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View Full Version : Tanaka TCG22EASSLP trimmer First Impression Review


Richard Martin
09-25-2010, 08:53 AM
It finally showed up Thursday. I'm going to get right to it so here goes...


The plastics on it do appear to be cheap but I think that has to do with the finish on the plastic. All of the other trimmers I've ever used or seen had a glossy, very shiney finish. The plastic on this trimmer has a satin finish. The plastic otherwise seems to be sturdy enough to handle everyday abuse. I put the trimmer head on it, real simple. It took 15 seconds. I put the handle on it, again simple, took 1 minute. I've read reviews on this trimmer where the author complained about poor assembly instuctions. If you need instructions to put a head and handle on then maybe you should be buying from a dealer.

I found the On/Off switch. It similar to the switches on Stihl's hedge trimmers. Not a slide switch like most trimmers I've seen but a rocker switch. It shouldn't be a problem.

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/mower%20stuff/DSCN1002.jpg

One of the nice things about this trimmer is a lack of a throttle safety. You just squeeze the throttle and trim. There is no safety to push down. Although they are not that hard to operate on other trimmers, they can be a pain in the butt sometimes especially when you invert the trimmer to use it for edging.

The choke lever seems kinda cheesy and small. It's well protected but it could be difficult to use with gloves on. It should have been designed so the choke is open when the lever is down, not up. In most cases, if the lever is going to be bumped it will be bumped down, not up. The way it is now if it is bumped it will turn the choke on, not off. The primer bulb is remote mounted from the carb and on the air filter side of the engine. Easy to use even with gloves on.

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/mower%20stuff/DSCN1004.jpg

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/mower%20stuff/DSCN1005.jpg

I pulled the air filter cover off and was somewhat disappointed. The air filter is the worst I've ever seen on ANY machine. Ever! It is a flimsy little foam piece of crap that goes all of the way around the air filter cover. It is severely lacking in support at a bunch of spots. If you live in a dusty area where the air filters tend to load up with dust quickly then daily maintenance of this filter is a must. If the filter starts to build a restriction due to dust buildup it could easily collapse due to lack of support. Once it collapses then it's just like not having an air filter at all.

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/mower%20stuff/DSCN1008.jpg

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/mower%20stuff/DSCN1007.jpg

In the picture above you'll see an engine sticker. Notice the 300 hour Emissions Compliance Period. That is the highest that the EPA has for small handheld equipment and the same as any other commerical piece of equipment.

I didn't pull the covers off of the engine but I did look at them. The engine is well covered all of the way around. I do see a problem with the main engine cover though. Tanaka chooses to mount the spark plug at the top of the cylinder. I've always thought this was a poor place and in most cases, not required. The problem is that there is a huge fairing sticking up to protect the spark plug and wire. The way I use a trimmer requires me to rest my arm there especially when I'm one handed trimming. This fairing is right in the way and it sticks me in the arm. My Stihl FS 80 trimmer has the same type of fairing, although not as high as the Tananka is, and I ended up cutting it down to make the trimmer more comfortable to use. I can easily see me cutting this Tanaka fairing down and soon.

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/mower%20stuff/DSCN1012.jpg

A couple of notes on the muffler. This muffler has the tinyest exhaust I've ever seen on a piece of hand held equipment. It is round and just a little over 1/4". You must either use a lean mix fuel/oil ratio or run this trimmer wide open all of the time. I can see this tiny port becoming clogged up quickly. Also, the spark arrestor screen is not removable. It is inside the muffler and there is no way to get it out. This is another spot that could quickly coke up. The screen also appears to only be spot welded (and not very well) so you can expect it to come loose and rattle around at some point.

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/mower%20stuff/DSCN1030.jpg

The gas cap is in a bad place. It could be next to impossible to get off if you're wearing heavy gloves. I couldn't get my fingers all of the way around it and if overtightened I can see a person having trouble getting it off. It's not that bad but it could be better.

