String trimmer spool that won't keep "breaking"?


M

mike

I have a 3 year old Troy-bilt 4 cycle gas string trimmer that takes
attachments ((either TB575SS or TB525CS--forget which and have the
manual in front of me). The string on my trimmer keeps getting stuck
inside the spool. It's a real pain to have this happen in the middle
of a job.

Is there a replacement head, spool, or trimmer attachment that's less
likely to break on me? I love the basic unit--starts fast, and I have
the blower and tiller attachments.

Thanks.
 
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J

J Burns

mike said:
I have a 3 year old Troy-bilt 4 cycle gas string trimmer that takes
attachments ((either TB575SS or TB525CS--forget which and have the
manual in front of me). The string on my trimmer keeps getting stuck
inside the spool. It's a real pain to have this happen in the middle
of a job.

Is there a replacement head, spool, or trimmer attachment that's less
likely to break on me? I love the basic unit--starts fast, and I have
the blower and tiller attachments.

Thanks.
SS is straight shaft and CS is curved shaft. That probably determines
whether your arbor has RH or LH threads. A replacement head would need
the matching thread direction, diameter, and pitch.
 
M

mike

SS is straight shaft and CS is curved shaft.  That probably determines
whether your arbor has RH or LH threads.  A replacement head would need
the matching thread direction, diameter, and pitch.
Thanks to all. My trimmer is a Straight Shaft.

Colbyt, how long does a pre-cut string typically last? I imagine I'd
need more than one per trimming, as I've typically needed more than
one "bump" per trimming.
 
J

Jim Elbrecht

mike said:
Thanks to all. My trimmer is a Straight Shaft.

Colbyt, how long does a pre-cut string typically last? I imagine I'd
need more than one per trimming, as I've typically needed more than
one "bump" per trimming.
Mine is this model-- but I suspect there is little variation between
brands;
Better Heads LLC 1101PTC PIVOTRIM Trimmer Head
[$22 shipped]
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001AHAJXK/ref=oss_product

I bought the bundle of precuts for it last May when I replaced the
third style of string head on my 6-7yo Poulan.

I usually went through 2 loads of string in a summer.

This gadget is still on the factory string & they show no sign of
wear. It works as well or better than the regular heads I've used
in the past.

Jim
 
J

J Burns

Colbyt said:
Mike, it depends on what you are trimming and your skill level at not
hitting stuff. Each little string with this replacement head is cut to 8-9"
so when it breaks shorter than 4" it is time to replace it.

I will use yesterday as an example. I went to a rental house I own which
has chain link fence. The fence rows had not been trimmed in for a couple
of years and the orchard grass was about a foot high, a few weeds and young
Chinese honeysuckles mixed into the mess. While doing 2 sides of about 200
foot of fence I went through 30-40 strings because I kept hitting the damn
fence. At bad as that sounds I was only there about an hour. Chain link
fence is the worst thing in the world to weed eat around.

With the bump and go crap I would have been there all afternoon.

That was a bad day so I stopped at Lowes and bought a new roll, 155 feet
for $8 before I went to the next house. That roll will make 206 precut
strings.

I went to another house and did the whole back yard while never replacing a
single string. Around my own yard I seldom break more than one or two per
trimming session and that is usually when I am edging along the drive or
walk. On pure grass the .095 string lasts a long time

Colbyt
It takes me back...

In the 1970s I bought the first string trimmer I saw. It was invaluable
in maintaining an old cemetery with 250 headstones. In 1982 I began
trimming half a mile of electric fence, perhaps weekly, using a similar
lightweight trimmer. I couldn't stand straight using that trimmer, and
bending that long was fatiguing.

So I got a 17-pound Hoffco from Troybuilt. It had a shoulder strap and
two wide handlebars like a motorcycle. I could stand straight and cut
for hours without fatigue. After 13 years of hard use, the carburetor
quit working. I didn't fix it because an aunt gave me a Hoffco of the
same model that she'd owned 11 years but now found too heavy. I've used
that for 14 years and it still runs fine.

To me, two wide handlebars are important. I've tried models with only
one wide handlebar or none, and I found them fatiguing and control poor.
For heavy cutting such as a hillside covered with briers, it came
with a head that holds 3 plastic blades or 3 doubled heavy lines. Most
of the time, I use .095 line from the spool head.

The lines don't break because they exit between posts of aluminum tubing
about 3/8" in diameter, with gives them a big radius to bend around.
The head is a simple design. The spool is mashed between rubber
washers. You snip off the frayed ends of the lines, loosen the screw
cap, pull out the amount of line you want, and tighten.

This allows you to set the length to cut any size swath from 8 to 17".
A bigger swath is more destructive due to higher tip speed, but a
smaller swath allows better control and is less destructive to the line.

I trim a lot of chain-link fence. If I'm running my usual swath, I'll
have to stop and snip split ends shortly after I start on the fence.
Then I can probably do hundreds of feet of fence with no further
splitting. The secret is to control tip speed by the use of the
throttle and a smaller swath, perhaps 11".

I've read that Hoffco invented the string trimmer in the 1940s. I wish
they still made them. A few months ago I downloaded a 2009 guide from
Tulsa Small Engine Warehouse showing which of their 12 favorite trimmer
heads they recommended for each of perhaps 1000 trimmer models. No
Troybuilts are listed, but my antique Hoffco is.
 
M

mike

Thanks Colbyt and J Burns.

So, what are some good models available today at a Big Box store like
Lowes or Home Depot? I'd be fine using my Troybilt with just the
blower, edger, and tiller/cultivator attachments I already own. This
is for home and not commercial use. Should I be looking at a
commercial-grade model? If so, what model, where, and what should I
expect to pay? Surely those who landscape for a living aren't using a
model like mine--at least I hope not.
 
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M

mike

All you need is a new fast loader type head for your SS Troybilt. That is
exactly what I am using. Paid $15 and about 2 hours to install it
differently than the package depicted. Taller guys might like there way of
doing it but it did not suit me. Would be a 20 minute install if you own
the pin ring pliers and want to do it their way.

This is what I bought:http://www.lowes.com/pd_79964-42694-16267_0_?newSearch=true&catalogId...

Just in case that link does not work lowes.com and search for this item:
Shakespeare Fast Loader Replacement String Trimmer Head
Item #: 79964 | Model #: 16267
Thanks Colbyt. I'll definitely take a look. Searching on Amazon.com, I
found another, similar replacement head called the "Tanaka No
Brainer." Has anyone here used that one? Seems to get high ratings.
Saw another called a Grass Gator.
 
J

Jim Elbrecht

mike said:
Thanks Colbyt. I'll definitely take a look. Searching on Amazon.com, I
found another, similar replacement head called the "Tanaka No
Brainer." Has anyone here used that one? Seems to get high ratings.
Saw another called a Grass Gator.
Haven't used it-- but I'll note that it is only exposing 2 strings to
your grass [my Pivotrim has 8] and it appears that the ones on the 'No
Brainer' will suffer the same fate as a regular trimmer-- the wear
point is where it goes through the head. The Pivotrim swivels.

Too many styles of Grass Gator to guess at which one you mean-- but I
did try their brush blades once for about 10 minutes. They sucked.

Jim
 
J

jamesgangnc

All you need is a new fast loader type head for your SS Troybilt.  Thatis
exactly what I am using.  Paid $15 and about 2 hours to install it
differently than the package depicted. Taller guys might like there way of
doing it but it did not suit me.  Would be a 20 minute install if you own
the pin ring pliers and want to do it their way.

This is what I bought:http://www.lowes.com/pd_79964-42694-16267_0_?newSearch=true&catalogId...

Just in case that link does not work lowes.com and search for this item:
Shakespeare  Fast Loader Replacement String Trimmer Head
Item #: 79964  |  Model #: 16267

Colbyt
Depends a lot on your usage. I trim up agains the house a lot and it
has a brick foundation. I go through a fair amount of string and the
precuts would be a real pain as well as expensive.

