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2 stroke enginges in winter

Over the summer I bought this leaf blower from you guys - - and I love it.


I'll get out in the yard multiple times a week and blow things around just because it is so easy. However, recently (with the cold weather), it is darn near impossible to get thing started. It takes a few pulls, if I try to gun it too early it will die, it won't even idle very well to warm up. And I feel like it is running at 80-90% power in the cold(er) weather.


Is this normal? Any tricks on 2 strokes engines to get them going in the cold winter weather?

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Posted 2010-12-29T15:49:41+0000  by colinmburns colinmburns

Hi colinmburns,


This is Ricks Picks.  I work in the Garden Department. Thank you for your question.   I used to live in St. Paul, Minnesota so I am familiar with cold weather starts on 2 and 4 stroke engines.  One of the things my dad always used to do for the four stroke snow blower was to add a moisture remover called “Heet” to the gasoline before plowing the garden before the first freeze.  This way he was assured to have the treated gasoline flowing throughout the whole engine.


The same holds true for two stroke engines as well.  With the recent addition of ethanol, now more than ever, it has become necessary to add an ethanol shield to you gas oil mix if the fuel you are using contains ethanol or a regular fuel stabilizer mix for non-ethanol gas.  The ethanol shield helps to remove the moisture in your small engine fuel tank in the same way that the automotive product “Heet” removes moisture from your cars gas tank.  Things have changed since the late 50’s, but the basic principle still remains the same.  The gas stabilizer will prevent the gas from forming a varnish in the carburetor and the fuel injectors if gas is left in the tank in the “off” season and help remove moisture from your fuel.


The next issue in getting your two stroke engine to fire up in cold weather is the air filter. When was the last time you changed your air filter?  Remember that you are operating your leaf blower in an environment that can be very dusty.  As a result of all this dust, your air filter will become clogged.  It may be that you just need to blow out the dust rather than replace the air filter.  From your description of how the engine is responding I think that this may be the culprit, but just in case, let’s look at a few more things we can check.


The next thing on the list is the spark plug.  When was the last time you cleaned the plug?  How old is the spark plug?  If the spark plug is not operating at full efficiency and you have a clogged air filter, that cold gas will be denser and will have difficulty igniting if air mix is off and the spark is not strong


Echo also has a fuel filter which also needs to be changed out in your regular maintenance schedule.  When was the last time you changed out your fuel filter??  Echo has a Tune-Up Kit your blower.  It contains the air filter, fuel filter and spark plug.  Check your local Home Depot for more information.


All that being said, if you have your maintenance up to date, the next step to getting your engine to start is that little can of ether which is found mostly at automotive supply stores.  Be cautious with this as it is highly combustible!   One quick shot into the carburetor and it should fire right up.  This was always the last resort to get I the engine started but the air filter issue still needs to be addressed.    


All the steps we have gone over are basically a process of elimination, trying to get to the root cause of the problem.  If you prefer not to do the service yourself, your local Home Depot should be able to have the tune-up done for you thru our THDRepair service.  Just take your blower down in and they will send it out for repair.  If it is a fuel related problem there will be a charge as fuel related problems are not covered under the warranty.    


I hope that these tips will solve your starting issue. 

Have a happy and safe New Year,


Best Answer

Posted 2010-12-29T19:06:00+0000  by Rick_HD_OC

Wow, great response. Thanks. As my leaf blower is only 6 months old, I haven't done anything to it, so all the links and advice above will definitely help. Thanks for the ideas, I'll head to HD this weekend to pick all that you suggested. NIce to see that this is an affordable solution/fix, too!

Posted 2010-12-30T16:14:54+0000  by colinmburns
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