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How to Fix CRAFTSMAN Leaf Blower Problems

A collage of different ways to operate leaf blowers.

CRAFTSMAN has a series of top-quality leaf blowers and leaf vacuums, including gas and electrical (corded and cordless) models. Still, sometimes even the best product can leave you high and dry when it doesn’t work, forcing you to troubleshoot the problem.

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Regardless of the type of CRAFTSMAN leaf blower you have, some of these issues might occur:

1. Leaf blower doesn’t start

2. Leaf blower stalls

3. Leaf blower does not blow or suck debris

4. Leaf blower running rough

5. Leaf blower vibrates excessively

6. Leaf blower smoking

Table of Contents Show

CRAFTSMAN Gas-powered Leaf Blower

A man using a gas powered leaf blower.

CRAFTSMAN gasoline-powered leaf blowers are powerful options, perfect for cleaning extensive areas quickly and easily. These leaf blowers range from 2-cycle handheld models (25cc or 27cc) and the backpack version (51cc) to the 4-cycle walk-behind version that boasts an impressive 208cc motor.

The downside to gas leaf blowers is that they tend to be heavier, they’re not exactly environmentally friendly, and they require more maintenance. However, the impressive engine and longer life span might tip the scales enough for you to opt for this type of leaf blower.

1. Leaf Blower Doesn’t Start

A man starting a leaf blower.

It can be frustrating to take your leaf blower out of storage only to find it doesn’t work. Depending on the age of your CRAFTSMAN leaf blower, the problem can be caused by various unit components.

Solution 1: Repair Carburetor

Your leaf blower might have a dirty or clogged carburetor, one of the most common reasons blowers don’t start. When you leave gas in the tank for over three months, the residue liquid gets thicker and stickier, causing a restriction in the carburetor.

To fix it, try cleaning it with a carburetor cleaner. If it doesn’t work, you can buy a carburetor repair kit to replace some of its components or install an entirely new carburetor.

Here is a video to help you repair your carburetor: 

To avoid your carburetor clogging up in the future, always use fresh fuel when using the leaf blower and a fuel stabilizer to help maintain the fuel quality.

Solution 2: Inspect the Spark Plug

Pop the spark plug out to see if it has any damage or wear. The spark plug must be replaced if the electrode is burned away, the porcelain insulator is broken, or there’s heavy carbon buildup.

If the spark plug seems to be in good condition, check if there is any spark:

  • Connect the spark plug to the wire.
  • Pull the starter cord of the leaf blower to see if there is a blue spark. If there is a spark, no matter how faint, you know the problem is not the plug.
  • If unsure, you can use a spark plug checker instead.

If there is no spark, you must replace the spark plug (recommended if it is older than one year), or you can first troubleshoot the ignition coil before buying a new spark plug.

Solution 3: Test the Ignition Coil

If there is no spark when you test your spark plug, disassemble the entire unit to get to the ignition coil. If you look at the component and see a lot of dirt and oil on the grounding surface, this could cause the leaf blower not to start. Clean the surfaces of the engine and the ignition coil to get better ground. Then reinstall it and reconnect the spark plug.

If a spark comes from the plug, yet the leaf blower still won’t start, your ignition coil might be defective. You can use an ignition coil tester to confirm that it needs replacing.

Here is a video on how to replace the ignition coil:

Solution 4: Examine the Rewind Spring

If the starter’s rewind spring is broken, it will not be able to recoil onto the pulley, which will not allow the leaf blower to start. To fix the issue, remove the leaf blower’s starter assembly and check if it is in working order.

Pull the starter cord to check that the tabs protruding from the pulley and cam are grabbing the engine’s hub. Release the starter cord and see if the tabs retract and the rope rewind back on the pulley. You can replace the rewind springs individually if it is not working correctly. Still, replacing the entire recoil starter assembly is often better.

Solution 5: Test the Recoil starter

The issue can also be the recoil starter itself. Suppose the starter is malfunctioning (i.e., the recoil is broken or stuck). In that case, it cannot engage with the leaf blower’s engine crankshaft, making it unable to start. In this case, replacing the starter assembly is your best chance of solving the problem.

Solution 6: Replace the Fuel

A man refueling a gas powered leaf blower.

The leaf blower not starting might also be due to a clog in the fuel filter caused by leaving old fuel in the tank for several months. Drain the stale gas out from the leaf blower tank and replace the gas with a fresh batch to see if it will solve the problem. If not, you might have to replace the fuel lines.

Solution 7: Clean the Air Filter

If the leaf blower’s air filter is clogged, insufficient air will get into the carburetor. This issue will make it difficult for the motor to start. If the air filter is visibly soiled, you should clean or replace it. Like a spark plug, you should preferably install a new air filter once a year.

