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How to Fix CRAFTSMAN Trimmer Problems

A collage of different grass trimmer problem.

CRAFTSMAN is a well-known brand that makes a variety of reliable power tools. They have partnered with WeedWacker and Briggs & Stratton to make a variety of gas-powered and electric trimmers to suit your needs. Given the reliability of their tools, it is not common to experience problems with them. However, if the occasional issue should arise, it is easily solved.

Related To: CRAFTSMAN Pressure Washer Solutions | Craftsman Garage Door Opener Solutions to Problems | CRAFTSMAN Electric Lawn Mower Solutions | CRAFTSMAN Chainsaw Solutions

The similar problems you might encounter with the gas-powered or electric CRAFTSMAN trimmers include:

  1. The trimmer will not start.
  2. The trimmer cuts out during use.
  3. The cutting line on the trimmer won’t come out.
  4. The cutting line is uncontrolled or runs out too quickly.

CRAFTSMAN Gas-Powered Trimmer Problems

A grass trimmer cutting grasses.

At times, CRAFTSMAN gas-powered trimmers can have a few niggles common with 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines. Many of these little problems can be avoided with regular maintenance, like oil changes and filter checks. However, there might be an unavoidable issue that needs your attention. Below are the most frequently reported problems with CRAFTSMAN gas-powered trimmers.

1. The Trimmer Won’t Start

A man trying to start a gas powered grass trimmer.

Imagine you have set aside the time to do some trimming in the garden, only to find that your trimmer won’t start. The solutions to this problem are mostly related to fuel or air flow which could be hampered. While figuring out the cause of the problem may be frustrating or time consuming, most solutions require only a little tinkering, patience, and a keen eye.

Solution 1: Check the Fuel

Check the fuel tank to see if there is enough fuel. Ensure the fuel in the tank is clean and not older than 30 days. Some of the ingredients in fuel evaporate, so if it is old fuel, the mixture might be too thick to run through the engine efficiently.

If there is old, dirtied fuel in the tank, remove it, filter it, and use the old fuel to rinse out the tank before draining it again. Ensure you use the correct fuel mix for your 2-stroke CRAFTSMAN Trimmer model. The ratio mix should be specified in the owner’s manual. Otherwise, a blend of forty-to-one should be about right. A 4-stroke engine requires straight gas.

If you know you will not be using your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer for a few months, it is best to run it dry or drain the fuel before packing away your trimmer. This will help prevent the fuel from becoming old and thick and blocking up the engine components.

Solution 2: Check the Primer Bulb

If your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer does not want to start, press the primer bulb 5 to 10 times. The primer bulb should be whole and not perished, as it needs to create a suction to pull the gas through the primer line. In conjunction with the choke, the primer bulb is designed to draw fuel from the bottom of the fuel tank and into the carburetor.

When you press the primer bulb, fuel should enter it and be visible. If you cannot see fuel in the primer bulb after pressing it, it could mean that the primer line or bulb has perished or there is a blockage or leak somewhere.

Solution 3: Check the Sparkplug

Another possible reason your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer won’t start is that the sparkplug is damaged or fouled. To check it, you must first remove the sparkplug. Then, check it for any signs of wear and tear on the porcelain insulator and electrode. Finally, you can test the sparkplug with a sparkplug tester and replace it if necessary.

Solution 4: Clean the Spark Arrestor

The spark arrestor is a small mesh screen situated near the exhaust outlet. The spark arrestor’s job is to restrict the movement of sparks to other parts of the engine. Because of the fuel mix used in 2-stroke trimmers, spark arrestors are prone to becoming covered in soot. A blocked spark arrestor will restrict airflow within the engine, causing it to not start or idle properly.

To clean the spark arrestor, you can use a wire brush or propane torch to remove the carbon buildup. It is wise to hold the screen with a pair of pliers while you burn off the soot with a propane torch to prevent burning yourself. You should be able to see through it before reinstalling it on the exhaust port. If the spark arrestor is beyond cleaning, it is best to replace it with a new one.