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/mower%20stuff/DSCN1011.jpg

The recoil handle is large and easily accessable. Tananka gets bonus points for not screwing this up.

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/mower%20stuff/DSCN1010.jpg

I filled it up, primed it and it started right up. Right out of the box it needed adjustment. It was idling so fast that the trimmer head was spinning. I turned it down a bit. It has a lot of vibration no matter which idle it has. I revvedit up a bit and it just didn't feel nice and smooth like my Shindaiwa T-230s always have. Remembering that it comes with .095 from the factory I decided to switch to some round .080.

Removing the trimmer line spool was easy enough. It has 2 tabs that you push in and is very similar to Stihl's AutoCut head, just not as large. The spool came out easy as did the .095 trimmer line. So I would have a good idea of how much .080 line to put on I measured the .095 with my tried and true method. Arm lengths. 1.. 2.. And a half? I get about 8 on my Veri heads. Since my .080 is smaller than the .095 (duh!) I pulled out 4 arm lengths to put on.

Just so you know an arm length is about 5-1/2 feet. This means I'll be reloading twice as often with the Tanaka trimmer head. I'll have to get a Veri head for it since this is unacceptable.

The spool has 2 seperate sides for the length of trimmer line. You find the center of the length of line, fold the line in half and one half goes on one side, the other goes on the other side. Easy enough to do. After you've wound your line on you normally slip the line into slots in the little tabs on the spool so it holds the line in place while you put the spool back into the trimmer head. The problem is the slots are too big for .080 and the line wouldn't stay. You have to hold the line while reassembling the trimmer head or else the line comes back off of the spool. A pain in the a.. for sure.

So I got it put back together and picked the trimmer up for the second time. I want to say something about the weight of this trimmer. A lot of guys like a lightweight trimmer. This has got to easily be the lightest trimmer I've used since 1980 when I had a electric trimmer that I had to drag a electric cord around with. Since the electric trimmer was basically just a handle, shaft, tiny electric motor and trimmer head it weighed next to nothing.

So I scaled my Shindaiwa T-230, the Tananka and my Stihl. Bear in mind that this is being done on a household scale. I stand on the scale, see what my weight is and then pick up each of the trimmers and see what the increase is.

The Shindy is around 10-1/2 pounds without fuel. The Tanaka is about 10 pounds with fuel. My Stihl FS80 is around 11 pounds without fuel. Then I put each of the trimmers on the scale by themselves just for grins and giggles. This time I just put the powerheads on the scale and left the trimmer head sitting on the floor. I came up with about the same results as far as weight differences go. The Tanaka is clearly the lightest of the 3 trimmers even though it was full of fuel. Sweet.

This concludes the end of my First Impressions Review of this trimmer. It has some things that MUST be addressed before it can be a true commercial trimmer. Namely the sad, sad air filter and the trimmer head. I won't be able to test it's true power and abilities until next year since most of my southern grasses have slowed down growing to the point where it's not a challenge to cut them now.

Turf Dawg
09-25-2010, 10:15 AM
Thanks for the review. One thing I already see that I do not like is the kill switch. It always seems that the rocker style seem to fail me long before the slide type. As for the air filter, it looks identical the what Redmax uses. Just by looking I bet it is going to be way down on the power compared to your FS 80 but if it is light and gets the job done for you then I guess it will not be a problem. It really seems over the last several years that the power to weight on trimmers have went in very a bad direction, especially Echo trimmers, that is why I was very happy when my dealer started carrying Husqvarna again. I just love the light weight and power of the 323 Husky, so I bought another one.

Richard Martin
09-25-2010, 10:47 AM
Just by looking I bet it is going to be way down on the power compared to your FS 80 but if it is light and gets the job done for you then I guess it will not be a problem.

It's actually a replacement for my Shindy T-230. I just started using my last brand new FS 80. I bought my first FS 80 back in 2004 and it still runs great. It needs some things done though like fuel lines, the recoil's going bad and it could probably use a new carb. I bought a new FS 80 in 2006 when they first started talking about discontinuing them and put it into storage.

