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How long should a good trimmer last? Replacement recommendations?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by NB1968, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. NB1968

    NB1968 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    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.
  2. SimonCX

    SimonCX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 729

    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.
  3. LCPullman

    LCPullman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 589

    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.
  4. pressley10r

    pressley10r LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Posts: 100

    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.
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,201

    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.
  6. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    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.
  7. pressley10r

    pressley10r LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Posts: 100

    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
  8. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    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.
  9. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,038

    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 .
  10. fivestarlandscapes

    fivestarlandscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    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.

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