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Snowblower (536.886191) impeller and auger turn even when handle not engaged, chewing up auger belts

I have a 8.5 HP 26-inch Craftsman 2-stage snowblower (536.886191).

When I start it, the impeller and auger are spinning, even with the lever not down.

I changed the auger drive belt and adjusted the pulley wheel position so there is no tension when not engaged, and the proper tension when engaged.

This ends up causing my belt to fail because it gets really hot from the belt guide that hits the bottom wheel when the auger lever is not engaged. Everything seems to work fine when the auger lever is despressed, but I think the source of my belt problems is occurring when the auger lever is NOT depressed.

Aren't both the impeller and auger supposed to stop turning when the auger lever is not depressed?

What part(s) might be failing to stop the auger and impeller when the lever is not engaged?

Craftsman , Electric Snowblowers , Snow Removal Equipment
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3 Answers from these members:
Manage My Life
This is one crazy winter. we seem to be getting hit every other day. I'm sorry about the difficulties that you are experiencing with your snow blower. I did some research at and found an expert answer to a similar question that may assist you until your expert can respond. I have attached the link below. If you would like assistance from a qualified technician I have also attached a link to I hope these links will help until your expert can respond.
by Manage My Life
February 1st, 2011
Answered in 10 minutes
0 votes
Manage My Life
Thanks - though that answer had to do with the auger NOT turning - mine is turning, and won't stop.
by Manage My Life
February 1st, 2011
Answered in 1 hours
0 votes
Sam A
Thank you for your question.

I can understand your dilemma with the belt driving the auger when not engaged.

You are correct in that the auger drive should not be turning with out the lever engaged.

Looking at the diagram I am wondering if the return spring on the idler drive belt assemble is not pulling the pulley away from the belt far enough in the non-driving position.

If you have the parts diagram I believe it is part key# 145. It is the spring you have to overcome when activating the auger with the handle.

I would also check the idler pulley adjustment position. There should be different locations for the idler pulley to set in.

I think you are looking in the right area and I am confident you will resolve this issue.

Thank you for using Manage My Life.
by Sam A Earned 21,915 community points in Craftsman
February 2nd, 2011
Answered in 22 hours
0 votes
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