Alan0354
09-25-2010, 02:02 PM
Very good and detail review.

Only one thing I beg the difference, I like the foam filter!!! I am borned cheap, I wash the filter, air dry, oil it up and put it back on.

My Troybilt use the foam filter, I used it to trimmer weeds to the soil and alway whipped up dust all over. For 4 years, I have not clean it once and the trimmer is still running!!! I opened it once and it was so dirty. But still kept the inside clean and the engine runs.

I have foam filter in both Honda engines and Shindaiwa M242 also.

Do you know how much I have to pay for my Maruyama bp? Something like $20!!!!:cry::cry:

jkilov
09-25-2010, 02:24 PM
Richard, the stupid air filter assembly looks incredibly similar to my maruyama and rebadged husky 22.5cc engines.

I had no idea these companies were linked somehow.

Mowingman
09-25-2010, 02:37 PM
The Redmax handhelds use a foam air filter like that, but, they are a fairly dense, sturdy foam. They have several sizes. You may be able to replace that cheaply made filter with a better one from Redmax. You can wash the Redmax filters many times before they start to fall apart.
I like your detailed evaluation. The whole line of Tanaka equipment makes me nervous. Since Tanaka dealers, that actually stock the products and parts for them, are non existant in most parts of the country, I worry about downtime if a Tanaka machine fails. And, all handhelds will have some part failure sooner or later. I just wonder how long it will take to get a small part shipped from their warehouse after you order?
Will be interested in hearing how it performs.

Alan0354
09-25-2010, 02:56 PM
The Redmax handhelds use a foam air filter like that, but, they are a fairly dense, sturdy foam. They have several sizes. You may be able to replace that cheaply made filter with a better one from Redmax. You can wash the Redmax filters many times before they start to fall apart.
I like your detailed evaluation. The whole line of Tanaka equipment makes me nervous. Since Tanaka dealers, that actually stock the products and parts for them, are non existant in most parts of the country, I worry about downtime if a Tanaka machine fails. And, all handhelds will have some part failure sooner or later. I just wonder how long it will take to get a small part shipped from their warehouse after you order?
Will be interested in hearing how it performs.

For the price, you can affort to have a spare!!!:laugh:

pugs
09-25-2010, 03:03 PM
Richard, the stupid air filter assembly looks incredibly similar to my maruyama and rebadged husky 22.5cc engines.

I had no idea these companies were linked somehow.

Not really. You see on the air filter cover where it says Walbro....guess where most people buy air filter assemblies, carbs and primer systems.

You probably would have liked the old TBC-230 more. Not sure if these new cheap ones have any anti vibe between the engine and the shaft like the 230 did or not. The 230 also came with a 5" head instead of the 4" one that this comes with. This probably isnt the trimmer to compare to the shindaiwa 230 or the stihl. Yes it is made for commercial use, but honestly its made to be cheap cheap cheap. Its made to be sold by the container load in Hitachi colors to big box stores.

Alan0354
09-25-2010, 04:53 PM
Hitachi is known to make very good cordless tools for cheap. I don't think you can exactly put them down. There is nothing wrong to be cheap as long as they are reliable. Actually I have more faith since Tanaka bought out by Hitachi.

I'll take Hitachi battery tools anytime over DeWalt!!! I got burnt by DeWalt sooooo bad. I have a basketful of 18V and 12V DeWalt with no battery.....All burnt very fast. I have been using complete set of Ryobi tools to do earthquake retrofit and they survived....Trust me, earthquake retrofit is the ultimate test for tools.

Richard Martin
09-25-2010, 06:55 PM
This probably isnt the trimmer to compare to the shindaiwa 230 or the stihl. Yes it is made for commercial use, but honestly its made to be cheap cheap cheap. Its made to be sold by the container load in Hitachi colors to big box stores.

