Ding dong, the trimmer is dead

Ryobi Trimmer

I am finally rid of my Ryobi 720R trimmer. For nine years I’ve owned this pathetic excuse of a lawn maintenance tool. I didn’t think asking for occasional lawn edging and trimming was too much to expect, but it was always hard to get started. When it finally did acquiesce, it’s 2-cycle engine spewed oily, grimy residue everywhere. It was also very loud. I wore ear protection, but I’m sure it bothered the neighbors.

I chose this model for the optional accessories. They didn’t work well. The string trimmer wouldn’t feed. The edger gunked itself up after 5 minutes of use or the driveshaft never reached full speed. I never bothered buying the
hedge trimmer, leaf blower, or flamethrower options, but I assume those don’t work, either.
I put up with its mechanical insolence until a few weeks ago. The yard was loooking pretty ratty around the edges. I needed to do some edging and trimming.
I followed the starting instructions to the letter:

  • Ignition switch on.
  • Push the primer builb 5-7 times
  • Full choke
  • Pull starter rope briskly.
  • If the engine doesn’t pretend to start, repeat
  • Repeat again.
  • Scowl.
  • Repeat again.
  • !#@$%*(!)$ repeat several more times – for another 10 minutes.

Finally, the engine taunts me with a little kick.

  • Put it on partial-choke and pull the starter
  • It starts

At this point the instructions say to let it warm up 5-10 seconds, then move it to “Run” position. They neglect to address thepossibilitylikelihood that the engine conks out. I spent another five minutes trying to restart it, but was finally put over the edge. In an act of highly-focused rage, I took out all of my frustrations on the trimmer:

  • Wham!
  • (F-bomb) trimmer won’t start.
  • Swing bam!
  • (F-bomb) trash cans at Deception Pass State Park not emptied during July 4th weekend, the busiest time of the year.
  • Crash!
  • (F-bomb) infrastructure migration projects not on a fitness function
  • Pow!Budget cuts mean stinky bathrooms without toilet paper, too
  • Zoing!
  • Blue Screen of Death from the Netgear driver
  • Kazow!Carpenter ants
  • Bing!
  • Chirpy T-Mobile recruiting site.

[… and so on …]

This didn’t help my elbow, but years of pent-up frustration with an awful, time-wasting device were being released into the atmosphere. Except for breaking the spark plug, I did surprisingly little physical damage to the trimmer. After draining the gas, I joyfully disposed of the thing.

I wasn’t totally off the hook — the yard continued to grow. I picked up an electric trimmer this weekend. It weighs less than half as much as the Ryobi, doesn’t spew oil, and actually works.

130 thoughts on “Ding dong, the trimmer is dead”

  1. Your profane musing on the 720r trimmer has promted me not to order the carburetor rebuild kit in vain hopes of getting the thing to work properly. I’m really convinced it is at least partially operator error (old gas/wrong ratio/dirty filter/flooding/etc), but it’s just not worth it. Whenever I pour gas into the tank it just leaks profusely all over the garage floor-through the carb I imagine. I have vain hopes that newer models of any brand will make everything easier, so I will probably buy one. I really hated this thing every time I used it. It really is UNBELIEVABLE that 2-cycle engines are still so pathetic. Perhaps I’ll go 4 stroke — I have a love-love relationship with my 14 yr old snapper push mower. See ya.

  2. you know i never had the extent of problems that you expresses in this article with my 720r… however the pull string is broke now and i am trying to figure out how to get it apart to re-string the starter… this is suprisingly difficult… i have removed the drive shaft and tore off 2/3’s of the motor and i still cant get in far enough to get the plastic houseing off to reach the circular part where i wrap the new line… have you any expireance with this?? or maybe your readers…. it seems to me that the clutch is in the way… how do i remove the clutch??

  3. I’ve got the same problem with a Ryobi 3406; the clutch seems stuck on the shaft and I can’t get the plastic housing off to rewind the starter cord. There seems to be some kind of lip on the shaft which stops the clutch from sliding off.

  4. Hi…happened onto this thread just minutes after breaking the flywheel on my 720r whilst removing the clutch assembly (to get the housing off, to replace a broken pull cord). But hey, I got the clutch off!

    The clutch assembly screws off the shaft (go CCW) but you have to lock the shaft from turning. I used the old screwdriver-between-the-plastic-housing-and-the
    cast-alum-fins-of-the-flywheel technique to jam the shaft from turning…and broke a fin in the process. Since the replacement flywheel cost $38 and I don’t even want to know how to pull it off, I’m scrapping the whole shebang after ten years. Too bad…I rebuilt the carb and replaced the tubing last year. She was really humming for a change.

    Anyone who wants to hazard this repair a bit more carefully should make sure that the locking implement doesn’t bear on the upper part of a fin. Perhaps there are better ways to lock the shaft.

    Oh yes, I also pulled the clutch shoes and circle spring off
    and then used. a large set of gooseneck pliers to turn off the clutch core. An automotive strap wrench would be a better tool if one was handy (not!).

    1. take the spark plug off put the piston at it’s lowest point then fill the chamber with rope. Bring up the piston until it stops then unscrew the clutch.

  5. This piece of shit string-trimmer-crapola is the worst 2-stroke machine I have ever owned…never worked (or started easy) from day one…and to top it all off you can’t even find an instruction book on-line. All I needed to find was what the gas/oil mix ratio was. The dip-shits plastered WARNING labels up and down the drive-shafts but couldn’t figure that a label near the gas fill stating the fuel/oil mix ratio might be helpfull to those of us that have a number of these little shit hole 2-strokes that require diferrent ratios. No more 2-strokers for me!!!(Especially Ryobis’).

  6. I just picked up a Ryobi 2800R trimmer at a flee market for $40 CAN. It wouldn’t start and talking to one of the vendors no-one could get it to start all day. I bought it an drained the old gas. Put in new gas and gapped the plug. I pulled on it for 3 minutes following the starting procedure, nothing!. I pulled the plug and it was soaked. I dried it off and tried again. Repeated this for 15 minutes or so them decided to take it apart. First thing I pulled was the muffler. Low and behold the reason for not starting became very evident. The fine mesh spark arrester in the muffler was almost completely plugged with carbon build-up. I soaked the muffler and mesh in varsol and scrubbed the mess clean clearing all the pours. Put the muffler back on an it started after one pull.

    I works like a new machine! The previous owner must have been mixing the gas with too much oil. The oil built up and plugged the exhaust. Check your muffler. 🙂

  7. Wow, some folks seem to have had a bad time with the ol’ 720r!! Mine has always started well, but a little messy, like Jim’s. I’ve used the edger, but my gripe is that the motor just isn’t strong enough to dig. I have the blower and Leaf Vac, and they’re just OK, but it’s all MUCH easier to store than having all those different machines. Anyway, after 10 reliable years (with no maintenance and old fuel) the clutch hub separated from the main driveshaft, and destroyed the plastic housing.
    I got here from Google, looking for a parts manual. Maybe I’ll just pack it in. It’ll be a gold mine for the trash-day curbside shoppers! 8

  8. Jim’s original rant and the followup comment brought a smile to my face…After doing everything right last fall (draining the gas tank, cleaning the grass out, hanging it just right), the trimmer refused to start last month. I knew the neighbors were talking about my weeds, so I ended up buying a new trimmer (HomeLite, as recommeded by Consumer Reports last year) (With a spring loaded quick start that is awesome).

    But I couldn’t just walk away from the old Ryobi (after only 7 years of frustration). Now, with it sitting there as the backup trimmer (doesn’t everybody have one?), I engaged in a restoration effort. First, ordered the carb kit and took the old carburetor apart in front of the TV. The teenytiny spring flew off into my carpet and it took about an hour to find it. But it did go back together.

    Then the thing actually started up–and died. Knowing that I could overhaul the carb successfully led to renewed restoration. I located some tips on adusting the hi-rpm and low-rpm screws and the idle. More futzing. But it stopped the dying-after-30 seconds thing and I have avoided the dreaded “authorized service center” visit.

    Now we noticed some bubbles in the gas line. So I replaced that (it still leaks a bit of gas–working on that).

    The trimmer is actually running better than it has in about 5 years. There is hope. I found the best online tips from websites devoted to using the engine on model airplanes. Who knows–the old trimmer may someday learn to fly!

  9. Just found this site by searching for an upper drive housing assembly for a Ryobi 790r. I may be the craziest among you folks. I’m putting together a cable-driven chainsaw to cut off small stumps underwater that plague our getting our pontoon boat out without tearing up props. My saw will be powered by a DeWalt 24 volt motor and gearbox I got off one of those combat robot sites. Should be an interesting summer!

  10. Thanks Guys!
    I have a 720r. The starter cord would stick and not retract. I came across the same removal problems. Most importantly, which direction to unscrew the clutch bell. I have one tip to lock the flywheel. I removed the spark plug and used a wooden plug to lock the piston. Hey you can’t complain about 7-10 years from a $70 weedeater!.


