How to fix weedwacker?
June 27, 2004 6:57 PM   Subscribe

A garden defeat: Weeds, 1, Happydaz, 0. Today, I borrowed a friend's Weedwacker. I was happily mowing down the growth in my back yard (some of which had reached three feet in height) when all of a sudden one of the nylon strings disappeared! I stopped the contraption and tried to fix it, but all I ended up doing was making the other string disappear. So now I have a non-functional weedwacker, and 20 % of my yard still un-wacked. Anyone know how to make the string come out?

More info: Yes, I DID try pushing it against the ground. I'm aware there's a spring loaded device that makes the string come out. I can even see the string nestled inside. But I can't seem to get it to thread through. Should I just take it apart and hope all is fixed by the time I give it back to my friend?
posted by Happydaz to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
It's a simple device if it's anything like my string trimmer. Make sure it's turned off, then sit it on the ground and lift up the cutting end. You should see a spool there that you can just twist and pull off. The string is in there... just feed the string through the hole in the spool and then stick it back on.

While you are working, you should periodically get more string out as it wears out before it goes back in the spool. Most people just press the spool end down on the ground, which loosens it so it spins and feeds out more string. Hit the power and let it feed out as it spins. If that doesn't work, just carefully turn it upside down, press the spool in so that it can rotate, and pull out more string. (Just be careful you don't accidentally hit the button while you are doing this.)
posted by MegoSteve at 7:33 PM on June 27, 2004

The bottom part is a sort of cup that holds the spool. It's probably held on by a couple of pressure clips. Squeeze them and the thing will pop apart. Unwind a one foot length of the nylon string, feed it through the channel, and then carefully reassemble. It's supposed to come apart. It may be a little tricky to reassemble, but not impossible. When you start it up, the cord will cut itself to the proper length.
posted by crunchland at 7:35 PM on June 27, 2004

If its like mine, the string is always getting stuck. You should be able to unscrew the center (like a cap) and untangle and pull out the string you need. Before doing any of the above make sure the weedwacker is not just turned off but *completely disconnected* from all power. I think those things could tear through flesh very easily.
posted by vacapinta at 7:36 PM on June 27, 2004

Sometimes, the string breaks off inside the spool and you need to unscrew the cap under the head, then pull the spool off and feed both strings out through the holes in the side of the head (make sure everything faces the right way, or it won't feed any more). Screw the cap back on and you should be good to go. Sometimes, when the string is feeding out, it gets jammed inside the spool, particularly if the going is heavy..

Another possibility (except that you say you can see the string inside) is that you have run out of string and need to wind some more on, which you can buy from any hardware store. Make sure you wind it is the right direction, or it will not feed out when you tap the head on the ground.
posted by dg at 7:57 PM on June 27, 2004

I used to cut grass for a living...

All the above advice is good, but I'll add to it. Usually, there's a bump button on the end (it rubs the ground). This will unscrew; however, occasionally it's a left-hand thread (more than likely it's not, but...). Use a channel-lock (arc-joint) pliers to hold the button and hold the rest of the head in your hand to unscrew it. The spool, under the button, holds the line. Spools usually have little breaks in their edges so you can have the line pre-threaded through the holes in the head and still get the spool back on.

When trimming, or (as it sounds like in this case) knocking down the lawn especially, keep the line long by bumping the head of the trimmer on the ground. Try not to bump on concrete; it will give a more positive outfeed of trimmer line, but will wear the button out post-haste.

When the line is too short, the cutting edge isn't moving fast enough to cool off (my conjecture); even if you can (less effectively) do the job, the trimmer line will sometimes break right off due to the cutting heat it's retained. If it retracts into the head while still hot, it may weld itself to another loop of line, which can be a bitch to deal with. Moral of the story - keep the line fed out as much as possible without wasting too much on the cutter on the guard.
posted by notsnot at 8:30 PM on June 27, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, everyone! Each of you said about the same thing, which was, try harder to get the string out. I messed around with the spring loaded part and finally got it to work. (Mental note to self: Don't ever rent a house where you have to cut a bunch of grass growing on a steep hill.) Again, thanks for all the tips. Here's what my yard looked like when I finished up at 9 this evening.
posted by Happydaz at 9:47 PM on June 27, 2004

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