Welcome to the DoItYourself Forums!

To post questions, help other DIYers and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our DIY community. It's free!

Homeowners gas trimmer that FEEDS!


jhansman's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 35
CAL

03-04-17, 03:27 PM   #1  
Homeowners gas trimmer that FEEDS!

Hello all-
I am on my second gas trimmer, both of which needed string head replacement parts but eventually just failed to work properly at all. The chief problem is when I load it up with the correct size string, it will feed when trimming with a gentle tap of the spring-loaded head. After about three of these, the string just tangles up in the head, and I have pull it all apart and load new string; rinse and repeat. This is really a PITA. My current trimmer is a Ryobi 30cc 4-cycle model, probably 3 years or more old. I recently replaced the entire string head on it (which had been redesigned), but no joy. So, I see the pros around here using trimmers I doubt they have to hassle with like this. Can anyone recommend a gas trimmer that they KNOW has a great (or even good) string feeding head? I think the engine size I have is powerful enough to do the job I have (front yard, driveway, weeds down the hill), so I'd like to keep the budget under, say, $300 and if I can get it through HD, that would be good too. Thanks for any help you can lend.

 
Sponsored Links
marksr's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 42,794
TN

03-04-17, 04:08 PM   #2  
I have a Craftsman weedeater. It doesn't have a spool of string but rather 2 pieces of string that you replace as needed. I was a little skeptical at first but doubt I'd ever go back to the old type.


retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

 
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 19,290
NE

03-04-17, 04:25 PM   #3  
I've got that style of aftermarket head on one of my weedeaters too. Works great, especially when you use the large diameter triangular whips... they are almost indestructible.

 
aj-allen's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 467
CO

03-04-17, 06:29 PM   #4  
I don't know if they will leave this post up or not but this is one of the best trimmer head you will ever use!!

https://www.oregonproducts.com/pro/p...speed_load.htm

 
cheese's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator

Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 16,567
GA

03-04-17, 06:33 PM   #5  
I'd stay away from the box store brands, they are problematic in pretty much all areas. For the same money as a junk brand with all the bells and whistles that won't hold up, you could buy a good echo that will just perform for years and years. Mine is from the 1990s and still runs great and the head still feeds without problem.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
jhansman's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 35
CAL

03-04-17, 09:45 PM   #6  
Thanks to all. I will check out that Oregon head and see if it fits my trimmer. Really, the head is the only problematic part of the machine, so if I don't have to buy a whole new trimmer, that would fit my budget better. Still, I will check out the Echo product line as well.

 
cheese's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator

Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 16,567
GA

03-05-17, 12:11 PM   #7  
Some of the oregon heads work well. You might use a new head until it's time to replace the ryobi and get a few more hours out of it.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
JerrySC's Avatar
Member

Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 16
SC

03-05-17, 12:55 PM   #8  
I have a two year old Stihl that has made me very happy.

 
marbobj's Avatar
Member

Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,658
IA

03-05-17, 01:43 PM   #9  
I have a GT 225 Echo that I would highly recommend. It came with the two piece insert lines. I always favor a bump head so I replaced the original with one I got off Ebay for about $25.00

 
jhansman's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 35
CAL

03-05-17, 02:47 PM   #10  
Yes, I favor a bump head as well, when the damn thing works. I have no gripe with Ryobi products; I own their 19 volt drill and pad sander, and both come back for more. Were I a pro at any of these chores, I'd probably go with higher quality gear, but I still read crappy reviews for Echo, Stihl, and Husqvarna (whose 16" chainsaw has never let me down), so I'd rather not replace the entire unit on the chance one of the other brands is the "best."

On a side note, I was once standing in front of the plethora of paint brushes at HD one day, and a guy standing next to me asked, "What are you painting?" I told him I had to hand paint the 10 6x8" open beams in my LR ceiling. All he said was: " I paint for a living. Get Purdy; you won't be sorry." I looked them over, and yeah, they definitely cost more, but he was dead right. I've never used a better interior brush yet. So, how do I get next to a pro who has to wield one of these trimmers 8+ hours a day to ask, "What's your go-to brand?" There has to be a trimmer out there that has a trouble-free feed mechanism.. You all have given me some great feedback here, but boiling it down to a decision feels like another trial-and-error funfest. I am grateful there is a forum to get this kind of info.

 
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 19,290
NE

03-05-17, 02:52 PM   #11  
Bump heads usually come down to having a knowledge of how to reload the head correctly. Load them wrong and not a one of them will feed correctly.

