String trimmer string keeps breaking

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Flyover

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String trimmer, weed whacker, whipper snipper...whatever you want to call it, I got mine out of the garage for the first time this year and I swear I couldn't go more than about ten seconds without one or both of the strings breaking completely off, so I'd have to take the spool cap off, take the spool out, feed more through both holes, put the spool back, put the cap on, and try and do all this a dozen times in a row without cussing in front of my kids and neighbors.

I used literally the same exact string last year, and this has never happened. In fact, the string I use is a thicker gauge string with these little ridges on it and my experience before today has been that it almost never breaks at all.

Did it dry out and become brittle somehow over the winter? What's going on??
 

havasu

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I have to laugh. I once had a tantrum for this same reason, and commenced to break that damn trimmer in a thousand pieces, as I smashed it against a rock in my yard. After the tantrum, I felt much better, placed it into the trash can and bought a new one at the orange big box. Looking back, you may have old, brittle string, or if you spool it incorrectly, with overlaps, it will break off inside from the centrifugal force. Re-string it, being very careful to roll it tight and without any overlapping until you get to the next layer.
 

oldognewtrick

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I think I'd try restringing it before you followed in havasu's foot steps and bashing it against a wall.

And, this should be motivation to learn all the appropriate cuss words in a foreign language, it saves apologizing later.
 

Flyover

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I restrung it about three times, being as careful as I could not to overlap until the next layer...but maybe a few more times with a clearer head will do the trick.
 

Flyover

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BTW, I can't honestly say I didn't throw the machine down on the ground and kick it a couple times. :D
 

havasu

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For best results, it is best to lob it into the air, attempting to reach at least 50' in height, before plummeting to the ground. Also, aim carefully so it lands directly in the asphalt roadway in front of your home. This elevation causes the most intended damage possible, and a great view for your neighbors and from the words of Gladys Kravitt's, the nosy neighbor on the 'Bewitched' Television show from the late 60's (or early 70's?), she may be caught saying, "Oh, that neighbor has really lost it!"
 

Flyover

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I rethreaded the spool another five or six times again today and it kept happening. I think the problem might be the string itself. It has these little ridges or ribs on it that are kind of grippy when the string lays flat against itself, and I think the spinning motion causes it to knot itself on the spool, which I noticed a few times when I'd take the spool out after the strings broke off: the broken off end would actually be hidden underneath other coils that should have been further down, and I'd need to go in with a nail or something and pry it out. The weird part is this has never happened before even though I've been using that kind of string for years. Oh well.

Later today I might try swapping out different string and seeing if that solves the problem. My problem with the other string I've got is that it's a lighter gauge and tends to get used up faster. But at this point I'd prefer that to having to stop everything and respool every ten seconds!!
 

joecaption

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As suggested, likely just old string.
Try something before tossing it, soak the roll of string (not the trimmer head) in some water overnight.
I've never tried it before, just read about doing it long ago.
 

Taz1956

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YES! the string gets brittle if it freezes. SORRY I DID NOT READ ALL THE THREADS, JUST THE FIRST ONE :(
You need to buy new, and keep in the house over the winter.
What I have experienced is a new head that uses a plastic segment cutter. I dont know what make at this time, but purchased in Home Depot.
That thing lasts a good while, and I can cut small trees with it! I dont bother with string trimmer head anymore.
 

joecaption

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I tried one of those heads with the plastic blades and it worked OK, but a chain link fence, trying to use it for edging a walkway driveway, or any hardscaping will destroy it in seconds.
 

Skeezix

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My local Stihl salesman told me that the string (0.080") dries out and should be kept in water to maintain its flexibility. Sounds like BS to me, but then who knows?? I can't see plastic drying out or absorbing water, but then again... maybe?? :dunno:
 

Flyover

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I'm starting to think it must be one of those things that depends on the gauge, the brand, and where that company sourced their plastic for the batch I happened to buy. I've had string trimmers for years now and this is the first time I've had this problem. In fact, I swapped out some other string I also had in my garage (sitting right next to the stuff that kept breaking) and it didn't break at all.
 

joecaption

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I own 4, FS90R Stihl trimmers and have had almost 0 issues with the string feeding or it breaking even when using the cheaper orange string.
I say almost because when you hire someone that has no clue how to use a trimmer there running out of string everyday, and wearing out the tap button in a week.
I can go at least week doing 35 yards without having to reload the string, and a whole season without having to replace tap button once a year if I do it myself.
It would be interesting to find out if you took that old roll and soaked it in water to see if it made a difference.
I agree 100% it should not make a difference, but just would like to see if it works.
 

bud16415

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I think they are designing to a fine spec. between holding up and safety.



I come from a time before string trimmers and remember when they came out my dad saying this thing would work a lot better with some coat hanger wire in it. He wasn’t one for safety or at least believed safety was up to the individual not the device. He always made me wear long pants and work boots to mow the grass as an example. With all the stones in our grass more than once I was glad I did.

