You may have a snowblower with a single-cylinder engine or a twin-cylinder engine. No matter which kind you have, you will most likely run into a time when it doesn’t start when you need it to. This isn’t a problem what you want to deal with in a middle of a snowstorm.
A Cub Cadet snowblower will start and then die if the air or fuel supply becomes restricted or there is a lack of spark.
This can be caused by a dirty carburetor; clogged fuel lines; plugged fuel filter; bad spark plug; bad fuel cap; or too much or too little oil in the crankcase.
Keep reading for more information on why your Cub Cadet snowblower has stopped running and how it can be fixed to get you to remove snow again. Remove your spark plug wire and wait for all moving parts to stop before beginning any repairs.
Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
7 Reasons a Cub Cadet Snowblower Starts and Then Dies
1. Old Fuel Causes
Gasoline starts to break down soon after you purchase it, sometimes as quickly as 30 days. The ethanol found in most gasoline contributes to the problems that develop as your gasoline ages.
Ethanol is a plant-based alternative fuel. It is added to gasoline to make it more environmentally friendly. This product naturally attracts moisture to the fuel that can leave behind varnish and gummy deposits causing fuel restrictions.
Not only can moisture in the fuel system cause fuel restrictions, but it can also cause premature corrosion and failure of the fuel components.
4-cycle (4-stage) Cub Cadet snowblowers require unleaded gasoline with an ethanol content of 10% or less.
2-cycle (2-stage) Cub Cadet snowblowers require unleaded gasoline with an ethanol content of 10% or less mixed with premium 2-cycle engine oil.
If you are unsure what type of engine you are running through your snowblower, check your operator’s manual.
If you find your fuel is over 30 days old, drain the fuel tank, flush the tank, and fill it with fresh fuel.
- Fuel Stabilizer Additive
You may want to consider adding a fuel stabilizer to your fuel. Mix the stabilizer with the fuel in a fuel can before adding it to your snowblower’s gas tank. This will prevent the new fuel from breaking down quickly.
I use a product called Sea Foam because it has cleaning agents for the fuel system and engine. It also reduces moisture and stabilizes the fuel. You can read more about using fuel additives here.
You never know when the next snowfall is going to happen and how quickly you are going to consume your tank of fuel.
- Recreational Fuel or Non-Ethanol Fuel
Ethanol-free fuels cost more, but they are better to run through your snowblower. You can find ethanol-free fuel at some fuel stations sold as REC-90 or recreational fuel.
You can also purchase ethanol-free fuel in ready-to-use canisters at your local hardware store or online.
For a more in-depth article about the correct fuel for your snowblower read This is the Type of Gas Cub Cadet Snowblowers Use.
2. Clogged Fuel Filter
A clogged fuel filter can restrict fuel flow in your Cub Cadet snowblower. The fuel filter strains fuel as it comes out of the fuel tank to prevent dirt and other debris from entering the fuel system.
When the filter isn’t changed out regularly, it can become so plugged with dirt that a sufficient amount of fuel isn’t able to freely pass through the filter. Without a good flow of fuel, your engine will shut down.
Another issue to check your fuel filter for is water collecting in the filter and freezing causing it to restrict fuel flow.
Replace a plugged or frozen fuel filter. You will find an inline fuel filter located between the fuel lines. You may also find it attached to the fuel line inside the fuel tank. It will vary by model.
3. Clogged Fuel Line
Another effect of running old gas is a clogged fuel line. Gummy deposits that form and become stuck in the lines will restrict the amount of fuel getting to the engine.
Do this to find a clogged fuel line:
- Shut off the fuel flow using the fuel shut-off valve. If your model doesn’t have a valve, use hose pinch pliers to crimp the line to stop the flow.
- Identify a section of the fuel line to check.
- Remove the end of the line furthest from the fuel tank and place it in a container placed lower than the fuel tank. This is because fuel cannot run uphill without the assistance of a fuel pump.
- Start the fuel flow and watch the fuel flow coming out of the line into the container.
- If you aren’t getting good fuel flow, stop the fuel flow and remove the line from your Cub Cadet.
- Spray carburetor cleaner into the line to loosen up the clog.
- Blow compressed air through the line to remove the blockage. Repeat spraying carburetor cleaner and using compressed air until the clog is removed.
- Replace a fuel line with one of the same length and diameter if you are unable to remove the clog or you find it is dry or cracked and susceptible to leaking gas.
4. Dirty Carburetor
The carburetor regulates the amount of gas that gets mixed with air to create combustion in the cylinder so your Cub Cadet snowblower will start and continue to run.
It is common for old fuel to gum the carburetor and causes it to stop functioning correctly. Deposits left behind can clog the fuel jet or freeze up the small components used to allow gas to move through the carburetor.
When you have checked the fuel system and found a fuel restriction in the carburetor, the carburetor will need to be cleaned.
This may sound complicated, but it really is not if you are mechanically inclined and don’t mind working with small parts.
