2 cycle trimmer issues

I am having problems with a 1 year old Husqvarna trimmer. They may be all related, but i’m not quite sure since small engines aren’t my thing. In no particular order:

  1. will not idle. Last year when it was new, i could pull the starter 3 or 4 times with the choke on, it would warm up, choke off, and it would idle fine. This year, i have to keep the throttle open or keep revving it to keep the engine on

  2. trouble starting. i have to prime the fuel bulb half a dozen times with choke on and throttle open a bit for it to start at all

  3. it shuts itself off. Once it’s been running for about 30 seconds, if i keep throttle open as i trim (which is between 75% and 100% throttle), it will just die. Almost as if the spark plug isn’t getting spark.

What i have done so far. I replaced the RCJ8Y spark plug with a CJ8Y (Home Depot was out of the Resistor one, but the guy said it won’t make a difference since i’m not using the trimmer near the house and won’t have any electrical interference where i trim. I used the air compressor to blow out of the air filter even though it was pretty clean anyway, only used it about 10 times last year when i moved in. I’ve also called Husq customer support who kindly referred me to a local repair shop, which i may do if all else fails.

I suppose, in full disclosure, i should add that the 2 cycle fuel is now about 5 months old. I had mixed it back in mid-January when i had to chainsaw a tree that fell over. I’m not entirely convinced the fuel is bad b/c literally 2 weeks ago i used the same fuel in the same chainsaw to cut another tree that almost fell on the house! Other than spark plug, air filter, and fuel, what things could i try?

The small engines in these things are notoriously difficult to maintain.

Try some motor treatment like Sea Foam. Follow the directions.

As **Leaffan **says, these small 2-cycle engines can be difficult to maintain. Over the years, I have found the following helps.

Run them out of fuel every time you use them. Yeah, I know, why do that if you are just going to use it again, tomorrow. Well, way to often, for me at least, tomorrow ends up being 6 to 8 months away. By that time, the gas will have evaporated, leaving the oil behind, gumming up the carburetor.

Keep your fuel fresh. I keep mine is sealed steel containers. They sell premix fuel at the big-box hardware store. These are about a quart. My neighbor tossed a few in the trash a while back, and I grabbed them. I only buy ethanol-free gas, add Stabil to it, then mix each quart and seal it. I use these for a year or two. I’ve not had a problem. If I don’t have a lot to do, I’ll just use 1/3 a tank, and if I run out of gas before I am finished, if I am close, I just shut it down. If I finish before I run out of gas, I pour the excess gas out, then run the engine dry.

Sell your Husqvarna, purchase a Trimmers | Shindaiwa Canada, use premium gas only. If the gas is more than 2 or 3 months old, pour it into the lawn mower and make fresh. At the end of the season, I empty the tank, pump the fuel out of the carb and hang it up in the shed.

I have been 2 pulls to start my Shindaiwa for 7 years now. Haven’t changed the spark plug or performed any more maintenance than adding trimmer line and 2 or 3 pumps to the carb pump before starting.

Of course, now that I have said that, I am sure I will find my trimmer gummed up when I start it for the first time this year :slight_smile:

My weed-wacker was behaving similarly. I did a YouTube search for the make/model and found out my idle adjustment screw needed adjusted. Worked beautifully.

You need to clean out your carburetor, probably the needle valve and jets.

… missed edit window.

You can find lots of on-line tutorials and videos, maybe even for your model.

don’t bother with nonsense like Seafoam, fresh gas has more than enough detergents to keep things clean.

Rebuild the carb. these Walbro carburetors use a diaprhagm and a pressure tap from the crankcase to “pump” fuel to the carb. These diaphragms do not like ethanol, and the rubber will eventually degrade and the diaphragm will stop pumping effectively. I have a couple of R/C boats with Husqvarna-Zenoah gas engines, and using standard pump gas had me replacing diaphragms every year. once I switched to using ethanol-free gas from a local marina, no more problems.

The newer engines are a bitch with the new gas formulations. If whatever you used to cut the tree down and the same fuel and no problems, I’d bet that tool is an older unit. You may need to take it in and going forward use the Superfuel, (not a trade name) but it’s a premixed oil gas with fuel stabilizer in it. Those new carbs are honestly not meant for home adjustments.

Thanks for the info, everyone. I’ll take a look at the carb work, i can probably figure that out easy enough. About the ethanol being mixed in with the fuel - where can i find non-ethanol gas? I live in Maryland, but i’m not close to any marinas and think of any gas stations where i have not seen an “up to 10% ethanol” sticker on the pumps, even the stations with off road diesel don’t have ethanol free gas.

The local (not big box) hardware store may sell it. Be prepared, the stuff is pricey. I would think that anywhere that sells weedeaters, chain saws, and leaf blowers may sell the premix.

I will second this. Buy a carburetor adjustment tool set (or just the correct one for your model, if you know it). Often, with just a couple twists, you can get your trimmer running like new.

Here’s one such product from Home Depot: TruFuel. Note that the price is for a 6-pack. They should have individual just-under-liter bottles for about $7. High octane, no ethanol, premixed with oil and stabilized.

I can get ethanol free gas at the local place that rents out power equipment like Bobcats and backhoes, they sell it in a 1 or 5 gallon can. You should also check out who in your area sells off road motorcycles and AVTs.

Before rebuilding or replacing the carb, take a close look at the little plastic pick up and return tubes that feed gas to the carb. Especially the part that sits in the gas inside the tank. They hate ethanol too and get brittle and crack. That can give the same symptoms you have, will run a little but won’t stay running.

Always use fresh fuel mix. Remove the carb and clean it out thoroughly and blow out the orifices with compressed air. Turn the carb adjust screw slowly clockwise counting the turns until it seats gently. Then it can be removed for cleaning and reinstalled at a close approximation of the original setting. Just a smidge can make a big difference on how it starts.

The weedwackers often are set from factory to run a little bit too lean on the AFR, try turning the carb adjust screw out CCW about 1/8 or maybe 1/4 turn. Two strokes are different in that they will not or should not run smooth when idling, but should smooth out under load, you may have to experiment a little. When warmed up it should restart easily without having to reprime.

Ethanol laced fuels need a richer AFR on top of that as well. Pure gasoline stores better and is recommended for lawn equipment. It costs a little more but most people only use a few gallons a year. You can search your area for straight gasoline here:

Coleman fuel (Naptha) makes a dandy fuel for storage purposes or those a little lazy about emptying equipment when the season ends. It doesn’t gum or turn to varnish over time, and is perfect for things like emergency generators. A little pricey but a lot less expensive than a carb rebuild.

Next time that you need to mix up some gasoline and oil for the 2 cycle engines, start with fresh gasoline and put some Sta-Bil in it. The gasoline will stay good for about 9 months or more. It’s also good for gasoline used in 4-cycle lawn mowers and even cars which aren’t run that often.

Are the fuel lines okay? … I’ve had more problems with the tubes than I’ve had with old gas … such that with every fill-up I poke my finger down into the tank to make sure the pick-up is in the right position …

Son-of-a-bitch … went to do some trimmer work this morning and the damn thing was pissing gasoline everyplace … fuel line split … so I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend the OP …

yeah, this. A lot of equipment uses vinyl fuel lines, and vinyl degrades both over time (the plasticizers out-gas) and just by long-term fuel exposure. In gas R/C vehicles we typically use Tygon fuel lines, which don’t stiffen and crack as quickly.