I was really just giving it a try you know. It was cheap, cheap, cheap. I'll give it a couple of years and then get something a little stronger. The sad economy is hitting all of us right now.

Merkava_4
09-25-2010, 08:48 PM
That hand looks like it's been through hell and back. :D

Pennington Lawncare
09-25-2010, 08:50 PM
The main problem I have with this trimmer is the fuel line inside the gas tank is too stiff and the filter on the end of the tube can't move around in the tank enough to stay in gas when you turn the trimmer up on one side. Thus it runs out of gas with a nearly full tank when you turn it on one side.

The second problem which mine currently has is the damn thing won't run. This is another problem with fuel delivery. I can prime and prime it but, the prime bulb appears to be blowing air inside the tank instead of sucking it into the bulb and then into the carb. I'm going to take it to the dealer here in town and see if they will work on it under warranty. This is the second time that it has decided that it didn't want to run. It will try to start but, once you give it any throttle it dies or it will die after idling for a few seconds. The last time it didn't want to run I just kept on trying to get it started and it finally did and ran fine for a few weeks and it has decided that it's through running again.

BigGreen1
09-25-2010, 09:18 PM
Richard,

Thanks for taking the time to do a write-up on your trimmer. What you did is what's missing from this site-real lco's reviewing the equipment they buy. The price that you paid isn't bad either.

Bravo,
Tim

Richard Martin
09-25-2010, 09:26 PM
That hand looks like it's been through hell and back. :D

It's been around.

snapper72'
09-26-2010, 07:18 PM
Thank you for the detailed and thorough review. Looking forward to hearing how it runs for you. It appears similar in size to the Echo SRM-210/225.
pugs, what box store carries the Hitachi rebadged timmers? I would like a close up look at one of these.

morgaj1
09-26-2010, 10:03 PM
Thank you for the detailed and thorough review. Looking forward to hearing how it runs for you. It appears similar in size to the Echo SRM-210/225.
pugs, what box store carries the Hitachi rebadged timmers? I would like a close up look at one of these.

Last time I was in Sears, I saw some Hitachi trimmers.

snapper72'
09-26-2010, 10:51 PM
morgaj1, thanks for the heads up on Sears. Prattville is a nice area not to far from my Dad's hometown, Elmore.

morgaj1
09-26-2010, 10:54 PM
morgaj1, thanks for the heads up on Sears. Prattville is a nice area not to far from my Dad's hometown, Elmore.

It really is. If you haven't been back in a while, the whole area has experienced tremendous growth.

Alan0354
09-27-2010, 12:21 AM
My Sears only has Craftsman. They stop selling Husqvarna lately!!!

Southern Pride
09-27-2010, 01:26 AM
Looks just like my chinese Big Jack garbage :D No, I'm loving mine. Hope that one works out it sounds pretty good.

Richard Martin
09-27-2010, 05:37 AM
Looks just like my chinese Big Jack garbage :D No, I'm loving mine. Hope that one works out it sounds pretty good.

If we were to put hour meters on each tool I'd put my money on the Tananka to last much, much longer.

jkilov
09-27-2010, 07:13 PM
Forgot to mention something about these foam perimeter filters. A few of my redmax, maruyama and husky units have them, they all suck.

No problems with them collapsing but filtering performance is poor. The foam is just not dense enough to stop dirt, all of them had fine dirt inside the intake, which probably shortens engine life.

Walbro may build fine carbs but these intake assemblies are junk.

Alan0354
09-27-2010, 07:52 PM
Forgot to mention something about these foam perimeter filters. A few of my redmax, maruyama and husky units have them, they all suck.

No problems with them collapsing but filtering performance is poor. The foam is just not dense enough to stop dirt, all of them had fine dirt inside the intake, which probably shortens engine life.

Walbro may build fine carbs but these intake assemblies are junk.

You put enough oil on the filter and squeeze it even? My Troybilt worked perfectly trimming in very dusty enviroment.

