Stihl Trimmer Very Hard To Pull Starter Cord. Runs Great But... - Tractors & Mowers - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:29 PM   #1
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Stihl Trimmer very hard to pull starter cord. Runs great but...


I just recently aquired a used Stihl FS130 brushcutter/trimmer with bike handles. The machine appears to be in good condition and starts and runs fine on a few pulls. The problem is that the pull cord is VERY hard to pull. I have to hold the shaft down with my foot in order to keep the engine from coming off the ground while trying to pull the cord. Only every 3rd or 4th pull feels right.

By comparison, the RS100RX that I traded for it had an extremely smooth and easy pull cord mechanism. It only required moderate pressure on the shaft and could be easily pulled and started while holding the machine.

The FS130 pull cord cannot be pulled while holding the machine, it goes a few inches then pulls the entire engine up with the cord.

The previous owner says its always been hard to pull and chalks it up to the fact that its a bigger engine than the 100RX and has more compression, so its normal he says.

I asked him if the valves have ever been adjusted and he said they shouldn't need adjusting as he's only put 10-15 hours on it. He said it was "like new" when he bought it.

I'm thinking at minimum it needs a valve adjustment. What else could I check?

Once it starts, it runs fine, but I think its missing some power at WOT since the saw blade is stopping trying to cut through 2-4 inch privet stumps. The spark arrestor shield has been removed by previous owner.

What are the list of possible causes for hard pull cord action?

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Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 08-05-2016 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:48 PM   #2
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Re: Stihl Trimmer very hard to pull starter cord. Runs great but...


I'm on my second version of a similar trimmer and they are a little stiff but not as bad as you describe. Check both the air cleaner and exhaust to make sure there is no restriction to its breathing which might cause resistance. They, after all, a pretty small engine so it doesn't take much. With the low hours the air filter should be good but if the previous owner was a little generous with the 2-stroke oil the muffler could clog up pretty quickly.

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Old 08-05-2016, 06:07 PM   #3
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Re: Stihl Trimmer very hard to pull starter cord. Runs great but...


Pull the plug out and see how hard it is to pull over.
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Old 08-05-2016, 06:26 PM   #4
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Re: Stihl Trimmer very hard to pull starter cord. Runs great but...


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Pull the plug out and see how hard it is to pull over.
Got some guests over now, but will try this first thing in the am.

Earlier today I pulled the air filter and went over it with air hose and put it back in. Seems to be a bit easier to pull but still stiff. Cranks pretty easily despite the hard stops on the pull cord.
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Old 08-05-2016, 07:47 PM   #5
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Re: Stihl Trimmer very hard to pull starter cord. Runs great but...


All my pro grade Stihl tools are far harder to pull.
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:56 AM   #6
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Re: Stihl Trimmer very hard to pull starter cord. Runs great but...


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
All my pro grade Stihl tools are far harder to pull.
Good to know. Maybe its normal. I just didn't think there would be that big of a difference in compression between the FS100RX and the FS130.

Compared to the 130, the 100 feels like it has spring assist.

I'm also a bit concerned about the torque at WOT. Although I'm trying to cut through a 4 inch half dead privet stump, I can only get 3/4 of the way through before the motor bogs down and the blade stops. I was expecting the 130 to eat through stuff like that, especially with a new 36T carbide tip blade.

One of the gear box mounts has a crack where the left mounting screw is located. That could be part of the problem. There is a bit of excess vibration there under load which may be contributing to the problem.

Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 08-06-2016 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:16 AM   #7
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Re: Stihl Trimmer very hard to pull starter cord. Runs great but...


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Originally Posted by homeimproverjoe View Post
I was expecting the 130 to eat through stuff like that, especially with a new 36T carbide tip blade.
I've found carbide tooth blades have a minimum of set, as little as 0.005" / side in some instances. On a fine tuned table saw this may be fine to slightly iffie but on portable equipment it often leads to friction of the plate, heat and binding.
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Old 08-06-2016, 11:27 AM   #8
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Re: Stihl Trimmer very hard to pull starter cord. Runs great but...


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Pull the plug out and see how hard it is to pull over.
I pulled the plug this morning and the pull cord pulls very easily. I'm guessing that's to be expected as normal? More evidence that the source of the hard pull is due to compression. Likely, the valves are too sloppy to engage the compression release on the cam?

I noticed the plug was a bit fouled over so I bought a new plug.


While I had the plug pulled, I checked down into the cylinder and saw some heavy carbon on the piston head (see pics below). Should I be concerned with that?



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Old 08-06-2016, 09:57 PM   #9
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Re: Stihl Trimmer very hard to pull starter cord. Runs great but...


I could be wrong but I doubt small Stihl engines have a compression release. It does seem a little 'carbonated' for the number of hours on it, which may point to needing a carb adjust. It might be set too rich or, if set properly, it was operated a lot at low throttle. The adjustment procedure might be in the owner's manual, online or maybe somebody here knows. That degree of carbon may also be present in the muffler; hence my earlier comment to check it.

I would leave checking the valve lash as the last resort.

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