  11. My 720r has worked fine for more than 12 years. But then both fuel lines going to the primer became cracked & began to leak fuel. I purchased some fuel line at a local lawnmower repair shop, but now I can’t figure out how to remove the existing fuel line from the fuel tank. Anybody have some suggestions? Thanks!

    1. The tank has a fuel filter poking out. Get a replacement FF, cut the old line and push into the tank. Shake the old filter out of the tank and replace w/ nee with line on. Pull line thru tank 1st then seat FF in tank bottom w/ a blunt object.

  12. I’ve been trying also to remove the clutch so I can get to the rope starter that is locked up. So far all I’ve been able to do is buy a set of torx screwdrivers, cut my hand, and pop something in my back. Still haven’t been able to remove that cussid clutch. What masochist sob designed the housing? If this was mine I’d set it on fire but it belongs to one of my friends who I told I’d look at it for her. Think I’ll just buy her a new one of another brand.

  13. The Clutch is only held on by a small Allen Key Screw accessed through the small hole at the end, hello how hard is that !

  14. For the past 8 years I’ve had the ryobi 790r. Like you said it
    gets to be a pain in ass after 5 to 10 min. of not wonting to idle or just run. I was going to buy parts and try to fix it but after reading the comments on your website, I don’t think so. Thanks for the info.


  15. I’ve had my Ryobi 720r since 1991 and the ignition switch came loose so it was quite a job repairing it. The only item I had was the owners manual and parts guide to work from. First a #20 torx drive removed the hub but next was the cltch plate and how to get it off the crank to remove the engine shroud. I promptly broke the ear off the clutch plate and figured I had a problem. It required a magnefying glass to see the threads on the parts sheet on the shaft and clutch plate. After removing the cylender air shroud the bottom of the flywheel was exposed and I used a 3/16 key stock to lock the flywheel so i could twist the clutch plate counter clockwise to remove it and next remove the engine shroud to access the ignition switch. I also had to heliarch the ear back on the clutch plate and the the trimmer is working great.

  16. My 720r has run fine since 1994 until now. Really, no issues and I use the hedge trimmer and have the blower, but it’s not so great. Not enough volume. Anyway, my fuel hoses cracked and I replaced them (btw Gordon, pull the white ring off and the nipple will come off into the tank. Tip it over to retrieve them, put on the new hose, and use the hose to pull the nipple back through the hole in the tank. Replace locking ring) Now, the thing will run until I give it gas. Starts and idles fine, but there seems to be air in the fuel line that just seems to sit there. Any ideas?

  17. I have a Ryobi Grass Hornet which I retrieved from one of our local hard rubbish collections. It had the same problems as all the others in the starting department and was leaking fuel from the tank (I think the main reason for someone giving it the heave-ho) I replaced ALL the fuel hoses,(making sure the primer hose was not too far up so it sucked air) gave it a carb kit and tuned it, (very important not to fiddle with the tuning unless you understand the process!!.) Our local Ryobi service agent told me that the main problems they get with them is the carbs, but are fine when re-kitted. As with all 2 strokes if you have compression and a reasonable spark, you only need fresh fuel with correct oil ratio) and they must go !(as long as you haven’t fiddled first and all gaskets are sealing) I start mine by(1) pumping the primer till it is firm,(2) full choke,(3) pull till it kicks ONCE,(4) half choke, pull till it runs,allow to warm up and(5) switch to run (you may need to apply a bit of throttle while pulling as in (4)(or give it a few more pumps if it dies) If all is ok, check that when properly warmed up there is a smooth transition from idle to full revs, if it hesitates it may need the LOW SPEED mixture leaning (clockwise) SLIGHTLY.If it dies the LOW SPEED mixture may need richening(anti-clockwise)(adjust 1/8 turn at a time) Make sure that motor is just peaking at full revs and is on the RICH side of peaking (HIGH SPEED mixture)(this will avoid seizing it Adjust both till it revs cleanly and is JUST rich at full, and idleing nicely and it should start without too much trouble.(If you have fiddled and are lost,-about 2 1/2 turns out from closed on both needles should get you started) P.S Have just found another 2002 model in the latest hard rubbish and all it needs is crank bearings which are so knackered that it clatters. It starts straight up despite this (demonstrates what I said earlier – (spark fuel etc) Hope all this dribble helps someone John. (New Zealand)

  18. I did finally get the clutch off. Here’s a good hint. To keep the flywheel from spinning, take out the spark plug and insert a soft piece of rope into the hole and then turn the flywheel until it stops turning. The piston bottoming out on the piece of rope keeps it from spinning around. After that it was a piece of cake. A repair place told me that trick. Obviously Nathan has never had his completely off.

  19. Another Ryobi owner…Well, it sure continues to be a pleasure, after years of fighting two cycle tuning and Japanese (Chinese now) non user friendly engineering-to read the endless ways that man can describe with great literary thrusts and jabs, how to keep these tempermental bastards running.After every orfice in the tank leaked, the fuel lines desolved,all my problems escalated when the primer bulb desolved as well. I bypassed it, and enriched it by spraying fuel mixture into the carb, it will crank and die. Please, if some one can reply, That primer line, is it supposd to be submerged in fuel or above the fuel level? I know these air bubbles are part of the problem. Thankx

  20. I got a trimmer/brush cutter for Christmas. Wouldn’t start. If I dripped some gas in the plug hole, it would fire and die. I took it back to Home Depot and got another. It ran Ok. I got it out for the 2nd time today. Won’t start. Exactly like the 1st one. I also noticed that the air cleaner cover and filter had fallen off during the 1st use. I’ll never buy anything with Ryobi on it again.

  21. Have a 790R, clutch is locked up, have learned enough here to possibly fix. Thanks guys.

    For those not mechanically inclined, may I suggest;

    Hire the work out, plenty of yard crews around.

  22. Got a new Ryobi SS30 trimmer at a very low closing out price and after reading of everyones experiences am almost afraid to even try to start it. However, since I must, I still haven’t been able to find the correct fuel/oil mixture. If I don’t hear back I will try my 50:1 and hope for the best.

  23. Made me think twice about investing time into replacing a slipping clutch on my 790r. I’ve had relatively good success with mine. Starting is usually not an issue, but it does leak like a sieve. Had it 6 years. I will say that it is rather cumbersome and loud. I have trimmer, edger, blower, and hedge trimmer attachments. I suspect it is the edger that has destroyed the clutch. If I had it to do all over again, I think I’d buy a dedicated edger. The Ryobi is too underpowered and clogs easily in anything but the dryest of dirt. How many of you with edger attachment have gone about 3-5 feet before removing big clumps of dirt from the head?! What a pain in the ass. I guess 6 years ain’t too bad for a power tool…

  24. I have a 720rDE; I have had it for 4 years with superb service. I dropped it and the trigger on the throttle hsg and trigger assy broke. I have always used less 2 cycle oil to reduce buildup. I now have a Troybilt unit. I don’t quite like it as the Ryobi, does any know where I can reasonably purchase one of the throttle housing and trigger assemblies?

  25. I own a ryobi 766r. Have for a couple of years now. Discoverd the hard way that the aftermarket grass gators will destroy the gear head. Who knew? Replaced it and it still runs fine. At half choke. When I set it to run, it dies. Why??

  26. Ron
    On the Ryobi SS30: Homedepot has them: the specs says fuel oil mixture is 50:1. So your guess is good! HTH.

  27. Ryobi…A word I’ll never have around my yard in future years…NO SIR…I’ll be looking elsewhere. I bought a string trimmer from Ryobi and not a small version. Never started from day one, string would not advance properly since new….Just keeps unwinding all over creation..very frustrating. I have 2 other trimmers I use for different parts of the property and this RYOBI trimmer I own, is by far the worst preforming one that I have. SO NEXT TIME I’M BUYING ANOTHER BRAND, I DONT NEED THE FRUSTRATION OF OWNING ANOTHER one.
    Also my personal experience with the support site was awful.
    GOODBYE RYOBI. furstrated to no end.

  28. Ryobi…the world’s worst trimmer. Never ever again. Understand that Ryobi makes a “Home Depot” model that is far below the one sold in other stores. Maybe so, that’s where I purchased mine. Nothing but problems from day one. No explanation re gas to oil ratio, string bump never worked, try and replace string without losing your mind and get this… the shaft at the string assembly overheated and melted the assembly into the spring, melted the string cover at the shaft causing the screw to loosen and the cover to fall off. The thing is a menace and only 18 months old.

  29. I agree that the Ryobi trimmers suck! I own 3 (one..a 2 stroke…WILL NOT start no matter what I try…..the second…a 4 stroke….the shaft broke in its second season of use…the 3rd…an electric….burned up in less than one season!) and like an idiot, here I am online searching for another! A friend told me that it was just me, he swears by them. Well, he can have them! After reading the other posts here, I see that I am not alone. I refuse to ever spend another penny on a trimmer with the word “Ryobi” on it! The problem….I have all these attachments….any ideas on a decent trimmer that is compatible?

