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INGuy


Location: NW Indiana (Land of lake effect snow)
Joined: Oct 11, 2009
Points: 36

Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Original Message   Oct 11, 2009 9:55 pm
I found Abby's Guide in my search for a snowblower this year.  I'm in NW Indiana, where we get some serious lake effect off the southern tip of Lake Michigan, and with any luck my shoveling days are over.  We'll typically see a couple snowfalls of 12" or more each season, with routine snowfalls of around 6" at a time.  I've got a 2-car wide drive, about 50' long and the EOD was a back breaker to shovel.

I wish I would have read more here before making my purchase, but I think I did alright.  With a little bit of research online and checking out the units in the stores, I was attracted to the Ariens brand for the all steel construction and I admit, I just kind of like the orange color.

I was gonna go with the 22" compact model, but after watching craigslist for a week or so, this Ariens 724 (7hp Tecumseh Snow King, 24") popped up and I jumped on it.  I think it's about 6 years old (I'm still awaiting a reply from Ariens on the exact manufacture date), it was used minimally, only has a few small rust spots in the impeller housing which I've already treated and it seems to be in good shape.  The oil in it was fairly black and had the milky condensation in it when I changed it and both the drive and attachment clutches needed substantial adjustment (I've a feeling the previous owner never bothered), but other than that I think I got a decent deal for $400.  I've been watching craigslist since I bought it and haven't seen anything as nice for the price yet.  I don't have a lot of extra width in the garage after 2 cars and the push mower are squeezed in there, so this was just about the biggest machine I could fit width wise.

I've done all the maintenance, lubrication and adjustments called for in the manual and fired it up again today to adjust the attachment clutch handle.  I first adjusted most, but not all, of the slack out of the cable.  Then I adjusted the attachment belt pulley to try to attain the 4-1/2" dimension from the clutch lever to the handle grip that the manual says I should have when the auger just starts to turn.  I adjusted it as far as I could, away from the belt, and the lever-handle dimension was still way up at like 6-1/2" when the auger started to move.  So, my only option was to readjust the cable slack to account for the difference.  Has anyone else experienced this with theirs?

The only other issue I've encountered is that after the engine warmed up today and was at full throttle, it would start to drop off then surge back up every 10 seconds or so.  I half wonder if this was because I only had a small amount of gas in it to do the tests/adjustments.  It did run dry shortly thereafter and it was getting dark outside, so I'm hoping that was the issue and I don't have to clean the carb come snow season.  The previous owner claimed he took care of it and would run it every now and again, but I don't know if he stored it with gas in the tank/carb or treated the gas...

Anyway, here's some pics.  What do you think, did I get a good deal?

This message was modified Oct 12, 2009 by INGuy
Replies: 1 - 12 of 12View as Outline
INGuy


Location: NW Indiana (Land of lake effect snow)
Joined: Oct 11, 2009
Points: 36

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #1   Oct 12, 2009 2:03 pm
Ariens informed me this machine was manufactured in Aug. 2001.  This seems to confirm the engine DOM code of 1202 -- 202nd day of 2001, if I understand how to read it.

I wonder if the previous owners stretched the truth in telling me it was only 6 years old, or if perhaps they bought it new in 2003, but as a prior year's model line...  They told me they paid $850 for it new, and it has a dealer sticker on the handle bar frame (not an HD assembled unit then, I'm guessing).

This message was modified Oct 12, 2009 by INGuy
trouts2




Location: Marlboro MA
Joined: Dec 8, 2007
Points: 1328

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #2   Oct 13, 2009 12:33 pm
It could be it was the last of the production run and sat in the showroom for a while.
It's also very likely the sell shaved off a few years. I buy a number of secondhand
snowblowers and people get date of the machine wrong from either not knowing or fibbing
a bit.
It would be worthwhile to get the online manual and go through the machine so you
don't have any unexpected dissapointments when the snow arrives.
That's a very nice machine and $400 an ok price.
trouts2
INGuy


Location: NW Indiana (Land of lake effect snow)
Joined: Oct 11, 2009
Points: 36

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #3   Oct 13, 2009 2:22 pm
trouts2 wrote:
It could be it was the last of the production run and sat in the showroom for a while.
It's also very likely the sell shaved off a few years. I buy a number of secondhand
snowblowers and people get date of the machine wrong from either not knowing or fibbing
a bit.
It would be worthwhile to get the online manual and go through the machine so you
don't have any unexpected dissapointments when the snow arrives.
That's a very nice machine and $400 an ok price.
trouts2



