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View Full Version : Why do people remove their guard on string trimmer?


G.M.Landscaping
01-29-2006, 09:01 PM
What is the benifit for this? I've never trimmed without one so I'm clueless.

bobbygedd
01-29-2006, 09:03 PM
because they are crazy? i'll never trim, or ask anyone to trim, without a guard

TURF DOCTOR
01-29-2006, 09:09 PM
Why.......

Triple L
01-29-2006, 09:11 PM
Maby remove about 2 pounds or so, when you think about it. The guard dosent weight that much but when you put it so far out it gets heavy. Also alot better balance and you can see what your doing alot better. Expecially when edging, forsure. I got my guards removed on my FS85's and I will never put them back on. And the dealer dosent recommend it but when you got a field. Just load it up with about 2' of string and give it. But just give it a good cool down period after that and watch your elbo, it burns. Everyones got thier opinion but for the very few rock chips you will get on your legs I think its well worth it.

bobbygedd
01-29-2006, 09:12 PM
PROTECTION ; 4 : a protective or safety device; specifically : a device for protecting a machine part or the operator of a machine

Jpocket
01-29-2006, 09:14 PM
Because you have to tap your line every 2 seconds with a guard, and you can cut much larger areas of grass with the string 18" long verses 6" or less. On top of that you can SEE what your line is doing rather than see it after it's been cut. Overall it is more productive, im sure plenty of people will want to argue over it but that's just my and 99% of lco in my area and alot of others.

The ONLY companies that use them around here are Brickman and ValleyCrest for Liability reasons im sure.

TURF DOCTOR
01-29-2006, 09:28 PM
Shoot man with the guards on you will go thru a spool of string a day.

LLandscaping
01-29-2006, 09:36 PM
We used guards for a long time and when we went to buy our last trimmer our dealer didn't install the guard. After that we removed the guards on all of our trimmers we found it saved us a lot of line. The trimmer is also more balanced and there is no guard to clean.

Tomt
01-29-2006, 09:42 PM
The "guard" is no guard at all. All it is really for is cutting the string.

What does it Guard???

Anything that you hit with the string is out at very outside edge of the guard any way.

I took mine off for three reasons; 1) so you can trim around poles/trees without going all the way around the object, 2) to reduce weight, 3) I don't use a bump head.

I have tried it with and with out and get hit with the same amount of debris.

nelbuts
01-29-2006, 09:45 PM
Quite simply you are more productive without them. You can conture your trimming to the terrain and use less line. If you are concerned about getting your legs hit without them in place then this is the wrong job for you. They do not protect your legs as much as you think.

bobbygedd
01-29-2006, 09:46 PM
o, is this practice, approved by osha?

G.M.Landscaping
01-29-2006, 09:46 PM
Those were the answers I was looking for. But what about trying to keep dual line's at the same length. Is that much of a problem?

Jason Rose
01-29-2006, 09:47 PM
I ran with my guards on for years, finally wised up a few years ago and REMOVED them. Like others said, they GUARD you against nothing! I get the same amount of crap on me now as I did before. The pluses are that the stupid knife isn't wasting my trimmer line! If I bump out too much I can wear it off on something. 90% of the time I don't do that.

Many trimmer guards also come down too low in the back and get hung up on the grass.

Also it's so much easier to trim around poles and small trees. Just walk up and manuver the trimmer around it while standing in one spot. With the guard on you have to walk around it all the way to trim it.

lawnmaniac883
01-29-2006, 10:03 PM
I have been running my stihl with the guard on for a long time, I took it off around june for a week to see the difference. Results are in and I would much rather have the guard on. It does cut back on the amount of grass shavings you get on you and it DOES reduce the rocks/stones tossed at you. With it off you save about 2lbs but the trimmer becomes very unbalanced. 8lbs of motor and 4lbs of shaft/trimmer head. Also, to those of you who actually run 18'' of string, this is not good practice. It will increase the wear on your clutch as well as work the engine much harder. If you actually need 36'' of total trimming area, you need more schooling on how to mow. JMO, leave it on.

