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Interesting! The steering gear can commonly become loose at a several points. I would check the steering wheel itself, prise off the central plastic cover and make sure the nut underneath is tight. Check the gear at the bottom of the steering wheel shaft, if this gets loose it can jump the gear teeth. Sometimes this is so bad the steering wheel will turn without moving the wheels. Tighten everything and replace any worn parts.
1. Remove the belt cover with a socket wrench. Slide the belt cover off and set it aside.
2. Remove the two belt cover stud bolts with a socket wrench to get to the auger belt guide.
3. Remove the belt guide with a socket wrench.
4. Push down on the belt tensioner pulley with your hand. Remove the old belt and set it aside.
5. Install the new belt and release the belt tensioner pulley to tighten the belt.
6. Re-install the belt guide with a socket wrench and tighten the bolt.
7. Re-install the two belt cover stud bolts and tighten with a socket wrench.
8. Re-install the belt cover and secure it with the cover bolts. Tighten the bolts with a socket wrench.
I pulled the following from a snaper model similar to yours.
The snowthrower has two drive belts, one for the traction
drive-which transmits engine power to the wheels, and
a second for the auger drive-which transmits engine
power to the auger mechanism.
Each of these drive belts are of special construction and
should be replaced only with genuine replacement belts
which match the original equipment belts. These are
available from your dealer.
Traction Drive Belt Replacement I pulled the following from a snapper model similar to yours. Believe it should help.
1. Disconnect spark plug wire and fasten it away from
the spark plug.
2. Remove belt cover. (Located in back of the discharge shute).
3. Pull the traction drive belt idler pulley arm (See
Figure 24) away from the belt to relieve tension, and
slide the belt off the engine pulley.
4. Slip the belt off from around the traction pulley (See
Figure 29) and pull the belt out of the unit between
the auger pulley and the traction pulley (the lower
cover need not be removed for this step).
5. Reverse the procedure to install the new belt. Be
sure there are no twists in the belt, and that the belt is
properly seated in the pulley grooves.
6. Replace the belt cover.
7. Start the unit, and check the traction drive for proper
operation. See "Traction Clutch Cable Adjustment"
for adjustment procedures.
There are also several videos on YouTube on changing snowthrowr belts. (Didn't see one for your blower, but most similar and should provide a good starting reference).
Remove the center dust caps from the rear axles, start the tractor up
and put it in gear and observe the axles, if one of them is spinning
freely inside the wheel, you have lost the 1/4" square key that pins
the wheel to the axle. Replace the key and you can go back to mowing. Hope this helped Tim
im assuming you dont here any grinding, start by tightening the cable ( loosen the cable mounting bolt slide the cable towards the engine, make sure you leave some play in the cable so its doesnt engage constantly and re-tighten ) this is most likely your issue however if you re-test and get grinding you either need new drive gears and wheels, new transmission or possibly both, you said it does something just not powerfully this pretty much rules out your belt, highly doubtful its that worn out and if it came off of a pulley it would do literally nothing, however if you tighten it and the drive is almost normal but still weak you do have a worn drive belt
Raise and support the front of the vehicle, then remove the
passenger side tire and wheel assembly for access to the rear of the
alternator through the wheel well.
Working through the wheel well, unfasten the alternator
brace-to-block bolt, then remove the brace-to-intake nut and the
brace-to-engine stud nut.
Unplug the alternator wiring connector, then remove the battery terminal nut and wire.
Carefully release the serpentine belt tension and remove the belt
from the alternator pulley. Do not allow the tensioner to snap back
into position once the belt is off the pulley.
Loosen the alternator retaining bolts, then support the
alternator and remove the fasteners. Remove the alternator from the
Position the alternator in the vehicle and loosely install the retaining bolts.
On 1994-98 models, tighten the top alternator bolt to 22 ft. lbs. (30 Nm) and the bottom bolt to 32 ft. lbs. (43 Nm).
On 1999-99 models, tighten the rear bolt to 37 ft. lbs. (50 Nm) and the front bolt to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm).
On 1994-98 models, install the alternator brace, then tighten the retaining nut(s) and bolts to 22 ft. lbs. (30 Nm).
On 1999-99 models, install the alternator brace, tighten the
brace-to-alternator and brace-to-intake retainers to 18 ft. lbs. (25
Nm). Tighten the brace-to-engine stud nut to 37 ft. lbs. (50 Nm).
Install the battery terminal wire and tighten the retaining nut, then engage the alternator wiring connector.
Hold the serpentine drive belt tensioner, back off the belt while
slipping the belt over the alternator pulley. Gradually lower the
tensioner into contact with the belt, then check for proper alignment
Connect the negative battery cable.
Fig. : Alternator mounting-4.3L engine
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION (Except 2.2L Engine)
Disconnect the negative battery cable.
Remove the air inlet duct assembly, if necessary.
Carefully relieve the serpentine drive belt tension, then remove
the belt from the alternator pulley. Do not allow the tensioner to snap
back into position once the belt is off the pulley.
Remove the nut retaining the radiator hose brace to the back on the alternator.
If equipped, unfasten the retainers, then remove the brace from the engine and/or the alternator.
Disconnect the battery terminal boot wiring from the back of the alternator, then unplug the regulator wiring connector.
Support the alternator and remove the mounting bolts (usually 2)
from either side of the alternator, then remove the alternator from the
Position the alternator in the vehicle and loosely install using the mounting bolts.
If equipped, loosely install the brace to the engine and/or alternator.
Tighten the left or front alternator retaining bolts to 36 ft.
lbs. (50 Nm), the right or rear alternator bolt to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm),
the brace bolt to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm) and/or the brace nut to 22 ft.
lbs. (30 Nm), as applicable.
Connect and secure the alternator wiring.
Carefully relieve the serpentine drive belt tension and position
the belt over the alternator pulley, then slowly release the tensioner
If equipped, install the air inlet duct assembly.
Connect the negative battery cable.
I hope helps with this. Good luck (remember rated this help).
Jclay, you are in for a little work here partner. On this model the blower is up-front. The dryer is going to have to come apart for you to tighten or replace the blower wheel. The end caps on the consol will pull off. Remove the two screws on each end securing the consol. Flip the consol up. There will be 3 quarter inch screws under the consol, in back, holding the top on. Remove these and the top will slide off, forward. Remove the bottom panel by the blower. Remove the lint filter. Remove the 4 screws attaching the front panel and door to the front of the dryer, remember to unplug the door switch cable. The drum now can be removed after removing the belt. Take the tension off the belt by moving the pulley over. Remember the belt configuration so you can put it back on right. Once the drum is removed you will now be able to get a wrench on the motor shaft itself so you can tighten or replace the wheel. Reverse the above steps and your back in business. Im going to attach a picture of a rear blower system and the way to take it off. Yours is up front but the removal will work the same way. Sometimes you have to cut the old blower wheel off because it's fused on with heat. Your part number for the wheel is 697772. Remember to unplug the dryer during this work..Catriver..post back.