  30. If you want to turn off a clutch, a flywheel nut, or a nut on a lawn mower blade, on a small engine, the preferred method on the newer engines to lock up the crankshaft is;

    1. take out the spark plug

    2. get some small COTTON rope (nylon can leave residue)

    3.fill the cylinder up as much as you can.

    4. turn the crankshaft until the fill rope can’t be compressed in the cylinder anymore.

    This is about the best way I have found to keep the crankshaft from turning. No broken fins on my flywheel that way.

  31. It’s now Saturday afternoon… I started mowing the lawn early this morning and it was time to trim. After tugging on the Ryobi 720r cord a few times (it has always taken several pulls to get the thing started), the pull rope broke… probably because I had to yank it so hard every time I started it. Anyway, off to Home Depot for a new pull rope… I bought a new trimmer cord assembly while I was there, as mine had kind of worn down (I’ve owned a Ryobi 720r for over 10 years). Any way, I figured, “how hard could it be to replace the starter pull cord?” I figured wrong. Taking the initial screws out with an Allen wrench was no problem. I was even able to get the clutch drum off, but I got stuck at the same point as many of you other fellows when I hit the clutch rotor that won’t budge. I guess I’m headed back to Home Depot to return the parts in exchange for a new weed wacker. You can bet it won’t be another hard-to-start, hard-to-repair Ryobi.

  32. After reading these posts, I went back and gave it one last shot. Got the clutch rotor off by turning it counter-clockwise. I followed the advice above and stuck a rope in the spark plug hole (after removing the plug). Then, I used a pair of pliers, not to grab, but as a lever to twist the rotor. I put the pliers, kind of spread open into the groves in the top of the rotor and twisted. Sure enough it began to unscrew. The rest was pretty easy. I put it back together with not problems. And so, at least I don’t have to spend the $100 to get a new trimmer this weekend, but soon I’m sure… it’s definitely on it’s last leg. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good general purpose weed wacker?

  33. I have the 930R and picked it up at a junk yard for $2.00. The thing run at the second start. The owner always complained it never ran fine. I made the appropiate oil mixture with gas and a new plug. Its amazing how powerful it is after 2 minutes to let it warm up. Its somewhat loud, but its powerful to the point that wants to shred everything in its pass. Not like electric trimmers that seize under heavy grass, this one will eat up the wildest grass. For $2.00 of “junk” weed wacker it gets 2 thumbs up.

  34. I have the Ryobi for 15 years now, never had any trouble with it. I’d like to point out a couple of things:

    1) if your engine was spewing “oily gunk” you probably had an incorrect oil/gas mix

    2) if the method of starting it is what you quoted, you were trying the wrong method and not was was in the manual. The method is actually:
    a) move kill switch to on position
    b) move choke to postion A (full closed)
    c) pump primer bulb 5-7 times
    d) pull starter cord 2-3 times
    f) then pull cord again
    g) after warming up for a minute or so, move choke to position C (running position)

    YOU WILL NEVER GET A 2-STROKE ENGINE RUNNING IN THE FULL CLOSED CHOKE POSITION nor will a 2-stroke engine run clean with a bad mix of fuel.

    I suggest you learn how to read the instuctions on the fuel mix and the weed whacker or hire someone that can rather than knock a great product!!

  35. I also have a Ryobi 720r, it ran great for 13 years. and now it drips fuel from the carb. Already rebuilt it and same problem. I never had any problem starting mine, fresh fuel, clean plug and clean filter and she ran great. But this carb issue is starting to get under my skin. It will run fine but as soon as you kill it. Fuel runs out of the carb like a river! So bad it will drain the fuel tank in just a few hours! I get my parts from AES {Automotive Equipment Service}. Strange name for a company that deals in lawn parts. Anyway they sell just about everthing, the carb kit and carb gasket only cost me about 15 bucks. AES is located in Olathe Kansas {1651 EAST KANSAS CITY RD Olathe, KS 66061 Phone# [913]254-2600} Don’t know if they ship to the whole U.S. but worth a call for all you parts hungry Ryobi lovers. And if anyone can tell me what i screwed up on the carb rebuild. Please let me know, i have tried fiddling with the spring lever under the diaphram. But with no success. Thanks Jason

  36. OMG after rebuilding the carb, changing fuel,lines,plug,and screaming words that would make a sailor cry, my ryobi 725 r is running better than it ever has!!! Thanks to John of New Zealand for the carb adjustment advice. I like the machine and it has served me well,hopefully will keep going. Leo in
    Pittsburgh PA USA

  37. I have owned my Ryobi 720r for 6 years now. I have never, ever had a problem getting it to start and stay running. By far this has been one of the better weed eaters I have owned. I wonder, do those having problems with their Ryobis trim a large area and/or use it daily? I use mine to edge and weedeat a 1/4 acre sized lot once a week. I sometimes use an edger attachment that has been a pain, but not because of the weedeater itself, but because of the edger. The one time it did leak fuel was due to an error on my part. The gasket on the fuel cap had worked itself down into the threads and was not sealing properly when I screwed it on. When I turned the unit upside down to edge, the fuel leaked out. Other than that, this has been a superb piece of machinery. For $89, what more could you ask for? When it finally does crater, I will buy a new one and leave this one on the curb for somebody to grab and repair.

  38. Stop whining!! Ryobi kicks ass! Going on 11 years for mine and it is as reliable and strong as the day I bought it. One poster said it is too loud, WTF?!? It is a lawn tool!! That sound you hear is POWER!! F the neighbors! I’m trying to get some lawn work done ;)The fuel lines do get old and leak (replaced mine twice so far) I will admit, but that is a minor maintainence issue. Keep it tuned up, fresh fuel and your good to go. I have all the accessories and I love the flexability it offers me. NO I don’t work for ryobi, so get over it. Also, I scanned all the documentation I could find for mine and have it as a PDF file. I e-mailed it to Mr. Carson maybe he will kindly host the file here for you guys.

    P.S. For the guy who just wanted the fuel mix info:

    Ryobi 2-Cycle Oil
    Part# 147543R
    4 oz. Bottle (.118L)

    Mix contents (all) of bottle with
    1 gallon (3.785L) FRESH fuel.
    Give a little shake.
    Mixes in 32:1 Ratio.

    Have a nice day!


  39. I have an 11 year old ryobi 720r that was my father’s. As long as I can remember it has been a bitch to start, even after just being used ten minutes earlyer. I really need to buy a new one, but I’m a broke college student. All my fuel lines rotted off and I lost the owner manual in hurricane Katrina. I can’t find anything online. I have it running now but as soon as I give is gas it kills. If anyone could look on their walbro carb and help that would be great. I believe I’ve run the fuel lines correctly but I have no info to go on. Any info would be greatly appreciated

  40. Hey All,

    Read all your experiences with the Ryobi’s, ’cause my 790r trimmer clutch just left me and was looking about how to fix it.

    I removed the clutch cowl, and also disconnected the throttle cable at the carb. throttle linkage, pulling it thru the plastic front housing to completely separate.
    The screw that hold’s the clutch drum to the main shaft is a T-20, turn it counter clock wise (CCW), and use a crescent wrench to hold the drum still. If the clutch drum is stuck to the clutch rotor assembly (assy.) after unscrewing it, it’s because the drum is scored inside, and you need to use a small screwdriver to help dislodge the clutch rotor pads away from the drum by pushing the clutch shoes downwards. Don’t worry about being to harsh doing this to separate it, it’s already trashed. My clutch separated into 2 pieces when I got it off. It was broken anyway at this point.

    The cotton rope idea is a good one and worked for just fine. I removed the the spark plug, and turned the piston shaft to its bottom position. Next I stuffed the clothes line (cotton rope) into the cylinder until no more could go in. I left a good amount remaining outside the spark plug hole to use for its removal afterwards. I grasped the remaining inner clutch assembly on the motor shaft with a large vise grip, and turned it CCW, the piston turned a bit in the cylinder until it loaded and then stopped against rope, locking the shaft to let me unscrew the remaining clutch assy. from the shaft.

    I next removed the clothes line and all is fine. I ordered the 2 parts today (clutch and drum assy.) from outdoordistributors.com, and with shipping, came to $42.22.
    The cotton rope (clothes line) is a great idea and never I would have never thought of it (well, maybe a couple years anyway 🙂 ), and worked just fine for me.
    I felt the need to contribute to the forum after your help.
    Thanks again.

  41. I have a Ryobi 720r with the edger and weed wacker attachments. I experienced my first ever problem today while using the edger. I felt something wet hitting my leg – it was beginning to rain – when I felt it again in the same spot I knew it was fuel. My hoses were leaking. I trotted off to Taylor’s Doit and picked up 2 feet of tubing. I didn’t have any problems ’till I replaced the fuel filter line. Couldn’t figure out a good way to put it back without it leaking. You can’t get anything in the tank to push the filter through the hole. Thanks (Chris wrote (August 29, 2005 02:57 PM):) I tried it and it worked great. I did expect the fuel line to pop but it didn’t. I’ve had good luck with mine for 10 years I guess – proper fuel mix probably helps with starting and running. I have found it to be underpowered but only if I’ve been lazy and not edged for a long time.

