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Last year I got a snowblower. It makes me happy, or at least happier than shoveling. It's a two-stage unit, which is awesome in its awesomeness: the front stage works as an auger to chop up the snow and feed it to the second stage, it runs fairly slowly but powerfully. The second stage is farther back, and spins really fast to throw the snow far, far away, or at least far enough to get it out of the way.

Unfortunately, there are things that happen sometimes that need work. The front stage auger has four pieces that rotate, and they are coupled to the driveshaft with shear pins. A shear pin is like a bolt that's designed to shear off if there's too much pressure applied sideways.



If something gets caught in the augers (like a section of 2x4 that was buried under the snow, or a garden hose), the shear pin for that auger snaps and that auger stops turning. It keeps from jamming the engine. Usually.

I've had to replace several shear pins. It's pretty normal to go through a bunch of 'em in a season. Unfortunately, one of my augers managed to jam against the side of the housing, and I can't move it without taking it apart. I can still use the snowblower, it just means I have to go a little bit slower.

The second bit is the electric starter. This is one of those features that you don't miss until it's gone-- and last night the started wouldn't engage. I'm guessing that a spring broke, but I don't know for sure until I get it apart.

Neither of these things can I fix in the cold, which means I'll have to take the snowblower inside the house and into the basement, or possibly figure out a way to heat the guest cabin.

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