Taming overgrown weeds and grass is a constant battle for any gardener or landscaper. Luckily, the STIHL FS 120, 200, and 250 weed eaters are powerful tools designed to make that fight a lot easier. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time user, mastering the starting process is key to getting those blades whirring and your yard looking sharp.

Safety First

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, safety is paramount! Here are essential precautions:

  • Read the manual: Your STIHL weed eater’s manual is your best friend. Familiarize yourself with its specific instructions and safety guidelines.
  • Protective gear: Eye protection, gloves, and sturdy work boots are your armor when using power tools.
  • Clear workspace: Remove any obstacles or loose debris from your work area to prevent tripping hazards or projectiles.
  • Fueling up: Refuel your weed eater outdoors, away from heat sources, and with the engine OFF and cool.

Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your STIHL Weed Eater

  1. Pre-Start Checks:
    • Throttle control: Ensure it moves freely and returns to idle on its own.
    • Stop switch: Check it’s in the “run” position.
    • Inspect the cutting attachment: Make sure it’s secure and undamaged.
  2. Find a Suitable Spot:
    • Choose a level, open area with firm footing at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from where you fueled it.
  3. Engage the Choke
    • Cold Start: Set the choke to the “closed” position
    • Warm Start: If you’ve used it recently, set the choke to the “half-open” position
  4. Prime the Fuel
    • Locate the primer bulb and press it several times (usually 5-6 presses) until you see fuel in it.
  5. Starting Procedure
    • Secure position: Hold the weed eater firmly on the ground.
    • Pull the starter cord: Pull the cord sharply several times until you hear the engine try to fire.
    • Adjust the choke: As soon as the engine sputters, move the choke to the “open” position.
    • Continue pulling: Pull the cord again until the engine starts and runs.
  6. Idle and Engage
    • Release the throttle: Let the engine idle for a few moments.
    • Attach to harness: If you’re using a harness, securely attach the weed eater to it.

Troubleshooting Tips

If your weed eater doesn’t start after several attempts, here are some things to check:

  • Fuel: Ensure you have fresh fuel mixed at the correct ratio.
  • Spark plug: Check if it’s clean and properly connected.
  • Air filter: A clogged air filter can prevent starting. Clean or replace it if necessary.
  • Flooded engine: If you’ve over-primed, open the choke fully and try starting without priming.

Important Reminders

  • Never drop-start: This can damage your STIHL weed eater.
  • Don’t wrap the starter cord around your hand: Guide it back gently to prevent injury.
  • Follow maintenance schedules: Regular maintenance helps ensure your weed eater starts smoothly and lasts.

Mastering the STIHL Start

Starting your STIHL FS 120, 200, or 250 weed eater takes a little practice. By following these steps, paying close attention to safety, and remembering a few basic troubleshooting tips, you’ll soon be confidently tackling any overgrown area.