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When a 2-cycle engine starts acting up...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    like on a line trimmer or hedge trimmers...do you just throw them out and buy new?

    My sample size is very small. I have done this with two machines so far. To buy a new coil, plug and carb for a stihl machine is about $100. When one of the blade edgers acted up earlier this spring, I bought these three components, replaced them and it runs fine now.

    On the other hand, one of the line trimmers started acting up so I spent the $100 and did the same thing. The thing stihl won't run. I bought a comperession tester and it is holding 110 lbs pressure. I took it to the dealer and their mechanic couldn't make it run either. The dealer was nice enough to take back the carb & coil and sell me a new one.

    So then a hedge trimmer comes in a few weeks later and it won't start. I bought a new one because I don't have a spare. It is holding 120 psi. Do I throw this old one away or invest the money in repair parts and hope it fixes it? These parts are so expensive, it is a real gamble.

    So what are other LCO's doing with these small engines when they start acting up? Repair or replace?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,780

    I'm a real small fish in a big pond, so can't speak from years of business experience, only personal feelings. I don't like hassles, and am not mechanically inclined, so in my case, about the second time something that I could replace for, say, $300 or less, acted up, I'd buy myself a new one.

    The trimmer I had when I started my business was of commercial quality, and I thought why spend any more money right now? About a month into this, it lost power on a job 20 miles from home. The next morning, I was the proud owner of a new Echo. I did have the old one repaired, and have it for backup, but plan to buy another new one, with the easy start feature, in the near future, and keep my present Echo for backup while it is still in good shape.

    I was at my dealers only a couple of weeks ago, and a guy was there picking up a chainsaw he had them repair. I don't recall the brand of the saw, but it was one I wasn't impressed with at the time (not a Stihl or Husquavarna, for example). It looked to be a dozen years old, or more, and only had about a 16 inch bar. The bill for repairing it was something like $150.

    After the customer left, I looked at the guy who owns the business and shook my head. He shrugged his shoulders and grinned. We both thought the guy was an idiot for spending that kind of money on an old saw.
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    I think that will be my new M.O. I will replace anything broken on the Stihls, but as soon as the engine won't start, it's in the trash and I pay for a new one.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  4. traman

    traman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 712

    To buy a new coil, plug and carb . one more thing to always check is the screen in the muffler,if it has to much carbon built up most 2 cycles will not go to full rpm . my little hand blower was acting up. so i put in a new plug and filter still ran like crap ,cleaned screen ,runs great
  5. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    Ditto the screen in the muffler, WhenI have a 2 cycle acting up I usually check the carb and I check the muffler/exhaust ports, If a new plug, and clean ports/carb doesn't get it goin right then it may be time to replace it.
  6. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    We pull the exhaust screens off when we buy them new.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  7. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 997

    When an internal combustion engine won't run, or runs poorly, it is one of two possiblities: spark or fuel.

    The first thing to eliminate is the spark. Remove the spark plug, re-connect the wire, hold it against the cylinder head and have someone pull the starter rope. If you see a strong flash across the gap, it's not a problem with the ignition system. If the flash is weak, try replacing the plug, but if you have a spark, the engine will start if it is getting enough fuel.

    So now consider the carb. Remove the carb and clean it or reubuild it or replace it. For me, if cleaning doesn't do it, I'll replace it. But before youdo that, remove the muffler and check to make sure the exhaust port isn't plugged. Kawasaki is the only engine I've seen so far that has a good potential for the exhaust port to plug up and reduce efficiency.

    But back to your problem. Personally I would never ever own a Stihl anything ever again... too much trouble. I suggest that you give Tanaka a try. Their hedge trimmer (THT-2100) is much lighter and more powerful than the Stihl. I guarantee that you will like it better. It will be so much easier to start and keep running.
  8. lawnboy dan

    lawnboy dan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,711

    i agree i have given up on sthil also -nothing but trouble except for the br400
  9. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    All of our Stihl backpack blowers are still going strong. Don't even have spares on those.

    From what I have seen, the larger the cylinder, the longer it lasts.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  10. mike lane lawn care

    mike lane lawn care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,707

    when it starts to break down, or gets to the point where it may not be so reliable, i will toss it. i don't buy backup equipment of trimers and edgers, so i need something that is going to be dependable. I am waiting for my trimmer to break down so i can justify a straight shaft one, unfortunately i bought all echo stuff, so it will be a while.

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