My Neglected Toro S-200 Snowblower

My Neglected Toro S-200 Snowblower

About 10 years ago my elderly grandmother moved out of her suburban home and into an apartment. Toro S-200She had to shed all of her outdoor power equipment in the move and the item given to me was a 1979 Toro S-200 Snowblower. It is a 2-stroke fueled beast. I’ve put it through deep snow situations that it really had no business trying to tackle and the best part is that for some reason it just keeps running.

Specifications and Features

  • 20″ wide blow path
  • TECUMSEH AH520 engine
  • 2.5 HP @4100 RPM
  • Champion RJ18YC Spark Plug with .035 gap
  • A/C powered electric start
  • Originally 32:1 mix ratio but I now run 50:1
  • It still runs despite no maintenance

Failure to Maintain

I’m not proud of this but this little blower hasn’t had a lot of love. My old grandma didn’t know how to maintain it and I was a lot younger and dumber when I first got it. It had no manual but it just kept working. It never had the gas drained or stabilized between seasons yet it would start next season. It has only had the spark plug replaced once but not because the original failed, I just thought it might be time. Every October I plug in an extension cord to the electric starter, punch the primer bulb 3 or 4 times, flip the choke, depress the magic starter button, and watch it roar to life. I don’t even top off the tank with fresh fuel and it just keeps on starting. Baffling really.

Toro S-200 console

Console shows the most wear on the machine

Why am I telling you all of this

Reasons for writing this are few in number. One, I was thinking about getting a bigger snow blower this season but wanted to document my current unit and dialog a little about size of snow blowers. Two, to brag a little about how great this little unit is despite having me as its terrible owner. And Three, to hear about your snowblower.

Tell us about your snowblower

Do you have a snowblower? Tell us about it. Tell us what you like about it and what could be better. Tell us about how much snow you get a year. Comment below or write on our Facebook wall.

Video

This isn’t me in the video but it’s exactly how I use mine too. I just push it into the deep snow and it just keeps blowing it out of the way. The difference is though that I still have the electric start module on mine where this guy uses his pull cord. Pretty great machine eh?

About the author

Jeff Williams

Contributing Editor Jeff Williams is a carpenter for a commercial General Contractor specializing in concrete, steel, and wood buildings. Jeff comes from a long line of contractors. His parents started a commercial General Contracting firm many years ago and it has afforded him life-long, hands-on learning opportunities from rough and fine carpentry all the way to structural steel and concrete. Jeff has a Construction Management degree and loves the thrill of coordinating and successfully managing large jobs from start to finish. Inspired by the difficulties sometimes encountered to complete punch lists his motto is, "Work hard until the job is done."

@jeff_williams

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48 Comments

  1. Jeff, I just upgraded from a Montgomery Wards 2 stage to a 22 year old Craftsman Trac-drive. This old snowblower is way under-powered but it will go out in my backyard and clear a spot off for my dogs. The traction it has is unbelievable!
    So you want to get a different snowblower? There are a few things you need to figure out before you head down to the nearest Sears or local snow thrower dealer.

    1. Where do you live? Meaning what is your average snowfall?
    2. Do you get a lot of heavy, wet snow or mainly just light fluffy stuff?
    3. How much area are you going to keep clear? How many cars wide is your drive? How long? Sidewalks? Patio? Backyard for the dogs?
    4. What types of surfaces are you going to keep clean? Cement drive? Blacktop? A new stained concrete drive or beautiful new patio? Gravel, wood deck, a patch of lawn?
    5. Once you have those answers then I suggest you decide if you are looking for the cheapest price, the best value, the best service in your area and/or a combination of all 3.
    I know snow blowers as well as you guys know tools. Stop over at movingsnow.com and I’ll help you decide of the best snowblower for you.

    1. Jeff Williams

      Paul, welcome to TBB. I went and checked out your site a little. You do know your snow blowers. Great to hear that another reader has an affinity for old iron! Do you have a primer on your site for people answering those questions? Like a choose your own adventure style flow to eventually end up at a recommendation? Again, thanks for stopping by!

