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View Full Version : Stihl KombiMotor. Is it worth it?


caudlekw
05-30-2010, 12:39 PM
I'm looking into possibly buying a Stihl KombiMotor with the trimmer, blower, and edger attachments. I was wondering if anybody had any experience with them. I would just like to know if it would be better in the long run to get the dedicated tools instead of getting them as attachments. Thanks.

underPSI
05-30-2010, 01:08 PM
The Kombi-system is great for attachments you won't use everyday. However, I'd advise against getting one where the main use will be for trimming and edging duties. I'd buy a dedicated trimmer and edger just for the speed of not having to change out attachments.

cgaengineer
05-30-2010, 01:16 PM
I love my Kombi, and I will put money on me swapping attachments to anyone putting up a current machine and grabbing another from rack and starting it up. I don't even shut off my Kombi when switching attachments. I suppose maybe you would look a tad bit more professional with a trimmer rack full of trimmers/edgers.

So that being said, I have 2 power heads and love them. I have the straight shaft edger, curved shaft edger, cultivator and trimmer. Everything fits in the toolbox mounted to my trailer out of the rain and locked when not in use. I have the KM130 which is the commercial version...plenty of power.

GravelyGuy
05-30-2010, 01:18 PM
I love my Kombi, and I will put money on me swapping attachments to anyone putting up a current machine and grabbing another from rack and starting it up. I don't even shut off my Kombi when switching attachments. I suppose maybe you would look a tad bit more professional with a trimmer rack full of trimmers/edgers.

So that being said, I have 2 power heads and love them. I have the straight shaft edger, curved shaft edger, cultivator and trimmer. Everything fits in the toolbox mounted to my trailer out of the rain and locked when not in use. I have the KM130 which is the commercial version...plenty of power.

How do you like the cultivator? Would you compare it to a Mantis tiller?

Rhett
05-30-2010, 02:06 PM
Have four or five power heads. Nice that in the morning I only have to put two on the truck and can run everything. If something happens to one of the heads just run everything on the other.

cgaengineer
05-30-2010, 02:13 PM
How do you like the cultivator? Would you compare it to a Mantis tiller?

Its good for raised beds and roughing up the soil for shallow planting but it lacks the weight of the engine on the top of the blades so it relies on your down pressure. I like it for what I use it for and for me its better than a mantis because its easier to store.
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jsw2008
05-30-2010, 02:19 PM
I've had my KM 90 for a couple of years and love it. I have the hedge trimmer, chain saw, and string trimmer and an extra extension for getting to the tall hedges. It's a very dependable machine and I use mine 5 or 6 days a week.

caudlekw
05-30-2010, 02:56 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I was also wondering about the intended uses/differences between the curved and straight edger and which would be better for sidewalks instead of flower beds and such.

Lawn Pawn
05-30-2010, 03:01 PM
Have two 110 power heads, the extension and quite a few attachments.....

Everything is great but the ##*?! gas caps.

I did buy an Echo dedicated hedge trimmer in addition to the Stihl attachment for the times I needed something more compact, because it was less money than the dedicated Stihl.

cgaengineer
05-30-2010, 03:33 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I was also wondering about the intended uses/differences between the curved and straight edger and which would be better for sidewalks instead of flower beds and such.

I like both but I use the straight shaft more because it can be used on new edging.

cgaengineer
05-30-2010, 03:34 PM
Have four or five power heads. Nice that in the morning I only have to put two on the truck and can run everything. If something happens to one of the heads just run everything on the other.

Another happy Kombi user:)...what a major pita to load 2 power heads....you should buy all dedicated machines!:rolleyes:

ancjr
05-30-2010, 03:48 PM
I have the KM90 with the straight whip attachment. It's been the best trimmer I've ever owned, but I need to get some attachments for it!

81Bronk36
05-30-2010, 04:16 PM
I have a 90 and 130
If I had to do over iwould have a dedicated trimmer and the 130
I would also never have bought the curved edger.... the cable has messed up 2x.
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1993lx172
05-30-2010, 05:00 PM
I have a KM90 and realy like it. When my ryobi power head sheared off the muffler bolts and ate a piston I decided to try Stihl. I took a few of my ryobi attachments (the articulating hedge trimmer and the straight shaft trimmer) with me to the dealer to make sure they would work with it, I'm lucky they did or else I'd have to buy a few hundred dollars worth of Stihl attachments. I have to guide the drives shaft in with a small screw driver now and then but other than that I couldn't be happier with it.

integrityman
05-30-2010, 05:10 PM
love mine, its indispensable. I have the trimmer, hedge trimmer, edger, pole saw. The power head is about 10 years old and is still running perfect. Go for the most powerful head though...

