Akom's Tech Ruminations

Various tech outbursts - code and solutions to practical problems
Low Tech Hacks

Snowblower oil change with no mess

Posted by Admin • Sunday, March 21. 2010 • Category: Low Tech Hacks

Like most dutiful snowblower owners I change the oil in the spring. The manual says to change it every 25 hours - I don't put that many hours on the engine in a year but the oil probably shouldn't be kept in there that long.

The first year I did the oil change I wound up with a 4 foot oil puddle on my garage floor. Like most small snowblowers, mine has an extension oil drain pipe with a cap. You're supposed to unscrew the cap and drain the oil into something. Well, mine unscrewed at the base - the whole pipe came out, pouring oil down the machine's body and causing me to bring shovelfuls of sand in to clean up the mess. But, there is a better way. (And this is my notepad for next year)

How to change the oil without making a mess

  1. Hopefully you treated your gas with Stabil or something similar (I treat my gas can the moment I buy fuel)
  2. Run the engine so the oil is warm. If you're almost out of gas, let it use it up and stall - otherwise just shut off the fuel valve (yours does have one, right?) and let it die on its own. Now the carb is empty for the summer
  3. Tilt it forward on the auger (see photo)
  4. Unscrew the cap. If the whole pipe comes out, no problem - no oil will spill in this position, and you can separate the pipe from the cap at this point (a vice helps). Put the pipe back in with some locktite on the base threads, not the cap threads.
  5. Find a small piece of a properly fitting vinyl hose (or any hose that fits... maybe garden hose). I had some laying around.
  6. Stick it on as shown in photo
  7. Ready your drain pan, and lower the snowblower back down, so the hose drains in the pan
  8. Undo the filler cap to ease flow, and tilt the snowblower back a little to help it even more
  9. Once it's drained, just take the hose off and put the cap back on
  10. Alternatively (and this is the cool part) if you have trouble figuring out the oil level when refilling with clean and clear fresh oil and you tend to overfill:
    1. leave the hose on but turn it upwards so oil can't escape
    2. Start filling the machine
    3. If you overfilled - just push the hose down and drain some out
    4. Once you're good, close the filler cap, tilt it back up and remove hose, cap the pipe

  11. Whichever method you use, don't forget to put oil in, but don't start the unit - you do not want to acidify the oil before storage.

    Attaching no mess drain hose
    Draining oil

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