Ryobi offers electric, gasoline, and battery-powered string trimmers as well as hybrid models that can run on electricity when the battery runs out of power. The units have a reputation for being powerful and efficient. Also, Ryobi offers better warranty terms than its competitors.
However, a Ryobi weed eater is not immune to issues. Like other power tools, your unit can develop issues every once in a while. Other users may also have challenges operating the tools. Not to worry, though, in the following guide, we take you through the troubleshooting steps required to resolve common Ryobi weed eater problems.
How to Start a Ryobi Weed Eater
Gas Trimmer (MODEL 767R, 775R)
- Mix gas with oil. Fill fuel tank with fuel/oil mixture.
- Put the On/Off Stop Control in the ON position.
- Fully press and release the primer bulb 5 to 7 times. Fuel should be visible in the bulb.
- Place the choke lever in the FULL choke position (A).
- Squeeze the throttle control with the unit on the ground and pull the starter rope briskly. Continue pulling until the engine sounds like it wants to run (usually 2 to 5 pulls).
NOTE: Squeeze the throttle control until the engine has started and warmed up.
- Place the choke lever in the PARTIAL choke position (B).
- Pull starter rope briskly 1 to 3 times to start the engine.
- If the engine does not start, repeat steps 4 through 7.
NOTE: Place the choke lever in the RUN position (C) if the engine floods while starting. Squeeze the throttle control. Pull the starter rope briskly. The engine should start within three (3) to eight (8) pulls.
- Squeeze the throttle control to warm up the engine for 5 to 10 seconds. Place the choke lever in the RUN position (C).
NOTE: Choking is unnecessary when starting a warm engine. Put the On/Off Stop Control in the ON position, and start in PARTIAL Choke position (B).
To stop the unit:
- Release your hand from the throttle control. Allow the engine to cool down by idling.
- Put the On/Off Stop Control in the OFF position.
Electric Trimmer (MODEL RLT-552)
The On/Off trigger and trigger safety lock must be used together to activate the trimmer to increase safety.
To start and stop the trimmer, follow these steps:
- Press and hold the trigger safety lock.
- Depress the On/Off trigger.
- Release the On/Off trigger to stop the trim
Battery Trimmer (MODEL P2008)
To start the unit:
- Select the desired operating speed (HIGH or LOW)
- Press and hold the lock-out button
- Depress the switch trigger
To stop the unit:
- Release the switch trigger to stop the string trimmer.
- Upon release of the switch trigger, the lock-out button will automatically reset to the locked position.
How to Restring a Ryobi Weed Eater
Ryobi manufactures a variety of trimmer heads, and the restringing procedure can differ depending on your model. Below are instructions on how to restring the different trimmer heads.
Pro Cut II String Head
- Turn off the engine of a Ryobi string trimmer. Disable the trimmer by disconnecting its spark plug wire, unplugging it from an electrical outlet, or removing its battery.
- Cut two 11-inch lengths of trimmer string from a roll. Use either 0.095- or 0.105-inch-diameter monofilament string.
- Feed the end of one of the 11-inch lengths of string into one of the holes on the side of the trimmer’s head, and push the string through until about 1 inch of string protrudes from the top of the head. Remove all old string that comes out of the hole when you feed in the new string.
- Install the other 11-inch length of the string in the hole on the opposite side of the head in a similar way you installed the first length of the string.
Reel Easy String Head
- Stop the engine of a Ryobi string trimmer. Disable the machine by disconnecting its spark plug wire, unplugging it from an electrical outlet, or removing its battery.
- Cut a 25-foot-long piece of 0.095-inch-diameter monofilament trimmer line from a roll, using a utility knife or scissors for cutting.
- Rotate the knob on top of the head until the arrow on the knob lines up with the arrows on the head. Feed one end of the 25-foot-long trimmer line through the hole on the side of the head, and pull the line through from the head’s other side until you have two equal lengths of line or string.
- Wind the knob until only 8 inches of string are left on both sides of the head. Wind counterclockwise if your trimmer has a curved shaft and wind clockwise if it is a straight-shaft model or a brush cutter.
Universal Bump Feed String Head
- Stop the engine of a Ryobi string trimmer. Disable the trimmer by disconnecting its spark plug wire, unplugging it from an electrical outlet, or removing its battery.
- Use one hand to grasp the string head, and unscrew the knob on top of it with your other hand by turning the knob counterclockwise. Remove the knob and trimmer cover, and lift out the string spool. Pull out all old string.
- Cut an 18-foot piece of 0.095-inch-diameter string from a roll, and fold it in half. Hook the center of the piece of string to the notch in the center of the spool, and wind both ends of the string around the spool in the direction of the arrow imprinted on the top of the spool. Stop winding when 6 inches are left on each end of the string.