  2. Tony haworth

    Recently moved to KC from SoCal and figured I needed a snow blower for our first winter here. Picked up a little S200 Toro at an estate sale recently and with snow in the forecast for this weekend decided to see if it runs. First I gassed it up with 32:1 mix fuel and changed the spark plug. I primed it 2-3 times and pulled the choke. You guessed it, the little thing will not fire. Anybody have any ideas or suggestions while the roads are still open?

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Did you check the gas filter?

      1. Randy

        HI Todd,

        Where is the gas filter and what does it look like?

        1. Jeff Williams

          The gas filter (if there is one) will be between the gas tank and the carb right in the fuel line. It is usually a translucent plastic with a small paper filter element inside. This is a consumable, not a repairable. If the gas is old, it should be emptied from the tank, fuel filter replaced, and fresh mixed fuel (50:1) added to the tank.

          While it is years since the original question, priming 2-3 times isn’t nearly enough for a machine that may have been sitting a while. I would prime at a minimum 10 times.

    2. Jeff Williams

      In case you have another storm coming and it still won’t start… 2-3 primes isn’t enough. Even for new 2-stroke equipment (albeit with a smaller prime bulb) 8-10 is the norm. If the line and carb were dry it will take a little bit for gas to get to the motor. Prime it some more, pull it over a bunch of times, pull the plug and see if it has gas on it. You can also check for spark at the same time. Internal Combustion Engines need 4 things to run… Fuel, Air, Spark, and then all those things at the right time. Good luck.

  3. Anthony in CT

    There is a screw connected to the Carb, you carefully unscrew, spray in carb cleaner and put the screw in exactly the way you took out. Helps clean the Carb and release a ball in the Carb that gets gummed up. I tried with mine but only runs with choke on. I likely need to rebuild the Carb…new gas and back on the road again. Look up instructions before removing that screw. You have to do it right.

  4. Howard

    Im working on a Toro S-200 like in top pic . This thing had points so I changed it over to electronic ign. Rebuilt carb. New needle and seat and diaphram. It starts and runs then it start flooding real bad no matter how i adj carb. I have had carb off at least 6x but see nothing wrong. I ran good once. Now it just loads up and starts smoking bad and yes I have the fuel mixed right. Does anyone on here have any ideas. I fix small engines all the time but this one is being a real thorn in my side. Its a real pain someplace else but cant say it on here. haha plz help anyone

    1. Jason

      check the reeds and reed surface. if the reed isn’t shutting all the way or the surface is worn it can do all kinds of different conditions on a two stroke. flip the reed if it looks a little bowed out.

    2. ken

      chk the gasket on the bottom of the carb where the primer line goes , there is 4 torx screws remove and take out the 2 gaskets keep them stuck together , remove needle valve with 9/32 socket blow out any debris reasemble , and flip the gasket so the diaphram isnt always pushing the needle pin . this will ensure no flooding , its easy to put that diaphram in upsidedown . set the high speed needle 1 turn from tight and set low speed screw at 1 1/2 from tight then adjust when warm and running .
      good luck

  5. Ray

    My bother’s next door neighbor gave him a weber grille and the Toro S-200 snow blower. He in turn passed these two items off to me,so I’m thinking I got pretty lucky here. I don’t have a manual, so thanks for putting in all the specs.

  6. I ran my Toro S200 today and took about 3 in of snow off of my drive. I noticed it was struggling when pushing some larger piles. It seemed to not have all of its potential power. I say this because right before it ran out of gas ( it happened twice) it would rev up really high and sound great then die. Any suggestions?

  7. Al DeLago

    Many times these old two stroke snow king motors need to be cleaned well and examined closely. There are several youtube videos on carb settings. No need to over think these as that’s probably the ended up in our possession….Al of Spokane Wa

  8. John S

    What I love about my S-200 it throws really heavy wet snow that clogs snow blowers with chutes. The best thing about the 200 is it has vanes, so no clogs. The worst thing about the 200 is it has vanes, doesn’t throw very far off center. I love clearing the plow in, I pick up the 200 and work my way down through the pile.