Solution 5: Allow the Engine to Cool

If your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer is too hot, it might not start despite your efforts. When an engine overheats, some parts expand and might not be able to move as per their design. One such example is the piston. If your trimmer is too hot, allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes, preferably in a shady spot if it is a hot day.

Solution 6: Check the Fuel Lines, Filters, and Seals

The fuel lines and seals on trimmers are prone to becoming brittle with age. When fuel lines and seals become brittle or perished, they can break or crack and cause an interruption in the flow of air or fluid within the engine.

Check each fuel line for damage. Next, you can carefully open the engine cover and check that all linkages and pipes are attached securely. Finally, as you disassemble your trimmer, check each seal and O-ring for perishing, and replace the damaged ones with new ones before reassembling.

Solution 7: Inspect the Carburetor for Blockages

If you suspect a blockage in your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer’s carburetor, you will need to remove it to inspect and clean it. Then, if your carburetor needs replacing, you can rebuild it using a carburetor kit.

Method of checking a carburetor for blockages (CRAFTSMAN walk-behind string trimmer):

  • Remove the bolts that connect the air filter base. As you gently remove the base, slip off the emissions tube carefully.
  • Disconnect the fuel line and choke linkage. The linkage is plastic and snaps off the carburetor, so be careful to not break it or use too much force.
  • Maneuver the carburetor from the engine and slide it off the governor linkage.
  • Make sure the O-ring and its keeper do not go missing.
  • To inspect the carburetor, remove the two bowl screws and carefully remove the carburetor bowl.
  • Clean out the bowl and check the carburetor for any sign of debris or buildup.
  • You will notice a white plastic part that houses the injectors. Carefully remove it and inspect the brass jet at the bottom. This small jet is immersed in fuel all the time, so the chance of it getting blocked with debris is good.
  • To clean the brass jet, use a length of thin-diameter wire to dislodge any debris. You can also use a carburetor cleaner or pressurized air to clean the jet.
  • If you want to be thorough, you can pull apart the white assembly further to check for debris. But, again, it is made of plastic, so don’t use too much force or sharp objects to pry it open.
  • Reinsert the injector piece back into the carburetor in the correct orientation. It can only fit one way and will click into place without excessive force.

Solution 8: Check the Recoil Starter

If you suspect a problem with the recoil starter in your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer, you will need to open it up to check where the problem lies. For example, it could be that the string or plastic has disintegrated or the recoil spring assembly no longer works. If so, you may need to replace the recoil starter assembly, including the pawl.

Method:

  • Remove the 4 screws covering the recoil starter assembly. They should be T20 in size.
  • Remove the pawl with a 14mm socket.
  • Replace the pawl, but don’t overtighten it, as it needs to be able to move.
  • Attach new recoil assembly. If necessary, pull on the cord to help it line up.
  • Reattach the T20 screws.

2. The Trimmer Loses Power or Stalls

Suppose your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer starts losing power or, worse yet, stalls. In that case, the problem is most likely related to impeded fuel or airflow. The solutions are like the ones listed above, but with the added need for an air filter check.

Solution 1: Check the Fuel

A man refueling the motor of a grass trimmer.

If the trimmer was running and then lost power, it might mean that the fuel has run out. If that is the case, refill the gas tank with clean fuel that is mixed according to the trimmer’s operating manual.

Solution 2: Clean or Replace the Air Filter

Depending on the model of your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer, locate and remove the air filter. Inspect it to see if it needs a cleaning or replacement. If it is the sponge-like air filter in the handheld trimmer, you can rinse it with gas and allow it to dry before reinserting and starting your trimmer.