- Return the spool to the head, and slip each end of the string into one of the slots on the side of the head. Rotate the spool to align the notches with the slots, and put the cover back in place.
- Screw the knob back into place on top of the string head, turning the knob clockwise to tighten it, and pull the string ends sharply to pull the spool into alignment. Push down on the knob while you pull the string ends to make sure the string advances properly.
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Why Won’t My Ryobi Weed Eater Start
If your Ryobi weed eater doesn’t start, this can be due to several possible causes:
Defective or Dirty Spark Plug
The spark plug is among the first things to check if your trimmer won’t start. Inspect the spark plug for signs of wear or damage. If the porcelain insulator is cracked, an electrode is burned away or damaged, or there is heavy carbon buildup at the electrode, replace the spark plug. Ryobi recommends replacing the spark plug annually.
To determine if the spark plug is defective, use a spark plug tester. When the engines are cranking, a bright spark can be seen between the plug tester’s terminals. If there is no spark, this indicates that the spark plug is defective and should be replaced.
A dirty spark plug can cause a gas-powered trimmer’s engine not to start. Remove the spark plug and clean the electrode with a wire brush. If the spark plug electrode is covered with gasoline, though, replace it with a new plug. Spark plugs must also have a precise gap to function properly. The gap, which refers to the space between the center and side electrodes of the spark plug, should be set at 1/4 inch.
Defective Recoil Starter
The recoil starter assembly engages the crankshaft to turn over the engine. If the recoil starter assembly is defective, the engine will not start.
To troubleshoot this problem, remove the starter assembly and inspect it to determine if it is working properly. When you pull the starter rope, tabs extending from the pulley and cam should grab the hub on the engine, causing the engine to turn. When you release the rope, the tabs should retract, and the rope should rewind back on the pulley. If the recoil starter assembly is not working correctly, replace it.
Dirty Spark Arrestor
In some cases, the spark arrestor may simply be dirty and need a thorough cleaning. A spark arrestor is a small filter-like screen that prevents the engine from emitting any sparks. However, it can accumulate soot over time if not checked occasionally, and that may cause clogging. If the spark arrestor gets clogged, the engine may not start.
To clean the spark arrestor, remove it and clean it using a wire brush. After cleaning the spark arrestor, you can check if it can still function properly for the engine to start. If no further cleaning can resolve the clogging problem, you may need to replace it with a new one.
A clogged carburetor is most commonly caused by leaving fuel in the weed eater for a long period of time. Over time, some of the ingredients in the fuel may evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier substance. This sticky fuel can clog up the carburetor and prevent the engine from starting.
If the carburetor is clogged, try cleaning it with carburetor cleaner. If cleaning the carburetor does not resolve the issue, rebuild or replace the entire carburetor.
If you think the carburetor damages are still fixable, you can use a carburetor repair kit.
It contains items that you can use to repair the damages, especially if they are worn out, warped, or clogged with fuel. The items include reed and needle valves, a primer bulb, springs, diaphragms, and other parts that may be damaged.
Clogged Fuel Filter
Same as a carburetor, a fuel filter can get clogged if you leave fuel in the weed trimmer for a long period of time. Over time, some of the ingredients in the fuel may evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier substance. This sticky fuel can clog up the fuel filter and prevent the engine from starting.
To fix this, drain the old fuel from the fuel tank and replace the fuel filter.
Clogged Air Filter
If the air filter is clogged, the engine will get too much fuel and not enough air. As a result, the engine may not start. If the air filter is clogged, replace it.
Debris Clogging Line
If you have a battery-powered or electric Weed Eater trimmer that will not start, turn the power switch to the “off” position and check the bottom of the trimmer. If grass or debris has clogged around the trimmer’s cutting line, the trimmer may not start. Clear all material from the underside of the trimmer to resolve the problem.
Gas-powered Weed Eater trimmers that produce a fuel smell but won’t start may have a flooded engine. Set the unit aside for 10-15 minutes to allow the fuel to vaporize, and then simultaneously squeeze the throttle trigger and repeatedly pull the starter rope handle until the engine starts and runs. This may require pulling the starter handle many times if the weed eater is badly flooded.
Some trimmers have an on-off switch that you must set to the “On” position before starting the engine. You also need to set the choke to “Full,” pump the primer bulb 5 to 7 times and engage the throttle before pulling the starting cord. If you are having difficulties starting the engine, it may be because you did not follow this procedure. After five pulls, you should set the choke to “Partial” and pull up to three more times.
If the engine won’t start and you smell gas, it may be flooded. In that case, turn the choke to the “Off” position, depress the throttle, and keep pulling. The engine should start.