Thanks for the reply.  Conveniently, the sellers still had the original manual, addendums and summary card for it.  I did have to download a manual for the engine, though.  I think I've got everything covered.  Greased the auger shaft & spun it with the shear bolts removed, pulled the wheels off and greased the axles real good, changed the oil, topped off the auger gear case with Ariens fluid, adjusted the speed selector, etc., etc.  I picked up some spare shears from the local dealer and the only thing I have left to get is some spare belts just in case.  I want to check the dealor's prices on those before I buy from online.

The only things I'm not sure about it the attachment clutch adjustment and the engine slowing, then surging back to full throttle intermittently (see above OP).  I suppose the attachment adjustment may well just be a trial and error sort of thing -- I definitely don't have it overtightened and I suspect if it is too loose I'll see that in poor throwing performance once it gets some use.  As for the engine issue, it if continues to do that under load and with a full tank of gas, I gather from reading other threads here that I should check the gas cap vent first then move on to possibly cleaning the carb to see if that helps.

I keep telling my wife I hope we get two feet of snow all at once!  I'm excited to try this thing out.

This message was modified Oct 13, 2009 by INGuy
trouts2




Location: Marlboro MA
Joined: Dec 8, 2007
Points: 1328

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #4   Oct 14, 2009 2:05 pm
Most people never open their tractor section for maintenance. You might want to tip it up on its bucket and open up the bottom cover for some grease and oil. Clean off the hex shaft as it gets particles of rubber off the friction disk which buildup on the flats. You did not mention checking the skid adjustment but you probably got that.
The gas cap venting usually results in the engine stopping dead from the vacuum and not a cause of hunting. Run it up and down the driveway with the augers engaged and see if it still surges. If it’s not too bad you could still use it as is and loose a bit of power but probably worthwhile to take the carb off and clean it. You may have a partial varnish buildup from the prior owner leaving the gas in or it’s a slightly dirty.
The good part about doing that is you’ll loosen the screws that hold on the carb. It’s good that they get loosened over a span of years so they don’t freeze on there. A can of solvent is only 20 dollars and a worthwhile investment. Carb spray is not that great a solvent for varnish but a phenomenal jet of air if you don’t have a compressor.
You could wait until winter and see how it runs under load. Often a very minor surge will clear.
INGuy


Location: NW Indiana (Land of lake effect snow)
Joined: Oct 11, 2009
Points: 36

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #5   Oct 14, 2009 3:19 pm
trouts2 wrote:
Most people never open their tractor section for maintenance. You might want to tip it up on its bucket and open up the bottom cover for some grease and oil. Clean off the hex shaft as it gets particles of rubber off the friction disk which buildup on the flats. You did not mention checking the skid adjustment but you probably got that.
The gas cap venting usually results in the engine stopping dead from the vacuum and not a cause of hunting. Run it up and down the driveway with the augers engaged and see if it still surges. If it’s not too bad you could still use it as is and loose a bit of power but probably worthwhile to take the carb off and clean it. You may have a partial varnish buildup from the prior owner leaving the gas in or it’s a slightly dirty.
The good part about doing that is you’ll loosen the screws that hold on the carb. It’s good that they get loosened over a span of years so they don’t freeze on there. A can of solvent is only 20 dollars and a worthwhile investment. Carb spray is not that great a solvent for varnish but a phenomenal jet of air if you don’t have a compressor.
You could wait until winter and see how it runs under load. Often a very minor surge will clear.



Yup, I've had the bottom cover off and inspected/cleaned/lubed already.  By hex shaft, are you referring to the shaft that the friction disc slides back and forth on?  I don't recall see any rubber particles on that, but it seems I remember there being a fair amount of grayish lube/anti-sieze on it already.  There was a fair amount of belt dust and fragments in the bottom cover, so I cleaned all that out.  Basically, I lubed all the friction points I could see and the axle/sleeves with white lithium grease, taking care to cover the friction disk with a rag in the process.

