Line Trimmer from Hell

We call them weed whackers here in the northeast. One of my pet peeves is two stroke engines. Whoever invented the two stroke engine should be drug out into the street and shot with an axe.

Somewhere along the way I bought a weed eater from Craigslist. The guy sold it to me for $20, and the stipulation was “It’s hard to get running”. But he proved to me it ran by firing it up. There was hope. I got it home, started it up again, and it would stall whenever it hit the weeds. A weedeater which only idles doesn’t eat much weeds. Since I had plenty of other homeowners projects to do I hung it up in the garage with a note on it what was wrong and what my thoughts were and completely forgot about it for the last month.

Now, my flower beds became overgrown and my sidewalks desperately needed edging. My buddy had gotten it started (but again, only to idle) at the house party messing around. I figured it was a good time to try again. I got it started, and the same thing, it wouldn’t hold an idle. Or a stickynote, I have no idea where that went. Just on a lark I decided to try it without the air filter and using WD40 as starter fluid. Unlike ether, the WD40 lubricates and has a higher flashpoint, making it safe(r) to use in two strokes. Ether would just work it’s way into the crank case and blow us all to hell since the crank is lubricated by the gas on two stroke engines.

Barring getting blown to hell, I decided to muck around with it for a bit. Things we know: It will start with some WD40. It will start with the air filter off. It’s not really making power. I decided the thing to do was to add some fresh gasoline to it (not oil mixed), give it a squirt of WD40 in the gas tank just to pretend it’s close to the correct ratio, and change the spark plug and air filter. The spark plug is a pretty standard Home Depot affair. Since this thing is old, it was cheap at $1.50. The air filter? Impossible to get. It’s a strip of foam and they apparently don’t even make this model, so I decided the best way to handle this was to completely ignore the air filter. If we ignore the problem it goes away, right?

In my case, yes. The spark plug and fuel combination proved to be The Right Thing to get it working. In fact it worked so well that if I took the air filter off completely I had to run the engine at half choke or it got wildly hot from leaning out. Note to self: Air filter = 1 choke setting. They basically designed it to starve for air through the filter.

No rest for the wicked, my next project is picking up this freezer I found on AIDSLIST for a third of list.