Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday season with friends and family and spent some time on the hardwater. My holiday was pretty unfocused, I spent time most of my time visiting and eating and also welcomed a new niece into the world. I did manage to get out ice fishing a few times around the Whitecourt area, the fishing was slow but the mild weather and company made for great days.
In the flurry of excitement before the holidays I forgot something very important, auger maintenance, and it almost ruined a day of fishing a remote lake. I have a Jiffy Pro4 lite propane ice auger and I’ve owned it since the 2014/15 season. At only 28 lbs it is light, propane burns clean so there is no smell, it’s fairly quiet when drilling and the Jiffy ripper blades cut well. It is for those reasons I still have it because it is a pretty fickle auger to run and maintenance is pretty important.
My pre-season auger maintenance goes like this:
- Oil Change – running propane causes the oil to become milky white very quickly and I end up changing it twice a season. The manufacturer recommends the Jiffy 0W40 four stroke oil but since I have a diesel pickup I have a lot of 0W40 Shell Rotella T6 so I use that.
- Clean foam air filter and breather tube – at the start of the year I will rinse both in warm soapy water being careful not to damage the filter element. I will lightly oil the foam filter with engine oil to catch any dust but this element always stays really clean throughout the year. The crankcase breather tube is usually to blame if the auger starts acting up. Oil will accumulate in the tube and the auger will start to stall or have trouble starting again. I usually pull the tube off, blow it out and reinstall to fix performance.
- Change spark plug – I change the plug every year. Some see this as an unnecessary step and they are probably right but I have had issues in the past and the last thing I want is for my auger to stop working when I would rather be fishing. It’s also a great idea to keep a spare plug with you and the tools needed to change it.
- Check and adjust valve lash – I usually just check the valve lash and adjust if necessary. It is very simple to do and all you need are some feeler gauges and the proper lash specification.
- Lubricate throttle cable – I use WD-40 silicone lubricant for almost everything to do with plastic parts. Be sure to check the temperature rating of whatever lubricant you decide to use.
- Sharpen ripper blade and centerpoint – I don’t use a file to sharpen my blades as they can remove a lot of material quickly and will mess up your blade angle. I typically use a whetstone to sharpen and am careful to maintain the original blade angles.
Don’t forget to check your manufactures owners manual for proper maintenance as all augers are different. There is a channel on YouTube dedicated to Jiffy drills and I highly recommend you check it out below. If you also have a propane auger I would love to hear your comments on it below!
Jiffy Ice Drills: