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Ranwell1
Ranwell1, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 10106
Experience:  I Own a Lawn Mower Sales and service business (37years). Have 2-cycle and 4-cycle certification.
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I need help figuring out why my weed eater keeps leaking fuel,

Customer Question

I need help figuring out why my weed eater keeps leaking fuel, and why so many parts are covered in fuel.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Ranwell1 replied 3 years ago.

Ranwell1 :

hi

Ranwell1 :

tHERE ARE MANY REASONS THAT THESE WILL LEAK FUEL

Ranwell1 :

iT ALL STARTS WITH THE GAS ITSELF.

Ranwell1 :

Here are some of the reasons. I will give them to you one at a time, so be patient until I am done.

Ranwell1 :

1. Old gas will always cause these problems. ALWAYS !

Ranwell1 :

2. The gas will cause the rubber fuel lines and the grommets to get mushy and not seal against the gas tink, thus causing leakage.

Ranwell1 :

2. The old gas will cause the carburetor to leak.

Ranwell1 :

3. Gas that is left in the engine for longer than 30d days, and especially if it is left in the engine over the winter for a few months, will turn to gum and varnish and cause the inlet needle inside the carburetor to stick and leak. It will also get the gum and varnish and dirt under the needle between the needle and the seat and caus it to keep from shutting off the gas. Thus it will leak out of the carburetor and all over the place.

Ranwell1 :

4. The diaphrams inside the carburetor can deteriorate and cuse problems, this is also caused by gasoline.

Ranwell1 :

Many of these things a re accumulative and will go bad strictly because of the age of the unit.

Ranwell1 :

5. There is also the possibility that you have a leaky gas tank and it might need to be replaced. This does not happen very often but it does happen sometimes.

Ranwell1 :

In any case, the course of action is t REPLACE ALL OF THE FUEL LINES AND FUEL GROMMETS, (If yours has any). Then clean and rebuild the carburetor using a COMPLETE carburetor repair kit.

Ranwell1 :

OH, also sometimes the gasket in the fuel cap goes bad and you may have to replace the fuel cap.

Ranwell1 :

Here is my comprehensive carburetor and fuel answer that may give you some ideas.


 


As engines sit or get older, fuel that is left in the carburetor can turn to gum and varnish and cause this and other problems. Also, any gasoline that was left in a gas can for a period of more than 30 days must be discarded because it also has begun to turn to varnish.


 


Today's gasoline's contain MTBE and alcohol. (Ethanol) They turn to "Junk and garbage" very quickly. Alcohol is partially water (H2O). And they call it "Oxygenated fuels! It is the oxygen that breaks down the organic compounds in the fuel and turns the gas to "Garbage" (Gum and varnish) The fuels we had just a few years ago had no alcohol in it and would store for longer periods of time before going stale... and fuel stabilizers do almost nothing to prevent the fuel from going bad with the changes in today's fuels.


 


Do not buy gas from the "Discount" Stations. The discount stations get a reduced price on gas because they may be buying fuel that is nearly 30 days old already. You may be getting fuel that's nearly stale right from the pump when buying from a discount station. Purchase your fuel from the well-known stations such as Shell, BP, Sonoco, Phillips 66 etc.


 


More than 70% of all of our repairs in our lawn mower business are due to this same issue. You most likely have dirt, gum, varnish...etc in your carburetor plugging up the small passageways and jets in the carburetor.


 


The carburetor must be removed from the engine. Clean all parts with carburetor cleaner and blow out all the small holes and passageways with compressed air. Remove all of the non-metallic parts since the carburetor cleaner will cause them to be disfigured decompose and plug the carburetor as time goes on.


 


Wash the carburetor cleaner off of the metal parts by washing them in warm, soapy water then rinsing with clean water. Dry them by blowing it off with compressed air. Make sure that all the passageways are blown dry before reassembling.


Reassemble using a NEW carburetor rebuild kit.


 


DO NOT TRY TO REASSEMBLE WITHOUT USING A COMPLTE CARBURETOR KIT! You will just end up having to do the job again.


 


ALWAYS clean the fuel tank and replace the fuel line when doing this repair or you may have to do it all over again. The inside of the fuel line disintegrates over time and these small pieces of rubber will plug up the carburetor too. Dirt and water from a dirty fuel tank will also plug up the carburetor. Find the Model, type and serial or code numbers off of the engine and take them to your local dealer to get the carburetor repair kit.