B Gillespie
05-30-2010, 05:10 PM
The curved shaft edger gear ratio is about half of the straight shaft. Harder to establish an edge, but cuts cleaner afterwards.
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wimpy
05-30-2010, 06:56 PM
I have a KM90 and realy like it. When my ryobi power head sheared off the muffler bolts and ate a piston I decided to try Stihl. I took a few of my ryobi attachments (the articulating hedge trimmer and the straight shaft trimmer) with me to the dealer to make sure they would work with it, I'm lucky they did or else I'd have to buy a few hundred dollars worth of Stihl attachments. I have to guide the drives shaft in with a small screw driver now and then but other than that I couldn't be happier with it.

That's a disaster waiting to happen. You can't interchange attachments from one brand to the next. Each powerhead and attachment is engineered to work together. It's proprietary. :hammerhead:

VO Landscape Design
05-30-2010, 07:04 PM
Mine works great..have the cultivator, string trimmer, chain saw. Looking to get more. Nice to have one power unit and just change out the heads
VO

mbrew
05-30-2010, 07:48 PM
That's a disaster waiting to happen. You can't interchange attachments from one brand to the next. Each powerhead and attachment is engineered to work together. It's proprietary. :hammerhead:

What's going to happen?

1993lx172
05-30-2010, 08:47 PM
What's going to happen?

Exactly wimpy, what can happen? Stihl and Ryobi's attachments all have the same diameter tube, a square shaped solid drive shaft, and are designed for counter clockwise rotation. Because of those two metal loops on the drive line of the Stihl where the drive shaft goes in you may have to guide the drive shaft of the attachment in with a screw driver through the slit under the tightening knob but that's it. When I bought it my dealer was surprised that Ryobi's attachments worked on it when I demoed it before I bought it. I asked if using my attachments would void the warranty but he checked and said I would have no problem with the warranty. I paid $99 for my articulating hedge trimmer at Lowes when I had my first Ryobi power head (long story) and Stihl wanted $230 for theirs. I already had the attachments from my previous Ryobi's so it didn't make sense for me to spend MORE money on stuff I already owned.

Besides if you look on the boxes of the attachments at Lowes or HD you're going to see a list of about ten other brands that these attachments fit, Stihl isn't on there because they want people to spend money on their attachments not anyone else's.

Oldtimer
05-31-2010, 12:15 AM
Everything is great but the ##*?! gas caps


Check with your dealer's service or parts manager about the gas caps. Sthil is aware of the problem and taking care of their customers.


Oldtimer

Rhett
05-31-2010, 08:23 AM
Hey Old Timer, Hope all is going well for you. What is Sthil doing for thier customers as far as the caps. Seemes to be an ongoing problem for me. Just bought 4 Br 600 caps and two for the power heads.
Thanks
Rhett

rlitman
05-31-2010, 11:33 AM
Exactly wimpy, what can happen? Stihl and Ryobi's attachments all have the same diameter tube, a square shaped solid drive shaft, and are designed for counter clockwise rotation. Because of those two metal loops on the drive line of the Stihl where the drive shaft goes in you may have to guide the drive shaft of the attachment in with a screw driver through the slit under the tightening knob but that's it. When I bought it my dealer was surprised that Ryobi's attachments worked on it when I demoed it before I bought it. I asked if using my attachments would void the warranty but he checked and said I would have no problem with the warranty. I paid $99 for my articulating hedge trimmer at Lowes when I had my first Ryobi power head (long story) and Stihl wanted $230 for theirs. I already had the attachments from my previous Ryobi's so it didn't make sense for me to spend MORE money on stuff I already owned.

Besides if you look on the boxes of the attachments at Lowes or HD you're going to see a list of about ten other brands that these attachments fit, Stihl isn't on there because they want people to spend money on their attachments not anyone else's.

I have been wondering for a while if those would fit my Stihl, but you do need to look closely to see that there are HUGE differences in quality between the universal and Stihl attachments.