Solution 8: Clean the Spark Arrestor

Since a spark arrestor helps prevent sparks coming from the engine from exiting the muffler, a clogged screen can prevent the engine from starting. You can clean it with a wire brush or replace it with a new one to solve the issue. Here is how to clean the screen: 

Solution 9: Replace the Flywheel Key

Lastly, if your leaf blower still won’t start, you can check if the flywheel key is still in good condition. The flywheel key gets worn after regular use and can break, so the engine won’t work. You need to install a new flywheel key if this is the case.

2. Leaf Blower Stalls

A man cleaning leaf using a blower.

Once you start up your CRAFTSMAN leaf blower and get to work, it can be discouraging to find that it dies soon after it starts – even after several attempts.

Solution 1: Check the Spark Arrestor

Like a dirty spark arrestor will keep your leaf blower from starting, it can also be the cause of its stalling. Clean your spark arrestor screen to allow the engine to start and keep running for as long as you need. If a scrub with a wire brush doesn’t work, you might have to replace the spark arrestor.

Solution 2: Inspect the Carburetor

Old fuel in the tank might cause your carburetor to become clogged, causing the leaf blower to die soon after starting. Try cleaning the carburetor or installing a new one if necessary. To minimize issues with the carburetor in the future, ensure to fill the tank with fresh fuel every three months. You can also use a fuel stabilizer to help prevent the liquid from thickening and clogging the carburetor.

Solution 3: Clean Fuel and Air Filters

Like a clogged carburetor, the leaf blower can stall if the fuel or air filter is dirty. It is best to clean or replace any visibly dirty or clogged filters, so inspect them to determine which might be causing the issue.

3. Leaf Blower Does Not Blow or Suck Debris

A man carrying a bag of dried leaves.

Your CRAFTSMAN® gas leaf blower is known for its power. When it doesn’t generate the airflow to blow or vacuum debris, you will need to investigate various parts to solve the problem.

Solution 1: Examine the Bag

If your leaf blower comes with a vacuum function, the bag is one of the first unit components you should inspect. Here are a few simple solutions:

  • If the bag is full or dirty, clean it,
  • If the bag is blocked, clear it.
  • If the bag is torn, replace it.
  • If the bag is unzipped, zip it up.

Solution 2: Replace the Fan/Impeller

Sometimes rocks and debris damage your leaf blower’s fan when it gets sucked up into the blades. If the fins are loose or damaged, it can cause the fan to malfunction (e.g., not generate enough power to blow air through the blower tube). So, inspect the blades to determine whether the fan might need replacing.

Solution 3: Tighten the Nuts

The leaf blower’s fan/impeller is attached to the crankshaft using impeller nuts (either a lock nut or secured with Loctite). Over time, these nuts can loosen, which can cause the crankshaft to spin but not rotate the impeller. No rotating fan means no airflow to blow or suck debris through the tubes. Disassemble your leaf blower to inspect the nuts and tighten them if necessary.

Remember to disconnect the spark plug before you begin the repair.

Solution 4: Clear the Tubes

Leaf blowers are only meant to vacuum dry leaves, but sometimes, it pulls up gravel, twigs, and other rubble that can get stuck in the tube and even damage it. Examine your leaf blower’s tube to see if it has any blockages or cracks. The blower tube can also become brittle when stored in an icy area (it hates frost!). Clear any blockages and replace the blower tube if you detect damage.

If the tube seems intact and in good condition, you might have your blower on the incorrect setting. Some leaf blowers have both blower and vacuum functionality, which enables you to redirect airflow through the blower housing, depending on your need. If your leaf blower is not blowing, it might just be that it is in the vacuum setting or vice versa.

4. Leaf Blower Running Rough

If your CRAFTSMAN leaf blower is not running or idling smoothly, it can be numerous things – from your fuel to your carburetor. Typically, this problem is known to arise in gas leaf blowers but can usually be fixed quite easily.

Solution 1: Replace Old Fuel

The fuel quality is the first thing to check if your leaf blower runs rough. Old gas accumulates water and burns poorly, making the engine run ragged. Drain the stale gas and replace it with new fuel. You should use fresh gas and a fuel stabilizer every three months to maintain the quality.

Solution2: Check Fuel Lines For Leaks

Over time, fuel lines can become cracked and brittle, causing gas to leak. This leak can result in the engine idling rough. Inspect the fuel lines and replace them if you detect any damage.

Solution 3: Inspect Carburetor

Old gas can leave a sticky residue inside the carburetor, clogging it up. Try cleaning your carburetor, using a carburetor repair kit to fix the component, or replacing it. In the future, always use fresh fuel and a fuel stabilizer to avoid recurring problems.

Solution 4: Clean Fuel and Air Filters

A clogged fuel or air filter will cause a leaf blower to run rough. If the filters are visibly dirty, cleaning or replacing them is best.

