Trouble with TORO Snow Blower

I have a problematic 1986 TORO CCR 2000 model 38180 snow blower (thrower). It has always started on the first pull every year. Now this year it is giving me fits.
It had a gas leak around the gas intake hose and the fuel bowl gasket. I fixed both. The TORO has to be the most frustrating machine I have ever worked on - you have to fairly well dismantle the housing to get at any of the innards.
Anyway, now the thing will not start at all. I have tried squirting a little starting fluid into the intake, but the engine will not 'fire'. I changed to a new spark plug - it still will not 'fire'. I removed the new spark plug and connected it back so I could observe whether it 'sparked' when I pulled on the starter rope. It did. I squirted a little starter fluid into the combustion chamber itself, and re-installed the spark plug. It still not 'fire'.
BTW - the key is on.
Anyway, I am wondering. Since the spark plug seems to be 'sparking' okay, why on earth doesn't the starter fluid I squirted into the combustion chamber at least 'fire' the engine, even if only once? Also, would all this happen even if the key is off? IOW, could my problem be that the key-switch is no working? It looks to act to complete a ground circuit. I'm confused.
Thanks
-GECKO
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gecko wrote:

You need three things for it to run. Fuel, in the correct mixture ratio with air, compression, and spark. Does the compression feel normal when you pull the cord? Is the spark strong enough to fire the compressed mixture? The voltage required in the pressurized cylinder is much higher than in free air. At that age it may have points and a condenser, if so, replace and adjust those, they're cheap. Lastly, if you are getting too much fuel and flooding it, the starting fluid won't fire. Did you muck up the carburetor adjustment? Depending on the motor, you normally screw in the needle valve fully, being careful not to over tighten and shoulder it, then back it out either 1.5 or 3 turns, start, and adjust from there.
The keyswitch is simple, it grounds the primary of the magneto where it connects to the points in order to kill the ignition. Ground that and no spark, engine shuts off. Open circuit and it can run.
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On Tue, 09 Dec 2008 17:22:41 -0800, James Sweet
Thanks for response. Before I address what you said, I am wondering why the ether starting fluid will not ignite if there is spark (arc) at the spark plug. It just seems to me that regardless of anything else, if there is a spark at the plug (which I think there is), and there is ether, then i should at least get an ignition, if only for an instant. Do you agree? That bothers me the most about all this. I get no ignition whatsoever. The rest, fuel mixture, compression, voltage, flooding, would seem to me to not be involved when I am just dealing with some ether in the combustion chamber. Do you agree?

This could be I guess. But, remember, the ether will not ignite either.

Sure does.

Dunno.
I didn't realize that. I guess this might be.

No. Not that I know of anyway.

I I'll try this if nothing else works today.

I wondered about its function. Will the spark plug 'arc' if the key is off? Just curious - because I think it did.
Thanks again
-GECKO
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On Wed, 10 Dec 2008 05:15:17 -0800 (PST), ransley

Yeh - my brother in upstate NY used it every winter. He moved to Maine and ought a big John Deere and so no longer need this little baby. He gave it to me three years ago, and although we here had little snow since then (in Delaware), I did start and run it successfully each year with no trouble.

The spark plug is new and it gives off a blue arc.

I may have used too much ether I guess. I thought it would at least ignite.
Thanks -GECKO
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Whether gasoline or starting fluid, if you put in too much it will flood and not fire. You need something resembling a stoichiometric mixture of fuel and air for it to burn.
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On Wed, 10 Dec 2008 09:51:11 -0800, James Sweet

I never knew this. Thanks
-GECKO
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If the plug is flooded, no amount of ether is going to light. For 2 reasons - 1) even ether needs adequate oxygen to burn. 20 a wet plug will not spark

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