How you wind the string on the trimmer has a lot to do with how well
it feeds off. Try to put the string on with the same established turn
that it comes out of the package with. Sometimes it helps to precut a
long piece of it to make that easier.
 
R

Roy

Depends a lot on your usage.  I trim up agains the house a lot and it
has a brick foundation.  I go through a fair amount of string and the
precuts would be a real pain as well as expensive.

How you wind the string on the trimmer has a lot to do with how well
it feeds off.  Try to put the string on with the same established turn
that it comes out of the package with.  Sometimes it helps to precut a
long piece of it to make that easier.
==
Who ever "invents" the [email protected]#$% spools and their "bump" and grind your
teeth advance gizmo should USE the damned things for a day to see how
they DON'T bloody well work. I've had different string trimmers,
mostly electric and one gas and none of them work worth a fiddler's
damn. I will try some of the replacement gizmos this summer as there
are about a half dozen or so on the market now.
==
 
J

jamesgangnc

==
Who ever "invents" the [email protected]#$% spools and their "bump" and grind your
teeth advance gizmo should USE the damned things for a day to see how
they DON'T bloody well work. I've had different string trimmers,
mostly electric and one gas and none of them work worth a fiddler's
damn. I will try some of the replacement gizmos this summer as there
are about a half dozen or so on the market now.
==- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -
I don't disagree that the bump and feed is problematic. Pisses me off
regularly. But I have not found a reasonable alternative. The
precuts aren't any good unless all you trim is out in the open. If
you have to work against concrete or brick they just get eaten up too
fast.
 
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M

mike

I don't disagree that the bump and feed is problematic.  Pisses me off
regularly.  But I have not found a reasonable alternative.  The
precuts aren't any good unless all you trim is out in the open.  If
you have to work against concrete or brick they just get eaten up too
fast.
The pre-cuts would be of no use to me then, as I have a brick
foundation. I suppose I could buy a second trimmer attachment to have
ready to go when the string gets caught in the spool. Too bad no one's
invented a bump head that works reliably. I still wonder what the
"pros" use--landscapers who trim every day. Do they just carry spare
trimmers around with them?
 
Z

zxcvbob

mike said:
The pre-cuts would be of no use to me then, as I have a brick
foundation. I suppose I could buy a second trimmer attachment to have
ready to go when the string gets caught in the spool. Too bad no one's
invented a bump head that works reliably. I still wonder what the
"pros" use--landscapers who trim every day. Do they just carry spare
trimmers around with them?

The bump-head that came with my Echo trimmer 20-something years ago
still works great. It takes .095" string and feeds out two strands.
The only thing that really eats it up is trimming against a
chainlink fence.

Bob
 
J

jamesgangnc

The bump-head that came with my Echo trimmer 20-something years ago
still works great.  It takes .095" string and feeds out two strands.
  The only thing that really eats it up is trimming against a
chainlink fence.

Bob
Yea, I'm using a big head that feeds 2 strings as well. The bigger
heads seem to work a bit better. Still not perfect but better.
 
J

J Burns

zxcvbob said:
The bump-head that came with my Echo trimmer 20-something years ago
still works great. It takes .095" string and feeds out two strands.
The only thing that really eats it up is trimming against a chainlink
fence.

Bob
One of the yards I cut has a thousand feet of chain-link fence and a
very fussy housewife. I may have to fix my line once.

My handlebars are 30" wide, which gives me the control to cut very close
without touching the wire. I've read on this forum that handlebar kits
are available for other trimmers.

When I have to cut against the wire, reduced tip speed saves my line.
Normally, I may have enough line out for a 17" swath. If I cut it back
to 11" for a chain-link fence, that reduces tip speed 35% and tip energy
58%. The shorter strings seem to bounce less when they hit wire, and
that, too, seems to reduce splitting. When I have to cut something
right against the wire, I'll slow the string even more by using the
throttle in short bursts.