Stihl uses aluminum tubes instead of steel, which makes the attachment lighter and probably stronger as well. Having a string head weigh half as much makes it much easier to swing around, even if the weight is carried by a shoulder strap.
The Stihl hedge trimmer has two moving blades (instead of one stationary one), which keeps I find works better at cutting branches instead of pushing them. Also, it locks with a spring loaded pin at different angles, instead of having a clamp handle which would sometimes allow the angle to slip while in use if it wasn't tight enough.
Their cultivator is a straight shaft. The one universal cultivator I saw had a curved shaft, and I cannot imagine how a flex shaft will stand up to that torque abuse, but I suppose they did that to protect the engine since somethings gotta give first, while the Stihl powerhead needs no such protection.
The polesaw body is metal instead of plastic, and when they say 12" bar, they mean 12" of cutting capacity (actually I used my pole saw to cut a tree more like 18" across when I didn't have a chain saw), while the universal has more like 6" of cutting capacity.
Stihl offers a carbon fiber extension. Shaving a few pounds there is actually a huge difference, since when I put the pole saw on, this thing gets something like ten feet long, and the weight of the unit alone puts enormous stress on the shaft when it is horizontal.

If you're only going to be hedge trimming occasionally, maybe you don't need to spend for the Stihl. I'm not judging. Heck, I've got plenty of Harbor Freight tools in my garage . . . but you do get what you pay for.

cgaengineer
05-31-2010, 12:06 PM
I wouldn't pair a Stihl powerhead with Ryobi attachment for anything. The Stihl trimmer head is only $79, I can't see how a Ryobi would be much less than that if it was decent. And the cultivator with a flex shaft...bacd idea, the first Rock you hit and that sucker would be toast...the Stihl has a shear pin from what I remember (I'll have to look).
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1993lx172
05-31-2010, 12:26 PM
I have been wondering for a while if those would fit my Stihl, but you do need to look closely to see that there are HUGE differences in quality between the universal and Stihl attachments.

Stihl uses aluminum tubes instead of steel, which makes the attachment lighter and probably stronger as well. Having a string head weigh half as much makes it much easier to swing around, even if the weight is carried by a shoulder strap.
The Stihl hedge trimmer has two moving blades (instead of one stationary one), which keeps I find works better at cutting branches instead of pushing them. Also, it locks with a spring loaded pin at different angles, instead of having a clamp handle which would sometimes allow the angle to slip while in use if it wasn't tight enough.
Their cultivator is a straight shaft. The one universal cultivator I saw had a curved shaft, and I cannot imagine how a flex shaft will stand up to that torque abuse, but I suppose they did that to protect the engine since somethings gotta give first, while the Stihl powerhead needs no such protection.
The polesaw body is metal instead of plastic, and when they say 12" bar, they mean 12" of cutting capacity (actually I used my pole saw to cut a tree more like 18" across when I didn't have a chain saw), while the universal has more like 6" of cutting capacity.
Stihl offers a carbon fiber extension. Shaving a few pounds there is actually a huge difference, since when I put the pole saw on, this thing gets something like ten feet long, and the weight of the unit alone puts enormous stress on the shaft when it is horizontal.

If you're only going to be hedge trimming occasionally, maybe you don't need to spend for the Stihl. I'm not judging. Heck, I've got plenty of Harbor Freight tools in my garage . . . but you do get what you pay for.

I see what you're saying there and understand where your coming from. I really don't notice the extra weight except with the hedge trimmer and the tiller attachment, but those are probably my least used attachments so it's not that big of a deal because I use a shoulder strap with the hedge trimmer most of the time and the tiller is almost always in or on the ground so all I'm supporting there is the power head. I honestly don't know about the pole saw, it's something that would be nice to have but I don't have enough work for it to justify the cost universal or Stihl. As for the attachment changing angles I have never had that problem, the fit is snug already and added to that the tightening of the coupler with the knob, they're not going to move any.

In all honesty if these attachments wear out in the next year or two it's not that big of a deal. The primary reason I went with the Kombi is that I had a few hundred dollars of these attachments already and rather than not having anything to use them with I went with a power head that is going to last me a long time and I can always upgrade to better attachments when mine wear out. The key thing is that I already had these so spending more money on stuff I already had after dropping $300 didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I maybe use the hedge trimmer a few times every maybe three weeks for a total of maybe four hours between the home yard and two of my clients that have me do their bushes so the $99 unit is better for what I have to do.

mbrew
05-31-2010, 01:51 PM
In all honesty if these attachments wear out in the next year or two it's not that big of a deal. The primary reason I went with the Kombi is that I had a few hundred dollars of these attachments already and rather than not having anything to use them with I went with a power head that is going to last me a long time and I can always upgrade to better attachments when mine wear out. The key thing is that I already had these so spending more money on stuff I already had after dropping $300 didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I maybe use the hedge trimmer a few times every maybe three weeks for a total of maybe four hours between the home yard and two of my clients that have me do their bushes so the $99 unit is better for what I have to do.