I have to echo the advice about Echo weedeaters. My grandpa used to have one that worked great. Don't know the model #.


 
jhansman's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 35
CAL

03-05-17, 03:57 PM   #12  
You bring up a good point. The Ryobi head I have requires that you take about 8' of string, and pressing down on the spring head, feed it through the grommeted hole til it comes through to the other side; you then pull it through so each side is of equal length. So far so good. Then, pressing down enough so the head will rotate, you turn it in the it in the direction indicated on the head, which loads each side onto either the upper or lower hub that holds the string. This is where I think the design fails, because as the line wraps around the storage hub, there is no way to do it in such a way that it wraps evenly. Instead, it randomly wraps over itself, and during operation, these wraps just trap the line under itself under tension. Every time I stop and dismantle the head, the line is tightly trapped under itself and cannot feed any further. Or, as happened one time, so much fed out that it all wrapped around the shaft above the head. It has malfunctioned in every way possible, but what it has never done is feed out properly, cut itself automatically at the built-in cutter (which I keep sharp by filing), and carried on until there was no more string. So, if I am doing something wrong in the loading, I sure would like to know what. I might just go to a store that specializes in lawn and garden tools and talk with someone who deals solely with these products. This is NOT rocket science, yet here I am trading ideas with you all instead of getting the job done. Sigh....

 
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 19,290
NE

03-05-17, 05:33 PM   #13  
First thing I would check is that you have the right diameter line, as specified in the manual. If that checks out, try putting half the line is no isn't that it calls for. 4' instead of 8', for starters. Probably is a poor design.

 
jhansman's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 35
CAL

03-05-17, 06:46 PM   #14  
Yep, same idea occurred to me. How tangled can it get if there isn't enough to tangle? Will report back with results.

 
cheese's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator

Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 16,567
GA

03-05-17, 09:40 PM   #15  
Old line, line that is trying to curl up on its own badly, the wrong diameter line, and the wrong profile line can all contribute to mis-feeding and tangle. The echo bump heads are among the most trouble-free ones I've used, and it's not just me... I run a shop and work on equipment for yard crews and Echo is one of their favorites. Stihl is another but I'm not recommending their 4-stroke models for other reasons than the head.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
marksr's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 42,794
TN

03-06-17, 03:17 AM   #16  
So, how do I get next to a pro who has to wield one of these trimmers 8+ hours a day to ask, "What's your go-to brand?
Stop and talk to someone that cuts grass for a living. Most are willing to talk for a few minutes and answer your questions .... just don't take too much time and interrupt their work for long. As a painter I also prefer Purdy brushes


retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

 
sdodder's Avatar
Member

Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 351
NY

03-06-17, 11:25 AM   #17  
Another vote for Echo. Runs great and feeds line great. Steve

 
jhansman's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 35
CAL

03-06-17, 11:25 AM   #18  
I'm going to give the Oregon replacement head a try; failing that, I'll pick some professional brains. I'll report back on the replacement with my impressions.

 
geogrubb's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,333
MO

03-06-17, 11:37 AM   #19  
i suggest the echo/shindiawa speed feed 450, you can pick one up at HD, I have one on my Stihl FS85 and it has worked great. Have a good one. Geo

 
jhansman's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 35
CAL

03-06-17, 01:20 PM   #20  
Thanks for the recommendation. Got the Oregon product today, and if it doesn't work out, I'll take a look at your suggestion. Interesting to me how many replacement heads are sold for the popular homeowner models. Should say something about the original equipment/design.

 
jhansman's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 35
CAL

03-13-17, 02:02 PM   #21  
OK, for anyone who may still be interested, the Oregon Gator SpeedLoader installed perfectly on my Ryobi and works just fine. Took it out yesterday for a hour or so and it cut and fed just fine. While the replacement spools are a bit pricey, what they buy in hassle-free use is worth it; recommended! Thanks again for all the suggestions and other info.

 
BFHFixit's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator

Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,761
KS

03-13-17, 03:50 PM   #22  
I would be curious to know if you notice your line lasting longer...???
From a recent annual seminar that included Oregon products, this was mentioned as being recommended as technology in trimmer line has improved and changed. Not only the techs and salesmen hosting but also 8-10 of 75 techs in attendance said they agreed the line did last longer.


Just needs a bigger hammer
Peace

 
jhansman's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 35
CAL

03-13-17, 07:46 PM   #23  
I can't speak to the life of the spool as yet, having only used it two days now, but the carts are 3 for about $12, so if I get, say, three days use out of one with NO hassles, that's enough life for me. Now, if I could just keep the line cutter sharp....

 
Search this Thread