My head requires me to shut off the motor and lay the trimmer down to
adjust the line. It's not much inconvenience because I don't have to do
it often. Each time I do it, I can inspect the head and snip off split
ends, which helps the line cut better and last longer.
 
M

mike

One of the yards I cut has a thousand feet of chain-link fence and a
very fussy housewife.  I may have to fix my line once.

My handlebars are 30" wide, which gives me the control to cut very close
without touching the wire.  I've read on this forum that handlebar kits
are available for other trimmers.

When I have to cut against the wire, reduced tip speed saves my line.
Normally, I may have enough line out for a 17" swath.  If I cut it back
to 11" for a chain-link fence, that reduces tip speed 35% and tip energy
58%.  The shorter strings seem to bounce less when they hit wire, and
that, too, seems to reduce splitting.  When I have to cut something
right against the wire, I'll slow thestringeven more by using the
throttle in short bursts.

Myheadrequires me to shut off the motor and lay thetrimmerdown to
adjust the line.  It's not much inconvenience because I don't have to do
it often.  Each time I do it, I can inspect theheadand snip off split
ends, which helps the line cut better and last longer.
Thanks again for the replies. Any other thoughts?
 
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R

Roy

I had similar complaints with string trimmers over the years.  The
best result I ever had was to modify the head so I could insert
piano wire instead of the monofilament.  I'm sure it was dangerous
as heck, but it worked and lasted quite a while before I'd have to
replace it.  Unlike most uses, my string trimmer was used to trim
grass against a limestone wall, so there was terribly abrasive
conditions for monofilament.  I have also used aircraft cable, but
the piano wire worked best.

If you try it, don't attempt to wind the wire onto the spool.
Instead, cut pieces of piano wire to an inch or so longer than the
recommended extended diameter of the monofilament, then heat it in
the center and wrap it around a bolt held in a vice to place a
loop in the middle.  This then goes around the center bolt in the
string trimmer's head when you reassemble it.  I've tried this
using just a single piece of piano wire and also two, placed at
right angles, giving me 4 strings instead of 2.  I couldn't tell
any difference in lifetime or cutting.

Nonny

--
On most days,
it's just not worth
the effort of chewing
through the restraints..
==
But when the piano wire breaks where do the pieces go? Will a lawn
mower pick them up and throw them? This could be very dangerous for
kids or pets or even the operator's legs if using a push power mower.
The mono-filament line is relatively harmless IMHO.
Would heavy fishing line work just as well?...some of that is quite
strong.
==
 
M

mike

At Lowes the other day, someone recommended the TrimmerPlus Add-in
with Aero-flex head (AF720). This would fit my Troy bilt 4 cycle. It
takes 4 plastic blades that seem easy to swap out, but the cost may be
high depending on how quickly they break. A replacement pack of 16 is
$12. May be a lot cheaper to use one where I can cut my own string;
but on the other hand, it's probably going to be a royal pain to
replace the head to get things going.

Too bad there's no string trimmer attachment that simply comes with a
standard, non-bump head that takes individual lengths of string.
 
M

mike

At Lowes the other day, someone recommended the TrimmerPlus Add-in
with Aero-flex head (AF720). This would fit my Troy bilt 4 cycle. It
takes 4 plastic blades that seem easy to swap out, but the cost may be
high depending on how quickly they break. A replacement pack of 16 is
$12. May be a lot cheaper to use one where I can cut my ownstring;
but on the other hand, it's probably going to be a royal pain to
replace the head to get things going.

Too bad there's nostringtrimmerattachment that simply comes with a
standard, non-bump head that takes individual lengths ofstring.
Here are a few reviews of the model I mentioned above:

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=289224-65481-TBAF&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=3030659&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=sim&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1#prod-tabs
 
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D

Don Phillipson

Would heavy fishing line work just as well?...some of that is quite
strong.

Not likely. Makers of monofilament fishing line strive to make it as
thin as possible for unit strength. Trimmers work best with the
thickest mono the machine can use. (Fishing line is also smooth:
thick mono marketed for trimmers is ribbed which helps it last
longer.)
 

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