Solution 5: Check the Spark Plug

Due to a carbon buildup and weakened electrode, your leaf blower’s spark plug can degrade over time. Inspect the spark plug for any damage or wear. You can also use an ignition tester to help determine whether the spark plug is defective, in which case, you will need to replace it. As a rule, you should install a new spark plug every year.

Solution 6: Replace the Spark Arrestor

Finally, inspect your spark arrestor to see if it needs cleaning. If a scrub with a wire brush doesn’t work, you might have to replace the spark arrestor.

5. Leaf Blower Vibrates Excessively

If your CRAFTSMAN leaf blower vibrates exceptionally, it is worth examining the fan to get to the root of the problem.

Solution 1: Inspect the Fan/Impeller

A man holding a fan with dried leaves.

The impeller is the component that creates the airflow in a leaf blower. If it is damaged (e.g., bent or cracked), obstructed, or loose, it might be the reason for the vibrating unit. Remove the cover of your leaf blower and inspect the fan and its blades. Make sure it is clean of debris and secure. Replace it if damaged.

6. Leaf Blower Smoking

Regardless of which model CRAFTSMAN leaf blower you have, you can be sure that a smoking unit is never a good sign. When this happens, stop the engine immediately and investigate the issue before using it again.

Solution 1: Replace Old Fuel

The issue might be the fuel that needs to be mixed correctly. Most pre-mixed gas you buy from a reputable manufacturer is a combination of gasoline and 2-stroke oil at a specific ratio. If this ratio is not met, the mixture inside your blower will not burn adequately and will release smoke. Remove all the fuel from the tank and pour in properly mixed gas to see if it solves the problem.

Solution 2: Inspect the Fuel System for Leaks

A small amount of fuel can drip onto the heated engine if an air leak develops around the carburetor, which will cause smoke. Check your fuel hoses and elbow connectors on the carburetor to see where the leak comes from and repair or replace the relevant component.

Solution 3: Clean Air Filter

A dirty air filter can limit air reaching the carburetor, leading to smoke from your leaf blower. Remove and clean the air filter with warm, soapy water. Instead, if it is older than a year, replace it.

Solution 4: Clean Muffler

Over time, muffler walls get coated with carbon residue that needs to be cleaned. To inspect it, remove the muffler cover and loosen the spark arrestor. If these parts are visibly dirty, they must be washed in soapy water to resolve the issue.

CRAFTSMAN Electric Leaf Blower

A man using leaf blower to clean a backyard.

CRAFTSMAN electric leaf blowers are low-maintenance solutions to your residential garden needs. These 20V blowers come in corded and cordless (battery-operated) versions and are generally more affordable than their gas-operated counterparts.

Electric leaf blowers might be a shorter-term investment. Still, they are easy to use, quiet, and more sustainable if you are looking for something low-key that will do the job just fine in a smaller area.

1. Leaf Blower Doesn’t Start

Your CRAFTSMAN leaf blower not starting shouldn’t cause you any panic. The issue can result from numerous things, most fixable within minutes.

Solution 1: Ensure Unit is Plugged In

This might seem obvious but check that your cord leaf blower is correctly plugged into an electrical outlet.

Solution 2: Check the Power Switch

Slide the power switch to high or low to determine whether it is on. If you are sure that the power switch is on, the switch itself might be defective. In this case, you can call the CRAFTSMAN toll-free hotline (1-888-331-4569) for assistance.

Solution 3: Properly Install Vacuum Tubes

An electric leaf blower on a white background.

If your leaf blower’s vacuum tubes are not installed correctly, your unit might not start. Inspect the vacuum tubes and see if they allow the power switch to be engaged. If not, correctly install the vac tubes and attempt to start the unit up again.

Solution 4: Ensure Vacuum Gate/Port is Locked

Ensure your leaf blower’s port/cover is closed properly and locked.

Solution 5: Reset Electrical Circuit

Sometimes, your cord leaf blower might not start because your circuit breaker tripped. If this happens, reset it at your wall circuit breaker panel and plug your leaf blower into a different electrical socket. It will also help if you unplug some unnecessary appliances that might strain the power supply.

Solution 6: Charge Battery

A battery for lawn mowers and electric leaf blower.

The reasons why your cordless leaf blower is not starting might be as simple as a flat battery or cold temperature. Check the battery indicator to confirm whether this might be the cause, and charge the battery if needed. If your leaf blower has been stored in a freezing environment, get your unit to room temperature, and try again. Batteries work at their best in average room temperatures.

Solution 7: Replace Battery Charger

Suppose you are charging a cordless leaf blower battery and see a flashing red LED on the charger. This might signal a defective charger and, thus, won’t give your battery any power. If the battery is icy cold, get it up to room temperature before trying again. If the flashing red light remains, try charging another identical battery. If this step also fails, you might have to replace the charger.

