Sure, it’s fair to ask “Since when is a WeedEater (or, more properly a  )”Weed Eater W25SBK, 16 in. 25cc 2-Cycle Gas Straight Shaft String Trimmer” that Amazon had on sale for $89.95 this week, considered a “prepping item?

Ah, my little gosling, you aren’t into looking at the Big – Long-Term – prepping picture, are you?  Allow me a short dis-Ure-tation:

There is a reason that even in times of yore, people had lawns around their homes if they amounted to much.  Herds of sheep keeping down the lawns of the castles and such:  Brush (and leaves) are where the creepy-crawlies and bite-cher-asser’s live.  And we don’t want that. Mosquitos love warm moist succulents down low, too…why toss in some standing water and you can have a West Nile breeding ground all Ure own.

So keeping property at least somewhat trimmed up in a major deal around here.  This goes hand in hand with “limbing-up trees” with a pole saw and pruning shears so that a) you can see people sneaking up on your hideout and b) when a fire comes through, it will not climb up into the tops of trees (firefighterss call this a “crowning” fire) and bring down a burning 100-foot pine tree on top of your home.

Plus, much of what we talk about with Weedeaters will also apply to small gas leaf blowers, as well.  Leaf blowers are useful, as one of our Orkin guys explained, because in Texas, oak and other tree leaves up against a home’s foundation are key hang-outs for scorpions and such.  “Sure we will spray, but when we come back next time, if you rake out the dead leaves under the deck, you’ll get better scorpion results...”  So that’s on my to-do list, too.

Weedeater Rescue 101

A short story about my relationship with small 2-cycle power tools.  I love them – and hate them.  But, now that I understand them, we’re “warming up again.”

My first Poulan PP125 was purchased on Amazon years ago. Thing is, it showed up DOA.  Seeing as we’ve been Prime since day one, Amazon replaced it right away.  But they never sent the UPS will-call ticket or some such.  So I ended up with one that worked and one that would not start no matter what. I figured I would keep it around as a spare.

So when PP125 #2 finally stopped whacking, I tried exchanging with parts from DOA #1 and no soap.

Being cheap ($90 bucks will buy a lot of beer, after all), I decided to buy a carb online (about $20 bucks leaving $70 for beer) and some hose and fuel filters.  Ended up with $63 for beer.

You Need the Right Tools

The main one is a Torx head bit size T-25.  One you have this, some Allen wrenches, pliers, and you’ve tuned-up your longshore vocabulary, and an hour of time blocked, along with a fresh-mixed jug of 2-cycle fuel, you’re good to go.

After emptying the gas out of the fuel tank (see our forthcoming issue on home-made fuel-air bombs) you take your T-25 Torx and remove the fuel tank.

Next move is to open the air cleaner cover and remove the small sponge filter which will expose more bolts.  Going from memory I think these were 5/32nd’s Allen wrench..but might have be the Torx again.

As you disassemble things, make sure to line things up in a row so you get everything back in the right order.  If you look just above my (uncharacteristically) neat workbench, you can see the “line up.”

With the two bolts holding the carb on carefully removed, the carburetor is then twisted a bit so the throttle cable will detach.

Next step it to replace the carb but pay extra special attention to the following points:

  • Before doing anything else, press the primer bulb on your new carb and feel to make sure it is sucking in one of the fuel lines (small one) and returning fuel out the other (big) line.  May need fixing…try6 the spare bulb.  They put them in the kit for a reason.
  • The carb kit (if you got a good one) will come with two gaskets.  One of these has a small hole midway between the bolt holes.  On the other one, there’s a small hole right next to the bolt on one side.  Don’t mix them up.
  • Make sure to twist the carb so as to engage the throttle cable.  It’s not rocketry, though.
  • Now position and replace the bolts, snugging them up good, but don’t strip things.  I didn’t use Permatex or a gasket fluid on this because the factory didn’t.

Now We Ad Lib a bit…

I had a hell of a time with the fuel lines because I broke the little connector that is used to pass the lines through the body of the fuel tank.  Worse, the large line (formerly the return) was the only one I could grab (fat-fingered George, eh?) so that became my fuel feed line.  I used the small line as the return.  Technically wrong, but WTF…

Getting the new line (perhaps a bit bigger?) proved nigh-on to impossible, so I drilled the big fuel line hole a bit larger and cut an angle to the large line so I could get that far enough into the tank to grab…and then yank back out so I could get at it…

Once in my clutches, I made a straight 90 degree cut and installed the clear fuel filter like so…

This line swap was a kluge (which I knew it might be) so I looked around the shop for something that might resist gasoline, bond well with the tank and give a better seal than one of those impossible fuel line connectors.  The answer? I swear we have everything a hardware store has… Gutter seam cement for plastic gutters!  Seems to work like a charm after I slathered a bunch around each of the fuel lines like so:

It’s the silvery stuff.

Runs like a top so the next adventure in the Fix It Shop will be putting the new brush-cutter head on and a 8″ carbide tip brush head.

And when that gets done, we will do some  “before and aftering” of how a brush cutter works, although be advised:  This is NOT one of those projects you take on when you are anything but sharp and rested because holding an 8″ 2-horsepower saw blade four-feet in front of you is intrinsically NOT SAFE.

On the other hand, looks like fun, so that’s ahead one of these days.

Final Takeaways

  • Most small sparkplugs for these kinds of tools tend to be crap.  B uy a couple of highest quality you can find and keep fresh spares around.
  • A 2-cycle engine needs gas, air, and spark.  If it has those, it has to at least make enough of a “pop” to encourage you toward the ultimate heart attack from cranking.
  • So, we always keep a spray can or two of “Starting Fluid” handy (it’s mainly either) but just a bit.  Doesn’t take much – just strong fumes not gallons of it.

6 Home Handy-Bastard Points for successful completion of this project!

Write when you get rich,  (the Olde Farmer Withanac)