Southern Pride
09-27-2010, 09:04 PM
If we were to put hour meters on each tool I'd put my money on the Tananka to last much, much longer.

I don't know but there is nothing that feels cheap about mine, already made me roughly $500 so, it's already done it's job.

I'd rather put my money on the thought that the majority of the extra you paid was for the name Tanaka.

dboyd351
09-28-2010, 11:32 PM
:clapping:I'd rather put my money on the thought that the majority of the extra you paid was for the name Tanaka

Let's see. The Tanaka is on sale for $189, then you get a $40 rebate. How much of that is extra for the name Tanaka?

Pennington Lawncare
09-29-2010, 12:04 AM
Ok, I found out what was wrong with mine. The gas line had a crack in it. It's all good now if only the Speed Feed head I ordered for it will come in.

rain man
09-29-2010, 12:32 AM
Good price and informative review. Will be interested in hearing more on this trimmer as times goes by. Air filter sure is different than my stihl though.

Richard Martin
09-29-2010, 03:56 AM
Okay. I got one of my Veri heads on it. It was simple enough. The threaded size of the Tananka is the same as the Veri head. There was just a small shoulder on the Tanaka output shaft (the threaded part) that kept the Veri head from going up snug. I had a really thick washer that was the perfect diameter. I just needed to make the center hole in the washer a little larger. I got out my step drill bit (Greenlee, real nice) and made the hole larger. It now looks and fits just like it came with the spacer from the factory.

I did get a chance to use the trimmer a bit.

I found that the fairing in the cover that I mentioned above isn't a problem. My arm comfortably rests right beside it while I'm trimming. However I did find that the cover gets really warm though. The cover sits about 3/8" or so, away from the side of the engine. The covers on my other trimmers have a good deal of room in that area so they don't get warm. It was a relatively cool day though, in the 70s, so the cover may get uncomfortably warm when the temps rise into the 90s' We'll see and I may have to put some sort of thermal barrier there to keep the temps down.

kawasaki guy
11-13-2012, 07:43 PM
very good review! :)

TMlawncare
11-14-2012, 12:03 AM
We purchased two of these tanaka trimmers to be backups for our redmax. After two years of running these, We don't even use our redmax trimmers. Why? The tanaka starts very easy hot or cold. They rev up immediately. They do have some problems. The fuel lines will need replaced within the first six months. The on/off switch works part of the time. The tap head is tiny. The trimmers run great and have very good power.

lawnboy dan
11-14-2012, 09:13 AM
sears has them here as hitachi. look like a decent trimmer for the $. i am about to give up on husky trimmers. had it with the zama carbs. i still have my robin ultra light to use when my back acts up

dboyd351
11-14-2012, 11:52 AM
We purchased two of these tanaka trimmers to be backups for our redmax. After two years of running these, We don't even use our redmax trimmers. Why? The tanaka starts very easy hot or cold. They rev up immediately. They do have some problems. The fuel lines will need replaced within the first six months. The on/off switch works part of the time. The tap head is tiny. The trimmers run great and have very good power.

Glad you like it. I like mine, too. As for the head, I replaced mine with the smaller Speed Feed - love it!

pugs
11-14-2012, 11:01 PM
They had some issues with the fuel lines on these early on. Most should be coming with better/different lines. What I am told it wasnt actually the lines that are bad but some crazy additive that was in the Chinese gas on the assembly line where they test run them. It would dry out the fuel lines to the point they become hard and brittle.