  42. This trimmer is awesome. I finally had to purchase parts(still able!) for it after something like 10 perfect years. Know you mixture people.
    Steve, I’m going through the same thing. Unfortunetly it seems its impossible to just replace the hoses lol. I went ahead and ordered a new tank assembly. Thank god, the hoses are already installed in the new tank! lol. Now, i just can’t figure out how to remove the old tank?

  43. I’ve successfully used my 790r for over 10 years and the power head has finally given up. Question for anyone: Will the Ryobi Trimmer-Plus attachments fit on any of the new Ryobi power units?

  44. FN Frustrated

    RYOBI SUCKS!!! The worst thing I ever owned for starting (snowmobile, lawn mower, atv, dirt bike etc). It is CRAP.

  45. Same problem. The engine leaks gas out of the choke. It starts, but immediately stops unless I press the fuel button.

    I bought a Husqvarna since everyone else seems to use these. The head is nice. The weight is good. Everything is enclosed. The only problem I have with it is the crappy hard plastic handle and the fact they switched the direction of the head from clockwise to counterclockwise. The shield is a bit too large too. I would like a smaller shield and to make the head go the other way.

    I tend to burn myself on the Echo since the exhaust points towards the arm on the side. They also seem a bit under-powered and everything is exposed. Nice way to get it hung on something and rip out gas hoses. The handle was pathetically uncomfortable. The head didn’t compare to the husky design. The weight was good and had a smaller shield. I wonder what direction it spins.

    I like the work done on the Toro. It has a durable shield, incredibly comfortable padding and square handle making it easy to turn on the side. It also has this plastic extension great for propping it on the hip when doing a large clear job. My own problem was the weight of it and concern with using the Ryobi head. Hey, it is better than the Homelite, bump until you break the shaft because it doesn’t feed design.

    Troy has the 4-cycle. It was too heavy for my taste. But decent square handle.

    I just wish Echo and Husqvarna would buy a clue and realize these things are turned on the side and need to be designed for it with square handles, a head that spins away from the body, and exhaust that points away from the arm with left index finger on the throttle. The only way to get it to throw debris the right direction is to stand between the motor and edge and have the thumb on the throttle–uncomfortable and hard to hold steady while walking. I’m just going to have to learn to hold it at a pure parallel angle so i’m far away from the path of debris. One nice thing about the echo is that you can losen to screws and turn the engine upside-down so it is right-side up with exhaust pointed away.

    Husqvarna has the Homelite design where the engine is encased onto the handle and pole and thus engine can’t be turned. Can’t replace the throttle handle or turn it either. I can replace the regular handle though. Noticed the Husqvarna has the Homelite head on it, which apparently Homelite has switch from a clockwise to counter-clockwise direction. I bought a replacement shaft for the Homelite–they switched the direction on the replacement shaft!

    WTF, why does it spin counter-clockwise. Do they not realize how many beaners are going to have to relearn to use the tool of their trade. It is like making a right-hand artist paint suddenly with their left hand. Please, can someone sue (and burned the yard) of the genius who decided to make these things turn counter-clockwise so that debris is thrown at our legs all day?

  46. I have a Ryobi SS30 String Trimmer, 1 1/2 years old. It won’t start (not a big surprise). New Plug, gapped properly, fresh gas/oil mixed properly. Starting procedure are followed as instructed. Under further review, I find Page 21 of the “Operator’s Manual” tells me the spark arrestor must be cleaned every 25 hours of operation or yearly BUT THE MANUAL WILL NOT TELL ME WHERE IT IS LOCATED! They say Spark Arrestors “may be located in different locations depending on the model purchased and to contact my service dealer”. WHAT KIND OF MANUAL IS THIS???? The front of the manual tells me the model.

    From looking at the thing, I believe I found what looks to be an exhaust outlet and it has some carbon build up. I guess I’ll tear into it, taking off the shielding and removing what looks to be a plate looking piece and see what I find. Any other help would be appreciated.

  47. I got a Ryobi blower, but sounds similar to all these comments. I have a couple of comments and questions.

    First comments: My blower would not rev up. After looking through the ideas here, I pulled off the muffler to find the exhausts ports almost totally plugged ( I had just rebuilt the carb- cost about $15 for a rebuild kit from some place in Minnesota , Pat’s engine parts ? ) anyway, once I cleaned up the exhaust, woommm.. just like new for 5 minutes. This is likley the result of using too rich oil mix. I got 3 or 4 2 cycle toys and one oil mix: richest for the machine requiring it so all the others suffer.

    In all the disassembly, I mal-adjusted the throttle-trigger cable lenght, so I diddled with it to get it right. Started right up and ran great for 5 more minutes, full speed, nice, if a bit rough. Can’t do much carb adjusting on this machine , the screws have caps on them that limit the mixture adjustment to only a tiny bit.

    So, then, the blower slowed and died, just like that, had gas but it just died. So pull, pull, pull, pull. Choke, no choke, etc. Until the 12 yr old cord gave up the ghost.

    So I took the thing apart, and I figured out how to redo the recoil winder. Try this: I tied a piece of fishing line onto the outboard end of the pull cord and wound it onto the spool ( after the real cord): So I got all the cord wound and about 1 1/2 wraps of the fishing line. Then, engage the spool onto the spring, and pull out the line. You can play around to get just the amount of ‘preload’ you want on the cord once you pull the cord out by using the fishing line. Worked well. Should have thought of it years ago.

    Anyway, then it still wont start.

    So heres the question: I get a pop or two, seemingly from the prime, but it wont really run for more than a few seconds. Any ideas about what is next.

    This is now a quest: I bought a Troy built blower so this is now just a challenge to over come.

  48. My latest diagnosis is no spark. I guess I have never seen a bad coil/magneto. Is there anything to check to see whats up ? I disconnected the kill switch so I dont think that is an issue

  49. Tony gerada

    It was amusing reading the comments about the Ryobi 2800. I have a similiar carburetor hose hook-up problem. Nowhere I can find how they should be configured from the fuel tank to the carb via the bulb primer. Can you please direct me to a site?.
    Thanks in advance

  50. How about the cheap plastic guide for the drive cable that gets heated up in the upper boom assembly. Think some engineer could come up with something that would out last the carbs, recoil, string advance problems. Bash away on these things as they are Not Build Very Well. schesh,
    Where were these things made any way??????

  51. gerald julian

    the history of my 720r–when new started a couple of times–pull cord locked up–into repair shop–shop sent it back to Ryobi—after three weeks–a rebuilt one was trucked back to me—it started fine a couple of times–hmmm, i tried starting it today for fifteen minutes—am back to square one–being 84 years old, pulling on a damned cord is not my idea of fun!! sore arm and shoulder is expected in the morning! this is a fun spot to thrash the hell of an item–LOL

  52. I’ve had my 790r for ten years with no problems at all. I have the tree trimmer attachment too, which I have used and abused many times. This is a great machine…but…

    Finally I have a problem with recoiling. The thing just won’t pull start. Feels like too much compression. With the plug removed it pulls fine. With the plug in, forget it.

    Is it finally junk?


  53. My 720r is now 13 years old, after 30minutes of pulling the cord it usually starts.However not today,my arm is hevy and I have a blister on two different fingers..I’ll let it rest and try later.

  54. I am not one to waste my time with sharing bad experiences on products, but this is important to anyone who thinks about buying a ryobi product. I have a 720r and the engine runs great but would only serve as a good engine for a large scale model airplane. But i was fooled that it was a weedeater. I bought all the attachements when I purchased it and found out that nothing works below the engine,(meaning all attachments to include the weed eater without shearing and breaking off the flex shaft which has happened three times in the two summer seasons that I have owned it. Common sense told me that the felx shaft (either upper or lower is able to withstand the torque on any of its attachements to include the weedeater which is its primary attachement. I have replaced this part three times at a generous $33.00 a pop and now with very little use out of the product, I now can say I have spent more than what the weed eater model 720r cost originally. I would never and hope others to will understand that any ryobi product is not worth buying now or ever since the company obviously doesnot see the importants of correcting its inoperative parts and attachements that are indeed a very poor engineered product. For those of you who feel that this is not a bad product, have fun dealing with the distrubuter but understand that feeding into this product is what keeps companies going. I have embarrassed myself by wasting the amount of time on this product and will never buy anything from a company backed or affiliated with ryobi since making a honest dollar is not in their code of ethics.

  55. Here’s the cure for the fuel drip issue on the Ryobi trimmer. I too had to replace my fuel lines recently (Ryobi 775R), and once I had all the parts for my rebuild (took a bit), I reconstructed the machine. However I routed the fuel lines incorrectly and that was the cause of the fuel problem. The new Troy Built trimmer (looks like a relabeled Ryobi) I purchased clued me into this (i’ll be taking it back now).
    There are two lines off of the tank. The line without the filter goes to the center port on the primer. The line with the in tank screen / filter runs to the bottom fitting of the Walbro carb. The outer port on the primer goes to the top fitting on the carb.
    Once I had the lines routed properly the carb no longer dripped fuel. I was never able to find anything on the web in regards to the fuel line routing, and it took a new purchase to figure them out. You would think after I messed with this thing well over a month, I would have stumbled over it but I never did. (feeling pretty damn stupid)
    Anyway, I hope this helps out the next guy to run into this.
    My guess is this fix will work on some of the Homelite models also.


  56. keith bryant

    I have 2 weedeaters, model 720R and could be happier with them. My son cuts 5 neighbors yards going on 6 years now. Why am i so pleased with ryobi? In the confusion of several cans of fuel in the garage. He got the kerosene can mixed up with the 2 cycle fuel and used 2 gallons of kerosene thru each of them before we knew it. Started just fine using the 3 pulls on each cycle of A B C setting of choke. That was 2 years ago and they run fine.

  57. I had a horrible time with my Ryobi 775r, then one day I took out the spark arrestor (located engine side, inside of the muffler). My intention was to clean it, but the screen was so carboned up, I just yanked it out with needle nose pliers. Runs like a banshee now.

  58. Ive got a ryobi pbc3046ye.it starts first time but ive recently borked the clutch..anyone know where to find a new one?btw to remove the clutch there is an allen key bolt inside the square thing that turns the rod,its a bit of a bitch to get off but it comes eventually.any help at all would be appreciated ive searched but cant even find a diagram..

  59. Wow, and to think I almost bought a Ryobi myself a few years ago because of the multi attachments and low cost.

    Needless to say I didn’t. Here is my story in brief. I was working for a farmer and my job was to weedeat every freaking fencerow in over 400 acres, in at least 10 different patches.

    Anyway, he gave me a Stihl FS 76 to use, with a 5 gallon can of premixed fuel and a big bag of plastic blades and a screwdriver.

    Everyday I prayed that it wouldn’t start. Rain, shine, day or dark, the damn thing wouldn’t fail to start and would only stop running when it ran out of fuel. 10-12 hours a day 6 days a week the damn thing wouldn’t quit, I nearly died using it, but ended up in great shape and lost over 25 pounds in 6 weeks, plus put on a lot of muscle.

    So, needless to say when the time came to buy my own weed whacker I spent about 200 bucks and got one that starts every time, even when fuel is stored in it all winter. I will cut any grass and weeds at half throttle or less and will cut small trees at full throttle without even slowing down. I don’t mess with the string at all and use the plastic blades. Metal seems too dangerous, but I have heard of ppl that put circular saw blades on them to cut brush and small trees.

    Simply awesome!

    No I dont’ work for Stihl.

    Lesson: You get what you pay for, at least with the Stihl.

    P.S. I use the straight shaft model not the curved one, it gives better reach, keeps danger farther away and if the guard annoys you, just take it off. I wear eye protection, but have never had anything signigicant come back at me.

  60. The 720r i’ve used it maybe 15 years now and it always starts and runs great. By reading some of these post i know some of you are dumb as dirt and others know what there talking about. This is a great tool to have.

  61. Steve S. Kansas City

    I own a Ryobi 765I straight shaft gas trimmer for 2 years. When I first got it I changed the feeder line head to a Craftsman head that you use pre-cut line with. It worked fine for the 1st season then the problems started. I twisted the flexable cable shaft into. I ordered a replacement shaft used it for several cuts then it broke into. I ordered 2 more shafts and if I broke a 3rd one I would try to have a solid steel shaft made. The 3rd one broke and I had a friend of mine who is a machinest make me a solid shaft using the 4th as a reference. The other day I put the solid shaft in tryed to start it and the line head free wheeled. I took the angled gear head apart and found the bolt head the shaft goes into had screwed its self out of the gear. I put everything back together LockTited the bolts to the gears and when I tryed to start it the engine will not fire I not getting any spark.I guess I will try to have the engine fixed before I junk it and buy a differant one. The shafts were being broken by the engine kicking backward when I tryed to start it.(Kind of like the WW1 airplane props when they pulled them to start) I’ve been pretty disappointed with Ryobi. I will say the engine had alot of power when it worked right but I won’t own another one.

  62. Rynobi did me again

    Okay, so after I destroyed the first one (720R) I said enough of the 2 strokes, and went with a 4 stroke. Never a problem, started right up, Just bought a cultivator attachment, worked great for 2 minutes then it stoped turning. Thought it was the cultivator, put on other attachments….nothing, pulled housing off of clutch, cluch appears fine. Could I have broken the shaft? it turns under no lode but will not power the attachments. THoughts

  63. You sound a little green. Turns out, with the cheaper gas, you need to use a leaner mixture. Thus the spitting oil.
    Make it 38-1 to 40-1 as per new recomendations.

    Pull the cord as fast & as many times as you can to start it.

    I like mine. It tills, blows, sucks & trims with no problem. It’s 7 years old.

  64. I bought a Ryobi trimmer from Home Depot a couple of weeks ago. I’m just using this around the house so I didn’t want to spend a ton of money and for $100 I figured it would work fine for at least a year. Well, I mixed the gas and followed the starting instructions and I could not get the thing to start. The best I could get it to do was run for a few seconds before it stalled. After 20 minutes messing with this thing I packed it up and returned it. They may make great tools but the one I got was a piece of trash. I will never buy another Ryobi product. They look cheap, feel cheap and just plain are cheap. I’ll gladly spend the extra cash to get something that actually works.

  65. go with a husqvarna wacker. they are a little more pircey but we have had ours for almost fifteen years without a single problem. If it does die it isn’t hard to fix.

  66. I have a 720r for years with no problems. Most of the info here is good,but not once did I read about octane 2 stroke engines run best I found with a 40 to 1 ratio mix. These engines need high octane fuel 97 is the best to use. Run it dry in the winter,use freash fuel in season, Champion quick start plugs. do your maintenance.

  67. To everyone who has a Ryobi trimmer that works well, thank your lucky stars, kiss the ground and go out and buy yourself a lottery ticket because you must be the luckiest sob on the planet!! My Ryobi trimmer has been a pain in the a** since day one. It always takes 15-20 minutes of cussing, pulling, sweating and more cussing to get the blasted thing started and then has to be run on high or else it stalls. H***, by the time it starts I’m too pi**** to use it!! Since I work a lot of hours, my dear wife graciously offers to cut the grass and would weed whack but she absolutely cannot get it started so I get the incredible joy of dicking with it!! I have tried all kinds of maintenance wonders with it to no avail. My father who could fix anything can’t do anything with it either. Last year, I swore I was going to buy a nice, little cheap electric and be happy as a clam!! I still can’t believe I gave my electric trimmer away when I got the Ryobi. BTW, my niece was the recipient and after 5 years the electric is working nicely. No more Ryobis!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. Reading, Ding dong, the trimmer is dead, I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. I’ve owned this model for about 9 years, and have dreaded using it every single time. It always started, but the procedure is exactly as described. The only other thing I would mention is that occasionally, the engine kicks and pulls the starter rope handled through your fingers causing the most extreme pain. It never had enough power and the trimmer line never advanced as it should. Finally, today, the little gas tank nipple disintegrated. Rather than look for a new one, I’m going to do myself a favor, throw it in the trash and buy a new trimmer. I’ve read good reviews about the new Ryobis. I want 2 things in my next trimmer. It must start easily and the line must advance properly. If I can’t find one that does that, I’m buying goats.

  69. The head fell off the bottom drive shaft today. Wondering if there is a securing mechanism that I may have lost in the grass or does the head just need tapped back onto the shaft

  70. This thread has been very helpful and amusing. I bought a used Ryobi 720 R EZ for $25 and it starts and runs pretty good. Now the clutch is sticking and I need to remove the drum to find out what’s up. I will follow the above advice and use a Torx to remove the screw inside the drum. The parts diagram I downloaded does not list the bolt, but the picture shows it. The cotton rope idea is great to lock the piston, I will probably try it out. Wish me luck

  71. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who should have all their lawn maintenance done by professionals. Most of the low and medium priced equipment should only be used by personnel who are extremely mechanically competent. You get what you pay for and if you cannot tolerate the idiosyncrasies or fix it yourself then either have someone do the lawn for you or buy the best equipment money can buy. I’m serious. I have owned a lot of equipment from the inexpensive to the very best and the low/medium cost stuff is mostly junk. And this includes junk from Stihl, John Deere, Ryobi, Honda, Kawasaki and many others. If I cannot get it to work properly, I try to return it or just throw it away and move on.

  72. Thanks for the hints to remove the clutch/flywheel, I was about to try something drastic, which may have resulted in the sledge hammer putting the little beast to rest for ever. The rope trick was fine, however a word of caution a piece of the rope jammed in between the cylinder wall and piston, fortunatley for me when I screwed it all back together it came loose and has not affected the compression. The little beast is coming up to 14 years old and has had a few issues over the years. I will not spend any further money to keep it going. I think every time it starts from now on is bonus time.

