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Basic Auger Maintenance

** IceShanty and myself assume no liability for personal injury or  damage to augers **.

After helping a few members with auger problems, this season and last, I received  several more PMís asking for help. I discussed it with IceShanty and Iím going to try and give some advice on basic auger maintenance.

From a safety standpoint itís a good idea to where goggles, gloves and breathing apparatus. You will be working with tools and chemicals.


The first thing Iíll start with is fresh fuel. Just before every season I mix a batch of fresh fuel. I mix the two stroke oil, 87 octane fuel, Stabil fuel stabilizer and a few caps of carburetor cleaner.
The two stroke oil I prefer is the Amsoil Saber which is good down to 100:1 (thereís another thread on this). I use the 87 octane fuel because thatís what augers are designed to use unlerss otherwise specified. The higher octane fuels are less combustable and out on the ice I want it firing up and getting warm quick. The fuel stabilizer will help keep the fuel fresh longer. The carb cleaner is preventative maintenance.  I donít want to remove the carb, strip it down, clean it and re-install it.

The tips given in this section I do every other year if the auger is running good.

These procedures you can do with the shaft disconnected.

Replace the spark plug. Even if it looks good there can be hairline cracks that will only get worse. Use the correct spark plug for your auger. Spark plugs come in different threads, different lengths and different heat ranges.
Check the spark plug boot. Make sure it has a good connection to the spark plug.

On most models you can remove the cover to the muffler. Inside you should see a ďscreenĒ. This is the spark arrestor. This can get really carboned up and prevent exhaust flow. Take it out and clean it with carb cleaner. Also clean out the muffler housing with carb cleaner. Re-install the spark arrestor and cover.

Depending on your model you may have a cleanable foam air filter or a disposeable .. most are foam. You can simply clean the foam in a soapy water and gently rinse.
While the filter is drying itís a good time to clean the carb. Angle the power head so the carb is facing at a downward angle and spray the interior while working the throttle with carb cleaner allowing the excess to drip out on a rag. Now clean the exterior of the carb with carb cleaner to remove any dirt or grime.
If the filter is dry you can lightly saturate it with two stroke oil. Blot up the excess with a rag and re-install the air filter.

Now we can lubricate the throttle cable and throttle shaft. Because we operate our augers at below freezing temperatures I highly recommend staying away from lubricants such as WD-40. If itís cold enough the cable and shaft will lock up solid. I recommend a good, synthetic firearms lubricant. The one I use is rated at Ė 65 F .
I use a needle dropper when applying the lubricant and a little goes a long way. I disconnect the throttle cable at the finger pull. I place 3-4 drops in the top end of the cable and re-install. I then place one drop on the top area of the throttle shaft. I then work the throttle cable for maybe 30 seconds or so. Gravity alone is not enough.

Reconnect the shaft to the auger.
Now itís time to start the auger. The auger may be a little tough starting after all the cleaning. After it started let the auger warm up. At idle the auger shaft should not be spinning. If it is you need to back down the idle. There should be an idle  screw located where the end of the throttle cable connects to the shaft. Back it out slightly and check the shaft. Work the throttle slightly and check the shaft again.

If itís running good youíre done Ö if not continue.

If the auger  is spitting, has an erratic idle or is stalling you need to make carb adjustments. On older models you can fully adjust low idle and high idle. On newer models there are lock caps only allowing for a limited adjustment Ö EPA mandated.

Older Models
Disconnect Shaft First

On the side of the carb you will see two spring loaded screws. One will be marked L and the other H. This is for Low Idle and High Idle. Familiarize yourself with the location and get the correct screwdriver.

DO NOT TIGHTEN THESE SCREWS .. you will damage the needle seats.

Start with the idle. With the auger running gently turn the L screw in or out until the auger is idling smooth. Throttle the engine and check idle again. If all is good leave the L screw alone.
Now for the high idle you need to slightly raise the RPM and adjust the H screw until itís smooth. When it feels smooth leave the screw alone and throttle the engine. If it idles good and revs good your done.
Re-install the shaft and recheck with shaft installed.

On newer models itís basically the same as older models but you are limited on how much adjustment you can actually do.

Auger  Storage

When I put my auger away for the season I basically do two things. I remove the shaft from the power head and I drain all the fuel.
I pour most of the fuel from the auger tank into the two stroke can. I leave about 1/8 of a tank in the auger. I add 2-3 caps of carb cleaner to the tank and start it. I let it idle, rev it, idle .. you get the idea. When the auger dies I keep pulling the pull cord and trying to restart it to make sure I cleared all the fuel.
I then pull the spark plug and shoot a little Saber (two stroke oil) into the piston chamber. I then hold a rag over the spark plug hole and slowly pull the pull cord a few times. This lubricates the piston chamber, the top of the piston and the rings. Re-install the plug and put her away. ( I also do this same procedure before starting in fall.)

This ended up longer than I thought. I hope I covered everything  and everyone could understand it.

Hey doug when ya doing mine lol


If I'm ever out your way .   ;)

Even if you've never done any of this maintenance before it shouldn't take more than two hours. Once you're familiar with the auger and what you're doing you can cut that time in half.
I hope it was helpfull.

Thank you for the excellent advice! :clap: :clap: :clap:  I'm going to print this out and put it to good use.

Thanks LoneWolf----------Great info.

I used your advice just minutes ago to "fire" up the auger for the weekend. Been 2yrs since the "beast" has seen thick ice here in the Chicago area. After a dozen pulls she spit and coughed and them "roared." What a wonderful sound. Mag. 2000 10.25" Strikemaster.

Now I'm(a weekend warrior) ready for those 12" awaiting me on the lakes.

Thanks Fran 8)


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