I did check the skid adjustments.  I noticed that they are adjusted all the way up, which leaves about 1/8" between the scraper bar/plate and the floor, which is what I want, having a smooth concrete drive.  However, the skids being all the way up doesn't protect the edges of the intake housing very much.  I tried to lower the scaper bar, thinking I would then lower the skids as well, only to find out the scraper bar is not adjustable -- it has square holes to match the carriage bolts instead of slots that would allow it to slide for adjustment.

Thanks for the tip on the engine hunting.  I wasn't sure what to call it, but that's what it is.  Being that it's not severe, I think I'll hold off on carb cleaning and run it with SeaFoam in the gas when the season starts.  That may clear it right up.  I will keep in mind the carb screws though, and may just do a quick little loosen/tighten on them to keep them limber.

Any thoughts on the attachment clutch adjustment?  I took all the slack out of the cable, then backed off two full turns on the upper retaining nut (at the clutch lever, on the back of the gear box) to get a little slack back, per the manual.  I then adjusted the attachment belt pulley to try to get the 4-1/2" dimemsion (cited in the manual) from the clutch lever to the handle grip when the auger first starts to turn.  Even with the pulley adjusted all the way to the outside, the dimension was still 6-1/2", so I had to bring more slack into the cable by adjusting the retaining nuts to attain the 4-1/2" dimension.  Does that seem acceptable?

This message was modified Oct 14, 2009 by INGuy
trouts2




Location: Marlboro MA
Joined: Dec 8, 2007
Points: 1328

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #6   Oct 14, 2009 8:36 pm
>>By hex shaft, are you referring to the shaft that the friction disc slides back and forth
Sometimes belt dust will get on the hex shaft and rubbed flat and very thin on the shaft. Carb cleaner on a rag gets it right off along with grease. After cleaning re-grease.

1/8 th is fine and will protect the housing on a flat driveway. Last week I saw a snowblower with the front of the housing worn quite a bit. The driveway angled up sharply from the sidewalk.and on up passes the bucket would hit while the skids were still on the sidewalk. For a flat driveway 1/8th is as good as an inch.

Try a SeaFrom experiment to check its usefulness. See if it will do anything with carbon directly or directly on varnish buildup. That’s full strength SeaFrom and not a diluted quantity mixed in with gas.

>>adjusting the retaining nuts to attain the 4-1/2" dimension. Does that seem acceptable?
I’m not sure what model you have so can’t look at the procedure. I think you get the first adjustment slack then go back in 5 turns. You did not mention that part. You ended up with a high lever then went to the first adjustment and got the handle down that way. If you just pull in now and it’s not overly pushing the disk into the plate then ok. You should not feel any stiff resistance in the handle and roughly end up 4 or so inches on the pull down starting to engage. The important part is not to jamb the disk into the plate. Generally the factory adjustments in the service and owner manuals for the clutches come out right. Seems like your fine.

Good going on the maintenance. Let it chew and throw at a $#%*fortable rate and in twenty five years you'll be looking for an engine to put on that body.
INGuy


Location: NW Indiana (Land of lake effect snow)
Joined: Oct 11, 2009
Points: 36

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #7   Oct 14, 2009 10:27 pm
trouts2 wrote:
Sometimes belt dust will get on the hex shaft and rubbed flat and very thin on the shaft. Carb cleaner on a rag gets it right off along with grease. After cleaning re-grease.

I will definitely look into that at the end of this season.  I think I'll probably be okay for this year.

Try a SeaFrom experiment to check its usefulness. See if it will do anything with carbon directly or directly on varnish buildup. That’s full strength SeaFrom and not a diluted quantity mixed in with gas.

Are you saying to put straight SeaFoam in the gas tank and run it?  Or are you suggesting to try the undiluted SeaFoam as a cleaner on carbon and varnish to perhaps see that it may not do what it claims?

I ran the recommended dilution through my lawnmower this summer and it seemed to smooth it's engine roughness out pretty quick.  That was a 2-cycle engine, though.

I’m not sure what model you have so can’t look at the procedure. I think you get the first adjustment slack then go back in 5 turns. You did not mention that part. You ended up with a high lever then went to the first adjustment and got the handle down that way. If you just pull in now and it’s not overly pushing the disk into the plate then ok. You should not feel any stiff resistance in the handle and roughly end up 4 or so inches on the pull down starting to engage. The important part is not to jamb the disk into the plate. Generally the factory adjustments in the service and owner manuals for the clutches come out right. Seems like your fine.

