Snowblower Muffler Replacement

What with all the snow this winter, I noticed that the muffler on the snowblower was rattling around something awful; eventually, the blue fire jetting directly from the engine block got to be distracting. Come to find out the bracket attached to the top of the block had ripped free from the muffler:

The two long bolts on the right explain why this particular anomaly didn’t get an immediate repair: they were firmly jammed, deep in the block, and resisted my gentle attempts to free them. For obvious reasons, you (well, I) don’t want to break off the end of a bolt in its tapped hole…

Snowblower muffler - failed bracket

Snowblower muffler – failed bracket

So, over the course of a few weeks, I applied a dose of PB B’laster to the bolts, down deep behind the muffler where they entered the block, and gingerly wiggled the bolts back-and-forth to their ever-increasing limits of travel. Doing that every time I went into the garage guaranteed plenty of excess oil to smoke off the engine during the first few minutes, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Two days before the next big storm, the block finally released the bolts. Whew!

Evidently, having the bracket tear loose wasn’t a rare failure and, perhaps, the situation attracted the attention of someone in accounting who pointed out the warranty repair costs (no, our blower wasn’t in warranty), because the new muffler has a different bracket:

Snowblower muffler - new bracket design

Snowblower muffler – new bracket design

Look at all those spot welds across that huge contact patch!

Yes, I used new bolts with a generous dollop of Never-Seez on each one…

  1. #1 by Biguggy on 2014-02-23 - 07:35

    Dissimilar metals in contact with an electrolyte, what do you expect! Do your local authorities use salt on the roads, makes it even worse.

    • #2 by Ed on 2014-02-23 - 08:24

      The blower doesn’t get much salt exposure, although I do (try to) clear the mailbox, so I think this one was just under-designed for the vibration. I’m pretty sure that’s the last muffler it’ll ever need: the old one was in fine shape apart from the torn-out bracket!

  2. #3 by madbodger on 2014-02-23 - 08:55

    Some folks on a mailing list were complaining that screw-on soldering iron tips tended to weld themselves in place. I pointed out that anti-sieze lubricant helps enormously. It smokes a bit as the volatiles burn off the first time you heat it up, but it still has anti-sieze properties afterward. I like being able to save myself future trouble. I have a little bottle of the Permatex version, it has lasted me 15 years so far.

    • #4 by Ed on 2014-02-23 - 09:54

      I vaguely recall a tube of anti-seize lube for my First Soldering Iron, back in the day. The main ingredient must have been fish oil, because it stank up the entire house…

      Soldering irons with screw threads well away from the heater get my seal of approval!

      • #5 by Red County Pete on 2014-02-23 - 16:09

        My first post-BS paycheck bought me a Weller soldering station. Between the interchangeable tips and the built-like-a-tank characteristics, it’s been a good tool lasting almost 40 years so far. I have a Wenn somewhere–will have to try the never-seize.

  3. #6 by rkward on 2014-02-23 - 12:08

    I think that graphite might work as a non-smoking anti-seize. Would try it but the only screw-on tip iron I have left is for burning holes in plastic!

    • #7 by Ed on 2014-02-23 - 15:04

      Unless the graphite makes like the carbon in the sewing machine pedal and vaporizes, but it seems like a Good Idea. Next time I have the Hakko apart, I’ll ask the threads how they’re doing…