Featherlite weedeater

hut123May 15, 2005

My wife insists on using Featherlite weedeaters. It seems that after about one season they all have to run on 1/2 choke to maintain speed and the throttle "pumped" to keep them running. What's going on with these little cheapies?

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nevada_walrus(Boulder City)

Weedeaters will never be at the top of the long life list but one seasons use time after time points to something the user is doing, or not doing.

I suspect your problems begin after setting through the winter season. Most Weedeaters use a Walbro carb very similar as used by many other better engines and guess what, they will have the same problem if not put to bed right in the fall.

Some folks like to drain the fuel system and start up the engine to finish emptying the carb. My view is this always leaves residual in the carb that can go sour and create trouble. Also, an empty tank can in wet environments develope moisture condensation, water in the tank.

I prefer using a fuel stabolizer and to be honest it is not a bad idea to just use it always. Put the stabolizer in the fill can when the fuel is purchased, before it has a chance to lose any potency. Keep the caps on the fuel can and equipment tank tight, air is the number one enemy of fuel, sunlight is number two. Plastic tanks allow some ultra-violet light to pass so keep all plastic cans/tanks out of the sun.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 8:22PM
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Hello, I just picked up 2 Featherlites this last week that were out for trash. They both had the same trouble the carbs were plugged up. As Nevada_Walrus said be sure to use a fuel stabalizer and you should be fine. I like to keep the carbs insides wet as i feel if they are dri they will get stiff. I have a old homelite that has to 10 years old and it runs fine. It was another one that sat to long with old gas in it. If you use Stihl or Husky oil they have a fuel stablizer in them. Good luck

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 9:00AM
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Does anyone know why a Featherlite weedeater would get so hot at the lower end of the shaft that it would melt the hub assembly only after 10-15 minutes of operation?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 9:04AM
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Hello Skip, you are not alone mine did the same thing. It was so hot you could not touch it. What I did might not be the right way but it works. I took the cable out of the shaft and greesed it real good then pored alittle chainsaw bar oil down the tube. It works fine now. Thought the bar oil would stay in longer, 90w should work just as good. Hope this helps

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 10:41AM
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The tube is so light and thin, that the tap n go action, if
done too forcefully, will bend the shaft just above the
trimmer head and cause this problem.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 8:33PM
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I never "run dry" any of my weed whackers! I just make sure the gas/oil mix is in the tank, hang it up in my storage shed, and the next time i try it, it usually starts right up!
In fact, i never run anything "dry". Because, as pointed out by others, it never gets the carb completely dry. There is usually a little bit of fuel left in the carb bowl (if so equipped) and after setting all winter, the introduction of fresh fuel stirs up this gummy residue, and that gums up the carburetor passages, necessitating a dismantling to clean it!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 4:07PM
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sipper4me(5b il)

I'm having trouble with mine. I'm not getting gas in the primer bulb. I've taken it apart 3 times, gas lines aren't plugged. When I push on bulb it has trouble coming back out, stays collasped.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 7:38PM
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Don't know a thing about Featherlites, but 2 thoughts. Have you loosened the gas cap when you are trying to prime/run. Checking to see if there is a reason for bulb to collapse. Bad bulb or vacuum.

Assume these weedeaters are like most other 2 strokes and may have an "umbrella" type check valve inside of the gas cap. Allows air in, prevents gas from going out. Maybe stuck?

Thought 2: If your wife is using the weed eater, who cares? My wife hasn't picked up a weed eater since I bought her one for Mother's Day in 1984.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 9:25PM
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I have had a Featherlite for several years now and like it primarily because of the light weight. Mine will also cut back to about half throttle sometimes. There is a small adjusting screw that I turn by hand which clears up the problem. I guess the engine vibration causes this screw to move. Works for me!! Later Skag

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 10:06AM
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I am beginning to think my primer bulb is bad. It stays collapsed like Sipper4me's. I took everything apart and even loosened the gas cap. Nothing. So I go to order a new bulb from, say, their parts ordering site for Weedeater(c). They have everything but that. Is this something I can easily pickup locally, and if so, where?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 7:41AM
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I would think that most small engine parts/repair shops in your area would have the primer bulbs. As Nevada Walrus stated early in this thread, the carb is most likely a Walbro or Zama. Most any brand of string trimmer will use carburetors from one of those two manufacturers. So, most small engine shops should have parts for the carb.