Seems to be decent thinking to me. I had the same idea and tried the Ryobi, expand it, poulan pro etc attachments with the echo and the shaft is to big to fit in the connector.

Good luck with your purchase. I may do the same thing next year.

1993lx172
05-31-2010, 01:58 PM
Yeah go with the Kombi. I have the KM90 and it's only 28cc but it has more than enough power to tackle anything.

Walk Behind Metro
05-31-2010, 04:45 PM
I have one love it. Stihl bought the carb company that supplies them. You can buy a new carburetor for one at $25.00. No more $100 dollar carb jobs. Just get a brand new one.

rlitman
05-31-2010, 05:44 PM
. . . but those are probably my least used attachments so it's not that big of a deal . . . I honestly don't know about the pole saw, it's something that would be nice to have but I don't have enough work for it to justify the cost universal or Stihl. . . never had that problem

Makes perfect sense to me.

I had no use for the pole saw either, until I had a windstorm take down my cherry tree. Next morning, I'm at the local dealer as the doors opened, grabbing the only one they had (heh heh heh). Now I find it indispensable.
I feel safer, since I'm far from the chain (same idea as the pole hedge trimmer), and just like the blower attachment, I have no extra engines to worry about.

1993lx172
05-31-2010, 06:53 PM
I wouldn't pair a Stihl powerhead with Ryobi attachment for anything. The Stihl trimmer head is only $79, I can't see how a Ryobi would be much less than that if it was decent. And the cultivator with a flex shaft...bacd idea, the first Rock you hit and that sucker would be toast...the Stihl has a shear pin from what I remember (I'll have to look).
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The string trimmer attachments are about the same price but like I said I already had one so is made no sense for me at the time to spend that extra money on something I already owned.

As for the tiller, I've hit roots, rocks, and a random 3' section of 3/4" pipe and incurred no damage. The tines are forward rotating (like a troy built tiller and we all know how those suckers jump when you hit small rock or a root) and have blades rather than "picks" like Stihl so it bounces rather than jamming up when you hit something. I only use it for working up our small garden, cultivating that garden, and working up established flower beds. I've used it to put in a new flower bed before maybe 2'X3' and it worked okay, not something I'd use it for every day but in established beds that have been worked up before it's fine.

troyota71
06-24-2010, 09:07 PM
I have 3-stilh KM-110's and 2 KM-130's as well as every combi attach they offer.I love them so fast & quick to change and easy to store.I would not buy anything but!!!!!If you take the split shaft off the power broom and put the weed eater head on it you will end up with a trimmer that is about 10"s longer for you tall guys it is nice !!! No soar back and is nice for reaching under ever greens.

troyota71
06-24-2010, 09:12 PM
If you take vise grips and bend the bolo tines open a little more it will dig better.you will have to take off the bolo tine and put it in a vice as the are very strong steel.Just bend the tines only a couple degrees.

1993lx172
06-25-2010, 01:44 AM
If you take vise grips and bend the bolo tines open a little more it will dig better.you will have to take off the bolo tine and put it in a vice as the are very strong steel.Just bend the tines only a couple degrees.

That might help, the way they are designed now doesn't allow the tines to get enough "bite" to really dig in and stay in the ground. With my tiller attachment I didn't get good results until I turned the two outside sets of tines around so it was more aggressive.

cgaengineer
06-25-2010, 10:16 AM
The new style of Stihl tines is not as good as the older ones I have.
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Lawn Pawn
06-25-2010, 10:23 AM
The new style of Stihl tines is not as good as the older ones I have.
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Older means how long ago.....?
I have one purchased about three years ago.

cgaengineer
06-25-2010, 10:31 AM
Mine must be at least 4-5 years old. I'll send a picture of mine this evening. Mine has less tines then new style but they are L shaped like a standard tiller.
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1993lx172
06-25-2010, 11:22 AM
Mine must be at least 4-5 years old. I'll send a picture of mine this evening. Mine has less tines then new style but they are L shaped like a standard tiller.
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My grandpa has a Mantis tiller with the pick stile tines like sthil uses and after using both I feel that the L shaped mixes the soil a little better and leaves a smoother finish.

