Do I want to get into 2 cycle repair?

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by Kartracer55, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. Kartracer55

    Kartracer55 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 22

    Well Im looking for some opinions from the pro's out there. I do alot of 4 cycle work for myself, and I do lawnmower maintenance/repair as a hobby and little side buisness if youd like to think of it like that. Mostly do work for friends and neighboors but word of mouth has spread and I get calls from people I dont really know asking for service/repair (thats what happens when the last shop in town closes up I guess).

    Anyway, I have no problem (usually) working on 4 cycle engines. I have a solid mechanical back ground and I also do welding/fabrication. Well also say Ive spent more with the snap-on man than Id like to admit to myself:rolleyes:, so as far as tools/shop equipment goes Im set. I also do minor repairs on my Yamaha kt100 race engines on a regular basis along with the POS 30 year old technology walbro carb that they use.

    I got a call from a guy saying he wants me to take a look at his trimmer. I dont have very much experience with trimmers. What do you guys think? Is it something I want to get into? How difficult are they to deal with compared to a lawnmower/snowblower? Will I need OEM specific tools for just basic service? How "in depth" are the repairs you guys typically see with them?

    Im just looking for a bit of advice/guidance here


  2. MowerMedic77

    MowerMedic77 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,164

    First off Welcome to Lawnsite:drinkup:

    I would say that you should be able to work on that unit with little problem basic tools are more then enough, spark tester, compression gage are your best friends with 2cycle, also a small hand pressure tester for carbs and fuel lines. Most techs in shops prefer one over the other as far as 2cycle and 4cycle repairs other shops have it set up so that the same guy(s) works on only 2cycle. I got lucky and when I got in this business I had a couple of good guys that had been doing this work for many years before me and were kind enough to teach me a lot of what I know, I did'nt attend my first class or manufacture run school unit after 5 years of working on the stuff. Plus most questions can be answered on this site real good group of guys ready to help with most problems.
  3. Kartracer55

    Kartracer55 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 22

    Thanks for the welcome.

    I have a pop-off gauge and im familiar with pop off pressure and fulcrum arm height and such, as I deal with it on my engines but I mean, in terms of diagnoses and repairs, how much different is it from 4 cycle work? I dont know exactly how to ask what Im thinking here but Im just a big apprehensive about taking on work with something I havent dealt with, ya know?

    What types of repairs/service do you mostly encounter with 2 cycle work, like trimmers and such? How about snow blowers? Is most of it a simple carb cleaning/rebuild or am I looking at splitting cases open and things like that? I just dont know what Im in for with trimmer work and stuff like that. Now, Say I was going to service trimmers used commercially, what would I be seing compared to a residential use trimmer? Im just worried I might get screwed because of my inexperience.

    Aside from that, Does it even make sense to offer to service the MTD/Ryobi type $69.99 specials? Is this what you get or do you mostly service high end Stihl/Echo/Shin. stuff?

    I just threw alot out at ya but Im tired and cant figure out exactly what Im trying to ask here, but I think you knwo what I mean

  4. AAELI

    AAELI LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 362

    Hi Jim,

    If you stick with the higher end stuff you will find more consistency in your repair time. You should not have too difficult a time catching on with 2 cycles with the background you already have. The biggest hurdle is just a willingness to get started getting your hands dirty. The majority of the problems seen on trimmers, saws, etc. seems to be fuel related. Troubleshooting with the proper tools will help speed up the failure diagnosis and subsequent repair. Practice and experience are what come with time.

    Welcome to the site.
  5. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Posts: 2,419

    You should surely start out offering to repair the MTD/Poulan/Homelite stuff.
    Do at least 30 of them. After wasting time writing up a service ticket and doing the repairs and then fighting to get people to pay for it, it will give you a greater appreciation for the better quality and design that goes into the high end stuff. At that point, you will have true work experience to relate to people when you start turning those cheapo units away.
  6. Kartracer55

    Kartracer55 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 22

    Hmm, I suppose your right. Im going to have to get some off the side of the road on junk day or at a flea market just to toy around with. I think what it comes down to is that Im not confident that I have enough experience to start doing repairs for other people. I suppose I need to do a big more "practice" work , but so many people have been asking me to look at thier 2 cycle stuff, Im sick of telling them I dont do 2 cycles.


  7. big ed

    big ed LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    stick with the major brands. the rest is like a cheap can fix that big box mart stuff tody and something else will happen to it tomorrow and then its your fault and the customer expects you to eat it.
  8. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,613

    Two strokes are much simpler and easier to work on then say a 27hp kohler.

    About all that will usually be wrong in order of most likely to least likely:

    You may need to clean or rebuild a carb
    Replace crank seals
    Remove muffler and clean exhaust ports
    Shortblock an engine
    Replace a clutch

    All of these are fairly easy to do once you get used to working on the smaller engines. You will notice that higher end units i.e. stihl redmax echo are much easier to repair thanks to their design than a MTD ryobi or Weedeater.
  9. Kartracer55

    Kartracer55 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 22

    Hmm Thanks for the replies guys.

    LM, are you suggesting that I only offer to repair these more well known brands? I was told by 2 other guys on another board that I should avoid servicing low end trimmers. What do you think?

    Also, how is parts availability for lesser known brands?

  10. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,465

    if your not working on 2 strokes then your not going to give your customers full service. 2 strokes have very little moving parts compaired to 4 strokes. most problems are fuel related. fuel filter is connected to the supply line inside the fuel tank - sometimes forgotten. I personally have found that replacing the carb compared to rebuilding it is time and money ahead. I used to rebuild all carbs but I have made more money in replacing the carb. The exhaust ports onder thier mufflers can get plugged and need to be cleaned. get a book on 2 strokes and go for it.

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