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View Full Version : How long should a good trimmer last? Replacement recommendations?


NB1968
03-10-2011, 06:19 PM
How long should a good trimmer last these days? Replacement recommendations?
I'm using a Stihl FS 80 specifically for my residence, (no longer have the business) only bought new in '04. So it has seen just under 6 seasons of use. That said it was only used maybe 10 hrs a season so it has 60 hrs on it w/ basic yearly maintenance end of year and is crapping out, won't start or stay running now requiring a new carb, lines etc.
While that seems old time wise, hours wise I'd consider it a baby if I were using it professionally.
At roughly $350 that's almost $6/hr to use.

I'm wondering what opinions are out there for how long a "good quality" commercial trimmer "should" last in years / hours used under "normal" conditions with appropriate basic maintenance before you start having major issues and/or repairs?
In general, after how many years/hours would it not be worth repairing vs. replacing even if replacing would obviously cost more.

Also, any recommendations on a replacement vs having it repaired, (roughly $130 for the new carb, lines etc. I'm quoted)

I do the regular trimming plus heavier / taller grasses around a lake front every few months and some wooded area underbrush trimming a few times a year occassionally using the 8-tooth blade.

SimonCX
03-10-2011, 06:32 PM
I would try cleaning the carb, new lines, new spark plug and see if the spark arrest and exhaust port need cleaning. With those hours you should not need a new trimmer, our oldest is 5-6 years old and gets used more in a week then you use in a season and it's still going strong.

LCPullman
03-10-2011, 07:22 PM
As a matter of time, things like fuel lines and the gaskets/diaphragm of a carb will degrade. I don't think you can guarantee any trimmer to go more than six years without needing that kind of work.
I have found that lack of use often seems to be harder on how well a machine runs than regular use.
That said, I would think you should just have it repaired because the engine has plenty of life left in it. If you are mechanically inclined, you could replace the lines yourself and clean the carb/rebuild it. If not, you may just have to pay up for the repair.

pressley10r
03-10-2011, 08:17 PM
I was kinda wondering this recently too. Ever since ethanol problems started to surface (the last 2-3 yrs), I can't get a trimmer to last more than 1 year, (probably about 100-125 hrs) I remember when a good trimmer would hold up for 3-5 years under commercial use.

ed2hess
03-10-2011, 08:23 PM
The echo 265 will go 5 years with a little maintenance and maybe longer. Knock on wood but I had no corn gas related problems on any of the units I purchased in the last 4 years.

Kelly's Landscaping
03-10-2011, 08:28 PM
Trouble with the small 2cycle stuff is it's not valuable enough to justify real overhauls when they start to act up after 12 to 24 months. When I can buy a really good shindawa for 329 to 429 dollars I cant part with 100 to 175 to repair the carburetors and other stuff. My dealers all charge 75 an hour and up so if they spend 2 hours fixing the trimmers its just throwing money away.

As for how long do our trimmers last we manage to get about 2 seasons out of 4 trimmers for 2 crews. We typical bill for about 4500 lawn cuts a season so on average 2250 lawn cuts and its retired.

pressley10r
03-10-2011, 08:29 PM
The echo 265 will go 5 years with a little maintenance and maybe longer. Knock on wood but I had no corn gas related problems on any of the units I purchased in the last 4 years.

pretty impressive, I had a 265t when they first came out, had carb problems right off the bat, took it back to the dealer to trade for a used older grey echo he had

Richard Martin
03-10-2011, 08:36 PM
Your FS80 should have many, many hours left on it. Pull the spark plug and check the compression. As long as it's over 100 then the trimmer is fine. You can't buy FS80's anymore and it is an excellent trimmer. $125 isn't squat compared to $350 and more for a comparable new trimmer.

XLS
03-10-2011, 10:01 PM
9out of 10 problems with ethonol gas is it deteriorates fuel lines . with such little use a year i bet its got more issues with poor gas octane or from setting up and gumming up the carb over the winter, we have had 0 effects from the ethonol fuels in all our years.

lear to store items and how rto care for them and it will go along ways . in 12 years we have never had a unit fail .

fivestarlandscapes
03-10-2011, 10:09 PM
XLS,
Should I go through all my handhelds and replace the fuel lines yearly to avoid problems in the field? Fuel lines are cheap, having a broken tool on a job is not.

ncknaklawns
03-11-2011, 02:21 AM
Seems like I put about 180hrs on mine each year. Starting year 5. I change/clean plug and change air filter. The air filter seems to be filled with oil quite often. I run it at 1/2 speed and only pump it when I need to -Its an FS110

NB1968
03-11-2011, 04:24 PM
Thanks for all the input. I did not realize the ethanol could be a major contributor to problems. How do you avoid it? The Stihl dealer says they have an addative that "takes care" of the problem...I'm skeptical. What could you possibly add to offset the effects of ethanol which degrades all the plastic & rubber parts and causes your engine to run hotter?

