Was wondering if anybody can recommend a place in Ames that will do a yearly service job on my snowblower and--most importantly--will pick it up and bring it back? I don't have any type of vehicle that I could use to load the thing up and take it anywhere, so I really need someone who will pick it up. I need a check-up, oil change, grease, etc. I'm totally useless at mechanical stuff, so I can't do it myself. Any recommendation would be helpful. Thanks!
EDIT -- By the way, I know that the ISU agriculture systems technology club was offering this, but the deadline to contact them to do it was today, and I messed up and missed it. That's why I'm asking here now!
Last edited by dustinal; 11-06-2008 at 09:56 PM.
Re: Snowblower Service?
Ideally, you would do this yourself and save some money. That said, I would try a small engine place first and see if they can come service it. You may save some money going this route over a more specialized service place. Doing a quick search, there is a small engine joint called Hilker Small Engine in Ames (232-6856). See if they would come pick up your unit and take a look at it. Heck, they may service it at your place. I used to work for an implement dealership and we did this type of on-site stuff a lot.
Personally, I would recommend trying to learn the basics yourself. If they're going to charge you more than $60 it's a ripoff, knowing what is necessary. I don't own a snowblower, but I'm guessing it has a 5 to 8 HP, maybe 11 HP engine. Look in your owner's manual and find out what the oil capacity is- it's probably between 1 and 1.5 quarts.
--There should be a little square-faced plug at the base of the engine block. Find a pan and unscrew it to drain the oil.
--Replace the plug, and find the oil fill neck. It will have a plastic cap that probably has the word 'oil' on it somewhere.
--If you know the oil capacity and correct viscosity (probably 5w30 or 10w30), fill 'er up!
Other easy maintenance tasks...
--Find the air filter. It's likely contained in a metal canister attached to the carburetor. You can usually unscrew a lid to remove the filter. Chances are it's probably not too dirty with winter use. Blow it out, or at the very least, shake out any loose debris. Clean out the canister as well. Replace the filter.
--Find all of your grease zerts. These are the little metallic "nipples" that are near all of your moving parts. On a snowblower, they're probably on the drive mechanism, the wheels, the auger intake, etc. Get a grease gun and pump those babies full. The grease gun will begin to pump hard once you have enough grease.
--Assuming you don't know how to check the gap on a spark plug, just disconnect your plug wire and unscrew you plug. Take it to a NAPA or any parts store and replace it. When you screw the new plug back in, don't crank to hard on the wrench. You can crack the glass insulator if you tighten it too hard. Assuming you don't have a torque wrench, tighten it until you get solid resistance.
--Not sure if your engine would have a fuel filter or not. Eh... don't worry about it. If your blower ran smoothly last time you ran it and you didn't leave fuel sitting in it, you'll be fine.
These are all routine tasks that should get you through the season, assuming your unit was running well when you put it into storage. If you had any problems last winter, by all means, let the "pros" take a look at it.