That said, I wouldn't be confident that the bulb is the problem. If it is staying collapsed, that indicates that it is having trouble drawing fuel into the carb, and there is not a leak in any of the tubing allow air back into the system (a good thing in this case). Have you checked the in-tank fuel filter? If it is clogged, you won't get fuel flow into the carb.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 10:55AM
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Have used the featherlight model, now on its 4th season and has always started and run fine.
I use Poulan 2cycle oil(with fuel stabilizer in it).

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 8:06PM
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I was given a weedeater featherlite with no manual. What is the gas to oil ratio? I've never used one of these?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 10:15AM
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it should be 40:1 for the poulan/weedeaters


    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 6:56AM
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I've never had a problem with mine...

I just add a little stabalizer in the winter, take care of it, and give it a good "spring cleaning" (read: total disassembly)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 7:22PM
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My Featherlite was a free gift when I bought my Yard Machines riding mower at Lowes. That was March 2000, and both are still going strong. It's all in the maintenance.

If either one EVER quits, I may buy a "better" brand. :-)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 9:25PM
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Hi There I've got a almost new featherlite here that starts good and runs for a few seconds and dies. It also doesn't seem to pump gas through the primer. I pulled the carb to bits and it looks like the brass jet under the diaphram is blocked with some of the rubbery stuff that is around the rear crankcase seal. does this sound likely ?does anyone know how i might be able to clean it out ?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 4:27AM
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Ihave 2 featherlite weedeaters and have been using parts from one on the other. I need to change the cable to the other one. How is the best way to get the cable out? And, how do you get the bolt off the bottom where the spool attatches?? Anyone know?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 5:35AM
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Hi All. Is it me or Am I just not use to this feather lite.

My as well get very hot. It also cracked the spark plug in half at the top. Has anyone else had this problem? Also, This might be silly but should oil be put down the spark plug hole? When I replaced the plug I noticed oil residue down there.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 11:56AM
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I have a FEATHERLITE weedeater,and I am looking for the 2 different fuel lines for model FL20. Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 1:32PM
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I've owned a featherlite straight shaft weedeater since 1999..bought it new and it still runs great. The only thing i've ever done to it was replace the string spool with one that you just stick two pieces of line through. Its much easier than wrapping the line and lasts longer. I had to re-string the old one every time i used it. Other than that problem, the thing runs and works great. In fact its the easiest starting piece of equipment i have. It always starts with just a few pulls even after sitting for a few months.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:46PM
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Can anyone help me I need to find a different heat for my feather lite it just uses too much string I would like to find one where you just use the small pieces of pre made string Can Anybody Help

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 12:41PM
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I have a Weedeater Featherlite 18cc trimmer (family YPWES.0183LT:EM) that idles way too fast. The cutting head spins even when idling. I have no user manual, and can't find one online. There's an orange screw on top that looks like it should be the idle screw, but it has an orange plastic cap on it that only turns 1/4 turn. Is this the idle screw? If not, where's the idle screw? Could a clogged carb be causing the over-idling problem? This trimmer sat for a few years, with fuel drained. Many thanks.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 4:03PM
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I double that cause the problem. But you should mix some SeaFoam in gas and run a tankful or two to clean the system. Change the fuel filter, check the air filter and change the plug. These are just routine maintenance.

As for the idle, look around the carb and squeeze the throttle and look for the the wire that pull the moving part of the carb. When you see the lever, look at where it rest when you release the throttle. YOu should find the screw that control where the lever rest. That should be the idle rpm screw. Adjust counter clockwise to lower the rpm.

You are lucky to be able to start and run the trimmer after so many years. Just do the routine maintenance like I discribed and run SeaFoam and adjust the idle speed and get on with the trimming. I would not touch the screw with the cap on.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 12:50AM
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Thanks for your feedback, yungman.

I found a manual for the Featherlite LE online. I think this is the model I've got, even though there's no model # anywhere on my trimmer (way to go, Weedeater marketing department!) I also found a parts list that is consistent with my machine.

I found the idle screw, and backed it off all the way. But the cutting head still spins when the machine is idling.