What Size String for Ryobi Weed Eater
String trimmer line comes in a range of thicknesses. For light work, such as trimming grass, 0.065″-0.085″ should be sufficient. For thicker grass and weeds, a line in the 0.085″-0.110″ range will get the job done, and for thicker underbrush, anything thicker than 0.110″ will work.
The general rule with a string trimmer line is that the more demanding the application, the thicker the line needs to be. A larger diameter will increase the power and durability of the line, which leads to less breakage and wear-out.
Ryobi model 105R trimmers require a 0.060-inch-diameter trimmer line, and model 132R and 137R trimmers require a 0.080-inch-diameter trimmer line.
How to Remove a Ryobi Weed Eater Head
The attachment connects to the powerhead by means of a coupler device. To remove the attachment from the powerhead, follow these steps:
- Remove the battery pack.
- Turn the coupler counterclockwise to unlock it. Then remove the trimmer shaft from the powerhead.
Why Won’t My Ryobi Weed Eater Stay Running?
The two-cycle engine that runs your string trimmer needs clean fuel, air circulation, and a spark to operate smoothly. The engine will not start if any of these elements are missing, but it may run for a short time if only the air or fuel flow is restricted. It is not difficult to restore air circulation, but if the fuel flow is restricted, you may need to disassemble the carburetor and clean it.
Also, if the engine stalls while you are using it, it may be because grass and weeds have collected around the trimmer head. To fix this, you need to remove the spark plug boot and clear the debris.
To troubleshoot a unit that won’t stay running, check the following:
The engine draws air into the combustion chamber through the intake port, and if the air filter is dirty, combustion is partial, and the trimmer will sputter and die. You can easily remove the air filter, and replacements are inexpensive.
Similarly, air must exit through the exhaust port that is covered by a spark arrestor to prevent fires. When the spark arrestor is clogged, the engine cannot get rid of its exhaust gases, and it will not keep running. The spark arrestor is a screen located just behind the muffler. Pull it out and clean or replace it.
The gas cap on the trimmer has a small air inlet hole that lets air enter the fuel tank, preventing a vacuum from forming as fuel sprays into the carburetor. Check whether or not this hole is blocked. Try removing the gas cap, and if the trimmer operation improves, you need to replace the gas cap.
The fuel system also includes a filter that can clog. It is difficult to determine visually whether or not the filter is blocked, but it is easy and inexpensive to replace.
If you leave fuel in the unit for a long period of time, over time, some of the ingredients in the fuel may evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier substance. This sludge can partially block the inlet ports for the carburetor. As a result, there may be enough fuel in the carburetor to start the engine, but there may not be enough to keep it running.
To prevent this from happening, you should ass a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank before you store the trimmer, but once the carburetor is blocked, the only solution is to clean or replace it.
What is the Fuel Mixture for a Ryobi Weed Eater?
The fuel/oil ratio is 32:1, which works out to 4 oz. of oil per gallon of gas.
After knowing the correct fuel-to-oil ratio, it is simple to calculate the amount of gasoline and the amount of oil you will need. With the 32:1 fuel-to-oil mix ratio, for example, you will use 32 parts of gasoline to 1 gallon of oil. There are 128 oz. in a gallon. Divide 128 oz. by the mix ratio of 32, which equals 4 ounces of gasoline.
Thoroughly mix the proper ratio of 2-cycle engine oil with unleaded gasoline in a separate fuel can. Do not mix them directly in the engine fuel tank.
Why Won’t My Ryobi Battery Weed Eater Charge?
The most common reason a Ryobi battery fails is that it is stuck in sleep mode. This happens when the battery has been discharged too much. This typically happens when a battery has been used till it is flat and then stored without charging for a long period of time. The charger is then not capable of providing enough voltage to “kick start” the battery back into life. When this happens, your charger will likely have red and green lights flashing when you try to charge the battery.
There are several ways you can try to fix this:
By Giving it Tiny Charge Boosts
For this option, follow these instructions:
- Connect your charger to the power outlet
- Place the battery in the charger until the green indicator goes solid
- Just before the red/green lights start flashing, remove the battery from the charger
- Re-insert the battery into the charger again and repeat steps 2-3
- Do this until the green light flashes constantly (might take up to 30 minutes)
The way this method works is that each time you insert the battery into the charger, it gives it a small amount of charge before detecting the battery as sleeping. So repeating this process over and over results in the battery slowly being charged in tiny increments each time. Eventually, this results in enough charge for the battery charger to resume normal charging operation.
Using a Second Battery To Jump Start The Sleeping One
- Use a second healthy, fully charged battery of the same voltage and connect the terminals matching polarity (positive-positive, negative-negative) using wires and leave them connected for a few minutes.
- Then try charging the battery again to see if it now works.
