Toro 828 Snow blower won't shift when below freezing

Link27September 17, 2011

I can't figure out why my snow blower's transmission won't shift when it's below freezing.. i have to place a heat lamp directly under the transmission pan for at least half hour, and play with the shift knob, until it loosens up.. the colder it is the worse it is.. anyone know a fix? the manual doesn't cover trouble shooting - thanks, Link

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another symptom: even if left in neutral, the wheels will not roll freely.. they're seized up as well as the transmission gear shift.. pushing and pulling i.e. forcibly rolling back and forth as it thaws, also helps to loosen things up as well.. when it warms up, it's great!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 6:07PM
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Have you inspected the drive axle and friction disc axle for proper lubrication . Some penetrating oil followed by WD-40 will loosen it up .

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 12:33PM
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Which 828 do you have? Model 38xxx? The powershift had a transmission, others had a friction drive.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 2:15PM
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hello! it's the powershift, model 38570.. i can't see any way to check the fluid level or add to it.. fyi: it does have a slight coating of fluid all over the transmission case.. not because it's leaking, rather it's seams to be a typical trans fluid seepage over the years.. i'm getting ready to disassemble the entire chassis, to get a better look.. any thoughts?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 6:06PM
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one possible reason for it not leaking is that it is empty. Speaking generically, I only know about old Ariens and not very much of that. Make sure the shift hardware is moving freely too.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 8:36PM
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Very nice thrower indeed. These are incredible machines. In a past life, I worked at a Toro dealer- but since have forgotten much about these. I'm not in snow country anymore. But I do remember there being either a service bulletin or directive from service school pertaining to cables freezing up on these. The thing is, I don't recall if it affected shifting or the power shift feature. A cooperative Toro dealer would be a great help. These were the days of the paper manuals! Toro also generously provides service manuals for free on their site on these and many other builds through their main website. andyma's point about lube should be considered. The lube info should be contained in the manual. Keep us posted!

Here is a link that might be useful: Toro parts and manuals

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 11:26AM
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thanks for the input guys.. tom, i have the pdf manual - it covers everything but the trans. shift hardware moves freely (in spring, summer and fall) i think a call to a toro service center is the next move..

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 6:19AM
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I have found that Dextron Auto Trans fluid works well for cable anti freezing protection . Also can you check to ensure proper transmission fluid levels on your unit .

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 12:14PM
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As always, lots of good info/suggestions here. FWIW, I once lived in Oswego, NY right on the east coast of Lake Ontario, we got it all, lake effect snow, and lots of it. What I discovered was that almost all snow blowers share a common failure below freezing. When you blow snow, moisture, be it from the snow/ice on the hot engine or trans or snow melt from salt brought into driveway or on sidewalks gets into places and freezes. This pretty much screws up everything. particuarly the cables when water gets inside and freezes. I found that periodically putting the machine somewhere above freezing overnight melted everything. Liberal applications of WD-40 (water disperal) helps. Another common issue is the feeder and impeller freeze and belts get burned. A simple 60Watt trouble light down the chute overcomes this. Perhaps a hair dryer on low directed underneath-under supervision, not left on would be useful.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 12:43PM
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Is the trans a Peerless box? I don't remember. Model tag on the trans?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 11:17PM
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I had this issue with a 624, and the problem was water in the transmission box. I brought this up with the place I purchased it from, and was told that "an employee at Toro had sabotaged a lot of transmissions with water when he found out it was his last day". I suspect this was not true, as the area the blowers were stored in got severely flooded the day before I bought the unit. They said they had moved the blowers before that, but who knows.

Anyways my solution was to eventually open the tranny up and change the grease in it. I did a temporary fix by removing the old grease and "boiling" it until no more water steam came out. I did this out in my garage with the doors open. Then I returned the grease to the tranny case. The temp fix ran for the rest of season.

My symptoms were the exact same as the OP;

Hard shifting when below freezing;
Would not go into reverse until the blower was used for 10 minutes or so;

Not good news, but it is fixable by the end user.

- Techowl -

    Bookmark   November 8, 2014 at 2:53PM
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