I bought a string trimmer 30 years ago and it came with a 14” saw blade with some aggressive teeth. Said in the directions not to try and cut trees bigger than 6” with it. I hung that blade on a nail in the shop and never touched it again. The rig was so heavy and awkward even with two handles and a neck strap I used it a couple years and gave it away and went back to trimming with a 22” push mower and hitting the edges with roundup. If I looked I think I could still find that blade though.
 

MrMiz

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First point - Strangely enough I just got into 3d printing..... stay with me... and the filament spools are remarkably similar to spools of weed trimmer string. The filament spools come shipped in air tight packaging with those little desiccant bags to absorb moisture. Turns out plastic string is extremely sensitive to both moisture and the elements. All the kinds of filament I have received have been packaged this way. PLA, ABS, PETG, etc. they all seem to have inconsistencies when they are exposed to the elements, specifically water. I've noticed when I leave a spool out for a long time it has a tendency to snap at the slightest bit of tension. Now lets talk about your weed trimmer string. It's basically the same plastic with some modifiers in it for higher durability and most likely a higher melting temp. With my new experience in 3d printing I would say all plastic's are EXTREMELY sensitive to both water and aging. Depending on the chemical make up soaking your string in water could improve it elasticity a bit, but I like you have been storing my string in an un-insulated shed in the yard all my life.
I've had the exact problem a million times. I usually buy giant spools of weeding string for this very reason.
Second point - I had NO idea that what I consider weed trimming string is IN FACT grass trimming string ONLY. One day after a similar tantrum to what has been previously described I was trying to return the normal plane of human emotion. On a whim I read the packaging of said "string". I know, I KNOW I shouldn't be reading directions. It's not a manly thing to do. But I'll be damned if right on the packaging there in front of me it said for GRASS TRIMMING ONLY. Which lead me down a path of internet "googling" which resulting in me finding out if the weeds "stalk" is thick enough the string effectively wraps it's self around the stalk and then yanks it at the RPM's it's spinning at and snaps it right off inside the head!!

So joining Point one with Point 2. The string can go bad, freeze, take on too much water, not take on enough water. What your cutting can cause it. Wait just one week to long to get those weeds and your string performance is shot. CONCLUSION - It's worth it to hire somebody. The mental aneurysm I almost cause myself from String Trimmer Syndrome is probably more expensive then hiring a service. Or in my case as a cheapskate. Constantly be teaching your son how to do it so you can hand the job over to him as soon as possible.

Wow just read this whole thing and realized this topic has been dead since 2017. So once again I'm talking to myself.. Hi you handsome devil.

Hahaha.... ok I'm mental... I was looking at the "joined" date rather than the posted date..... and now I really look like a nut job.
 
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bud16415

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@MrMiz it’s ok you are among friends that suffer from all the same maladies.



If I wasn’t talking to myself I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to about the stuff I want to talk about.

Plastic is funny stuff some of it I swear will be around a million years from now and it is the stuff you wish would breakdown. Then the taillights on my 20 year old truck seemed to underwent a change that has them turning to mush with the slightest force.
 

MrMiz

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Every that comes from the earth will eventually go back to the earth problem is you don't want it waiting to go back in all your fleshy, tender bits.

@MrMiz it’s ok you are among friends that suffer from all the same maladies.



If I wasn’t talking to myself I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to about the stuff I want to talk about.

Plastic is funny stuff some of it I swear will be around a million years from now and it is the stuff you wish would breakdown. Then the taillights on my 20 year old truck seemed to underwent a change that has them turning to mush with the slightest force.
 

Skeezix

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I've been using trimmers of various brands for around 45 years, and am now on my 3rd trimmer (a gas-powered Stihl that I bought in 2008 for about $135). I used various brands of string and for the last 7-8 years I have been having trouble with the string breaking. Before that it's never been a problem.

11 years ago I bought a reel that "automatically" winds the string. ("Automatically" in this case means you cut 2 pieces of string to about 6 feet long, put the ends of the string into the head without removing the head, then turn the head manually until the string is all loaded.)

I've found that the string does not wind evenly on the reel. There are overlaps and a few times the string has literally gotten caught on itself inside the auto-reelFor the last few years one of the strings has been breaking, leaving about a foot or two still wrapped inside the head.

For the last 2 years I've been using some genuine Stihl 0.080 inch string. The guy at the store said to store the string in a bucket of water. I'll give that a try and post the results in a few weeks.

Oh, and also, I've found that the string lasts a lot longer if I don't go whole-hog full gas ahead (!). If I slow the throttle down to where the trimmer just cuts the grass the string does not run out as quickly.
 

Jeff Handy

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I think the “store the string in water” idea is just to keep it away from air.
I believe that ozone and other airborne elements or molecules gradually decompose the plastic or cause it to age and lose flexibility.

Meanwhile, I am so well known for talking to myself, that for Christmas I received a sweatshirt like this one. B5734C59-6797-494B-8866-C2B2C31D2692.png
 
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