  73. ‘ve a 790r and I had to remove the casing holding the pull. cord and ratchet paw to get to a bolt I dropped and lodged in the cylinder head. Just took one of my larger straight slot screw drivers and lodged into the fly wheel before one to the lager plastic pieces where the drive shaft is attached, the strongest point. Once I got the flyweights off, took anther screwdriver and a hammer and one sharp whack, got the center hub/weight off the drive staff. Hit the center hub CCW.

  74. My Ryobi bit the dust. My neighbor’s Ryobi bit the dust.He is in lawn care business. My boss’s Ryobi bit the dust. I feel bad because I told them they were lightweight and cheap so they bought one only to have them kerplunk.

    That was a couple years ago. Right now, I’m having problems with my Bolens from lowes. It runs for about 5 seconds then stalls. Good fuel mixture, clean filter.

  75. Mine has now bitten the proverbial dust. Had it for about 5-6 yrs and has worked reasonably well. Well, I’m off to Sunbelt Tractor to buy a Stihl FS 55 ($199). Hopefully it will be the best trimmer I’ve ever owned…although that wouldn’t take much coming from the cheapest thing available.

    My Ryobi should be out to the street this Monday. Trash hawks will snap it up I’m sure 😉

  76. I have a 790r and had for a few years. Cannot get it started. I followed the starting procedure. I installed new fuel lines and new plug. The plug is fireing out of the engine but is wet when removed. I’ve never had any trouble starting, it usual started fairly easy. I’m stumped please help if possible. Thank you very much

  77. I have a Ryobi 766r and had problems getting it to stay running. Would run if left in Partial Choke “B” position but ran roughly and would die frequently. It would start as long as I did the primer bulb thing 5-7 times, begin in Full Choke position “A”, and keep pulling until it fired (and died). Then would move to Partial Choke position “B” and would start and run if kept in that position “B”–but would die whenever I tried to switch it to Run position “C”. Anytime I tried to start it, cold or warmed up, I had to start in the Full Choke Position “A” or it just wouldn’t start.

    Was about ready to forget about it until I tried a new batch of gas/oil AND added STA-BIL gas stabilizer. BOY, WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Engine now starts cold (as noted above using postion “A”) but when warmed up after 5-10 seconds, it now runs perfectly in Run position “C”!

    I finally found the manual and read: “Old and/or improperly mixed fuel are the main reasons for the unit not running properly. Be sure to use fresh, clean unleaded fuel. Follow the instructions carefully for the proper fuel/oil mixture….Today’s fuels are often a blend of gasoline and oxygenates such as ethanol, methanol of MTBE (ether). Alcohol-blended fuel absorbs water. As little as 1% water in the fuel can make fuel and oil separate. It forms acids when stored. When using alcohol-blended fuel, use fresh fuel (less than 60 days old)….Drain the tank and run the engine dry before storing the unit.”

    To my knowledge, I was using unleaded gasoline (not a “blended fuel” type)–but not fresh gas– with no Sta-bil type fuel additive. I also didn’t drain and run the engine dry before storing the unit consistently.

    I was seriously thinking about either carburator work or a new unit because of how poorly it was working. Maybe somebody already wrote about this earlier (I didn’t read every post). I pass this along FYI because I just can’t believe the difference fresh gas/oil and the Sta-bil additive made for me. I actually look forward to using it for trimming now!

  78. when i was thinking of buying a trimmer, i wanted a stihl but did not want to spend alot.

    i have never been so fed up after spending money on a trimmer and it not working on its second use.

  79. Have had the Ryobi edger for 6 months now, all of a sudden it just stopped working.1) cleaned outfuel lines,Fuel does fill up bulb prime it, still wont start. Squirt starting fluid into carberator THEN IT STARTS till fluid runs out. Any help would be most gratefull.


  81. Last year Bob wrote on (July 27, 2006 4:49 AM)
    My latest diagnosis is no spark. I guess I have never seen a bad coil/magneto. Is there anything to check to see whats up ? I disconnected the kill switch so I dont think that is an issue

    Did this get answered? I need to know also. I have 790r with no spark. It’s not the kill switch or spark plug. I’m thinking that only leaves the mag or coil. Is there an easy way to troubleshoot this?

  82. ticked off customer

    After having my RYOBI 720rDE (gas edger) sit in the garage corner for the last five years because it didn’t cut worth a crap, i just realized that it was installed with an incorrect cutting blade. When calling their customer svc line to see about getting a replacement to fix their mistake, I was told too bad! If I had read the above comments first, I would not have been surprised. Sounds like RYOBI is the GM of outdoor power equipment….

  83. My Ryobi 720r finally died today after 14 years of rough service. I think I killed it with straight gas, no oil mix, or the ethanol got it. Oops! It ran like a champ. Sorry to hear your horror stories about yours.

  84. Read a lot of articles @ this site and here’s my take. My 790r started and ran very well for the 11 years I had it. They are only touchy to start if you don’t follow the instructions. My 790 started after 3 pulls almost every time. I never really had any trouble with my 790. Simple maintenance was needed but so what.
    After 11 years the coil lost its gap and in repairing it I trashed it. (the screw twisted off) So…..I looked around for a replacement power head and found a short block (pn 181623 for the die hard’s out there) for $72.18 but with 11 years use on a 3.5 acre lot I think Ill pass.
    Now, I still don’t own any newer 2 cycle’s with the new EPA engines. My big concern is this……..are the new engines any good???
    I am still impressed with my Ryobi and I have STIHL chainsaws and blowers and I like them as well. I’m just trying to avoid future headaches by asking you all for your take on the new generation of 2 cycles.

  85. Greetings all. Let me start by saying I appreciate postings like this-it allows many of us to fix our stuff fairly inexpensively or avoid having to buy new stuff regurlarly. Like a few above, I have a Ryobi SS30 trimmer and had trouble starting it. I bought the refurbished unit at Big Lots for about $70 at least 4 years ago. Fortunately, it served me well until it would not stay running a year and a half ago. We moved and I let it sit until this year. I left some gas in it with STABIL at the time thinking it might be ok, but it seems that the brown sludge must have clogged things. Sort of strange as it would run at the A and B choke positions but die at C even with new gas. I thought I might have to get a carb kit. I took both sides of the carb apart and took off the muffler. The spark screen and plates were fairly clean. I cleaned the screen anyway, scraped the plates, washed out the muffler, and made sure ALL the ports and places in the carb were clean. I put it back together, put new gas mix in at about 1:32-40 and fired it up. It took about 5 minutes before it would stay running at the C position, (maybe some gunk still in somewhere) but now it powers up fully and stays running at C. Hope this helps sombody else!

  86. In just used this site for the first time and cannot beleive all the problems with the 720r.
    I have had mine for almost 15 years and never had problems until this year.I replaced the fuel lines, cleaned the carb. and the fuel tank
    and it ran like new.But then all of a sudden no spark.I have all the implements and will buy another 720r, because of the good luck I have had. When the fuel is mixed rite,pump three times, choke,pull twice, choke off, one more pull and were running.
    Ryobi is no. 1 in my book
    Gary O.
    Ill keep the old one, fix it and give it to my neighbor.

  87. Good stuff! I’ve had my 720r for about 10 years and have had blisters on my fingers all summer for those 10 years pulling on that rope trying to start the damn thing! I usualy trim every other time I cut so by alternating which hand I would start it with I could usualy manage one blister free hand each event. I have to admit one thing, the body itself is pretty rugged because I have thrown it across the yard like an olympic hammer thrower numerous times and it won’t break! I hadn’t tried using it this year because I brought my Husqvarna home from my business and have been using it instead. However, I have an edger attachment and a blower so I figured I’d try to edge with it. I discovered the fuel lines had rotted so I replaced them.(without help from the useless manual on routing but thanks to this board was able to get them right) I put fresh fuel in, gapped the plug, cleaned the air filter and went through the routine of pulling on the rope until sweating, exhausted and pissed…..and nothing! When priming I noticed I had air in the fuel lines so I bled them, bandaged my fingers and tried again. Bingo, it started right up! Now the problem is, as soon as I move from full choke to partial it runs to full rpm and dies after about 5 seconds. Never did that before!
    I didn’t mess with the carb other than putting the fuel lines on and I dont think I moved anything. Maybe I screwed up the throttle because when it is running between full choke and partial at about mid speed, when I pull on the throttle, there is nothing. Any suggestions? I didn’t throw it this time because I figured it might be someting I did. If I find out I didn’t, I’m going to fling the sob into a dumpster!

  88. I’ve been using a 775r since 1996 and it has been great…I did go through the whole hard start thing a few years ago so I cleaned the carb and wa la it was back like new. My fuel lines are starting to leak now so I will probably replace them this year and hopefully get 13 more years out of it. I am sorry to read all the bad comments on Ryobi as mine has been GREAT and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another.

