow installed, there's no longer any worry of a leak.


Which leads me to the next thing...the plug connection for the electrical starter had 2 of the prongs snipped off by a previous owner. C'mon now ?!?!? Anyway, aside from shelling out $80+ for a new switch and cable assembly, I'm pretty sure I have an idea how to get a suitable replacement plug in place. I'll just have to make a quick trip to the hardware store tomorrow to find the parts.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:16 AM   post #9 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

Looks good. Any piece of metal you can get in there should work to fix the switch. I assume you are going to pick up one of those extension cord plug repair ends?

Here is a video you might find useful:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgKIZL7MBFE
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:55 AM   post #10 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

Thanks for the video link.

It'll be a little trickier than that, as the prongs are molded in place to the gasket around it. I'll have to find a way to slide something in there, or I'm considering using the end of a heavy-duty (high-current rated, and I won't need more than a few inches of cord) appliance cord and passing it through the gasket to connect to the switch and on to the starter. I'd seal it all off with RTV and that should do it, too.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:29 AM   post #11 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

Plug repair is underway...

Here's a picture of the new prongs installed into the existing plug:


I bought a replacement plug end at Menards ($2), and then removed the 2 prongs I needed. Had to remove a screw from each prong meant to hold the wire down, and cut off an angled tab with a Dremel and cutoff wheel. I then soldered the wires onto the replacement prongs and cleared the old passages for the prongs to fit the new ones.

I used JB weld to reinforce the installation of the prongs. Some tape acted as a mold to keep the JB Weld in place:


Another pic of the JB Weld reinforcement, with the tape removed. It still needs to set up fully, so I'll probably wait 'til this evening to test it and put it all back together:
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:38 AM   post #12 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

I hope it doesn't conduct electricity
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:52 AM   post #13 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

I've used JB to repair other cracked power plugs in the past...in fact, my current 2-stage Toro has the electric start plug reinforced with JB Weld :-)

That stuff is fantastic!
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Old 12-22-2011, 04:42 PM   post #14 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

BTW, despite the plug repair, the starter is not working. I double-checked the connections at the plug (verified the voltage was there), confirmed that the switch worked, and then disconnected everything and removed the starter.

When I removed the endcap, I found that the brushes were missing from the brush card. As in - removed. So, something must have gone wrong with this at some point, they removed the brushes because they were worn/broken and then probably cut-off the prongs on the plug to keep anyone from trying to use it. ... rather than fix the problem with the starter. ... yeesh.

There's a motor rebuild shop in the next town over, I'll be stopping by there tomorrow to see if they have suitable brushes to install. Otherwise, I'll just find a used starter assembly that works (don't want to risk another $40+ on the brush card to find out there's still something further wrong in the windings).
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:44 PM   post #15 of 15
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Default Re: An Ariens ST420 followed me home last night...

Final result was that the windings were burned on the starter, too, so no chance of a rebuild.

I found an NOS unit on craigslist for a fair price, bought that and put it on instead. At least now it is 100% working and the new starter will give some piece of mind.

This snowblower heads to its new owner (a co-worker of mine) in the morning!

Now all we need around here is some snow...
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