The orange plastic cap I mentioned in my first post is the "limiter cap" on the low speed needle; it only turns 1/4 turn. I guess this is to prevent it from turning too far, and putting the carb out of whack. When I turned it, the machine idled a little faster, but the difference was hardly noticeable, so I turned it back to its original position.

Could a dirty carb be the cause of my fast-idle problem? The machine starts right up, without my having to pull the throttle lever. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 12:49PM
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Bilf : A dirty main fuel or idle circuit could cause a lean mixture which would increase the idle setting . As youngman has previously advised a little carb & jet inspection and cleaning with a concentrated fuel injection or carb cleaner additive along blowing out your primer bulb lines should clear up your problems. A fuel stabilizer additive (stabil or equivalent) with your American Pump Grade Gas is also very important. Hell I use it here in the Great White North and have no Ethanol issues to begin with .

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 1:04PM
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Turns out that this model is so cheap, it doesn't have a clutch. Therefore, it doesn't idle. Of course, the instruction manual makes no mention of this fact. When you pull the starter cord, the cutting head spins. When the engine starts, the cutting head spins. So there's nothing wrong with the carb. Just an FYI for anyone who owns one of these cheapies.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 10:42AM
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My featherlight runs OK but it feeds too much line, wrapping the line around the head or shaft. I have to reload the spool too often. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 7:28PM
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Are you using the proper specified line guage ? Otherwise you tap n go feature is probably getting a little worn .
Replacment spools and baskets are available .

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:37AM
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Starts fine runs a few seconds then dies. Checked everything and cant find any thing that looks wrong. Did this from the time i got new. Anyone have idea whats wrong?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 11:09AM
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As to the high idle problem. if the engine is actually racing uncontrollably at idle, you cold have the problem I've experienced twice on my featherlite. It's possible that the plastic carb manifold has worked it's way loose from the block causing a vacuum leak and the engine to race. To tighten it back up you have to remove the carb to get to the two machine screws that hold it to the cylinder. Takes a hex key to tighten them. Not easy to get to , so make sure you look at how everything is hooked up and routed before you tear it apart, or you'll be pulling it back apart more than once to get it right. As for adjusting the carb with the limited mixture screw, just pry the silly plastic cap off to allow more adjustment. The adjustment screw may not have a screwdriver slot in it, but instead will have tiny splines around the perimeter of the head, so you'll need to get the right tool to turn them . I found mine on ebay a couple of years ago and have used it on almost all my 2 stroke carbs, as most of them are equipped with this type of screw. Once the engine on these small units are broken in, the carb WILL need to be readjusted, or the engine will never run smoothly with what little adjustment is available with the plastic limiters. Also, if you purchased your weedeater used, you might want to make sure that the correct spark plug is installed. Often, the plug is replaced with one that's the right size, but the wrong number, especially if it was recommended by one of the "experts" at some place like Lowes or Home Depot.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 10:21AM
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OG6248............I have a fl 20 and I have the carb adjustment tool. What are the factory settings for the two adjustment screws? When I rebuilt and cleaned the carb I turned those screws but I did not check the orginal position such as if it is 2 turns from open or closed. I would like to know the factory settings or what you have so I can adjust from there.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Skuzz: 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 turns out from seated is the norm . be careful when initially seating the jets to not bend the jet or damge the seat , just snug .

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 5:29AM
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Just picked up an 18cc featherlite for $10 used - it ran ok when I bought it yesterday, but after I poked around a bit today, it won't start. Here's a quick list of issues:

1. I removed the lower crankcase housing (can't believe its made of plastic!) and while the cylinder looks very clean, I noticed upon reassembly that one of the screws seems stripped, any ideas on the required torque setting on these crankcase screws? FYI it still appears to have good compression.

2. The sparkplug looks rather blackened and fouled - probably needs replacing, but not sure.

3. The fuel lines in the tank are broken off, and the fuel filter and line are just flopping around in the tank. Plus I have no idea how old the fuel is that's in there. Fuel starvation?

4. The primer bulb sticks down when you press it, and the pumping action seems to be faulty. I'm hoping clogged lines and not a clogged carb . . .