Envy Lawn Service
01-29-2006, 10:10 PM
The "guard" is no guard at all. All it is really for is cutting the string.

What does it Guard???

That's right.

Worthless dead weight.
I can cut my own string thanks, and select what length I want to run.

paponte
01-29-2006, 10:20 PM
We run our guards off also. Trust me that a guard is not going to save you from getting hit with something. Wearing the proper eye and face protection and well as the proper clothing will. :)

Precision
01-29-2006, 10:26 PM
guards are primarily a liability issue.

They protect the manufacturer and potentially you in cases of suits.

as far as string control, any solid object or chainlink fence will shorten it right down for you.

Ramairfreak98ss
01-29-2006, 10:32 PM
Shoot man with the guards on you will go thru a spool of string a day.


Yeah, i have my one redmax with it on. But my echo 21ccs that i use daily ive taken them off, sooner or later you use up too much string, they jam up when cutting anything thick or heavy and cant move the cut weeds out of the way easily enough... hitting the gaurd vs shooting all in one direction after mowed down.

I also think it saves maybe a pound of weight, that far away from the handle is noticeable unless you workout on a daily basis too and have super huge shoulders and arm strength lol.

And you can see what your cutting easier and i can turn the trimmer any angle, not limited by where that guard is. Anything im cutting that can hurt the operator when its flung out i use the redmax with the gaurd on, its also 30cc though, makes the 21cc echos look like little toys and i use it as a brush cutter with blades too.

You can also feed out much longer line on big motored trimmers, my 21cc echo i think is a 17" and so is the monster 30cc redmax? the echo with TOO much line out say a total of 20" runs slower, the redmax runs easy with 20+ " width.

LwnmwrMan22
01-29-2006, 10:34 PM
guards are primarily a liability issue.

They protect the manufacturer and potentially you in cases of suits.

as far as string control, any solid object or chainlink fence will shorten it right down for you.


I kept the guard on, but took off the knife. This way if there's ever a liability issue, for whatever the reason, the guard was in place.

I took the "knife" off, and now just do what Precision suggested, just used a solid object or chainlink works real well.

sheshovel
01-29-2006, 10:38 PM
Regardless if you like them or not..your employee gets hurt by flying debri and you can sure bet your insurance won't cover and..workmans comp will make you pick up the tab when they ask the employee how he was injured and he tells them the guard was off on his trimmer suppied by the company who he works for.

jojoleafsfan
01-29-2006, 10:43 PM
The first i do when i get a new weed wacker is take off the guard . The main reason i do it is because it alot easier to edge the lawn and around beds with. You cant see your edge with the guard on

gaither
01-29-2006, 10:57 PM
I can not imagine using a trimmer with a guard. I have been either working for someone else or myself and 15 years and have never used one. In Middle Tennessee their are hundreds of LC trucks running up and down the road and i never see guards in the trimmers. The dealer i use hands me the guard and shoulder strap when i leave and i toss it in the dumpster.

Lawnworks
01-29-2006, 11:05 PM
Running with the guards on will extend the life of your trimmer. Running stihl trimmers w/o the guard voids the warranty. Trimmers are not designed to run string longer than the guards allow. You can get used to running it either way. Stihl guards are much more protective than Redmax and Echo in my opinion because of their design.

hosejockey2002
01-29-2006, 11:13 PM
Because you have to tap your line every 2 seconds with a guard

If you have to tap your line every 2 seconds, it might be because you are trying to cut more than grass with your trimmer. If you try to cut chain link, gravel, dirt and concrete, of course your line will wear down quickly. If you have enough control over your trimmer you shouldn't have to tap very often. I feel that the guard saves me time because if the line gets frayed, I just tap rather than having to shut it off and cut the line manually.

greengiant9963
01-30-2006, 12:03 AM
My first few seasons I ran my trimmers with the guards on. I finally tried using the trimmer without are guard and at first I didn't like it but after a couple days I was hooked. It is so much faster without the guard on. Edging is a breeze and you can see more of what you are doing. I will have to say I do understand about the safety risks but I tried last year for a day to put the guard back on and it only lasted for about 5 min. Once you trim for awhile with the guards off it is hard to go back.

lawnrangeralaska
01-30-2006, 12:18 AM
I have no problems with the gaurds on my FS 110s.

