Sears/Murray snowblower - Accessing spark plug on Briggs&Stratton engine


I have a two year old Sears Craftsman (Murray) snow blower with a 7.5 HP Briggs and Stratton OHV engine. The instructions tell you how to remove the "snow hood," which is fairly obvious, and what the spark gap should be. However it doesn't give any hints for actually getting at the spark plug.
The spark plug is at an angle underneath the snow hood, behind the carburetor. The rubber wire boot has a rubber extension to pull off. I've pulled it as hard as a I dare (it stretches as you pull), but I can't get it off. Unfortunately you just can't get your hands in there because the spark plug isn't directly under the snow hood access and the carburetor is in the way.
Does anyone have any advice for removing the rubber boot on these engines?
Another question, the engine seems to run better with one click of choke. The unit has had so little use (it's only used for at most 45 minutes for a snow storm, and we only have had so many of those) that I'm surprised by that, usually needing choke is caused by junk build-up in the carb. Since it is a snow blower, there is no air filter and I always use STA-BIL in my gasoline. I'm not looking forward to getting at the carburetor.
Thanks!
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Jeff Taylor wrote:

I think you just need to dare more, ie pull harder, while rotating it slightly, if possible. It's normal for these to sometimes stretch, but every one I've seen eventually pops off. If you have to, you can use pliers, but grab it as high up as possible, as you risk cracking the insulator. But, worse case, you're gonna put a new plug in anyhow.

Not sure exactly what "seems to run better" means. If I had a choice between it running a little rough with the choke off, I'd take that over leaving the choke partly closed, which is likely going to lead to fouling. If it runs worse than a little rough, then something is wrong, and if some gumout doesn't solve it, then I'd take it in for service.
I have a 10 year old Craftsman 5HP and haven't done anything to it other than change the oil. I run mine dry at the end of each season, which I think is preferable for a snowblower, which has a very long sit and wait period.
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Jeff Taylor wrote: Since it is a snow blower, there is no air filter and I

Why is there no air filter? What does blowing snow have to do with that? The filters catch dust and crud in the air, and that can happen in winter as well as other times of the year (though dirt dust would be pretty well subdued, I would imagine ;<) )
I can't recall ANY engine without an air filter.
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My snowblower with tecumseh has no filter
snipped-for-privacy@cox.net wrote:

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But SNOW dust isn't..an exposed small filter would probably pack solid and freeze in no time...

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Rick wrote:

Good point. My Craftsman doesn't have one either. I just thought it was because they figured that when snow is around, there isn't likely to be dust in the air, so one isn't needed. But now I think your idea may be the real reason.
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Snow (water) gets sucked into the filter and clogs it. Very few have filters on them because of that reason. The ones that do run by the exhaust manifold to get some heat from the exhaust.
Tom
snipped-for-privacy@cox.net wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Actually, no snow thrower has an air filter, and all snow throwers have "heaters". The box around the carburetor is there to trap heat from the exhaust (muffler surface) and pre-heat the air entering the carburetor. Winter air IS cleaner, and the filter would plug with snow. So no filter is needed. And, quite frankly, the Tecumseh engines on most snow throwers last a hell of a lot longer than Tecumseh lawn mower and tractor engines. First, they run in cleaner environments, no less dirt abrasion. Second, they run much cooler, so even when people don't run them full speed to get full cooling, the colder environment keeps them running cool enough. I see many many many thirty and even forty year old Tecumseh snow king engines every year. But I haven't seen even a twenty-five year old Tecumseh mower engine recently. Of course, the last few years we have hardly even used the snow throwers, have we...?
I'm even considering getting an old Ariens with a Tecumseh H45B running, just to see if it would win the Tecumseh Oldest Snow Thrower contest. It is in relatively good shape, but hasn't been run in a few years. The old updraft Zenith carburetor is probably gummed badly, and there haven't been any parts available for those in years. I found it in the back of a buddy's storage garage.
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wrote:

Do it! Sounds like fun. I'm hoping to run my Honda HS520 quite a bit this year as it worked only twice last winter. It has to earn its keep!
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