Snow Thrower Pull Starter "Freezes"

I usually start my 50 year old Airens Sno-Thro (Yes, 50 years old) in our garage with its 120 volt electric starter motor, and only use the pull starter if I have to stop the engine outside for some reason like refilling the fuel tank.
With all the snow and below freezing weather we've been having here in the Boston area lately I've been using the blower quite a bit. A couple of times in the past week I needed to use the pull starter while outside and the line pulled and retracted freely but the starter wouldn't engage the flywheel and crank the engine.
I had to schlep the Airens up our sloping driveway back to the garage by hand to use the electric starter, not a task I enjoy.
The next day I tried the pull starter and it engaged fine. The temperature in the garage where the Airens was sitting then was about 40 F.
I figured that there had to be water in the pull starter which froze while I was using the Airens outside in below 20F temperatures. Because outside air is pulled through the starter area when the engine is running the starter wasn't being warmed up by engine heat.
I took the pull starter off today. There were some beads of water sitting inside it.
Right now the pull starter is sitting in our kitchen oven at 170 F drying out. I'll leave it there for a couple of hours, let it cool off and spray some WD-40 on the moving parts before putting it back onto the Airens.
Anyone else had a similar problem with snow blower pull starters "freezing"? Am I on the right track here?
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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On Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 3:33:13 PM UTC-5, Jeff Wisnia wrote:

IDK about freezing, but it's possible. My first thought would be the rewind/engagement mechanism needs some lube.
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Briggs, it is a ball ramp clutch and the grease has gone hard. If it's a Tec, there is a little spring and a "dog plate" that really freeze up easily if they get wet. Look at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHdHsq_uGfQ
to see how the recoil clutch goes together. The clutchcam can also seize (rust) to the "roll pin" that holds it together.
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Or the newer larger tec engine starter clutch that looks like the one here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbM9hJFwnEM

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On Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 8:29:16 PM UTC-6, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That year should be a Tecumseh Sno-King...IIRC the recoil is all die-cast with a single pawl. The die-cast will wear and cause the pawl to hang.
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bob_villa wrote:

Correct Bob, a single pawl. But it looked to me that it moved very smoothly at room temperature.
I'm pretty sure now that the problems I had at below freezing outdoor temps were due to water getting into it and freezing.
Jeff
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On 2/8/2015 8:11 PM, trader_4 wrote:

He's spraying it with some water displacer formula 40, now he needs to lube in addition. Works, for me.
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Ken
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wrote:

problem was the rope pulled out and went back in just fine, but it didn't turn the engine over. The recoil spring is NOT the problem. You can bet the bank on it.
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:
Well, I think 2 hours in the oven likely got rid of any water inside the clutch mechanism. It looked like there was still lube in it but I sprayed in some WD-40 for good luck and put it back on the engine.
I went out for well over an hour snow blowing in temperatures below 20 F this afternoon and tried the pull starter as soon as I was done and stopped the engine. It engaged as it should, so I think the problem is saucered and blowed for now.
I sure wish everything we own lasted as well as that Airens. I bought it used (cheap)from a coworker whose dad had bought it new in '65 but moved to Florida and left the Airens with his son.
It wasn't usable because his dad had cross threaded the spark plug, screwing up the threads in the engine head.
A new head and gasket cost me only about $10 back then, which was probably about the same as a helicoil tap and insert, so I went with the head.
Since then all I've had to "fix" on it weas replacing the drive belt a couple of times and drive disk once plus welding some new steel on the front skids when they wore down after many trips over the driveway.
Jeff
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On Sun, 08 Feb 2015 22:03:15 -0500, Jeff Wisnia

from the late sixties/early seventies - they had a real differential with an adjustable "limited slip" clutch. The old Hahn Snow Giant was more expensive, but you virtually never see one any more.
Some of the early Simplicity/Allis Chalmers units were pretty solid too
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On Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 10:32:58 PM UTC-6, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Gilson was a great beast too!
http://www.gilsonsnowblowers.com/snowrestore/travis_gil35233a_twins.jpg
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Bought my 5 HP Arians Nov of '77, just in time for the blizzard of '78---You had to have lived in New England to appreciate that storm. However, just the other day I had the same problem as you. Went to start the snow blower after sitting overnight in the garage; the throttle and choke were frozen in place. The starter pull cord was loose, no engagement, and no engagement using the electric starter. Used a hair dryer for about 3-4 minutes, and everything loosened up and performed per design intent. Did have to replace the friction drive once and last week replaced all the drive belts (3). Doesn't idle too well but will wait for the season to end and then see if I can clean up the carburetor. Can't complain about the longevity and performance of the Arians product. MLD
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snowmobiles, White farm equipment, Papec power choring and Benelli minibikes as well - also "wonder wheels" -( a motorcycle conversion for snow-mobiles - basically an early version of the Can-Am Roadster.
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