LwnmwrMan22
01-30-2006, 12:20 AM
You know... I could have sworn that edging with your trimmer was a big no-no in the first place??? :nono:

jojoleafsfan
01-30-2006, 12:30 AM
Hey LM22 i edge my lawns 2 a year with a edger then the rest of the time with my trimmer save time and money and it looks great.

newz7151
01-30-2006, 12:32 AM
Running with the guards on will extend the life of your trimmer. Running stihl trimmers w/o the guard voids the warranty. Trimmers are not designed to run string longer than the guards allow. You can get used to running it either way. Stihl guards are much more protective than Redmax and Echo in my opinion because of their design.

Which if you look through the warranty section of a commercial unit, it tells you that. Once a guard is removed, your warranty on the unit is void. Gearbox burns up? Your fault. Solid shaft with lifetime warranty? Not anymore..

nt1
01-30-2006, 01:12 AM
If I could find some eye protection that did not steam and fill up with sweat, the guards on my trimmers would always stay off. Much faster and less fatigue without the guards. I don't mind getting hit in the face or legs with debri, but the eyes are too soft and vulnerable from small projectiles.

CutInEdge Lawn Care
01-30-2006, 01:12 AM
Oh please, the guards dont protect anymore than a thong would protect my A@#$.

CutInEdge Lawn Care
01-30-2006, 01:15 AM
As to nt1's post. I was thinking the other day after watching Cinderella man that I might try putting vasoline above my glasses on my eyebrows to see if it helps with reducing sweat. Anyone else try this??

FinerCutslawnCare
01-30-2006, 01:31 AM
I will say this, I have my gaurd of and it does increase the chance of loosing and eye, but when ur wearing eye protection you really don't have to worry about it and you can also get more line out and see what you are doing!

PLS-Tx
01-30-2006, 01:59 AM
Don't use them, never have.

GarPA
01-30-2006, 04:01 AM
We used guards for a long time and when we went to buy our last trimmer our dealer didn't install the guard. After that we removed the guards on all of our trimmers we found it saved us a lot of line. The trimmer is also more balanced and there is no guard to clean.

Amen and diito that.

And as Tom T mentioned the guard is not a guard at all as we dont get beat up anymore with the guard off than when its on. The guard primarlily just cuts the line.

For years I said I would not take the guard off for liability reasons....well...we have one property that has steep slopes and it takes over 2 manhours to just trim this as we cant get a machine on it. So one day I decide to take the guards off the trimmers and try it on this property. Our productivity improved about 40% right away. I NEVER thought I'd leave the guards off but now I do on 2 of the 3 trimmers.

You will see some real strong opinions here on this issue so I suggest you try it for a week or so and determine the pros and cons.

Richard Martin
01-30-2006, 06:07 AM
No guards on mine for over 10 years. As stated repeatedly above I find it is so much easier and faster to use without the guard.

grass_cuttin_fool
01-30-2006, 08:16 AM
I have the gaurd off one of my trimmers, it seems to make it easier to see what Im trimming around on some of the delicate stuff

wayne

Jpocket
01-30-2006, 08:57 AM
If you have to tap your line every 2 seconds, it might be because you are trying to cut more than grass with your trimmer. If you try to cut chain link, gravel, dirt and concrete, of course your line will wear down quickly. If you have enough control over your trimmer you shouldn't have to tap very often. I feel that the guard saves me time because if the line gets frayed, I just tap rather than having to shut it off and cut the line manually.

IN my area this is what works for me and 99% of the other lco, like said above trimmers are more productive w/o guards.

bobbygedd
01-30-2006, 09:41 AM
has osha approved the practice of removing the guards?

viper00085
01-30-2006, 01:41 PM
of course the units are lighter and easier to use with out guards. but they do serve a safety point and durability point for your units. I just came back from a meeting with some echo engineers and service personel.

