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echris

Toro 521 Snowthrower restoration

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echris

My neighbor gave me a 1989 Toro 521 a few years back that he had started restoring. He had gotten the entire bucket done, just needed to be assembled, then his brother gave him a newer model. So he gave the unfinished project to me.

The crazy bastage ordered nearly all the decals too!


With winter approaching, I finally remembered (it's been forgotten in the storage area under my house) that I would love to get little beast running in time for the first snow.

When I worked at the WH dealer as a kid, I fell in love with this tiny beasts as well.

Fun fact: Almost every fastener is 1/2". Remember when they knew how to design things for serviceability?

She's greasy and a bit rusty but the power head looks good overall. 

 

 Since the business end is brand new, I'm going to do a full resto on the power head. I started the teardown this afternoon.

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Oh look, a Wheel Horse, how'd that get in the shot? ;)

 

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I usually replace the friction disc automatically, but man, this one looks pretty good. No dry rot, just a bit of wear. I'll probably replace it anyway for ~$25.

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This is the old girl she'll be replacing. A 1972 Ariens. I restored her over 25 years ago, use her every winter and she's still going strong.

Except the left side shoe. Ooops, must've lost that in the last snow storm. lol

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Edited by echris
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ebinmaine

Awesome stuff, these ole machines. 

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echris

I'm glad you chimed in @ebinmaine

While these smaller snowthrowers are fine for my neck of the woods up in snow country they're probably nearly useless.
My driveway is only about 75' long, two cars wide, and we generally only get about one solid whappa' per winter, so as long as I make sure to clear off every 6-8" or so I'm good. 10-12" if it's a light fluffy snow.

The best part is you can easily toss this little machines around, no problem. In big snow country, you need a big machine, and they can be a pain in the butt to move around the shop.

Granted, when we get that rare sloppy wet, heavy snow, I curse my lil machine. Nah, just kidding. ;)

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ebinmaine

We have 2 walk behinds. One is really too big for a gravel drive. Too jumpy. 

The other is near new. Ariens commercial. 

Looking forward to really putting it through its paces in the coming months. 

 

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Bill D

If you want a big snowblower that's easy to turn, try a Toro Powermax.  Their power steering system is the best I have ever seen.  I can throw wet snow 25 feet or more without a problem.  Bill

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echris
1 hour ago, ebinmaine said:

We have 2 walk behinds. One is really too big for a gravel drive. Too jumpy. 

The other is near new. Ariens commercial. 

Looking forward to really putting it through its paces in the coming months. 

 

 

That's gotta be a tough gig. Finding a good snow thrower for a gravel driveway!
Pro-tip: Point the chute away from windows.

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echris
41 minutes ago, Bill D said:

If you want a big snowblower that's easy to turn, try a Toro Powermax.  Their power steering system is the best I have ever seen.  I can throw wet snow 25 feet or more without a problem.  Bill


I meant when the machine is at rest. With the smaller beasts, if you need to move it across your shop you just grab one handlebar and move it.

I learned this lesson back in the day when the shop I worked in started getting in tracked Honda snow blowers. You could barely move them around the shop without starting them.

That's when I learned to love a smaller beastly snowblower.
 

For my place, it does the job 80% of the time no sweat.

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echris

I found some time to do a bit more work on this machine today. I've done about a dozen full tear down and restore of various old machines over the years. Drill presses, table saws, snow throwers, band saws, tractors.

But I haven't done one it probably 10 years.

I remembered today how much I love doing this.

 

I only spent a few hours, but much like seat time on a WH, I remembered how much I love wire wheel time on the grinder.

Yep, I can still clean up a 1/4-20 hex nut without losing too much skin. Ha!

Here's the main drive gear, axle bushings and hardware. All I did was a quick soak and brush in mineral spirits and then a trip around the wire wheel. Looks brand new! I'm not even going to paint the hardware. It looks too good.
MVIMG_20200923_173658.jpg.2ccea07679b9144a5aca3552c5b3a3e9.jpg

 

This is the first few pieces, primed and painted, 2 coats. It's not much, but it's a start and it's really gotten me into this project. :)

Axle shaft, spring, bracket and spacer.