Model # 932035, manual is here http://apache.ariens.com/manuals/032456D_ENG.pdf.  It's on page 24-25.  I was talking about the attachment (auger/impeller) clutch.  My manual says to take the slack out of the cable and back off 2 full turns with the top nut, then tighten the bottom nut.  In reality, I think I probably ended up going about 5-6 turns, like you say, in order to get the lever play to be at 4-1/2".  And that was with the attachment idler pulley moved as far away from the belt as it would go.  At any rate, I know the belt definitely isn't going to be too tight and if anything if might be too loose.  Man, I've never been so anxious in my life to get some snow to try this out and see.

Thanks for the tips trouts.  Much appreciated.

This message was modified Oct 14, 2009 by INGuy
INGuy


Location: NW Indiana (Land of lake effect snow)
Joined: Oct 11, 2009
Points: 36

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #8   Dec 21, 2009 9:48 am
Well, I reluctantly gassed up this machine yesterday and took her out for a test drive on the measly 2" of snow the weekend left us.  My wife said the neighbors would think I was silly for getting it out for so little snow, but you know how that goes.

It fired right up on the 2nd pull.  The engine hunting mentioned above is still there when idling, at both low & high idle, but disappears immediately when put under a snow load.  I'm not sure if that's a symptom of a governor issue, or if it's just going to be something I learn to live with.  Like I said, it's only when idling so it doesn't seem to be an issue.  It purred like a kitten under load and never faltered.

With only 2" of fairy light & icy snow, I ran it on the highest forward speed setting of 6 and it chewed right through it without batting an eye.  The traction of the tires (Snow Hog, I think...?) was impressive.  Even when holding a little upward pressure on the handles to keep the front down, they pulled the blower, and me, right along quite impressively.  I'd estimate the throwing distance at about 20', with the chute direction aimed to continue the arc of the impeller.  It was slightly less with it aimed the opposite direction.  This machine (I think it is a "compact" style) was extremely easy to manuever and turn at the end of a run.

I finished my drive so quickly and still wanted to play, so I went ahead and cleared two of my neighbors drives.  Now, I'm eagerly waiting for the BIG snow to really give this thing a workout.  I'm curious to see how it handles the EOD as we usually get a hefty load of it from the plows.  Also, I just found out my father-in-law is getting me a cab for it for Christmas.  I'll add a pic to this thread once I get it installed.

This message was modified Dec 21, 2009 by INGuy
mml4


Snow is good,
Deep snow is better!


Joined: Dec 31, 2003
Points: 544

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #9   Dec 21, 2009 1:13 pm
INGUY- I'm a little late to the party but I think the machine is well bought at $400. It is powered by  the OHV Tecumseh which is both quiet and more powerful than the LHead which powers most of the older machines regardless of manufacture. From the looks of the pictures this unit has next to no use. Good luck with your new toy!

Marc  

SnapperV210P,Toro22177,TroyBilt42010Snowthrower,Craftsman Shredder,American Turbo Pressure Washer HondaGX200,Stihl011Saw,EchoPas260Trimmer Edger,EchoPB602Blower,EchoHCR150Hedge Clipper
INGuy


Location: NW Indiana (Land of lake effect snow)
Joined: Oct 11, 2009
Points: 36

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #10   Dec 21, 2009 1:32 pm
mml4 wrote:
INGUY- I'm a little late to the party but I think the machine is well bought at $400. It is powered by  the OHV Tecumseh which is both quiet and more powerful than the LHead which powers most of the older machines regardless of manufacture. From the looks of the pictures this unit has next to no use. Good luck with your new toy!

Marc  



Thanks!  I just saw a blower up on Craigslist today, same exact model in similar condition, listed for $450.  I like to check back there now & again to validate my purchase. 

 The couple I bought mine from said they only used it for two seasons before they moved south and stored it for a few more years.  It had very minimal surface rust in the impeller housing (already treated that with Rustoleum). The only maintenance it needed was an oil change, some clutch/cable adjustments, a thorough once over with the grease gun & oil can and a coat of wax.  It's a good feeling when you feel like you got a deal on a purchase.