If you aren’t very mechanical or you just don’t want to mess around with cleaning your carburetor, you can have your local snowblower dealership or small engine mechanic clean, repair, or replace it.
12 Steps to Identify and Clean a Cub Cadet Carburetor
- Spray carb cleaner to minimize carbon buildup. Spray some carb cleaner in the air intake. Start the engine to see if it will run. If the snowblower fires up and still won’t stay running, then we need to get inside the carburetor.
- Gather pliers, screwdrivers, sockets, and ratchets so you don’t destroy parts while taking the carburetor apart.
- Take a photo for reassembly. These days most people have a handy camera on their phones. It’s a very good idea to take a picture of the carburetor so you can refer to it if you don’t remember how to reassemble it after tearing it apart.
You will want to make sure you get a photo showing how the linkage and springs go back on the carburetor.
- Remove the throttle cable and choke cable if your snowblower has one.
- Undo the filter housing and nuts or screws that hold the carburetor.
- Slowly remove the springs so you don’t stretch them out too much. You may have to twist the carb a bit to get the springs off. Also, watch the gasket at this point so you don’t tear it. This is the gasket located between the engine block and the carburetor.
- Remove the bottom screw from the float bowl. The float bowl is where gasoline is stored inside the carburetor. It should have gas in it so have a rag ready to catch the gas.
- Remove the bowl being careful to not damage the o-ring around it. Caution: Do not get any carb cleaner or any other chemical on the o-ring. It will stretch out and you won’t be able to reuse it.
- Inspect the stem for clogged holes. This stem hangs down from the center of the carburetor and has holes in it. If these holes get plugged from old fuel it will not draw fuel up to the jet.
If the holds are plugged, take a thick wire to clean them out. It’s easier to see what you’re doing if you use a flashlight. Once you get the holes clean you can rinse them with carb cleaner.
- Inspect the carburetor for hard crusty white buildup. This white buildup is fuel additives including ethanol. You need to try to get as much of the white power material out as you can. It’s nearly impossible to get it all out.
- Reassemble the carburetor now that the carb is clean. Put it back together in the reverse order you took it apart. Remember to refer to the photo you took of the carburetor when reassembling so all parts are reinstalled in the right places.
- Add fresh fuel that contains and fuel stabilizer before you start the snowblower. Pour the fuel into the tank and give it a chance to fill the bowl of the carburetor.
Start your engine. If you are starting with a pull cord, give the rope a yank. It may not start on the first pull, but it should start after several pulls and continue to run.
5. Too Much Oil
When there is too much engine oil in your Cub Cadet snowblower, the engine may begin to run terribly and shut down. Too much engine oil can get up to your spark plug, into your cylinder, and hydro lock your engine.
- 4-cycle engine: Correct the engine oil level by draining a little oil.
- 2-cycle engine: Running more oil in the gas-to-oil mix required by your engine must be corrected. Drain the fuel and fill it with the correct gas-to-oil mix for your Cub Cadet.
6. Too Little Oil
Having too little engine oil in your Cub Cadet snowblower can cause the engine to shut down and potentially damage it. Without the proper lubrication, the internal engine components will fail to move freely.
If you run your engine with low engine oil, it is likely you have damaged the engine, and correcting the engine oil level will not help.
You should have a small engine mechanic look at the to determine whether it can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced.
- 4-cycle engine: You can attempt to correct the engine oil level, but if the snowblower shut off because of a lack of oil, there is most likely some engine damage.
- 2-cycle engine: Straight gas runs extremely dry through the engine causing it to seize up when the gas is not mixed with a good 2-cycle engine oil.
7. Bad Fuel Cap
The fuel tank must be able to vent or it will form a vacuum keeping fuel from leaving the tank. You will find your fuel tank vent located in the fuel cap.
A plugged vent in the fuel cap will keep fuel from getting to the engine and will cause your snowblower to quit.
To determine whether the fuel cap is your problem, remove the fuel cap and start your snowblower. If it starts and the engine runs fine, the cap is probably the issue.
To further confirm this, reinstall the fuel cap while allowing the snowblower to continue to run to replicate the problem where the snowblower shuts down. If it does, it’s time to purchase and install a new fuel cap.
Where is the Air Filter on My Cub Cadet Snowblower?
So you’re looking for an air filter on your snowblower. Well, you’re not going to find one. Your Cub Cadet snowblower does not have an air filter because it is designed to be used in the winter season when the conditions are not dusty.
Another reason why your Cub Cadet won’t use an air filter is that the filter will likely develop a buildup of water and ice that restricts airflow. It would just start running sluggish and shut off due to a lack of air.
Still Having Problems with Your Cub Cadet Snowblower?
When you own a snowblower long enough, you are going to run into several issues with it. Things like dying, not starting, or the auger not moving are just a few items you may encounter.
I have put together a guide to help you quickly reference things that can cause these problems. You can find it at “Common Cub Cadet Snowblower Problems and Solutions“.
If you encounter a problem that is bigger than you feel comfortable troubleshooting, contact your nearest Cub Cadet dealer for assistance.