My thoughts so far are to tear down and clean out the carb, replace the fuel lines and filter, replace the air filter and sparkplug. Hoping that does it - any advice?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 6:52PM
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alec: Just had a featherlite dropped of at my door yesterday . All bad as is your experience . New lines will be required and carb dismantling and extensive cleaning . This unit is Canadian origin so no ethanol to worry about , never the less it has not be well looked after . Must admit it really is a cheaply made piece of S$it . Yes palstic crankcase and very poorly designed fasteners. I will most likey use it for a parts doaner if it does not fire up , since it was a freeby . Not even close to the quality of my 35 + yr old weedeater 1700 Model . Hate to say it but yep they just don't make them like they use to lol . They were cheap to begin with but this unit is ridiculously cheap . If you can find a used Echo unit check it out they are easily the most fair priced and quality product on the market today .

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 10:20AM
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i've got a featherlight fl20 that will start and die. one of the fuel lines was torn up inside the tank. replaced the line. cleaned the carb. new gas. new plug. still starts and dies. It has been this way since new. my dad bought it, had the problem and returned it for a new one and they just told him to throw it in the dumpster on his way out, so he kept it. any thoughts?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 4:59PM
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As I said they are rather cheaply designed . Ensure that the diaphram is not showing any slight sag or very small cuts or tears. Other than that ensure that the base gasket is not leaking they are prone to sucking air . Also check that the H & L jet needles are set from 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 turns out . The Primer circuit is also very small and always becomes restricted , requiring routine cleaning .

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:05PM
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cant get unit to crank...tank is clean and dry..fresh gas mixture 40:1..new spark plug..lines in tact...primes poorly..fuel leaks from cap..any suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 4:50PM
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I was out this eveing using the feather lite, and after changing the line (it ran out) the head was spinning very slowly, less than 1/4 the speed of the idle (usually they are in sync) and when depressing the throttle (this usually increases the speed) the head did not turn at all. In my brief online searching this sounds as if its an issue with the clutch/cable. Does anyone have experience dismantling and replacing the clutch and or cable?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 10:05PM
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Just an update on my 11 year old Weedeater. Two years ago I replaced the cracked and brittle fuel lines - cost me about a dollar.

Last year the primer bulb cracked and I haven't replaced it yet. The danged thing starts right up anyway! Just flip the choke lever over, pull a couple of times, and it starts like a brand new one.

I'll report back in a few years, but it looks like the thing may outlive me. LOL!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 8:57PM
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Reference to MK, I'm having the same issue. The head stops, thought I might be hitting it too hard to advance the string.
If I stop & restart its OK for a litte bit.
I just bought it last year.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 5:47PM
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ok first off im a small engine mech i guess youd say in nc been that way since i was 6 the thing with these weed eaters you see alot of is they use a diaphragm carb so they get fuel at any angle as lets face it holding a weed eater level ell the time is not easy the diaphragm is thin and susceptible to dry rot and fatigue running it even once in a while during the winter is advisable but keep some fuel in it as far as additives stabilizer is ok id guess but most additives are "miracle cures" and just like their counterparts in the 1800's they are bs and do nothing more then degrade fuel and possibly cause adverse running conditions. the air fuel mix screw on most weedeaters is made so only a "trained mech" can do it however this is their downfall as no carb i dont care what kind stays at one setting every year year round humidity and conditions change and so do parts over time engines use less or more than the screw allows i try to stay with the 90's models or put a diff carb on them ive had the same two weed eater featherlights for prob 2 years then add when the owners got them and they have lasted a long time i operate them weekly doing lawn care (hey they were cheap) and occasionally i have to adjust or fix small issues another example of wear that changes amount of fuel used would be rings 4 strokes use oil in nthe crank case so the rings do not wear so bad however 2 strokes top ends and rings do not get as much oil staying on them 24/7 and wear faster so over time they lose compression power and burn more to run the same. im not an expert but these are just the usual suspects the best bet though is the carb needs a cleaning and poss a new diaphragm

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 9:58PM
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Hi I recently had an issue with my weedeater featherlite where it would not keep running on half choke also. After pulling my hair out for a few hours I was just about to throw the dam thing in the trash when the wife found a good site for troubleshooting. I used the step by step instructions and video to overhaul and adjust the carb getting it top work again. I found the guide at the site: www.weedeaterfeatherlite.com/guides

Ray J.

Here is a link that might be useful: Weedeater Featherlite

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 4:02PM
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I run mine out of fuel. Leave it in and some of the gaskets can get too soft. They will not dry out because of the oil in fuel.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 1:45PM
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