    1. Al DeLago

      Summer is a great time to keep an eye out for these gems. Up north here there are an abundance of garage sales and second hand stores.I just got into some MTD throwers and I’m good to go… Actually it always been fun to fiddle with small engines.

  9. Dave VanderMolen

    TORO S200 snow thrower 38130 from 1979 was setting in a barn for 30-years, then given to me. The carburetor rebuild kit came with a new needle valve and seat but no indication of how the seat should be oriented. One end of the seat is flat and the other end has a groove in it. Should the grooved end point toward the needle valve or away from it???

    1. Jeff Williams

      EReplacementParts has the whole parts fiche including the carb assembly. Good luck! http://www.ereplacementparts.com/toro-38130-000000100150001980-snowthrower-parts-c-121776_121777_122196.html

      1. Dave VanderMolen

        Well, yes I can see the carb assembly and even identify the little round seat that appears to be item #20. but again it does not have enough detail to show if the grooved side of the seat should face the needle or should it face away from the needle???

        1. Jeff Williams

          Dave, a neighbor gave me a free 2-stage blower so I in turn put the S-200 on the curb with a free sign on it. I’m sorry I can’t take it apart to help figure out which way the grooves go. If you figure it out, post back in case others are in this same predicament.

    2. Al DeLago

      To be sure if the needle isn’t bent theres no nee to replace it. Garbage pick or forgotten finds usually will start right up..

  10. George Bollenbacher

    One thing I just noticed on my S-200, the idler pulley behind the black cover on the left (as you are standing where you would run the machine) can freeze up over time. Taking off the cover and lubricating the pulley makes a world of difference.

    1. Jeff Williams

      Great Tip!

  11. Bryan Coufalik

    I have the same Toro S-200 snow blower I bought at an estate sail 20 years ago. I beat the crap out of that snow blower and it keeps running. I bought it for 15.00. At the time it wouldn’t start. I put fresh gas in it and mix my gas with no smoke two stroke. I tried to use the electric start last year and finally nothing happened. Starter is dead, not sure which part of the starter is broke. Luckily, after a couple of primes the pull cord will fire it right over. I recently hit a garage sale and bought a newer looking mud yard machine. It ran when I pulled on it but I’m tentative about getting rid of old faithful. The wife wants me to mak a decision. I love that old toro.

  12. Toro really does make excellent snow blowers, I was also lucky to pick up a 10 year old model at a garage sale for $5!

    It looked a little beat up at the time but once I got it home and cleaned it up she started right up.

    I have a smaller electric blower that I use in the backyard but my new (old) Toro is my main blower!

    1. FRED A. HARTKE, JR.

      What is your spark plug gap on a s-200 and what is number in ounces of oil in 50:1 mixture? I’ve got three Toro S-200 SNOW BLOWERS, one is over or about 40 years old. I think they have all just about come to the last round up. THANKS IF YOU ANSWER WHEN YOU READ THIS, FRED A. HARTKE, JR. I’M 85 AND STILL RUNNING GOOD LIKE I WANT AT LEAST ONE BLOWER TO RUN FOR AWHILE LONGER, FRED A. HARTKE, JR.

      1. Jeff Williams

        2.6 oz in 1 gallon. You can buy it in 2.6 oz cans (small plastic jugs). As for plug gap, .035.

  13. Dave

    I’ve got the Toro S200 pull start. My grandfather bought it in the mid 70’s, to blow snow off of his roof. My dad used it, and gave it to me when I got married. This little guy just keeps blowing snow! every year, I have to clean the carb and adjust the choke screws, but then it fires up and runs like a champ! I just can’t find a reason to replace it!