  89. Ricster (from the bus)

    Found this site while searching for some help with my 720r. I became somewhat depressed while reading the posts as I had purchased my unit used on Craigslist about a year ago. Had trouble starting the thing pretty much right away, plus the gas hoses were old and cracking. Decided this year that I would replace the hoses. After figuring out how to get them out of the tank and getting new hose from the local hobby store, I replaced the two that seemed to be leaking. After assembling and filling with gas I pulled and pulled to no avail. Then found that the third hose was also cracked and squirting gas. At that point I decided to do a complete overhaul. Replaced the final hose, took the carb off and disassembled. The carb was completely blocked which had made it impossible to start. Cleaning with solvent and compressed air did the trick. Put it back together, primed, first pull when choked it popped right off. Two more pulls and it was running. I did have to make adjustments to the H & L screws as I had removed those in the cleaning. Now it seems to run great and starts easily! Of course the recoil is starting to go, so that will be the next thing and from the sounds of it perhaps the death of this unit.

  90. Model 775R plastic primer ball collapses & unit doesn’t start – probably no gas. JUNK IT?

  91. I have had my 720r for 15 years and never had a problem (and I have never even cleaned the air filter or drained the gas in the winter). I use the string trimmer, leaf blower and hedge trimmer. One recent developement though…the ball to prime the gas does appear to be wearing out now. I will buy another.

  92. I’ve had my 720R since 1992 or 1993. While it was occasionally balky starting the 3 bulb presses and following the choke procedure usually did the trick. It has worked up until this year and that’s with the orginal spark plug and never draining it. The fuel hoses were all cracked and I just replaced those today but it still won’t start. Looks like a carb tear-down for tomorrow to see if that works. If not no big loss…17 years if use…I got my money out of it.

  93. My neighbor and I are having the same problem at same time that Mike is having. Pump the primer ball 3 times, pull string 3 times in the choke position and it will kick over as normal. Move to the semi-choke pull the cord and it will run for 5 seconds at high rpms then cuts off. My neighbor has model 725R and I have a SS30.Can anybody help us with this common problem???

  94. I have a Ryobi 720r. Have had it for 15 years. The fuel lines had to be replaced and now I cannnot get it to run continuously as it dies out after about 5 seconds of running. Been a good product and I have the tiller attachment. Cant complain about this product.

  95. I buy these Ryobi units off of Ebay all of the time. I get rid of the limiter caps, rebuild the carb, replace the fuel lines, and they work fine. The trick is in the adjustment of the LO and HI mixture screws. Once you know how to set them up, they will start in 1-2 pulls. I then resell these to neighbors and friends and family. Have been doing so for 5 years, and not one that I have sold has come back with any problems.
    Don’t blame Ryobi, the blame should be put on the EPA, with their mixture limiting cap BS.
    Remove the limiters, and set the mixtures as needed for proper operation, not as mandated by the EPA.
    You might have to tweak the mixture screws slightly depending on fuel brand, oil brand, fuel/oil ratio and age.
    Always buy your gas-powered equipment with adjustable LO and HI screws. If they are capped, take off the caps. If they are splined, Dremel a slot into them or buy the adjustment tool.

  96. rohmell brills

    Even when buying different brands of gasoline, you might have to tweak the mixture adjustments for optimal performance. A 50:1 ratio will require a different setting than 40:1 or 32:1.
    Your mixture might start out as 40:1 at the beginning of the season, but during the season, gas might evaporate from a leaky container, etc, and the mixture becomes more concentrated with oil, which did not evaporate. You might end up with 37:1, 35:1, or 32:1, which will require readjustment of the mixture screws for maximum performance.

  97. rohmell brills

    If anyone needs further help with their Ryobi, Yardman, Yard-Machines, Troy-Bilt, MTD, older Toro and Lawn-Boy trimmers,(which are all based on Ryobi engines) or any other small engine, feel free to email me for help:
    [email protected]
    Also, if you want to get rid of your Ryobi engine, let me know, I will buy!
    [email protected]

  98. i have a stihl weed eater, and the damn thing finally died too… i have it apart in the garage right now. it seems as though after the shaft became loose, the trigger finally said to hell with me. so, there she lays, lifeless, in the garage, and me trying to mess with the trigger. god this sounds so wrong, but anywho… i am trying to fix it. hence, i did say “trying” because i got a feeling its not fixable. i might go buy another one. not particularly a stihl, but something that i hope to god works. any suggestion my dear?

  99. Richard McCormack

    Same thing, all over again. SS30 trimmer. Starts. Stops. Piece of crap. Only 3 years old. Never was any good. You’d think that after 100 years of industrialization, they’ve have figured out how to make an engine start and run. Ryobi is pathetic. We need tools that are made in America, by Americans.

  100. Robert Hobgood

    what is involved in changing coil on ss30 ryobi weedeater.please respond. thanks

  101. I want to thank the fellows who posted to this group for providing the information I needed to replace the pull-start spring on my Ryobi 720r. My landscaper friend insisted that a little WD-40 in there will fix things, but I decided to do things properly. The parts blowout diagram was helpful, but it did not tell me how to remove the clutch – you did. With your help plus a little advice from the local trimmer repair shop (which refuses to service “box trimmer brands like Ryobi”) I was able to replace the spring with a new one and also replace all three fuel lines. On that, I would recommend you NOT pay through the nose for factory replacement parts, but do as one poster suggested and buy a length of fuel line (I bought 2 feet) at a local repair shop. I also had to replace what I’ll call the clutch or coupler spring, which interfaces the motor head to the attachment shaft. It didn’t look to be badly deformed, but it was enough such that when the repaired head was fired up, the trimmer didn’t spin. A friend suggested higher-grade gasoline, too, rather than the regular. Beats me.
    Anyhow, thanks to all your valuable comments I have a wonderfully working 720r again.
    I can recommend http://www.ereplacementparts.com as a good parts source, although I got the clutch spring through a local dealer for less.

    Art Farnsworth,

  102. Helen Robson

    My Ryobi split shaft trimmer was cheap to buy and looked good value. The first time I used it, followed the instructions and it started fine. Ever since it’s been difficult to start and keep running. I’m going to try and offload it at a boot sale now that I’ve got a nice reliable Stihl machine.

  103. i hate ryobi

    Never going to buy ryobi again. My homelite string trimmer lasted 8 yeards, notjhing but problems with my new Ryobi. junk…….

  104. My clutch broke on my ryobi 30cc string trimmer built in 2005. I have taken it apart and was stumped like others on how to get the clutch off, I even called a mower mechanic and he either couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me so here is the trick, on my paticular model I had to use and allen wrench stuck it in the shaft of the clutch and unscrewed it after keeping the motor from turning over by using a screw drive to jam it up from moving. Not sure what size the allen wrench is but it worked, remember lefty loosey and righty tighty, however you spell it. I am going to replace my clutch, I only order 1 didn’t know I needed 2 fortunately it looks like one of the clutch plates look O.K. and I also needed to order the drum and connector, all in all with shipping it will cost me less than $30 dollars to fix it, hopefully after I put it back together.

  105. I use converted Ryobi 31cc engines for model airplanes, where reliability is critical. Most of these engines were found at yard sales, etc., for a dollar or two. Almost all of them were made to run – as weed trimmers – before they were converted. The exceptions were ones that had been run lean – on straight petrol(no oil) – wrecking the jug (i.e.: scoring the piston/cylinder). The rest were mostly simple fixes that anyone capable of using basic tools could do. I read somewhere that these engines were designed for a 50-hour life – the reasoning being that after 50 hours the warranty would have expired. 🙂 I kept a $1 garage-sale Ryobi that I use as a weedie, now with well over 200 hours on it! Just luck…or regular care?

  106. I used the residental john deere power head with expand it pole saw (borrowed from a frend) it worked great. Then I bought the ryobi head and x pand it from home depot. Started but would not run the trimmer. Borrowed the other unit again ryobi would not run either trimmer/exchanged it for another samething. Junk,junk, tried writing negative about it but home depot won’t allow it. Ryobi is crab and the deere was the same price.

  107. All – I’ve owned a Ryobi 725R for more than 12 years now (many more than 200 hrs of use Jat Gee!). Here are some things to check critical to a no start, or start and dies. And I believe the order to be correct as well. 1) Proper fuel mixture and a good clean plug with 0.020” gap. 2) Make sure all fuel lines are tight. Air or fuel leaks will cause lot’s of problems. 3) Ensure the fuels filter is not plugged. 4) Make sure the air cleaner is clean. 5) Check the primer bulb. Remove both lines and from the bulb and test with your finger. Pushing the bulb will cause vacuum on one side, and pressure on the other. If not, replace it. 6) Put the lines back on. Reconnect the lines. The side which pushes fuel goes to the bottom of the carb and the other sucks from the fuel filter side. 7) Fill tank. Push primer bulb. Five or so pushes you should see gas flow in the return line of the carb (the one without the filter, back to tank) consistent with you pressing on the bulb. You should see bubbles moving about an inch or more per push. If not, then you have a plugged mesh filter just before the high-speed fuel jet inside the carb, If the fuel does move then your carb just needs a rebuild (I promise). 8) Buy a rebuild kit for the carb and make sure to clean that little screen. It’s in a very small hole and will need to be removed with a pick. 9) When you rebuild the carb, break off the red plastic cap (high speed – marked H on the carb body – nearest to the air filter) so you can get that needle valve out and clean the jet. 10) Once you get the carb rebuilt, thread the high speed needle all the way in, then back out 1 ½ turns. 11) Reassemble, put 32:1 fuel to oil in. 12) Prime, and start. FYI – If you must check compression, these are 120-150 psi pressure for the 31cc. Comment: These are excellent 2-cycle engines. Those who complain, just don’t understand the basics about 2-cycle engines and carbs. Those who tout them know what they are talking about. And there is no repair shop who will tell you what I just did. Best Regards – Kevin

  108. i read some of these posts and laughed really hard. been there thrown that.ok you guys with the run in choke position and some of you guys with the only runs in half choke position have partially or fully plugged jets,or the fuel strainer inside the carb is plugged.an easy fix is to remove the needle assembly side of the carb, then using a very tiny wire from a wire brush, gently poke through the jet. then use some chemtool on the jet,and maybe some compressed air.that should do it for you.the strainer is on the other side of the carb.i read about a few guys that said they want to run full throttle for a second and die, thats because the engine goes lean(runs out of fuel)if your carb is really clean inside, they will go.however im not saying they are not junk.it seems most modern 2 stroke carburetors need cleaned often.i dont know if it is the fuel additives or what,just know i really wish they invent an electric start model that uses a dewalt battery plugged in to start them.