Someone made the comment of Tanaka being better since Hitachi...that I would strongly disagree with. Hitachi should stay far away from power equipment IMO. We have sold Tanaka for 10+ years. We are also do sales/service for Hitachi power tools for about the same length of time. When Tanaka was by themselves I hardly ever had a part backordered and all the machines were made very well. I hardly ever did any warranty work on them. Since Hitachi bought them I have had tons of backorders on parts and have done more warranty work on them in the past few years than in all the rest of the years combined probably a few times over even. Most of the increase in warranty work is on the new Hitachi/Tanaka combined products. The old Tanaka only products that are still being made have been the usual sell them and 5 years later someone comes in and buys a gas cap. The backorders have improved but the lower quality of the products and extra warranty work I am not a fan of. I used to sell a Tanaka and never see it again unless the person came in to buy another because they liked the first so much. Now loyal customers and dealers are moving away from Tanaka because of all the backorders they experienced during the transition.

zmelli
11-15-2012, 12:39 AM
Interesting post. I almost bought a TBC-260PF ($269) or a TBC-280($299) both made in Japan. There are still some old stock units out there. I wanted a old school trimmer and refused to buy any trimmer made in China. The spark plug on the top was Tanakas Pure-fire Fix. I ended up buying a Dolmar with the Mitsubishi TLE33-FD engine, they are on closeout right now. I will do a review when I get the time.

dboyd351
11-15-2012, 08:39 AM
It is getting harder and harder to know what is a good product and who made it. A good example is Redmax 400/4000 chainsaws. Some were made in Japan, some were assembled in China, but the motors were made in Japan, but the sticker says made in China. You have to pull the covers off and look at the cylinder to see the Zenoah, Japan on the ones marked made in China.

kawasaki guy
11-15-2012, 08:44 AM
sears has them here as hitachi. look like a decent trimmer for the $. i am about to give up on husky trimmers. had it with the zama carbs. i still have my robin ultra light to use when my back acts up

Go Shindaiwa or STIHL 4-mix when you replace the husky.

treacherous
04-07-2013, 01:42 AM
Do you know if any of the brush cutter line is still made in Japan?

http://www.tanakapowerequipment.com/main-navigation/products/brushcutters

T The old Tanaka only products that are still being made have been the usual sell them and 5 years later someone comes in and buys a gas cap. The backorders have improved but the lower quality of the products and extra warranty work I am not a fan of. I used to sell a Tanaka and never see it again unless the person came in to buy another because they liked the first so much. Now loyal customers and dealers are moving away from Tanaka because of all the backorders they experienced during the transition.

lawnboy dan
04-07-2013, 09:41 AM
and just what is ultra light about sthil 4 mix? this thread is about light trimmers to use when our old age acts up and we need ultra light trimmer to continue working-right richard?

Richard Martin
04-07-2013, 09:48 AM
and just what is ultra light about sthil 4 mix? this thread is about light trimmers to use when our old age acts up and we need ultra light trimmer to continue working-right richard?

Yes, that is correct. The 4 Mix trimmers are so heavy and out of balance that you will never see one on my trailer or in my hands.

dboyd351
04-07-2013, 09:56 AM
Yes, that is correct. The 4 Mix trimmers are so heavy and out of balance that you will never see one on my trailer or in my hands.

Agreed!!! I have the Tanaka in question and a Stihl 90 4mix. There is a huge difference in weight and handling between the 2. After you've used the Tanaka, picking up the Stihl feels like hefting an unbalanced cinder block.

lawnboy dan
04-07-2013, 07:20 PM
sthil has never been able to balance their trimmers nor get the weight down. got a free fs55 that wasnt bad but the head desighn was so bad in my opinion that i gave it away rather than change the head

rogerdodger
04-18-2013, 09:56 PM
I bought one 3 years ago. I was so impressed with, weight, workhorse, and oh yeah, the price, that the next year I bought another. Hatachi bought em out. The second one was green. It will cut big stuff fairly well but if you are doing lawns it is great. I use the smaller speed feed head and use .o80 smaller line. I carry a piece about 15 foot long rolled up in my shirt pocket and when I run out I re-load in 30 sec. It starts hot or cold in hot or cold weather. The kill switch will break SOON. I put a normally open push btn on it. So it is always ready to start, just push the btn to kill it. I dont mind the small filter. not much dust in grass.

The latest Item I just bought is the wolfsnout mask. I really like it. you can breathe and it doesnt fog glasses. If it last allseason I will love it.