XLS
03-11-2011, 07:11 PM
I would say its a very cheap fix honestly for the fuel lines and i know your getting he** over the inquire so i will help you out a bit , we keep a fuel line for each of our units , weekly we wiggle the line a second and when the methenol makes it tear its a fast fix . we only need to replace them every 2 years..... BUT

GET a bottle of FUEL MEDIC I will tell you why
it changes the ethonol and it will even allow water to be absorbed in the fuel and yes the water will burn like fuel with no effects
its like $4.50 for a 1 oz bottle and it mixes with fuel from 1 to 32 gallons with the same result . it is a stabilizer as well we started using it when the ethonol started and i swear we have never had a fuel related problem from it yet . we add 2 in a 50 gallon drum and its good to go ...... i decided to help you out instead of making you believe the other imposibles on here

STIHL GUY
03-11-2011, 07:16 PM
i have a STIHL FS5R that is 5 or 6 years old. its used on about 18 yards a week for the span of its life. It has also been abused in some thick brush more than a few times. so far the only thing i have done is to clean out the spark arresting screen. other than that no problems.

XLS
03-11-2011, 07:22 PM
we remove the screens on everything the day we get them

sildoc
03-11-2011, 11:56 PM
we remove the screens on everything the day we get them

Best thing you can do to the 2 stroke stuff.

We go 3 years for every 2 stroke equipment. We buy the fs 110 run it hard and usually sell it for 175 on craigslist, this is before we start having problems. But we have started using 92 clear on all our equipment. amazing the power the clear has over the ethanol laden fuel.
To answer your question I would replace the fuel lines and clean the carb. replace all of the gaskets. add a new spark plug. use the enzyme fuel preserver. good luck.

XLS
03-12-2011, 12:41 PM
I hate the idea of my blower on my guys backs or the trimmers in their hands starting a fire ........lololol never would happen but i got insurance if it did so we pull them . if you dont pull them it will lead to serious damage and B.S issues
ourfirst and only unit we had a screen in sheit out after about 4 months ...it started out as a hard start issue and it grew into the rings getting carbon build up and scouring the cylinder............ the company stood behind it and told my dealer it was really me running it to HOT and NOT wide open .( how i could do this didnt make sense .) my dealer noticed the screen was clogged while reinstalling the new engine and he looked at it and he pulled out the screen .............. same unit is alive and running today
and hasent been run any way different then 12 years ago

Richard Martin
03-12-2011, 03:31 PM
All of my equipment still has the screens in them. My oldest is a 2000 model year FC75 Stihl edger. For every person that says the screens are to blame there will be people that leave them in and never have any problems. The only engine I have to pull the screen and clean it is my Stihl HS45 hedge trimmers.

XLS
03-12-2011, 05:02 PM
martin not at all ,ever think your sthil screens was different then ours or that the different screens with our different techniques caused the differances , its all the same not a deal
just saying

Richard Martin
03-12-2011, 08:20 PM
,ever think your sthil screens was different then ours or that the different screens with our different techniques caused the differances ,

I'm sorry. I was just responding to your advice if you dont pull them it will lead to serious damage and B.S issues. You most assuredly do things differently from me as you probably do them different from any number of people. Not everybody's situation is the same so such broad based advice should be clarified.

Alan0354
03-13-2011, 04:07 AM
I pulled screens out on all my stuffs. I honestly don't feel any increase in power or any other improvement. So many people advice to pull them, so what the hack!!!:laugh:

I do save all the screens just in case.

grincon
03-13-2011, 05:11 AM
I pulled screens out on all my stuffs. I honestly don't feel any increase in power or any other improvement. So many people advice to pull them, so what the hack!!!:laugh:

I do save all the screens just in case.

the improvement is that it keeps the exhaust flowing clearly, once the screen plugs the exhaust port is probably starting to become saturated as well. One reason for the screen being dirty is the mix is too rich or the machine isn't being ran as hot as it should be.

NB1968
03-14-2011, 11:28 AM
if you dont pull them it will lead to serious damage and B.S issues What type of possible damage could in theory occur by NOT removing them? If they are cleaned regularly is it still an issue?
More important, what are the Cons / Dangers of removing them? They are there for a reason, right? I assumed it was to prevent a potential fire hazzard issue of some kind.

One reason for the screen being dirty is the mix is too rich or the machine isn't being ran as hot as it should be.

How do I properly identify if the mix is too rich? I assumed if my ewquipment ran smooth and did not burn oil or smell of gas the mix was proper. Is there a more scientific way to determine if it is too rich? If so, How often would you recommend checking it?

What do you mean by "Not being ran as hot as it should be"? How do I control that?
This is not something I've read in the manual or heard from any dealer in the past.

grincon
03-14-2011, 03:45 PM
If youre going to run with screens in I would use a synthetic mix and higher octane than 87 and run at full throttle.
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scraper1
03-15-2011, 04:06 AM
pay $450-$500 for a good trimmer. you get what you pay for.