IMG_20200923_173550.jpg.6f50ce4ac82a1e24cb9d66905e430ca7.jpg

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echris

A bit more work on the Toro today. Finally had a chance to go buy some red paint. Things are getting serious now. :D

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I pulled the head off the engine today since I have no idea of its condition. Apparently, I wasted a head gasket.
Clean as a whistle, no noticeable ridge on the cylinder, no wobble on the piston when near TDC. Nice!

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Funny thing about these restore jobs. Most people would see the and pic below and be terrified of even touching it.

Weirdo's like us see this filthy gear-set and get sad. So we pull it apart and soak it in solvents, and wire wheel and sand and paint where paint should be and make it like new.

MVIMG_20200925_171704.jpg.61f97410757ed974ee0ae64a29c07f9b.jpg

And that's what makes us happy. :)

 

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echris

I spent the afternoon working on this project. I didn't expect to get as far as I did today.

The frame almost ready for paint.

 

IMG_20200926_140555.jpg.6948648e7e281e371838f0b5ed3d62d1.jpg

 

I finished the frame and a few other parts.
Hanging from a ladder to cure. ;)

Kind of a crappy pic, but it's nearly mint. I was just going for clean and well protected. It came out way better than I  expected.

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I was kinda tired and ready to call it quits, but decided I'd quickly wire brush the head since it's already off the engine.
Hahaha. I ended up stripping the rest of the engine, cleaning it top to bottom and masked the entire thing off.

 

It's ready for paint tomorrow morning. :happy-jumpyellow:

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I hope you guys realize that this project, as I've come to realize, is just me dusting off my restoration skills, taking inventory of my restoration tools, ( the wire wheel on my grinder is almost shot) and preparing to restore my WH.

 

Pretty sure that's the only reason I'm doing this!

(I'm such a liar, I love this $hit!) :)

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echris

I worked until about 10AM today, all customers seemed happy so I snuck out to the garage to clean and prep a few more pieces.

I guess I quit 10 hours later ;)

I'm about 95% done with the clean/inspect/prep/paint part of this project.
I'm about a week away from receiving parts from Jacks, so that'll be plenty of time to let the paint cure and finish off the last few pieces.
All I have left is to de-rust the chrome handlebars, cleanup the control rods and hopefully talk @Vinylguy into making the one decal I can't get!

1994108389_enginepainted.jpg.ccd090cb521b1251b439b24627a4ea1c.jpg

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echris
Posted (edited)

Finally got back to this tonight after 2 days.

So de-rusting the handlebars. It's a labor of love. :unsure:

They're really bad, but after around two hours of work, well, I'm definitely not going to have to paint them. I will have to keep them waxed though...

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But then there's also this. Oooohhhh, sooo shiny.

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I can't wait to begin engine reassembly, but I'm going to wait a few more days until the rest of the parts get here and the paint cures fully.

Notice the wire harness above, that's the kill switch harness which comes from the factory with a bit of red paint on it.

I toyed around with "what to do", cleaned it, masked the contacts and sprayed part of it red. FACTORY! :D

Edited by echris
Am dumb with words. ;/
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ebinmaine

VERY nice work on that chrome. 

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echris
On 10/1/2020 at 4:29 AM, ebinmaine said:

VERY nice work on that chrome. 

 

Thanks! It's a LOT of work. I've tried a few different things so far, all have about the same affect. White vinegar soak, mineral spirit soak, lemon+salt paste, brass brush, aluminum foil scrubber.

None really appear to be easier than the other, although the chemical reaction from the aluminum foil does appear to help a bit.

I've still got a ton of scrubbing to do.

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ebinmaine
3 hours ago, echris said:

aluminum foil scrubber

There's one I'm not familiar with. 