Solution 3: Check the Sparkplug

If the sparkplug in your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer is fouled, there will not be sufficient combustion to power the engine. To check the sparkplug, remove the sparkplug boot using a flathead screwdriver. Then, unscrew the sparkplug utilizing a ratchet and a three-quarter-inch socket. Check it for damage or dirt and wipe it clean. If necessary, replace the sparkplug with a new one.

Solution 4: Check the Seals and Lines for Damage

Check the fuel lines and seals to see if anything has vibrated loose during running. If a fuel line is cracked or bent, it will supply intermittent fuel to the engine due to gas leaks or unwanted air intake. Replace any damaged fuel lines, ensuring they are on the correct way and that the fuel filter is also attached.

3. The Trimmer Idles Roughly

A grass trimmer with a cutting line.

A trimmer that idles roughly indicates impaired fuel and airflow. However, if you have checked the gas tank, the fuel lines, and the air filter, there is another solution to try.

Solution

This solution requires you to reset the idling speed of your CRAFTSMAN trimmer. While the trimmer is idling, you can use a carburetor adjustment tool called a Pac-Man to adjust the idling speed of your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer.

Use the Pac-Man tool to adjust the idling speed by turning the screw a fraction in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. You might have to fiddle with the different settings until you find the correct idling rate for your trimmer.

Pac Man Style Carburetor Adjusting tool 308535003 Carb

4. The Trimmer Won’t Accelerate

A man fixing his electric grass trimmer.

You may find that your trimmer won’t accelerate when you press the throttle lever. As you may have guessed by now, it probably has to do with the impeded flow of fuel or air. If not, check the air and fuel filters and the thickness of your fuel. However, if you can exclude those as problems, you can try the following solution:

Solution

Check the cutting head of your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer. It could be that long grass or something else has become bound in the cutting head, making it difficult to spin. If this is the case, you must turn off the trimmer first and unwind or cut off any grass bound around the spool.

5. The Trimmer Cutting Line Won’t Come Out

A grass trimmer head with a cutting line.

You may find that the trimmer line does not come out of the cutting head. Before trying to solve this problem, you must turn off the trimmer before trying any of the solutions listed below.

Solution 1: Check if the Cutting Head Is Bound With Grass

The trimmer line might be trapped if the cutting head is bound up with grass. Therefore, you will have to unwind or cut off the bound grass before pulling out the trimmer line.

Solution 2: Check the Trimming Line

If you pull the trimming line and nothing wants to come out, it may be that the trimming line is finished. If so, you will have to refill the reel with a new trimming line.

 

Solution 3: Check the Inner Reel

The trimming line on the inner reel can become loose and then bound up or twisted. If this is the case, you will need to unwind the trimming line and then rewind it neatly and tightly onto the inner reel.

Solution 4: The Cutting Head Is Clogged Up

Sometimes the cutting head assembly becomes clogged. This is especially true when cutting wet grass. If you see a buildup on the cutting head, clean the inner reel and the outer spool.

Solution 5: Extend the Trimming Line

If the trimming line is too short to be effective, press and hold the bump knob and pull out about four inches of line.

6. The Trimmer Line Is Uncontrolled

A man installing cutting line on a grass trimmer.

If the trimmer line seems out of whack on your CRAFTSMAN Trimmer, it can cause unwanted damage or injury. The reason the line would be uncontrolled is that some lubricant or other liquid is in the cutting head.

Solution

You will need to disassemble the cutting head and remove any trace of oil, cleaner, or lubricant within it. After you have cleaned the cutting head, you must dry it thoroughly before reassembling it. Be sure to replace all the parts and screw on the cap carefully. Before winding it in, you should also ensure the trimming wire is free of any liquids or lubricants.

CRAFTSMAN Electric Trimmer Problems

The CRAFTSMAN electric trimmers come in corded and cordless versions. They have similar problems to their gas-powered counterparts regarding the cutting head and trimming lines. However, a few minor issues can arise with the CRAFTSMAN electrically powered trimmers. Fortunately, these issues are easily solved.

