At the end of last winter I noticed that the bottom of the impeller housing on our little Craftsman had rotted through. No good. Still deciding what to do with it. Ideally, I'd like to find a new front end for it since the engine and drive system are perfectly fine, and it just got new belts, cables, and handlebars last year. I might see if it can get a plate welded to it until I can acquire a new blower housing.
That said, I've been yearning for an older snowblower, particularly a Simplicity because they look cool.
Its tricky since I don't have a vehicle to fit it in, but last week I came across one for sale for $50 only 20 minutes away. I was able to get a friend with a truck to come help me. Glad he came along since this weighs the better part of a ton!
What I've got is a 1972 Simplicity Sno Away S4. Its single stage, not the paddle style two stage like I've been looking for, but it looks cool all the same and it is indeed built like a Panzer tank.
It's also in super good shape as far as I can tell, besides the fuel tank, which I'll get to.
Its very solid, in fact it looks dirty more than anything, but the paint seems like its in decent shape. The only surface rust I can really see so far is in front of the chute. The tires are in good shape and they have chains of them. Most of all, its a complete unit. No missing parts!
Now I need to get it running. The first problem I ran into was the fuel tank. It had old gas in it which had completely rusted the inside of the tank.
I know its hard to see, but the tank was very scaly inside. I didn't know if it was even salvageable. I've never really tried removing rust from a gas tank, but since I have no spare parts for this machine or engine, I figured I'd give it a try.
I did some research on how to remove rust from a fuel tank and found that there's a few methods to doing this. The most common one is using small rocks, a chain, or ball bearing, putting them in the tank and shaking the tank vigorously to break the rust loose. However, this would only break loose the rust not remove all of it, plus then you have to get it all out of the tank. The second moth is using a rust remover like Evapo-Rust. I've used Evapo-Rust and it works well, its also non-toxic. It has two caveats: it usually turns the metal dark gray, which isn't a huge deal, but it also takes a while to dissolve heavy rust, like 24+ hours. Then I came across a video claiming Muriatic Acid could remove all the rust in a tank in about 10 minutes and is inexpensive. I was impressed and figured it was worth a try. My local hardware store had muriatic acid, but it also had a product product called Acid Magic which claims to be safe if it makes contact with unbroken skin and doesn't off gas as much. I'm not big on using skin-melting chemicals, so I figured I'd try this one. I still used protective gear to be safe.
I filled the tank all the way up and let it sit for a half hour, drained it, then filled it about halfway and let it sit a bit longer, agitating occasionally. The difference is incredible! The tank is almost all bare metal inside with only a few small black spots remaining. I couldn't believe how well it worked.
After dumping all of the chemical out, I rinsed it with water and then gasoline several time, finishing with a 2cycle gas/oil mix that I put in, sloshed around to coat everything, then dumped out. This is to prevent the tank from flash rusting.
Here is the end result:
I cleaned up the carburetor and replaced the diaphragm. I may have to remove it and clean it again though. I'm at the point where if I choke it and attempted to cold start it, the snowblower will start briefly then quit. I had the devil's own job of putting all of the linkage back in place. Seriously, these old engines have linkages for their linkages!
It's hard to keep trying to get it running though, as the rope stopped retracting. I figured the recoil spring had broken, but it turns out the aluminum pulley broke where the spring is retained! I'll hopefully have a new one for it tomorrow.