  14. Dave VanderMolen

    My Toro S200 has dropped to zero compression. Anyone know where to find replacement rings for this little snow thrower?

    1. Jeff Williams

      EReplacementParts.com has them. These are the ones for my old one. Be sure you have your model and serial number when you visit the site. Shipping is around $7 so a local shop will probably be cheaper.

      https://www.ereplacementparts.com/ring-set-p-689479.html

  15. Al DeLago

    Ebay has alot of stuff as well

  16. Every now and then an American company actually makes something that is far better than they planned for. Such are the Toro 2-200 snow throwers. These things are remarkable! People throw them in the rubbish like they were newspapers and I pick them up and can get 90% of them up and running. I love these things. There are bigger, more powerful and much more expensive units out there but 90% of the time this dinky thing is all you really need! Maybe you’ll have to go out a little more often if it’s really coming down, but they throw the snow as fast as you can push them! Definitely worth their weight in gold! (They’re light) They als fit in your trunk and can be easily hauled around! Luv em!

  17. John Manoulian Jr.

    I just got rid of a 1970-1972 S-200 , Aprox. 45 years old.
    I put mine thru everything imaginable and then some .
    I never stayed true to the fuel/oil ratio,I got close enough.
    I replaced the scraper only once.
    The sprocket wore out ,so I replaced it with one from a bicycle,worked perfectly.
    The handle broke from all the years of use ,so I used piece of copper pipe
    3/4″ X 4″ scrap, I stradled the break and pop riveted in place, exact fit.
    I live in Dearborn Michigan, we get our fair share of snow ,both dry and fluffy along with the wet heavy crap.

    Some of the sidewalks that I cleared were 6 feet wide by 220 feet long,
    not to mention doing my neighbors on both sides of me.

    One more thing comes to mind ,The pull rope broke on me ,I could have replaced it with a new one,what I did was just use what was left,that gave me about 15″ of pull starting at the engine cover. I would prime it 3 or 4 times give it full choke ,it never failed to start on more than Two pulls.
    I haven’t stopped to figure out how many HOURS are on that little engine
    but I know one thing the numbers would be staggering. Like others have said ,these thing are truly special.

    1. Jeff Williams

      Thanks for sharing, John. They definitely are workhorses that just won’t quit. Special little machines, for sure.

  18. John Manoulian Jr.

    An addition to my earlier post.
    At seasons end ,besides eliminating the fuel from the tank and carb,I fog the engine . I pull the spark plug ,squirt some motor oil into chamber ,replace the plug and give it a few yanks on the starter rope ,this protects all moving parts with a film .

  19. Thanks for sharing your experience. Sometimes older machines last longer than new ones. Sounds like you’ve been really lucky too 🙂

    1. Jeff Williams

      You’re right, Eli. I was pretty lucky. 2 strokes can be pretty forgiving too as the oil helps preserve the fuel for storage especially if non-oxy gas is used in the first place.

  20. Greg Smith

    I agree with all of you in that the Toro S-200 is a fine example of excellence in simplicity. The long lasting dependability of a power tool that can be neglected yet continue to perform from year to year speaks volumes.

    My parents had purchased toro S-200 Electric Start new back in 1978 . Living in Indianapolis, IN my father thought this would be adequate for our “normal” snow fall. Little did we know that winter we experienced a blizzard, with an overnight snowfall of over 20″ and drifting in excess of 36′-48″ in areas around the house and driveway. The newly purchased Toro S-200 handled it in stride, didn’t miss a beat. Even the drifts in the breezeway and by the doorways were able to be whittled away by lifting the snow thrower and chopping it down to ground level. (Our neighbor’s two stage rotary snow blower couldn’t even make a pass through without getting bogged down.) a
    Years of use clearing our driveway, sidewalk and even our elevated sun deck with no problems what so ever. My parents had opted for the electric start model, due to my dad having a bad back, they assumed it would be easier to start. Upon my parents moving into a retirement community, my older sister acquired the snow thrower. I later married and got a house, blah, blah, blah. Years later, I found and purchased a used Toro S-200 (Pull Start Model) for under $100. (Worth every penny I might add.) I have used this same snow thrower for over 30 years now.

