One way to save money and learn valuable self-sufficiency skills is to do your own equipment maintenance and repair. It’s a bonus if you can make a little money while you’re at it. Some repairs can be intimidating if you don’t do much maintenance work, this post will show just how fast and simple a repair job can be.
Recently we picked up a lightly used but broken snowblower. The owner provided us with the model number and a description of the problem which allowed us to locate and price the necessary repair parts before we even looked at it.
We bought this snowblower thru craigslist for $75.00 after inspecting it and hearing it run. It’s a self-propelled model that no longer propelled itself. It is a 2006 or 2007 model and the owner said that it had sat unused for the last 2 seasons. We needed an engine for an upcoming roto-tiller project so this seemed to be a good investment even if the snowblower couldn’t be repaired.
The owner attempted to repair the drive box and already had it disassembled. I would have done the same thing if it were mine. Unfortunately this gear box would be difficult to rebuild without a lathe larger than ours and the individual gears and bearings would probably cost as much as a new factory gearbox so we elected to buy a complete new drive assembly.
We located the new part online and called the dealer to order it. They said this is a VERY common repair and they sell many of these gearboxes. The Craftsman part number is 618-04296 and the MTD part number is 918-04296, there may be a “B” after those numbers. This gearbox is used on many Craftsman, MTD, Troy Bilt and Cub Cadet self-propelled snowblowers so the odds are it will be on just about every snowblower in this size range.
The steps are simple…. the photos below should explain most of the procedure.
Tilt the snowblower on it’s back and locate the primary wheel drive. Make a note of how it is assembled before removing it. Remove the drive belt from the pulley. Locate the rollpin that holds the small gear in place and drive it out with a punch. Remove the cotter pins and washers on each end of the primary shaft. Remove the nylon bushings.
Slide the small gear towards the center of the machine. Unbolt the gear box from the snowblower frame, you will need to remove the right side tire/wheel to access the screws holding the gearbox in place. Remove the drive assembly. Detach the control cable. (You can see the worn out worm gear in the photo below)
Attach the control cable to the new gearbox and reassemble the drive to the snowblower.
That’s it! This repair took less than 25 minutes start to finish. I have no idea what a repair shop would charge for this labor but I’m guessing it would be at least $50.00. The new drive was purchased for $125.00. We have a little over $200.00 in this machine. After the first snow, this machine could probably sell for around $300 but for right now we plan to hang on to it and use it around our property.