A string trimmer is a power-driven garden tool that is used to trim grass, weeds and other plants from around obstacles such as trees, walls, etc. Other names for the device are strimmer, weed whacker, or weed snipper. The first-ever string trimmer was fashioned out of fishing line and a popcorn can that was bolted to an edger. Today’s string trimmers have four components:
- A long shaft that may be either straight or curved. Curved shafts are ideal for trimming around fence posts. Straight shafts are used when you need a long reach.
- A cutting head at one end of the shaft
- A motor. This may be either electric and mounted near the cutting head at the bottom or gas-powered and at the opposite end to the cutting head. Battery-powered string trimmers exist but they are somewhat impractical due to the added weight and limited life of the battery.
- Monofilament cutting line wound onto a spool.
Echo string trimmers use two-stroke engines. Many tasks are easy enough to be performed by an untrained person with minimum experience. Others require the services of a trained mechanic. Maintenance tasks are listed below in increasing difficulty from easy, to moderate and difficult.
These require tools that are supplied with the string trimmer.
- Check fuel level and look for clogs or breaks in the fuel line.
- Inspect and tighten screws, nuts and bolts daily and replace any broken components.
- Inspect and clean or replace the air filter. First, close the choke cover to prevent debris from getting into the carburetor. Brush away any debris away from the air filter before removing it. If particles get into the combustion chamber it will become damaged. Remove the air filter and inspect it. If it is caked with dirt, damaged or has been in regular use for more than 90 operating hours or three months, it will need to be replaced.
- Similarly, inspect and clean or replace the fuel filter. It will need to be changed if it has been in regular use for more than a year. If the filter is clogged with gunk, it is difficult for fuel to get to the carburetor. This may make the motor difficult to start.
- Echo string trimmers use i-30 and i-75 recoil starter motors that reduce the effort required to start the engine by 30% and 75%, respectively.
Tasks of moderate difficulty
- Spark plugs. The spark plug wire may be removed with the fingers. The spark plug itself needs to be removed using a socket wrench. If the spark plug is fouled, replace with a new spark plug. Check the spark plug gap; consult your owners manual for the proper electrode gap. Install the plug with a socket wrench and replace the wire with your finger.
- Inspect and clean the engine choke regularly. First, clear away any dirt or debris with a brush or rag and then remove the air filter cover, muffler and engine cover. Clean the covers and the engine and replace the components in reverse order. Regularly clean the spark arrestor screen with a wire brush. Metal screens may be burned clean with a torch. Replace the screen if there are any cracks or holes.
- Clean the air cooling system. Use fingers to remove the spark plug lead and throttle linkage. You will see four retaining screws; remove them with a screwdriver. Remove the trimmer cover. Use a brush to clear debris and dirt from the cooling fins. Use a screwdriver to replace the retaining screws and reattach the throttle linkage and spark plug lead with your fingers.
- Check the carburetor adjustment. You will know it needs adjusting because the engine may either die during acceleration or run without accelerating. Different models require different techniques. This usually requires nothing more sophisticated than a screwdriver.
Tasks beyond your reach
The cylinder exhaust port needs to be cleaned periodically. This is necessary to comply with EPA emission regulations. This requires the skills of a trained and qualified service dealer. To locate factory trained technicians in the Mid-Atlantic Tri-State area, visit www.shankslawn.com.
By performing a few simple, routine tasks, you can maintain your Echo string trimmer in sound working condition for years. With a little care and attention, you will be able to spend more time enjoying your handiwork and less time repairing your tools.