What's that all about?

 

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echris
4 hours ago, ebinmaine said:

There's one I'm not familiar with. 

What's that all about?

 

Just scrunch up a bit of foil and use it to scrub. There's definitely a chemical reaction of some sort that takes place, though nothing violent. It starts to turn the liquid dark gray almost immediately. I believe it's a reaction between the aluminum and the iron oxide, because it did it whether I used vinegar or lemon/salt.

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echris

The things we do to save a decal. ;)

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Tried to save the escutcheon plate decal today, the only one I can't get. The sheetmetal on the plate was pretty rough. I think I got it though. Paint is currently drying. I think it came out OK.

We'll see tomorrow  when I can fully inspect it after the paint dries.

 

 

 

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echris

Happy with how the escutcheon came out. It's not perfect, but I had to play the game between going for perfection and saving the decal. There's a few defects on the decal, but given how badly the steel was rusted, I'm very pleased.
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Tonight, I finally finished ALL of the pieces for the drive assembly. Every nut, bolt, washer, bracket, etc. All done. Now I have to wait for Jacks to decide to ship my order so I can begin re-assembly. I waiting for at least one part for each sub-assembly. :roll:

 

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:D

 

 

 

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echris

The chrome handle bars are a no-go. They'll need to be painted. I spent way too many hours cleaning them. The first one I did is good enough, better than I expected. With oil/wax it'll be fine.

The second one had me cursing. It was way worse that the first. I started hitting copper and I knew it was time to give up. :(

I'm gonna try the Rust-Oleum chrome paint, but back in the day it always looked like crap. I'll do some tests with the new paint on scrap and if I'm not happy, satin black bars it is.

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ebinmaine

Do a search on Redsquare  or maybe post a topic like who has used chrome paint?

I can't remember who it was or I would put a mention of them right here. Somebody tried it not too long ago and I think the results were better than expected of paints from the past.

 

Also possible that somebody on here May know of a reputable chrome plating facility. 

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echris

I ended up trying out the regular Rust-Oleum chrome paint on Tuesday night. It came out much, much better than expected. I'm sure some of it is because of how many hours I spent trying to get the chrome back, so they were real clean.
They look like a slightly satin chrome. I could have probably gone with a heavier final coat, but I had some crazing on an early coat so I went with several light coats, and a final somewhat heavy coat. Interestingly enough, the can does not specify a re-coat time, which I take to mean do not re-coat.

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I'm still waiting for a bunch of parts from Jacks and then tonight, I couldn't resist anymore.I did a test fit of the drive assembly. I'm feeling kinda proud about how this is coming out so far. :D


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After looking at this pic, I noticed a nasty blob of dirt in one of the drive gears that I missed. That's gotta go. :oops:

 

 

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echris

I received about 50% of my 2 orders from Jacks Small Engines tonight. When I called a few days ago they told me Toro shut down for 4 months. No way of knowing when I'll get the rest of the parts. Like the head bolts. :(


The red hardware on the recoil has to go. Painting it black.

 

 

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:D



 

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ebinmaine

Perhaps another source for the head bolts?

Are they "stretch-to-yield" or a specific size/shape?

 

Maybe run the part number on fleabay?

 

Post the number and I'll check it locally of you like. 

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bds1984

Nice work.  But on a side note, nice Duff beer coozie and Founder's.  

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echris
11 hours ago, ebinmaine said:

Perhaps another source for the head bolts?

Are they "stretch-to-yield" or a specific size/shape?

 

Maybe run the part number on fleabay?

 

Post the number and I'll check it locally of you like. 

 

5 of the 8 heads bolts are on the way as of today. 2 are shorter and the 3rd has a drilled and tapped head for the muffler mounting bolt.


They are stretch bolts, but I would typically reuse them, but these were a pain to remove and the hex on a few was iffy. For the price, replace.

The two shorts are Toro 6021A and the modified screw is Toro 650818

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