Two Cycle Engine Repair – Replacing A Primer Bulb on a Homelite Trim ‘n Edge

When I found a two cycle string trimmer, or weed whacker, on the side of the road on Bulk Trash Day here, I picked it up.  It needed some care, but the fact is that two cycle gas powered equipment is so simple, I wanted to try to repair it.  It now sits in my shed waiting for the next time I need to do some yard work and it works perfectly.

My new-to-me trimmer is a Homelite Trim ‘n Edge trimmer, model number UT20004B but the reality is that the vast majority of trimmers are repaired in exactly the same way.  The parts are mostly interchangeable and the only reason why I bothered to write about such a simple repair is that nobody definitively said “Yes You Can Do It”.  I did, it was successful, now head out to the shed and find your tools.  A Conglomerate, er, Holding Company bought them up a few years back and now they are owned by the same company that owns Ryobi and a few other well known brands.

Two Cycle motors are getting more rare since the Government mandated that they are not allowed to be produced and sold in the US.  The reason is that you have to add oil to the gasoline to lubricate the parts.  On the other hand, these motors are so tough that they’ll be around for a while and you’ll be replacing fuel lines, fuel tanks, and primer bulbs.

In this picture you see the primer bulb and the top of the carburetor.  Those two #2 Phillips Head screws hold the assembly down.  Remove them and that cracked bulb can be easily removed.  The plate that the screws hold down lifted up easily.

In this picture you see the old and new bulbs.  I picked up a “Variety Pack” at the big box hardware store, but they’re fairly common.  The rubber or vinyl does degrade when the fuel mix hits it and after a few years, it will rot away.  The trimmer I have is a 6 year old machine and it took that long.  I’ll be going through this again in 2017 if I still have it.

And finally to replace the bulb you put it back in the original position and tighten down the screws.  The entire job took me about 5 minutes to complete.   Seeing that it took me more than that to get to the Lowes on Oakland Park Boulevard in Oakland Park, it really was a non event.

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Ode to a Weedwhacker

I was out back repairing a gas powered weed-whacker and realized that it’s probably my favorite outdoor tool. 

I’m sitting here in bits of weeds, bougainvillea, and coleus clippings, smelling slightly of gasoline and sweating but it’s fine. 

You see it saves me a lot of time.  Manual tools have their use in a yard, but if you know what you’re doing, you can replace many of those tools or at least supplement them with a snarling and smelly handheld beast.

I went out to replace a primer bulb and of course had to test the thing out.

Since the motor started almost immediately, I then could have switched it off or finished what I had started the day before with the tool. 

Before I was through, I had edged the pool deck, trimmed bougainvillea and podocarpus, got rid of some Virginia Creeper, and got rid of some of those sticky seed weeds that were growing out of my banana tree’s pot. 

They will all be back, we’re going into the wet season.

Oh and Since Your Mileage May Vary, I would say trimming trees with a weed-whacker is truly one of those things that you Should Not Try At Home… although you will and at your own risk.

I have two gas powered ones.  The first was given to me and after a lot of effort I got it to work fairly well even if it is stubborn to start.  This other “newer” one was one that I got off of a trash pile on “Bulk Pickup Day”.  I found out why it was there shortly after getting it home.

In the last two days, I have replaced the gas tank, the primer bulb, and broke the pull start handle.   Seems to me that Homelite was using the wrong plastic when they made it.  “It” is a Trim ‘n Edge™ – UT20024B.  Homelite doesn’t even exist since they got bought up by a company that also owns Ryobi in the interim, but for a 6 or 7 year old tool, I’m happy.

It worked fine!  I was out there using the monster in an “off-label” manner and having fun.  The reason I came in was that the pull start handle had broke.  The yard looks fine, and the gasoline will wash out in the shower.

That reminds me… time to get cleaned up.  If you will excuse me…