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Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/16/2020 3:28 PM

Well, my old string trimmer seems to be dead. It was a decent straight shaft model - not a high end unit, but it did the job. Now it'll barely idle and it takes forever to get the rpms up. It's also hard to start.

So, I bought a cheap curved shaft Bolens string trimmer. This is my first curved shaft trimmer - I don't know if it's the smaller motor or the curved shaft, but it's definitely not as good of a trimmer. My questions is about starting the new trimmer. Here's the procedure - per the manual.

1. Push the prime bulb

2. Move the choke lever to the top (closed - richest)

3. Pull the cord two times

4. Move the choke lever to the middle

5. Pull the cord

6. As soon as it starts, move the choke lever to the bottom (open - leanest)

I've never owned a gas powered device that was so complicated to start. The old string trimmer would start with just steps 1, 2 then 5. I'd move the choke lever to the middle position to do my string trimming - the motor would die with the choke fully open.

Has anyone ever had a gas 2 stroke that's this complicated to start?

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#1

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/16/2020 3:35 PM

Well there's your problem, you bought a 2 stroke...take it back and get a 4 stroke....better yet clean the carburetor on the old one....

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/17/2020 4:50 AM

Don't even bother cleaning and rekitting the old carb for the same money as the kit a replacement carb for your old unit can be bought from ebay.

Kit price 8$ new carb delivered 9-10$ and yes they are made in China but the stihl carb on my 390 says stihl one cover and made in China on the other cover.

Pick the carb for the cc, and mountings, bolt it on, connect fuel lines and it will start and likely need no adjustment. Buy a 4 stroke, yeah right who has that sort of money to swat a few weeds unless you daddy is a dealer.

The priming and starting detailed is common, Pump the bulb to fill carb, choke the motor to get fuel in crankcase, not too much else it will flood the plug, start on richer mix to get it warm and then full air to scream its little guts out.

Every small engine < 36cc I have is two stroke because they are light and easy to fix.

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#11
In reply to #5

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/20/2020 1:14 AM

I had no idea a carb is so cheap. I'll look into it and I'm thinking it's best to fix the old string trimmer. I'll leave the new one at my rental house for my tenants!

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#10
In reply to #1

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/20/2020 1:12 AM

I should've cleaned the carb. The old Homelite is a much better string trimmer and the straight shaft is a little longer and feels more responsive to throttle input.

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#2

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/16/2020 8:20 PM

You read the manual??????

Every 2 stroke motor has a personality. I just try the basics first, push primer, set choke and pull. If it fires, I run full open choke.

I bought an Echo.

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#12
In reply to #2

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/20/2020 1:16 AM

I'm kinda funny and I read manuals on things like this. In fact, I've read the manual on many of my cars from front to back. Though on things like electronics, I rarely read the manual. Go figure!!!

I've heard good things about Echo. I just wanted a cheap unit to trim the grass/weeds at one of my rentals. For $79, I guess I got what I paid for.

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#3

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/16/2020 11:12 PM

I have a husqvarna curved shaft trimmer ( weed wacker ) that starts the exact same way. I've never found a weed trimmer that was as easiest to start as this one.

Not only does it start easy, it always starts right up, it will run as long as I need it to start and finish the job on about a pint or so of pre mix.

It is well designed and is very easy to service and maintain.

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#13
In reply to #3

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/20/2020 1:18 AM

I saw the Husqvarna, but I wanted to pay less money. And I sure got what I paid for. I think I'm going to fix the Homelite unit and keep it for my own use. It's a much better machine.

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#4

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/17/2020 3:18 AM

The old string trimmer was a Homelite - Green plastic motor cover. Sometimes I'd run 87 octane + cheap 2 stroke oil. Worked great, but when I ran 91 octane it worked even better.

My take on the two string trimmers.

Homelite feels more substantial. Bump string release works much better. Tangles less often and it's easier to remove the reel. Feels better built and the motor feels like a better quality. The Bolens is lighter and easier to maneuver. The Bolens is shorter and I have to bend over a little to use it. The throttle response of the Bolens is slower than the Homelite. The Bolens needs more rpm to do the same amount of work. And it uses a lot more gas. The Bolens used a tank of gas to cut my small front yard and 1/2 of the backyard. The Homelite would cut 3/4 of the back yard, my neighbors yard (empty lot), his hillside, my hillside and the small stuff near the walkway or steps - all on a tank of gas.

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#6

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/17/2020 10:54 AM

All of my newer two-stroke engines use that starting procedure. I have grown to like it, as it seems to work with less pulls of the starting rope than I needed with older engines that just had a choke and no priming bulb. I don't think you can flood it with the priming bulb, but you can if you leave the choke on full too long.

To keep your engine working longer without service feed it gas without ethanol. I buy ethanol-free premium gas for my small engines even though my cars get the cheapest gas. And treat the gas with Stabil before you use it the last time for the season. Those things will help prevent getting varnish in the carburetor.

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#14
In reply to #6

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/20/2020 1:20 AM

Unfortunately, we don't get ethanol free gas here in So Cal. I plan to use the stuff you buy at Home Depot for a while. Though I don't think I'll be using this machine much longer.

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#7

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/17/2020 11:13 AM

I designed for Shindaiwa for 10 years. The issue with the new trimmers, even the 4 strokes is that they run REALLY lean to meet the latest CARB and EPA standards. With a full choke you flood the engine in about 6 pulls.

