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When your ECHO weed eater won’t start it can be both frustrating and perplexing. My neighbor came to me with this issue recently and we spent most of our Saturday trying to figure out what was wrong. I’m hoping to significantly shorten your troubleshooting time by helping you to zero in on the most common causes.
This isn’t an issue with ECHO. The truth is, all brands of trimmers are prone to not start at some point. The key is to work through the most common causes in a systemic way to find the issue.
Common reasons an ECHO weed eater won’t start:
- Poor Quality Fuel
- Fouled Spark Plug
- Clogged Fuel Filter
- Clogged Carburator
- Clogged Spark Arrestor
This guide will walk you through the troubleshooting process from minor quick-fixes to the more in-depth issues. Don’t get frustrated, let’s just work the process.
And yes, I do know that Weed Eater is a brand and so it’s technically an ECHO string trimmer, not a weed eater. Here is the south, however, the term weed eater is commonly used as a generic term for any type of string trimmer. So forgive me for that. 🙂
Now, let’s troubleshoot that ECHO engine of yours and see if we can figure out exactly what’s causing the issue.
Tired of fighting with gas engines? Maybe it’s time to upgrade to the EGO Battery-Powered String Trimmer (Link to Amazon).
Poor Quality Fuel
I’ve learned from past experience that this is one of the first culprits to a weed eater that won’t start. Poor quality fuel can cause tons of problems in a small engine.
Many of the issues we’ll be looking at will directly relate to the quality of fuel that was used. Take my word on this one: make sure you are using a quality ethanol-free fuel.
Ethanol causes significant damage to small engines. It happens slowly over time so we don’t see the effects all at once.
Maybe it begins stalling or having trouble starting. You don’t think much of it at the time. Until one morning when you get ready to do some yard work and your yard tool will not start.
If you have been buying your gas at the pump and mixing the oil in yourself as my neighbor was, I recommend draining the fuel from the tank and plan to start with a fresh tank of pre-mixed fuel.
I’ve researched pre-mixed fuels and found that, for the most part, all brands are about the same. You can read my complete side-by-side comparison of powered yard tool premixed fuels for more details.
Fouled Spark Plug
The next thing you will want to do is to check for a fouled spark plug if your ECHO weed eater won’t start. This process is fairly simple but you need to take caution as you do it.
It’s a good practice to wear insulated gloves. Use common sense and if you are not comfortable with this or any instructions in this guide, visit your local dealer for professional servicing.
- Locate the spark plug and remove the insulated boot from the terminal.
- Remove the spark plug with a spark plug wrench*.
- Replace the insulated boot back on the terminal.
- Ground the side of the plug against a metal part of the engine.
- Holding the plug in place by the insulated ground and not touching any metal, turn the engine over as if trying to start it.
You’ll see a small blue spark between the electrodes on the end of the plug if it is successfully getting fire.
*Note – It is possible to check for fire without removing the spark plug but there is increased risk to safety with this approach. I’m providing the safer step-by-step here.
Here is an excellent video demonstration of this process. He pretty much follows the same guidelines I’ve outlined. He also demonstrates a smart way to ground the plug when dealing with plastic housing like we often deal with on trimmers.
Although he is using a Stihl in this video, the troubleshooting process is exactly the same.
Once you have ensured that the plug is getting fire, it’s time to look a little deeper at what may be causing the issue.
Clogged Fuel Filter
The next thing to check is the fuel filter. These can get clogged up as impurities traveling from the tank through the fuel line are captured.
I’ve seen crazy recommendations online about just removing and bypassing the filter but this is a very penny-wise, pound-foolish approach. We want that fuel filter catching impurities so that they don’t find their way into the engine.
Bypassing the fuel filter only results in a more frequent clogged carburetor. These filters are very inexpensive to replace and it only takes a few minutes.
Replacing an ECHO Trimmer Fuel Filter
This process is pretty simple. You can find a replacement fuel filter at your local dealer or just purchase online (link to ECHO-compatible fuel filters on Amazon). If you are unsure of the model that you need, check the manufacturer website for your trimmer’s model number using their Parts Lookup Feature (link to ECHO).
Here’s a short video that walks through the whole process from removing to replacing. It may prove helpful in visualizing this and is less than 3 minutes long.
If your fuel filter is clean, or if you replace it and the trimmer still won’t start, it’s time to get a little more invasive with the next step in our troubleshooting guide…
When the carburetor is the problem, it’s common for the string trimmer to start but die quickly or cough as it tries to start but never rev up to full throttle without dying.
The carburetor manages the fuel-to-air mixture for the engine. There is usually an adjustment screw or two on the side that allows you to fine-tune this mixture if the engine is running too lean (too much air) or too rich (too much gas).
But if the engine won’t start or starts but dies quickly, the problem is more than likely that the carburetor itself is clogged.
How To Clean an ECHO Trimmer Carburetor
This video provides an excellent walk-through for removing and cleaning the carburetor. Proper cleaning involves replacing certain parts that are prone to decay over time so you’ll need an inexpensive rebuild kit (link to Amazon) that you can purchase online or at your local dealer.
Now, if you’ve gotten to this point and still your ECHO weed eater won’t start, there’s one more thing we can check before heading to the dealer…
Clogged Spark Arrestor
A spark arrestor prevents larger particles from blowing out the exhaust. I say larger particles because it is usually a screen. These are intended to prevent fire hazards.
This is another area where people on the internet often recommend simply removing them but it is not a good idea at all. The spark arrestor is there for a purpose. Best to just replace it if needed.
How To Replace an ECHO Spark Arrestor Screen
Follow this helpful guide if you believe that the spark arrestor may be clogged. Note that it is sometimes possible to simple clean the existing one instead of replacing it. But if it looks like its decaying significantly from the intense exhaust heat, you are better off buying a cheap replacement either online (link to one on Amazon) or at your local dealer.
At this point, you may be asking yourself “Why didn’t I just buy an electric trimmer?” The truth is, the majority of starting issues are usually very simple to fix. If these fixes have not resolved your issue, then it’s likely that you have a more complicated electrical or engine issue.
If you are unable to resolve the issue with your ECHO trimmer following these steps, you may want to download the owner’s manual from the ECHO website. The troubleshooting section of their manuals is pretty basic but this is a resource available to you.
When All Else Fails, Visit Your Local Dealer
Finally, don’t forget your option of bringing your trimmer to an ECHO dealer. You can look up dealers in your area on the ECHO website using their Store Locator.
These are some of the most common causes of an ECHO weed eater not starting. Work through each of these before heading to the dealer and you may save yourself some cash and an unneeded trip.
Wondering if you made the right choice going with an ECHO trimmer? Read our Stihl vs ECHO Yard Power Tool Faceoff!