Using a DC Power Supply
- Use a DC power supply set at the same voltage as the battery and connect the positive output to the positive battery terminal and the negative output to the negative battery terminal. Once again, leave this connected for a few minutes, then try charging the battery.
Another possible reason for your battery not charging is the charging temperature. Lithium-ion batteries are made to be charged between 41oF and 113oF (5oC and 45oC). If the battery has been stored in a cooler or hotter place than that, get it back to room temperature before trying again. If the battery has been exposed to extreme temperatures for a long time, it may have suffered permanent damage.
Dirty contacts can as well be the culprits. Check the contacts on both the battery and the charger. If it is rusted or covered in gunk, this may be preventing the charge from passing through it. To clean dirty contacts, use a wire brush or an alcohol-soaked wipe. Make sure it is dry before trying again.
If none of these solutions solve your Ryobi battery issues, then it is likely that either your battery or charger is faulty and will need to be replaced.
Electric Ryobi Weed Eater Won’t Start
If your electric weed eater won’t start, start by making sure its extension cord is plugged firmly into the machine and into an electrical outlet. A faulty extension cord may also be the problem. A quick fix can be performed by swapping the faulty extension cord for another extension cord that is in working order. Also, ensure the weed eater’s switch is in the “ON” position.
To make sure there are no issues with the electric power, be sure to check the fuse or circuit breaker that governs the electrical outlet into which the unit is plugged.
How Do You Release the Battery on a Ryobi Weed Eater?
Ryobi recommends always removing the battery pack from your weed trimmer when assembling parts, making adjustments, cleaning, or when not in use. Removing the battery pack will prevent accidental starting that could cause serious personal injury.
To remove the battery pack, follow these instructions:
- Depress the latches on each side of the battery pack.
- Remove the battery pack from the trimmer.
How to Use a Ridgid Battery on a Ryobi Weed Eater
There are Ridgid to Ryobi Battery Adaptors you can purchase, which will allow you to use your existing collection of Ridgid batteries with an extensive range of Ryobi power tools. This eliminates the need to buy, store, charge, and maintain a new collection of batteries alongside the ones you already own.
However, you should note that ‘Advanced’ design Ridgid batteries are not compatible with the Ridgid battery adaptor.
Common Problems on a Cordless Ryobi Weed Eater and How to Fix Them
Motor fails to start when switch trigger is depressed.
- The battery is not secure. To secure the battery pack, make sure the latch on the bottom of the battery pack is snapped into place.
- The battery is not charged. Charge the battery pack according to the instructions included with your model.
- The shaft is not connected completely. Make sure the shaft trimmer is securely seated in the coupler on the powerhead.
Grass wraps around boom housing and string head.
- This happens because of cutting tall grass at ground level. You should cut tall grass from the top down to prevent wrapping.
The line will not advance when using the auto-feed head
- The line is welded to itself. Lubricate with silicone spray.
- Not enough line on the spool. Install more line.
- The line is worn too short. Pull line while pressing the button.
- The line is tangled on the spool. Remove the line from the spool and rewind.
Common Problems on a Gasoline Ryobi Weed Eater and How to Fix Them
The engine will not start
- The ignition switch is OFF. Turn the switch to ON.
- Empty fuel tank. Fill the fuel tank.
- The primer bulb wasn’t pressed enough. Press the primer bulb fully and slowly 5-7 times.
- Engine flooded. Use starting procedure with the choke lever in the RUN position.
- Old or Improperly Mixed Fuel. Drain fuel tank / Add fresh fuel mixture.
- Fouled spark plug. Clean or replace the spark plug.
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The engine will not idle
- The air filter is plugged. Clean or replace the air filter.
- Old or improperly mixed fuel. Drain fuel tank/ add fresh fuel mixture.
Engine lacks power or stalls when cutting
- The cutting head is bound with grass. Stop the engine and clean the cutting attachment.
- The air filter is dirty. Clean or replace the air filter.
- Old or improperly mixed fuel. Drain fuel tank/ add fresh fuel mixture.
- Improper carburetor adjustment. Adjust carburetor or take to an authorized service dealer for carburetor adjustment.
Cutting line advances uncontrollably
- Oil in cutting head. Clean the cutting attachment.
The cutting head will not advance the line.
- The cutting head is bound with grass. Stop the engine and clean the cutting attachment.
- The cutting head is out of line. Refill with a new line.
- The inner reel is bound up. Replace the inner reel.
- The cutting head is dirty. Clean the inner reel and outer spool.
- Line welded. Disassemble, remove the welded section and rewind the line.
- Line twisted when refilled. Disassemble and rewind the line.
- Not enough line is exposed. Push the Bump Knob and pull out the line until four in. (102 mm.) of the line is outside of the cutting attachment.