  21. Ann Trimmer

    I too own an S 200, which has run since bought new with zero maintenance. I too run it using the new sort of mix that does say 50:1. Use the same mix for my weed wacker. Thought this might finally be the year, 2019 when it did not start, but after on my second trip out to start it, it did start!
    Blew 5 inches of heavy wet snow. The forward position works better than the side ones.

  22. al

    Yay Go old school toro’s

  23. Hello all! I got my Toro S200 from a yard sale. It’s got the electric start feature. I have put fresh gas mixture in it. Won’t start with or without the electric start. I’ve never used one of these and know nothing about small motors, so I don’t even know where the spark plugs and, fuel line filter etc. are, but I have read ALL of the posts here. So I know some steps to take next. Right now, my question
    is this:
    The choke switch seems to have 2 different positions to the right of upright position, and then also is able to be turned a little past and rebound back, which I guess might be like revving it up, possibly? So I want to know if the switch is supposed to have multiple positions, since no one has mentioned it? AND If so, which one should I use for cold start?

    And may I add, it’s dark, it’s cold, and I am not mechanically inclined. So, beyond attempting to follow the starting sequence again, and priming it 10 times this time, that’s about all I’m doing tonight. But if it doesn’t start, would my next step be to replace sparkplug? Thanks!

    1. Jeff Williams

      I’d dump out the old gas and replace it with fresh, non-oxygenated (no ethanol) unleaded mixed 50:1 with 2-stroke oil. Some things you can check is if the spark plug is wet after you crank it over for a bit. That will tell you if you’re getting fuel into the cylinder.

      Chokes usually have a half and full choke. If the machine is cold full choke until it fires, then half until it runs.

  24. Ok, so it started to crank, but wouldn’t quite turn over. Then a racket occurred. Found a very dried up looking piece of yellow plastic in pieces, looks almost like it had a starburst design on it at one time, and a triangular shaped piece of wire underneath on the ground when I turned it over. Anyone know What

  25. Oh I just looked up some parts and it has to be parts of the starter gear. As previously stated, I have zero knowledge of snowblowers, so other than buying replacement part I have no idea how to proceed. Is this a job for a novice to attempt?

  26. Robert Suelter

    Hi all, great forum. I have a 30 year old S-200 that runs great. The question that I have is that if I store the machine in the basement where it is warm and take it outside, the electric start works fine. Push the button and she turns right over. If it has sat outside in the cold, whether overnight or after use, when the electric start button is pushed, nothing happens. No buzz, no click, no hum….nothing. But, take the unit back inside to warm up and plug it back in and the electric start works great. I have seen a few posts online with the same problem but no official answer as to what could be wrong. All I know of these is that 120 volts goes into a rectifier bridge, is converted to DC voltage to turn the starter motor. My starter motor is fine. The start button is fine, and no loose or cracked wires (that I can see) Any ideas? Thanks in advance

  27. Robert Suelter

    I have a 30 year old Toro S200. The problem that I have is that the electric starter will not operate when it is cold. If I store the machine in the basement where it is warm, I take it outside plug the extension cord into it, push the start button and it turns right over and starts right up. If the unit is stored outside in the garage where it is cold, when the starter button is pushed, nothing happens. No hum, no buzz, no click….nothing. Bring it back inside, let it warm up for a few hours, plug it back in push the start button and it starts fine. Any ideas on what could be wrong? The button is fine, the wiring to the starter motor looks fine. thanks.

    1. Dwayne Robinson

      My Toro electric start quit also. Turned out the actual push button switch was no longer making contact inside the switch. I bypassed the switch and just plug it in to start and unplug to stop. Has worked for me. Good luck.

  28. Robert Suelter

    Ye, I found a new switch on Ebay for 7 bucks. Works great now

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