Troubleshooting a Honda HS520 Snowblower

Honda logoThough designed with one of the best engines in the business and with some of the most durable materials available, even the Honda HS520 snowblower suffers from a few problems now and then. Most of these issues can be attributed to quick oversights made by the equipment’s operator, or a distinct shortage of fluids like gas or engine oil. By correcting these common problems, the equipment is likely to start without incident and operate with great efficiency.

A Quick Safety Disclaimer When Troubleshooting

Though troubleshooting virtually requires using the engine and attempting to get the equipment running, operators should still play it safe when working through common problems. Conduct troubleshooting in an open area and on a flat, solid surface. Don’t troubleshoot indoors under any circumstances, and be sure to wear protective clothing and eyewear in case of airborne debris lodged in the equipment. Conduct troubleshooting only when the engine is off and warm, rather than when it’s hot and likely to cause burns or sparks.

With that in mind, here’s how Honda’s HS520 owners can troubleshoot some of the most common problems that affect this particular model.

Problem: The Snowblower’s Electric Starter Fails to Operate Properly

Possible Solutions:

The Honda snowblower’s starter is generally heavily dependent on a functional wall outlet and a power cord that hasn’t been affected by years of wear and tear. The easiest potential solution for a non-working starter is simply to try another electrical outlet. This will test whether or not the power cord itself is faulty. If the new outlet produces the same result, replace the electric starter’s power cord with a new, OEM cord from Honda and try again.

Problem: The Starter Operates Perfect, But the Engine Doesn’t Start

Possible Solutions:

First and foremost, check that the snowblower’s fuel valve is set to “on.” If the fuel valve is turned off, it will close off the gas line and the engine will have no fuel source at all. Alternatively, equipment owners should check the spark plug cap and make sure that it’s securely in place. The spark plug may also be causing problems due to an improper spark plug gap or a gap that has become encrusted with carbon deposits.

Old fuel may also be to blame for this particular problem. If the snowblower is just coming out of storage, or if fuel has been unused for most of a mild winter, simply drain old fuel from the equipment and try again after new fuel has been added.

Problem: The Engine Works Perfectly, But the Snowblower Itself Does Not Operate

Possible Solutions:

The most common solution to this problem is to check and likely replace the auger paddles. If they’re excessively worn, the snowblower simply won’t be able to move snow and disperse it appropriately. The auger may also be causing problems due to a worn auger belt, or a belt that has come loose from the pulleys inside the equipment. Check this before continuing.

Other solutions to this problem include checking whether or not the auger clutch lever is engaged and whether the drive clutch lever’s free play is excessive during engine operation. If either of these conditions exists, make quick adjustments before trying again.

Problem: The Engine is Suffering from Low Power

A low-powered engine can be caused by a large number of common oversights and mistakes, including all of the following reasons:

– Moving the equipment too fast, especially in deeper accumulations, which overwhelms the engine.

– Wetter and stickier snow overloads and chokes the engine.

– Stale fuel or spark plug issues prohibit the engine from operating at full power.

– The choke is set to the wrong position for the task being performed.

Each of these issues can be rectified by making small adjustments to how the equipment is used, including operating at a slower pace and going in a back-and-forth motion over deeper snow accumulations. For fuel and spark plug issues, a quick check of the spark plug’s position or the fuel’s freshness can often solve the problem in a matter of moments.

Problem: The Snow is Not Discharging from the Snowblower Properly

Possible Solutions:

The most common cause of discharge problems is a blocked discharge chute, which can be remedied simply by using the included snow clearing bar to remove any debris from this part of the snowblower. Debris may also be stuck in the auger, preventing it from operating properly.

More serious problems include a broken drive belt or one that has fallen off of the snowblower’s internal pulleys. In some other cases, the snowblower may simply be moving too fast or it may be clearing a swath that’s too wide for the current snow density around the home. Consider going slower, with a narrower swath, to prevent discharge issues.

RalphHelmInc.com Can Help with Common Problems

When the time has come to solve common problems by replacing older pieces of the equipment with Honda OEM parts, RalphHelmInc.com can help. The site’s online parts search tool makes it easy to get the right part based on equipment type, model number, and part number, making compatibility and replacement a breeze.

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3 Responses to Troubleshooting a Honda HS520 Snowblower

  1. J. Kurtz says:

    Snapped the starter cord and need to get into snow blower to replace….the starter coil is inside the blower which makes access difficult…how do I get to the coil…my mental health is at stake so repair instructions would be appreciated as I live in Boston and the next snowstorm could be around the corner.

    • Admin says:

      You did not mention what brand or model of snowblower you have as each one is a little different. Most single stage snowblowers require you to remove the top cover in order to access the engine. Then you need to unbolt the engine from the frame so that you can remove it to repair. You may try YouTube to see if anyone has posted a video on your specific model.- Ralph

  2. Kevin Link says:

    My 520 pops and runs strong for 4 seconds ,then peters out. Put a new plug in today, and also tried the loosened gas cap. Same results?!?

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