81Bronk36
06-25-2010, 02:47 PM
I just bought the tiller attachment today. I am thinking of making a bed edger attachement out of it by putting an edger blade on an extra aluminum piece and running only 2 other tiller blades of staggering heights to make a curved ground contour. I will gladly sell the rights to this idea....

cgaengineer
06-25-2010, 02:52 PM
I just bought the tiller attachment today. I am thinking of making a bed edger attachement out of it by putting an edger blade on an extra aluminum piece and running only 2 other tiller blades of staggering heights to make a curved ground contour. I will gladly sell the rights to this idea....

It might work ok if it was geared higher but I think you will find out pretty quick its not going to work well, but I am very interested in seeing and hearing about this contraption.
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81Bronk36
06-25-2010, 03:48 PM
It might work ok if it was geared higher but I think you will find out pretty quick its not going to work well, but I am very interested in seeing and hearing about this contraption.
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That was my biggest concern, the speed it turns, but with as uncontollable as it is I might be better to have it turn not so fast IDK??

cgaengineer
06-25-2010, 04:02 PM
I honestly don't know how the new style tiller does anything at all...it looks like nothing more than a course saw blade with bent teeth. My tiller head is only one set of tines...so 2 blades.
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Lawn Pawn
06-25-2010, 04:03 PM
If the sod is wet and not to hard.....

The tiller does work for cutting a trench for edge pavers. Taking the outer tines off is an option.

Having said that..... if you invest in the straight shaft stick edger attachment, that works even better once you develop a feel for it. WORKS LIKE A CHAMP. Have bent over an edge on the blades to varying amounts and played with that to determine what works best for the task at hand. Got 50 Oregon blades for a buck each on ebay including shipping!

I do have a dedicated Husqvarna bed edger..... but the Stihl stick edger is worth its weight in gold for touch-ups and soooo many other things. Feel stupid waiting so long to get one.

ancjr
06-25-2010, 11:13 PM
I do have a dedicated Husqvarna bed edger..... but the Stihl stick edger is worth its weight in gold for touch-ups and soooo many other things. Feel stupid waiting so long to get one.

I got the straight shaft edger attachment last week and really like it as well. Edges as fast as I can walk!

leon2245
07-11-2012, 05:18 AM
What is the practical difference in using these systems vs. Stihl's standard trimmers with their attachments, fs90/110/130 etc.?

cgaengineer
07-11-2012, 06:26 AM
What is the practical difference in using these systems vs. Stihl's standard trimmers with their attachments, fs90/110/130 etc.?

Tool less changing.
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leon2245
07-11-2012, 06:37 AM
That's a significant advantage for sure, even if it means a little more weight &/or price.

cgaengineer
07-11-2012, 07:03 AM
That's a significant advantage for sure, even if it means a little more weight &/or price.

When you remove the heads they are open to contamination...the weight of the coupler is a non issue.
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leon2245
07-11-2012, 08:34 AM
When you remove the heads they are open to contamination...the weight of the coupler is a non issue.
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Contamination?

32vld
07-11-2012, 09:28 AM
Contamination?

Soil and water.

You ever hear of wet sanding?

rlitman
07-11-2012, 09:45 AM
Contamination?

The dirt and grime kicked up by the tool tends to stay down at ground level.
When you take a gearbox tool off, you'll notice that the bottom of the shaft is all nasty with dirt, and removing the gearbox tool gives that dirt an opportunity to get into the gearcase (a place where dirt can do expensive damage).
The Kombi connection stays cleaner, because it is further away from the ground, but also, opening the connection only lets dirt into the shaft, and not the gearbox.

Another thing:
Not every attachment is available as a gearbox attachment.
Some people prefer the curved shaft tools (the edger, or the string trimmer). These can be Kombi attachments, but do not have a gearbox equivalent (unless you run over your shaft with the truck, but this is a one-way conversion to a curved shaft, and it is unlikely to work well anyway; ha).

The blower attachment is also Kombi only. This is a surprisingly good tool, and is well more powerful than even the largest of handheld blowers.

Finally, the Kombi gives you the option to add the extension shaft in the middle. This is great for the hedge trimmer, and for the pole saw. I usually use both without the extension, but they become so more useful when you have the option to add it in.
This doesn't have the reach, strength or versatility of Stihl's extendable pole saw, but for someone like me who couldn't justify having that as a dedicated tool, this comes pretty close.

leon2245
07-11-2012, 12:08 PM
Understood.

All in all a very strong case for this setup.