 


If you do the work yourself, take pictures or at least make a drawing of where all the linkages, gaskets, and component parts go. Correct reassembly is critical.


 


If the carburetor still doesn't work correctly, you may have to take it to someone who has an "Ultra-sonic" cleaning machine. This machine uses carb cleaner and ultrasonic vibrations to get the very small passageways clean when traditional methods fail.


 


 


Here is where you can get an inexpensive "Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine"


http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?category=&q=ultrasonic+cleaner


 


If you don't feel comfortable with this kind of repair I would suggest sending it to a reputable shop.


 


Feel free to contact me here at this question anytime ...even after you hit the "ACCEPT" button ...and I will try to help further.


 


Please click "ACCEPT" or I won't get paid.

You may also consider sending a bonus if I have been helpful, Please leave POSITIVE feedback for me as this is how I'm rated. Remember, a neutral is nearly as bad as a negative. If not satisfied, contact me and I will make it right. Thanks


 

Ranwell1 :

OK, I think I am done now. I hope some of these things will at least give you something to check.

Customer:

Good info. Please hang on while I read through the last part...

Ranwell1 :

ok

Customer:

Okay. I can tell you right now we are guilty of using old fuel, and we did leave gas in the weed eater. I'll take care of that with the next fill-up. We have had issues the fuel line leaking for the past few years. The grommets don't seem mushy, but I am going to order new ones online. I do have a few other questions.

Customer:

I know this weed eater is old, but it's a good model and I want to keep using it if possible. I understand that the fuel drips down the fuel line tubing and can get things wet, but I find it odd that there is fuel below cylinder gasket and in between all of the metal "plates" surrounding the outside of the cylinder. So to understand mechanics, there is fuel being pumped into the cylinder by the piston and rod?

Ranwell1 :

What happens is the when fuel is leaking ANYWHERE, the engine picks up that fuel and throws it throughout the engine. This is an air cooled engine and it draws air past the engine to cool it. It is VERY dangerous to use this with the fule being pulled throughout the engine by the flywheel fan. It can ignite and cause a fire.

Ranwell1 :

It actually draws the fuel inside it and past the HOT cooling fins of the cylinder.

Ranwell1 :

Actually, this trimmer has served you very well all these years....... many more years that this brand usually lasts. This particular brand is usually one that we have a lot of problems with. so I would count my blesings and buy a new one rather than spend a lot of money fixing it. If you can fix it with only new fuel lines and gromets, then it might be worth it, but I would not spend a lot on this unit.

Customer:

Yeah, I understand. So a carburetor cleaning kit would not be worth it, then?

Ranwell1 :

Well, It depends on if you are going to try to rebuild it youself or if you are going to have a dealership do it.

Ranwell1 :

The kit itself is usually about $20, but the labor to rebuild it is about $60

Ranwell1 :

By the way, The absolute best trimmer to buy is an ECHO. The are by far, in my opinion the BEST. The last longer and are MUCH easier to repair if you ever need to service it.

Ranwell1 :

Prices start at $159.00

Ranwell1 :

NO, I am not trying to sell you one, but I like to save people a lot of problems.

Ranwell1 :

There are NO GOOD TRIMMERS that are sold in discount stores.

Customer:

Yeah, I've taken it to a dealer for the past 3 years, and it's $60 every time just to have them change the fuel lines. Really, I like to know how things work and wanted to take a crack at trying to keep it for a little longer.

Customer:

I appreciate the info on the Echo. Is this also gas-powered?

Ranwell1 :

Yes.

Ranwell1 :

Also NEVER EVER.....EVER...EVER buy a 4-cycle trimmer. JUNK ! JUNK. JUNK!

Customer:

Oh, that's good to know, too.

Ranwell1 :

OH, Did I say JUNK!?

Ranwell1 :

Ok attempted humor.

Ranwell1 :

Alringt I think I have abused you long enough. Thanks for working with me.

Ranwell1 :

Please click "ACCEPT" or I won't get paid.

You may also consider sending a bonus if I have been helpful, Please leave POSITIVE feedback for me as this is how I'm rated. Remember, a neutral is nearly as bad as a negative. If not satisfied, contact me and I will make it right. Thanks

Customer:

Ha! Do you have time for a couple more questions?

Ranwell1 :

It's your nickle

Ranwell1 :

nickel

Ranwell1 :

forgot how to spell

Customer:

Yep, and I ask a lot of questions no matter where I go.