We had a pyrometer ( a laser thermometer) pointed at the clutch area, gear box and a cylinder temp probe in the engine while running it with out a guard and the line out only an additional 1.5" more than standard. and the clutch and gear box temps went up from a std spec of 140 to 165 degrees and the cylinder temp went up 15-20 degrees also from the added strain.

so just remeber when your clutch fails or units only last a year, that the heat from not running a guard to keep the line short has a major impact on there lifespan

bobbygedd
01-30-2006, 01:45 PM
has osha approved the practice of removing the guards?

Daneman
01-30-2006, 02:01 PM
We used to trim with our guards removed, and kept wondering why the trimmers didn't last... All that extra line put too much torque on the shaft, and the trimmers would burn up in less than a season. Now our trimmers last, and we still don't go through that much more line.

LwnmwrMan22
01-30-2006, 02:31 PM
I treat trimmers as a disposable item.

I'll always get them to last a year, but after that......

I look at it, if I'm grossing 6 figures working solo, I can throw away a $300 piece of equipment.

My time is worth more than that $300.

You figure you're working for, say, $60 / hour.

If the extra line / no guard saves you 20 minutes / week, in 15 weeks you've made up for the extra $300.

Richard Martin
01-30-2006, 02:42 PM
has osha approved the practice of removing the guards?

What, your post count not high enough?

OSHA has no bearing on my operation.

And you're gonna try to tell us that if OHSA inspected your operation that they wouldn't find a single violation? All the guards are on all the mowers and trimmers? Everybody wears hearing, eye and head protection? Your drinking water bucket is sanitized every day? All of your vehicles and trailers are 100% including required DOT numbers? All of your chemicals are stored per state, local and federal law?

tcls83
01-30-2006, 02:59 PM
What, your post count not high enough?

OSHA has no bearing on my operation.

And you're gonna try to tell us that if OHSA inspected your operation that they wouldn't find a single violation? All the guards are on all the mowers and trimmers? Everybody wears hearing, eye and head protection? Your drinking water bucket is sanitized every day? All of your vehicles and trailers are 100% including required DOT numbers? All of your chemicals are stored per state, local and federal law?

Don't forget road warning signs, dust masks, sunblock 50SPF, first aid kit, state of the art gas cans, all shut off devices in proper operation, reflective vests, orange SMV triangles on your mowers, reflective tape on your equipment, disinfected steering wheel and equipment controls. If they're gonna bust you for a missing trimmer guard they might as well bust you for everything listed.

daveintoledo
01-30-2006, 03:04 PM
I treat trimmers as a disposable item.

I'll always get them to last a year, but after that......

I look at it, if I'm grossing 6 figures working solo, I can throw away a $300 piece of equipment.

My time is worth more than that $300.

You figure you're working for, say, $60 / hour.

If the extra line / no guard saves you 20 minutes / week, in 15 weeks you've made up for the extra $300.

its supposed to last more then a year.... if thats the case, why dont you just use cheap equipment that is only supposed to last a year...

i have no trouble with the quard on.... my 2 cents...:)

tcls83
01-30-2006, 03:09 PM
And yes, I take that guard right off! But I still keep it for if I need to have the trimmer repaired I'll put it back on so that I don't void the warranty.

It cuts your time in half, you can see what you're trimming, cuts down weight on the head, more maneuverable around fence posts and rough stone walls. I only let the string out a couple inches more than how it would have been with the guard on, so that it does not bog the motor.

They probably started putting guards on after some guy started trimming weeds on a bed of pebbles while kneeling at eye level with the trimmer head with no glasses that way he could sue the manufacturer for a few $$$.

Envy Lawn Service
01-30-2006, 03:30 PM
of course the units are lighter and easier to use with out guards. but they do serve a safety point and durability point for your units. I just came back from a meeting with some echo engineers and service personel.

We had a pyrometer ( a laser thermometer) pointed at the clutch area, gear box and a cylinder temp probe in the engine while running it with out a guard and the line out only an additional 1.5" more than standard. and the clutch and gear box temps went up from a std spec of 140 to 165 degrees and the cylinder temp went up 15-20 degrees also from the added strain.

so just remeber when your clutch fails or units only last a year, that the heat from not running a guard to keep the line short has a major impact on there lifespan

Thanks, now that is an informative post and the only one I have read so far that is a worthy 'pro' for keeping the guard on.