BTW, curved shaft trimmers have a lot more drag on the flex shaft than the straight shaft does in the shaft bushings. You usually lose about .2HP going from straight shaft to curved.

2nd BTW, the cheap trimmers are emission rated for 25 hours and the internal parts literally have a life of about 25 hours. It is designed to be thrown away at the end of 1 year of use or 25 hours, whichever comes first. Typically the stamped sheet metal and bronze bushing connecting rods distort and/or come apart.

My recommendation is buy as much straight shaft trimmer as you can afford. Stihl professionals are emission rated for 150 hours. Used to be 300 hours, but they cheapened them up. I use a couple of Shindaiwa units that were 300 hour rated, but I have run them on the test stand for up to 4500 hours without replacement parts. Currently these are assembled by Echo. Look for the 300 hour emission rating that is typically stuck to the front engine housing.

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#15
In reply to #7

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/20/2020 1:23 AM

I usually use the string trimmer for the big house. My neighbor got me upset earlier this year, so I'm no longer going to trim his empty field - I did it from 2011 to 2019, but no more.

So, with only my yard being trimmed, it may be a couple hours per year. 25 hours = 12.5 years.

Also, this is now a rental house, so the tenants can use the new string trimmer. I'll keep the Homelite straight shaft for the other properties.

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#8

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/17/2020 1:15 PM

I've got an Echo 266T, one of their most powerful, because I have a large property.

The starting proceedure for mine is exactly as you have described.

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#16
In reply to #8

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/20/2020 1:25 AM

It seems like you guys like the new starting procedure.

What I thought was funny was the restart. When I had to shut it off to untangle the string, I had to go back to step one of the starting procedure. With my old unit, I'd leave the choke in the middle and with one or two pulls, she was running.

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#9

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/19/2020 2:35 PM

Your original trimmer had a fuel problem.It has now escalated to a worse condition.I used to rebuild the carburetors,but now it is usually cheaper and easier to replace it with one from an online supplier.Usually very easy to replace;2 Screws,and some simple linkage.

I say your original has a fuel(carburetor problem) because you had to run it half-choked.That means it was starving for fuel and the carburetor was needing servicing.

Most new 2 cycle engines have a more complicated starting procedure than the older ones due to smog control demands,and they run very lean compared to yesterdays models.I have an old(40+ years old) ECHO curved shaft trimmer that still works good.Very light and efficient.I bought a new Echo and it is much heavier,and does not cut as well,and uses much more fuel to get the job done.

I was disappointed with the new model.

I let my grandson have it.

So much for progress on weed trimmers.

All of the old good engineers have retired.

If you decide to fix your old one,change the spark plug,and clean the spark arrestor.

2 cycle engine are famous for fouling the spark plug and clogging the spark arrestor.The spark arrsetor is located behind the heat shield on the exhaust.

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#17
In reply to #9

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/20/2020 1:29 AM

Thanks for the tip.

I was in the garage at my old house and I found another string trimmer. It seems like an even better one than the Homelite. I tried to start it and the bulb cracked. The hoses have cracks in them too. I'm going to replace the carb, bulb, plug and hoses + clean the spark arrestor and see if I can get her to work. If I can't, maybe I can swap motors???

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

11/20/2020 5:48 AM

When I was checking around for my first weed eater,I talked with lots of people.This was 1973,before Internet...WOW! 47 years! Has it been that long?!!

(Time flies like an arrow...fruit flies like a banana. (Groucho Marks).

The 2 major brands at the time were Echo and Weedeater.

A friend of mine was into ultralites and he said everyone into ultralites used Echo trimmer motors on their flying machines.

I figured if they trusted it with their lives,it must be pretty reliable.

I bought a Echo and have never regretted it.

I have cleaned the spark arrestor a couple of times..I simply put it in the vise and used a propane torch to burn all the carbon off.

Afterwards,the soot wiped off-- slick as a whistle.

Rebuilt carb a couple of times,not much to it,basically a gasket and reed valve.

Fresh plug every year.And fuel preservative.

The new ethanol fuel is causing me grief on all of my small engines.The alcohol is very corrosive,and is hydroscopic( attracts and holds water). Even fuel preservative does not help.If there is one drop of gas left in the carb over the winter,it will rust or corrode the carb.

I run the engine till it runs out of fuel,then add a little ( a teaspoon full) of fresh fuel to get it started again,then I spray WD40 into the intake when it starts to run out again.

This coats the inside of the carb and cylinders and helps prevent corrosion.

Works for me,anyway.

Could probably use 2cycle oil in a spray bottle as well.

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Gas Powered String Trimmer

12/08/2020 12:31 AM

I love old movies and the Groucho quote is great! I got a really good laugh from it.

I had no idea the ultralights used such a small motor! I'll make a note of that in my biological computer (brain).

I've heard good things about Echo tools. The string trimmer I bought was suppose to be for light duty use and it was a "patch" until I either fixed the old one or bought a good straight shaft trimmer.

I've also given some thought to a cordless model - one that uses a higher voltage battery, like the Milwaukee tool. I have more Milwaukee cordless tools and batteries vs Bosch, Makita, Dewalt and Ryobi, so it would make sense to go with the Milwaukee tool.

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