Ranwell1 :

Just remember me when it's time for payment....lol

Ranwell1 :

OK, GO

Customer:

Oh, I promise I will.

Ranwell1 :

What are your questions.

Customer:

?Back to the old fuel issue. Is that why the spark plug has the "gunk" on it?

Ranwell1 :

YEs

Ranwell1 :

As fuel gets old, the oxegen in the air and in the JUNK alcohol added fuel, will break down the gas and it turns to gum and varnish

Customer:

Yep, that's exactly what I see on it.

Ranwell1 :

As the engien runs, this gum and varnish will collect on all of the parts of the inside of the engine.

Customer:

Does this carburetor kit work on all shapes and sizes? It seems pretty small.

Ranwell1 :

If old gas is burned very much, it will TOTALLY ruin the engine. It will score the piston and cylinder.

Customer:

Surprisingly, the piston and cylinder chamber looks pretty clean.

Ranwell1 :

There is a DIFFERENT carburetor repair kit for EVERY carburetor. You must get the right kit.

Ranwell1 :

If the pistion is not brown and gunky, you are VERY LUCKY.

Customer:

Got it. They may not even have one in stores to work on this, then, since it's 1995.

Ranwell1 :

You will only be able tosee this if you take the muffler off and look inside the exhaust port.

Ranwell1 :

They should be available

Ranwell1 :

But you WILL NOT FIND ANY CARB KITS AT STORES

Ranwell1 :

You will ONLY Find them at repair shops.

Ranwell1 :

You also can sometimes get them onlie, but the big problem is making sure you order the Correct kit.

Ranwell1 :

You should take the carburetor to a GOOD local dealer and ask them to get the CORRECFT kit.

Ranwell1 :

Correct kit

Ranwell1 :

There are usually many numbers on the carburetor that will tell the dealer what brand and what carburetor this is.

Ranwell1 :

If they cannot find the correct numbers, it is difficult to find the kit.

Ranwell1 :

Make sure taht you also buy the intake gasket. This gasket DOES NOT come with the kit.

Customer:

Sorry, I'm lagging in my response. There is definitely gunky stuff in the muffler. It is not clogging the opening, though. If I can get it to work, no more old fuel! As for the carburetor, I was going to check Westlake's, but I'll inquire at the repair shop I take it to for the carburetor kit. Thanks for the tip.

Ranwell1 :

Also when you get your new trimmer or even when you try to start your old one, mak sure that you buy PRIMIUM GAs. DO NOT USE REGULAR GAS.

Customer:

The gasket actually looks pretty good.

Ranwell1 :

Also the BEST OIL to use is ECHO Chainsaw oil

Customer:

I think I'm okay on that.

Customer:

When you say premium gas, is super unleaded okay?

Ranwell1 :

It is the BEST oil and will make the unit last much longer than any other oil.

Ranwell1 :

It must be at least 92 octane gas or higher.

Ranwell1 :

Echo oil lubricates better and will burn much cleaner than the other oils.

Customer:

Really - even the Lawn Boy brand??

Ranwell1 :

Echo oil should be availabe at any Echo dealer and also at Home Depot.

Ranwell1 :

Lawnboy Brand oil CANNOT EVER BE USED IN ONE OF THESE ENGINES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Customer:

Oh, my misunderstanding. You're talking about the new trimmer. I

Customer:

You did say that up above, "When I get a new trimmer." Sorry.

Ranwell1 :

Lawn Boy oil is made to use in a VERY SLOW running lawn mower engine that runs at no more than 3200 RPM. These trimmers and chain saws run at between 8000 and 14000 RPM. The MUST HAVE BETTEROIL

Customer:

Got it.

Ranwell1 :

NO I am talking about ALL trimmers and chainsaws..... NEW OR OLD

Ranwell1 :

Lawn Boy oil will Clog up the workings of all trimmers

Ranwell1 :

Create too much carbon, cause gunk to form just like old gas...and will smoke way too much.

Ranwell1 :

IT will also not run nearly as well

Customer:

Wow, we've been using Lawn Boy brand all along. I guess we were very lucky.

Ranwell1 :

MAny times when people bring their trimmer or chain saw in for us to repair.... saying it doesn't run right and is hard to start. All we have to do is dump out their gas and put in our mixture of Premium gas and Echo oil and it cure the entire problem.

Ranwell1 :

Very Luck.

Ranwell1 :

SO FAR

Customer:

So the mixture of oil to gas is the same?

Ranwell1 :

Wair a minute and I will try to get you some information on 2-cycle oils

Customer:

okay.