Anyhow, I have a Stihl FS85 that I've had around since 2002. I use the thing for a trim mower and when I do I run out a lot of line. Sometimes I'm cutting a 22"-24" swath with it and I probably average 18"-20" all the rest of the time. I haven't had any issues with anything. So I assume these can handle it just fine. Hopefully the new 4-Mix engines can too.

The only other 'pro' I can think of it that it only takes about a 1 second bump to EVEN UP the line length if one side gets broke short.

bobbygedd
01-30-2006, 03:37 PM
What, your post count not high enough?

OSHA has no bearing on my operation.

And you're gonna try to tell us that if OHSA inspected your operation that they wouldn't find a single violation? All the guards are on all the mowers and trimmers? Everybody wears hearing, eye and head protection? Your drinking water bucket is sanitized every day? All of your vehicles and trailers are 100% including required DOT numbers? All of your chemicals are stored per state, local and federal law?
that is correct. but, there is no osha in maryland?

lawnguyland
01-30-2006, 03:54 PM
that is correct. but, there is no osha in maryland?
Not if you are solo op. I keep trmmer guards on for my safety and potential lawsuits. Plus, i don't have to trim any large or wide areas so it takes the same amount of time as without the guard.

bobbygedd
01-30-2006, 04:07 PM
oh, is mr martin a solo? sorry richard. but, come on now, let's be serious, a solo op, isn't really a "business"

Envy Lawn Service
01-30-2006, 04:14 PM
Oh dang Bobby.... I figured out what guards are for....

They are for hook-shaft running midgets.
Keeps the line cut short they don't whip themselves in the shins.

lawnguyland
01-30-2006, 04:18 PM
oh, is mr martin a solo? sorry richard. but, come on now, let's be serious, a solo op, isn't really a "business"
Ohhhh nooooooo, not again! This solo business man does just fine.payup . I do understand what you are saying. I did the employee thing, but like solo better. It's still a business in every sense of the word. For me to transition back to employees would be quite simple as I have all the systems I would need established, I just prefer to run my business without them for now. I like it better.

Richard Martin
01-30-2006, 05:19 PM
oh, is mr martin a solo? sorry richard. but, come on now, let's be serious, a solo op, isn't really a "business"

Hmm... Harsh words there pal. All I know is I go out in the morning, cut grass, bill my customers and then they pay me, without the use of threats or a shovel mind you. I don't give a rat's ass whether it's a business or not.

daveintoledo
01-30-2006, 07:21 PM
oh, is mr martin a solo? sorry richard. but, come on now, let's be serious, a solo op, isn't really a "business"

you and i both know you didnt startout with a bunch of guys working for you, but you still ran a legitimate business....:nono:

wildbilly1113
01-30-2006, 09:28 PM
Echo is the only trimmer that when it is new the clutch will burn out in less than a season with the guards off! My stihl 85 and 110 have been flawless without guards for 3 years!Even my redmax 2600 has run great for 2 years,no problems.I used to love my echo 260s,they are so light and balanced but I not buy any more echo trimmers.Period!

out4now
01-30-2006, 09:31 PM
On the older Echos the guards were huge and bulky. Chewed up a lot of string with it on. It only takes one accident to turn a guard into a big deal but for the most part I just don't like them.

Jay Ray
01-30-2006, 09:52 PM
I figured out what guards are for....They are for hook-shaft running midgets

lol, hook-shaft, now that's well said.

Envy Lawn Service
01-30-2006, 10:54 PM
On the older Echos the guards were huge and bulky. Chewed up a lot of string with it on. It only takes one accident to turn a guard into a big deal but for the most part I just don't like them.

Yeah, the newer ones have the smallest guard size wise.
Good from that standpoint, but the most worthless of all the guards for protection.

The old Shindawia T 270's are about the only trimmer that came with any sort of guard with any hopes of shielding anything.