Solution 8: Correctly Install All Components

Ensure that the leaf blower’s tube, bag, battery, and housing covers are all installed correctly and securely.

2. Leaf Blower Stalls

As you gain momentum in your cleaning, your CRAFTSMAN leaf blower decides to take a break. Not just one, but a few throughout several attempts. Consider consulting an electrician if the motor or electrical system is acting up.

Solution 1: Replace the Motor

A man holding an electric powered leave blower.

An electric leaf blower has a brush-style motor. If your leaf blower is a few years old, the problem could be that the brushes on the electronic motor have worn out. This damage to the motor brushes causes the leaf blower to stall soon after starting the engine. Disassemble your leaf blower to inspect the quality of the motor brushes. You may even have to remove the entire motor from its case.

Assume the brushes on the motor are damaged. In that case, you should only attempt to replace the engine if you have experience. Instead, consult an electrician or take your leaf blower to a garden service center that offers repairs on appliances.

Solution 2: Charge Battery

A cordless leaf blower might have a battery nearing flat, so check your battery indicator and charge the battery if the power is meager.

Solution 3: Test Electrical System

If you have a cord leaf blower, it might die soon after starting because there is a shortage in the electrical system. Firstly, check your circuit to see if the cord is connected securely to the wall socket and your unit. Then, check if the on/off switch is in working order.

If these two steps do not raise any concerns, then you can test your electrical system with a voltmeter (which does not require any power). However, this gadget is relatively expensive. The testing process also involves undoing wires, putting your leads into the contacts, and so forth. If you are inexperienced, having an electrician fix the problem is best.

3. Leaf Blower Does Not Blow or Suck Debris

Dried leaves stuck on the nozzle of an leaf blower.

A CRAFTSMAN electric leaf blower might not be as powerful as its gas-operated counterpart. Yet, it should still do the primary job of blowing or vacuuming debris. If it’s struggling, you will need to examine several components to get to the root of the problem.

Solution 1: Inspect Bag

If your leaf blower comes with a vacuum function, the bag is one of the first unit components you should inspect. Here are a few simple solutions:

  • If the bag is full or dirty, clean it,
  • If the bag is blocked, clear it.
  • If the bag is torn, replace it.
  • If the bag is unzipped, zip it up.

Solution 2: Clean the Fan/Impeller

Sometimes rocks and debris damage your leaf blower’s fan when it gets sucked up into the blades. If the fins are loose or damaged, it can cause the fan to malfunction (e.g., not generate enough power to blow air through the blower tube). So, inspect the blades to determine whether the fan might need replacing.

Solution 3: Tighten Nuts

The leaf blower’s fan/impeller is attached to the crankshaft using impeller nuts (either a lock nut or secured with Loctite). Over time, these nuts can loosen, which can cause the crankshaft to spin but not rotate the impeller. No rotating fan means no airflow to blow or suck debris through the tubes. Disassemble your leaf blower to inspect the nuts and tighten them if necessary.

Remember to disconnect the spark plug before you begin the repair.

Solution 4: Clear Tubes

Leaf blowers are only meant to vacuum dry leaves, but sometimes, it pulls up gravel, twigs, and other rubble that can get stuck in the tube and even damage it. Examine your leaf blower’s tube to see if it has any blockages or cracks. The blower tube can also become brittle when stored in an icy area (it hates frost!). Clear any blockages and replace the blower tube if you detect damage.

If the tube seems intact and in good condition, you might have your blower on the incorrect setting. Some leaf blowers have both blower and vacuum functionality, which enables you to redirect airflow through the blower housing, depending on your need. If your leaf blower is not blowing, it might just be that it is in the vacuum setting or vice versa.

4. Leaf Blower Vibrates Excessively

If your CRAFTSMAN leaf blower vibrates exceptionally, it can only be one of two things: loose fasteners or a dirty air filter.

Solution 1: Tighten Fasteners

Inspect your leaf blower’s fasteners. If loose, you need to tighten them or replace those that seem damaged.

Solution 2: Clean Air Filter

A dirty or blocked-up air filter can be why you are experiencing an unusually high vibration from your leaf blower when using it. Inspect your air filter and clean or replace it if necessary, especially if it is older than one year.

5. Leaf Blower Smoking

Corded CRAFTSMAN leaf blowers are made with quality materials that are suitable for the job at hand. However, your extension cord might not be up to the same test.

Solution 1: Replace Extension Cord

An electric powered blue leaf blower.

Suppose your electric leaf blower smokes where it is connected to the extension cord. In that case, the cable can most likely not handle the number of amps running through it for the time it is in operation. Replace your existing extension cord with one that is at least a 12 gauge to resolve the issue.

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