Ranwell1 :

Echo oil can be used at 50:1 in all engines.

Ranwell1 :

Ok just aminute and I'll get the info.

Ranwell1 :

2-Cycle Oils


Originally when two-cycle engines were first invented, there was no such thing as 2-cycle oil..so what they used was regular automotive Non-detergent 30 W. motor oil.


This oil was mixed at a ration of 16:1 and smoked terribly. But that was all they had.


As more and more 2-cycle engines were made and they became more popular, people began to complain that the smoking was bothering them and also there was a great deal of carbon being created inside the engine and the exhaust ports. In addition, the wear to the engines was fairly excessive.


So, a new industry was born. 2-cycle engine oil development.


As time went on, research was done and additives were invented that were designed to lubricate better and burn cleaner. They had to be made so that they could be carried by the 30 W. oil. 30 W. oil has now become a "Carrier" for the additives. These new oils with the additives made it possible for engine manufacturers to cut the ratio of oil to gas to 20:1 instead of the original 16:1...but all 2-cycle engines still used the same oils at this point. It was not until much later in the development of the oils that different blends of 2-cyle oils were recommended for air cooled engines and water cooled engines...but we'll talk more about that later.


As the development of 2-cycle engine proceeded and the engines began running at higher RPM's, the need for better oils was evident. The older oils were not keeping up with the higher RPM engines and the heat that was being produced by them as well as the higher friction that was being created. The 2-cycle oil development was about to take another jump in quality. More and better additives started showing up in the 2-clyle oils. The 30W oil that was originally used is now becoming only a carrier for the additives. Less and less 30W. oil was needed as it was now becoming more of an inert ingredient and the additives were becoming the actually friction fighting agents. The ratio's of the oils then became higher and higher....next going to 25:1 then to 32:1 then to 40:1. Many of the 40:1 oils were now about 50% additives and the rest was 30W motor oil.


Today there are many different 2-cycle oils. Some of the manufactures have not kept up with the times and are still using the cheaper oils and their engines tend to show it. Even Stihl has three different oils that vary in price according to the quality of the oil.


Today's best oils are nearly all additives and are suggested for use at 50:1 ratio. They use a very small amount of petroleum based oil to carry the additives. Some people want to call them synthetic oils but they really are only partially synthetic. There must be the proper blend of synthetic additives and virgin oil to disperse the friction fighting agents and the COOLING agent additives that are now in this oil.


There have been many changes to the engines over the years, but the biggest changes have occurred to the oil. If you buy the best 2-cycle oils...such as the tested and rated and certified ECHO brand oil, you can use this oil at 50:1 ratio in any 2-cycle engine ever built. This is because it is NOT the amount of oil that is used in the engine it is the amount of the friction fighting agents and the cooling agents that actually get to the moving parts of the engine.


The best 50:1 oils also burn much cooler, will provide more protection against wear and will burn much cleaner than the other 2-cycle oils made in the past.


The main difference between the air cooled engines and the water cooled engines is that a water cooler outboard engine runs at a MUCH cooler temperature because it is being cooled by the cold lake water and does not seem to need as good of oil to give acceptable performance. They are still mainly using the older type 30W oils with a few additives in them although some of the higher performance engines are now finding the value of the better quality 2-cycle oils . They are now desperately trying to catch up with the air cooled industry in oil development. One of the reasons that they have lagged behind is because of cost. Since the outboards usually are used more and use much more fuel, their customers are more price- sensitive. DO NOT use the outboard engine oils in air cooled engines. The ash content is different but most of the difference is in the additives.


Yes there are some differences in the outboard engine oils and which additives that they use, but in most cases if you would use the better air cooled engine oils in them they would actually work better.


There is even more updated information on the internet if you want to do the research. But be careful, there are a lot of sites that are telling people the wrong information.


 


Feel free to contact me here at this question anytime ...even after you hit the "ACCEPT" button ...and I will try to help further.


 


Please click "ACCEPT" or I won't get paid.

You may also consider sending a bonus if I have been helpful, Please leave POSITIVE feedback for me as this is how I'm rated. Remember, a neutral is nearly as bad as a negative. If not satisfied, contact me and I will make it right. Thanks


 


 


 

Customer:

Man, you have definitely earned your pay. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to answer my questions. Have a great day!

Ranwell1, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 10106
Experience: I Own a Lawn Mower Sales and service business (37years). Have 2-cycle and 4-cycle certification.
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