This message was modified Dec 21, 2009 by INGuy
BobSmith


Location: Ontario Canada, snowbelt off Georgian Bay
Joined: Nov 16, 2005
Points: 30

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #11   Dec 28, 2009 12:34 am
Jason--I have the Ariens 724 circa 2005 model with the 7.5 Tecumseh OHV engine bought new in 05. I recently experienced the up and down revving engine thing myself. The machine had sat pretty much the whole summer (except for oil change in Aug) with old gas in the tank. When I started it for the first time to do some clearing in early Dec it rev'd up and down. I shut the machine down and waited for about a half hour (shovelling!) and started it again. It ran normally then. I went down to the shop I bought it from and asked them and the guy said it'll do that with old gas because the gas has lost its volatility. He also said to get the highest octane you can and no ethanol in the gas. I went out and got some fresh gas and mixed it with the remaining gas that I had and am kind of gradually getting the old out of there as the new stuff mixes in. It has run fine since. Oxidation is another problem if they haven't been run for a while. I'm curious, as I have essentially the same machine, how your engine is running now. These little machines are tough and it has cleared some rugged EOD that should have been cleared by a much bigger machine, by all rights, but it did it many times over even as undersized as it is.
INGuy


Location: NW Indiana (Land of lake effect snow)
Joined: Oct 11, 2009
Points: 36

Re: Ariens 724 Questions / New to the Forum / New to Snowblowers
Reply #12   Dec 28, 2009 9:59 am
BobSmith wrote:
Jason--I have the Ariens 724 circa 2005 model with the 7.5 Tecumseh OHV engine bought new in 05. I recently experienced the up and down revving engine thing myself. The machine had sat pretty much the whole summer (except for oil change in Aug) with old gas in the tank. When I started it for the first time to do some clearing in early Dec it rev'd up and down. I shut the machine down and waited for about a half hour (shovelling!) and started it again. It ran normally then. I went down to the shop I bought it from and asked them and the guy said it'll do that with old gas because the gas has lost its volatility. He also said to get the highest octane you can and no ethanol in the gas. I went out and got some fresh gas and mixed it with the remaining gas that I had and am kind of gradually getting the old out of there as the new stuff mixes in. It has run fine since. Oxidation is another problem if they haven't been run for a while. I'm curious, as I have essentially the same machine, how your engine is running now. These little machines are tough and it has cleared some rugged EOD that should have been cleared by a much bigger machine, by all rights, but it did it many times over even as undersized as it is.



When I got the machine (used) it only had enough gas in it to demonstrate that it could be started and was fully functional (a couple of ounces).  The previous owner was a certified mechanic and told me he never stored it with gas.  I only met him at the time of sale and have no way of determining if he was truthful in his account of storing the machine, though.  I performed all the routine maintenance in October and then ran it dry and drained the carb with the drain button on the bottom.  When I filled it up this season, I used fresh 87 octane gas with SeaFoam treatment (1 oz/gal) per the instructions on the can.  All that said, there is still a possibility of some varnish buildup I suppose.

It doesn't seem to hunt until it gets warm -- maybe 1-2 mins after initial startup.  And when it's put under a snow load, it operates just fine with no hunting.  It's only when idling, both fast & slow idle, that it hunts.  Two nights ago while blowing the drive, it bogged down and died on me.  It restarted immediately but started to bog again after a few seconds.  I quickly loosened the gas cap before it died and it surged back up.  I firmly tapped the cap with my hand a few times, retightened it and that seemed to take care of it.  I wonder if filling the tank to a point too high near the cap saturated the foam element in the cap and made it dificult for it to breathe.  I really don't know, I'm just speculating on this.  I think I will clean the carb thoroughly after the season is over.  I will experiment with the higher octance gas, like you mention, the next time I refill my cans.  I don't know where to find ethanol free gas though...?

You're right about them being tough little machines.  I think 7+ HP is quite a bit for a machine that size.  It really handled the EOD heavy slush well, I thought.  Sure, it pumped it out like sludge and not very far, but it hardly slowed at all and didn't miss a beat.  I haven't had the opportunity to use it on frozen EOD yet.

Replies: 1 - 12 of 12View as Outline
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