1. The Trimmer Motor Shuts Off

A man trimming grasses using electric grass trimmer.

Suppose your CRAFTSMAN electric trimmer cuts out during use. In that case, it may be due to thermal overload, a dead battery, or the power cable has become unplugged. Alternatively, the cutting head might be bound up with dry grass.

Solution 1: Check the Electrical Supply

If your CRAFTSMAN electrical trimmer shuts off during mid-use, it could be that the power cable has become detached. First, check if the power cord is connected to the electrical outlet and not damaged.

Alternatively, if you have a cordless trimmer, check the battery and recharge it if necessary. It is important to note that the safety switch on the handle needs to be depressed to keep the CRAFTSMAN electrical trimmer running.

Solution 2: Check the Vents

Depending on the model of your Craftsman Electric trimmer, it may be that the vents to the motor have become clogged. If the vents become blocked with buildup, it will cause the trimmer to shut down due to thermal overload. If this is the case, clean the vents and allow the trimmer to cool before restarting it.

2. The Trimmer Is Too Heavy to Maneuver

Grass trimmer and electric lawn mower.

For some people, the CRAFTSMAN trimmers are too heavy or difficult to maneuver. While the weight can’t be minimized, there are ways to improve the maneuverability of these trimmers.

Solution

The CRAFTSMAN Trimmers are adjustable in many ways. For example, you can adjust the shaft length to suit your height. You can also change the position of the handle on the shaft so that the weight distribution suits your preferences.

Alternatively, you can buy a harness that you can strap around your shoulders to support the weight of the trimmer.

3. The Trimming Line Runs Out Too Fast

A grass trimmer head and a cutting line.

CRAFTSMAN trimming line is wound differently from many other brands. As innovative as this system is, many people complain that the trimming line runs out very fast. This usually happens because they have wound it the wrong way. If the trimming line is correctly wound, it should not run out too quickly.

Solution

The cutting head assembly spins counterclockwise when the trimmer is in use. Therefore, you need to wind it clockwise when you load and wind up the cutting line.

Method:

  • Disconnect the battery for safety purposes.
  • Choose your cutting line and cut it to a length of at least 11 feet.
  • Line up the holes on the spinning head (one on each side) with the holes on the base.
  • Feed the line through the inner tube and ensure the lengths are even on both sides.
  • Hold the base still while you turn the spinning head clockwise.
  • As you turn it, you will hear a clicking noise as the line is wound around the inner reel.
  • Ensure you have about four inches of line sticking out on each side before trimming.

4. The Handle on the Trimmer Slips Down

Electric grass trimmer with dried leaves.

You might find that the handle of the trimmer slips up the shaft with use. As a result, you will hold the trimmer in an uncomfortable position.

Solution

To solve this issue, you will need to loosen the handle properly and reposition it before fastening it into place.

Method:

  • Flip open the red clip that secures the handle bracket.
  • Loosen the screws and inspect the casing for any cracks. If there are cracks, you might need to order a replacement handle.
  • If there aren’t any cracks, reposition the handle to the desired spot on the shaft.
  • Tighten the screws, but do not strip the plastic thread on the casing.
  • Click the red clip back into place to secure the joint further.

5. The Battery Runs Out Too Quickly

An electric grass trimmer with portable battery.

It can be frustrating if you start trimming and the battery dies before the job is done. Thankfully, the problem can be avoided with a bit of foresight.

Solution

Ensure that your CRAFTSMAN battery is fully charged before starting with trimming. If you have a big area to trim, it may be helpful to have a spare charged battery on standby to continue trimming when the one battery runs out.

You can also consider buying a CRAFTSMAN 4Ah rechargeable battery for extended trimming time. The output is the same as the 2Ah 20V rechargeable lithium-ion battery, but it will last longer. To save money, you can look at specials and promotions during Fall, as many shops want to clear stock before the Winter period.

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