  109. dan carnell

    Get rid of your champion plug, they,re crap. NGK are best but anything other than champion. I got loads of small engine equipment including a 15 year old ryobi r720 trimmer that’s never missed a beat on jap plugs.

  110. Can I use Craftsman brand 2cycle small engine oil for my 2 cycle Ryobi weedwacker without any issues?

  111. Several years ago, my son gave me a Ryobi twin string that he said would only run on half-choke. I have worked on small engines for probably 50 yrs. I thought it probably needs the carb cleaned. Put it in the shop and forgot about it. Today, I thought I’d try to get it started. Checked the plug–it was firing. Started to put gas in and discovered that all three lines had crumbled. Before buying new lines, I checked the internet to see how to route them. Discovered this website. Decided after laughing for over an hour, that I won’t even mess with it. Thanks for a good laugh at the expense of Ryobi.

  112. I have a ~12 year old 725r …and have really enjoyed reading this string. Thanks for enriching the ‘web’ – it was a good 30 minutes of time. I think I will leave mine at the curb now.

  113. Mickey Minchew

    The only 2-cycle engine I have ever been impressed with was a 9 1/2 HP Johnson Outboard Motor – I swear that thing would probably run on crude oil – no need for a fuel tank just throw fuel line overboard and drag along the surface in the Gulf and go forever. Probably the worst ever 2-cycle/ equipment comb was the 40 HP Kohler eng in a stick steer, chain driven, six wheel amphibious vehicle. 2-cycles do have alot of demands as far intermittant use, lack of proper maintanence/storage and using old gas etc -but day in day out I think wrestling with extension cords may be more efficient.

  114. Mickey Minchew

    I forgot to mention the Johnson Outboard was a 1962 model and weighed as much as a Volkswagon but it always started (usually first pull) and ran great.

  115. I have a Ryobi 720r that would not run well at high speed. I was thinking about installing a carb rebuild kit until I read Keith Bryant’s post (Oct. 2006) where he accidently ran his weed eater on KEROSENE. Out of desperation I gave it a try with amazing results. The weed eater ran perfectly on kerosene! After running through half a tank of kerosene, I switched back to a regular gasoline-two cycle oil mix, and the ryobi continued to run just fine. Thanks for your post Keith.

  116. I have a Ryobi SS30 from Home Depot. Ran fine the 1st season, maybe a little hard to start. This season, it might start on the 2,308th pull but don’t hold your breath. My neighbor gave me an old Echo SRM2100 that had been sitting out in the grass behind his shop for 3 or 4 years due to a “bad” carb. I ripped it up out of the grass that was growing up through it looked it over for a couple of minutes. Found a split fuel line where it plugs into a breather. Trimmed the line past the split, plugged the breather back in, filled with fresh fuel and it started on the 3rd pull. Runs like a new Rolls Royce! I’m never buying anything but Echo from now on.

  117. My piece of trash trimmerBC30 worked 1 season…darn thing made by autolite, replaced bulb still no go…i will never by that trash again and home depot should be burned to the groung for selling them to unsuspecting customers.

  118. READ THIS (applies to all Ryobi’s and most any other small engine runnability issues)
    I have a Ryobi 786R. It also started to run poorly after a couple of years. The symptoms were the same as several posts above. Engine would stall in B sometimes and definitely in C when all choke was removed. Since operation was limited to B (partial choke) the unit no longer had adequate operational power. The fix was removing the spark arrestor (clean and replace). The arrestor screen is found covering the inlet side of the muffler (after removing). The arrestor may be so covered in grease that it no longer looks like a screen. That is your signal that you have found the problem. My diagnosis is the engine was stalling when all choke was fully removed (C position) because the exhaust volume was too great for the dirty spark arrestor which was severely limiting the exhaust air flow.

  119. Gordon Lowell MacWilliam

    I have a 10-year old Ryobi 775r. I also had trouble with the carb. I bought a spare on eBay and now when one is having trouble, I remove the end-plates and fuel pump gasket and place the carb body in a jar full of carb cleaner to soak until the other goes bad. One way to determine if your jets are plugged: if you press the primer bulb to fill the carb and after several pumps you fill the lines and there is absolutely no air in the lines, your jets are plugged. There should always be air bubbles in the primer lines if the jets are clear because the air will flow backwards through the jets when the primer bulb is pumped. Oh, and right after I replaced the carb, the line trimmer transmission failed. Now I just bought a tiller, and the clutch appears to be bad (not enough torque for this equipment).

  120. Hmm… interesting. I have a Lawn Hornet Mark 3 line trimmer (or whipper snipper as we say here in the land of Australia). It’s run non-stop for 15 years (until now). What a beast of a machine Sorry to hear your troubles. I’m going with a Kawasaki next. Local lawn mower guys says they run for 30 years – I’ll be able to hand it down to my kids!! For 300 odd bucks, who cares, even if it goes 10 years that’s nothing.

    Good luck.


  122. Kyle Rajasthan

    You know, I have recovered and repaired a few of these trimmers. The most recent one, a nice Ryobi 4 stroke wouldn’t run right. Guy sold it to me for five bucks. Somebody had cut the fuel line inside the tank, probably with an exacto knife or something similar. I replaced all the fuel lines, and cleaned out the tank and a new plug and it runs perfectly. I am also going to change the oil and replace it with synthetic. This motor is going to be paired with a treadmill motor (I got the treadmill for 20 bucks) and used as a small generator. I like these motors, from my experience the problems most people are having with them is a simple lack of maintenance. You can only abuse a machine so long before it gets you.

  123. I have owned a $49 referb SS30 trimmer since 2004 with no problems. I use marine gas (no ethanol) with Marine Sta-Bil with no problems. My husband I had surgery last year(2014) and friend offered to do our yard if he could use our trimmer on his yard. He didn’t follow my fuel instructions and used regular ethanol loaded fuel & no Sta-Bil. When we went to use it this spring It was full of brown varnish. I pulled tank, carb & spark arrestor screen. Trashed fuel lines & filter. I then separated the carb into 3 sections & placed in my Harbor Freight ultra sonic jewelry cleaner filled with mineral spirits. Remember to back out the high & low speed jets to get a thorough cleaning. Reassembled, replaced fuel lines & filter. Put a little fuel & oil proof sealer around the fuel line holes in the tank to prevent leaking. Put H&L ajustment screw back to previous setting, added fuel mix, started & adjusted for best operation. This RYOBI is used with swing blade trimmer head, steel brush blade & a hedge trimmer head which is used under water to cut water weeds & grass in the lake in front of our home in Florida. This is our SS30’s 11th year of operation. If I give you folks my address will you send me your “piece of junk” RYOBIS to my house?

    P.S. My 2 stroke Mercury on my Bass Boat has been purring along since 1994. Maybe 2 strokers are too simple for all you whining guys to figure out.
    I know what you’re thinking & you’re wrong. I am in my 70’s, my husband & I ride our 4 wheelers in the woods almost every evening & dress up to go out dancing every week.

  124. The ethanol may have been part of the problem.

    Interestingly, the electric trimmer I bought to replace this is now 11 years old and still runs fine. I don’t have the large yard or need to trim underwater, so it works fine.

  125. Hello, My Ryobi 720R has worked well since 1990. It usually starts on the 3 pull. I have replaced the string pull 3x, a clutch, a con rod/piston(rod broke). It was really abused.. using ethanol, but treated gas, and maybe 4 air cleaner changes. I did change out to a straight string trimmer to ease pain on my back. The blower and edger attachments work with no problem. It quit running last week all of the sudden. It looks like the most unlikely part.. the coil. When looking at my 27 year service vs the complaints/maintenance folks have after 2-3 years with ALL newer models… I’m thinking really hard on just buying a coil. I really love this trimmer. I just cannot be 100% sure its the 65.00 coil. Sorry for all the problem you folks have had.

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